“Give Us Strength According to Our Faith … in Christ”
Taught By Jeff Stone
July 6, 2008
To set the stage for this week’s lesson, it helps to recap the recent events, so in a nutshell, here’s the very short story of Alma, Amulek and Zeezrom.
Alma was the son of Alma who was a High Priest in King Noah’s court. When Abinadi came to King Noah and called the people to repentance and preached the gospel, Alma (the High Priest) believed the words of Abinadi, fled the land of Lehi-Nephi and established the church at the Waters of Mormon.
Later his son, Alma was a persecutor of the church. Eventually Alma the younger was visited by an Angel and was converted and became one of the greatest missionaries of all time. During Alma the younger’s days as a missionary, he was visited again by the same Angel who told him to go back to the city of Ammonihah.
A man from Ammonihah named Amulek was also visited by an Angel and was told that Alma would be coming. The two of them spent their remaining days as missionaries together.
One of the great lawyers, Zeezrom, tried to stir up trouble with these two great men. He offered Amulek money to deny his testimony, but Amulek, of course, did not deny the faith. Not only did he remain faithful but he was able to astonish Zeezrom and many of the people present by knowing what was in Zeezrom’s heart.
That is basically where the lesson left off last week. We began to see a turning point in Zeezrom’s attitude. This week we find out what happens.
This week’s authors:
Alma 13 is a continuation of the words of Alma to the people of Ammonihah with a few comments by Mormon, but mostly it appears to be direct quotes or copies from the original record. Verses 14, 15, and 16 go back to being an overall narrative by Mormon. The latter three chapters focus more on the history and less on gospel principles. However, of course, there are tons of lessons to be learned for us by reading this history.
In Alma 13, we are taught about the priesthood and foreordination. In his sermon, Alma teaches us that all men who ordained to the priesthood were foreordained for this calling.
Add to that modern revelation by three prophets (Joseph Smith, Spencer W. Kimball and Ezra Taft Benson) and it becomes very clear that we are foreordained for the very callings that we have currently, have had in the past, and will have in the future.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 365).
Spencer W. Kimball
President Spencer W. Kimball taught: “Before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments while faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood tasks.
While we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious reality of what we once agreed to.You are accountable for those things which long ago were expected of you just as are those we sustain as prophets and apostles!” (“The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 102).
Ezra Taft Benson
“God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the second coming of the Lord. …
God has saved for the [final days] some of His strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly. That is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God. …
“In all ages prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it—you are a marked generation.
There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , 104–5).
During class today, the point was made that it would be easier or more fair if we didn’t forget those commitments we made as we were foreordained. While it’s true that we don’t remember, we do have evidence.
Each of our priesthood leaders have been called of God, and they have called each of us to our various callings. These callings were made through divine inspiration and prayerful consideration. Thus a direct channel between the priesthood leader and the one (God) we made a commitment with.
Throughout this chapter, we also learn what we must to to enter into the “rest of The Lord.” We are also given information about looking to the Savior for Redemption. For clarity on entering into The Lord’s “rest,” we turn to a quote by brother McConkie.
Bruce R. McConkie
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “The rest of the Lord, where mortals are concerned, is to gain a perfect knowledge of the divinity of the great latter-day work. [President Joseph F. Smith said,]
‘It means entering into the knowledge and love of God, having faith in his purpose and in his plan, to such an extent that we know we are right, and that we are not hunting for something else; we are not disturbed by every wind of doctrine, or by the cunning and craftiness of men who lie in wait to deceive.’
It is ‘rest from the religious turmoil of the world; from the cry that is going forth, here and there—lo, here is Christ; lo, there is Christ.’ (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., pp. 58, 125–126.) The rest of the Lord, in eternity, is to inherit eternal life, to gain the fulness of the Lord’s glory (D. & C. 84:24.)” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 633).
The Wicked Must Be Allowed to Do Their Wickedness:
In Alma 14, we learn that the people who disbelieved the words of Alma and Amulek began to become very violent. They first bound Alma and Amulek. Then they began throwing the believers into a fire and burning them to death along with their scriptures. As this was happening, we learn in verse 6 that Zeezrom began to realize that this was partly his fault. He began to feel tremendous sorrow and guilt.
Alma and Amulek were commanded to allow this to happen and not to stop it. In verse 11, we see that those who were burned were immediately received by the Lord in glory. We also learn that in order for the punishment of the wicked to be justified, this must be allowed to continue.
After the saints are murdered, Alma and Amulek are thrown in prison. They are constantly abused, slapped, and spat upon. Finally Alma cries out in verse 26. Then in verses 27 through 29, we see an awesome demonstration of the power of God as the prison literally crumbles to the ground and kills everyone inside except for Alma and Amulek.
A New Missionary is Born:
Many people were stoned and cast out of the city of Ammonihah and fled to Sidom. One of those people was Zeezrom. He was in so much spiritual anguish over what he had done that he is physically ill. He had a burning fever and was ready to die.
Then he got wind of the fact that Alma and Amulek had escaped and that they were in town. This lifted his spirits a bit, and he called for them to come and administer to him. Alma asked Zeezrom if he believed in the power of Christ. Zeezrom did, and he was immediately healed and jumped up from his bed. He was baptized and became a missionary. As I read this account about Zeezrom in verses 6 through 12, I felt a strong connection and love for Zeezrom and his faith in the Lord.
Throughout the Book of Mormon in several different places, Zeezrom is mentioned, and we get a glimpse of how much missionary work he did. His conversion is very powerful much like that of Alma the Younger. Below are some of the scriptures where Zeezrom and his missionary work is mentioned:
Zeezrom’s Missionary Efforts
Remember back to when Amulek became a missionary. He left everything behind to preach the gospel, and now he is not even in his home city anymore. He left all of his riches behind to follow Alma and preach the word of God.
As soon as he could, Alma took Amulek to his home “and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord.”
Prophesies are Always Fulfilled:
When Alma and Amulek first began preaching to the people of Ammonihah, they warned the people that if they did not repent that their city would be destroyed. Well the people did not repent and guess what… their city was destroyed!
Simply put, the Lamanites went to war with the people of Ammonihah and the Lamanites won. The destruction was unbelievable. An account of it is given in Alma 16:9–11.
There are so many lessons to be learned from these four chapters (Alma 13, 14, 15, 16). We learn doctrine about priesthood and foreordination directly from the mouth of Alma. We learn by example the power of Christ as we see Alma and Amulek delivered from prison.
We see the power of the Atonement through Zeezrom’s conversion, and we see the fulfillment of prophesy regarding the city of Ammonihah, which hopefully is a reminder that we should follow the prophets and the teachings of the Lord.
This week was a powerful lesson with some amazing stories and lessons. Hopefully you enjoyed it as much as I have.