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Abinadi: Bearer of the Message

Updated on May 3, 2020
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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 nation, spawned the Zeniffites, who were caught in the snares of rebellion to God. The only way to get them back on the right path was for God to send Abinadi to them to teach them the Law of Moses as it pertains to Jesus Christ. Would they receive it?

The year was 148 BC. Abinadi's life was not his own. He was a walking prediction. His ministry to King Noah and his priest paralleled Christ's ministry so much that this article is one of several that focus on the seven things they shared in their ministries in common. Abinadi: Shadow of Things to Come, informs about the authority Christ and Abinadi used to teach.

  1. Both Abinadi and Christ preached to apostate societies.
  2. Neither Abinadi or Christ was authorized by local priesthood guilds.·
  3. Both Abinadi and Christ informed the people to repent.·

  4. Both Christ and Abinadi were rejected by the priests and the king·
  5. The priests of both societies accused Christ and Abinadi of treason.
  6. The king for both men could have released them from bondage, but did not.
  7. Both men 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.

God singled out Abinadi and commanded him to inform the people of their eventual bondage and destruction if they did not repent. The destruction would be much more pronounced upon the Nephites in that they would cease to be a people separate from the Lamanites.

The prophecy had multiple meanings and levels of fulfillment since it would take generations for complete fulfillment. Suffice it to say, it was not a pleasant thing for 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, which is to point the adherents towards their coming Lord and Messiah. He taught them the nature of God. He taught them about Christ by name.

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of JESUS CHRIST

Joseph Smith Jr. translated Alma's record of Abinadi and chose to use the Greco-form of Messiah to express Abinadi's intentions which is the word Christ. Since the collection of books that comprise The Book of Mormon are expressly written for the last days, it is conceivable why such an intimate knowledge of Christian principles permeates the entire record.


Back to the Old Ways

Christ is the God of the world and His principles are the same from the beginning. Abinadi's message includes such teachings, 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 was akin to promoting human sacrifice, which apparently was not a place to where the Zeniffites had devolved.

The priests could not conceive of a sacrifice that was 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 were a type or shadow of the sacrifice Christ would make--nor could they without revelation from God.

After counseling with his priest, the best legal grounds King Noah could use to justify his poor treatment of Abinadi was apostasy--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, but because he wanted Abinadi to take back his words that they would all be destroyed 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. Abinadi was calling 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. He was 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. Not only was He a prophet to His people and Savior to His people, he was 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 that the sign of Jonas would be given to them as a witness--eluding to the three days He would spend in the tomb juxtaposed the three days in the belly of a fish that Jonas 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 a God approached them!


Now, to be fair to this generation of Christ's, the first Christians came to being. The first Christians were Jews. Of course, many people listened and accepted the new covenant offered through Christ. Christianity was not meant to be a separate religion from Judaism though that is what occurred. It was meant as a fulfillment of Mosaic prophecy. Abinadi: Not One of Us, discussed how the people received both Abinadi and Christ.

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


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