Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Alma 13: 21-22

Now we see this startling continuation in Alma 13: 21-22:

"And now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words unto them, he stretched forth his hand unto them and cried with a mighty voice, saying: Now is the time to repent, for the day of salvation draweth nigh; Yea, and the voice of the Lord, by the mouth of angels, doth declare it unto all nations; yea, doth declare it, that they may have glad tidings of great joy; yea, and he doth sound these glad tidings among all his people, yea, even to them that are scattered abroad upon the face of the earth; wherefore they have come unto us." 

Now we get to some things which the record does not fully disclose, but does allow those with eyes to see behold it.  Be careful how you respond to this, because some correct answers are not going up if they cross a line.  But think of the answers to these questions: 

Why does he "stretch forth his hand?" What does that signify? 

In what way would that become significant, even a sign that he is a true messenger? 

Why does he now "cry with a mighty voice" to make the call? 

What is a "mighty voice?" Is it distinguished by volume or is there something more and quite different about it?  Importantly, it is not "loud" but instead "mighty." Is that significant? How? Why?

What does it mean that "the Lord, by the mouth of angels, doth declare it?" Who is really speaking? Who is He speaking through?  What person is delivering the message?  How is Alma identifying himself in this "mighty cry" he makes?

Who are these angels sent to all nations? 

What is the difference in this statement by Alma and the others who can speak with the tongue of angels?  (2 Ne. 31: 13-14 and 2 Ne. 32: 2.) 

If one should possess such a right or commission, then whose words are they actually speaking? 

Why do His sheep hear HIS voice?  Even when spoken by another man or empowered priestly minister?

What does Alma actually say about his own authority as he delivers this warning? What can Alma lead you to inherit if you will heed his counsel and warning?  How can we know he is a true messenger sent by the Lord? 

If the Lord sends these messages and messengers to all His people, have they been sent to us? If so, where would we be able to find them and hear their message? How are we to know they are true ministers? Should I just trust that some institutional office and office holder is a guaranteed place in which to locate such a true minister?  If it is always that convenient, why hasn't the Lord implemented that system before, instead of letting people have their free agency and permitting them to make mistakes? Why did the Lord allow Eli, Caiphus and Annas become High Priests? Why didn't He come up with this neat system before?  [Clearly our system makes it so much easier. It throws God's fairness into question, since He made is so much harder for earlier Israelites to figure out where the truth was being proclaimed. I think the Lord must owe them an apology.] 

Well, more can be said, but I leave it to you to reach your own conclusions about this startling comment coming from a true messenger. It makes one wonder why we've been missing it, as it has been before us for so many years.


  1. might·y   [mahy-tee] adjective, might·i·er, might·i·est, adverb, noun

    having, characterized by, or showing superior power or strength:

  2. Also, I find it interesting in Denver's reference to the tongue of angels:

    Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.

    So speaking with the tongue of angels accompanies baptism by fire. Which leads me to this verse:

    And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.

    I find it interesting that it seems one can speak the tongue of angels and not realize it.


  3. Denver:

    I feel my eyes being opened with your questions. I am really enjoying this chapter again and of course getting SO much more out of it than I ever have before.

    Not only did Alma stretch form his hand but he did it "unto them" in other words there was something about the hand that he stretched forth that was oriented "unto" those to whom he was speaking.

    All persons who are priests after the Holy Order, as Alma was, have the sealing power which includes the power to bless and curse. In this verse Alma effectively blesses and curses those listening to him by declaring that "now is the time to repent". Korihor recognized Alma as a true messenger with power to bless and curse, and repented.

  4. A "stretched forth hand" sounds like a sign we learn of in the temple which true messengers use to identify themselves.
    Is that sign indicative of using this patriarchal priesthood to bless, curse and command the elements?
    I hope that hasn't crossed the line, but I've always wondered if that's what it represents.

    The "mighty voice" must be the same thing as the "tongue of angels" which would be the same thing as the Lord's own words.


