light from Christ
Week 19 is scheduled for study May 4-10, 2020. These chapters that relate the efforts of Abinadi to reach Noah and his wicked priests demonstrate God’s love and His central role in our salvation. It doesn’t end so well for Abinadi, except that he is saved in the kingdom of God. So I guess it wasn’t such a bad ending afterall. It ended far worse for King Noah.

Day 1

Mosiah 11-13; 17 – I can stand for truth, even when I stand alone.

Abinadi’s words caused a mighty change in at least one member of King Noah’s court. Read Mosiah 11-17 with a prayer in your heart that you will receive impressions about how you can change.

Abinadi appears on the Book of Mormon stage only in the last scene of his life. We don’t see anything that led up to this culminating event. He appears to have entered into the Nephite city of Lehi-Nephi already knowing that doing so was to forfeit his life. It reminds me of Joseph going to Carthage, “like a lamb to the slaughter.” Abinadi had his errand from the Lord, and he seemed to sense, if not know that this was a one way trip from home.

This apparent certainty of his own death brings up a question for each of us. How solid is our footing with the Lord? Could we go on assignment to do something that we know will probably end very unpleasantly for us, and do so confidently, knowing that we are secure in the good graces of God? Becoming secure in our position before the Lord doesn’t just happen one night in a vision that changes everything. It generally happens over the course of years of following the promptings of the Spirit, prayer, fasting, and putting God to the test over and over again.

For example, when was the last time you felt you needed to defend the Lord or His Church at work in front of your coworkers? When was the last time you had to defend your life and lifestyle to a hostile family member who disagreed with your membership in God’s kingdom? What about having a spouse who is not on the same page as you are in the gospel? There are many circumstances in life that cause us to stand for what is right. And often we must stand alone.

One of the hallmarks of Abinadi’s sermon is that he knew his scriptures well enough to quote them. Granted, they didn’t have an app they could just call up on their phone. In his day you had to memorize almost everything, because the written word was difficult to come by. But that doesn’t lessen the merits of knowing the contents of your scriptures. There is something in memorizing scriptures that cements their place in your mind and helps you to connect them to other scriptures at key times in your life. We are always blessed when we put the written word of God into our head as something memorized. There is no downside to knowing God’s word verbatim. I challenge you to try to think of one downside to knowing exactly what the Lord has to say about any subject. I am sure we would all be interested in hearing from you in the comments.

One last comment about Abinadi. What do you think his motives were when he went to preach repentance to the people, and especially when he faced a room full of wicked men who definitely wanted him to die? Could he do what he had to do with a heart full of anger, or hatred, or spite? Was he there to scold and reprimand? Is God’s message about punishment and putting people down? I don’t believe Abinadi could have done what he did if his heart wasn’t full of the love of God, and his heart heavy with concern over the welfare of his nation and their leaders. His was a warning voice, but one given out of genuine concern for the welfare of their souls. How we in interpret Abinadi’s motives will color our reading and interpretation of what he says and does in the verses we read. Surely the Lord would only send someone who was able to do what he did out of a place of love and concern.

Day 2

Mosiah 12:19-30 – I need to apply my heart to understanding God’s word.

Abinadi’s words caused a mighty change in at least one member of King Noah’s court. Read Mosiah 11-17 with a prayer in your heart that you will receive impressions about how you can change.

Do you know someone who has only applied themselves to learning the gospel with their intellect? They can quote scriptures, reason policy, and debate procedure all day long, but when the going gets tough would probably abandon the gospel ship? And do you know someone who may not be quite so polished in their knowledge of the gospel, but their life is a living example of Christ’s love and compassion? This is the difference between knowing the gospel from the outside, and having it written in our heart, so we understand the principles of the gospel from the inside out.

When we have the gospel written on the fleshy tablets of our hearts we have taken to heart the meaning and the purpose of the commandments. We have lived them, and therefore we understand their significance and purpose. Only through living the principles of the gospel can we truly come to appreciate what it means to live by them, for their true power is only unlocked through practice of them in our daily lives.

Noah and his priests had book learning of the law of Moses and the scriptures, but they had put down the real priests and substituted their own version of religion, which didn’t include practicing what they preached. They had no true understanding of God’s intent behind those commandments. They didn’t know how to apply them in their lives. This was the greatest single reprimand Abinadi had for them, that they preached what they did not live, and therefore they had no understanding.

This principle is just as true for us. If we want to understand a principle or commandment then living it becomes a must. Only through applying it and seeing how it changes our life can we come to understand its power and influence the Lord intended it to have in our life. This is how we apply our heart to understanding God’s word. It is all about using what we have been given, not just knowing what we have been given.

Day 3

Mosiah 13:1-9 – The Lord will sustain His servants in His work.

Abinadi’s words caused a mighty change in at least one member of King Noah’s court. Read Mosiah 11-17 with a prayer in your heart that you will receive impressions about how you can change.

