What is priestcraft?
Who is the second “antichrist” mentioned in the Book of Mormon?
We bring an end to the book of Mosiah with King Mosiah II turning the records, the sword of Laban, and the interpreters over to Alma the Younger.
Mosiah 29:1 “Now when Mosiah had done this he sent out throughout all the land, among all the people, desiring to know their will concerning who should be their king.” He is looking for the people’s input.
Mosiah 29:2 “And it came to pass that the voice of the people came, saying: We are desirous that Aaron thy son should our king and our ruler.”
Mosiah 29:3 But Aaron could not be their king because he was on a mission with his three brothers to convert the Lamanites. And, none of Mosiah’s other sons were willing to accept the throne.
Mosiah 29:4-6 Mosiah sends a written proclamation out to the people.
Mosiah 29:6 The phrase “I declare unto you” is also in 1 Corinthians 15:1.
Mosiah 29:7-9 Mosiah was concerned that if one of his sons was made king and then turned wicked – he might cause wars and contentions among the people and cause them to sin.
Mosiah 29:7 In this verse, the phrase “and destroyed the souls of many people” used to read in the 1830 edition page 217 “and destroyed the souls of much people.” So, “much” has been changed to “many.” The words “there would rise contentions among you” are similar, to 1 Corinthians 1:11 and, “and draw away a part of this people after him” are similar, to Acts 5:37.
Mosiah 29:8 ^The phrase “have no right to” is also in Hebrews 13:10 and, “destroy my son” is in 2 Samuel 14:11 and, “to destroy another” is the same in 2 Chronicles 20:23.
Mosiah 29:10-11 King Mosiah tells his people to think twice about having another king. He proposes that they change their form of government from a monarchy with a king – to a civil government under appointed Judges.
Mosiah 29:10 The words “for the peace of” are also in Psalm 122:6.
Mosiah 29:11 ^The words “Therefore I will be” are also in Hosea 13:7 and, “nevertheless, let us” are in John 11:15 and, “according to our law” are also in Acts 24:6 and “the affairs of this” are the same in 2 Timothy 2:4.
Mosiah 29:12 “Now it is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of man are not always just.” The words “Now it is better that” are in 2 Samuel 18:3 and, “should be judged of” are also in 1 Corinthians 4:3.
Mosiah 29:13-15 Mosiah says that he prefers kings if it could be guaranteed that they were just men and would establish the laws of God.
Mosiah 29:13 The phrase “if were possible” is also in Acts 27:39.
Mosiah 29:14 The phrase “that there should be no wars nor contentions” is similar, to 1 Corinthians 12:25.
Mosiah 29:14 “And even I myself have labored with all the power and faculties which I have possessed, to teach you the commandments of God, and to establish peace throughout the land that there should be no wars nor contentions, no stealing, nor plundering, nor murdering, nor any manner of iniquity.” In the 1830 edition page 218, it read “nor no manner of iniquitiy”. It was changed in the 1964 edition to read, “nor any manner of iniquity”. So, from “no” to “any”. In this verse appears the word “faculties” as it does in Jacob 3:11. However, this is a term dating back no earlier than the middle English era. Strange, that it would be translated from a word on an ancient plate dating over 1,000 years earlier.
Mosiah 29:16 It is just not worth the risk if you happen to get a bad king. “Now I say unto you, that because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or kings to rule over you.” It is not wise to have leaders with absolute power. The words “it is not expedient” are the same in 2 Corinthians 12:1.
Mosiah 29:18 “Yea, remember king Noah, his wickedness and his abominations, and also the wickedness and abominations of his people. Behold what great destruction did come upon them; and, also because of their iniquities they were brought into bondage.”
Mosiah 29:19 And if it was not for the Lord, they would still be in bondage to the Lamanites.
Mosiah 29:20 “But behold, he did deliver them because they did humble themselves before him; and because they cried mightily unto him he did deliver them out of bondage; and thus doth the Lord work with his power in all cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in him.” The words “cried mightily” are also in Revelation 18:2 and, “mercy towards them that” are similar, to Psalm 103:11 and, “them that put their trust in him” are the same in Proverbs 30:5.
Mosiah 29:21-22 You see a bad king is very difficult to dethrone. He will destroy the laws of the nation which were established upon God’s laws. And, there will be much contention and bloodshed.
Mosiah 29:22 The phrase “righteousness before him” is in Luke 1:75.
