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Abinadi Appears before King Noah and His Court -by Arnold Friberg
The painting above pictures an event which took place in the court room of Noah, king of an offshoot nation of Nephites which actually began with Noah’s father, King Zeniff, who with some followers had left the city, Zarahemla where Mosiah, Benjamin's father, then Benjamin and his son, Mosiah, reigned over a period of time as righteous kings. Zeniff, Noah's father discovered the Land of “Lehi-Nephi” after much difficult searching.
The Land Lehi-Nephi was where the first Nephi, Lehi's fourth son, had settled (in about 550 B.C.) after he and his people left their land located near the land of the Lamanites, ruled by his rebellious brothers, Laman and Lemuel. Nephi and his people desired to live in peace!
What you will read in the scriptural link found after the next four paragraphs after this one may sound to you like something which might have taken place in Israel not long after Lehi, (in about 600 B.C.) along with his company of relatives and a friend were led away from Jerusalem towards the safety and hoped for righteousness of their promised land in ancient Central America.
Because of the degree of wickedness of the nation from which Lehi and his party fled, the Lord allowed the nation of Babylon to conquer them, Israel, killing many of its citizens and taking many others into captivity into Babylon where they were held in much sorrow and anguish for many years.
You will find the history of these circumstances recorded in the Old Testament (Book of Daniel and in other books).
In the scriptural link, coming up after this and the following paragraph, is described the extent of the corruption of these Nephite leaders which caused the Lord, two years later to send His prophet, Abinadi, for the second time to set them straight.
Abinadi is shown at that later date in the painting above, addressing the court while in chains. These events took place, according to footnotes in the Book of Mormon record, in [about 148 B.C.]
In the painting above it is easy to recognize King Noah sitting on his expensive throne. He is surrounded by his priests. As In ancient Israel, from which this people's main ancestor, Lehi and those who came with him, had fled, their government, although being led by a king, was governed by leaders who were supposed to be spiritual men who served as priests and who were supposed to teach righteousness. In Mosiah 11: 1-19 we learn the truth about that! (Feel free to click the Listen button on this scripture!) Do not read and listen past verse 19. You will do that later.
Mosiah 11: 1-19
Abinadi “had come (forward) from among this people” two years earlier than the events that took place in the courtroom scene depicted above to call his fellow citizens to repentance on behalf of the Lord. Please read the scriptural quote below to learn what was recorded about that earlier time when Abinadi first spoke up against the evil the King and his priests had led the people into, before Abinadi escaped to avoid (at least at that time) being killed by them.
You will need to scroll down to verse 20 where you will begin reading. You won't be able to listen this time!
Mosiah 11: 20-29
Two years later, at the time the courtroom scene shown above took place, Abinadi came in disguise but soon was recognized. He had been sent by the Lord this time for a very special outcome which will be made clear near the end of this post.
It will become obvious as you read this account in the Book of Mormon, that Abinadi knew through the Spirit of God within him what King Noah and his priests' response would be and that it would result in his own death.
Despite that, having an assigned message, like other ancient Israelite prophets, Abinadi did what the Lord wanted him to do despite his knowing that this would be the last thing he would do in in this present life.
Somewhere among the king’s priests shown in the painting above, was a young priest named Alma, who at some period in his life, became the father of Alma the Younger who was called to repentance years later, in a different land, by an Angel of the Lord. In a later post, you will learn about Alma the Younger.
This elder Alma, the priest, at the time the Lord sent Abinadi for the second time, was continuing to live knee deep in wickedness. The Book of Mormon doesn’t go into details about the life this Alma was living, but describes all the priests’ general mode of life. It was included in the first of the last two links. Please read these three verses which describe in particular detail How Noah's priests lived.
Mosiah 11:5 For he put down all the priests that had been consecrated by his father, and consecrated new ones in their stead, such as were lifted up in the pride of their hearts.
