28 January 2015

Alma 40: Concerning The Ressurection

In this chapter, Alma continues his speech to his third son, Corianton. Unfortunately (as it was bound to do eventually) it takes a turn for the boring. He devotes the chapter to explaining the resurrection to Corianton. 
Now my son, here is somewhat more I would say unto thee; for I perceive that thy mind is worried concerning the resurrection of the dead. Alma 40:1
Alma is really proud of his knowledge of the resurrection. He takes 26 verses to explain it to his son, but it's shocking how little he knows about it, and how proud he is of the little he knows. I've tried to sum up his speech below.

It's going to happen, but only after Christ comes.
Behold, I say unto you, that there is no resurrection—or, I would say, in other words, that this mortal does not put on immortality, this corruption does not put on incorruption—until after the coming of Christ. 40:2
It hasn't started yet. 
Behold, he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead. But behold, my son, the resurrection is not yet. Now, I unfold unto you a mystery; nevertheless, there are many mysteries which are kept, that no one knoweth them save God himself. But I show unto you one thing which I have inquired diligently of God that I might know—that is concerning the resurrection. 40:3
We don't know when it's going to happen. But God knows. 
Behold, there is a time appointed that all shall come forth from the dead. Now when this time cometh no one knows; but God knoweth the time which is appointed. 40:4
There might be two or three resurrections. It doesn't matter. God knows how many times he plans on doing it, though. And that should be enough for you. 
Now, whether there shall be one time, or a second time, or a third time, that men shall come forth from the dead, it mattereth not; for God knoweth all these things; and it sufficeth me to know that this is the case—that there is a time appointed that all shall rise from the dead. 40:5
In the meantime, though, a lot of people are going to die. So God came up with a sort of pre-heaven and pre-hell for people who haven't yet been resurrected. Good people go to a state of happiness, which is called paradise. Bad people are cast into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. 

Everyone stays in their designated muster station until the resurrection. 

Now there must needs be a space betwixt the time of death and the time of the resurrection. 40:6
 And now I would inquire what becometh of the souls of men from this time of death to the time appointed for the resurrection? 40:7
Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. 40:11
And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. 40:12
And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil. 40:13
Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection. 40:14
Some people call this a "first resurrection". In the middle of the speech, Alma sort of says "Yeah, that makes sense. Let's go with that. First Resurrection". But then he changes his mind. "Aw, jeez, though... there has to be more to a resurrection than just being in a happy holding cell for a while... you have to be reunited with everyone, Adam and Eve and everybody who died before..."
Now, there are some that have understood that this state of happiness and this state of misery of the soul, before the resurrection, was a first resurrection. Yea, I admit it may be termed a resurrection, the raising of the spirit or the soul and their consignation to happiness or misery, according to the words which have been spoken. 40:15
And behold, again it hath been spoken, that there is a first resurrection, a resurrection of all those who have been, or who are, or who shall be, down to the resurrection of Christ from the dead. 40:16
Now, we do not suppose that this first resurrection, which is spoken of in this manner, can be the resurrection of the souls and their consignation to happiness or misery. Ye cannot suppose that this is what it meaneth. 40:17
Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but it meaneth the reuniting of the soul with the body, of those from the days of Adam down to the resurrection of Christ. 40:18
Alma sort of continues is this way for a while, but none of it is really worth examining. He ends up sticking to his guns, that going to paradise or outer darkness is not really a true resurrection, and that the true resurrection is when Christ comes. I'm sure Corianton was like, "Okay, Dad. Whatever you say."
Now, my son, I do not say that their resurrection cometh at the resurrection of Christ; but behold, I give it as my opinion, that the souls and the bodies are reunited, of the righteous, at the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into heaven. 40:20
So now you know all about the resurrection! 

Let's recap:

1. There is going to be a resurrection, but only after Christ comes. 

2. We don't know when it might happen, or how many resurrections there might be. But, luckily, God knows when, and how many he plans on doing. 

3. In the meantime, people are going to die. The good ones go to paradise, and the bad ones go to a scary place called "outer darkness". 

4. Some people call this process of deciding who goes to which place the "First Resurrection". Alma was almost convinced but he decided, after careful study, that this isn't a bona fide resurrection, because it doesn't meet all of his criteria. 

25 January 2015

EJ&T - First Chronicles: O Lord! You are so big!

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

I couldn't find any new commandments in Judges through 2 Kings. (Let me know if I missed any.)

But there are some new ones in First Chronicles. Here's what I've found so far. (They are well summarized in the following video.)