Mosiah 29:23 A wicked king will enact laws which reflect his own wickedness. And, he will destroy those who rebel against him. ^The words “of his own wickedness” are similar, to Proverbs 11:5 and, “and whosoever doth not” are also in Luke 14:27 and, “doth rebel against” are in Joshua 1:18 and, “doth pervert the ways of all righteousness” are similar, to Acts 13:10.
Mosiah 29:24 ^The phrase “I say unto you, it is” is also in Matthew 19:24.
Mosiah 29:25 “Therefore, choose you by the voice of the people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which are given them by the hand of the Lord.” He is talking here about free elections. The phrase “that they may be judged according to” is similar, to 1 Peter 4:6 and, “given you by” is also in 1 Corinthians 1:4.
Mosiah 29:26 “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law – to do your business by the voice of the people.” In other words, there is safety in democracy. ^The words “it is common” are in Ecclesiastes 6:1 and, “to do your business” are similar, to 1 Thessalonians 4:11.
Mosiah 29:27 But here is the caution, “And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.”
Mosiah 29:28 Next, King Mosiah points out the checks and balances which must be in place in the constitution of the land based upon principles established by God. “And now if ye have judges, and they do not judge you according to the law which has been given, ye can cause that they may be judged of a higher judge.”
Mosiah 29:29 “If your higher judges do not judge righteous judgments, ye shall cause that a small number of your lower judges should be gathered together, and they shall judge your higher judges, according to the voice of the people.” ^The phrase “judge righteous judgements” is similar, to John 7:24.
Mosiah 29:30 “And I command you to do these things in the fear of the Lord; and I command you to do these things , and that ye have no king; that if these people commit sins and iniquities they shall be answered upon their own heads.” Speaking of the elected Judges. The words “shall be answered” are in 2 Chronicles 7:22.
Mosiah 29:31 The words “the sins of many” are in Hebrews 9:28 and, “their iniquities are” are in Psalm 107:17.
Mosiah 29:32 “And now I desire that this inequality should be no more in this land, especially among this my people; but I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike, so long as the Lord sees fit that we may live and inherit the land, yea, even as long as any of our posterity remains upon the face of the land.” The phrase “live and inherit the land” is the same as Deuteronomy 16:20 and, “remains upon the face of the land” is similar, to Ezekiel 39:14.
Mosiah 29:33-36 Mosiah wrote many more things concerning the disadvantages of having a king to rule over them. It just was, not a good idea.
Mosiah 29:34 In this verse, the phrase “these things ought not to be” used to read in the 1830 edition page 220, “these things had not ought to be.” The word “had” has been deleted and the words “not ought” have rearranged to “ought not” in later editions. ^The phrase “these things ought not to be” is similar, to James 3:10.
Mosiah 29:36 The words “all his iniquities” are also in Psalm 130:8 and, “all the wars” are in Judges 3:1 and, “of whoredoms and” are in Hosea 1:2.
Mosiah 29:37-39 The people were convinced that they would not have a king. So, they cast their votes as to who should be their judges.
Mosiah 29:37 ^The words “were convinced of the” are similar, to James 2:9.
Mosiah 29:38 ^The words “to answer for” are also in Acts 25:16 and, “for his own sins” are the same in Hebrews 7:27.
Mosiah 29:39 The phrase “it came to pass that they assembled themselves together in bodies” is similar, to Acts 11:26.
Mosiah 29:40 The people loved and esteemed Mosiah beyond measure for being such a great guy. ^The words “shedding of blood” are also in Hebrews 9:22.
Mosiah 29:41 Judges were appointed throughout the land of Zarahemla. In this verse, the phrase “and this they did throughout the land” used to read in the 1830 edition page 220, “and they done throughout the land.” So, the word “done” was changed to “did” in later editions.
Mosiah 29:42 “And it came to pass that Alma was appointed to be the first chief judge, he being also the high priest, his father having conferred the office upon him, and having given him the charge concerning all the affairs of the church.” Alma the Younger was basically the president of the country and, he was the president of the Church. Pretty busy man with a lot of power. ^The phrase “also in high priest” is the same in Acts 22:5.
The term “church” comes from the Greek word “ekklesia” which means “a called-out assembly or congregation” – a gathering of people “called out” to follow Jesus. The first time the word “church” is found in the Bible is in Matthew 16:18 during the translation of the New Testament into English in 1400 AD. The term “church” or “ekklesia” would never have been used by a Hebrew in 600 BC. – who supposedly wrote in Reformed Egyptian – nevertheless.
