Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, May 19

Book of Mormon: Abinadi, King Noah, and King Noah’s Priests

“Book of Mormon: Abinadi, King Noah, and King Noah’s Priests”

grego
(c) 2008

Ok, a few comments. I guess this could also turn into a big article… nah, let’s keep it shorter.

Note that as with comments from other prophets (such as with Jacob), Abinadi was commanded by the Lord to preach. He didn’t just see what was going on and feel like, “Hey, I’ll preach” and do it.

He prophesies; as with other prophecies in the Book of Mormon (like to the people of Ammonihah), some of the fulfillment of the prophecy is recorded, some isn’t.

Who Is God? Who Is His Prophet?

King Noah asks, as do a few others (such as the people in Ammonihah),
“Who is Abinadi, that I and my people should be judged of him, or who is the Lord, that shall bring upon my people such great affliction?” (Mosiah 11:27).

So Abinadi says:
“And it shall come to pass that the life of king Noah shall be valued even as a garment in a hot furnace; for he shall know that I am the Lord” (Mosiah 12:3).

God makes himself known to man in two ways: nicely (to the repentant), or not nicely (to the proud and unrepentant).

WHO’s Pretending?!?

King Noah’s priests say:
“And he pretendeth the Lord hath spoken it. And he saith all this shall come upon thee except thou repent, and this because of thine iniquities” (Mosiah 12:12).

When King Noah’s priests question him, Abinadi replies:
“And now Abinadi said unto them: Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people, and to understand the spirit of prophesying, and yet desire to know of me what these things mean?” (Mosiah 12:25).

The pretending has now been thrust to the other side… Along with the questioning.

We Are Strong!!
King Noah’s priests say:

And now, O king, what great evil hast thou done, or what great sins have thy people committed, that we should be condemned of God or judged of this man? (Mosiah 12:13).
And now, O king, behold, we are guiltless, and thou, O king, hast not sinned; therefore, this man has lied concerning you, and he has prophesied in vain” (Mosiah 12:14).
And behold, we are strong, we shall not come into bondage, or be taken captive by our enemies; yea, and thou hast prospered in the land, and thou shalt also prosper” (Mosiah 12:15).

Mosiah 12:16
Behold, here is the man, we deliver him into thy hands; thou mayest do with him as seemeth thee good.

Well, ok, whatever. Abinadi shows that they have plenty of sin. That should help them understand that his prophesying was not in vain, that he wasn’t lying, that they would be overcome by the Lamanites.
Nope.
Ok, let’s go a little further.

They were proud of kicking Lamanite tail, and it went to their head. Yet, here’s the incredible irony: when it’s all them and the guards and the king against one man (Abinadi), they can’t even kill, much less capture, one man!!:

Mosiah 13:2 And they stood forth and attempted to lay their hands on him; but he withstood them, and said unto them:
Mosiah 13:3 Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver; neither have I told you that which ye requested that I should tell; therefore, God will not suffer that I shall be destroyed at this time.
Mosiah 13:4 But I must fulfil the commandments wherewith God has commanded me; and because I have told you the truth ye are angry with me. And again, because I have spoken the word of God ye have judged me that I am mad.
Mosiah 13:5 Now it came to pass after Abinadi had spoken these words that the people of king Noah durst not lay their hands on him, for the Spirit of the Lord was upon him; and his face shone with exceeding luster, even as Moses’ did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord.
Mosiah 13:6 And he spake with power and authority from God; and he continued his words, saying:
Mosiah 13:7 Ye see that ye have not power to slay me, therefore I finish my message.

God’s Word–Nice or Not Nice?

No matter how dumb people are, when they are wicked and think they are powerful they just can’t pass up the chance to try to whip up on the little man. No exception here:

And it came to pass that they said unto the king: Bring him hither that we may question him; and the king commanded that he should be brought before them (Mosiah 12:15).
And they began to question him, that they might cross him, that thereby they might have wherewith to accuse him; but he answered them boldly, and withstood all their questions, yea, to their astonishment; for he did withstand them in all their questions, and did confound them in all their words(Mosiah 12:19).

Ok, they’re getting a little ticked off here. This was supposed to be easy! So,
Mosiah 12:20 …one of them said unto him: What meaneth the words which are written, and which have been taught by our fathers, saying:
Mosiah 12:21 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth…

That is in response to Abinadi’s prophesying evil concerning the people and the king (Mosiah 12:9, 10).
Mosiah 12:9 “…Behold, we have brought a man before thee who has prophesied evil concerning thy people, and saith that God will destroy them” (Mosiah 12:9); “And he also prophesieth evil concerning thy life” (Mosiah 12:10).

