Mosiah 16: 1-6 — LeGrand Baker — redemption at judgment day

Mosiah 16: 1-6 — LeGrand Baker — redemption at judgment day

I read, and re-read this week’s verses, and could not grasp what was happening there. I understood – or thought I understood – the words, but there was something I could not grasp. I think visually, so part of the problem was that I could not visualize why Alma had made such a point of saying Abinadi had “stretched forth his hand.” That Abinadi would make such a gesture seems perfectly normal, and that didn’t bother me. What bothered me was that I did not know why – in a speech where Abinadi may have used his hands often to make his points – why Alma had described this gesture as though we would understand its meaning. Then it occurred to me that I was reading from the beginning of a “chapter” and that both the chapter division and the chapter heading were not in the original text. So I went back and read the preceding verse. What I found surprised me.

In the verses under consideration today, Abinadi uses a form of the word “redeem” twice. The first time he says if people “would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord; therefore the Lord redeemeth them not.”

I presume that here, he is using “redeemeth” to mean to bring one into the presence of God. {1} But if he is, and if he is saying that not everyone will be redeemed, then what he is saying seems to be at variance with some other scriptures in the Book of Mormon that I will quote later. The easy way to get around the apparent contradiction is to simply assume he means “the Lord will not save them.” But I think Alma understood it a bit more dramatically than that.

It is apparent from the scriptures that there are (or can be) a number of events in one’s ful- life experience which the scriptures call a “redemption.”

(A)     Alma 13 speaks of a “preparatory redemption” which apparently is an intelligence’s coming into the presence of God when one becomes one of his spirit children.

(B)     There is also the redemption of which Lehi testifies when he says, “But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” (2 Nephi 1:15.) Mormon also described that redemption, but in slightly different terms.

3    Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven. (Moroni 7:3.) [“rest” is defined in D&C 84:24 – “which rest is the fulness of his glory.”

The Lord explained the same concept to Adam:

59    …that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; (Moses 6:59b.)

(C)    After this life is over, there is also the redemption that every person will experience on judgement day, when everyone is brought before the Saviour to be judged according to his or her works.

(D) And finally there is an eternal and permanent redemption, when the righteous are permitted to enter into – and remain in – the presence of God. I think there can be no question that when Abinadi says God will not redeem the wicked, the redemption he is talking about is the final redemption, because these people will be required to enter the presence of the Saviour to be judged, but will not be permitted to remain there.

It is that third kind of redemption (# C above) that caught my attention when I read Abinadi’s statement. So before I show you what I found in Abinadi’s speech, I would like to call your attention to some scriptures that show that every person will one day be brought into the presence of the Saviour – be “redeemed” – but some – of their own choice – will turn and walk away – which is the essence of what Abinadi was saying.

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1     And now, I speak also concerning those who do not believe in Christ. …
12    Behold, he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.
13    And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death.
14    And then cometh the judgment of the Holy One upon them; and then cometh the time that he that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still. (Mormon 9:1, 12 -14)

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15    For behold, he surely must die that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord.
16    Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death—that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual.
17    But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord.
18    Yea, and it bringeth to pass the condition of repentance, that whosoever repenteth the same is not hewn down and cast into the fire; but whosoever repenteth not is hewn down and cast into the fire; and there cometh upon them again a spiritual death, yea, a second death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness. (Helaman 14:15- 18.)

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14    And it came to pass that after he had poured out his whole soul to God, the voice of the Lord came to him, saying: …
23    For it is I that taketh upon me the sins of the world; for it is I that hath created them; and it is I that granteth unto him that believeth unto the end a place at my right hand.
24    For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me they shall come forth, and shall have a place eternally at my right hand.
25    And it shall come to pass that when the second trump shall sound then shall they that never knew me come forth and shall stand before me.
26    And then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, that I am their Redeemer; but they would not be redeemed.
27    And then I will confess unto them that I never knew them; and they shall depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Mosiah 26:14, 23-27)