Mosiah 29:43 “And now it came to pass that Alma did walk in the ways of the Lord, and he did keep his commandments, and he did judge righteous judgments; and there was continual peace through the land.” ^The words “peace through the” are also in Colossians 1:20.
Mosiah 29:44 “And thus commenced the reign of the judges throughout all the land of Zarahemla, among all the people who were called the Nephites; and Alma was the first and chief judge.” The date is about 91 BC. The change in government instituted by King Mosiah was so significant that from this point on the Nephites recorded their time from the beginning of the reign of Judges, instead of from the year Lehi left Jerusalem. The reign of Judges commenced 509 years after Lehi left Jerusalem.
Mosiah 29:45 “And now it came to pass that his father died, being eighty and two years old, having lived to fulfill the commandments of God.” This is Alma the Elder. He “fulfilled the commandments of God”? Is that even possible? Was he perfect? Just wondering. The words “eighty and two years” are also in Genesis 5:28.
Mosiah 29:46 “And it came to pass that Mosiah died also, in the thirty and third year of his reign, being sixty and three years old; making in the whole, five hundred and nine years from the time Lehi left Jerusalem.” Mosiah II dies. At this point in the Book of Mormon record, there are about 124 years left before the appearance of the resurrected Savior to the Nephites in the New World. The words “thirty and third year of his reign” are similar, to 1 Kings 2:11.
Mosiah 29:47 “And thus ended the reign of the kings over the people of Nephi; and thus ended the days of Alma, who was the founder of their church.” We will come to see that after nine years of having excessive responsibility, Alma will step down as chief judge. And from 91 BC to AD 30, the Nephite civilization will be governed by chief judges. Of the 13 Nephite judges, nearly half were assassinated – indicating serious governmental turmoil during the reign of the judges.
Now we get to the Book of Alma The book of Alma is the 9th book found within the Book of Mormon. It covers only 39 years, yet it takes up about one third of the entire Book of Mormon with 63 chapters. Thus, it is the longest individual book in the Book of Mormon. The fact that such a large book is devoted to such a short period of time, would suggest that the period described in Alma would be a most significant one for both events and teachings. It consists of three different writers: Alma and his sons, Helaman, and Shiblon. For the rest of today’s lesson – Chapters 1 – 4, will deal with both external and internal attacks on the government as well as the church.
Alma 1:2 “And it came to pass that in the first year of the reign of Alma in the judgment-seat, there was a man brought before him to be judged, a man who was large, and was noted for his much strength.” We will find out that his name was Nehor.
Alma 1:3 “And he had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church; declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people.” The idea of a paid clergy pops up again. ^The words “against the church” are also in Acts 8:1.
LDS general authorities taught throughout most of its history that there was no professional clergy in the Mormon Church. Joseph Fielding Smith in Answers to Gospel Questions 3:79 said, “We do not have a paid ministry.” Elder Thomas S. Monson said, “I explained also that our Church has no paid ministry and indicated that these were two reasons why were able to build the buildings under way, including the beautiful temple at Freiberg” (churchofjesuschrist.org– Our Sacred Priesthood Trust) Links are in the description. Elder Boyd K. Packer said, “Did they also tell you that we have no professional clergy? All of us contribute our time, our talents, our means, and travel – all to help the work. And we’re not paid for it in money.” (churchofjesuschrist.org – Where Much Is Given Much Is Required). The LDS leaders were always quick to criticize churches that did have a paid clergy, believing that paid ministers will succumb to greed and serve their own self-interests. But, with the MormonLeaks documents that made the news beginning in 2014, it was revealed that top General Authority paychecks are in the six-figure range and provide for a very, comfortable living. (see MormonLeaks.io Links are in the description.) A church spokesman pointed out that the base living allowance is “very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions.” $120,000 per year is almost three times the average American income.
Alma 1:4 Nehor redefines the teachings of God. “And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men; and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life.” In other words, there is no such thing as sin. Everyone will ultimately be saved in heaven. He was preaching the doctrine of universalism. It was what everyone wanted to hear. There would be no need for a Savior nor an atonement. The demands were light and the rewards great. The words “have eternal life” are also in Matthew 19:16.
Alma 1:5 “And it came to past that he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money.” The folks liked what he was preaching.
Alma 1:6 Nehor becomes prideful, and begins wearing expensive clothes, and establishes his own church. The words “very costly” are the same in John 12:3.
