King Noah becomes angrier after Abinadi finishes speaking. He tells his priests to take him away and kill him, because he is “mad.” (1)
It’s interesting that this type of rejection still takes place today. When we hear something that clashes with our worldview, beliefs, or desires we naturally want to label the person or organization that presented that clashing information as a heretic or some other negative label.
By throwing a negative label onto someone that disagrees with us, we can go on our way content that we are right and they are wrong…even if the opposite is true. But why would you want to go through life living a lie?
What kind of foundation am I standing on?
An English college professor used to tell us that the thing we thought we believed was the thing that was hardest for us to believe.
When I first heard that, it didn’t make sense. But over time, it’s come to make a lot of sense. He was encouraging us to challenge our beliefs and come to understand why, what, and how we came to hold onto them…and if that foundation was solid or flimsy.
Were they things our parents had taught us growing up? Then figure out as an adult if they were true or false and if we wanted to pass those teachings on to our own children or not.
Were they things we’d been taught by a religious leader? Then search on our own to verify or discount those teachings. Pray, ask, seek, ponder, pray, repent, seek some more. Get my own testimony from God of whether those religious teachings were of man or of God.
Were they political philosophies or secular ideas taught by parents, teachers, or mentors (or heaven forbid, Facebook)? Then learn about the other side and see if my source was giving me the “whole” picture. After studying and learning, stand on my own two feet, instead of relying on those other sources to influence me.
I see people cling to beliefs, traditions, teachings, philosophies, cultural trends, religious culture, or political views with tenacious ferocity. The ones who cling the tightest are usually standing on a flimsy foundation they are too ignorant of or unwilling to challenge. But challenging those things we think “we already know” is how we grow and make our foundation solid as a rock.
When I finally took a “time-out” and challenged what I had grown up being taught—not rejecting it, but praying to God sincerely for whether it was true or not—that’s when I truly began to grow spiritually, mentally, and even physically. I stopped just “accepting” what I believed as the truth and “searched and prayed” for real truth. And God answered my prayers—not necessarily quickly, but assuredly.
Maybe what you already believe is the truth. But it could also be false and pulling you down. Getting your answers from man or the world won’t verify truth. Man and the world have too many ulterior objectives to sift out truth from falsehood.
God is the author of truth. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. Use Him as your ultimate source to check the validity of any secular, religious, political, cultural philosophy or belief you might hold onto—and maybe start with those ones you hold onto tightest—the ones you think are already true.
Are they really? Maybe so. Maybe not.
I love The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because our leaders encourage us constantly to seek for personal revelation so we can build upon a solid foundation, not a flimsy one we don’t understand deep down. Our living prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, wants us to know for ourselves that Jesus is the Christ and that He died and atoned for our sins, pains, and weaknesses. He wants us to know for ourselves that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ and contains the fullness of His everlasting gospel, which verifies and clears up the truths contained in the Bible. He wants us to know for ourselves that this is Christ’s restored Church on the earth today and that He has called prophets, seers and revelators to lead it. Our prophet doesn’t want us just to believe his testimony of these truths. He pleads with us to turn to God and ask for our own witness, promising that if we are sincere in our spiritual searching, our God will answer us abundantly.
A righteous answer
Abinadi is filled with the Spirit of God and withstands the guards when they try to lay hands upon him. He tells them not to touch him for they will be smitten if they do. He says he isn’t finished delivering the message God sent him to deliver…and that they requested of him. (3) That last part makes me chuckle. They had cross-examined him and asked questions. Now he demands that they let him answer.
The Spirit is so strong in him that it’s changed his countenance that “his face shone with exceeding luster, even as Moses’ did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord.” (5)
The priests had spoken flattering words and justified their and the people’s sins. Now, Abinadi shows them the truth, which the wicked take to be hard. He says his “words fill you with wonder and amazement, and with anger.” (8)
Abinadi reminds them 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.” (11)
Remember, Alma is among this group of wicked priests. Later, he is converted, so I assume his heart is pricking him now as his beliefs are being challenged. Having our worldview and that which we hold on tightly to can be painful and uncomfortable. Most worthwhile things are. But we need the truth not just in our minds—it is easy to get things there. We need the truth in our hearts.
