After Amulek’s testimony recorded in the last chapter, Zeezrom’s heart is pricked, “for he beheld that Amulek had caught him in his lying and deceiving to destroy him, and seeing that he began to tremble under a consciousness of his guilt…” (1)
The difference between Zeezrom in these chapters and Korihor (earlier in the book, who also went about deceiving many) was humility. Zeezrom started out arrogant and manipulative, but then was struck by something Amulek said realized his guilt. Instead of justifying his sinfulness and demanding a sign, as Korihor did, Zeezrom shuts his mouth and listens.
Alma now steps back in to expand upon that which Amulek has taught. Zeezrom trembles more and more as Alma continues bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, “…for he was convinced more and more of the power of God…” (7)
He is listening. And now he begins to seek diligently to know the truth.
And Zeezrom began to inquire of them diligently, that he might know more concerning the kingdom of God.”Alma 12:8
This diligent inquiring shows that his heart is softening.
Alma tells him that those who harden their hearts are given less of the word until they receive none and are bound by the chains of hell. Those who are humble and righteous receive more of the mysteries and blessings of God.
Alma declares with boldness that every soul will “stand before him [God] in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.” (15)
Alma tells them that repentance is the key to salvation and urges them to take hold of it. When he finishes, the people are astonished.
Now, enters chief ruler Antionah. He cleverly twists Alma’s words, but Alma refutes him and explains the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden and shows that “by his fall, all mankind became a lost and fallen people.” (22)
Death came into the world through the fall.
…nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.
Now, if it had not been for the plan of redemption, which was laid from the foundation of the world, there could have been no resurrection of the dead; but there was a plan of redemption laid, which shall bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, of which has been spoken.”Alma 12:24-25
He then explains how if it had been possible for Adam and Eve to have partaken of the tree of life after they had transgressed, they would have been “forever miserable, having no preparatory state…” (26)
This shows that Adam and Eve followed the plan of redemption set out by the Father of us all. Eve shouldn’t be vilified by Christian denominations. She should be thanked. Her and Adam put into motion the plan of salvation, which included the Fall and then this mortal sojourn as a preparatory state of repentance, before the next step in the plan.
God sent angels and servants to mankind after the Fall of Adam to make “known unto them the plan of redemption, which had been prepared from the foundation of the world; and this he made known unto them according to their faith and repentance and their holy works.” (30)
Again, I love how clear Alma is about how the creation, the Fall, this mortal journey, death, and resurrection was all prepared before the foundation of the world as part of God’s plan for His children, to help them progress and become more like Him. And we can know about this plan when we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and repent and follow Him. That is His promise.
Wherefore, he gave commandments unto men, they having first transgressed the first commandments as to things which were temporal, and becoming as Gods, knowing good from evil, placing themselves in a state to act, or being placed in a state to act according to their wills and pleasures, whether to do evil or to do good.”Alma 12:31
To me, this suggests that one of the traits of God is to know good from evil. Just learning that lesson here on earth helps us become more godlike.
Am I using this gift wisely?
Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death…”Alma 12:32
This clearly states that we can’t just do what we want here on earth and be accepted back into God’s presence in that sinful state. If we willingly rebel against His commandments, we will receive “an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God.” (32)
But there is also mercy, which extends to those who obey and take hold of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, by repenting of their sins.
Therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest.”Alma 12:34
Alma has just born testimony of God’s plan of redemption to this people. It is a merciful plan, for those who are willing to humble themselves enough to use it.
- Do I understand this Plan?
- Do I realize how vital faith in Jesus Christ and repentance are to the Plan?
- Am I taking advantage of the mercy inherent in this Plan?