Alma Chapter 7
The words of Alma which he delivered to the people in Gideon, according to his own record. Comprising chapter 7.
Just as Alma 5 was a record of the preachings of the prophet Alma to the people of Zarahemla, Alma 7 is Alma's teachings to the people of Gideon. For a model of the possible geographic relationship of the valley of Gideon to Zarahemla, see the Hypothetical Map of Book of Mormon Lands.
Alma 7:11-12 (compare Hebrews 2:18) He suffered that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
Alma 7:23-24 I would that ye should be humble, submissive, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of patience, long-suffering, and temperate in all things.
1 Behold my beloved brethren, seeing that I have been permitted to come unto you, therefore I attempt to address you in my language; yea, by my own mouth, seeing that it is the first time that I have spoken unto you by the words of my mouth, I having been wholly confined to the judgment-seat, having had much business that I could not come unto you.
verse 1 The phrases "in my language" and "by my own mouth" have reference to Alma's having the opportunity to speak in person to the people in Gideon. Previously, any correspondence with these people had to be by letter.
2 And even I could not have come now at this time were it not that the judgment-seat hath been given to another, to reign in my stead; and the Lord in much mercy hath granted that I should come unto you.
3 And behold, I have come having great hopes and much desire that I should find that ye had humbled yourselves before God, and that ye had continued in the supplicating of his grace, that I should find that ye were blameless before him, that I should find that ye were not in the awful dilemma that our brethren were in at Zarahemla.
verse 3 "the supplicating of his grace" This is the only place in all the scriptures where this phrase is found. We might alternatively render this thought "the humble pleading for the redemptive power of his atonement to be extended to you."
4 But blessed be the name of God, that he hath given me to know, yea, hath given unto me the exceedingly great joy of knowing that they are established again in the way of his righteousness.
verse 4 "They," of course, refers to the people of Zarahemla. Alma's teachings to the people of Zarahemla had borne fruit!
5 And I trust, according to the Spirit of God which is in me, that I shall also have joy over you; nevertheless I do not desire that my joy over you should come by the cause of so much afflictions and sorrow which I have had for the brethren at Zarahemla, for behold, my joy cometh over them after wading through much affliction and sorrow.
verse 5 Alma tells the people of Gideon in effect: I hope that here in Gideon I may see an already righteous people begin to perfect themselves, rather than having to see an unrighteous people endure the painful agony of repentance from grievous sins.
6 But behold, I trust that ye are not in a state of so much unbelief as were your brethren; I trust that ye are not lifted up in the pride of your hearts; yea, I trust that ye have not set your hearts upon riches and the vain things of the world; yea, I trust that you do not worship idols, but that ye do worship the true and living God, and that ye look forward for the remission of your sins, with an everlasting faith, which is to come.
verse 6 Alma's "trust" in the people of Gideon has certainly been granted to him by personal revelation from the Spirit. He has discerned that these people are healthier spiritually than those in Zarahemla (see also verses 19-20).
The idol worship in Zarahemla to which Alma refers likely refers to the idols of worldliness-materialism, lust for power, lust for sexual satisfaction, etc.
7 For behold, I say unto you there be many things to come; and behold, there is one thing which is of more importance than they all-for behold, the time is not far distant that the Redeemer liveth and cometh among his people.
verse 7 "there is one thing which is of more importance than they all" This phrase refers to the mortal advent of Jesus. The very essence of the gospel is that Jesus Christ lives and that he is our Mediator. He stands ready to mercifully extend to us the fruits of his atoning sacrifice-he longs to forgive our sins and satisfy the law of justice as it applies to each of us (3 Nephi 27:13-16).
8 Behold, I do not say that he will come among us at the time of his dwelling in his mortal tabernacle; for behold, the Spirit hath not said unto me that this should be the case. Now as to this thing I do not know; but this much I do know, that the Lord God hath power to do all things which are according to his word.
verse 8 "Now as to this thing I do not know" Alma seems to be unsure as to exactly whether or not, or when, the Savior will appear to the people in the western hemisphere. He does feel that it will probably not be while the Savior is in his mortal condition. It is puzzling that Alma seems unclear on this point as the prophet Nephi had clearly taught that the resurrected Christ would appear to the Book of Mormon people (2 Nephi 26:1).
