Amulek’s Teachings to the People of Ammonihah

Chapter 10 starts off with Amulek recounting his genealogy. I’ll list it here as best as I can.

  • Amulek was the son of Giddonah
  • Who was the son of Ishmael
  • Who was a descendant of Aminadi
  • Who was a descendant of Nephi
  • Who was the son of Lehi
  • Who was a descendant of Manasseh
  • Who was the son of Joseph

Amulek traced his family history back to pre-Moses times. That’s impressive. Interesting remark about Aminadi. It says that Aminadi interpreted the writing on the wall of the temple that was written by the finger of God. We have no record of this man other than this. Wait, let me check the index. Yep, that’s the only reference we have of him. He must have been well known since he is being cited in a sermon to the people of Ammonihah.

The Writing on the Wall

The writing on the wall of the temple by the finger of God had to have happened during that time. That’s what I want to talk about next. The writing on the temple, or rather a temple, is not a singular experience. Cross reference Daniel 5:16.

This is an interesting story. It is the story of Daniel interpreting the writing upon the wall. A quick overview of Daniel 5 will be given. King Nebuchadnezzar’s son Belshazzar, is having a great feast. During the feast, a man’s hand is seen writing on the wall. King Belshazzar calls over all his astrologers, soothsayers, and wise men to try and make sense of it. However, no one is able to. The queen comes in and tells her husband that there is a man in the kingdom who can interpret the writing. She says that this person interpreted his father’s dream and was made chief of all the astrologers, soothsayers, and wise men.

Daniel Interprets the Dream

Daniel is called for. King Belshazzar tells him that he has heard about his gift and that he will give him many gifts should he interpret the writing. In addition, he will be the third ruler in the kingdom. Daniel informs him that he should keep the gifts and that he’ll interpret for free. He tells him that King Nebuchadnezzar had a kingdom that was feared, but when he (Nebuchadnezzar) lifted up his heart, he was disposed of. His son, Belshazzar, hasn’t been good either and that’s why the hand wrote on the wall. To warn him.

This is the writing which was upon the wall, “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.” Daniel then gives the interpretation. Mene means God hath numbered the kingdom and finished it. Tekel means thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting (coming up short, not enough.) Peres (which the JST changes to upharsin) means thy kingdom is given to the Medes and Persians. So, putting that all together, the sentence translates to numbered, numbered, weight, division.

Interesting side note, all of these words are in Aramaic, which King Belshazzar would not have been able to read because he is Babylonian. However, Daniel, having been taken from the Holy Land as a captive Jew, knew Aramaic. He would have known what all these words mean but had he not had the gift of interpretation, he could not have explained what the words meant in relation to King Belshazzar.

The end of the story is rather sad. After Daniel gives the meaning of the message, he receives the gifts promised and is made the third ruler in the kingdom. Unfortunately, that night, King Belshazzar was slain. King Darius takes the kingdom after that.

I wonder if the writing on the wall that Aminadi interpreted came under similar circumstances? If so, that would be a story I’d like to read about.

Who is Amulek?

Amulek says that he has many kindred, friends, riches and is a man of no small reputation. He has acquired his riches by the hand of his industry.

His Reputation

I want to talk about his reputation first. In order to do that, though, I’ll be cross-referencing a story from the Bible. This is the cross reference for 4a. It’s Acts chapter 5. I’ll relate most of the story of the chapter.

The Preaching of Peter and John

Peter and John are healing people (Acts 5:15-16) until Sadducees take both of them and put them in prison. Later, an angel of the Lord appears to Peter and John and opens the prison door for them, telling them to go preach in the temple. Which they straightway do. The next morning they are found missing. A man informs the Sadducees that Peter and John are preaching in the temple. Men are sent to bring them forth. Once before the high priest, they are asked why they are preaching in Jesus’ name after expressly being told not to. They answer that one ought to obey God more than man. They explain their purpose as witnesses of Jesus Christ. This cuts the priests to the heart and they seek to kill them. However, a Pharisee of no small reputation, Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, steps forth and saves their life. He tells the priests to give the apostles room and explains to the priests to let the men alone. He cites two examples. First, Theuas, a man who was boasting of himself and had about 400 followers. He was slain and his followers scattered and brought to naught. Second, Judas of Galilee. He drew away many people but again, he perished and his followers were dispersed. Gamaliel’s point being that if Peter and John are doing the works of man, it will fail. However, if they are doing the work of God, no matter what they do, nothing will overthrow it. And should they try, they would be found fighting against God. The priests agree, Peter and John are beaten up and let go. They continue to preach unceasingly to the people.

I know like John and Peter did, that this work is not of men. It hasn’t been overthrown nor will it ever be. Perhaps people think it was overthrown during the Apostasy, but we know that this is not the case. The church of Jesus Christ was restored once again upon the Earth by the prophet Joseph Smith. And this work will go forth boldly, nobly till it has penetrated every continent, clime, and people. Til the great Jehovah comes and says it is finished.

