Alma 12:6 - 12:10
Alma 12:6 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.
The method that Zeezrom was going to use on Alma and Amulek, namely lie and deceive to try to get the people to turn on them is how satan works on us all. Satan’s whole desire is to bring all people under subjection to him. His whole purpose is to get us so deep in bitterness and anger at each other that we will be unable,at some point, to remove such attitudes. At that point, we are his and there is no escape.
The point of no return is scary to think about.
Alma 12:7 Now when Alma had spoken these words, Zeezrom began to tremble more exceedingly, for he was convinced more and more of the power of God; and he was also convinced that Alma and Amulek had a knowledge of him, for he was convinced that they knew the thoughts and intents of his heart; for power was given unto them that they might know of these things according to the spirit of prophecy.
The reaction to the words of Alma by Zeezrom was even more intense than Amulek’s. He was even more convinced that God had revealed to Alma Zeezrom’s true intent concerning them; that God was revealing to them the thoughts and intent of Zeezrom’s heart. The reaction as seen by others of Zeezrom’s change of countenance was the effect of a pricked conscience. (Apparently, he had one.) Zeezrom now knew he was in trouble with God, for God was revealing to Alma and Amulek the thoughts and intents of his mind. And as any person who is caught and knows everyone knows he is guilty, he was worried about his fate.
Alma 12:8 And Zeezrom began to inquire of them diligently, that he might know more concerning the kingdom of God. And he said unto Alma: What does this mean which Amulek hath spoken concerning the resurrection of the dead, that all shall rise from the dead, both the just and the unjust, and are brought to stand before God to be judged according to their works?
With an increased knowledge that he was the one who had to worry about what he was going to do to survive this situation, he began to ask questions about things he genuinely wanted to know about instead of questioning to try and trip up the two. His first real question was to ask about the scriptures that refer to the resurrection at which time both good and bad are brought before God to be judged of their works.
Since Zeezrom was thinking about what would happen to him at the judgment day, he wanted more details. He may have been wanting to know how to avoid the consequences that he knew would be coming his way if he continued on his presence course in life.
Alma 12:9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
Alma begins to answer Zeezrom’s now genuine inquiries. He tells him that God can only give as much knowledge and understanding to match the genuine desire to know the mysteries of God. If you really want to know, the effort you make to know will determine the amount of knowledge you will receive.
If you study, you will learn things. If you don’t, you won’t. It is just that simple. And that is why the injunction “to ask and you will receive and knock it will be opened” is so critical for us to progress in knowledge. Knowledge is only given when asked for. It is not given out of a clear blue sky when a person is not looking for it or even knows that such knowledge even exists. Joseph Smith only learned what he learned about the other churches because he asked for it. It did not come out of nowhere. He was seeking for it, otherwise, he might have thought he was hallucinating.
Alma 12:10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
It works that if you will close your mind and refuse to receive instruction, the natural consequence is that you will start to loose what you know and this losing of knowledge will increase over time as you continue to refuse instruction. However, if one continues to want more knowledge, it will be given until he gets to a point where he knows everything.
I rather envisioned this character trait as we are either progressing or digressing. There is no coasting along at some level. We are going up or down. The only time we are level is when we transitioning from going up to going down like the tangent point in a curve that was going up and now is going down.