We always need to remember that the Lord’s work, by definition, is filled with physical dangers. As Nephi taught over and over again, the wicked “taketh the truth to be hard.” They resent hearing it for it cuts them to the center of their souls. They want more than anything to shut up the person who is causing them to feel uncomfortable in their choice of wicked practices.

Abinadi speaking to Noah’s court can be likened to a parent trying to reach a wayward teenager or adult child. The child just wants to dismiss what the parent has to say, because it is inconvenient or would cause them to have to change, which is not what they want. Yet the parent, being led by the Spirit, pushes on and says what the Spirit dictates they give to their child at that time. This is how it is supposed to happen. This is what we saw with Nephi and his brothers, over and over again. It also happened with Lehi and his sons, over and over again. Now it is happening with Abinadi and Noah’s court.

Being the bearer of bad news never comes easy. And often there are severe repercussions for being the messenger. But the Lord promises salvation to those who are willing to put their all on the line to deliver His message to His children. As Abinadi stated in Mosiah 13:8-9,

Yea, and my words fill you with wonder and amazement, and with anger.

But I finish my message; and then it matters not whither I go, if it so be that I am saved.

Yes, the Lord supported Abinadi in that He protected him long enough for him to deliver the Lord’s message to the leaders of His people. But both God and Abinadi knew where this message would lead. The Lord even told Abinadi that what they did to him after finishing his delivery would be a shadow of what would happen to the king and his people thereafter. Before this time we have no indication that burning someone to death was a custom of the Nephite or Lamanite people. But this is what they chose to do to Abinadi, possibly because it would be such a painful way to die. And Abinadi was correct, that set the stage for the death of many other people who died in like manner thereafter, including King Noah.

The support Abinadi received from the Lord included the ability to deliver his message, whether miraculous or not. Abinadi was willing to do what was needed to fulfill his calling from the Lord. When we have callings, they don’t usually call for our death at the end of the calling. Thank heavens for small favors. But what our callings do require is often inconveniences to our time, energies, focus, and physical resources. Serving in the Church is not always easy. It can be demanding, and sometimes our callings require sacrifices of us and our family for multiple years at a stretch. But the Lord will always support us in our sacrifices. He knows that we are being changed into what we need to become when we are willing to make those sacrifices. When done willingly, and with a good spirit, God will magnify us in our callings and open the needed doors for us to accomplish His purposes.

Day 4

Mosiah 14-15 – Jesus Christ suffered for me.

Abinadi’s words caused a mighty change in at least one member of King Noah’s court. Read Mosiah 11-17 with a prayer in your heart that you will receive impressions about how you can change.

I have read Abinadi’s message so many times. Each time I came away thinking it was full of deep, difficult doctrine. It was only this reading that my eyes were opened to the simplicity of his doctrine. The only thing he taught in his whole defense before King Noah was the centrality of Christ to the salvation of mankind. That’s it. He wanted them to understand that the law of Moses would not save them. The law could lead them to being saved, if they lived it the way they were supposed to, by recognizing that the law was only a type and a shadow of the life of the Messiah that was to come. The law was only a placeholder for the gospel Christ would bring and deliver to Israel.

Abinadi taught them that Christ and faith in his redeeming power was all that was important. The law they were preaching (but not living) was a dead end in and of itself. The law of Moses only had any efficacy if it was lived in such a way as to point the people to the Christ, the Messiah who would come. Believing in the coming of the Messiah was a central tenet of their faith, or needed to be. This is just as it is with us. Believing that the Messiah has already come is the central tenet of our faith. We believe that he came, died, and rose from the grave, bringing everlasting salvation to all those who are willing to believe in him and live according to that belief.

Day 5

Mosiah 15:1-12 – How is Jesus Christ both the Father and the Son?

Abinadi’s words caused a mighty change in at least one member of King Noah’s court. Read Mosiah 11-17 with a prayer in your heart that you will receive impressions about how you can change.

This teaching is both a play on words and a concept that is difficult to put into words unless you are able to see more than one meaning to a definition of a word. How is Jesus the Father? A father is a creator, an organizer, a founder. Jesus is our Father because he created the universe, and even our planet. He gives us all the commandments by which we live and can return to God. When we subject ourselves to him and his will through making and keeping covenants, spiritually he begets us, or brings us into his family. In this sense we become his children, for we look to him like a child to their parent. So Christ is a father in a number of different ways.

Christ is also the first born, and only begotten in the flesh of our Father in Heaven. He also subjected his will to that of our Father in Heaven. This demonstrates that he was and still is God’s most faithful son. While in mortality Christ followed not his will, but the will of his Father, in heaven. This means that Christ is both a Father, and a Son, for he fulfills the definition of both roles in many ways.

We say that he is both the Father and the Son, but one God, for that is the truth. He is only himself, but he fulfills multiple roles in the plan of salvation. We need to see how all encompassing his position is in how God has set up this plan of happiness. All of it revolves around he who acts as both the Father and the Son, that one God we call Jesus, the Christ, our Redeemer and Savior.

Here is a PDF of this week’s study material.
Print it out for greater convenience in your studies.

BoM Week 19

(Mosiah 11-17)