In other words, if you claim to be a prophet, why are your words not like the words the prophets are supposed to speak–you know, words like beautiful, good, peaceful, salvation? Well, as Abinadi explains, the words of God are nice–to the repentant (Mosiah 15:10-25; 28-31; 16:1, 11); but they aren’t nice to the unrepentant (Mosiah 15:26-27; 16:2-5, 11-13).

Moses and his Law and Another Sign

King Noah’s priests were supposed to be up on the law of Moses:
Mosiah 12:28 And they said: We teach the law of Moses.

Just that while they might have kept the outward ordinances, they missed the “commandments” part:
Mosiah 12:29 And again he said unto them: If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon riches? Why do ye commit whoredoms and spend your strength with harlots, yea, and cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people?

They want to kill him. So, to help King Noah’s priests even more, God gives them yet another sign to show that Abinadi is his prophet:

Mosiah 12:33 But now Abinadi said unto them: I know if ye keep the commandments of God ye shall be saved; yea, if ye keep the commandments which the Lord delivered unto Moses in the mount of Sinai, saying:

Mosiah 13:5 Now it came to pass after Abinadi had spoken these words that the people of king Noah durst not lay their hands on him, for the Spirit of the Lord was upon him; and his face shone with exceeding luster, even as Moses’ did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord.

Did they catch that connection? Well, did or didn’t, it still wasn’t enough…

Hey, King Noah’s Priests, Is This You, Too?

Hey guys, do you make these same mistakes? If so, it might be for the same reason! You know, hardheartedness and all that. See, ALL the *real* prophets (not the pretend ones like you all)–understand and prophecy of Christ, not the law of Moses.
Such a nice way for Abinadi to tell them…
Mosiah 13:32 And now, did they understand the law? I say unto you, Nay, they did not all understand the law; and this because of the hardness of their hearts; for they understood not that there could not any man be saved except it were through the redemption of God.
Mosiah 13:33 For behold, did not Moses prophesy unto them concerning the coming of the Messiah, and that God should redeem his people? Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began–have they not spoken more or less concerning these things?

Sins vs. Sins and Hypocrisy and Priestcraft and Lying

God does not just punish for our sins, but for hypocrisy and lying about our sins:

Mosiah 12:31 And it shall come to pass that ye shall be smitten for your iniquities, for ye have said that ye teach the law of Moses.

Abinadi is a Type of Christ

He is called by God to preach to a lost people.
He is brought before the king.
King Noah’s priests revile him and question him.
King Noah’s priests claim the law of Moses saves; they know nothing of Christ.
King Noah’s priests get mad when he confounds them.
He proves God himself is the saving force, not the law of Moses.
Signs are given to persuade the people and stand as witnesses against them.
They don’t have power to take his life.
His face shines.
Even though it’s all them against him, they are scared (in the Garden of Gethsemane).
He quotes Isaiah. Messianically, even.
He explains who the Son is, and why.
The king wants to release him, but King Noah’s priests do all they can to cause his death.
In the end, the king consents.
They plan to kill him; he tells them they will shed “innocent blood”.
Through all this, he is alone.
They kill him anyway.
He says: “O God, receive my soul” and dies.

A Mistake in the Book of Mormon?

Mosiah 13:12 And now, *ye remember that I said unto you*: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of things which are *in heaven above*, or which are *in the earth beneath*, or which are IN THE WATER UNDER THE EARTH.

Yet, earlier, it is recorded that Abinadi said only this:
Mosiah 12:36 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*.

“Read”

Mosiah 13:11 And now I read unto you the remainder of the commandments of God, for I perceive that they are not written in your hearts; I perceive that ye have studied and taught iniquity the most part of your lives.

Such would be incredible irony and even humor, to scold them for not having the commandments written in their hearts, then have to read to them from the scriptures. Of course, I don’t have hardly any scripture completely memorized, much less a chapter or two (sorry, sorry, don’t pass it around). I wonder if he actually reads from scripture, or if “read” is used maybe as it’s sometimes used in Chinese, which means more of “to recite” than to literally “read” while looking at what was written. It was already somewhat outdated at that time, but… I guess it’s possible.

On the other hand, it’s likely his comment and method are brutally obvious that the priests were never schooled in their subject, and as such, he would like to play teacher and “open the books” in their presence and perhaps give them their first real lesson!

2008, May 13

Book of Mormon: “A Tower Near the Temple” (King Zeniff vs. King Noah)

Filed under: Uncategorized — grego @ 7:47 am
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I noticed the following for the first time last Sunday in the Book of Mormon. I’m going to try to keep it short and simple, though I might not do so well this time.

