Even Until the Last – Alma 14:24-25

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.
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.
In the prior two chapters, Alma taught the people that this life is a probationary state and that our ultimate destiny depends on the decisions we make here and now. 
In this chapter, we see how that principle plays out in real life. When the people in authority become angry and begin murdering innocent women and children, Alma explains to Amulek that they cannot use God’s power to stop them. The Lord has chosen to allow these men to commit these horrific acts so that His judgments will be just (Alma 14:11). 
For many days afterward, Alma and Amulek are imprisoned and bound, are denied sufficient food, water, and clothing, and are beaten and mocked. Finally, when a number of their abusers have gathered to harass them again, God finally authorizes Alma and Amulek to free themselves by His power. Like Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail, Alma cries, “How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord?” (See D&C 121:2-3.) Like Nephi, they break the ropes with which they are bound. (See 1 Nephi 7:17-18.) Like Samson, they are avenged as the walls of the prison fall upon their attackers. (See Judges 16:28-30.) 

Mormon makes it a point to tell us that this event occurred only after every one of the attackers had physically and verbally abused them one last time. In other words, before God intervened on behalf of Alma and Amulek, He allowed the men who were about to die this final choice. Not one of them could later say, “I was just an innocent bystander,” or, “I was an accomplice, not an actual criminal.” None of them had an alibi; there was no question about their involvement.
When God allows people to harm us or to harm those we love, we naturally wonder why He does not intervene. Like Amulek, we might wonder why God doesn’t always save the innocent from the brutality of the wicked. Part of the answer is that the Final Judgement must be perfectly just. He gives all of His children the ability to make real choices in this life, even choices that harm other people, in order to ensure that His final decision on their fate is incontrovertible. In the long run, perfect justice will prevail, but in the short run, we are all given opportunities to make decisions that have real-life consequences for ourselves and for other people.
Today I will maintain an eternal perspective as I observe the actions of others. Particularly when I see people harming others, I will remember that the temporary injustices of life will all be resolved in the end and that our ultimate judgement will be an accurate reflection of the decisions we make each day.

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