Alma and Amulek’s Sermon in Ammonihah – Alma 9-13

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Setting

After meeting with the members of the church in Zarahemla, Gideon, and Melek, Alma traveled to the city of Ammonihah, where he was rejected, abused, and cast out. He had worked, prayed, and fasted many days for the people of Ammonihah. After being definitively rejected, he decided to move on to another city, Aaron (Alma 8:1-13).

But an angel appeared to him and told him to go back. This was the same angel who had appeared to Alma years earlier to warn him that his actions were leading to his own destruction. The angel told him that he needed to deliver a similar warning to the people of Ammonihah: “Say unto them, except they repent the Lord God will destroy them” (Alma 8:14-17).

At about the same time, an angel appeared to Amulek, a prosperous man in the city, telling him that he would meet a man of God, and that he should invite this man into his home and feed him. Amulek met Alma, who spent a number of days in his home. After that time, the Lord told Alma to take Amulek with him and deliver the message he had been given (Alma 8:18-32, Alma 10:7-8).

As expected, the audience was largely unreceptive to their message. Alma and Amulek took turns speaking. They also answered some questions from several people in the audience, including Zeezrom and Antionah.

Purpose

Alma and Amulek’s purpose in delivering this sermon was to convince the people of Ammonihah that they should soften their hearts and repent quickly to avoid being destroyed.

