What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
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Once the announcement of his arrival was given, they all arose. Half had awoken to a state of preparedness and felicity, while half had awoken to a realization of their unpreparedness and foolishness. The command to wake up from a state of slumber has frequently been issued to the Lord’s followers.
The following list illustrates a few of the more notable instances in scripture where the Lord commands us to awaken:
- Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. (Isaiah 51:9)
- O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe. (2 Nephi 1:13)
- Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust. (2 Nephi 1:23)
- And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (Romans 13:11)
- Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God… (1 Corinthians 15:34)
- Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul. (2 Nephi 4:28)
- But behold, my brethren, is it expedient that I should awake you to an awful reality of these things? (2 Nephi 9:47)
- O my brethren, hearken unto my words; arouse the faculties of your souls; shake yourselves that ye may awake from the slumber of death; and loose yourselves from the pains of hell that ye may not become angels to the devil, to be cast into that lake of fire and brimstone which is the second death. (Jacob 3:11)
- …I pray that ye should awake to a remembrance of the awful situation of those that have fallen into transgression. (Mosiah 2:40)
- Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you (Ether 8:24)
There are also a few hymns that share this message:
- Awake and arise (Hymn #8)
- Awake, ye Saints of God, awake (Hymn #17)
- Up, awake, ye defenders of Zion (Hymn #248)
It should be noted that the commandment to awaken implies that the person being commanded was asleep at the time. The Lord would not instruct His followers to stop sleeping if they were already awake.
What, then, does it mean to be awake? One definition is as follows:
A nice definition of an awakened person: a person who no longer marches to the drums of society, a person who dances to the tune of the music that springs up from within. (Anthony De Mello, via Quoty)
Another explanation suggests the effect an awakening has:
Every human mind is a great slumbering power until awakened by a keen desire and by definite resolution to do. (Edgar F. Roberts, via Quoty)
As men are instructed to be anxiously engaged in a good cause, the importance of awakening seems crucial. I submit that awakening happens continually throughout one’s life, as “the music that springs up from within” (what we would refer to as the Holy Ghost) leads us down our various and separate paths. Since we receive instruction and knowledge piece by piece, the process of awakening to truth and light will be a continual one.
As all paths must lead to one final destination, it is imperative that we, like the wise virgins, prepare and obey the commandments we have previously received. Only then will we awaken to a state of happiness and be welcomed to sup with the Bridegroom.