  1. Enquire of the Lord.
  2. Saul ... enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him. 1 Chronicles 10:14

  3. Don't touch the ark.
  4. The anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. 1 Chronicles 13:10

  5. Thank God.
  6. Give thanks unto the LORD. 1 Chronicles 16:8

    O give thanks unto the LORD. 1 Chronicles 16:34

  7. Call on the Lord's name.
  8. Call on his name. 1 Chronicles 16:8

  9. Make known his deeds among the people.
  10. Tell people what the Lord has done among them. 1 Chronicles 16:8

    Talk ye of all his wondrous works. 1 Chronicles 16:9

  11. Sing to God (preferably psalms).
  12. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him. 1 Chronicles 16:9

    Sing unto the LORD, all the earth. 1 Chronicles 16:23

  13. Glory in God's holy name.
  14. Glory ye in his holy name. 1 Chronicles 16:10

  15. Seek the LORD and his strength.
  16. Seek the LORD and his strength. 1 Chronicles 16:11

  17. Seek the Lord's face continually.
  18. Seek his face continually. 1 Chronicles 16:11

  19. Remember God's marvelous works, wonders, and judgments of his mouth.
  20. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth. 1 Chronicles 16:12

    Declare ... his marvellous works among all nations. 1 Chronicles 16:24

  21. Don't touch the Lord's anointed.
  22. Touch not mine anointed. 1 Chronicles 16:22

  23. Don't harm God's prophets.
  24. Do my prophets no harm. 1 Chronicles 16:22

  25. Show forth God's salvation from day to day.
  26. Shew forth from day to day his salvation. 1 Chronicles 16:23

  27. Declare God's glory among the heathen.
  28. Declare his glory among the heathen. 1 Chronicles 16:24

  29. Praise the Lord.
  30. The LORD [is] greatly to be praised 1 Chronicles 16:25

  31. Give the Lord glory and strength.
  32. Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name. 1 Chronicles 16:28-29

  33. Bring an offering and come before the Lord.
  34. Bring an offering, and come before him. 1 Chronicles 16:30

  35. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
  36. Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. 1 Chronicles 16:28

  37. Say: "The Lord reigns."
  38. Let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth. 1 Chronicles 16:31

  39. Say: "Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise."
  40. Say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. 1 Chronicles 16:35-36

  41. Possess your land and leave it for an inheritance for your children.
  42. Possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever. 1 Chronicles 28:8

  43. Bless God.
  44. Bless the LORD your God 1 Chronicles 29:20

23 January 2015

Alma 39: Corianton, The Sexual Deviant

Now Alma turned to his third son, Corianton. Turns out that Corianton needed the most work of all his sons, so he got the longest speech. Alma's advice to Corianton goes on for four chapters (39-42), but the meat of it is in Chapter 39.

Alma starts out by explaining that this speech is going to take a while because Corianton was so much worse than his older brother Shiblon. Uh oh, Corianton! When Alma says he's going to take a while, he usually means it. You had better go get some snacks.  
And now, my son, I have somewhat more to say unto thee than what I said unto thy brother; for behold, have ye not observed the steadiness of thy brother, his faithfulness, and his diligence in keeping the commandments of God? Behold, has he not set a good example for thee? Alma 39.1

Alma explains what he has against Corianton: he doesn't listen to Alma, and he brags all the time about his strength and wisdom. Also, he left the ministry and chased after the harlot Isabel in the land of Siron. Woah! Okay, this is getting interesting. Why haven't we heard any of this before?
For thou didst not give so much heed unto my words as did thy brother, among the people of the Zoramites. Now this is what I have against thee; thou didst go on unto boasting in thy strength and thy wisdom. 39.2
And this is not all, my son. Thou didst do that which was grievous unto me; for thou didst forsake the ministry, and did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel. 39.3
Don't you know that is practically the worst thing you could do, Corianton? The only worse things are denying the Holy Ghost and the shedding of innocent blood.*
Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost? 39.5
Look, son. I wouldn't bring up this embarrassing stuff unless I really had to. But I have to. So repent, because you can't hide your crimes from God, and if you don't repent you'll go to hell. And after you're done repenting, stop chasing after harlots.
And now, my son, I would to God that ye had not been guilty of so great a crime. I would not dwell upon your crimes, to harrow up your soul, if it were not for your good. 39.7 
But behold, ye cannot hide your crimes from God; and except ye repent they will stand as a testimony against you at the last day. 39.8 
Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and cross yourself in these things. 39.9
And please, listen to the advice of your older brothers.
And I command you to take it upon you to counsel with your elder brothers in your undertakings; for behold, thou art in thy youth, and ye stand in need to be nourished by your brothers. And give heed to their counsel. 39.10
And NO MORE HARLOTS, Corianton. No more. And don't be so greedy and vain.
Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing; suffer not the devil to lead away your heart again after those wicked harlots. 39.11a
Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world; for behold, you cannot carry them with you. 39.14
Got that? Okay. Now let's talk about Jesus.
And now, my son, I would say somewhat unto you concerning the coming of Christ. Behold, I say unto you, that it is he that surely shall come to take away the sins of the world; yea, he cometh to declare glad tidings of salvation unto his people. 39.15
I know that this is what you were teaching for years, but with all the whores and ouzo I thought you might have forgotten. So let me remind you. Jesus is coming. We don't know when, but he is coming.
And now, my son, this was the ministry unto which ye were called, to declare these glad tidings unto this people, to prepare their minds; or rather that salvation might come unto them, that they may prepare the minds of their children to hear the word at the time of his coming. 39.16
It might seem a little confusing why God would let us know so far ahead of time, but it actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it a little bit, son. See, everything is easy for God, and he wants us to know our plan of redemption so that we can be saved before we are saved, because otherwise who knows what might happen.
And now I will ease your mind somewhat on this subject. Behold, you marvel why these things should be known so long beforehand. Behold, I say unto you, is not a soul at this time as precious unto God as a soul will be at the time of his coming? 39.17 
Is it not as necessary that the plan of redemption should be made known unto this people as well as unto their children? 39.18 
Is it not as easy at this time for the Lord to send his angel to declare these glad tidings unto us as unto our children, or as after the time of his coming? 39.19
*I'm writing this as Alma, to make it easier and more fun to read.