Alma 1:7 “And it came to pass” Mormon, will you please save some space on your plates by stop writing “And it came to pass”? Too late for that appeal, I suppose. “And it came to pass as he was going, to preach to those who believed on his word, he met a man who belonged to the church of God, yea, even one of their teachers; and he began to contend with him sharply, that he might lead away the people of the church; but the man withstood him, admonishing him with the words of God.” This was Gideon the man who fought King Noah back in Mosiah 19:4-6. By this time, Gideon was an elderly man.
Alma 1:8 Gideon had helped the people of Limhi escape from bondage.
Alma 1:9 Unable to defend his falsehoods in the face of truth, Nehor sought to silence his accuser. He became upset with Gideon and easily killed him with a sword.
Alma 1:10 Well, Nehor was taken by the people before Alma to be judged for his crimes. The phrase “be judged according to” is also in 1 Peter 4:6. The trials of three major opponents of Nephite leadership are documented in the Book of Mormon – Sherem in Jacob 7; Nehor here in Alma 1; and Korihor in Alma 30. They have been dubbed as “antichrists”. Although each of these men had his own style and persuasive tactics, they were similar in their attempt to lead people away from Christ. I think the writer of the Book of Mormon even picked names for these men that sound evil. I mean Nehor and Korihor – scary! Right?
Alma 1:11 Nehor pleaded his case before Alma without any remorse for killing Gideon.
Alma 1:12 “But Alma said unto him: Behold this is the first time that priestcraft has been introduced among this people. And behold, thou art not only guilty of preistcraft, but hast endeavored to enforce it by the sword; and were priestcraft to be enforced among this people it would prove their entire destruction.” In the 1830 edition page 225, it read “they did prepare for to meet them.” In later editions, the word “for” has been deleted.
Priestcraft was defined earlier in 2 Nephi 26:29 as men preaching false doctrine in order to gain riches and honor. Such men would also be responsible for the crucifixion of Christ in Jerusalem (see 2 Nephi 10:5). Nehor’s teachings would potentially lead to the destruction of the Nephite society.
Alma 1:13-14 The law of the land demanded capital punishment for first degree murder – which Nehor was guilty of. If he was not put to death, “his blood would come upon us for vengeance.” Whatever that means!
Alma 1:14 The words “condemned to die” are similar, to Luke 24:20.
Alma 1:15 “And it came to pass that they took him; and his name was Nehor; and they carried him upon the top of the hill Manti, and there he was caused, or rather did acknowledge, between the heavens and earth, that what he had taught to the people was contrary to the word of God; and there he suffered an ignominious death.” The term “ignominious” means “public disgrace or shame”. He was most likely hung “between the heavens and earth”. They forced Nehor to confess that he had taught things that were contrary to the word of God. Then they killed him – apparently, more for heresy than for murder. Were there laws against unbelief? The words “was contrary to” are also in Colossians 2:14.
Alma 1:16-18 This did not put an end to the spreading of priestcraft. Alma could not just kill these people off, because they were not committing any crimes like – stealing, robbery, or murder, or even lying. Their doctrines were wrong, but they were not technically liars, since they claimed to believe in their preaching, and the law could not punish a man for his beliefs.
Alma 1:16 The words “things of the world” are in 1 Corinthians 1:27.
Alma 1:17 The words “for liars” are also in 1 Timothy 1:10.
Alma 1:19 “But it came to pass that whosoever did not belong to the church of God began to persecute those that did belong to the church of God, and had taken upon them the name of Christ.” Once again, I have, to point out that the name or term “Christ” is totally anachronistic.
Alma 1:21 “Now there was a strict law among the people of the church, that there should not any man, belonging to the church, arise and persecute those that did not belong to the church, and there should be no persecution among themselves.”
Alma 1:22-25 In the second year of the reign of Alma, there were many proud members of the Church who contended with the enemies of the Church, even coming to blows with them. This was a great trial for the Church.
Alma 1:23 The words “much affliction” are also in 1 Thessalonians 1:6.
Alma 1:25 The phrase “stand fast in the faith” is also in 1 Corinthians 16:13 and, “stedfast and immovable” is similar, to 1 Corinthians 15:58.
Alma 1:26 The priests in the Church didn’t esteem themselves above the members, “for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner, and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, everyone according to his strength.” The phrase “to hear the word of God” is also in Acts 13:44.
Alma 1:27 They shared with each other what they had and gave to the poor, the needy and the sick. and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely.” They had a pleasing appearance. Even back then the Church stressed the importance of maintaining standards of modest appearance.
Alma 1:28 In, spite of the persecutions – the church had continual peace again.
