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So now the non-converted Lamanites are angry because of wars, but the converted Lamanites won’t fight them back. It’s like a bully in school that finally walks away once the victim stops giving the bad behavior any attention. The Lamanites turn their attention to attacking the Nephites (verses 1-3), whom they blame for converting other Lamanites.
Those non-converted Lamanites attack the Nephites (verses 1-3), and many of them are killed by the Nephites (verse 4). Those who are not flee, and try to take the power and authority of the Lamanites with them. They burn to death many of the Lamanites who do convert (verse 5).
“For many of them, after having suffered much loss and so many afflictions, began to be stirred up in remembrance of the words” of the prophets, “and to believe in the Lord… and thus there were many of them converted in the wilderness” (verse 6).
So the non-converted Lamanites are killing off the coverted Lamanites who are believers (verse 7). The martyrdom of so many stirred up contention, and many believers had to flee further east to escape (verse 8). But those who were caught, were killed by fire (verse 8).
This fulfilled the prophesy of Abinadi, the prophet who was killed by fire, who said (as he was dying), that the children of those who killed him would also be burned alive for believing (verse 9-10, 12).
“And now Abinadi was the first that suffered death by fire because of his belief in God; now this is what he meant, that many should suffer death by fire, according as he had suffered” (verse 11).
So now this prophesy was coming true.
More so, the converted Lamanites “did join themselves to the people of God” (verse 13), and “they did also bury their weapons of war, according as their brethren had, and they began to be a righteous people; and they did walk in the ways of the Lord, and did observe to keep his commandments and his statutes” (verse 14).
So the new converts now learn to keep the law of Moses, looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. They “did look forward to the coming of Christ, considering that the law of Moses was a type of his coming, and believing that they must keep those outward performances until the time that he should be revealed unto them” (verse 15).
Notice that they understand the laws of Moses do not “save” them, but the laws train them to be obedient to God, and teach them the ordinances for how to follow God, and separate them from their former lives so that they can be restored to who God made them to be. The “law of Moses did serve to strengthen their faith in Christ; and thus they did retain a hope through faith, unto eternal salvation, relying upon the spirit of prophecy (their testimonies, by the power of the Spirit), which spake of those things to come” (verse 16).
So the prophets did “rejoice exceedingly… seeing that the Lord had granted unto them according to their prayers, and that he had also verified his word unto them in every particular” (verse 17).
He had verified his word unto them in every particular.
There is joy and peace in knowing, even seeing, that the Lord is who He says He is, and that He can do what He promised to do.