In Mosiah 11:12, it reads, “And it came to pass that he built a tower near the temple; yea, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Shilom, and also the land of Shemlon, which was possessed by the Lamanites; and he could even look over all the land round about.” The first part of that sentence: “a tower near the temple”–is the key to this whole section of the Book of Mormon.

The temple symbolizes the way that King Zeniff (and King Limhi) deal with life, and the tower is the symbol of the way that King Noah deals with life. That they stand next to each other is a perfect literary foil for the lessons in the story.

King Zeniff relies on righteousness for safety of his country and people.
*Zeniff, seeing good in the Lamanites, desires peace. He obtains the land through covenant. (Mosiah
*His people are industrious. They build buildings and repair the city walls (Mosiah 9:8). They raise flocks and crops (Mosiah 9:14). The men “raise all manner of grain and all manner of fruit of every kind” (Mosiah 10:4); the women make cloth (Mosiah 10:5); they prosper (Mosiah 10:5). *His people are attacked, and he arms them for battle (Mosiah 9:15; Mosiah 10:1).
*Twice he personally leads his people into battle against Lamanite aggression (Mosiah 9:16, 10:9, 10). *They go to battle “in the strength of the the Lord” (Mosiah 9:17) and “in his might” (Mosiah 9:18), “putting their trust in the Lord” (Mosiah 10:19, 20). They not only win, the first battle is almost an 1:11 kill ratio, and the second battle is much more, it’s not counted (Mosiah 10:20).
*He places guards that are successful (Mosiah 10:2); he places spies that are successful (Mosiah 10:7).
*He even helps bury the dead after battle (Mosiah 9:19).
It seems evident that their power is in righteousness and in the Lord.

King Noah, on the other hand, relies on the arm of flesh for the safety of his country and people. It reads, “He did not walk in the ways of his father” (Mosiah 11:1); “for behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart” (Mosiah 11:2).
But he didn’t stop there; “he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness” (Mosiah 11:2).
He sets the bad example and encourages his people to follow.
Part of his method included taxing “one fifth part of all they possessed” (Mosiah 11:3). With that money, he supports his wicked lifestyle (Mosiah 11:4) and builds, as his major contribution, “a tower near the temple; yea, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Shilom, and also the land of Shemlon, which was possessed by the Lamanites” (Mosiah 11:12). He built a second “great tower” (Mosiah 11:13).
Ironically, he “also caused that his workmen should work all manner of fine work within the walls of the temple, of fine wood, and of copper, and of brass” (Mosiah 11:10). The temple became a symobl of his wickedness, not righteousness. In the temple, his high priests did “speak lying and vain words to his people” (Mosiah 11:11).
He and his people raise grapes (right?), for their wine.
Lamanites attack, people die, guards are sent, they die, an army is sent, it wins, and “now, because of this great victory they were lifted up in the pride of their hearts; they did boast in their own strength, saying that their fifty could stand against thousands of the Lamanites; and thus they did boast, and did delight in blood, and the shedding of the blood of their brethren, and this because of the wickedness of their king and priests” (Mosiah 11:19).
Abinadi is slain, things go bad; the tower still has one part left to play. King Noah flees there when Gideon chases him to kill him (Mosiah 19:6); from there he sees the Lamanites coming; he begs for his life, gets it, and instead of leading the people against their enemies, he leads them in running away! That included, at the end, leaving behind the women and children.

So, how about our nations? Better yet and more applicably to our situations, what about our lives, and our families? Is the temple proper our symbol, or is it there only as a facade? Are we concentrating more on building temples and righteousness, or towers and wickedness? Where will we most rely on, in necessary times–in the Lord, or ourselves?

2008, May 4

Beggars, Begging, Stewardship, Being Cheated, God, Us

Filed under: Uncategorized — grego @ 3:24 pm
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We discussed beggars in class today, from Mosiah 4.

I had a few interesting insights (at least to myself). Not all new, but more “together” this time.

We often worry about whether the person begging is in real need or is cheating us, just trying to take our money for nothing. Hey, we earned it, it’s ours, we don’t want to just give it away for nothing. In business and energy work it’s the concept of “fair exchange”. So we are often hesitant. We also know that we can’t just give everything to everyone. We also know it’s often not good to give plain money to others, but maybe food, clothes, a ride, etc. instead; or in exchange for work, or even a chance to listen to their experiences or such.

