18: “A Light … That Can Never Be Darkened” (Mosiah 11-17)
Imagine you are going to teach someone who has never heard about Jesus Christ before. What would be the first thing that you would tell them? In this week’s study group, we dig into Mosiah 11-17, some of the most concentrated chapters in the Book of Mormon about Jesus Christ's role in our salvation. We'll learn, from the prophet Abinadi's fervent efforts to bring King Noah and the wicked priests to a knowledge of Christ, how we can one day have an “endless happiness.”
Abinadi before King Noah (Abinadi Appearing before King Noah), by Arnold Friberg
What was King Noah like?
- He did not walk in the ways of his father (Mosiah 11:1).
- He did not keep the commandments of God, and he did “cause his people to commit sin” (Mosiah 11:2).
- He required a fifth part of all the people owned, (Mosiah 11:3), and he used it to support himself (Mosiah 11:4).
- He lived in “riotous living,” and he was a “wine-bibber” (Mosiah 11:14-15).
Hugh Nibley about King Noah's popularity: "His judgement wasn't the best, but we overlook the fact that the wicked Noah was an extremely popular king.... He was the most popular king in the Book of Mormon" (Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Volume 2, pg.52).
"13 And now, ought ye not to tremble and repent of your sins, and remember that only in and through Christ ye can be saved?
Verse about Christ's name: "And there cometh a resurrection, even a afirst resurrection; yea, even a resurrection of those that have been, and who are, and who shall be, even until the resurrection of Christ—for so shall he be called" (Mosiah 15:21)
Quote by W.W. Phelps: Christ, a Greek word which means "anointed." The Hebrew word that means "anointed" is Messiah. Why was the Son of God called Messiah or Christ? Because "Christ . . . was anointed [in the premortal world] with holy oil in heaven, and crowned in the midst of brothers and sisters, while his mother stood with approving virtue, and smiled upon a Son that kept the faith as the heir of all things!" (W.W. Phelps, "Times and Seasons," 1 January 1845, 758; Donald w. Parry, Jay A. Parry, Understanding Death and the Resurrection, Deseret Book, 2003 )
Ellery’s favorite scripture about the Atonement of Jesus Christ: Alma 7:11
How Abinadi begins his sermon:
"28 And they said: We teach the law of Moses.
"29 And again he said unto them: If ye teach the alaw of Moses why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon briches? Why do ye commit whoredoms and cspend 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?" (Mosiah 12:27-29)
The Law of Moses:
- The laws in the Law of Moses were given a little at a time, throughout Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
- Paul describes the role of the Law of Moses as a “schoolmaster” to help prepare the people to come unto Christ (Galatians 3:24).
- Abinadi teaches the purpose of the law of Moses in Mosiah 13:29-30, as a law of "performances and ordinances."
- The Law of Moses contains a total of 613 commandments. 365 are negative laws, or laws that teach you what not to do, which is also the same number of days there are in a year. There are 248 positive commandments, or commandments that teach you what to do. 248 also happens to be the number of bones and main organs in the body.
- All of the Law of Moses is contained in the first five books of the Old Testament, (Genesis, Exodus, Levitis, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) or what the Jews refer to as the “Torah.” These are part of the plates that Nephi went back to get.
Halacha: In Hebrew means the path or the way, another way to refer to the Law of Moses (see chabad.org)
Torah: The Law (see dictionary.com).
Navi’im: The prophets (see yourdictionary.com, under “origin”).
Ketuv’im: The writings (see yourdictionary.com).
Mishna: A set of six book that define the law (see merriam-webster.com)
Gemara: Commentary on the Mishna (see dictionary.com).
Abinadi's answer to the priests: "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. And what know ye concerning the law of Moses? aDoth salvation come by the law of Moses? What say ye?" (Mosiah 12:31).
Yeshua: In Hebrew means salvation, see biblehub.com.
Joshua: In greek is Jesus, which means salvation, or savior (see biblestudytools.com).
When King Benjamin was visited by an angel in Mosiah 3, Professor’s Ogden and Skinner believe it may have been the martyred Abinadi (D. Kelly Ogden and Andrew C. Skinner, Verse by Verse, the Book of Mormon, Volume 1, pg 354).
Symbolism in Mosiah 14:
- (Mosiah 14:1) Abinadi quotes Isaiah, saying “who hath believed our report.” Abinadi is essentially asking, “Who will believe what I have to say about Jesus Christ?” Paul asks the same question, cross reference both John 12:37-41, and Romans 10:13-17.
- (Mosiah 14:2) When Isaiah says “as a root out of dry ground,” the root is symbolism for Jesus Christ himself. He came forth in dry ground, which refers to dry ground both spiritually and temporally. Spiritually the dry ground is referring to spiritual barrenness, and the apostasy of the people.
- (Mosiah 14:3) When Isaiah says “no form nor comeliness,” scholars believe it refers not just to the Savior’s physical appearance, but the fact that the Savior looked like an ordinary man, his coming may not have been in the glorious manner the Jews were expecting.
- (Mosiah 14:3) The word “sorrows” can also be translated as “pains” (see biblehub.com).
- (Mosiah 14:4) Cross reference for the line “Surely he has born our grief and carried our sorrows” is in Matthew 8:14-17. Christ carried our infirmities, and our sicknesses.
- (Mosiah 14:5) Cross reference for “with his stripes we are healed” with Matthew 27:24-26, when his body is scourged.
- (Mosiah 14:7) The phrase He “opened not his mouth” is fulfilled when the Savior stands in front of Herod and does not answer him (Luke 23:9).
- (Mosiah 14:9) The prophecy that “he made his grave with the wicked” is fulfilled in Mark 15:27-28 when he is crucified with two thieves.
- (Mosiah 14:10) The line “it pleased God to bruise him” shows how Heavenly Father was pleased in his Son, Jesus Christ who was so willing to be obedient, not necessarily that he was actually pleased to bruise him.
“… Even though His life was pure and free of sin, He paid the ultimate penalty for sin—yours, mine, and everyone who has ever lived. His mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish were so great they caused Him to bleed from every pore (see Luke 22:44; D&C 19:18). And yet Jesus suffered willingly so that we might all have the opportunity to be washed clean—through having faith in Him, repenting of our sins, being baptized by proper priesthood authority, receiving the purifying gift of the Holy Ghost by confirmation, and accepting all other essential ordinances. Without the Atonement of the Lord, none of these blessings would be available to us, and we could not become worthy and prepared to return to dwell in the presence of God” (M. Russell Ballard, “The Atonement and the Value of One Soul,” General Conference, April 2004).
“They are perhaps the hardest chapters in the Book of Mormon. They are the most important and the most condensed because here we are going to find the fullness of the gospel message that we need to be saved.” (Hugh Nibley, Teachings of The Book of Mormon: Part 1)
Christ as the Father and the Son:
“He is the Father because he is the creator or Father of this earth, He is the God or Father of the Old Testament, and the Father or Author of our Salvation; he was and is the great Jehovah; he has all the attributes of the Father, and by divine investiture he serves the role of the Father in all things relative to our salvation.” (D. Kelly Ogden and Andrew C. Skinner, Verse by Verse, the Book of Mormon)
Jeffery R. Holland quote: “As Abinadi taught, Christ was ‘conceived by the power of God’ [Mosiah 15:3] and therefore has the powers of the Father within him. In addition to that divine lineal relationship, Christ also acts as the Father in that he is the Creator of heaven and earth [see Mosiah 15:4], is the father of our spiritual rebirth and salvation, and is faithful in honoring—and therefore claiming the power of—the will of his Father above that of his own will” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon).
Qualifications for becoming Christ’s seed:
1. We need to hear the words of the prophets, who speak His words (D&C 1:38).
2. We need to hearken and obey the words of the prophets.
3. We need to believe that the Lord will redeem His people.
4. We need to look forward to that day for a remission of their sins.
Hugh Nibley quote: “So we must be put on probation if we are going to make it at all. That's the word the Book of Mormon uses throughout, "Therefore this life became a state of probation." We are being tested every minute we are here to see how we will do. Every minute you have to make a decision, and it's never too late to make the right decision, as Ezek. 38 says. If you have made the right decision every day of your life and suddenly decide to make the wrong decision, then you are on the way down. Then you are wicked. If you have been wicked and made wrong decisions every day of your life and finally decide to make the right ones, then you are righteous no matter what you have done in the past. It depends not on how high or low you are on the stairway but in which direction you are facing. If you are facing down, your condition is lamentable. If you are facing up, your condition is joyful-even though you may be on the bottom step facing up. It's the direction you are facing. We are subject to this test here. We haven't qualified for it [the higher life], so we are put on this time of probation to determine who, if any, can come up to the required standards. Can we do that?” (Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Volume 2, Pg. 80)
The priests try to question and trick Abinadi in Mosiah 12:19-22.
"15 And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet!
"16 And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace!
"17 And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever!
"18 And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the afeet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of bpeace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people;" (Mosiah 15:15-18).
Symbolism in Mosiah 15:15-18:
Mountains: Describes the place where the gospel is preached, regardless of the actual physical location in the world, cross reference (D&C 19:29).
