1. Abinadi calls Noah and his priests to repentance, exhorts them to keep the commandments, and teaches of the Atonement.
Mosiah 12:6 The east wind
“The east wind is a destructive wind which originates in the east, the symbolic direction of Deity’s presence. Also called ‘the wind of the Lord’ (Hosea 13:15), it is ‘prepared’ by God (Jonah 4:8) for the purpose of destroying the ungodly and unrighteous. The Lord has stated, ‘If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction’ (Mosiah 7:31). Hence they are ‘smitten with the east wind’ (Mosiah 12:6; see also Job 27:21).” (Donald W. Parry, Joseph Fielding McConkie, A Guide to Scriptural Symbolism, p. 45)
Mosiah 12:8 They shall leave a record behind them
‘While general destruction is a typical prophecy of doom, this particular prophecy includes the unusual idea that a record will be made of their annihilation. In other words, Abinadi warns the people that they are not only are headed for destruction but will be used as an object lesson for future peoples. No wonder they were outraged (v. 9).’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Cultural Commentaries on the Book of Mormon)
Mosiah 12:16 We have brought a man before thee
‘This scene shows an orderly society responding to disorder in an orderly way. While Mormon’s portrait of Noah’s people is highly unsympathetic, his censoriousness stems from his religious perspective. From their own perspective, they are not a disorderly and impulsive mob; they recognize proper authority and make formal complaints with which the law can deal. Despite Abinadi’s threats against the king and the society, he will not be executed without a trial.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Winess: Analytical and Cultural Commentaries on the Book of Mormon)
Mosiah 12:20-24 How beautiful upon the mountains
‘One cannot help but wonder as to the motivation behind the question. Did the high priest actually desire understanding of the verses? [21-24] Or, rather, was he essentially saying: “I thought that the prophet Isaiah had said that blessed are those who declare good tidings and bring peaceful salutations. Why is your message so negative, so pessimistic, and why are you so prone to such gloomy prophecy?” Abinadi nevertheless treated the questioner with enough respect as to suggest a direct answer; the answer would, however, not be given at the moment (see Mosiah 15:11-18). ‘ (Robert L. Millet, A Symposium on the Book of Mormon [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1986], 98)
Mosiah 12:25 Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people?
“Noah’s apostate priests had read the words of Isaiah but had not inquired of the Lord or searched for the proper meaning of the words handed down by their fathers. Like others who had failed to give ‘heed and diligence’ to the word of God, the ‘mysteries of God’ had been withheld from them (see Alma 12:9-10). Therefore, Abinadi had reason to answer them in a condemning manner: ‘Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people…'” (Carlos E Asay, The Seven M’s of Missionary Service, p. 135)
Mosiah 12:30-31 Doth salvation come through the law of Moses?
‘Abinadi uses the priests’ tactic of laying a verbal trap by asking if salvation comes through the law of Moses. This question goes to the crux of their apostasy. He knows that salvation comes only through the Messiah and also knows that this was the original religious understanding of these priests. However, like Sherem, they have altered the teachings, eliminating the Messiah as savior and privileging the law of Moses (Jacob 7:2).’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Cultural Commentaries on the Book of Mormon)
Mosiah 13:3 God will not suffer that I shall be destroyed at this time
‘All over the world, faithful Latter-day Saints are protected from the powers of the evil one and his servants until they have finished their missions in mortality. For some the mortal mission is brief, as with some valiant young men who have lost their lives in missionary service. But for most of us the mortal journey is long, and we continue our course with the protection of guardian angels.
During my life I have had many experiences of being guided in what I should do and in being protected from injury and also from evil. The Lord’s protecting care has shielded me from the evil acts of others and has also protected me from surrendering to my own worst impulses.’ (Dallin H Oakes, General Conference, October 1992)
Mosiah 13:11 The Ten Commandments
‘Some have mistakenly supposed that the Ten Commandments were a part of the law of Moses. In fact, they are a part of the higher law or the fulness of the gospel. This is illustrated by their reiteration to us as part of the restoration of all things (see D&C 59:5–12). The Ten Commandments were a part of the fulness of the gospel as first given to Moses on Sinai. Though the higher priesthood and its ordinances were taken from Israel because of her transgressions, when Moses returned to Sinai to receive what we know as the law of Moses the Ten Commandments were retained as a part of Israel’s covenant with God. ‘ [Robert Millet and Joseph McConkie, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2, p. 216]
Mosiah 13:28 Salvation doth not come by the law alone
“Men and women unquestionably have impressive powers and can bring to pass great things. But after all our obedience and good works, we cannot be saved from death or the effects of our individual sins without the grace extended by the atonement of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon makes this clear. It teaches that ‘salvation doth not come by the law alone’ (Mosiah 13:28). In other words, salvation does not come simply by keeping the commandments. ‘By the law no flesh is justified’ (2 Ne. 2:5). Even those who try to obey and serve God with all their heart, might, mind, and strength are ‘unprofitable servants’ (Mosiah 2:21). Man cannot earn his own salvation” (Dallin H Oaks, “Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, Mar. 1994, 67).
Mosiah 13:29-31 The Law of Moses
‘In a sense the Law of Moses was given as a type of’spiritual busywork’ a system and pattern that would keep the people constantly involved; with everything pointing towards the coming Saviour and Redeemer.’ (Robert Millet, CES Symposium, August 1986)
2. Abinadi quotes Isaiah, testifies of the Atonement, and exhorts Noah’s priests to teach the people that redemption comes through Christ.
