Mosiah 12-16. Martyr in Disguise

As the man of God returned to the city, most people did not notice him.  He had returned to preach the message of repentance that had previously caused this wicked people to seek his life.  But this time he “came among them in disguise, that they knew him not” (Mosiah 12:1).  In boldness and faith he stretched forth his hand and announced that he was Abinadi, sent by God to call the people to return to the Lord.  The ensuing story unfolds the drama of the most prominent martyr story in the Book of Mormon.

Abinadi’s mission was to bear witness to the people of King Noah that lest they repent they would be afflicted and punished for their sins.  Like others in prophetic responsibility, he became a martyr for the cause of God.1  Martyr derives from the Greek language and means “a witness who bears a divine message.”2 Over time the word took on additional meaning as those who bore divine witness were killed (such as Stephen in Acts 7:55-56).  Thus the word martyr began to refer to one who was killed for the sake of the witness he bore.  Abinadi’s story contains significant details that give light to our understanding of the martyr-prophet Abinadi, the people whom he addressed, and prophetic tradition.  We will briefly explore these topics. Continue reading

  1. Taylor Halverson, “Martyrdom of Isaiah” Encyclopedia of Ancient History, 2013. 

  2. Walter Bauer A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, translated by William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979; second edition), p. 494. 

Mosiah 4-6: Children of Christ

Covenant making and keeping are the life blood of spiritual living.  Covenants teach us of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, covenants inspire us to keep the commandments in the name of Christ, and the cords of covenants loose us from the bands of death and hell, sealing us to the everlasting Father and those that we love.  The speech of prophet-king Benjamin is one of the most memorable covenant-making scenes in all of scripture.

In this article we will see the covenant-making structure of the speech (focusing especially on Mosiah 4-6), the roles of king, people, and God in the covenant-making process and the doctrinal details that constitute the living power of these covenants.  Continue reading

Jacob 1-4. Seek the Kingdom of God.

Jacob 1—Prophetic and Priesthood Responsibility

We owe much to faithful Jacob.  He and his direct posterity preserved for us a crucial portion of the Book of Mormon, the Small Plates of Nephi (1 Nephi – Omni), which include all of the key doctrines and principles of the Gospel essential for happiness in this life and eternal life in the hereafter.  In Jacob’s own words he describes his zeal to teach and record the truth for his people and posterity’s sake.

[Nephi] gave me, Jacob, a commandment that I should write upon these plates a few of the things which I considered to be most precious…and that I should preserve these plates and hand them down unto my seed, from generation to generation.  And if there were preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying, that I should engraven the heads of them upon these plates, and touch upon them as much as it were possible, for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of our people. (1:2-4)

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2 Nephi 6-10. Jacob’s Masterful Discourse

One of the most beautiful and doctrinally significant discourses in the Book of Mormon was given by Jacob, brother of Nephi in 2 Nephi 6-10.  The farewell speech of King Benjamin or the sermons of Jesus Christ when he visited the American continent are all well known.  But seldom do we recognize that 2 Nephi 6-10 comprises a single lengthy gospel discourse.

The structure of Jacob’s mighty speech is quite simple.  2 Nephi 6 serves as an introduction to his discourse, outlining the key themes that he wishes to talk about, and establishing a framework for understanding and interpreting Isaiah 50-52:2.  Jacob quotes these two Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi 7 & 8.  Next, Jacob moves to the main body of his discourse, found in chapter 9, to explicate gospel principles and elucidate the meaning of the words of Isaiah.  He concludes his discourse in 2 Nephi 10, encouraging his listeners to live in joy and happiness because of the covenants and atonement of the Lord. Continue reading

2 Nephi 1. Resurrecting Deep Sleepers

Have you ever wondered if you would sleep through the sound of the trumpets on resurrection morning (D&C 45:45-46)?  Or have you ever considered that sleeping patterns of today may adversely affect you tomorrow?  From a spiritual perspective these are essential questions about our personal salvation.  Fortunately, the scriptures provide us powerful insights about the symbolic meaning of resurrection that teach us how to overcome and avoid an “endless sleep” (Moroni 9:13) that could befall us at any time.

Quite early the Book of Mormon exposes us to the idea of spiritual resurrection.  Upon arrival to the Promised Land, and in preparation for his own death, Lehi gave counsel and blessings to each one of his children.  His sons Laman and Lemuel had experienced considerable difficulty keeping the commandments, which left them vulnerable to the full measure of God’s justice.  Lehi feared for their eternal welfare, so accordingly he exhorted them to repent using bold commands and figurative language. Continue reading