23 October 2011

"With Power and Authority from God," Mosiah 13:1-10

Mosiah 13:1-10

King Noah commands at the start of this chapter that Abinadi be taken, bound, and put away. The king discounted the prophet as a mad man, stating that he had no more business with this "fellow." Perhaps, but really what seems to be going on here is that Noah is being reminded of things that he already knows to be wrong.

What is most fascinating about these verses is the power of the priesthood authority that is manifested as Abinadi uses it to deliver the message which he was sent to give. Guards attempt to lay hands upon him to take him away. He withstands them with words, the words of God, and it is so profoundly received that they who should have taken him away will not touch him. Later, his countenance begins to shine "with exceeding luster, even as Moses’ did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord."

Once Abinadi comes to realize that he has a captive audience, or that they cannot prevail against him at that time, Abinadi helps them to realize the effect that his message has had upon them.

Yea, and I perceive that it cuts you to your hearts because I tell you the truth concerning your iniquities.
Yea, and my words fill you with wonder and amazement, and with anger.
As powerful and charged as all this exchange is between Abinadi and King Noah's court, verse nine defies it all in significance.  Adinadi testifies that once he is done delivering his message that "then it matters not whither I go, if it so be that I am saved." This statement expresses both a knowledge of the world beyond this one, and the reality of the interconnected nature of the work on both sides of the veil. The effect it has on even the most hardened heart is memorable.

16 October 2011

"If Ye Keep the Commandments of God, Ye Shall Be Saved," Mosiah 12:33-37

Mosiah 12:33-37

A review of the ten commandments would seem to be a bit elementary for this seasoned student of the scriptures. Yet, I am finding that I cannot casually gloss over them.

Abinadi introduces the ten commandments as a starting point of "common" ground. Not that the priests of Noah were teaching or applying such principles, but it was familiar to them, or would be once Abinadi reminded them of it.

Abinadi presents the first two commandments to prove to these priests their deviation from the commandments of God.
  • Thou shalt have no other God before me. (Notably distinct from the Exodus translation wherein it reads "gods.")
  • Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing in heaven above, or things which are in the earth beneath.
I find it interesting that when the Lord gave these commandments to Moses, he prefaced them with a reminder to remember their deliverance from bondage. Gratitude for blessings received is a powerful motivator to continue to do right, when no other motivation seems logical or significant.  It is on this platform that the Lord issued the ten commandments.

12 October 2011

"Are Ye Priests?" Mosiah 12:25-32

Mosiah 12:25-32

This stirring rebuke that I have chosen as title for this entry causes me to reflect upon my own ministry/stewardship. I appreciate that in Abinadi's probings there is an inherent understanding of the duties and responsibilities which accompany the office and calling of a servant of the Lord. What is even more interesting are the first two points of expectation that he hold for these pretended priests: 1) He expects them to teach. 2) He expects them to understand the spirit of prophecy.

What follows is then something of a checklist of pitfalls to avoid as a priest or minister of God's children:
  1. Observe your own teachings. Be not a hypocrite.
  2. Do not set your hearts upon riches.
  3. Do not waste your strength in riotous living. 
  4. Do not cause those who follow you to sin because of your unrighteousness. 
As I contemplate this situation further, Abinadi is talking to them as if they had been ordained ministers of God. He is ignoring the fact that their appointment was entirely based off of a wicked king's personal preferences.  Perhaps Abinadi has some sense, or hope, of the outcome that will result from his testimony.

There is another assumption or expectation laid out by Abinadi here. The appointment of a priest bring with it the expectation to become a teacher of the ways of God. He accuses these men of failing in their office, the accusation that brings with it a sense of weight about the calling to which they had been set apart.

Am I a priest? Than I am expected to uphold the ways of the Lord. Do I understand the weight and duty of my assignments? Then I ought to teach according to my understanding.