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Abinadi: Bearer of the Message

Updated on August 1, 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.

The people of Nephi, an ancient American ethnicity, spawned the Zeniffites, who actively rebelled against God and the Law of Moses. God sent Abinadi to teach them the Law of Moses as it pertains to Jesus Christ. Would they receive it?

The year 48 BC. Abinadi freely offered his life as a walking prediction. His ministry to King Noah and his priest parallels Christ's final days of ministry in Jerusalem, and this article addresses one of seven things they shared in common. "Abinadi: Shadow of Things to Come," informs about the authority Christ and Abinadi used to teach. This article addresses God's call to scattered Israel to repent and return to the Law.

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 were 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 were martyred for their preaching.

Abinadi testifying to King Noah and his priests


Abinadi's Premiere Message

Behold, thus saith the Lord, and thus hath he commanded me, saying,

"Go forth, and say unto this people, thus saith the Lord—Wo be unto this people, for I have seen their abominations, and their wickedness, and their whoredoms; and except they repent I will visit them in mine anger ... I will deliver them into the hands of their enemies; yea, and they shall be brought into bondage; and they shall be afflicted by the hand of their enemies." ... Thus saith the Lord, and thus hath he commanded me. Mosiah 11:20, 21, 25

God singled out Abinadi, commanding him to inform the people of Noah of their eventual bondage and destruction if they did not repent. The destruction pronounced upon the Nephites, and all of their supporting ethnicities resulted in their erasure or ethnic cleansing unless they repented.

The prophecy had multiple meanings and levels of fulfillment since it would take generations for complete fulfillment. Abinadi's words did not please the people of Zeniff, the people of King Noah to hear.

Abinadi taught many profound truths to the Zeniffites before his demise. He taught them the true purpose of the Law of Moses, pointing adherents towards their coming Lord and Messiah. He taught them the nature of God. He taught them about Christ by name.


Back to the Old Ways

Abinadi's message includes such teachings as Christ ruling as the embodiment of Jehovah, which caused quite a stir among the priest of King Noah who apparently had no such religious concept.

Abinadi had the audacity to say that God would make an atoning sacrifice for all mankind. To the priest of his day, Abinadi sounded insane. Teaching that God should make such an atonement promoted human sacrifice, a view to which the Zeniffites had not devolved.

The priests could not conceive of a sacrifice more than the shedding of the blood of animals to honor the traditions of religious practices handed down from Moses. These people could not see that those ancient rites represented a type or shadow of the sacrifice Christ would make, nor could they without revelation from God.

After counseling with his priest, accusing Abinadi of apostasy provided the best legal ground King Noah could use to justify his poor treatment of Abinadi, the very thing of which Abinadi accused the Zeniffites.

Said King Noah, "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)

Not because he wanted salvation for the people did he want the words recalled, but because he wanted Abinadi to take back his words concerning their destruction if they did not repent, did King Noah accuse Abinadi.

Repent, or change from sin to virtue again. The Zeniffites had once prospered in righteousness under a righteous King Zeniff, the first leader of their city-states. Abinadi called them back to the old ways; but King Noah did not enjoin him in this effort, quite the opposite.

Abinadi acted in a dual role when presenting his revelations to the people as do many prophets, as an Elias and shadow/type of Christ. He heralded Christ's coming and his life testified of Him.

Christ's Opening Statements

Jesus also played a dual role of prophet and Savior among His people, the Jews, and Prophet and Savior to the world. Shortly following His baptism, "Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt 4:17)." Christ did not prolong His message to the people. He may have taught in parables, but He let the people know what they must do in order to receive the reward of Heaven, repent.

When certain leaders of the Jews asked Him for a sign toward the conclusion of His mortal ministry to prove His claims, Jesus told them the sign of Jonas as a witness. The sign of Jonah (or Jonas) eluded to the three days He'd spent in the tomb juxtaposed the three days in the belly of a fish Jonah experienced, which constitutes another shadow/type of Christ's life.

He then added as a biting accusation towards these so-called holy men of Israel, teachers, as they would have it--rabbis, that "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here." (Matt 12:41)

At least the Ninevehites listened. Those repentant souls of Nineveh will stand as a witness against the children of Israel because they listened when a mere man as a messenger of God approached them as opposed to the Jews of Christ's day who would not listen when God approached them.


To be fair to Christ's generation, and many Jews, they became the first Christians. The Romans and Jews who did not believe Jesus as the Messiah called believers Christians, singling them apart from the Jews. The first Christians did not call themselves by that appellation. They practiced Judaism with Jesus Christ as the promised Savior.

Of course, many people listened and accepted the new covenant offered through Christ. Christianity happened by accident. The apostles never meant to start a separate religion from Judaism though it occurred. Jesus Christ's advent fulfilled Mosaic Law. "Abinadi: Not One of Us," addresses how their people received both Abinadi and Christ teaching such doctrines.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Rodric Anthony Johnson


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