After a group of people rebelled against the Nephites and separated from them (and the Lord’s church that was central to the Nephite’s culture) the estranged group began marking their foreheads with red. The mark they placed on their heads fulfilled an earlier prophecy that God would curse and mark all who separated themselves from the Nephites who were striving to follow the Lord and live righteously. Interestingly, the rebellious group marked themselves instead of God directly marking them.
“…They had come out in open rebellion against God; therefore it was expedient that the curse should fall upon them. Now I would that ye should see that they brought upon themselves the curse; and even so doeth every man that is cursed bring upon himself his own condemnation.” (Alma 3:18-19)
-Are those who are coming out in open rebellion against God, in our time, marking themselves?
-Is it inevitable that these markers manifest themselves every time a group fights against God and His people?
-Do people generally like to mark their territory, figuratively speaking, when it comes to their beliefs and values? Is there something satisfying about expressing one’s position in a physical or visual manner?
-Do those who are true followers of the Lord have markers? Are those markers visual or behavioral? (see John 13:35 and Doctrine and Covenants 50:24)
Salvation comes to individuals who choose God rather than their carnal nature.
“…All mankind were lost and behold they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed his people from their lost and fallen state. But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God and also is the devil an enemy to God.” (Mosiah 16:4-5)
-Is there anyone that doesn’t need to overcome their carnal nature?
-How many in our times celebrate their carnal nature rather than seeking to overcome it?
-Under whose power do those who persist in their carnal fall under?
God always adheres to justice when Christ’s mercy cannot be applied based on the choices individuals make.
“…The Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have willfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them….For salvation cometh to none such; for the Lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim.” (Mosiah 15:26-27)
-Do you believe it is right that God holds each person responsible for what he or she knows and how he or she acts in relation to that knowledge?
-What causes people to willfully rebel against the gospel knowledge they have?
King Benjamin gives a stark warning to those who have the light of the true gospel yet rebel against the Spirit of the Lord.
“…Our fathers…spake that which was commanded them of the Lord; therefore, they are just and true. And now I say unto you my brethren, that after ye have known and have been taught all these things, if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in you to guide you in wisdom’s paths, that ye may be blessed, prospered and preserved. I say unto you, that the man that doeth this, the same cometh out in open rebellion against God; therefore he listeth to obey the evil spirit, and becometh an enemy to all righteousness; therefore, the Lord has no place in him, for he dwelleth not in unholy temples.” (Mosiah 2:35-37)
“Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever. And now I say unto you, that mercy hath no claim on that man; therefore his final doom is to endure a never-ending torment.” (Mosiah 2:38-39)
-Seeing that Benjamin is addressing those among his people who had been immersed in the gospel from a young age, is this stark warning less applicable to those who weren’t so immersed?
-Is the warning still applicable, to a lesser degree, to those who had lesser light and knowledge in their lifetime and rebelled against it?
-Why can those who rebel against God in mortality stay asleep to their guilt? Why is it impossible for them stay asleep to their guilt at the time of the Resurrection and Judgment?