Feet: The feet in the phrase "How beautiful are the feet," means "How beautiful is the one who brings the message." Hugh Nibley explains that without the use of feet, the message would never be delivered, for more info see Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Part Two, Lecture 35, Pg. 88).
Beautiful: There are two words for beautiful in Hebrew. One is Yapheh (yaw-fe), which means beautiful in an everyday sense (see biblehub.com). The other is Naah, and it is a verb (see biblehub.com) . "How beautiful" is translated into "Mah Naahvu," Vu is the tense.
- What Abinadi says about the resurrection: Mosiah 15:20-21
- First Resurrection: cross reference Matthew 27:52-53, 3 Nephi 23:9-13
"10 Even this mortal shall put on aimmortality, and this bcorruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to cstand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil—
"11 If they be good, to the resurrection of aendless life and bhappiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of cendless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation—" (Mosiah 16:10-11).
Who will not get Endless Happiness? Mosiah 16:12
- Those who never called upon the Lord while his arms of mercy were extended.
- Those who did not depart from their iniquities.
- Those who were commanded, yet failed to repent.
Samson and Delilah’s story: Judges 16
Quote from Joseph Smith: "Those who have died in Jesus Christ may expect to enter into all that fruition of joy when they come forth, which they possessed or anticipated here.
" . . . All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful. By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it.
" . . . The expectation of seeing my friends in the morning of the resurrection cheers my soul and makes me bear up against the evils of life. It is like their taking a long journey, and on their return we meet them with increased joy." (Joseph Smith, LDS Church News April 6, 1996)
Segment 1 0:00
I don't know about you guys, but I'm kind of done with this quarantine. I think I hit a wall yesterday to the point where even food didn't really taste good anymore. I was talking to a friend about that, actually producer KaRyn, how just nothing even tastes good. We're kind of just like, "Meh." And maybe I need to get outdoors, that could probably be it. But what I was thinking is, I just I miss my friends, I miss eating out, I miss running real quick to the grocery store, and I miss having my kids in school, I'll be honest.
And don't get me wrong, there have been really great moments. I had one moment of clarity, and it was at night, everybody was in bed, and I was still up and I was just kind of wandering around the house. And I started thinking about the past couple of weeks and I had this thought come into my head and I was like, "Man, this sure has been inconvenient." And immediately, the thought came back that said, "No, your life was inconvenient."
And I thought, "You know what, you're totally right." I was everywhere, I was busied, I was hurried, I was rushed, and at times I was super frenetic. I felt like I lived in my car. And I gotta tell you, the last couple weeks have been calm and slow and to be honest, convenient. I have been reminded of what matters most, intentional time with my family. I started reading my scriptures again. I see the sacrament in a completely new way, and conference meant everything to me. And you know what, I have been happy. And I've been happy with less, which is saying a lot because I'm a person who loves more. Like more is better for me.
And so today we're going to study Mosiah chapters 11 through 17, and these are the prophet Abinadi's words, and honestly, I can't think of a better sermon to study right now. We're going to echo Nephi's sermon where we talk about Christ, we learn of Christ, and we're going to come to understand how Christ can actually make us endlessly happy, happier than we ever imagined, oh and beautiful too. That's part of his sermon. We are going to be beautifully happy.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original brought to you by LDS Living where we take the "Come, Follow Me" lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall.
Now, if you're new to our study group, I want to make sure that you know how to use this podcasts. So one of the things you can do is listen to it all at once and study your Scriptures for a full hour, but another thing about this podcast that I think is cool, is it's broken up into six segments. And each segment is about 10 to 12 minutes long.
So, you can just listen to a segment every day and study your Scriptures for 10 minutes a day and call it good. And the way you know the segment's over, is there will be a little bit of music that plays at the end, and then you can just pause there and come back tomorrow. So listen for that music.
Now another awesome thing about our study group, and this is my favorite part of it, is we're joined by two of my friends, and so it's a little different each week. Today we've got Ellery Howarth and Kenzie green. Hi ladies.
Hi, Tammy. So happy to be here with you.
Hi Tam. Excited for today.
Okay, I've known these two ladies since they were young. They're our youngest participants we've ever had, you guys are in your 20s, right?
Both single by the way. Hellooo.
Yes, we are. Well, I am.
Yeah, so if you want to know what they look like, and you want to set them up with someone, go to our show notes. You'll be able to find pictures of them and cute BIOS about them. I invited them specifically because they're return missionaries, we'll come and we'll talk a little bit more about your missions. But Kenz, you just got home. You're part of the COVID missionary force, right?