Alma 1:29 “And now, because of the steadiness of the church they began to be exceedingly rich, having abundance of all things whatsoever they stood in need – an abundance of flocks and herds, and fatlings, of every kind, and also abundance of grain, of gold, and of silver, and of precious things, and abundance of silk and fine-twined linen, and all manner of good homely cloth.” Even though neither silk nor linen existed in the New World at that time.
Alma 1:30 They were living as a “Zion” society. “And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon the riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.”
Alma 1:31 “And thus they did prosper and become far more wealthy than those who did not belong to their church.” This sounds familiar. (see The Wall Street Journal article Feb. 8, 2020 “The Mormon Church Amassed $100 Billion. It Was the Best-Kept Secret in the Investment World”)
Alma 1:32 “For those who did not belong to their church did indulge themselves in sorceries, and in idolatry or idleness, and in babblings, and in envyings and strife; wearing costly apparel; being lifted up in the pride of their own eyes; persecuting, lying, thieving, robbing, committing whoredoms, and murdering; nevertheless, the law was put in force upon all those who did transgress it, inasmuch as it were possible.” In the 1830 edition page 224 the word “persecuting” is omitted. The words “be lifted up” are also in 1 Timothy 3:6.
Alma 1:33 Still, with all that was going on – both good and bad – there was much peace among the Nephites until the fifth year of the reign of judges.
Alma 2&3 In Alma chapters two and three, Mormon shows us attempts to overthrow a government based on principles which support individual freedom. And, we will be shown the destructive results of following the philosophies of Nehor.
Alma 2:1 There was a man named Amlici, who was after the order of Nehor. And by his cunning ways had become popular with the people. The words “for a certain man” are also in Acts 19:24 and, “the wisdom of the world” are similar, to 1 Corinthians 1:20.
Alma 2:2 The people who followed Amlici wanted to make him a king over the people.
Alma 2:3-4 This was concerning for the church, because if Amlici got too popular and became king, he might destroy the church.
Alma 2:4 The words “if it were possible” are in Acts 27:39.
Alma 2:5-7 The people held an election and the majority voted not to make Amlici the king.
Alma 2:8-9 But his followers made him king anyway.
Alma 2:10 “Now when Amlici was made king over them he commanded them that they should take up arms against their brethren; and this he did that he might subject them to him.” They were told to force the Nephites to obey him as their king. The phrase “and this he did” was a correction from the 1830 edition page 225, that read “and this he done”.
Alma 2:11 “Now the people of Amlici were distinguished by the name of Amlici, being called Amlicites; and the remainder were called Nephites, or the people of God.” The name “Nephite” had become almost synonymous with being a “church member”.
Alma 2:12-14 The Nephites armed themselves with all kinds of weapons: swords, cimeters, bows, arrows, stones, slings and every other type of weapon. However, there is no evidence that these weapons ever existed. They also appointed captains, and higher captains, and chief captains. They were a very, organized army.
Alma 2:13 The words “chief captains” are also in Acts 25:23.
Alma 2:15 “And it came to pass that the Amlicites came upon the hill Amnihu, which was east of the river Sidon, which ran by the land of Zarahemla, and there they began to make war with the Nephites.”
Alma 2:16 Alma, himself led the Nephites into battle. Not only was Alma president of the church and, chief judge, but now head of the army.
Alma 2:17-19 It was a bloody battle, with lots of deaths on both sides. The Nephites fared much better because God strengthened them. 12,532 Amlicites died, compared to 6,562 Nephites who were slain. That is over 19,000 total death in one battle.
Alma 2:17 The phrase “insomuch that many” is also in Mark 9:26.
Alma 2:20 The Nephites chased the Amlicites then pitched their tents for the night. How is it that they carried tents with them in the battlefield? Just wondering.
Alma 2:21 Then Alma sent spies after the Amlicites to see what their plans might be. But those spies will return with very, bad news for Alma and his soldiers.
Alma 2:22-25 The next day the spies returned to the Nephite camp to report that the Lamanites had already teamed up with the Amlicite army. And they were attacking Nephite families in the surrounding villages and making their way toward the city of Zarahemla.
Alma 2:24 ^The words “great astonishment” are in Mark 5:42.
Alma 2:26 So Alma’s army packed up their tents and headed towards Zarahemla.
Alma 2:27 “And behold, as they were crossing the river Sidon, the Lamanites and the Amlicites, being as numerous almost, as it were as the sands of the sea, came upon them to destroy them.”