9 But behold, the Spirit hath said this much unto me, saying: Cry unto this people, saying-Repent ye, and prepare the way of the Lord, and walk in his paths, which are straight; for behold, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the Son of God cometh upon the face of the earth.
verse 9 "walk in his paths which are straight" Note that the paths of the Lord-the route by which we achieve our exaltation-are "straight" or undeviating. However, the gate through which we must enter the kingdom of heaven is "strait" which means narrow, strict, difficult to enter (Matthew 7:13-14; 3 Nephi 14:13-14; 3 Nephi 27:33).
The use of the word straight (rather than strait) in this verse is appropriate and related to the word straight in Isaiah 40:3. See the supplemental article, Strait and Straight in the Book of Mormon.
"the kingdom of heaven is at hand" For a discussion of the possible meanings of this phrase, see the commentary for Alma 5:50. Here the reference seems to be to the beginning of Christ's mortal ministry, though that is certainly an atypical usage of the phrase "kingdom of heaven."
10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.
verse 10 "he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers" Of course Joseph Smith knew that Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem. In writing this particular sentence, has Joseph Smith made an error? This passage is not an error. In fact, it may well be another evidence that Joseph was the translator of the Book and not its author. Here Jerusalem is referred to as a land and not a city. It was the custom of the day to refer to the area surrounding a large city, such as Jerusalem as the land of Jerusalem. Any small town or village located near the major city was referred to as being in that city's land. Thus Bethlehem was located in the land of Jerusalem. Joseph Smith could not have known, from his study of the Bible, about this concept of lands and cities since it is not clearly elucidated in the Bible. Modern sources, however, have confirmed the fact that anciently the town of Bethlehem was considered to be located in the "land of Jerusalem" (John Bright, A History of Israel, 3rd edition, 221-22. See also Dan Barag, Israel Exploration Journal 29 :1997-217). A recently released text from the Dead Sea Scrolls, a text claiming to have originated in the days of Jeremiah (and, therefore, in Lehi's time), says that the Jews of that period were "taken captive from the land of Jerusalem" (Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered [Shaftesbury, England: Element, 1992]: 57-58). Texts discovered earlier in the twentieth century seem to include Bethlehem within that "land."
The expression "land of Jerusalem" is not found in the Bible. It is, however, found several times in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 3:9; 1 Nephi 3:10; 1 Nephi 5:6; 1 Nephi 7:2; 1 Nephi 7:7; 1 Nephi 16:36; 1 Nephi 17:14; 1 Nephi 17:20; 1 Nephi 17:22; 1 Nephi 18:24; 2 Nephi 1:1; 2 Nephi 1:3; 2 Nephi 1:9; 2 Nephi 1:30; 2 Nephi 25:11; Jacob 2:25; Jacob 2:31; Jacob 2:32; Omni 1:6; Mosiah 1:11; Mosiah 2:4; Mosiah 7:20; Mosiah 10:12, etc.)
A similar situation in the Bible has actually been pointed out by an Evangelical scholar, Craig L. Blomberg (How Wide the Divide?, 46). There is a seeming discrepancy between Mark 5:1 (and Luke 8:26) and Matthew 8:28. Did Jesus exorcise the demoniac in the region of the Gadarenes or of the Gergesenes? Biblical scholars suggest that Jesus likely did minister in the area of Gadara, just east of the Galilee and the home of the Gadarenes, but that he did not reach as far east as Gerasa, the home of the Gergesenes, a city of Roman Arabia in the mountains of Gilead. Blomberg suggests that Jesus was likely near Khersa, a town that in Greek transliteration could easily turn into Gerasa, in the larger territory of Gadara named after the more prominent city by that name within the region. Thus, Mark (and Luke) likely used the name of a larger city Gadara to refer to the land surrounding it which included a smaller city, Khersa.
This passage also states that Jesus was born "at" Jerusalem not in Jerusalem. One definition of at is "close by" or "near." Thus "at Jerusalem" might well mean "near Jerusalem." See also the commentary for 1 Nephi 1:4.
"she being . . . a precious and chosen vessel" Please review the discussion of the scriptural word chosen in the commentary for 1 Nephi 1:19-20.
"who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost" We have previously learned that Jesus was conceived "after the manner of the flesh" (1 Nephi 11:18). Here we learn that as Mary miraculously conceived the Christ child, the Holy Ghost was in some way involved.
President Ezra Taft Benson taught: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints proclaims that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the most literal sense. The body in which he performed his mission in the flesh was sired by that same holy being we worship as God, our Eternal Father. Jesus was not the son of Joseph, nor was he begotten by the Holy Ghost. He is the son of the Eternal Father!" (Come Unto Christ, 4).
