Great writers have taken it as a responsibility to expand the minds of readers for good such as C. S. Lewis, Cleon Skousen, Orson Scott Card, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, and many others. Edification in goodness was their aim besides to tell a good story. By that token, this article hopes to expand the human mind by adding perspective in Christian understanding. Long-held thoughts and perspectives here have supplemental sources for faith promotion identified and offered. This article highlights an ancient discussion that took place between a lawyer and a preacher about devotion to God and the love of money. How can a Saint know if he or she is truly devoted to God?
This ancient conversation occurs in the Americas and is located in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The players are two men: Amulek, the preacher, and Zeezrom, the lawyer. God commanded Amulek, and his companion Alma to preach repentance to a group of rebellious people in the city of Ammonihah, who had designed to separate themselves from the nation called the Nephites.
When Alma and Amulek addressed the people, the lawyers and judges in the city took notice because these two men prophesied the destruction of their city if the people did not repent and turn back to Jehovah. Amulek specifically received the focus of the experted Zeezrom, who attempted to cross Amulek's words so that he could take him to charge with some crime.
"Zeezrom began to question Amulek, saying: Will ye answer me a few questions which I shall ask you?"
"And Amulek said unto him: Yea, if it be according to the Spirit of the Lord, which is in me; for I shall say nothing which is contrary to the Spirit of the Lord. "
"Zeezrom said unto him: Behold, here are six onties (a form of currency) of silver, and all these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being."
"Now Amulek said: O thou child of hell, why tempt ye me? Knowest thou that the righteous yieldeth to no such temptations?" Alma 11:21-23
Offering money, this lawyer thought that he could possibly test the resolve of this man to see if he in truth believed in God or if having celebrity was his goal. With no small reputation, Amulek held a significant status in the city of Ammonihah. Zeezrom should have at least heard of Amulek because of his wealth.
Providing the temptation of more wealth would be the litmus test if the disturbance Amulek and his companion caused in this ancient American city was a ruse for self-gain or if they were true prophets. These people did not have distractions such as cell phones, radios, or televisions. When people stood in the center of the city, anywhere in the city proclaiming its destruction, it gained an audience.
In the city, rife with opinions due to the political turmoil among the people, seeing a man proclaiming something or another was probably no strange occurrence. People heckling those doing the proclaiming also was nothing strange to see either. Amulek's companion Alma had gone to the city previously alone and was cast out of it for daring to speak to the people about religion. Two or more doing the proclaiming meant something special to this ancient people.
How It Relates Today
How many preachers take the "onties" of silver? In today's Christian world, how many preachers of the Word become entangled in the promise of riches if they will teach that there is no God. How many ministers teach that God and Jesus are moral archetypes for morality instead of actual beings of substance and presence? Collection plates become the rule of the day while preachers teach what the people want to hear instead of the Word of God that they need to hear.
"Children of hell" is what Amulek called those who tempt away the righteous into the money trap, informing us that the truly converted, the righteous do not sell out their faith for money and treasures.
Working For God
Average people are no less expected to hold to the faith. An example of a Saint's temptation with the riches of the world is to work on the Sabbath day when it is not required for his or her profession.
Nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters, and others required to work on Sunday, work out of need or no choice. Confidently, I submit that God sees their service, and judges their hearts with grace sufficient for them. When individuals skip worshiping God to have another day of earning or leisure, it is giving in to the love of money.
The Lord asks for one day which He wants devoted to Him out of the seven that are given in a week. While many Christians make the holy day of God a day of earning or holiday, it is not a sign of righteous devotion but selfish holy disregard.
In a promise made to Isaiah, the Lord promises:
If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Isaiah 58:31-14
If then, Christians honor the day of the Lord, they will delight in Him. He will cause them to be honored by the world and partake of the promised blessing of Israel. What are the promised blessings? Peace. an increase, and claim of God.
In Leviticus 26:4-12, the Lord promised Israel the following for observing the Sabbath--promises that still apply today to modern Israel:
- Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
- And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
- And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
- And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
- And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
- For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.
- And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.
- And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.
- And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
It is up to the faithful Saint to decide if all of these blessings promised to the Covenant people are worth giving up the extra day of pleasure and money-making to renew devotion to the Lord.
Amulek blasted at Zeezrom, "Believest thou that there is no God? I say unto you, Nay, thou knowest that there is a God, but thou lovest that lucre more than him." Alma 11:24
Most people believe in a supreme being. It is easier to make that being mysterious and unknowable so that it is easier to disregard the commandments when they are taught. Religion without commitment is not able to lead anyone to salvation
Where is the heart of the people of God in modern society? Only God truly knows. There are signs that follow the people of God. One sign is that they speak the truth even when it is not popular. Another sign is that they will honor and observe one day out of the seven as a devotion to God. Knowing that there is a God is akin to what devils have in knowledge. Knowing something does not equate to having faith. Faith motivates believers to do something about what they believe. When a faith is called into question, as in "Lawyer's Question: Case Against Faith," who prevails in the end?
© 2018 Rodric Anthony Johnson