17 February 2014

Alma 7: Jesus is Coming

In the last chapter, Alma left Zarahemla to go visit the new city of Gideon, and preach to the people there. When he arrives, he starts his speech by explaining why he hadn't visited already. You see, he was a little preoccupied before because he was both high priest and chief judge.
Behold my beloved brethren, seeing that I have been permitted to come unto you, therefore I attempt to address you in my language; yea, by my own mouth, seeing that it is the first time that I have spoken unto you by the words of my mouth, I having been wholly confined to the judgment-seat, having had much business that I could not come unto you. 7.1
Alma then explains to them the problems of Zarahemla, and how he hopes that they have avoided similar problems in Gideon.
And behold, I have come having great hopes and much desire that I should find that ye had humbled yourselves before God, and that ye had continued in the supplicating of his grace, that I should find that ye were blameless before him, that I should find that ye were not in the awful dilemma that our brethren were in at Zarahemla. 7.3 
 But blessed be the name of God, that he hath given me to know, yea, hath given unto me the exceedingly great joy of knowing that they are established again in the way of his righteousness. 7.4 
And I trust, according to the Spirit of God which is in me, that I shall also have joy over you; nevertheless I do not desire that my joy over you should come by the cause of so much afflictions and sorrow which I have had for the brethren at Zarahemla, for behold, my joy cometh over them after wading through much affliction and sorrow. 7.5 
But behold, I trust that ye are not in a state of so much unbelief as were your brethren; I trust that ye are not lifted up in the pride of your hearts; yea, I trust that ye have not set your hearts upon riches and the vain things of the world; yea, I trust that you do not worship idols, but that ye do worship the true and living God, and that ye look forward for the remission of your sins, with an everlasting faith, which is to come. 7.6
Then things get interesting! Alma predicts the coming of Jesus:
For behold, I say unto you there be many things to come; and behold, there is one thing which is of more importance than they all -- for behold, the time is not far distant that the Redeemer liveth and cometh among his people. 7.7
But behold, the Spirit hath said this much unto me, saying: Cry unto this people, saying -- Repent ye, and prepare the way of the Lord, and walk in his paths, which are straight; for behold, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the Son of God cometh upon the face of the earth. 7.9
He goes into detail, explaining how Jesus will be born to Mary, in Jerusalem-- how it's going to be a virgin birth, and how Jesus will be the son of God.
And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God. 7.10
He predicts Jesus' death, and how he will sacrifice himself so that people can live forever in heaven. But only if they repent. Alma knew all this stuff beforehand. He was a pretty cool dude.
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. 7.11 
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. 7.12
Alma tells the Gideonites that they need to repent in order to live forever. And they better do it soon, too, because Jesus was coming quickly. But overall, they were doing a pretty good job (especially compared to the Zarahemlites).
Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness. 7.14 
And now my beloved brethren, do you believe these things? Behold, I say unto you, yea, I know that ye believe them; and the way that I know that ye believe them is by the manifestation of the Spirit which is in me. And now because your faith is strong concerning that, yea, concerning the things which I have spoken, great is my joy. 7.17 
For as I said unto you from the beginning, that I had much desire that ye were not in the state of dilemma like your brethren, even so I have found that my desires have been gratified. 7.18 
For I perceive that ye are in the paths of righteousness; I perceive that ye are in the path which leads to the kingdom of God; yea, I perceive that ye are making his paths straight. 7.19
Then he gives some holy directions. How do you get to heaven? Walk straight, not crooked. Don't walk to the right or the left, and go in a big circle.
I perceive that it has been made known unto you, by the testimony of his word, that he cannot walk in crooked paths; neither doth he vary from that which he hath said; neither hath he a shadow of turning from the right to the left, or from that which is right to that which is wrong; therefore, his course is one eternal round. 7.20
That's about everything of interest in this chapter. Alma finishes up his speech with the usual stuff: be good, be thankful to God, don't wear fancy clothes, and have faith.
And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. 7.23 
And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works. 7.24

No comments: