CLICK HERE to read Mosiah 15.
After reminding the people of Isaiah’s words, Abinadi continues teaching the people:
“… I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people” (verse 1).
This is about 150 years before the birth of Christ. Abinadi wants not only to call the people to repentance, but prepare them for His arrival. They are, right now, under king Noah, not keeping their covenants and not making new ones. Not only are they not looking toward Christ or doing what He says, but they are not teaching their children and grandchildren the things of God, the things of the covenant.
These same children and grandchildren will be the ones He is very soon going to visit- literally and physically!
They need to present themselves to Christ now, so that their children will know him, so that their grandchildren will be healed by Him.
He is coming to redeem them – both now and later, both literally and spiritually.
“… he shall be called the Son of God…” (verse 2).
He is called the Son of God, because He is.
This goes back to the description in Moses 6:57 of Heavenly Father as being “The Man of Holiness”, and Jesus Christ being “The Son of The Man of Holiness”. This is the House of Israel, this is His people.
As we become covenant people, His people, we become the people of Holiness.
It’s the “Holiness to the Lord, the House of the Lord” as taught in 1 Nephi 15.
As the Son of God, He was born of mortal mother, and in this way was subject to all things mortal.
“And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit… suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his own people” (verse 5).
He had the power at any moment to stop it, and say “Enough!”
But it was not enough until it was finished.
Now, Abinadi tells the people they are part of who mocks Him, casts Him out, and disowns Him.
They are His people, but they are not acting like it.
Covenants require both parties to finish what they have been asked to do.
The Savior did not stop, though He had the power to do so, until the work was finished.
“… he opened not his mouth” (verse 6).
He chose to finish the work.
He did not say anything to make it stop.
He could have said, “No, this is not my fault. That was Emily’s fault.”
He could have said, “No, I am the God who created this Earth.”
He could have said anything to make it stop. He had the power to make it stop.
But He didn’t say anything. He finished what He was there to do.
“Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father” (verse 7).
The Son submitted to the will of the Father.
He knew this was the Father’s plan.
He knew there was no other way.
“And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death…” (verse 8).
Because He was the Son of God, He had the divine power to conquer death.
Conquering death gifted all of us with immortality. All of us, automatically, a done deal.
But there is more:
“… giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men…” (verse 8).
He literally took upon Him our sins, so that His death paid the price that met the demands of justice.
“… having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice” (verse 9).
Because justice has been met, and our sins taken from us – not just forgiven, but removed from us – we are now clean and ready to be filled with His righteousness (See Isaiah 22:23,25).
This Great Exchange is His intercession for us:
He is able to tell our Father-in-Heaven that justice has been met without demanding its price from us; thus, we are freed by mercy in that we are no longer required to pay that price.
That makes us at-one with our Father-in-Heaven, but indebted to our Savior who paid our price.
How do we pay the Savior back?
By being His people, doing His work, being His people of Holiness.
“… who shall be his seed?” (verse 10).
This is our premortal covenant: that He would atone for us, and we would testify of it.
We testify of it by looking like and acting like His people, and by talking about what He is doing in our lives.
When we act like His people, He knows we accept His gift.
When we accept His gift, by acting like His people, then we become worthy of His sacrifice.
Because He has made it possible, because He has “adopted” us as His.
Who shall be His seed?
“… whosoever has heard the words of the prophets… all those who have hearkened unto their words” (verse 11).
This is bold, coming from Abinadi-the-prophet speaking to a people who just try to kill him because they didn’t want to listen to what he had to say.
“… and believed that the Lord would redeem His people…”
I just finished reading Stephen Robinson’s Believing Christ, which does an excellent job showing how many of us believe in the identity of Christ, and believe that He is who He says He is… yet so many of us to believe Him, believe that He can really do what He said He will do.
A portion of this was in the Ensign in April 1992:
Perfection comes through the atonement of Jesus Christ. That happens as we become one with him, a perfect being. It is like a merger. If you take a small, bankrupt firm that is about to go under and merge it with a corporate giant, what happens? Their assets and liabilities flow together, and the new entity that is created is solvent.
This is similar to what happens spiritually when we enter into a covenant with the Savior. We have liabilities; he has assets. So he proposes a covenant relationship… After the covenant is made, I become one with Christ, and as partners we work together toward my exaltation. My liabilities and his assets flow into each other. I do all that I can do, and he does what I cannot yet do. For now, in partnership we are perfect, through His perfection.
