"Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.
Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief.
Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel." (Ether 4:13-15)
The battle between man and his unbelief is as old as time itself. Since the fall, man has been placed in a position to act and be acted upon. This condition allowed an opening for an angel of light to appear among the Children of Adam and deceive them to, "believe it not":
"And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters. And Satan came among them, saying: I am also a son of God; and he commanded them, saying: Believe it not; and they believed it not, and they loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish." (Moses 5:12-13)
The seed of doubt planted by our Adversary resulted in the birth of the ego or natural man. This is why in Hebraic thought, haSatan (i.e. Satan) is not only equated with an angelic being but also the ego within each of us. It is the ego of man which serves as a veil or blackout curtains to obscure the light of God which is ever present. Instead of journeying to find the Light of God out there in religious systems of the world, all we need to is to pull back the curtains of our ego or natural men and women to reveal the light in its fullness.
THE ANCIENT TEACHINGS REGARDING UNBELIEF
The Book of Mormon as an Israelite document contains great truths that are both revealed and concealed at the same time. To unlock these great and marvelous truths, we require the keys of knowledge preserved by the various branches of the House of Israel and an understanding of their methods of teaching. One such teaching written in a coded manner is the destruction of the Amalekites.
After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, they stopped for a brief period of rest at a place called Rephidim. It was here that God provided a miraculous gift of water to satisfy the thirst of the children of Israel in the wilderness. While they were resting, the nation of Amalek engaged in a surprise attack on the Israelites. Although the Israelites had made no incursion upon the Amalekites, the next day they were engaged in a bitter battle that resulted Israel defeating the Amalekites. As a result of this battle, God swore that the Amalekites would be utterly destroyed. What is strange is that after their 40 year wandering in the wilderness, Moses reminded the Israelites of God's commandment to destroy Amalek.
It was this commandment that later led God to reiterate this commandment to King Saul through the prophet Samuel:
"Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." (1 Samuel 15:1-3)
In Israelite thought, while these stories are based in literal occurrences, the stories are communicated in such a manner to preserve and perpetuate great and marvelous truths. They were not meant to be taken hyper-literal, but were great truths communicated in story form revolving around historical events. The destruction of Amalek is one such story.
In Israelite thought, the story of Amalek is a great teaching regarding the utter destruction of doubt or unbelief. Rather than God issuing a command to destroy every element of the kingdom of Amalek, in Israelite thought God is commanding the destruction of every element of doubt or unbelief. The key to this mystery is hidden in the numeric value of the Hebrew letters that make up the name of Amalek (עמלק) or 240. 240 is also the same value of the Hebrew word for “doubt” (ספק).
The Book of Mormon as an Israelite record was meant to preserve many of these plain and precious truths. In doing so, it also draws upon the hidden coding of the Torah (Old Testament) to communicate these great and marvelous truths to future generations. In true Israelite fashion, the Book of Mormon also uses the same methods of prophetic coding to both conceal and reveal.
THE BOOK OF MORMON AND THE DEATH OF UNBELIEF
As God commanded and Israel to destroy every element of doubt which was symbolized by the utter destruction of Amalek, we too are commanded to utterly destroy every element of doubt that keeps us from progressing in our journey to the Promised Land or The Presence of God. Following the pattern of the Torah and ancient paths, the Book of Mormon also reveals in like manner ancient instructions regarding our war against the elements of doubt. In doing so, it also draws upon the ancient Israelite manner of coded instruction to communicate the same principles in their purity.
The first appearance of the word Amalekite in the Book of Mormon is found in Alma 21. Here the Son's of King Mosiah (a type and shadow of the Messiah) are found teaching the word in a city of Jerusalem to the Amalekites:
"Now when Ammon and his brethren separated themselves in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, behold Aaron took his journey towards the land which was called by the Lamanites, Jerusalem, calling it after the land of their fathers’ nativity; and it was away joining the borders of Mormon. Now the Lamanites and the Amalekites and the people of Amulon had built a great city, which was called Jerusalem.
Now the Lamanites of themselves were sufficiently hardened, but the Amalekites and the Amulonites were still harder; therefore they did cause the Lamanites that they should harden their hearts, that they should wax strong in wickedness and their abominations. And it came to pass that Aaron came to the city of Jerusalem, and first began to preach to the Amalekites. And he began to preach to them in their synagogues, for they had built synagogues after the border of the Nehors; for many of the Amalekites and the Amulonites were after the order of the Nehors.
