"God Himself...Shall Redeem His People"
Lesson 18 - Mosiah 12-17
There are many scriptural accounts of the Lord commanding people to fulfill difficult missions.
Think about these difficult missions or callings recorded in the scriptures:
a.  Noah preaching to the people
b.  Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt
c.  Lehi warning the people in Jerusalem
d.  Esther going before King Ahasuerus
e.  Abinadi preaching to King Noah
f.   Samuel preaching in Zarahemla
g.  Joseph Smith fulfilling his mission as the Prophet of the Restoration
Why were these missions difficult? Why do you think these people were willing to fulfill their missions despite the difficult circumstances? This lesson has us thinking of the prophet Abinadi before King Noah and discusses his teachings. As you review this lesson, look for reasons why Abinadi was willing to give his life in order to preach to the people.
Abinadi called Noah and his priests to repentance, exhorted them to keep the commandments, and taught of the Atonement.
Mosiah 12:1-8 Two years after Abinadi had originally preached to Noah’s people, he returned to tell them that because they had not repented, they would suffer and be brought into bondage. He also warned again that they would be destroyed if they did not repent.
Mosiah 12:9-16 The people responded to this message with anger and they chose to defend their wicked King Noah.
Mosiah 12:20-24 After Abinadi withstood the priests’ efforts to "cross him," one of the priests asked him a question about a scripture passage quoted in these verses.
Mosiah 12:25-27 The priests were unable to understand this scripture passage because they were perverting the ways of God and not applying their hearts to understanding the scriptures.
D&C 8:2-3 teaches us clearly that personal revelation comes to our hearts and minds through the Spirit as we apply our hearts to understanding. It is important to apply our hearts as we study and teach the gospel so that we will be in tune with the Holy Ghost, who can testify of the truths we are learning or teaching.
Mosiah 12:28-37 Abinadi revealed that the problem with the priests’ claim that they taught the law of Moses was two-fold: First, they did not understand the law's purpose and secondly, they did not live it themselves.
It is vital that we live according to the truths we teach because our example is a far more important testimony of our beliefs than our words.
Mosiah 13:1-9 Something miraculous happened to make it possible for Abinadi to deliver his message as Abinadi was transfigured before them and his face shone with a celestial glory. The Lord did this so Abinadi would be able to testify of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This illustrates the importance of the message of the Atonement.
Mosiah 13:11 Abinadi read the Ten Commandments to Noah and his priests, as he says, because it was not in their hearts. Consider what it means to have the commandments "written in [our] hearts". Having the commandments written in our hearts would positively affect our efforts to obey them because those commandments would be an integral part of us.
After calling Noah and the priests to repentance for not keeping the law of Moses, Abinadi said, "Salvation doth not come by the law alone" (Mosiah 13:28).
Mosiah 13:14, 28, 32-35; Articles of Faith 1:3 Salvation comes by obeying the commandments and through Christ's atonement which allows the repentant to overcome their sins and be forgiven and cleansed.
Mosiah 13:29-33 When we review the purpose of the law of Moses we see that the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses were types, or symbols, of things to come. They were given to help the people look to Christ.
Abinadi quoted Isaiah, testified of the Atonement, and exhorted Noah’s priests to teach the people that redemption comes through Christ.
As part of his testimony of Jesus Christ, Abinadi quoted the prophet Isaiah. Some things we learn about the Savior from the prophecy quoted in Mosiah 14 include:
a. The Savior lived meekly and humbly (Mosiah 14:2).
b. Many people rejected Him (Mosiah 14:3).
c. He carried our griefs and sorrows (Mosiah 14:4).
d. He took upon Himself the sins of all people (Mosiah 14:5-6, 8, 10-12).
e. He willingly subjected Himself to persecution and death (Mosiah 14:7-9).
f. He was without sin (Mosiah 14:9).
Abinadi said that the Savior "satisfied the demands of justice" (Mosiah 15:9).
Alma 42:11, 14 The demands of justice referred to by Abinadi are that fallen men be cut off from the presence of God forever.
Mosiah 15:9; Alma 42:12-13, 15 To satisfy the demands of justice, the Savior ascended into heaven where He stood between men and justice and took upon himself their iniquities and transgressions and redeemed mankind.
Mosiah 15:10; see also Mosiah 14:10 Here, Abinadi spoke of the seed, or the sons and daughters, of Jesus Christ.
Mosiah 15:11-14; see also Mosiah 5:5-7 Consider Abinadi's explanation of what it means to be the Savior’s sons and daughters. Jesus Christ is the author of salvation. There is a Father-child relationship between Him and those who accept His gospel. We become His seed, or His sons and daughters, when we believe in Him, repent of our sins, and covenant to do His will and obey His commandments.
Mosiah 12:20-24 One of Noah’s priests asked Abinadi to interpret Isaiah’s statement "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings".
Mosiah 15:19-25; D&C 76:40-42 These good tidings are enumerated here: the bands of death are broken, the Savior reigns, the resurrection is brought to pass, and those in the first resurrection obtain eternal life.
Mosiah 15:13-18 The messengers who share these good tidings include the Savior Himself, the prophets, and others who share the gospel. Ponder how you can help bring these good tidings to others through missionary activity.
Mosiah 15:21-23; Mosiah 16:8-11 We will be blessed after we die if we have believed in Christ, followed Him, and accepted His Atonement by being raised in the first resurrection and obtaining eternal life and happiness.
