Read it HERE.
Summary: King Benjamin continues his address--The Lord Omnipotent shall minister among men in a tabernacle of clay--Blood shall come from every pore as he atones for the sins of the world--His is the only name whereby salvation comes--Men can put off the natural man and become saints through the atonement--The torment of the wicked shall be as a lake of fire and brimstone.
There are a couple of things I'd like to point out in this chapter. I'm sure most of you noticed the same things, so feel free to leave comments and add your thoughts. Mine are somewhat incomplete this week.
Verses 5-10 talk about Christ's mission. The Angel who gave King Benjamin this message was very specific in saying that this was a message "of great joy" (v. 3). This is a little interesting because the verses deal a lot with the difficult things Christ will go through--he will experience all kinds of pain and temptation; he will be salvation for all mankind, yet people will still say he is only a man (and even that he "has a devil"). However, verse 10 talks about how Christ will rise from the dead, and that all these things were done so it is possible for mankind to be judged righteously.
Elder Hales said this (it is long, but good):
“What we must remember about the Savior is that He and He alone had the power to lay down His life and take it up again. He had the ability to die from His mortal mother, Mary, and the ability to overcome death from His immortal Father. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, went willingly and deliberately to His death, having told His followers that this would happen. Why? one might ask. The answer: to give immortality to all mankind and the promise of eternal life to those who believed in Him (see John 3:15), to give His own life for a ransom for others (see Matthew 20:28), to overcome Satan’s power, and to make it possible for sins to be forgiven. Without Jesus’ Atonement, there would be an impassable barrier between God and mortal men and women. When we comprehend the Atonement, we remember Him with awe and gratitude” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 34; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 26)
Another thing I thought about a lot in this chapter is the concept of the natural man. I think we're all familiar with verse 19, the one that says, "The natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam."
There is a lot we could go into from that sentence, but what I have been thinking about lately is this verse in relation to verses 14 and 15:
"The Lord God saw that his people were a stiffnecked people, and he appointed unto them a law, even the law of Moses."
". . .[God's people] hardened their hearts, and understood not that the law of Moses availeth nothing except it were through the atonement of His blood."
This was important to me because it made me consider my reasons for following not only the commandments, but the little things that aren't expressly outlined in the scriptures. Take the intake of caffeine, for example. Why have I made the choice to not drink caffeine? Is it because it is a "tradition" in my family? Do I do it while frowning upon those who do not make the same choice as me? What is worse, "breaking" this "rule" or having pride against those who do? Do I follow this "rule" because I feel it is important or because I am only concerned with it as a rule, for the sake of following rules?
This is a very minor example, but it really got me thinking.
When I consider the commandments Heavenly Father has given us, I realize that almost all of them have to do with overcoming the natural man. Why is this? After a little thought, I think a lot of it has to do with the way we can become close to Heavenly Father. We cannot be physically close to Him at this time, hence our trial of faith in this life. So how can we prepare ourselves to be close to Him spiritually? By exercising our spiritual capabilities. So really, following the commandments will bring us closer to Heavenly Father because we are strengthening our spiritual side and making ourselves less reliant on our physical side. I think we can really only do this when we follow the commandments because we have a testimony of the principles, rather than doing them because we think we are supposed to. This is similar to fasting--if we focus on the deprivation of food rather than the increase in spirit and prayer for a certain purpose, our fast is not doing us extra good.
"The natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of tho Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and beconeth as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."
It's a good reminder. It's a good thing we have small children in our houses so we can remember the good qualities we need to exercise!
What thoughts did you have on this chapter?