Joe and I were looking at Hebrews 3 last night, and studying the psalm it quotes (Psalm 95). As we were studying, I cross referenced this to Alma 12:
36 And now, my brethren, behold I say unto you, that if ye will harden your hearts ye shall not enter into the rest of the Lord; therefore your iniquity provoketh him that he sendeth down his wrath upon you as in the first provocation, yea, according to his word in the last provocation as well as the first, to the everlasting destruction of your souls; therefore, according to his word, unto the last death, as well as the first.
37 And now, my brethren, seeing we know these things, and they are true, let us repent, and harden not our hearts, that we provoke not the Lord our God to pull down his wrath upon us in these his second commandments which he has given unto us; but let us enter into the rest of God, which is prepared according to his word.
But Alma doesn’t directly cite the Psalms here, or even note that it comes from scripture at all. I think the word “provocation” is supposed to be clear enough to point to the Israelites, whether he has in mind Psalms 95 or Numbers 14 or somewhere else.
It would seem that the application, in verse 37, is justified on the experience referenced in verse 36.
What strikes me as interesting today though is that within Alma’s speech, both verse 36 and 37 seem to be justified on something God declared, outlined in verses 33-35:
33 But God did call on men, in the name of his Son, (this being the plan of redemption which was laid) saying: If ye will repent, and harden not your hearts, then will I have mercy upon you, through mine Only Begotten Son;
I’m not sure if I’m reading too much into Alma’s speech, but as Alma is telling the story of human history, it sounds like this declaration is supposed to have happened way before the children of Israel provoke God, and this declaration is what justified God’s response. It also means that the declaration can be applied to Alma’s people. (The story of the Israelites serves to prove that God will not back down from the declaration.)