  5. I think that when Alma 13:22 states "the voice of the Lord, by the mouth of angels, doeth declare it unto all nations" it does not necessarily mean that heavenly angels from God's presence come down to earth to declare the words of Christ. While the scripture certainly would encompass that definition, I believe it is generally referring to God's mortal messengers, like Alma, who are speaking with the tongues of angels. In other words these messengers are speaking the words of Christ; i.e., they are saying what Christ himself would say if He were present. This is more clearly set forth in Alma 32:2-3:

    "2. Do you not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?
    3. Angels speaks by the power of he Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold the words of Christ will tell you all things what you should do."

    The angels sent to all nations are, in my opinion, God's authorized mortal servants, who have received the Holy Ghost and live such a life as to make them worthy to speak with the tongue of angels. Not all who are sent forth to teach God's word among all of God's children "speak with the tongue of angels". However those that do are speaking for Christ as his authorized messengers and say what Christ would say under the same circumstances. They therefore are angels according to Alma 32:3.

    In D&C 130:4-5 Joseph Smith was giving instructions and asked the following question: "Is not the reckoning of God's time, angel's time, prophet's time, and man's time, according to the planet on which they reside?" In response to the question he responded:

    "I answer, Yes. But there are no angels who minister to this earth BUT THOSE WHO DO BELONG or have belonged to it."

    This answer seems to indicate that some angels of God are mortals who presently belong to the earth. It appears from Alma 32:2-3 that you fit within the definition of an angel if you "speak the words of Christ" by "the power of the Holy Ghost".

    Jim Boud

  6. I regard the missionaries who taught me the Gospel as ministering angels, who spoke the words of Christ to me.

  7. I agree with the reference to the temple and the stretched out hand.

    Mighty voice....mighty can be powerful, but also dignity or perhaps even divinity. So when Alma speaks with a mighty voice he is actually speaking for the Lord. There is a different authority here than just speaking the "words of Christ". An authority in which he is commissioned to speak as though he were Christ, perhaps. A missionary can speak the words of Christ (tongue of angels) by the power of the Holy Ghost and it is the Holy Ghost who carries it to the hearts of those prepared to hear.

    True minister...not only recognized for the signs given, but also the ability to do the work and minister to the people just as Christ did during his ministry.

  8. Thanks for all the comments. My question is why would Alma choose to reveal a sacred sign publicly to this group of people? What's the lesson to be learned? JM

  9. I long for the days when true messengers will come to me. I could look for the right tokens or them speaking with a voice of authority (as did the Lord) or perhaps for my heart to burn within me.

  10. This chapter from Alma has been a feast.

  11. Steve (and all),

    Your comment ("I long for the days when true messengers will come to me") raises an interesting point...

    Like Adam and Eve, are we seeking -- on a daily basis -- audience with messengers sent from God?

    Even if we are, are we expecting men or women in shiny white robes, or people who wear ordinary jeans, a shirt and sneakers?

    On one hand, I long for and desire to interact with the shiny bright robe people. Yet I am very appreciative for the mortal ministers who've blessed my life in untold ways.

  12. Here are some other examples of prophets stretching forth their hands:

    And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left.

    And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.

    And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: Stretch forth thine hand again unto thy brethren, and they shall not wither before thee, but I will shock them, saith the Lord, and this will I do, that they may know that I am the Lord their God.

    Therefore, is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them; and the hills did tremble, and their carcasses were torn in the midst of the streets.

    And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.

    And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

    And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror.

    There are lots more references. All seem to refer to be a demonstration of God's power. It's so interesting how this was before my face this whole time and it never has clicked. I'm with you, DKD, this is such a banquet!


  13. "Why reveal a sacred sign?"

    First, "reveal" may not be the case because: 1) it was not in connection with covenant-making, 2) it was accompanied with warning of judgment, not ceremonial in a Temple setting, 3) the audience may already know the meaning, in which case nothing is being "revealed", though they may be reminded, and if not, then 4) if the audience did not know the meaning then nothing is "revealed" to the audience who, in ignorance, will not associate keys or meaning to it.

    Further, even you do not know the sign used unless it has been shown to you by revelation. You can know that a sign was used, but which is not stated.


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