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
verse 11 "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind" Elder Neil A. Maxwell taught: "Can we, even in the depths of disease, tell him anything at all about suffering? . . . The very weight of our combined sins caused him to descend below all. We have never been, nor will we be, in depths such as he has known. Thus, his [life and his] atonement made perfect his empathy and his mercy and his capacity to succor us, for which we can be everlastingly grateful as he tutors us in our trials" (Even As I Am, 116). It is certainly also true that we can teach him nothing about temptations.
"and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people" Alma seems to be quoting the prophecy of a previous prophet. Who is that prophet? The gospel writer Matthew will identify him as "Esaias." Matthew wrote: "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses" (Matthew 8:17). Esaias is the New Testament form of Isaiah. Isaiah wrote of the future Messiah: "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4, Mosiah 14:4).
Brother Thomas A. Wayment has postulated that Alma 7:11, Isaiah 53:4, and Matthew 8:17 were all taken from the identical Hebrew text. He further postulates that Alma 7:11 was taken from the brass plates version of Isaiah which he feels must have been written in Hebrew. There is some feeling that some of the materials on the brass plates of Laban were written in some form of Egyptian (see Mosiah 1:3-4 and the commentary for those verses). Brother Wayment, a Hebraist, has made the most interesting observation that of the three scriptural quotations, the one which most accurately reflects the original Hebrew is Alma 7:11. He concludes that Joseph Smith used neither the KJV of Isaiah or the KJV of Matthew in writing Alma 7:11. Rather he translated the Hebrew from the brass plates ("The Hebrew Text of Alma 7:11," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 2005, 14:98). This suggests that some of the materials on the brass plates was written in Hebrew.
While the speculative assumption has been made that Joseph Smith utilized his KJV in making the larger block quotes from the scriptures from Isaiah and Malachi, and writing them into the Book of Mormon (Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, 141-42), we actually have no direct evidence whatever that he ever used his KJV Bible. It is notable, however, that when this same quotation discussed in the previous paragraph appears in the Book of Mormon a second time (Mosiah 14:4), a translation identical to the KJV is given. This does support the supposition that the KJV made have played some role in the translation of the Book of Mormon.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
verse 12 "he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people" To review: The fall of man has a dual nature or two major and quite separate aspects.
1. Because of Adam's transgression in the garden, all mankind suffers a temporary spiritual death-that is, man is separated from God-and a temporary physical death-each man will eventually die wherein his spirit will separate from this body.
2. Because of a man's own sins, the law of justice dictates he will suffer a "permanent" spiritual death.
Two specific benefits each man derives from Jesus's atonement are: (1) Through his experience in Gethsemane and on the cross, Jesus qualified himself to completely and unconditionally absolve each man from the effects of Adam's transgression. (2) Also he earned the right to forgive each man of his sins, on condition of that man's repentance, thus giving him the opportunity to be redeemed from his self-induced spiritual death.
"he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy" Here is a little known yet most precious doctrine and another specific benefit obtained by each man through Jesus's atonement. Jesus suffered the agony of the atonement, not only that he might forgive the sins of all mankind but also in order that his own empathy and compassion for his brothers and sisters might be perfected! Regardless of what we are called upon to suffer in this life, he hears our cries and understands our vicissitudes because of his own personal experience in Gethsemane and on the cross. And regardless of the depths to which a man might sink-in despair, suffering, pain, remorse, fear or any other extreme of the human experience-Jesus has qualified himself to fully understand, to succor, and to comfort. He will never ask any of us to suffer any adversity that he has not suffered himself. The compassion and empathy which Jesus has for us as we suffer the travail of this mortal life is not the abstract compassion and empathy of a sinless individual who would never so suffer. Rather, it is the compassion and empathy of one who has suffered more than all of us. We cannot teach him a thing about suffering! For a more detailed discussion of this topic see Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 19, The Essence of the Lord's Atonement.
"that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities" The phrase "according to the flesh" is rich with meaning. It generally denotes the conditions and laws that govern in mortality (see 1 Nephi 19:6; 1 Nephi 22:18; 1 Nephi 22:27; 2 Nephi 2:8; 2 Nephi 2:27; 2 Nephi 9:53; 2 Nephi 10:2; 2 Nephi 10:31:7). In this particular verse, the phrase has even richer meaning. Here Alma uses the phrase to teach that cognitive understanding was not sufficient for Christ to accomplish the atonement. He had to actually experience "according to the flesh" the suffering, pain, afflictions, and temptations of every kind so that he would know by his own experience how to best help and judge his people.
Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language defines succor as, "Literally, to run to, or run to support; hence to help or relieve when in difficulty, want or distress; to assist and deliver from suffering." One of the blessings of the atonement is that we can receive of the Savior's succoring. Isaiah spoke repeatedly of the Lord's healing, calming influence. He testified that the Savior was "a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat" (Isaiah 25:4). As to those who sorrow, Isaiah declared that the Savior possessed the power to "comfort all that mourn" (Isaiah 61:2), and "wipe away tears from off all faces" (Isaiah 25:8; see also Revelation 7:17); "revive the spirit of the humble" (Isaiah 57:15); and "bind up the brokenhearted" (Isaiah 61:1; see also Luke 4:18; Psalm 147:3). So expansive was his succoring power that he could exchange "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" (Isaiah 61:3).
His spirit heals; it refines; it comforts; it breathes new life into hopeless hearts. It has the power to transform all that is ugly and vicious and worthless in life to something of supreme and glorious splendor. He has the power to convert the ashes of mortality to the beauties of eternity. So sweeping is the Savior's healing balm that Isaiah promised, "Sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 35:10). While the Savior knew all things in the Spirit (Alma 7:13), he also came to know the pains, infirmities, and temptations of man as experienced in the flesh. He never allowed godly power to insulate him when he walked the path of mortals. He chose to let every pain and affliction and weakness of man traverse and engulf his physical frame.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell gave this insight into the relationship between the atonement and the Savior's succoring powers: "His empathy and capacity to succor us-in our own sicknesses, temptations, or sins-were demonstrated and perfected in the process of the great atonement" (Plain and Precious Things, 99). He also said, "The marvelous atonement brought about not only the immortality but also the final perfection of Jesus's empathetic and helping capacity" (Ibid., 42). Subsequent to the atonement, he was able to comfort with empathy, not merely with sympathy.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
verse 13 "the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people" The "Spirit" referred to here is not the Holy Ghost. Rather it is the Spirit of the Son of God. The pre-mortal Jesus Christ, who lived with a spirit body, was the great Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, and as such knew "all things." Yet, he still needed to come to earth and experience some things first hand "according to the flesh."
"his people" Alma will define this blessed group in the three following verses 14-16.
14 Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
verse 14 "if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven" For a review of the process of being "born again," see Baptism, the Ordinance that Bring's Spiritual Growth, in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 18.
15 Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.
16 And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God from thenceforth, the same will remember that I say unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him, he shall have eternal life, according to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which testifieth in me.
17 And now my beloved brethren, do you believe these things? Behold, I say unto you, yea, I know that ye believe them; and the way that I know that ye believe them is by the manifestation of the Spirit which is in me. And now because your faith is strong concerning that, yea, concerning the things which I have spoken, great is my joy.
verse 17 Note here the method used by the master teacher Alma. After bearing testimony to the people of Gideon, he felt the Spirit come upon his audience. He then bore their testimony back to them. Elder W. Grant Bangerter taught: "We need confidence in the Holy Ghost; believe in him and expect his presence . . . and be able to help others to feel the influence that he brings. One of our great missionaries said: I bear them my testimony. Then I bear them their testimony. And then I have them bear their testimony back to me. That's the process" (CR, [April 1980], 65-68).
18 For as I said unto you from the beginning, that I had much desire that ye were not in the state of dilemma like your brethren, even so I have found that my desires have been gratified.
verse 18 Early in his sermon to the people of Gideon, Alma had told them that he hoped and desired they were more righteous than their Nephite brethren in the land of Zarahemla had been when Alma first preached to them (verses 3-6). In the course of speaking to the people of Gideon, Alma has learned through the medium of the Holy Spirit that what he had hoped was in fact the case-"my desires have been gratified."
19 For I perceive that ye are in the paths of righteousness; I perceive that ye are in the path which leads to the kingdom of God; yea, I perceive that ye are making his paths straight.
verse 19 What does it mean to make "straight" the paths of the Lord? The practice of preparing paths or roads for the victorious advance of a conqueror or king by clearing them of obstacles was certainly known anciently. As we live the gospel and urge others to do the same, we prepare the earth for the Savior's triumphal return to the earth. The scriptures contain several examples of prophetic counsel warning us to "make straight" the pathway of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:5; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4). We are also counseled to make the "crooked" or uneven paths "straight" or unobstructed (Luke 3:5).
