Book of Mormon
Himself … Shall Redeem His People”
Abinadi calls Noah and his priests to repentance, exhorts them to keep
the commandments, and teaches of the Atonement.
Abinadi quotes Isaiah, testifies of the Atonement, and exhorts Noah's priests
to teach the people that redemption comes through Christ.
Abinadi seals his testimony of the Savior with his life.
A study of this lesson will help us appreciate the importance of the Atonement
of Jesus Christ and stay true to our testimonies of the Atonement.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 18 Handout (PDF)
Served a mission similar to that of John the Baptist.
A lone prophet.
Ministered briefly to a people committed to the law of Moses who knew little
of the coming Messiah and nothing of his actual divinity.
Warned of the impending judgments of God.
Testified of the Messiah to come.
Opposed by the religious leaders of his day and was the victim of priestcraft.
Denounced the immoral conduct of his king.
Died a violent death at the king's hands.
Served as a transitional prophet - linking together the old and the new
We know nothing of his personal life.
We don't know if he was born in the land of Nephi or was part of Zeniff's
expedition from Zarahemla.
After the death of Zeniff, his son Noah became king over the Nephites in
the land of Nephi.
Noah replaced his father's priests with his own immoral supporters.
Among them was Alma (the elder).
Idolatry and gross immorality characterized Noah's reign and his people
succumbed to his example.
After a boastful Nephite victory over the Lamanites, Abinadi came among
the people preaching repentance and warning of possible future defeat and
Abinadi's message only angered the king.
Abinadi withdrew when his life was threatened by the king.
Two years after his first visit, Abinadi returns in disguise and with a new message.
In Mosiah 11, Abinadi called the people to repentance. In this chapter,
Abinadi declares that their fate has been set because of their wickedness.
conveys the word of the Lord, "that except they
repent I will utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth"
The message is strong: Not only have these Nephites set up an unalterable
course because of their wickedness, but unless they repent they will be
The people bound Abinadi and brought him before King Noah.
"And now, O king, what
great evil hast thou done, or what great sins have thy people committed,
that we should be condemned of God or judged of this man? And now, O king, behold,
we are guiltless, and thou, O king, hast not sinned; therefore, this man
has lied concerning you, and he has prophesied in vain." (Mosiah
HOW CAN PEOPLE AS CORRUPT AS NOAH AND HIS PRIESTS COME TO BELIEVE THAT
THEY HAVE NOT SINNED?
HOW CAN WE BE SURE THAT WE DO NOT DECEIVE OURSELVES ABOUT SIN?
"And if men come unto me I
will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that
they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble
themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have
faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
We need to do a frequent pride check.
"And behold, we are strong, we shall
not come into bondage, or be taken captive by our enemies; yea, and thou
hast prospered in the land, and thou shalt also prosper."
WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF BELIEVING THAT STRENGTH AND PROSPERITY ARE ALWAYS
A SIGN OF GOD'S FAVOR?
HOW CAN WE KEEP STRENGTH AND PROSPERITY (OR A LACK THEREOF) IN PROPER PERSPECTIVE?
The priests began to question Abinadi regarding his teachings. Their questions
were designed to trick
him and give them cause to accuse him.
MOSIAH 12:25-27. Abinadi speaks.
Abinadi states: "Ye have not applied your hearts
to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise."
DO WE MAKE AN EFFORT TO APPLY OUR HEARTS TO UNDERSTANDING OR DO WE TRY
TO EXCESSIVELY INTELLECTUALIZE THE GOSPEL?
King Noah and his priests taught that salvation comes through the Law of
Moses to which they claimed obedience.
Abinadi taught that salvation comes through the atonement of Jesus Christ. One can make claim upon the Atonement by adherence to the Law.
IF SALVATION DOES NOT COME THROUGH THE LAW, ACCORDING TO ABINADI, WHY WAS
THE LAW GIVEN?
Because the Israelites were a stiffnecked people.
They were quick to do iniquity.
To assist them in remembering God and their duty towards him.
Abinadi continued with the Ten Commandments and along with an explanation of their
He said that the Law and its ordinances were "types of things to come"
He made reference to the coming of the Messiah.
Abinadi went on to teach four vital principles:
God Himself will come to earth.
God Himself Will Come To Earth
The central message of Abinadi to Noah is that God himself will come
to earth as the Redeemer of mankind.
As we know, Abinadi was not the first to teach the doctrine of a divine
This vital doctrine was taught by all the ancient prophets beginning with Adam.