Yeah. I just want to know how you doing Kenz? That was so fast to come home all of a sudden huh?
Yeah. It's been kind of a rough few weeks. But I'm happy and I'm thankful that the Church was thoughtful enough to pull us home to be in quarantined with our families, so.
Yeah, and Elle, you have a brother that was part of that force too.
Yeah. He just got home last week. So it's been a joy to have him home.
You can find pictures and more information about our study group participants, specifically Kenzie and Ellery in our show notes which are at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. This week is, in my opinion, one of the most tender and wonderful lessons about the two things that the Lord and Savior specifically redeems us from, and we will do it through the words of the martyr Abinadi. So, you guys ready to do this?
Okay, grab your scriptures, and let's dig in. So ladies, I'm going to show you a picture and I want you to describe the picture for me, and for those of you listening, I'm going to put this picture in our show notes.
That's Abinadi in front of King Noah.
Yes. Ding, ding, ding. Good job. You got that. And we're talking about that classic picture by Arnold Freiburg for those of you who are listening. This is the classic Abinadi speaking before King Noah and all of his wicked priests picture. Now, we're going to go back 20 years in our timeline. So Mosiah number two sent spies who found King Limhi who happened to be Zeniff's grandson, and Zeniff is the father of wicked King Noah.
So Limhi is King Noah's son. And so 20 years in our timeline, Abinadi shows up and he's teaching the people. Now let's go into this story in Mosiah. So turn to Mosiah chapter 11. Here's where our story begins. We got this guy, wicked King Noah, and what do you remember hearing about him in primary or what do you remember hearing about the story specifically?
I just remember always knowing that he was very worldly, and that he loved his concubines and his riches.
Yeah, you're totally right. Elle, anything you remember?
That picture honestly is what comes to my mind because I was totally taught that as a kid, you know, I was shown that picture and I'm like, "Oh, he had leopards on him," you know, and I'm like, and then there was a really skinny buff man who came and talks to him.
Oh, Ellery that's so great. And he had leopards and...
He was fat, you know?
Oh, totally fat. Yeah, big fat King.
And we're talking about that classic picture by Arnold Freiburg for those of you who are listening. So I want you to go into Mosiah chapter 11, and look at verse one. Scan your eyes down to the very end of that verse, and just tell me. Ellery, what was wrong with King Noah?
He did not walk in the ways of his father.
Very good. This is interesting because he didn't walk in the ways of his father or in the ways of righteousness, but look what the result was. So let's go to verse two, and Kenz will you read that for us please?
"For behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. And 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."
Wow, sum that verse up in one word.
I think it's interesting that he says, "He did walk after the desires of his own heart, but that he taught his people to follow the desires of their heart and to commit sin."
And Kenz, I love that you said "he taught his people." I want you guys to mark that in verse two where it says, "He did cause his people," because I remember growing up seeing that picture that the only people who are wicked were the priests. And then I studied this and researched it and realized, "Oh, no, no, it was all the people of under King Noah, everybody, more or less," but pretty much everybody was wicked.
And it's interesting because I was reading something that Hugh Nibley said, and he said that he believes that King Noah was the most popular King in the entire Book of Mormon because everybody loved that he allowed them to do whatever they wanted. He was a man of the people all right, huh?
Turn the page. In the verse it says he required them to pay a fifth part of their Ziff, a fifth part of everything they own. Now this is normal. A fifth part of the tax was not a big deal. The problem with Noah, is if you look at verse four, it says, "And he did take up to support himself." So the fifth part normally would have been for government, but this fifth part was solely for him, and he was going to build himself the greatest Kingdom ever.
And you can read about everything he built and all of those other verses, but specifically, one of the things he did, is in verse 15. Not only did he have, you know, concubines and wives and a lot of money, but he spent his time in verse 14, living in "riotous living." And then in verse 15 it says, "He was a wine wine-bibber." Ellery, I like that you smiled when I said that.
It's just a funny word. "Wine-bibber."
It is. What do you think it means?
Probably an alcoholic, or just loved wine.
Yes, totally loved wine.
So he is leading his people astray and Abinadi shows up on the scene, and Abinadi starts to call them out to repentance, and they do not like it one bit. In fact, they become so angry with him that they're like, "We got to take him, we got to capture him, we got to do something with him" and he manages to escape. Turn the page to Mosiah chapter 12. And I like how Mosiah returns back to the people. Ellery, will you please read the first sentence of chapter 12 verse one?
"And it came to pass that after the space of two years that Abinadi came among them in disguise, that they knew him not, and began to prophesy among them..."