Alma 2:28 “Nevertheless, the Nephites being strengthened by the hand of the Lord, having prayed mightily to him that he would deliver them out of the hands of their enemies, therefore the Lord did hear their cries, and did strengthen them, and the Lamanites and the Amlicites did fall before them.”
Alma 2:29-31 Alma, with the help of the lord killed Amlici on the battlefield.
Alma 2:30 ^The words “being a man” are also in John 10:33.
Alma 2:32-33 He almost got the king of the Lamanites too, but his guards rushed in to save him.
Alma 2:34-35 The Nephites threw the bodies of dead Lamanites into the river Sidon. The pile of dead bodies served as a bridge, in order to cross the river and fight the Lamanites and the Amlicites.
Alma 2:36 The Nephites pursed and killed many of them. The phrase “west and north” is also in Acts 27:12.
Alma 2:37 “Yea, they were met on every hand, and slain and driven, until they were scattered on the west, and on the north, until they reached the wilderness, which was called Hermounts; and it was that part of the wilderness which was infested by wild and ravenous beasts.”
Alma 2:38 “And it came to pass that many died in the wilderness of their wounds, and were devoured by those beasts and also the vultures of the air; and their bones have been found, and have been heaped up on the earth.” Someone should alert the anthropologists! This commentary is written by Mormon, who is engraving this record about 500 years after this battle.
Alma 3:1 “And it came to pass that the Nephites who were not slain by the weapons of war, after having buried those who had been slain – now the number of the slain were not numbered, because of the greatness of their number – after they had finished burying their dead they all returned to their lands, and to their houses, and their wives, and their children.” There must have been more than 19,000 killed in these battles, because there were too many to count.
Alma 3:2 It was a tragic scene upon arriving in the land of Zarahemla. “Now many women and children had been slain with the sword, and also many of their flocks and their herds; and also many of their fields of grain were destroyed, for they were trodden down by the hosts of men.”
Alma 3:4 “And the Amlicites were distinguished from the Nephites, for they had marked themselves with red in their foreheads after the manner of the Lamanites; nevertheless they had not shorn their heads like unto the Lamanites.” The words “in their foreheads” are also in Revelation 22:4. It may be that the Amlicites chose to mark their foreheads with red as a symbol of loyalty to their Lamanite allies, who’s skins would have been some-what like that color. Could this marking on the forehead be a clue concerning the painted war-faces of Native American Indians 1600 years later? Maybe Joseph knew.
Alma 3:5 The Lamanites also were bare naked except for animal skin about their loins.
Alma 3:6 “And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.” God cursed them and turned their skin dark. Joseph Fielding Smith in Answers to Gospel Questions vol. 3, page 122 wrote “The dark skin was placed upon the Lamanites so that they could be distinguished from the Nephites and to keep the two peoples from mixing. The dark skin was the sign of the curse. The curse was the withdrawal of the Spirit of the Lord and the Lamanites becoming a ‘loathsome and filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations’ (1 Nephi 12:23). The Lord commanded the Nephites not to intermarry with them, for if they did they would partake of the curse.”
In the case of the Lamanites, the dark skin would be removed on conditions of righteousness (see 3 Nephi 2:15). This has yet to be seen among the Native Americans.
Alma 3:7-10 Mormon reviews the purposes of the mark and the curse. Anyone who joined the Lamanites would receive the mark of the dark skin. I mean how does that happen? Gradually, or suddenly? Come on now! This is the Book of Mormon explanation for the dark skin of Native Americans, who the Latter-day Saints believe are Lamanites.
The 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon stated in 2 Nephi 30:6 that the, Lamanites would become “a white and delightsome people” but in the 1981 edition, the Church changed this verse to read “a pure and delightsome people.” However, all the other references to dark skin being a sign of the curse are still in the current edition of the Book of Mormon.
Alma 3:11-12 Those who believed in what was written in the brass plates, and the traditions of their fathers, and kept the commandments were called the people of Nephi. And they were white and delightsome.
Alma 3:11 The phrase “the commandments of God” is in 1 Corinthians 7:19.
Alma 3:13-16 All these things are reiterated one more time just to make sure we get the point.
Alma 3:13 The phrase “mark of red upon their foreheads” is similar, to Revelation 20:4.
Alma 3:14 The phrase “except they repent of their” is also in Revelation 2:22.
