Operation: Save Souls!
Amulek was a man who saw an angel. Two previous articles just like this one mention portions of his life because of how significant it is for angels to visit people. Amulek was a regular guy with regular issues who God used to further his cause.
Because of the city and nation in which Amulek lived, he had some issues to overcome. He was a Nephite from Ammonihah. It was a real firecracker type place. Amulek was from an apostate people as far as the Gospel was concerned. He knew about God and the coming Messiah Jesus, but it was not his chief concern in life. Seeing the angel confirmed many of the ideas that Amulek had about religion.
- God is real.
- Everything he learned about the scriptures is true.
- Keeping the commandments bring blessings.
- God speaks through prophets.
God is real.
In the recesses of his mind, Amulek, the man of the world and successful businessman, nursed a belief in God as many thoughtful people do today. The small miracles in his life and the stories from his heritage as an Israelite lingered in his mind that God must be real. In his first address to the people of Ammonihah, Amulek revealed a scathing rebuke of himself, in a measure, to reach the similarly minded Nephites. Said he,
I have seen much of [God’s] mysteries and his marvelous power; yea, even in the preservation of the lives of this people. Nevertheless, I did harden my heart, for I was called many times and I would not hear. Alma 10:6
Amulek turned a blind eye to the things he believed about God until the angel’s appearance caused him to acknowledge with his mind what his heart already knew. It was not the empirical evidence that caused Amulek to acknowledge the truth of there being a God. In truth, seeing an angel does not provide proof of a god any more than seeing a soldier provides proof of the existence of a president. Evidence is what seeing the angel provided. Amulek knew angels existed. He saw one. This increased his faith in God exponentially. Having grown to maturity among them, Amulek was proof that the teachings of God were once there.
Scriptures ARE True.
Amulek was aware of the Bronze Plates used among the Nephites as scriptures containing words similar to the Holy Bible all the way up to the words of Jeremiah. In his household may have existed scrolls with copies of some of the books if not all of them. Seeing that angel verified that God caused people to write things to encourage people to follow His laws. The histories written from Adam forward provide examples of God’s dealings with others existing for the benefit of all who read and learn what actions to mimic to earn God’s favor and avoid His wrath.
Keeping Commandment Bring Blessings.
Amulek went home immediately. He did not pass Go to collect $200! Nothing distracted him! He saw an angel. Alma reacted the same way, and immediately returned to Ammonihah.
This is important. Both men obeyed the command by the angel to return without delay. Amulek showed deference to the will of the Lord. The Angel was a catalyst to a major change; however, the character material existed previously. Laman and Lemuel earlier in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ narrative saw an angel also. Unfortunately, seeing an angel did nothing to change their faith for the better because the building materials of character were not substantial enough to ignite an explosion of faith as it did with Amulek. Seeing that angel brought Amulek the blessing of further enlightenment and knowledge
God Speaks through Prophets
The angel informed Amulek to get to his home because he would play host to a prophet to whom there was urgent need due to the speedy return he took to the city. If he did not consider it previously, Amulek learned the significance of a prophet when an angel appeared directing him out of his course to succor one. Amulek did not assume the responsibility of a prophet after seeing the angel as some might have feigned. Amulek subjected his will to the will of God and waited for further instruction at the hand of the prophet.
Writing on the Wall
The Lord wanted to use Amulek to help deliver a message of repentance to his fellow Nephites. Of all the people in the city, the Lord chose a good man with a bit of renown. Though there is no mention of this in the record other than in Amulek’s introduction to the people of Ammonihah as a minister, God personally wrote a special message on the temple wall. Aminadab, Amulek’s ancestor, interpreted it. There is no explanation about what the message was, but it was common knowledge among this group of Nephites that Amulek lived among.
Daniel's interpretation of the writing on the palace wall to the Babylonian king (Daniel 5) may prove educational in comparison. If one of Daniel’s descendants were to speak to his comrades as a voice of warning as did Amulek to his comrades, those comrades would grasp the significance that connection to the past would mean. Daniel warned of the destruction of a kingdom if the king did not repent. Aminadab may have warned of a similar occurrence among the Nephites to the leaders of his time.
Regarding a plausible reason for the inclusion of this in the scriptures, Michaela Stephens writes on her "Scriptorium Blogorium" about the writing on the temple wall (and the palace wall relating to Daniel):
The writing [appears] to the place and [people] who need it. That the writing needs interpretation indicates that the [people] to whom it [appears] is so out of tune that they don’t understand it. The person [or people] needing the interpretation must find an interpreter, so both the writing (and the subsequent interpretation) will become very publicly known. It seems to me that this is the way the Lord rebukes a person in power who should have known better; He does it in order to make sure everyone else knows not to do those same sins.
Michaela suggests that the Lord is using a notable person, a public figure of whom the people will take notice, to teach a lesson to the public and the figure. How does this relate to the Amulek?
Alma and Amulek are the public figures the Lord chose—not a king, but a former governor and a common businessman of repute. Alma interpreted the word of God, and Amulek listened. He welcomed Alma into his home and fed him. He decided to go out and testify with him to warn the people of what would come to pass if they did not change their ways. An angel told him to do it, and he did. A celebrity did change the life of this man. Amulek gave up his way of life upon meeting Alma. He listened to the words and mission of Alma and took it on as his own.
- Touched by an Angel!
Would you listen to a celebrity if he or she asked you to make a life change?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Rodric Anthony Johnson