Therefore, as Aaron entered into one of their synagogues to preach unto the people, and as he was speaking unto them, behold there arose an Amalekite and began to contend with him, saying: What is that thou hast testified? Hast thou seen an angel? Why do not angels appear unto us? Behold are not this people as good as thy people?" (Alma 21:1-5)
In Israelite thought the word Jerusalem serves as a metaphor for the human heart which is the center and source of thought in the Israelite mind. It was taught that everything we have in this world descends from Heaven above. As such there is a Heavenly Jerusalem Above and and earthly Jerusalem Below. That this teaching in relation to the Amalekites (doubts) in the Book of Mormon takes place in an earthly city called Jerusalem is quite remarkable in that it portrays the human heart (Jerusalem) as the stage where the battle takes place.
Aaron Unveils The Doubts:
As Aaron enters one of their synagogues to preach to the people, he is faced with an Amalekite who contends with him and a discussion ensues demonstrating the doubts of the Amalekite:
"Therefore, as Aaron entered into one of their synagogues to preach unto the people, and as he was speaking unto them, behold there arose an Amalekite and began to contend with him, saying: What is that thou hast testified? Hast thou seen an angel? Why do not angels appear unto us? Behold care not this people as good as thy people?
Thou also sayest, except we repent we shall perish. How knowest thou the thought and intent of our hearts? How knowest thou that we have cause to repent? How knowest thou that we are not a righteous people? Behold, we have built sanctuaries, and we do assemble ourselves together to worship God. We do believe that God will save all men." (Alma 21:5-6)
Obviously, the Amalekites of the Book of Mormon were a religious people. They had built sanctuaries and assembled often to worship God. Their envy and proclamation of their own religious observance is the basis of their understanding of the salvation of God.
THE SEED OF FAITH VERSUS THE SEED OF DOUBT
In response to this Amalkite (doubt), Aaron attempts to plant the seed of faith that is centered in the Messiah of Israel. It is in planting this seed of faith in the Messiah, that doubt can be extinguished:
"Now Aaron said unto him: Believest thou that the Son of God shall come to redeem mankind from their sins?
And the man said unto him: We do not believe that thou knowest any such thing. We do not believe in these foolish traditions. We do not believe that thou knowest of things to come, neither do we believe that thy fathers and also that our fathers did know concerning the things which they spake, of that which is to come.
Now Aaron began to open the scriptures unto them concerning the coming of Christ, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and that there could be no redemption for mankind save it were through the death and sufferings of Christ, and the atonement of his blood.
And it came to pass as he began to expound these things unto them they were angry with him, and began to mock him; and they would not hear the words which he spake." (Alma 21:7-10)
Here we see that in the doubts of the Amalekites they have no room in their hearts for the seed of Faith which is in Messiah (Jesus Christ). Yet in demonstrating this account of Aaron's dealing with his Amalekites, we find the first and most essential teaching in our war against doubt, "Believest thou that the Son of God shall come to redeem mankind from their sins?"
The seed of faith commences with a belief or at least a desire to believe in Jesus Christ (Yehoshuah Messiah) as our Savior and Redeemer. Just as faith and doubt cannot exist in the heart of man at the same time, when Aaron saw that they would not even hear his words he departed out of their synagogue and left their Jerusalem (hearts).
Later we see this teaching reiterated by the Prophet Alma as he taught among the Zoramites:
"O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would ye rather harden your hearts in unbelief, and be slothful, that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish?
If so, wo shall come upon you; but if not so, then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works.
And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen." (Alma 33:21-23)
While there are many who doubt the veracity of the Book of Mormon, it is truly a marvelous Israelite work to behold. It is not by accident that we see these same principles regarding the death of doubt and unbelief connected with the usage of the word 'Amalekite' in the Book of Mormon. Hidden in plain sight we see the prophet writers of the Book of Mormon drawing upon an ancient teaching regarding God's command to utterly destroy the Amalekites (doubts) in the Torah to communicate a very plain and precious truth that belief or even the desire to believe in Jesus Christ and his redemption is the seed we plant that will grow into a Tree of Life. And not only is it the seed but the indispensable foundation upon which we must learn to wage our warfare against doubt and unbelief.
(to be continued)
The Death of Doubt- God's Pattern of Warfare