Alma 3:17 “And again, I say he that departeth from thee shall no more be called thy seed; and I will bless thee, and whomsoever shall be called they seed, henceforth and forever; and these were the promises of the Lord unto Nephi and to his seed.” This is a message for anyone today, who leaves the LDS Church through personal wickedness or apostasy. They will suffer the “curse” or the withdrawal of the Spirit of the Lord from them. Their minds will become dark and they will be lost. At least that’s Mormon’s opinion.
Alma 3:18-19 That is what happened to the Amlicites. The same thing will happen to anyone who through their agency brings this curse upon themselves.
Alma 3:20-23 A few days after their big defeat, the Lamanites decided they wanted to try again. They sent another army to the same battlefield where the Nephites met them and drove them out of their land once more.
Alma 3:20 ^The words “not many days” are in Luke 15:13 and, “in the same place where” are in John 11:6.
Alma 3:24-25 And peace once again was established in the land.
Alma 3:26 Mormon summarizes the past events. “And in one year were thousands and tens of thousands of souls sent to the eternal world, that they might reap their rewards according to their works, whether they were good or whether they were bad, to reap eternal happiness or eternal misery, according to the spirit which they listed to obey, whether it be a good spirit or a bad one.” The words “to the eternal” are in Ephesians 3:11 and, “according to their works” are the same in Revelation 20:13 and, “according to the spirit” are in Romans 1:4 and, “they listed” are in Mark 9:13.
Alma 3:27 “For every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth to obey, and this according to the words of the spirit of prophecy; therefore let it be according to the truth. And thus endeth the fifth year of the reign of the judges.” The words “receiveth wages” are in John 4:36 and, “the spirit of prophecy” are in Revelation 19:10.
Alma 4:1 “Now it came to pass in the sixth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, there were no contentions nor wars in the land of Zarahemla.” It is about 85 BC.
Alma 4:2 They were still recovering from the conflict, in which so many of their people died and much of their economy was destroyed.
Alma 4:3 “And so great were their afflictions that every soul had cause to mourn; and they believed that it was the judgments of God sent upon them because of their wickedness and their abominations; therefore they were awakened to a remembrance of their duty.” Duty? ^The words “and they believe” are similar, to John 2:22.
Alma 4:4 “And they began to establish the church more fully; yea, and many were baptized in the waters of Sidon and were joined to the church of God; yea, they were baptized by the hand of Alma, who had been consecrated the high priest over the people of the church, by the hand of his father Alma.” The words “they were baptized” are also in Acts 8:12. Was Alma, who was president of the Church the only one in the entire country authorized to baptize these people? What about the priests and teachers who were consecrated? Did God only want Alma to do it? Ironically, Alma was baptizing in the waters of Sidon – the same waters into which the corpses of the Lamanites and Amlicites had been cast.
The word “baptize” is from the Greek term “baptizo.” It was first introduced in the Gospels with John the Baptist. The term “baptize” is absent in the Jewish Canon and the Septuagint but mentioned 58 times in the Old Testament era of the Book of Mormon.
Alma 4:5 During the 7th year of the reign of the judges there were about 3,500 souls that were baptized. That would be a full-time job for Alma. Along with his other responsibilities of being president of the Church and chief high priest and head of the Nephite army. Alma was a one-man show. The people of Nephi enjoyed two years of continual peace.
Alma 4:6 Mormon is now going to explain the concept of what is called “The Cycle of Apostasy.” “And it came to pass in the eighth year of the reign of the judges, that the people of the church began to wax proud, because of their exceeding riches, and their fine silks, and their fine-twined linen, and because of their many flocks and herds, and their gold and their silver, and all manner of precious things, which they had obtained by their industry; and in all these things were they lifted up in the pride of their eyes, for they began to wear very costly apparel.” First observation is, that it is amazing in only three years they managed to become very rich. And, if being proud was not enough, they started wearing costly apparel.
An anachronism is an error in chronology in which a person, object, event etc., is assigned to a date or period other than the correct one. “Silk” here in this passage is a prime example of an anachronism, since it comes from the Asian moth “Bombyx mori” which was unknown to the pre-Columbian Americas. So, for the Nephites to have “fine silks” in 84 BC – is anachronistic.
Alma 4:7 Notice something here “Now this was the cause of much affliction to Alma, yea, and to many of the people whom Alma had consecrated to be teachers, and priests, and elders over the church; yea, many of them were sorely grieved for the wickedness which they saw had begun to be among the people.” This is the first time in the Book of Mormon where “elders” were mentioned. We have covered this before, but it bears repeating. McConkie and Robert Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon page 21 said, “Because there were no Levites in the colony of Lehi (the Nephites and the Mulekites were of the lineage of Joseph and Judah, respectively), we assume that there was no Aaronic Priesthood among the Nephites, at least until the coming of Jesus to the Americas. The words priests and teachers thus appear to be descriptive of their ministerial duties in the higher priesthood rather than referring to offices in the Aaronic Priesthood.” So, I am wondering where “elders” fit in?