The use of the word straight in this verse is appropriate and related to the word straight in Isaiah 40:3. See the supplemental article, Strait and Straight in the Book of Mormon.
20 I perceive that it has been made known unto you, by the testimony of his word, that he cannot walk in crooked paths; neither doth he vary from that which he hath said; neither hath he a shadow of turning from the right to the left, or from that which is right to that which is wrong; therefore, his course is one eternal round.
verse 20 "his course is one eternal round" Alma perceives that the people of Gideon have been taught by the Spirit of God the vital concept that "his course is one eternal round." This is a vital and rich concept: God is absolutely dependable and constant, as is his law. We are governed by his law. It is absolute, completely reliable, unvarying, and its consequences are inescapable. For every action there is an identical result. These results follow without respect to person. It has always been thus in Adam's day, just as in ours, and in the eternities to come. Thus, "the course of the Lord is one eternal round."
An alternate explanation has been offered for this phrase. We belong to "one round" of the Father's creations. This includes our earth and the innumerable worlds created by Jehovah. It also includes Jesus as our Savior and will include all things in our post mortal world. After this round of creation, the Father will organize another, and another, etc.
21 And he doth not dwell in unholy temples; neither can filthiness or anything which is unclean be received into the kingdom of God; therefore I say unto you the time shall come, yea, and it shall be at the last day, that he who is filthy shall remain in his filthiness.
verse 21 "he doth not dwell in unholy temples" The Spirit of the Lord will not abide with those who are guilty of sin.
"neither can filthiness or anything which is unclean be received into the kingdom of God" Here is a simple restatement of the law of justice spoken of in the introduction to Alma chapter 5 (see 1 Nephi 15:34; Alma 11:37).
"he who is filthy shall remain in his filthiness" This is a reference to the sons of perdition.
22 And now my beloved brethren, I have said these things unto you that I might awaken you to a sense of your duty to God, that ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received.
verse 22 "that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received" That you may abide by the principles of the Melchizedek priesthood by which you are governed.
23 And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
verse 23 "easy to be entreated" To entreat is to earnestly ask for something; to beseech; to beg; to make an earnest request or petition. Here this phrase means that when the Lord implores us to live the gospel and obey the commandments, we are readily submissive; eager to respond; willing to grant what is desired-responsive to the Lord's commands.
24 And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.
verses 23-24 These wonderful verses describes the "fruits of the Spirit"-the characteristics of the individual who has been "born of the Spirit." See "The Fruits of Faith" in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 11, Other Notes on Faith. See also a detailed discussion of the concept of charity in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 2, chapters 6, Charity as Empathy, and 7, Charity as a Revealed Sense of Others.
verses 25-27 Before Alma leaves the people of Gideon, he will establish the priesthood order of the church among them (Alma 8:1). Additionally, because of these people's relative righteousness, he is able to pronounce upon them a special blessing contained in these verses.
25 And may the Lord bless you, and keep your garments spotless, that ye may at last be brought to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the holy prophets who have been ever since the world began, having your garments spotless even as their garments are spotless, in the kingdom of heaven to go no more out.
verse 25 As a person undergoes the sanctifying "baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost," he becomes a little more like God. It is said that his "garments are made white or spotless." Not only will such a person be worthy to enjoy the company of the great prophets of the earth, but he will be confident and comfortable in their presence as well (D&C 121:45).
"to go no more out" This expression is unique to the Book of Mormon (see also Alma 34:36; Helaman 3:30; and 3 Nephi 28:40) and means, of course, to dwell in the celestial heaven for eternity.
26 And now my beloved brethren, I have spoken these words unto you according to the Spirit which testifieth in me; and my soul doth exceedingly rejoice, because of the exceeding diligence and heed which ye have given unto my word.
27 And now, may the peace of God rest upon you, and upon your houses and lands, and upon your flocks and herds, and all that you possess, your women and your children, according to your faith and good works, from this time forth and forever. And thus I have spoken. Amen.
verse 27 "the peace of God" A genuine confidence in one's eternal future is associated with an incomparable peace of mind. This is an earned blessing or fruit of the Spirit which comes to those who are spiritually born again. It is related, if not identical, to the gift of hope. Possessed with this peace an individual is able to face not only the vicissitudes of life with calm and perspective, but he can anticipate his own death with eagerness and excitement rather than with fear and uncertainty. The Savior spoke of this blessing: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).