6 Yea, and thus they were supported in their laziness, and in their idolatry, and in their whoredoms, by the taxes which king Noah had put upon his people; thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity.
7 Yea, and they also became idolatrous, because they were deceived by the vain and flattering words of the king and priests; for they did speak flattering things unto them.Now let’s get right into the account of how this valiant and brave Abinadi after having returned, found himself in a very dangerous situation where he was to do just that which the Lord wanted him to do. You'll learn soon what that was and also the great purpose behind it.
Scroll up to the court room scene again unless your memory serves you better than mine does me.
Abinadi is the epitome of a prophet of the Lord. He’s doing what the Lord wanted him to do regardless of his own personal outcome. You can feel the spirit of Abinadi by just looking at him in that painting Now read this next scripture where Abinadi prophesied "among the people" after having not been openly among them for two years. I now quote part of Mosiah Chapter 12.
(done by world renown artist, Arnold Friberg - a faithful Mormon - who did the award winning art work for the Cecil B. DeMille Movie, The Ten Commandments).
Mosiah 12:1 AND it came to pass that after the space of two years that Abinadi came among them in disguise, that they knew him not, and began to prophesy among them, saying: Thus has the Lord commanded me, saying—Abinadi, go and prophesy unto this my people, for they have hardened their hearts against my words; they have repented not of their evil doings; therefore, I will visit them in my anger, yea, in my fierce anger will I visit them in their iniquities and abominations.
2 Yea, wo be unto this generation! And the Lord said unto me: Stretch forth thy hand and prophesy, saying: Thus saith the Lord, it shall come to pass that this generation, because of their iniquities, shall be brought into bondage, and shall be smitten on the cheek; yea, and shall be driven by men, and shall be slain; and the vultures of the air, and the dogs, yea, and the wild beasts, shall devour their flesh.
3 And it shall come to pass that the life of king Noah shall be valued even as a garment in a hot furnace; for he shall know that I am the Lord.
4 And it shall come to pass that I will smite this my people with sore afflictions, yea, with famine and with pestilence; and I will cause that they shall howl all the day long.
5 Yea, and I will cause that they shall have burdens lashed upon their backs; and they shall be driven before like a dumb ass.
6 And it shall come to pass that I will send forth hail among them, and it shall smite them; and they shall also be smitten with the east wind; and insects shall pester their land also, and devour their grain.
7 And they shall be smitten with a great pestilence—and all this will I do because of their iniquities and abominations.
8 And it shall come to pass that except they repent I will utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth; yet they shall leave a record behind them, and I will preserve them for other nations which shall possess the land; yea, even this will I do that I may discover the abominations of this people to other nations. And many things did Abinadi prophesy against this people.After Abinadi had made the above prophecy, we are told that he was bound and brought before King Noah. Most likely the following interaction between Abinadi, the king and the priests took place in the court room pictured above. The young priest, Alma, was surely among them. Now please read these passages of scripture. You will be reading about the discussion that took place between Abinadi, and the king and his priests:
Mosiah 12:18 And it came to pass that they said unto the king: Bring him hither that we may question him; and the king commanded that he should be brought before them.
19 And they began to question him, that they might cross him, that thereby they might have wherewith to accuse him; but he answered them boldly, and withstood all their questions, yea, to their astonishment; for he did withstand them in all their questions, and did confound them in all their words.
20 And it came to pass that one of them said unto him: What meaneth the words which are written, and which have been taught by our fathers, saying:
21 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth;
22 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion;
23 Break forth into joy; sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem;
24 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God?
25 And now Abinadi said unto them: Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people, and to understand the spirit of prophesying, and yet desire to know of me what these things mean?
26 I say unto you, wo be unto you for perverting the ways of the Lord! For if ye understand these things ye have not taught them; therefore, ye have perverted the ways of the Lord.
27 Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise. Therefore, what teach ye this people?