22 January 2015

Alma 38: Bridle your passions, Shiblon!

Chapter 38 is another boring chapter, so I'll go through it pretty quickly. If you remember, in Chapter 37, Alma is just giving each one of his sons a bunch of advice in a big monologue (like Polonius does to Laertes in Hamlet, only less poetic.)

He has already given his speech to Helaman, so now he moves on to his next son, Shiblon. Shiblon doesn't get any gold plates or anything, so this chapter is quite a bit shorter. All Shiblon gets is a measly 15 verses, some of which I've skipped because they don't add much of anything to his speech.
Alma doesn't even appear to be trying very hard -- He says right from the get-go that he's just repeating to him what he already told Helaman.

Keep God's commandments. If you don't, he'll abandon you. 

My son, give ear to my words, for I say unto you, even as I said unto Helaman, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence. Alma 38.1
And now, my son, I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that endureth to the end. 38.2
But don't think that I'm just telling you stuff that I believe. This is stuff that God told me directly, through his spirit and by sending an angel messenger, with whom I spoke with face-to-face. 

Now, my son, I would not that ye should think that I know these things of myself, but it is the Spirit of God which is in me which maketh these things known unto me; for if I had not been born of God I should not have known these things. 38.6 
But behold, the Lord in his great mercy sent his angel to declare unto me that I must stop the work of destruction among his people; yea, and I have seen an angel face to face, and he spake with me, and his voice was as thunder, and it shook the whole earth. 38.7

I'm telling you this so you can be wise, and so that you know that the only way to be saved is through Christ. In case you missed that before. 

And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness. 38.9
Also, keep teaching, and be diligent and temperate.  
And now, as ye have begun to teach the word even so I would that ye should continue to teach; and I would that ye would be diligent and temperate in all things. 38.10
Don't get too proud, and don't start bragging about your wisdom or your strength. 
See that ye are not lifted up unto pride; yea, see that ye do not boast in your own wisdom, nor of your much strength. 38.11
Be bold, but not too overbearing, and hold in your passions while still being filled with love, and keep busy. 
Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness. 38.12
Pray because you mean it, not just to be seen praying, like the Zoramites do. 
Do not pray as the Zoramites do, for ye have seen that they pray to be heard of men, and to be praised for their wisdom. 38.13
Don't brag to God. He hates that. Be humble and apologetic, always. Acknowledge your unworthiness to God at all times
Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy—yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times. 38.14
And that's all I have to tell you. God bless you, son. Go teach the word to the people and be at peace. Oh, and lay off the bottle, ya filthy animal! 
And may the Lord bless your soul, and receive you at the last day into his kingdom, to sit down in peace. Now go, my son, and teach the word unto this people. Be sober. My son, farewell. 38.15

10 January 2015

EJ&T: Joshua - The twelve stones and the accursed thing

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Meditate on the commandments night and day.
  2. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night. Joshua 1:8

  3. Take twelve stones from the Jordan River as a memorial forever.
  4. Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

    Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:

    And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:

    That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?

    Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

    And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the Lord spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.

    And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day. Joshua 4:3-9

  5. Show your children the twelve stones to remind them about how they should fear God forever.
  6. And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

    And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?

    Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

    For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:

    That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever. Joshua 4:20-24

  7. Destroy the accursed thing.
  8. Destroy the accursed from among you. Joshua 7:12

  9. Burn to death anyone who takes the accursed thing, along with his family and other possessions.
  10. He that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath. Joshua 7:15