God commanded Abinadi to warn the people of King Noah that, if they didn’t repent, they would be conquered by their enemies. His message was not well received: the people tried to kill him, and the king threatened to have him executed. So he left (Mosiah 11:20-29).
Two years later, Abinadi returned with a different message: Because the people hadn’t repented, they would become slaves. If they still refused to repent after that, they would be completely destroyed (Mosiah 12:1-8).
Abinadi was arrested and brought before the king and his priests for questioning. One of the priests asked him to explain a passage of scripture—Isaiah 52:7-10. In response to that question, Abinadi delivered this sermon to them.
Abinadi’s objective in preaching this sermon was to help King Noah and his priests understand the role of the Savior in the gospel. It is important to keep the commandments of God, but it is even more important to understand that without God’s grace, we cannot overcome our sins and weaknesses and achieve our full potential.
- Introduction – Abinadi asks several questions. (Mosiah 12:25-37)
- “Are you priests?” Why are you asking me to explain these things? (Mosiah 12:25-26)
- What do you teach? [They reply that they teach the law of Moses.] “If ye teach the law of Moses, why do ye not keep it?” (Mosiah 12:27-30)
- “Doth salvation come by the law of Moses? What say ye?” [They reply that salvation does come by the law of Moses. Abinadi validates this answer, but provides a better answer later in the sermon.] “I know if ye keep the commandments of God ye shall be saved.” He recites the first two commandments (Mosiah 12:31-36).
- “Have ye done all this?… And have ye taught this people that they should do these things?” You have not (Mosiah 12:37).
- [The king commands his priests to take Abinadi away, but they cannot touch him because of the power of God which shines in his face] (Mosiah 13:1-6).
- “I finish my message.” It doesn’t matter what happens after that (Mosiah 13:7-10).
- The role of the law (Mosiah 13:11-35)
- Abinadi reads the remainder of the Ten Commandments to them, “for I perceive that they are not written in your hearts” (Mosiah 13:11-24).
- If you had taught the people to obey these commandments, I wouldn’t have come to call you to repentance (Mosiah 13:25-26).
- You must keep the law, but salvation doesn’t come by the law. The “performances and ordinances” of the law are “types of things to come.” (Mosiah 13:27-32)
- Moses and the other prophets all prophesied that God Himself would come down and redeem us. (Mosiah 13:33-35)
- Abinadi quotes Isaiah 53. The Savior will be despised, rejected, and oppressed. He will take upon himself our griefs and our transgressions (Mosiah 14).
- Abinadi explains Isaiah 53 and 52:7-10. (Mosiah 15)
- God Himself will come to earth and subject His will to the will of His Father (Mosiah 15:1-9).
- Who will “declare His generation”? Who are His “seed”? The prophets: the people who teach His gospel (Mosiah 15:10-14).
- “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet” of all those who “publish peace,” including the Savior, Himself (Mosiah 15:15-19).
- Everyone will be resurrected, and many will obtain eternal life (Mosiah 15:20-27).
- The gospel will eventually be preached to every nation. Then, the “watchmen” will sing in unison (Mosiah 15:28-31).
- Conclusion: final testimony (Mosiah 16)
- We will all acknowledge in the end that God is just (Mosiah 16:1).
- We are lost without the Atonement of Jesus Christ (Mosiah 16:2-5).
- We will all be resurrected, but we will only receive “endless life and happiness” if we repent (Mosiah 16:6-13).
- You should teach that the law of Moses is “a shadow of those things which are to come. Teach…that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father” (Mosiah 16:14-15).
Abinadi was burned at the stake for blasphemy. One of the priests, Alma, believed Abinadi’s words and defended him. The king tried to kill him, and he fled into the wilderness, where he taught the gospel and organized the church.
It’s easy to think that the gospel message is that we should do good and be good. As Abinadi taught the priests of King Noah, obeying God’s commandments is a great start. But that is not really what the gospel is all about. In order to understand the gospel, we need to remember what God has done for us. Jesus Christ came to earth, suffered, died, and was resurrected so that we could overcome death and sin. We repent in order to receive His grace, which enables us to become everything that God wants us to become. The choice is ours. The way is prepared. By submitting fully to His Father’s will and suffering on our behalf, Jesus has made a happy outcome possible, but we have to choose to receive the gift.