- Am I willing to challenge that which I think I know to be already true?
- Am I willing to search my heart and repent, so God can show me absolute truths?
Abinadi lays out the Mosaic laws and asks: “Have ye taught this people these things for to keep these commandments? (25) I say unto you, Nay; for if ye had, the Lord would not have caused me to come forth and to prophesy evil concerning this people.” (26)
He explains to them how the Mosaic law, which they live, is preparing them for something greater.
All things point to a Savior
And now ye have said that salvation cometh by the law of Moses. I say unto you that is is expedient that ye should keep the law of Moses as yet; but I say unto you, that the time shall come when it shall no more be expedient to keep the law of Moses (27) And moreover, I say unto you, that salvation doth not come by the law alone; and were it not for the atonement which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, that they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses.”Mosiah 12:27-28
He shows how Christ is the only One who grants salvation. The law of Moses prepared them to look to Him, giving them “types of things to come.” (31)
Abinadi says every prophet from the beginning has prophesied the same thing, that “God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth.(34) Yea, and have they not said also that he should bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, and that he, himself, should be oppressed and afflicted?” (35)
This is the message of hope and salvation we are to carry to the whole world today. Christ lives. He has made it possible to have hope in salvation, through His atoning power. He has broken the bands of death so that we may live forever with Him, if we choose Him.
Abinadi quotes Isaiah 53, one of my favorite chapters ever. He talks about how Christ “shall grow up before him as a tender plant.” (2) To me this means Jesus came to earth, like all the rest of us—in a fragile body, like a tender plant. “And as a root out of dry ground.” (2) A root in dry ground has to struggle to survive. Jesus came down in humble circumstances where he had to struggle. Born in a manger, fled to Egypt as a refugee, raised as a poor carpenter’s son in humble Nazareth.
He has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him.”Mosiah 14:2
Maybe Christ’s mortal body was just average, possibly even less than average in some way, that people wouldn’t be drawn to His physical form, but that they would have to see into His heart.
All the more reason not to judge someone on appearance. Can you imagine if Jesus had been as this verse says—no form (no muscles or great stature) or comeliness (that which is appealing to look at). What if He had a big nose, or teeth that stuck out? What if He was shorter than other men? Would I have turned away from Him, based only on His mortal shell?
Do I turn away from people now, because of how they look or act? How I treat my fellowmen is how I would treat my Savior. Could I do better…and how?
Christ “is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were, our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (3) Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (4)
Would I have been one of those people who hid my face from Him—the Creator of the Universe? Do I ever hide my face now when people are ridiculed or shunned?
It takes courage to look beyond the physical masks we wear to the spirit deep inside. It takes looking people in the eye, smiling, asking questions, getting to know the real them—weaknesses and all.
Christ has borne our griefs. Different definitions of “bear” are: to carry, suffer, endure, to hold up or support. Christ has suffered the things that bring us grief. He has carried them for us and supported us in our sorrows. Yet, do we take His Atonement for granted, esteeming him stricken, smitten and afflicted? Or do we praise Him with all our heart, might, mind and strength, in awe of His redeeming power?
He was wounded for OUR transgressions, he was bruised for OUR iniquities; the chastisement of OUR peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”Mosiah 14:5
All the misery, suffering, and pain He endured, He did for ME…for all of US. He was wounded, bruised, spit upon, whipped. And because HE suffered those injustices and sorrows, WE ARE HEALED.
Do you truly believe this…deep in your heart where truth resides? If not, challenge what is holding you back and go to the ultimate Source for revelation and truth.
You will never regret that journey.