So far, Abinadi has given a rocking speech, full of the gospel plan simply outlined and how it points to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Yet, when he finishes, “the king commanded that the priests should take him and cause that he should be put to death.” (1)
Alma, a young priest, seems to be the only one in that audience who had his heart pricked to listen…and realize his error…”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.” (2)
He stood up for truth, trying to protect the prophet from the king’s wicked edict. But King Noah is past listening. He is angry with Alma and casts him out and sends the other priests to kill him. Alma hides and over several days, he records all the words that Abinadi prophesied and taught. That’s why we have this account.
- Do I stand up for the prophet when others try to tear him down?
- Do I stand up for what I know to be true?
Alma was hunted with the intent to be destroyed because he stood up for the right. He wasn’t immediately blessed. Sometimes, we do what is right and bad things still happen. Like Alma, we might feel in peril. Or cast out. Alone, with the whole world against us. We might even falsely believe that God is against us, or ignoring us.
But instead of holding a pity party for himself, Alma put faith into action, by recording all of the prophet Abinadi’s words. I know when I write down spiritual teachings, they seem to sink deeper into my heart and become part of my soul. He didn’t give up. He exercised faith and repentance and grew during that dark time when he was alone in hiding.
- What will I do when I feel forsaken or alone in life?
- Will I give up or sink into pity?
- Or will I use that time to fill my spiritual well with living water to sustain me when I get up again…a stronger person?
Abinadi is bound and cast into prison for three days, then he’s brought before the king again, who accuses him of basically speaking truth and being “worthy of death.” (7)
For thou hast said that God himself should come down among the children of men; and now, for this cause thou shalt be put to death unless thou wilt recall all the words which thou hast spoken evil concerning me and my people.”Mosiah 17:8
Abinadi’s answer is inspiring.
I will not recall the words which I have spoken unto you concerning this people, for they are true; and that ye may know of their surety I have suffered myself that I have fallen into your hands.”Mosiah 17:9
He is unapologetic. He will not deny his testimony or the word of God. He is willing to suffer even unto death as a witness that they are true.
Pres. Nelson said in an address to BYU students in Sep 2019 that:
Truth is truth.
Some things are simply true. The arbiter of truth is God—not your favorite social media news feed, not Google, and certainly not those who are disaffected from the Church.
President Spencer W. Kimball taught that absolute truth cannot be “altered by the opinions of men. . . . If men are really humble, they will realize that they discover, but do not create, truth.”
Many now claim that truth is relative and that there is no such thing as divine law or a divine plan. Such a claim is simply not true. There is a difference between right and wrong. Truth is based upon the laws God has established for the dependability, protection, and nurturing of His children. Eternal laws operate in and affect each of our lives, whether we believe them or not.”The Love and Laws of God – Russell M. Nelson, Sep 2019, BYU
Abinadi boldly stands for truth, even in the face of death. (10)
Power of Friends
The Spirit must have been with him strongly, because the king is swayed by his testimony. He “feared his word; for he feared that the judgments of God would come upon him.” (11)
If it had been up to king Noah at this point, I believe he would’ve freed Abinadi. Not because he was suddenly repentant, but because he was scared. He felt something he didn’t understand, and I think he was willing to send Abinadi on his way and not be bothered by his conscience any longer that this guy activated.
But because of the priests taunting at his sides, Noah didn’t do what his conscience begged him to do.
The lesson I pick out from this is that who we surround ourselves with definitely can affect us, for the good or the bad. Good friends can inspire and lift us. They can help us make better choices and yearn to become more than we are. Bad friends sway us to do evil that we might not have done otherwise. They mock us when we try to do good and pull us down to their level, making us feel stupid when we want to be more than who we are today.
Choose good friends.
The king is stirred up to anger by his wicked priests. He delivers Abinadi into their hands to kill him. The priests waste no time; they do not want this prophet who has revealed their sins to walk free. They bind him, scourge him with faggots, and burn him.
…when the flames began to scorch him, he cried unto them, saying: /Behold, even as ye have done unto me, so shall it come to pass that thy seed shall cause that many shall suffer the pains that I do suffer, even the pains of death by fire; and this because they believe in the salvation of the Lord their God.”Mosiah 17:14-15
He prophesies that they shall be “afflicted with all manner of diseases because of your iniquities. (16) Yea, and ye shall be smitten on every hand…(17) [and] hunted, and ye shall be taken by the hand of your enemies, and then ye shall suffer, as I suffer, the pains of death by fire.” (18)
Abinadi commends his soul unto God—saying “O God, receive my soul.” (19) and he seals his testimony with his death. He stood boldly for truth until the very end. And that fervent faith took him out of this world and into a better one, where he would receive the promised blessings from God that he didn’t see here.
- How can I do better at standing for truth even in the face of severe persecution or affliction?
- How can I exercise faith and not give up or shrink down with doubt?