On to chapter 12 now!
Alma sees that Zeezrom has been silenced and taught, or rather, caught in his lyings. Therefore, Alma, “Opened his mouth and began to speak unto him, and to establish the words of Amulek, and to explain things beyond, or to unfold the scriptures beyond that which Amulek had done.”
This is what missionaries do! We support and expound on what our companions say and teach. Just looking over this chapter, Alma says a lot. The first thing he says to Zeezrom is concerning what Satan’s plan was for him. It’s verse 3-6. I’ll copy it in.
“Now Zeezrom, seeing thou hast been taken in thy lying and craftiness, for thou hast not lied unto men only but thou hast lied unto God; for behold, he knows all thy thoughts and thou seest that thy thoughts are made known unto us by his spirit.
And thou seest that we know that thy plan was a very subtle plan, as to the subtlety of the devil, for to lie and to deceive this people that thou mightest set the against us, to revile us and to cast us out–
Now this was the plan of thine adversary, and he hath exercised his power in thee. Now I would that ye should remember that what I say unto thee I say unto all.
And behold I say unto you all that this was a snare of the adversary, which he has laid to catch this people, that he might bring you into subjection unto him, that he might encircle you about with his chains, that he might chain you down to everlasting destruction, according to the power of his captivity.”
Alma lays out the chain of command that Satan has been using to get things done in Ammonihah. Satan was influencing Zeezrom to do cunning and crafty things such as laying snares for Alma and Amulek. By the works of Zeezrom and other evil individuals, the trap was laid for the destruction of the people in the city. Satan starts at the individual level. then works out the family, city, state and national level.
That’s also how Christ works. He starts by changing the individual, family, city, state, and then nation. So you can see from this that there are two real forces vying for our following. It’s up to us which wolf we are going to feed.
I’m reminded of a class I took once at an EFY session at BYU. The teacher was talking about how the Book of Mormon exposes the tactics of Satan and enemies of Christ. This bit of scripture would relate to both of those. That is why it is so important to read the Book of Mormon and not just read it for the story (although that is good), but read it, ponder and then apply to your life. That’s when you start to learn a lot.
The conversion of Zeezrom
After Zeezrom has been ceratus-peratus (100% in Malay) exposed by Alma, he begins to tremble. He becomes more and more convinced that these aren’t normal people. They have some help beyond man’s normal capacity. They have the spirit and that is how they are able to know the thoughts and intentions of Zeeszrom’s heart. At first, Zeezrom didn’t believe this. It wasn’t till hard evidence was placed before him that he finally understood. Once this happens, Zeezrom changes. It says that he begins to inquire diligently concerning the things which Amulek said. That’s all the words we get concerning his conversations. Personally, I think there is more to it. At least, more that could have been written. I would have loved to be there. I think Alma and Amulek saw the change in him. It probably gave them great motivation and happiness knowing the Lord was working on Zeezrom.
Shedding the Shackles
What Alma and Amulek did was free Zeezrom. If you imagine for a moment Zeezrom wrapped up in the chains of Satan. He was dragged around by the devil every which way until Amulek and Alma came. Zeezrom, for the sake of the example, was like a dog on chains. Satan cut Zeezrom loose on Alma and Amulek when they were teaching. However, Alma and Amulek withstood Zeezrom and said, “Hey, you are wearing chains right now. Those are Satan’s chains.” At that moment, Zeezrom’s blindness was turned off and he was made conscious of his awful state. He realized Satan had been behind it all along. Now, being made aware of this, and having Alma and Amulek lay out the truth before him, he had a choice before him. Good or evil. I think he had been caught up in Satan so long, he didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. But he was still new and maybe not quite sure as to what Alma and Amulek were saying. That’s why he inquired of them. It felt good and right. He was finally exercising faith! But the people tossed Alma and Amulek in prison and cast out the believers, including Zeezrom. I think Satan knew he was losing Zeezrom, so he raged on afterburners and tried to kill Alma and Amulek so Zeezrom couldn’t be converted anymore. Not to mention separated them, so the potential for Zeezrom learning more was small.
Maybe Zeezrom felt shocked at how fast everything happened after he began “investigating.” He probably felt like his chances at learning were gone, once he was cast ou of the city, not to mention guilty for stirring up the people against the missionaries. Maybe he also felt like he hadn’t progressed far enough down the right path to qualify for forgiveness or show the Lord he was trying to change. Therefore, he felt his sins were still upon him. Take all that together and I imagine he felt pretty bad.
As missionaries nowadays, we still go and do like Alma and Amulek did. We tell people about the reality of Satan. We tell people there is a better way. A way that will set you free from the shackles. “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” That truth is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s what sets us and others free. As missionaries and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we are messengers of truth. We enable people to work with Heavenly Father and Jesus to unlock the lock to the chains that bind.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though. I’ve pretty much already told you story of Zeezrom and commented on it. I’ve neglected the teachings of Alma and Amulek. Let’s go back to the story now. In the next post.