Alma 4:8-9 These prideful church members began to persecute the non-members.
Alma 4:10 This bad example of the members was taking a toll on convert baptisms and respect for the Church. “And thus ended the eighth year of the reign of the judges; and the wickedness of the church was a great stumbling-block to those who did not belong to the church: and thus the church began to fail in its progress.”
Alma 4:11-12 In the beginning of the 9th year, members of the Church were leading others into wickedness. They were also turning their backs on the needy, the naked, the hungry and the thirsty.
Alma 4:13 “Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people, while others were abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions, for Christ’s sake, who should come according to the spirit of prophecy;” There were still those faithful members of the Church who practiced their religion. The words “for Christ’s sake” are also in 2 Corinthians 12:10.
Alma 4:14 “Looking forward to that day, thus retaining a remission of their sins; being filled with great joy because of the resurrection of the dead, according to the will and power and deliverance of Jesus Christ from the bands of death.” ^The phrase “of Jesus Christ from the” is the same in 1 Peter 1:3. They were looking forward to the coming of Christ.
The title of “Christ” is from the Greek word “Khristos”, which is the translation of the Hebrew word “Messias” which means “anointed one.” The word “Christ” never appears in the Hebrew Old Testament, and we only see “Messias” used twice in the Greek New Testament. “Messias” is only mentioned twice in the entire Old Testament (Daniel 9:25-26). Yet, it is used 26 times in the Book of Mormon during the Old Testament era. The Greek term “Christ” is never used in the Old Testament. Yet, it is used 186 times in the Book of Mormon during the Old Testament era. In one instance, the name and title “Jesus Christ” is used two thousand years before He is ever born.
Alma 4:15-16 Alma had seen enough of these inequalities among his people. He decided to step down as chief judge, so he could focus all, of his energy on preaching. He chose a wise man among the elders of the church and gave him power to enact laws.
Alma 4:15 The phrase “followers of God” is also in Ephesians 5:1.
Alma 4:16 The phrase “elders of the church” is the same in Acts 20:17.
Alma 4:17 “Now this man’s name was Nephihah, and he was appointed chief judge; and he sat in the judgement-seat to judge and to govern the people.” The phrase “sat in the judgment seat” is similar, to John 19:13.
Alma 4:18 Alma retained the office of high priest unto himself. The words “being high priest” are the same in John 11:51.
Nephihah will serve as chief judge for 16 years. Although there is little known about him, he will be largely overshadowed by the activities of Alma, the sons of Mosiah, Helaman, Captain Moroni, and other Nephite leaders. Nephihah will appear to be a weak ruler. Not sure it was the best choice Alma made for chief judge, but that is who he went with.
Alma 4:19 “And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them.” The phrase “by the word of God” is in Romans 10:17 and, “testimony against them” is in Matthew 10:18.
Alma 4:20 “And thus in the commencement of the ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, Alma delivered up the judgment-seat to Nephihah, and confined himself wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to the testimony of the word, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy.” The words “according to the spirit of” are also in Romans 1:4.
In regards to the “high priesthood”, no one ever held a Melchizedek priesthood in the Old or New Testament eras. Only Christ was called a “priest for ever after the ORDER of Melchizedek” (see Hebrews 7:17). You do not read anywhere in the New Testament where Jesus conferred a priesthood of any kind on His apostles. He ordained them – meaning He appointed them and authorized them – but never gave them a Melchizedek priesthood. Consequently – Peter, James, and John could not have passed any priesthood on to Joseph Smith – since they, themselves did not have it. Thus, anyone today claiming to hold either the Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthood is clearly in the wrong.
(no reference) Earlier in this chapter, I mentioned the “Cycle of Apostasy” which will be prevalent throughout the rest of the Book of Mormon. It begins with a righteous people being blessed > then their prosperity turns to pride > which results in loss of spiritual power and God’s protection > which turns into warfare and suffering > causing the people to be humbled and turned to the Lord > thus, completing the cycle by the righteous people being blessed again. This cycle will repeat itself over and over in coming books and chapters.
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God Bless! And remember, Jesus is Enough!