Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Post 13 - Abinadi Testifies of Christ

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Alma Baptizing in the Waters of Mormon -by Arnold Friberg
Mormon Abridging the Plates -by Tom Lovell 
The miracle wrought by God through His prophet, Abinadi, is what you are viewing in this Arnold Friberg painting. It is the larger of the two paintings.

It is of a baptism taking place at the Waters of Mormon. You viewed it at the end of the last post because the event pictured was a direct result of the successful mission the Lord led the Prophet Abinadi to accomplish.
Let me divert your attention momentarily so I can help you gain the proper perspective as to where all of this Nephite history information came from which should remind us that this isn't a story made up by a young farmboy, Joseph Smith, like some people have been known to do.
Mormon, in a painting above lived at about 400 AD. He was the main editor and writer of what is known as the Book of Mormon (which is named after him). Having been commanded of the Lord, Mormon abridged, or summarized, a portion of the Nephite records. That is what he is shown doing in the painting. His abridgment does not contain even a "hundredth part" of his people's history, but it does contain important teachings about Jesus Christ and His gospel. Besides this abridgment,which forms the main part of the Book of Mormon, Mormon and later his son, Moroni, were inspired to include other writings. The resulting book of scripture stands alongside the Bible as another Testament of Jesus Christ.

Please read the summary the prophet Mormon wrote about these events at the Waters of Mormon involving Alma the First and others who believed in the prophet Abinadi's teachings. I will then help you review this information so you will understand and remember well what happened at that place. I suggest that you listen to this while reading it.
 Mosiah 18:1-35

You learned from your reading those 35 verses, that Alma the First, after having repented of his sins and iniquities, began, privately, so as not come to the attention of King Noah and his army, to teach the words of Abinadi about such important things as:

1. The resurrection of the dead and the redemption of believing people which would be brought about through the power, and sufferings and death of Christ, and his eventual resurrection and ascension into heaven.
These evidences of the atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ are very frequent in the Book of Mormon. That is why it is Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
The prophet Abinadi bore a strong witness of the Savior which you had the opportunity of reading in Post 12. I appreciate Abinadi's familarity with the Book of Isaiah. Because it is so poignant, I want you to read Mosiah Chapter 14 next where Isaiah is quoted (obtained from the plates of brass which Nephit obtained from Laban's treasury in Jerusalem) and look forward to actively feeling the power of the great prophet, Isaiah's prophecies regarding Jesus Christ who wasn't born until many years after Isaiah's death. (He like Abinadi became a Christian martyr.)

Mosiah 14:1-12

Of course, this quote from Isaiah was available to Abinadi in his own set of scriptures which had eventually come from the Brass Plates which Nephi and his three brothers were able to get from Laban's library in Jerusalem before they immigrated to the Americas.

2. While at the Waters of Mormon, where Alma and his followers were able to hide from the King, Alma introduced the subject of baptism. He cited the following reasons for their being prepared for the holy ordinance of baptism. Really focus on these.

 Mosiah 18:8-9

I had you read those verses because although you read them already I want to emphasize what this inspired prophet, Alma, said about that which each person who is baptized is to do and feel to make their baptism into the fold of Christ what it should be. Maybe, if you have not yet been baptized into the true fold of Christ, that privilege may someday be yours.
3. Then we are told about the baptisms, beginning with Alma baptizing Helam and himself at the same time. Alma had said to all of them:
Mosiah 18:10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
 About four hundred and fifty souls baptized that day. The summary recorded by Mormon further tells us: ". . .yea, and they were baptized in the waters of Mormon, and were filled with the grace of God."(Mosiah 18:16)

4."Having authority from God" Alma had established the Church of God or the Church of Christ. With that authority Alma ordained priests; even one priest to every fifty of their number, "to teach them concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." Alma also taught the priests he ordained that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets (from their scriptures which they had thanks to the Brass Plates of Laban.
5. Mosiah 18:20 tells us: "Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the lord, who had redeemed his people.

We are told: 21 And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should all look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.

22: And thus he commanded them to preach. And thus they became the children of God.

23: And he commanded them that they should observe the sabbath day, and keep it holy, and also every day they should give thanks to the Lord their God.
24 And he also commanded them that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for their support. (How important)
25 And there was one day in every week that was set apart that they should gather themselves together to teach the people, and to worship the Lord their God, and also, as often as it was in their power, to assemble themselves together."
26 And the priests were not to depend upon the people for their support; but for their labor they were to receive the grace of God, that they might wax strong in the Spirit, having the knowledge of God, that they might teach with power and authority from God.
27 And again Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given."
28 And thus they should impart of their substance of their own free will and good desires towards God, and to those priests that stood in need, yea, and to every needy, naked soul.
29 And this he said unto them, having been commanded of God; and they did walk uprightly before God, imparting to one another both emporally and spiritually according to their needs and their wants."
30 And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, the by waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon: yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever.
31 And these things were done in the borders of the land, that they might not come to the knowledge of the king.
in the last four verses we are told that Alma and his people had to move into the wilderness to excape King Noah and his armies as they had found out that they were at the Waters of Mormon.

As I was typing the above beautiful verses the realization came to me for the first time after all the times I have read the Book of Mormon, that a special meaning must have come into Mormon's mind and heart as he wrote about these special things that were taught and set up in places with the name "Mormon", his name. I'm sure the Waters of Mormon had special meaning to Mormon because of what happened there in establishing the Lord Jesus Christ's church in that land. I think also he dwelt so positively on what happened at the Waters of Mormon because in his own time (about 400 AD) The Lamanites were on the verge of wiping out all of his people (including Mormon). Notice in the painting the cave-like appearance of the room in which he was abridging records. The Lamanites would have destroyed his records if they could. No wonder that Mormon paid so much attention to what happened at the Waters of Mormon. The Church of Christ was very important to him. The Church was destroyed in the Americas at the end of Mormon's life!
Again, all of us should be grateful for the Prophet Abinadi. Without Abinadi none of the good that happened at the Waters of Mormon would have ever happened. But foremost, if our Lord, Jesus Christ had not atoned for our sins and brought about the resurrection for us life would be impossible.
In Post 14, we will learn about the challenges and faithfulness of this brave group of followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, with a prophet, Alma the First, who lead them by the Spirit.

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