What heavier burden is there than the demand we sometimes place on ourselves to be perfect now, in this life? But Jesus proposes: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
I cannot be perfect. I cannot pay the price of my sins. I cannot, as I am, with my past that is mine, and my weaknesses and failures, re-enter the presence of God. I cannot.
But Christ has already atoned for me, and already paid the price. He moved me from being so far in the hole that I couldn’t even see, to having so much deposited that I can’t even count it. I am in the clear.
But being in the clear has the responsibility of learning to pay my bills from here on out, and He helps me do that. He teaches me to do that. Together, I learn to budget. Not just budget, but invest. Not just invest, but create.
He has promised to bring us home.
He will keep His promise.
But we have to believe Him, that He really will do it.
Not just believe in Him, not just believe in His identity, but believe Him, believe what He says.
Believe Him when He says you “are the heirs of the kingdom of God” (verse 11).
He means it.
He will get you there. He promised. Yes, even you.
He will get me there. He promised. Yes, even me.
“For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom He has died, to redeem them from their transgressions…” (verse 12).
That’s the whole point! That’s the whole reason He suffered and died: to get you home, to get me home.
This is the good news! (verse 14).
This is why we can have peace. (verse 16)
This is why it is so good, that we must share it with others (verse 17).
This is our premortal covenant, to share the peace of this good news!
“… O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings…” (verse 18).
When the prophet is delivering a call to repentance to the people, the message is called a “burden”. That burden becomes a curse if the people reject the message.
But when the people have received the message, are repentant, and are living the covenant, then they are testifying – and this testifying is the “good tidings”. The people themselves, by building their testimonies and sharing them, become prophets (Revelation 19:10).
This is our premortal covenant: that He would atone for us, and we would testify of it.
“For were it not for the redemption which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, I say unto you, were it not for this, all mankind must have perished” (verse 19).
He has done His part, and now we must do our part.
“…the Son reigneth” (verse 20).
In this way, the Savior has indeed saved us.
And as we become like Him, by testifying of Him, we shall be called in His work – even the work of the resurrection of the dead (verses 20, 21).
“And now, the resurrection of all the prophets, and all those that have believed in their words, or all those that have kept the commandments of God, shall come forth in the first resurrection” (verse 22).
Why are those who have believed Him and so testified of Him resurrected?
“They are raised to dwell with God who has redeemed them; thus they have eternal life through Christ…” (verse 23).
All will receive immortality.
But the quality of that immortality, including its purpose and progression, depends on us receiving – including testifying of Him – now.
He gives all of us immortality, no matter what we think of Him. That gift is a freebie.
But our choices now, what covenants we are able to keep now, determine the quality of that immortality.
This clearly made king Noah and his people nervous, because they have not been making good choices.
Abinadi-the-prophet says they should be nervous!
“But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him… that willfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection” (verse 26).
These people are busted.
Busted, but not condemned.
Abinadi is trying to reach them, trying to show them how easy it is, how simple it is. He isn’t trying to blast them with how awful they are, but he is trying to show them how precarious their situation is. They are not bad people, but they are making bad choices.
The danger has come because they broke their covenants in tiny ways, and this has led to breaking covenants in big ways.
And if they go so far as to reject Christ completely, and His prophets sent to help and warn them, then they are denying the gift offered them: the very atonement that brings mercy.
And without mercy, they are left in the hands of justice.
“… neither can the Lord redeem such; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim…” (verse 27).
But there is hope.
There is hope in returning to Christ, finding our way back to Him, and letting Him help us make things right again. There is mercy being offered.
And it is offered to us all (verse 28).
“And now I say unto you that the time shall come that the salvation of the Lord shall be declared to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people” (verse 28).
And then a marvelous verse that we know refers even to General Conference, because of Elder Holland’s statement about how similar verses refer to our day, to our time, to General Conference itself.
This is the time of “good tidings” being declared from the mountaintops (Temples!).
These are the latter days of the Latter-days!
These are the days of preparation for when the Savior shall return!
“Yea, the Lord, thy watchmen shall lift up their voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion” (verse 29).
This is our hope!
“Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem” (verse 30).
We are no longer “waste places”!
We are no longer nothing-ness!
We are no longer without purpose!
We are His, redeemed, clean and well and whole and perfect in Him, with purposes to fulfill and celebrations to enjoy.
“The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (verse 31).
We sing this in “How Firm a Foundation“:
Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.