As an additional testimony of the coming of the Messiah, Abinadi quoted
Isaiah (see Mosiah 14, compare
Undoubtedly, this was a record the people were familiar with and served
as an additional witness of what Abinadi was testifying.
Abinadi makes this principle even more clear when he stated, "I would that ye should understand that God
himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people."
These teachings by Abinadi have been cited by some as an argument for the
doctrine of the Holy Trinity being taught in the Book of Mormon.
HOW DO WE EXPLAIN WHAT ABINADI TAUGHT HERE?
We must first understand the nature of the Godhead.
Joseph Smith stated just eleven days before his death: "I
have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate
and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was
a distinct personage and a Spirit." (TPJS, p370)
We must begin with this premise.
The Father and The Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by the First Presidency
and The Twelve.
Issued June 30, 1916.
Published in Articles of Faith by James E. Talmage (pp465-473).
The term 'Father' as applied to Deity occurs in our sacred writings with plainly
different meanings. Each of the four significations specified in
the Doctrinal Exposition should be carefully separated..
"Father" as Literal Parent.
"Father" as Creator.
"God the Eternal Father, whom we designate
by the exalted name-title 'Elohim,' is the literal Parent of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ, and the spirits of the human race."
In this designation, Jesus Christ's role is that of the Son of God, both
spiritually and physically.
God the Father is the Father of our spirits and only he holds that role.
Jesus Christ the "Father" of Those Who Abide in His Gospel.
In this context Jehovah or Jesus Christ is the Father of this earth and
the universe, along with the plants and animals on the earth.
"Jesus Christ, whom we also know as Jehovah,
was the executive of the Father, Elohim, in the work of creation....
Jesus Christ, being the Creator, is consistently called the Father of heaven
and earth...and since His creations are of eternal quality He is very properly
called the Eternal Father of heaven and earth."
Jesus Christ the "Father" by Divine Investiture of Authority.
"If it be proper to speak of those who accept
and abide in the Gospel as Christ's sons and daughters--and upon this matter
the scriptures are explicit and cannot be gainsaid nor denied--it is consistently
proper to speak of Jesus Christ as the Father of the righteous, they having
become His children and He having been made their Father through the second
birth--the baptismal regeneration."
Abinadi speaks of becoming the seed of Christ in this respect.
We become the seed or children of Christ (and he our Father) by:
Having heard the prophets and "hearkened" unto their words.
Believing that the Lord has redeemed his people.
Looking forward to that day for a remission of our sins.
Brother Rodney Turner made this further observation:
"In all His dealings with the human family
Jesus the Son has represented and yet represents Elohim His Father in power
and authority. This is true of Christ in His preexistent, antemortal, or unembodied state, in the which He was known as Jehovah;
also during His embodiment in the flesh; and during His labors as a
disembodied spirit in the realm of the dead; and since that period in His
Jesus said, "I and my Father are one" (John
10:30) and "I am come in my Father's name"
HOW DID JESUS BECOME ONE WITH THE FATHER?
"Just as a child has a legal right to the surname
of its parent, so did the Only Begotten--who was 'conceived by the power
of God' in spirit and in flesh--have a legal right to the divine name Father."
(Studies In Scripture, 7:245)
Begotten of an immortal Father and a mortal mother, Jesus
possessed two natures (one divine, one human) and, therefore, two wills (that of
the Father, and that of the Son). He could manifest either nature at will.
By having his flesh become subject to the Spirit, thus the will of the Son to
subject to the will of the Father (Mosiah 15:5).
"Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily,
verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he
seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth
the Son likewise." (John 5:19)
HOW CAN WE BECOME ONE WITH THE FATHER?
By subjecting our flesh to the Spirit and carrying out the will of God.
"And he received not of the fulness at first,
but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness"
"Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot
bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the
truth" (D&C 50:40).
WHAT KEEPS US FROM BEING ONE WITH THE FATHER?
Abinadi stressed the indispensable role of the Redeemer. By doing
this, he declared the inadequacy of the Law of Moses. The Law
cannot save men from their hopelessly lost state, which came as a result
of the fall.
"For were it not for the redemption
which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation
of the world, I say unto you, were it not for this, all mankind must have
perished." (Mosiah 15:19)
Why did Abinadi stress this doctrine?
