CLICK HERE to read Alma 10.
With the last chapter focusing on Alma’s talk to the people of Ammonihah, this one focuses on Amulek’s (verse 1).
He first introduces himself by his ancestors, as common with the culture (verses 2 and 3). This is important because the people have been refusing to listen to Alma because he was a “nobody”. Amulek is explaining who he is first, to negate this argument.
“And behold, I am also a man of no small reputation….” (verse 4).
Besides being well known, he is also a rich man, and those riches are by his own hard work.
So they cannot claim he is a “nobody”.
But – here is what is great – Amulek does not claim this is where his authority lies.
He focuses not on who he was, but who he has become.
It’s the difference between being born in the covenant and doing the work of conversion.
Amulek describes his own conversion now that he has culturally connected to them.
He humbles himself by sharing his awful past.
But note – very important – both Alma and Amulek give their testimony of their awful past ONCE.
They do not dwell on it, and do not look back. They do not bring it up repeatedly, and it is not a part of their testimony in their preaching. They know it is over and finished, covered by the atonement. They share the story of their past once, as part of their own conversion, in effort to acknowledge what was and give the Savior credit for changing them. But they do not do it again, and they do not get stuck in that backwards place. Once they have acknowledged it publicly, they let the atonement complete the process of their repentance and it is no longer a part of their story.
“… I never have known much of the ways of the Lord, and his mysteries and marvelous power… I did harden my heart, for I was called many times and I would not hear… I went on rebelling against God…” (verses 5 and 6).
He was very much like these people, not wanting to hear the message.
But he was also like these people, in that he really knew better.
So when an angel appears to him and tells him to return home and prepare to “feed a prophet of the Lord” (verse 7), Amulek does obey (verse 8). This is the beginning of his softening.
Any obedience is always immediately rewarded in some way, and the Lord promises that Amulek will be blessed for his obedience.
Now Amulek begins to share his testimony that Alma is a prophet, saying that “I know he is a holy man…” (verse 9). “… I know that the things whereof he has testified are true…” (verse 10).
Amulek shares the story, then, of how things happened just as the angel described (verse 10), and that he and his family were blessed as promised (verse 11).
The people of Ammonihah are astonished and what Amulek shares, and him being a second witness gets their attention.
Catch the important phrase in verse 12, “the spirit of prophecy”. This is used in the way that all of us are prophets (little “p”, not big P as in the role of the Prophet with a capital “P”). We are all prophets, little “p”, when we testify. We learn this in Revelation 19:10, which does teach us that “the spirit of prophecy” is the testimony of Jesus.
Anytime we testify, the Holy Spirit can confirm that testimony in the hearts of those who hear or see our testimony. The Holy Spirit appeals to the Light of Christ in all people, and can – through our testimony – speak Spirit to spirit, directly.
So some of the people of Ammonihah are beginning to soften, beginning to understand, beginning to see, beginning to believe. But “there were some among them who thought to question them, that by their cunning devices they might catch them in their words…” (verse 13). These doubters, these haters, still want to kill the prophets, and are still trying to imprison them if they are not allowed to kill them.
The people use “lawyers” of the day (verse 14), and these lawyers are “learned in all the arts and cunning of the people” (verse 15). The lawyers begin to question them, trying to catch Alma or Amulek contradicting themselves or each other (verse 16).
But as they begin to attack Alma and Amulek in this way, Alma perceives their thoughts (by the power of the Spirit), and calls them out on it: “ye are laying traps and snares to catch the holy ones of God. Ye are laying plans to pervert the ways of the righteous…” (verses 17 and 18). He warns them of their impending destruction, remind them of the words of Mosiah:
“… did he say that if the time should come that the voice of the people should choose iniquity, that is, if the time should come that this people should fall into transgression, they would be ripe for destruction…” (verse 19).
This is a warning we should pay attention to, even in our day.
Amulek continues the original message he was sent to give the people, calling them to repentance (verse 20) and warning them that the Lord is coming very soon (verse 21).
Again, this is a warning we should pay attention to, even in our day.
Amulek explains that the only reason that the people are not already destroyed, and the only reason destruction has not already happened, is because of the “prayers of the righteous” (verse 22).
This is important, because what happens if the people cast out the only ones protecting them?
“… it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you, then … his fierce anger will come out against you…” (verse 23).
Amulek says that the people have not been destroyed because the righteous are there with them, and the Lord has promised to protect them. But if they kick out the righteous, then they will be left alone with their iniquities, with no one righteous to protect them. By kicking out the good people, they are declaring themselves ready to be destroyed.
This idea really made the people mad, so they accused Amulek of mocking their laws and lawyers (verse 24).
Amulek boldly continues to call it as he sees it, saying that the Satan has a hold of the people’s hearts.
“Why will ye yield yourselves unto him that he may have power over you, to blind your eyes, that ye will not understand the words which are spoken, according to their truth?” (verse 25).
The truth is only hard to those who don’t want to hear it.
Rebuke is only hard to those who don’t want to acknowledge they are breaking covenants.
Chastisement is only painful for those still fighting against it.
In this way, Amulek points out that he has not mocked the law, but rather pointed out how it condemns them because of their own choices (verse 26). Their destruction, he says, will come because of their own unrighteousness – not because of anything Amulek has said (verse 27).
Now the people call Amulek a liar, saying he did speak against their law but says he didn’t (verse 28). This stirs up the powerful lawyers (verse 29), and the lawyers become more hard by holding grudges and waiting for revenge as the bitterness begins to swallow them, harden them (verse 30).