Outline

  1. Alma delivers the warning: repent or you will be destroyed (Alma 9).
    1. [Before Alma could begin, his audience asked a number of combative questions, including, “Who art thou?” “Suppose ye that we shall believe the testimony of one man?” and “Who is God, that sends no more authority than one man among this people?”] (Alma 9:1-7).
    2. “How have ye forgotten the tradition of your fathers” and the many times that the Lord delivered them? (Alma 9:8-11).
    3. Main message: Repent, or you will be completely destroyed (Alma 9:12).
    4. The Lord told Lehi, “Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land.” He also said, “Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord” (Alma 9:13). (See 2 Nephi 1:20.)
    5. The Lamanites have been cut off because of their disobedience, proving that these words are true. But it will be better for the Lamanites in the end than for you unless you repent, because of all the blessings and knowledge you have been given (Alma 9:14-24).
    6. God has sent an angel to warn you that you must repent. Through faith in the Son of God and by repenting, you can escape the captivity of the devil (Alma 9:25-29).
    7. Your hearts are hardened, and you are a lost and a fallen people (Alma 9:30).
    8. [The people were angry and tried to throw Alma into prison. However, they stopped when Amulek stood up to speak] (Alma 9:31-34).
  2. Amulek endorses Alma’s message (Alma 10).
    1. Amulek’s story: I am a successful man, but I have never known the mysteries of God, because I have hardened my heart (Alma 10:1-6).
    2. An angel appeared to me and commanded me to feed a prophet of God. Alma is that holy man. He has lived in my home and blessed my family. The words he has spoken are true (Alma 10:7-11).
    3. [The people were astonished to see that there was a second witness. Some lawyers began to question Amulek to see if they could make him contradict himself] (Alma 10:12-16).
    4. “O ye wicked and perverse generation, ye lawyers and hypocrites,…for ye are laying traps and snares to catch the holy ones of God” (Alma 10:17-19).
    5. “It is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared.” If you cast the righteous out, you will be destroyed (Alma 10:20-23).
    6. [The people accused Amulek of attacking their law.] I have not criticized your law. “I have spoken in favor of your law, to your condemnation” (Alma 10:24-27).
    7. [The people say, “Now we know that this man is a child of the devil”] (Alma 10:28-32).
  3. Zeezrom questions Amulek (Alma 11).
    1. [Mormon explains the Nephite monetary system, to provide some context for Zeezrom’s first question] (Alma 11:1-20).
    2. Amulek agrees to answer Zeezrom’s questions, with the help of the Spirit of the Lord (Alma 11:21-22).
    3. Question #1: I will give you six onties of silver if you will deny the existence of a Supreme Being. Answer: “The righteous yieldeth to no such temptations.” And you wouldn’t have given me that money anyway (Alma 11:22-25).
    4. Question #2: “Thou sayest that there is a true and living God?” Answer: Yes (Alma 11:26-27).
    5. Question #3: “Is there more that one God?” Answer: No (Alma 11:28-29).
    6. Question #4: How do you know these things? Answer: An angel made them known to me (Alma 11:30-31).
    7. Question #5: Is the Son of God coming? Answer: Yes (Alma 11:32-33).
    8. Question #6: “Shall he save his people in their sins?” Answer: No. Zeezrom accuses Amulek of trying to “command God.” Amulek replies that he is only sharing what God Himself has revealed (Alma 11:33-37).
    9. Question #7: “Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father?” Answer: Yes. Amulek bears a powerful testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, with emphasis on the resurrection (Alma 11:38-45).
    10. [Zeezrom began to tremble] (Alma 11:46).
  4. Alma teaches Zeezrom (Alma 12:1-19).
    1. You see that your thoughts are made known to us by the Spirit. Your plan is actually a plan of the devil, your adversary, who wants to destroy you (Alma 12:1-6).
    2. [Zeezrom is “convinced more and more of the power of God.” He asks Alma to explain the resurrection and the Final Judgment more fully] (Alma 12:7-8).
    3. Those who harden their hearts receive the lesser portion of God’s word, while those who don’t harden their hearts receive the greater portion (Alma 12:9-11).
    4. After we are resurrected, we will be judged. If our hearts have been hardened, we will be condemned. Our words, works, and thoughts will condemn us (Alma 12:12-18).
  5. Alma answers a question from Antionah (Alma 12:19-37).
    1. The question: How can you say that we will live forever? Didn’t God place “cherubim and a flaming sword” to protect the tree of life, which proves that we cannot live forever? (Alma 12:19-21).
    2. God prevented Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of the tree of life after their fall so that He could give them time to prepare for the resurrection and Final Judgment (Alma 12:22-27).
    3. God sent angels to teach them the plan of redemption and to urge them to repent (Alma 12:28-33).
    4. God promised us that, if we would repent and harden not our hearts, He would have mercy on us, and we would enter His rest (Alma 12:34-37). See Psalm 95:7-11.)
  6. Alma teaches the people about the priesthood (Alma 13:1-20).
    1. God ordained priests in this way: They were foreordained. They were left to choose good from evil, and chose good. Then, they were called and ordained to teach the commandments of God (Alma 13:1-6).
    2. The priesthood is eternal, and these righteous people became high priests forever. They were sanctified, and they entered into God’s rest (Alma 13:7-12).
    3. Melchizedek was a great high priest, and he helped the people of his city repent and achieve peace (Alma 13:13-19).
    4. I don’t need to tell you more. “The scriptures are before you” (Alma 13:20).
  7. Alma issues a final call to repent (Alma 13:21-30).
    1. “Now is the time to repent.” Angels declare this to all nations (Alma 13:21-23).
    2. We look forward to the coming of the Son of God (Alma 13:24-26).
    3. Don’t “procrastinate the day of your repentance” (Alma 13:27-30).

Outcome

Most of the people refused to listen to Alma and Amulek’s message. Alma and Amulek were imprisoned, but were subsequently miraculously delivered. The men who believed them were banished, and the women and children who believed were burned. (Alma 14). Zeezrom repented and later became a missionary (Alma 15, Alma 31:6). The city of Ammonihah was attacked by the Lamanites and completely destroyed in one day (Alma 16:1-3, 9-11).

My Takeaways

It’s all about the state of our hearts. If we harden them, we cut ourselves off from God’s blessings. But if we repent and choose to follow Him, we can enter into His rest. Amulek realized after responding to an angel how much his heart had been hardened. Zeezrom saw it after being confounded by Amulek’s responses to his questions. As Alma explained to the people, throughout history, many people including the great king Melchizedek have entered the rest of the Lord by humbling themselves and repenting before God.

I will respond to Alma and Amulek’s message by considering the state of my heart. Am I receptive to the messages that come to me from God? Am I willing to humble myself and repent? Have I hardened my heart in any way, and what can I do to open it more to the blessings God wants to give me?

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One Response to Alma and Amulek’s Sermon in Ammonihah – Alma 9-13

  1. Pingback: Lessons from Sermons to Hostile Audiences | Book of Mormon Study Notes

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