According to Brother Rodney Turner: "Judaism assumes
that God, being God, can simply forgive people at will; a spiritual Savior
or mediator between God and his children is unnecessary. This is
a major reason why Christ is rejected by the Jews. From their standpoint,
where salvation is concerned, Jesus Christ is an irrelevance." (Studies
In Scripture, 7:247)
It appears that King Noah and his priests were corrupted with this same doctrine.
MOSIAH 15:8-9. Abinadi's declaration.
So vital and important is this doctrine, that Abinadi taught, "And
now I say unto you that the time shall come that the salvation of the Lord
shall be declared to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people."
Abinadi taught the doctrine of resurrection.
Brother Turner: "While the atonement conquers
spiritual death on conditions of repentance, the resurrection conquers
physical death unconditionally as an act of pure grace. This is because
we are punished for our own sins--not for Adam's transgression, which imposed
physical death on the human race." (Studies
In Scripture, 7:249)
The universal resurrection is divided:
A first resurrection - the just unto life.
A second resurrection - the unjust unto damnation.
WHAT DID ABINADI TEACH ABOUT THIS FIRST RESURRECTION?
This will be a resurrection of all the prophets and
those who have believed in their words and kept the commandments.
They are raised to dwell with God.
Includes those that died before Christ came - not
having salvation declared unto them.
Those that do not have part in the first resurrection
are they who have willfully rebelled against God.
HOW CAN WE QUALIFY TO COME FORTH IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION?
We must perform good works (v10).
Subject our wills and desires to God (v12).
Call upon the Lord (v12).
Repent of our sins (v12).
In the Book of Mormon the resurrection is almost
always mentioned in connection with the judgment.
Abinadi stated: "Even this
mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption,
and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him
according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil."
MOSIAH 16:1-4. The judgment.
Everyone must be resurrected because everyone must
answer for the deeds done in the flesh.
Abinadi ends where he began, teaching that the law
of Moses is a shadow of things to come.
"Therefore, if ye teach
the law of Moses, also teach that it is a shadow of those things which
are to come-- Teach them that redemption
cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen."
Abinadi was brought before wicked king Noah for final judgment.
Abinadi was burned.
While being burned he testified against the wicked leaders and prophesied
of their fate (Mosiah
Abinadi went to his death without knowing if anyone believed his teachings. As we know, Alma was converted because of Abinadi's efforts, and he and
his descendants had a great influence on the Nephites for many generations. President Gordon B. Hinckley tells this story:
"You don't know how much good you can do; you
can't foresee the results of the effort you put in. Years ago, President
Charles A. Callis, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, but who previously
was president of the Southern States Mission for twenty-five years, told
me this story. He said that he had a missionary in the southern states
who came in to get his release at the conclusion of his mission. His mission
president said to him, 'Have you had a good mission?'
"He said, 'No.'
"'How is that?'
"'Well, I haven't had any
results from my work. I have wasted my time and my father's money. It's
been a waste of time.'
"Brother Callis said, 'Haven't
you baptized anyone?'
"He said, 'I baptized only
one person during the two years that I have been here. That was a twelve-year-old
boy up in the back hollows of Tennessee.'
"He went home with a sense
of failure. Brother Callis said, 'I decided to follow that boy who had
been baptized. I wanted to know what became of him. The next time I went
up into that area I looked him up. He had put on shoes (he'd never worn
shoes before), he'd put on a shirt (he'd never had a shirt before), he
was the clerk of the little branch Sunday School.'
"Brother Callis said, 'I
followed him through the years. He became the Sunday School Superintendent,
and he eventually became the branch president. He married. He moved off
the little tenant farm on which he and his parents before him had lived
and got a piece of ground of his own and made it fruitful. He became the
district president. He sold that piece of ground in Tennessee and moved
to Idaho and bought a farm along the Snake River and prospered there. His
children grew. They went on missions. They came home. They had children
of their own who went on missions.'
"Brother Callis continued,
'I've just spent a week up in Idaho looking up every member of that family
that I could find and talking to them about their missionary service. I
discovered that, as the result of the baptism of that one little boy in
the back hollows of Tennessee by a missionary who thought he had failed,
more than 1,100 people have come into the Church.'
"You never can foretell
the consequences of your work, my beloved brethren and sisters, when you
serve as missionaries." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley,
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the teachings of Abinadi as discussed in this
lesson. What have you learned from his teachings about the mission of Jesus
Christ? What difference does that make in you life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Articles of Faith by James E. Talmage.
Studies in Scripture, Volume 7, edited by Kent P. Jackson.
Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (TPJS).
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
07 March 2016