28 And they said: We teach the law of Moses.
29 And again he said unto them: If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon riches? Why do ye commit whoredoms and spend your strength with harlots, yea, and cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people?
30 Know ye not that I speak the truth? Yea, ye know that I speak the truth; and you ought to tremble before God.
31 And it shall come to pass that ye shall be smitten for your iniquities, for ye have said that ye teach the law of Moses. And what know ye concerning the law of Moses? Doth salvation come by the law of Moses? What say ye?
32 And they answered and said that salvation did come by the law of Moses.
33 But now Abinadi said unto them: I know if ye keep the commandments of God ye shall be saved; yea, if ye keep the commandments which the Lord delivered unto Moses in the mount of Sinai, saying:
34 I am the Lord thy God, who hath brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
35 Thou shalt have no other God before me.
36 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing in heaven above, or things which are in the earth beneath.
37 Now Abinadi said unto them, Have ye done all this? I say unto you, Nay, ye have not. And have ye taught this people that they should do all these things? I say unto you, Nay, ye have not.Now, I want you to now recall with my assistance, the essence of what I wrote in Post 1 (Mar. 16, 2008) of this blog where the “scholar”, Professor Alex Caldiero, in the PBS Television Video, “The Mormons”
|Professor Alex Caldiero, Utah Valley State University|
As you can easily see this man must never have read this part of the Book of Mormon.(or any other part of it.) How could what you have been reading be anything but solid history written by prophets in their own language and then translated by Joseph Smith by the gift and power of God as Dr. Dan Peterson of B.Y.U. reaffirms in his video in Post 4 and repeated again in Post 8.
King Noah, after hearing the passionate and true message of Abinadi, ordered his courtiers to kill Abinadi. Then this valiant, magnificent prophet told them that God would kill them if they took his life before he had delivered his full message.
Mosiah 13:5 Now it came to pass after Abinadi had spoken these words that the people of king Noah durst not lay their hands on him, for the Spirit of the Lord was upon him; and his face shone with exceeding luster, even as Moses' did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord.
6 And he spake with power and authority from God; and he continued his words, saying:
7 Ye see that ye have not power to slay me, therefore I finish my message. Yea, and I perceive that it cuts you to your hearts because I tell you the truth concerning your iniquities.
8 Yea, and my words fill you with wonder and amazement, and with anger.
9 But I finish my message; and then it matters not whither I go, if it so be that I am saved.
10 But this much I tell you, what you do with me, after this, shall be as a type and a shadow of things which are to come.
11 And now I read unto you the remainder of the commandments of God, for I perceive that they are not written in your hearts; I perceive that ye have studied and taught iniquity the most part of your lives.I don’t have the space to quote all of the words of Abinadi or of the king and his priests. When you have time I would like you to consider reading all of Chapters 9-17 of the Book of Mosiah, (of the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.) Recorded in those chapters there are a good number of very remarkable Gospel sermons delivered by Abinadi to King Noah and his people.
Those sermons reveal a great understanding of, and a love for, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We might well ask, where did this committed true prophet, Abinadi gain his superior knowledge of the Gospel and when did he decide to dedicate himself to totally serving the Lord?
King Benjamin Preaches to the Nephites in Zarahemla, the land from which King Noah's father, Zeniff, and others migrated to the Land, Lehi-Nephi, where Zeniff and then Noah served as king -by Gary Kapp
Possibly, (and I have no scriptural evidence of this), Abinadi could have learned the Gospel of Jesus Christ about 24 years before, along with his family by hearing King Benjamin's very spiritually strong sermon delivered from a tower erected near the Temple of the Lord.
King Benjamin's sermon was delivered as he prepared to give up his kingdom to his son, Mosiah. Along with learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ from King Benjamin, from what we have learned of Abinadi's spiritual character, had he been present at that very important event in Nephite history surely he would also have covenanted to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, with all his heart and soul along with all of the other subjects of King Benjamin as described in the scripture linked below. Now just two more verses from the time of King Benjamin's sermon at the Temple in Zarahemla:
Mosiah 6: 1 AND now, king Benjamin thought it was expedient, after having finished speaking to the people, that he should take the names of all those who had entered into a covenant with God to keep his commandments.