I will respond to Abinadi’s message by remembering the sacrifice of the Savior on my behalf. I will remember that my best efforts to improve will only be effective if I follow His example: submitting my will to the will of the Father, and thus opening the door for Him to help me overcome the “carnal and devilish” parts of my nature. Today, I will remember that I’m not alone. God is my companion on this journey, and He has paid the ultimate price to make it possible for me to return to His presence and inherit eternal life.
Blog Posts about Abinadi’s Sermon
- What Is the Role of Isaiah’s “Servant Songs” in the Book of Mormon? (6/14/2019)
- How Is Christ the “Messenger of the Covenant?” (6/4/2019)
- How Does Isaiah Point Us Toward Christ? (6/1/2019)
- Which of Isaiah’s Writings Are Quoted in the Book of Mormon? (5/31/2019)
- Why Is Isaiah Quoted So Much in the Book of Mormon? (5/27/2019)
- What Does the Book of Mormon Teach About Sadness? (5/7/2019)
- What Does the Book of Mormon Teach About the Resurrection? (4/21/2019)
- How Does God Communicate with Us? (4/16/2019)
- How Is Jesus Both “the Father and the Son?” (3/18/2019)
- How Is Jesus Christ “the Light and the Life of the World?” (3/17/2019)
- For They Are Carnal and Devilish – Mosiah 16:5 (7/7/2018)
- Thy Watchmen Shall Lift up Their Voice – Mosiah 15:28-29 (7/6/2018)
- He Opened Not His Mouth – Mosiah 14:7 (7/5/2018)
- I Perceive That They Are Not Written in Your Hearts – Mosiah 13:11 (7/4/2018)
- Ye Have Not Applied Your Hearts to Understanding – Mosiah 12:27 (7/3/2018)
- I Have Not Delivered the Message Which the Lord Sent Me to Deliver – Mosiah 13:1-4 (1/31/2018)
- Doth Salvation Come by the Law of Moses? – Mosiah 12:31-33 (1/28/2018)
- The Arms of Mercy – Mosiah 16:12 (10/30/2017)
- Being the Father and the Son – Mosiah 15:1-7 (10/29/2017)
- Standing Betwixt Them and Justice – Mosiah 15:8-9 (10/28/2017)
- Types of Things to Come – Mosiah 13:29-31 (10/27/2017)
- Because I Have Told You the Truth – Mosiah 13:3-4 (10/26/2017)
- What Great Evil Hast Thou Done? – Mosiah 12:13-16 (10/25/2017)
- All We, Like Sheep, Have Gone Astray – Mosiah 14:3-6 (9/26/2017)
- He Spake with Power and Authority from God – Mosiah 13:5-6 (1/11/2017)
- The Light and the Life of the World – Mosiah 16:9 (12/27/2016)
- In Six Days the Lord Made Heaven and Earth – Mosiah 13:16-19 (10/8/2016)
- Nor Thy Son, Nor Thy Daughter – Mosiah 13:18 (10/6/2016)
- To Keep It Holy – Mosiah 13:16-19 (10/5/2016)
- All Thy Work – Mosiah 13:16-19 (10/3/2016)
- It Matters Not – Mosiah 13:7-9 (8/4/2016)
- What Say Ye? – Mosiah 12:31-33 (7/20/2016)
- A Law of Performances and Ordinances – Mosiah 13:30 (6/6/2016)
- He That Persists in His Own Carnal Nature – Mosiah 16:5 (5/8/2015)
- He Is the Light and the Life of the World – Mosiah 16:9 (5/8/2015)
- Who Shall Declare His Generation? – Mosiah 15:10-12 (5/6/2015)
- The Flesh Becoming Subject to the Spirit – Mosiah 15:2-5 (5/6/2015)
- A Man of Sorrows – Mosiah 14:3 (5/5/2015)
- Salvation Doth Not Come by the Law Alone – Mosiah 13:28 (5/3/2015)
- Written in Your Hearts – Mosiah 13:11 (5/3/2015)
- Ye Know that I Speak the Truth – Mosiah 12:30 (5/1/2015)
- Mosiah 16:5 He That Persists in His Carnal State (10/18/2014)
- Mosiah 14:3-6 He Was Wounded for Our Transgressions (10/17/2014)
- Mosiah 12:27 Ye Have Not Applied Your Hearts to Understanding (10/16/2014)