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Abinadi'Testifies of Christ by Martyrdom

Updated on July 11, 2022
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Leaders of integrity or infamy found in The Book of Mormon provide the fodder for spiritual growth and self-improvement. It was made for us.

Abinadi put himself in danger to spread his message of repentance through Christ in 150 BC. He was a prophet of the Lord, unknown other than for the short time mentioned in the Book of Mosiah among a group of Ancient Americans of an ethnicity referred to as Nephites and a smaller division of that ethnicity called Zeniffites.

Abinadi serves as a type or shadow of the life of Christ because of the several things that occurred to him after he began his public ministry among this remote group of Nephites believed to be a part of a mixture forming the principal ancestors of the Natives of the Americas.

A "type" or a "shadow" means assessing historical events as indications or representations of another central event.

Common Motive of Humanism

King Noah and his priests, akin to the Jewish sect leaders in Jerusalem (the Sadducee, the Pharisees, and societies of Scribes), in their determination to maintain political control over their people, wielded essential power to heed or reject a warning from God that could prevent the dire prophecies pronounce upon them.

Abinadi taught things that would destroy the priestcraft of the priests of King Noah who glutted themselves taxing the people a fifth of their increase.

The leaders who decried the preaching of Jesus did so to protect their political positions developed with the Romans so that Israel, or the political structure of the Sanhedrin and others, could stay in power and protect the sanctity of the temple from Roman influence.

From a purely humanistic perspective, the priests of both cultures wanted the practical best for their people. King Noah want to provide civic spaces for the people to enjoy. The sect leaders of Christ's time desired to maintain the stability of their region to keep the temple free of unbelievers and Jewish autonomy in everyday activities.

The worth of the coming of a Messiah that did not bring with Him the power to throw off the shackles of Rome proved nothing to the leader of religions at Jerusalem, or at King Noah's headquarters called Shilom a century and a half earlier whether true or not.

"Abinadi: Apostate Society" addresses the cultural aspects of both men's societies to provide context to the martyrdom of each. Simply, the societies of these men both rejected the understanding of the Mosaic Law that the Messiah would come in the form He came. Because Jesus and Abinadi dared to challenge the cultural and religious assumptions of their day, death followed.

Abinadi a Type or Shadow of Christ

  1. Preached to apostate societies
  2. Neither authorized by the local priesthood.
  3. Both informed the people to repent.
  4. Both rejected by the priests and the king.
  5. Both societies accused them of treason.
  6. The king for both could have released them but did not.
  7. Both martyred for their preaching.


Martyrs: Jesus

As the scriptures teach, Christ's people betrayed Him to the gentiles, Romans, who crucified Him. First, however, Jesus delivered His message to the world. Detractors could not take him by force. He went willingly with a band of cutthroats who delivered Him for an illegal beating by political leaders of Hebrew power and judgment by the Sanhedrin.

He told Peter, who aggressively defended Him to the point of removing a man's ear, to stop and realize that if necessary He could call down a legion of angels, but such a celestial act did not occur.

Christ informed Peter he would deny Him thrice. Maybe Christ's words came as a command for Peter to deny Him so that he could live and provide "the rock" the Church of Christ needed following His death. Maybe Peter was simply scared.


Martyrs: Abinadi

Abinadi was put in a similar situation. The King placed him bound to burn with hot sticks. He cried out that they would cause many more to die in that way. Mosiah 17:14-20 reads,

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. And it will come to pass that ye shall be afflicted with all manner of diseases because of your iniquities. Yea, and ye shall be smitten on every hand, and shall be driven and scattered to and fro, even as a wild flock is driven by wild and ferocious beasts.

And in that day ye shall be 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. Thus God executeth vengeance upon those that destroy His people. O God, receive my soul. And now, when Abinadi had said these words, he fell, having suffered death by fire


Points to Ponder

Abinadi, like Christ did after him:

  1. allowed his captors to take him
  2. finished his ministry
  3. willingly gave up his life to fulfill God's purposes
  4. died a martyr's death
  5. facilitated the growth of religion due to his martyrdom

There are more parallels than those placed here. Abinadi gave his life as a testimony of the Savior's life. He taught the Zeniffites the word of God through Moses about the coming of Christ. He then demonstrated that he willingly would give up his life efficaciously to seal his testimony with his blood, though in his case, fire scorched flesh.

© 2015 Rodric Anthony Johnson


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