The reason I brought up this cross reference is because maybe Amulek was knowledgeable in the gospel already like Gamaliel. I couldn’t say he was a religious leader or not, there is no evidence. Just a thought. Maybe he had a big reputation because of his church position? I don’t know.

The End of Amulek’s Rebellion

Verse 5 and 6 I really like. I’ll copy them in:

“Nevertheless, after all this, I never have known much of the ways of the Lord, and his mysteries and marvelous power. I said I never had known much of these things; but behold, I mistake, for I have seen much of his 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; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know; therefore I went on rebelling against God, in the wickedness of my heart, even until the fourth day of this seventh month, which is in the tenth year of the reign of the judges.”

I think a lot of people can relate to what Amulek says. At least I can. We knew but we would not know, we were called but we would not do. I think everyone has to have their 4th-day 7th-month experience. The day they realize they need the gospel. The day they realize that there is actually something good that comes of the gospel by living it. Whenever that day comes, and I think it does in the life of everyone, it seems like there is always someone to help us or guide us. Whether that is a missionary, friend, bishop, parent, or co-worker. Even the Holy Spirit comforting us and leading us to something better. I don’t know what was going on in Amulek’s life when the angel appeared to him. But I know it was an answer to his prayer. Whether spoken or unspoken, I know it was what Amulek needed. What came of it was the realization that he had been blessed and preserved by the Lord all his life, despite his rebellion. With Alma’s help, he became a great missionary and leader. God was longsuffering, patient, kind and gentle in making Amulek into something more than he thought he could be. I don’t think Amulek would go back and change the things he had done. All that rebelliousness and lessons he learned, made him into the kind of guy that would listen to an angel, the kind of man who would take a prophet into his home. I think he was grateful for that. And for Alma as well for being worthy and following the promptings of the spirit to find him.

The Lord is Patient With Our Development

Thinking back on my life, I have made a lot of mistakes. Looking back at them, yes, I’m sad I went through them and did the things I did. Wickedness truly never was happiness. But I’ve repented of those things and the guilt, pain, sorrow, has all been swept away. Although I went through a lot of bad times, I wouldn’t trade them in because God knew those trials would make me stronger. Even though it took a long time and oftentimes it seemed dismal and pointless to continue on, those trials have made me into the kind of person I am. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I had those trials because that was the only way Heavenly Father knew I would learn the lessons I needed to learn. I think the same goes with Amulek. I’ll join him in praising God for his infinite goodness and helping us to make every “setback” come out for our benefit.

Look at Isaiah 50:2. Verse 1-3 are talking about Israel’s faithlessness despite God’s power. In verse two, God is saying that he is still there. “Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver?” Then at the beginning of the verse, “Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? When I was called, was there none to answer?” The answer to these questions is no. Even though we may rebel, even though we may not listen, God still loves us. We are still his children. And as any parent would do for their child, he is doing everything to reach out to us and invite us to return to him. And he’ll be with us every step of the way. He was with Amulek, he has done it for me, and he’s done it for countless others in the past, present and will continue to do it in the future. God is unchanging. He loves us perfectly. I know that is true.

A Day to Remember

Amulek points out the day he changed. The 4th day of the 7th month. That’s probably a day he remembered for the rest of his life. By our calendar reckoning that would be the 4th of July, the independence day of the United States of America. But I don’t think the Nephites used a Roman calendar. They weren’t living in the right area of the world to receive that. They were probably going off the Jewish calendar. Assuming that is, a new one hadn’t been made up when they arrived in the New World. Looking at the Old Testament institute manual, the 7th month is Tishri. This month starts about mid-September and goes till mid-October. That makes the story a little more alive for me.

What Alma did at Amulek’s House

Verse 10 and 11 talk a little more about what Alma did while he was at Amulek’s house. Everything that Alma has said or taught, he first taught to Amulek and his household. That’s verse 10. Verse 11 talks about how Alma blessed his house, himself (Amulek), women, children, father, kinsfolk, all his kindred. Not only that, but everything that Alma spoke has been honored by the Lord.

In summary, Alma taught them all the gospel, blessed their household, and gave them all priesthood blessings. I wonder how many people that was? I would imagine a lot. He mentions his father, him, his children and kinsfolk. That’s three generations of people at least right?

Another Witness

When Amulek says all these things, the people become astonished because there is another witness to testify of the things which were to come to pass. Not only that, but he is a citizen of Ammonihah. He has a member present lesson as you could say in missionary lingo. It is all the more effective because of it. Not only that, but it is a person of great reputation among the people who is saying, “Hey, this guy isn’t crazy. There is something to what he is saying.” That must’ve quaked peoples’ worlds. It did I’m sure. It even says they were astonished.

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Amulek’s Teachings to the People of Ammonihah

  1. Great commentary, Cody. “Member-present lesson?” That’s a great side-note; we’ll mention it as the gold standard MPL to our missionaries!

    Like

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