Mosiah 14:2-12 The fulfillment of the words of Isaiah
|(2) he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground||(Lu 2:40) the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.|
|(3) He is despised and rejected of men||(Mark 6:2) Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James…And they were offended at him|
|(3) a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief||(Lu 19:41-42) And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the thingswhich belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.|
|(4-5) he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…he was wounded for our transgressions||(Lu 22:44) And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.|
|(5) he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.||(Jn 19:1-3) Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him with their hands.|
|(6) All we like sheep, have gone astray||(Matt 26:31) All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
(Mark 14:46,50) And they laid their hands on him, and took him…And they all forsook him, and fled.
|(7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth.||(Lu 23:8-10) Herod…questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.
(Matt 27:13-14) Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
|(8) who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living||(Matt 27:24-26) Pilate…washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.|
|(9) he made his grave with the wicked||(Matt 27:38) Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.|
|(9) and with the rich in his death||(Matt 27:57-58) a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph…went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.|
|(10) Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief||(Matt 27:46) Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?|
|(10) when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his seed||(Mosiah 15:11-12) those who…believed that the Lord would redeem his people…are his seed…For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed?|
|(11) He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.||(DC 19:16-17) For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I ;|
|(12) Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong||(Matt 26:64) Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.|
Mosiah 15:10 He shall see his seed
‘The prophet Abinadi further states that “when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed” (Mosiah 15:10) Abinadi then identifies the Savior’s seed as the prophets and those who follow them. For many years I thought of the Savior’s experience in the garden and on the cross as places where a large mass of sin was heaped upon Him. Through the words of Alma, Abinadi, Isaiah, and other prophets, however, my view has changed. Instead of an impersonal mass of sin, there was a long line of people, as Jesus felt “our infirmities” ( Heb. 4:15) “[bore] our griefs, … carried our sorrows … [and] was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:4-5) The Atonement was an intimate, personal experience in which Jesus came to know how to help each of us.’ (Melvin J Bateman, General Conference, October 2005)
Mosiah 15:10-13 I say unto you that they are his seed
“In these great scriptures from the Book of Mormon, we learn that those who are qualified by faith and repentance and compliance with the laws and ordinances of the gospel will have their sins borne by the Lord Jesus Christ. In spiritual and figurative terms they will become the sons and daughters of Christ, heirs to his kingdom. These are they who will be called by his name in the last day” (Dallin H Oaks in Conference Report, Apr. 1985).
Mosiah 15:24 Died in their ignorance
‘If a person never had the opportunity to know anything about the plan of salvation, then surely he should not be held accountable for his deeds in the flesh on an equality with the man who knew the truth and refused to obey it. Thousands of these people who lived in this ignorance were devout and faithful to the doctrines which they had been taught. They cannot be held accountable for their actions which were done in faith and obedience to that which they devoutly believed and had been taught.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions)
3. Abinadi seals his testimony of the Savior with his life.
Mosiah 17:2 Alma
“One of the wicked priests of King Noah is a man named Alma, who is a descendant of Nephi. When first introduced in the Book of Mormon, Alma is a young man in the process of being converted by Abinadi. (Mosiah 17:2.) Much of the religious history of the Nephite nation for the next three hundred years is concerned with this man and his descendants. Alma not only begins a religious revival among his own people, but later he is given power by King Mosiah to establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla. (See Mosiah 25:19.)
“Still later we read that Alma’s son (also called Alma) succeeds his father as the religious leader of the people and also becomes the first chief judge over the Nephite nation. Other descendants of Alma the elder who become great religious leaders of the Nephites include his grandson (Helaman); great-grandson (Helaman, the son of Helaman); great-great-grandson (Nephi, the son of Helaman who is the son of Helaman); and great-great-great-grandson (Nephi the second, who is also the chief disciple of the resurrected Jesus Christ). Abinadi may have felt that he had failed as a missionary; so far as the record indicates, his only convert was Alma. However, as mentioned above, the missionary efforts of Abinadi affected the religious life of the Nephites for hundreds of years.” (Daniel Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p.187)
Mosiah 17:5-12 The methods of the guilty
‘King Noah indicated that he was condemning Abinadi because Abinadi said that “God himself should come down among the children of men” (Mosiah 17:8). The real reason is shown in King Noah’s statement that he would spare Abinadi if he would recall all the words he had spoken against the king and his people (see v. 8).
One of the methods of the guilty is to destroy those who have exposed their guilt. Abinadi’s words condemned Noah and his people for their sinful ways, so Noah sought the life of Abinadi. Truly, as Nephi said, “The guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center” (1 Nephi 16:2).’ (Seminary Student Manual)
Mosiah 17:9-10 I will not recall the words which I have spoken
‘Abinadi refuses this option and declares that his death will testify against Noah (and his priests). In verse 9 Abinadi clearly declares that, while Noah’s men may have physically brought him to the court, he came intentionally and voluntarily. The result is to stress that he understood his mission to be his sermon before the priests which converted Alma and condemned the rest.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Cultural Commentaries on the Book of Mormon)
Mosiah 17:20 Having sealed the truth of his words by his death
“I can imagine them dancing and cavorting about Abinadi, and hear them shouting, exulting, and gloating over what they were doing. And during it all, Abinadi was pronouncing prophecies of God’s vengeance upon them- prophecies that were literally fulfilled. The noise, the din, the stench would be awful! Wickedness and righteousness, life and death, are real, and Abinadi’s martyrdom really did happen. It was necessary that it happen so the righteous might be justified and the wicked might be condemned. Sadly, we read that ‘Abinadi was [only] the first [among the Nephites] that suffered death by fire because of his belief in God’ (Alma 25:11).” (Robert J Matthews, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 103)