2 And it came to pass that there was not one soul, except it were little children, but who had entered into the covenant and had taken upon them the name of Christ. (emphasis added)I expect that many of you readers of this blog post, along with me, would believe that possibly one of the names to be found on that list of covenant makers who had taken upon them the name of Christ on that sacred occasion might have been:
ABINADI, son of . . . .Now we go back to the account of the people of King Noah. We are told something very significant, something which would bring much good eventually from this challenging piece of Nephite history. Please read these four significant verses:
Mosiah 17:1 AND now it came to pass that when Abinadi had finished these sayings, that the king commanded that the priests should take him and cause that he should be put to death.
2 But there was one among them whose name was Alma, he also being a descendant of Nephi. And he was a young man, and he believed the words which Abinadi had spoken, for he knew concerning the iniquity which Abinadi had testified against them; therefore he began to plead with the king that he would not be angry with Abinadi, but suffer that he might depart in peace.
3 But the king was more wroth, and caused that Alma should be cast out from among them, and sent his servants after him that they might slay him.
4 But he fled from before them and hid himself that they found him not. And he being concealed for many days did write all the words which Abinadi had spoken. (emphasis added)The young first Alma, believed in Abinadi’s words. What a significant event! This wicked priest would soon become a righteous prophet. Most importantly, as you have just learned from that scripture, this Alma recorded all the words that Abinadi had spoken to them. This event, in my opinion, is a very important part of the very special purpose for the Lord having sent Abinadi to preach after being away for two years, for the second time, to King Noah and his priests.
In my humble opinion, knowing that I am not a great scriptural expert, this is perhaps one of the most significant positive turning points in all of Nephite history, perhaps second only to the appearance and ministry of the Resurrected Jesus Christ when he came among the Nephite- Lamanites who were spared from destruction by seismic forces that occurred not long after the time of the crucifixion and death of our Savior in Jerusalem.
And it was this one young priest, Alma the elder, that began this great turn of events because he believed in Abinadi's inspired words to the extent that he wrote them all for himself and the others who believed as he did for guidance in their lives.
To me, the name Abinadi, is a most sacred name, as is the name, Alma who allowed the Spirit of the Lord to penetrate his heart allowing him to become a very significant prophet-leader.
You are now viewing another painting done by Brother Arnold Friberg. You will see here Alma, the First, the converted priest of Noah, baptizing in a secret place, The Waters of Mormon, where they couldn't be easily detected by King Noah's soldiers.
This was a strong, new beginning of the Church of Christ in the ancient Americas which grew and prospered, with, at times, ups and downs, for a good long time leading up to the time of the appearance of Christ in America just after His resurrection.
I now end this somewhat lengthy, but very significant review of Book of Mormon scriptures with the parting testimony of that precious prophet, Abinadi. Tears come to my eyes as I think of what he said and did. It is a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ (recorded by Alma the former priest of King Noah who believed in and recorded all the words taught by Abinadi.
I strongly suggest that you click on the Listen Button when this chapter comes up: Mosiah, Chapter 16
Now after your reading and listening to the testimony of Abinadi, please read about what was done by the king and his priests to this great prophet despite the testimony he had born to them. Again, you would do well to Listen as well as read this Book of Mormn scripture.
Notice in verse 11 of Chapter 17, King Noah was just about to release Abinadi, but the priests caused him to change his mind.
We love you, Abinadi, and look forward to meeting you in the Spirit World after we leave this life. We know your place in the Celestial World is secure. We each pray ours will be also!
For your further enlightenment and spiritual strengthening please view this very touching and inspiring video. (Mormon Message)
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