In this desire to be good stewards, however, I imagine we often cut off those who really do need our things, especially the material things, because of a fear of being cheated. Pres. Joseph F. Smith, I believe, said something like it was better to be cheated 9 times by false beggars to make sure the 1 true beggar that needed got it, than to not be cheated by the 9 false beggars and perhaps miss the 1 true beggar who needed it.

Our money, our food, our cothing, our _, whatever–it’s not ours. It’s all God’s. We really are only stewards of it all. Yes, maybe we worked hard for it–using God-given blessings, such as a body, air, food, etc.; and we were blessed and received. We of course want to be good stewards and manage them accordingly. But we have a special commandment in this case. We must use these things we are stewards over, things we have been blessed with, according to the way that God tells us to use them; and through King Benjamin we have explicit instructions in this case–that seem to go against other parts of being good stewards–to give to beggars.

If we use these things as directed, to give to the beggar, we are promised blessings–that our pleas to God won’t go unheard and unheeded, either. So, either we learn to live in abundance from God through us to others (and ourselved being ok in the middle), or we similarly learn to live in scarcity, because we don’t have faith that if we give (and even if we are cheated), God can and will still provide for us. That is the reason for our substances will perish with us. We won’t give to others, and therefore God won’t give to us.

Does that mean we need to send our bank account number to Africa when we get the next email from a good general who wants to give us millions of dollars to help him save his country’s money? (Cough, cough.) No. We need to be intelligent; we need to be wise; we need to be careful; we need to be resourceful; but when it comes to a person in front of us who seems to be in need, who’s asking for daily bread or such, it might be hard to judge sometimes, and it might be better to judge mercifully than not. Remember that while it might be a cheater, it might also be an angel (yes, literally). Or, if you believe in the possibility of “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”, the Savior himself.

If a “beggar” (or anyone, for that matter) cheats us, will it bless their lives, in the long run? It won’t.

If we are cheated by a beggar (or anyone, for that matter)–especially because we want and try to do good, love others, and obey the commandment to give to the beggar–will we be cursed for it, even temporally? We can’t and won’t be, unless we cut ourselves off from those blessings. Or if we have faith, will God–who gives freely to his children that ask–make up for it, and maybe even more? I believe so.

Now, a little more about “cheating beggars”… Have you ever cheated God? Have you ever disobeyed any commandments, yet expected the blessings that came from obeying them? Did you even ever get angry when you didn’t receive those blessings? Have you ever prayed for mercy, expecting to receive it, yet treated others unmercifully? Have you tried to get something for nothing from God, with the intent to use it in a less-than-Godly way? And if we on top of doing all these things also withold His things from others against his commandment, aren’t we also hypocrites?

We are beggars with God; unprofitable servants, and some of us not even servants, just unprofitable enemies to God. We are given stewardship, and we must also realize that there is a difference between being a wise steward and a greedy steward. Let’s be wise stewards.

Book of Mormon | “ALL”, “ONE”, “NONE” Examples in the Anti-Nephi-Lehi Story

Book of Mormon: “ALL”, “ONE”, “NONE”, Examples in the Anti-Nephi-Lehi Story
by grego

I decided to add a little more that somewhat relates to the recent “Stripling Warrior” post.

There is apt mention of “one”, “all”, and “none”/ “not one” in the Book of Mormon, and especially in this story. It might be fun to pay attention as you read, or even search how many times these terms come up and where.

Since it’s hard to tell where one starts and ones stops, I’ll mention a few (no, this is not a complete list) in the sons of Mosiah Lamanite conversion story:

*Ammon cuts off all their arms, except for the one leader, who he kills.
*All the servants fall except Abish, just one, who goes and gets the people.
*Out of all the people gathered, one of the robbers tries to kill Ammon.
*The king desires to know “all these things”.
*The king gives up “all his sins”.
*One of them is mightier than all: “Why commandest thou that we should slay these men, when behold one of them is mightier than us all?”
*The king orders no obstruction to the word; they are all brethren.
*None of the people who convert are ex-Nephites, except one.
*All of the Lamanites in seven cities are converted.
*Not one soul among all the converted is willing to fight.
*They bury all their weapons.
*All of the 1,005 people who are killed are righteous; not one unrighteous among them.
*None of those that killed the 1,005 are ex-Nephites; all were descendants of Laman and Lemuel.
*The Lamanites kill all the people of Ammonihah; not one soul is spared.
*God verified his word to them in every particular.
*The missionaries suffered every privation, all manner of afflictions.
*Ammon tells the king all the words of the Lord.
*They gather all the converts and leave.
*They report all the things that happened in the land of the Lamanites.
*The converted Lamanites are “perfectly upright and honest in all things”.

What else do YOU find?


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