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2    I say unto thee, my son, that the plan of restoration is requisite with the justice of God; for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order. Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ, that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body should be restored to itself.
3    And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.
4    And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame—mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption—raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other—
5    The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh.
6    And so it is on the other hand. If he hath repented of his sins, and desired righteousness until the end of his days, even so he shall be rewarded unto righteousness.
7    These are they that are redeemed of the Lord; yea, these are they that are taken out, that are delivered from that endless night of darkness; and thus they stand or fall; for behold, they are their own judges, whether to do good or do evil. (Alma 41:2-7)

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42    But, behold, I say unto you that I, the Lord God, gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son.
43    And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;
44    And they that believe not unto eternal damnation; for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not;
45    For they love darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their wages of whom they list to obey. (D&C 29:42-45)

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Now let’s return to this week’s scriptures. When it finally occurred to me that the chapter break might be artificially suggesting the beginning of an idea that had actually begun at the conclusion of the previous chapter, then I went back to chapter 15 to discover what was going on, and in doing so, I think I know why seeing Abinadi extend his hand at this moment was such a profound experience for Alma that he wanted to share it with us.

If, as I believe, the coronation rites for the American Israelites was the same as those in Solomon’s Temple, and if, as I believe, the most vital parts of those rites remain consistent through time, then one can also assume that Noah and his priests, including Alma, would have understood Abinadi’s stretching forth is hand, as an invitation to come into the presence of God – or if one were inclined, to turn and walk away. If that is so, it is little wonder Abinadi’s next words had a profound effect on Alma.

Today’s scriptures were prefaced by Abinadi when he said:

31    The lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

1    And now, it came to pass that after Abinadi had spoken these words he stretched forth his hand and said: The time shall come when all shall see the salvation of the Lord; when every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye and shall confess before God that his judgments are just.(Mosiah 15:31, 16:1.)

2 And then shall the wicked be cast out, and they shall have cause to howl, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth; and this because they would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord; therefore the Lord redeemeth them not.
3    For they are carnal and devilish, and the devil has power over them; yea, even that old serpent that did beguile our first parents, which was the cause of their fall; which was the cause of all mankind becoming carnal, sensual, devilish, knowing evil from good, subjecting themselves to the devil.
4    Thus all mankind were lost; and behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed his people from their lost and fallen state.
5     But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore, he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God.
6    And now if Christ had not come into the world, speaking of things to come as though they had already come, there could have been no redemption. (Mosiah 16: 1-6)

Later on, after Alma had established the church in Zarahemla, he made the same plea to the members of the church that he heard Abinadi make so many years before:

33    Behold, he [the Saviour] sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.
34    Yea, he saith: come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely;
35    Yea, come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire –
36    For behold, the time is at hand that whosoever bringeth forth not good fruit, or whosoever doeth not the works of righteousness, the same have cause to wail and mourn.
37  O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice! (Alma 5:33-37.)

Endnote:

{1} Last month I submitted a comment about “The meaning of the word ‘redeem’,” in which I pointed out that in both Hebrew and Greek, the word translated “redeem” means to ransom or to purchase, and that in the Hebrew the word also carries the connotation that the redemption is performed by a member of one’s family. That word is translated “kinsman” in Ruth, and “Redeemer” in Job. I also observed that in that passage of Job, and in many places in the Book of Mormon, the word “redeem” is used to mean to bring one into the presence of God.

I quoted or referred to a lot of scriptures in that comment. They were: Ruth 2-4; Job 19:25- 27; 2 Nephi 11:1-3; 2 Nephi 33:6-7; Jacob 1:7; Jacob 6:8-9; Helaman 8: 22-23; Helaman 14:15-19; Mosiah 15:15-31; Mosiah 26:21-28; Mosiah 27:23-28; Alma 13:1-6; Alma 19: 6-14; Alma 36:22-26; Alma 58:41; 3 Nephi 12: 8-9; Mormon 9:12-14; Ether 3: 13-14; Moroni 7:2-4; Moroni 10:28-33; D&C 43:29-30; D&C 88:14-32; D&C 93:1; D&C 138:58-60; Moses 5: 9-10.

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