CLICK HERE to read Helaman 13.
So the Nephites decline further into wickedness by rejecting the prophets, and so rejecting the word of the Lord, while the Lamanites “observe strictly to keep the commandments of God” (verse 1). Now only six years before the birth of Christ, a Lamanite prophet named Samuel went to preach repentance to the people, but they refused to listen (verse 2). He was ready to go home, but the Lord stopped him and told him to go back, that he should say “whatsoever things should come into his heart” (verse 3).
But the people would not let him into the city! And so he got onto a wall, and taught the people from them. He told them the words were from the Lord, and that he would say whatever the Lord put in his heart (verse 5). He then went on to tell them that if they did not repent, they would be destroyed within four hundred years, and that only “repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ” could save them (verse 6). He told them that an angel had taught him, and that it did “bring glad tidings to my soul”, and that he wanted them to also have these glad tidings but “ye would not receive me” (verse 7).
Therefore, thus saith the Lord: Because of the hardness of the hearts of the people… except they repent, I will take away my word from them, and I will withdraw my Spirit from them… (verse 8).
And he again tells them that they will be destroyed within four hundred years, all of the Nephites being destroyed by war and famine, if they do not repent (verse 9). He warns them they are choosing destruction (verse 10), but that they still can repent and turn toward God (verse 11).
While not interfering with our ability to choose who to follow, the Lord is aware of what we will choose (verse 12). Destruction would already come if it were not for the remaining righteous, but He does so want to bless all who will repent (verse 13). He wants this so much that it has not yet happened already, because he honors those who are righteous (verse 14). But those who will not repent will earn the destruction they have chosen (verses 15-17).
We cannot, without His blessing, hide up for ourselves earthly treasures – either literally or figuratively – for He does provide everything to us (verses 18-19). Our hearts must be focused on Him (verse 20), which means our behaviors and our interactions will be like His. Forgetting Him and losing ourselves to worldly things (riches, passions out-of-bounds, pride, boasting, envy, contention, strife, malice) and iniquity (verse 22) will bring upon us our own judgment that we have chosen, our own consequences to our own behaviors (verse 23).
For the Nephites, this came literally, as they did bury their riches, and their destruction came when whole cities were buried in earthquakes.
But the message from the prophet is clear: “the time has arrived”. They do not realize Christ would be born in just a few short years, but still they ignore the prophets – or worse, casting them out, mocking them, stoning them, and even killing them (verse 24).
They boast, saying they never would have done to the prophets what happened in ancient times, and yet they do the very same thing (verse 25). We do this in our day, when we say that we never would have mocked Noah and his ark, or given Moses any trouble, or refused to host Isaiah or Jeremiah – and yet refuse to do what the scriptures say, what the Savior has said, or what the prophet today says.
Behold, ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil (verse 26).
This is the same as what Nephi had told them in Helaman 8, when the people got angry instead of repenting. This is a sign of a hard heart, when one gets angry and accuses someone else of being bad or mean instead of humbling themselves to receive the correction and seek forgiveness.
It is a false concept to believe that we can do whatever want and there be no consequences (verse 27). Everything we do has a consequence, either for good or bad, for our happiness or our misery. Our judgment is our own, and we decide it by how we behave and interact with others.
But we like for people to tell us – for “culture” to tell us – that we can do anything we want, to reward us financially and to flatter us (verse 28). We want to “feel good” and do what feels good, without thinking of the consequences, much less anything beyond the present moment. Instead of maturing into grown-ups, we want to remain like hedonistic babies who get what they want when they want – only because they do not yet have the skills to meet their own needs and the needs of others, who cannot yet delay gratification, who cannot yet sacrifice for the well-being of others.
So, Samuel asks, how long will we continue to live this way, foolish and blind in the dark (verse 29)?
The consequences are coming – are we going to do anything about it (verse 30)?
The time is soon coming that we cannot rely on our finances (verse 31).
When we lose everything, then we will remember God and cry out to Him (verse 32), saying:
O that I had repented, and had not killed the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out (verse 33).
What we have today will be gone tomorrow, and the coping skills we use today will no longer be available (verse 34). He does not want us in bondage to those things for sustaining us, but wants us to live truly alive, to be fully awake, to be present, and to learn why we are here (verse 36). These things that trap us, distract us, depress us, and delay us are not of God – ever.
Behold, we are surrounded by demons, yea, we are encircled about by the angels of him who hath sought to destroy our souls. Behold, our iniquities are great…. And this shall be your language in those days (verse 37).
We will agree with our judgment because we will know it was our choice.
Our choice is now, and we are running out of time to choose.
… Your days of probation are past; ye have procastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which things is contrary to the nature of that righteousness… (verse 38)
And Samuel’s final words in this speech on the wall, crying repentance to the people:
O ye people of the land, that ye would hear my words! And I pray that the anger of the Lord be turned away from you, and that ye would repent and be saved.