Mosiah 15:26-27; Mosiah 16:2-3, 5, 10-12 If we have rejected Christ and His Atonement, Christ's redemption will have no part for us as we are turned over to the claims of justice and the devil will have power over us--as if there had been no redemption.
Mosiah 16:13-15 At the end of his discourse, Abinadi exhorted Noah and the priests to truly repent, accept Christ and teach about Him. Think about how you can apply this counsel in your life.
Abinadi sealed his testimony of the Savior with his life.
Mosiah 17:2-4; Alma 5:11-12 Abinadi was successful in his mission to King Noah and his people--not in coverting them, but in doing what he was called to do. Only one listener was converted because of Abinadi’s teachings.
Mosiah 17:1, 7 After Abinadi had given his message, King Noah and the judges decided to find him worthy of death.
Mosiah 17:8 Abinadi could have recalled his condemnation of King Noah and his followers to avoid being put to death.
Mosiah 17:9-10, 20 He refused to recall the words he had spoken because they were true and he would rather suffer death than lie. Further, his testimony was given as a witness against them for shedding innocent blood.
Although we will likely not need to die for our faith, ponder the ways you can follow Abinadi’s example.
President Ezra Taft Benson said: "Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world. Men changed for Christ will be captained by Christ. ... Men captained by Christ will be consumed in Christ. ... Their will is swallowed up in His will. (See John 5:30.) They do always those things that please the Lord. (See John 8:29.) Not only would they die for the Lord, but more important they want to live for Him" (Ensign, Nov. 1985, 6).
The actions of Abinadi and Alma can help us see the importance of the Atonement. Abinadi’s life was preserved by the Lord so he could testify of the Atonement (Mosiah 13:1-9). After Abinadi had shared this message, he "sealed the truth of his words by his death" (Mosiah 17:20). Alma wrote "all the words which Abinadi had spoken" (Mosiah 17:4). He then obeyed Abinadi’s command to "teach ...that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord" (Mosiah 16:15).
Stay true to your testimony and share the message of the Atonement.
Additional Teaching - "The Father and the Son" (Mosiah 15:2)
When Abinadi spoke of Jesus as "the Father and the Son," he did not teach that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are the same being. Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct personages (D&C 130:22).
When ancient prophets spoke of God or of the Lord, they often referred to Jehovah, the premortal Messiah (Mosiah 13:33-34; Mosiah 14:6). Thus, Abinadi taught of Jesus Christ when he said, "God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people" (Mosiah 15:1; see also Mosiah 7:27-28). Abinadi’s teachings in Mosiah 15:1-9 refer to Jesus’ Fatherly roles and to His roles as the Son of God.
Jesus’ roles as Father include (a) His work as "the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning" (Mosiah 3:8); (b) His mission as the Father of those who accept His gospel and follow Him (Mosiah 5:7; Mosiah 15:10-13; Ether 3:14); and (c) His authority to speak and act in behalf of Heavenly Father, which has been termed "divine investiture of authority." Jesus’ roles as the Son of God include (a) His Atonement for the sins of the world (Mosiah 15:6-9) and (b) His service as our Mediator and Advocate with Heavenly Father (Jacob 4:10-11; D&C 45:3-5).
Abinadi said that Jesus was called the Son "because he dwelleth in flesh" and the Father "because he was conceived by the power of God" (Mosiah 15:2-3; see also D&C 93:3-4). When Abinadi spoke of "the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father" (Mosiah 15:7), he referred to Jesus subjecting His flesh to His spirit (Mosiah 15:2-5; see also 3 Nephi 1:14). When Jesus subjected His flesh to His spirit, He also subjected His will to the will of Heavenly Father (Matthew 26:39; D&C 19:16-19).
The unseen results of missionary work
Abinadi may have died without knowing if anyone believed his teachings. But Alma was converted because of Abinadi’s efforts, and he and his descendants had a great influence on the Nephites for many generations. Share the following story told by President Gordon B. Hinckley:
"You don’t know how much good you can do; you can’t foresee the results of the effort you put in. Years ago, President Charles A. Callis, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, but who previously was president of the Southern States Mission for twenty-five years, told me this story. He said that he had a missionary in the southern [United States] who came in to get his release at the conclusion of his mission. His mission president said to him, ‘Have you had a good mission?’
"He said, ‘No.’
" ‘How is that?’
" ‘Well, I haven’t had any results from my work. I have wasted my time and my father’s money. It’s been a waste of time.’
"Brother Callis said, ‘Haven’t you baptized anyone?’
"He said, ‘I baptized only one person during the two years that I have been here. That was a twelve-year-old boy up in the back hollows of Tennessee.’
"He went home with a sense of failure. Brother Callis said, ‘I decided to follow that boy who had been baptized. I wanted to know what became of him.
"‘I followed him through the years. He became the Sunday School Superintendent, and he eventually became the branch president. He married. He moved off the little tenant farm on which he and his parents before him had lived and got a piece of ground of his own and made it fruitful. He became the district president. He sold that piece of ground in Tennessee and moved to Idaho and bought a farm along the Snake River and prospered there. His children grew. They went on missions. They came home. They had children of their own who went on missions.’
"Brother Callis continued, ‘I’ve just spent a week up in Idaho looking up every member of that family that I could find and talking to them about their missionary service. I discovered that, as the result of the baptism of that one little boy in the back hollows of Tennessee by a missionary who thought he had failed, more than 1,100 people have come into the Church.’
"You never can foretell the consequences of your work, my beloved brethren and sisters, when you serve as missionaries" (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley , 360-61).