Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, January 8

Book of Mormon | “Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God, Authority, Power, and Judgment: Part 3” by grego

Book of Mormon | “Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God; Authority, Power, and Judgment: Part 3”
by grego

Part 3

Notice, also, that even though the argument is one about power, in all of Alma’s tour de force in Alma 13, the word “power” *never* appears.

There were a few more things that I want to mention.
Alma says:
Alma 12:15 But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him 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.

Alma and Amulek know they have power:
Alma 14:10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and EXERCISE THE POWER OF GOD WHICH IS IN US, and save them from the flames.
Alma 14:11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand;

But the judge doesn’t; however, the judge believes he has power:
Alma 14:15 Behold, ye see that ye had not POWER to save those who had been cast into the fire; neither has God saved them because they were of thy faith. And the judge smote them again upon their cheeks, and asked: What say ye for yourselves?…
Alma 14:19 And it came to pass that the judge stood before them, and said: Why do ye not answer the words of this people? Know ye not that I have POWER to deliver you up unto the flames? And he commanded them to speak; but they answered nothing.

“Power”: this is correct, because according to Nephite law, the judge didn’t have the *authority* to act as he was acting; but he did have *power*, and he used it. This was the problem of the people of Ammonihah and the order of Nehor: acting with power, but without authority.

And in fact, the question of authority for the hard-hearted is often answered only by a show of power, though for some it is too late when it comes for them to be saved physically or spiritually. But as with curses, the unrepentant curse themselves powerless.

Right before Alma talks about the rocks falling, he says:
Alma 12:14 For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us…

And here is what happens in fulfillment:
Alma 14:20 And it came to pass that they departed and went their ways, but came again on the morrow; and the judge also smote them again on their cheeks. And many came forth also, and smote them, saying: Will ye stand again and judge this people, and condemn our law? If ye have such great POWER why do ye not deliver yourselves?

Alma 14:23 And it came to pass after they had thus suffered for many days, (and it was on the twelfth day, in the tenth month, in the tenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi) that the chief judge over the land of Ammonihah and many of their teachers and their lawyers went in unto the prison where Alma and Amulek were bound with cords.
Alma 14:24 And the chief judge stood before them, and smote them again, and said unto them: If ye have the POWER OF GOD deliver yourselves from these bands, and then we will believe that the Lord will destroy this people according to your words.
Alma 14:25 And it came to pass that they all went forth and smote them, saying the same words, even until the last; and when the last had spoken unto them the POWER OF GOD was upon Alma and Amulek, and they rose and stood upon their feet.
Alma 14:26 And Alma cried, saying: How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord? O Lord, give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance. And they broke the cords with which they were bound; and when the people saw this, they began to flee, for the fear of destruction had come upon them.
Alma 14:27 And it came to pass that so great was their fear that they fell to the earth, and did not obtain the outer door of the prison; and the earth shook mightily, and the walls of the prison were rent in twain, so that they fell to the earth; and the chief judge, and the lawyers, and priests, and teachers, who smote upon Alma and Amulek, were slain by the fall thereof.
Alma 14:28 And Alma and Amulek came forth out of the prison, and they were not hurt; for the Lord had granted unto them POWER, according to their faith which was in Christ. And they straightway came forth out of the prison; and they were loosed from their bands; and the prison had fallen to the earth, and every soul within the walls thereof, save it were Alma and Amulek, was slain; and they straightway came forth into the city.

Note that even here the Lord does not come out and strike the wicked; it is the opposing order’s fear that makes them fall to the earth–or, one could say, a lack of POWER–that makes their death certain. Alma had already preached that “our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us”. And by their words (“If ye have the POWER OF GOD deliver yourselves from these bands, and then we will believe that the Lord will destroy this people according to your words”) and by their actions (striking Alma and Amulek), they are judged rightly by God. Note also that “they *all* went forth and smote them, saying the same words, *even until the last*”–thus, the judgment of God was just upon them all. Truly they each cursed themselves!
I infer a causality relationship here: “and the chief judge, and the lawyers, and priests, and teachers, who *smote upon Alma and Amulek*, were slain by the fall thereof” (Alma 14:27). So *if* the wicked men had had power, they *could* have run out of the prison; and *if* they had had power, they *could* have escaped, just like Alma and Amulek…


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