Isn't that great? I want to know what the disguise was. Like when I read that, I love to dress up more than anything, so I'm like, "What did he have on? Was he dressed as a Star Wars character?" Just kidding, he probably wasn't. But he comes back in disguise, and then he starts to teach the people again. His entire sermon is a rhetorical question after rhetorical question, and then he ends his sermon with an answer. And I love this answer that he gives. So we're actually going to start with his ending. So turn to Mosiah chapter 16, and let's look at verse 14 and 15. And Kenz, will you read that for us?
Actually, let's do 13, 14, and 15.
"And now, ought ye not to tremble and repent of your sins, and remember that only in and through Christ ye can be saved?"
"Therefore, if ye teach the law of Moses, also teach that it is a shadow of those things which are to come—"
"Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen."
So he ends his entire sermon saying, "Listen, we're gonna talk about the law of Moses, we're gonna talk about how we get redemption through Christ." And it's interesting where it says, "Christ the Lord." Turn back to Mosiah chapter 15, and look at verse 21. And I want you to highlight this. He's talking to them about this Savior and about this atonement, and we'll get into that conversation, but I love how he bears testimony of his name. And I want to read it because I love the way he says this.
"And there cometh a resurrection, even a first resurrection; yea, even a resurrection of those that have been, and who are, and who shall be, even until the resurrection of Christ—for so shall he be called."
I want you to highlight the name "Christ" and underlined "for so shall he be called." There's a really incredible quote, and I want us to read this. It's by W.W. Phelps about that phrase right there "for so he shall be called," and Ellery, I want you to read this for us.
"Christ, a Greek word which means 'anointed.' The Hebrew word that means 'anointed' is Messiah. Why was the Son of God called Messiah or Christ? Because 'Christ . . . was anointed [in the premortal world] with holy oil in heaven, and crowned in the midst of brothers and sisters, while his mother stood with approving virtue, and smiled upon a Son that kept the faith as the heir of all things!'" (W.W. Phelps, Times and Seasons, 1 January 1845, 758; Donald w. Parry, Jay A. Parry, Understanding Death and the Resurrection, Deseret Book, 2003 )
Thank you. Isn't that beautiful to think that we were all there when Jesus Christ our Messiah was anointed. I want to ask you this question, Ellery and Kenz. When you think about being there and watching that moment happen with Heavenly Mother, I love how W.W. Phelps includes her in that quote, tell me, how have you personally developed a relationship with the anointed one, with the Messiah, with Christ?
A way that I think throughout my life and my trials, and you know, my hard times life that I've grown closer to Christ is through using the atonement in its entirety. In my mission especially and in life, I feel like I always preach about the atonement is about so much more than repentance, and that's so important. My favorite scripture is in alma 7:11 where it talks about, you know, he suffered the pains of his people, they're afflictions, so that he knows how... I'm paraphrasing it from in Spanish because I only know it in Spanish... but like, so he can be there for his people.
And so, you know, when he was in Gethsemane, he felt all of our pains and all of our sadness and all of our sorrows. And so when I feel that way, I just feel like I get closer to him because, you know, I pray to him and I say, "You know how I feel. And you know how this hurts, please help me. Please be here with me." And I think that is one way my relationship with him has been strengthened so much, is just asking for his help in times when I feel things that hurt.
Oh, thank you, Ellery.
For me, the times that I've realized that I've grown the closest to my Savior Jesus Christ is during my trials, which I think we can all say the same because I realized that he does give us our trials so that we can grow closer to him. I was teaching English last year with five other girls in China and we kind of got dropped off in the middle of nowhere, and they told us "good luck" pretty much.
And for me, I had nothing but to lean on him. And even as a missionary, I felt like I had a lot more support and a lot more people standing behind me. But as a teacher in China, I felt like it was just me and these four girls. I remember on the Great Wall of China, we were hiking, and we'd been hiking all day, and I felt like I was going to collapse, and I just remember crying out and being like, I can't remember where it says in the scriptures when they're like, "Oh, Jesus thou Son of Mercy or Son of David," like, "Have mercy on me." And that's how I felt.
I just like had the most... It wasn't even like peace, it was like power that just filled me like from the toes up. And I'm kind of an adrenaline junkie. I love like Disneyland. I love jamming to music, like going to dance parties. But I've just realized there's nothing on this earth that comes even close, remotely close to the peace and the love, that power that comes from Jesus Christ.
What both of you shared is so beautiful and absolutely perfect for this story about Abinadi because he loved the Savior as much as both of you described, and he just wants the priests of Noah and he just wants the people of Noah to love the Savior the same way, and so in the next segment, we are going to talk about Abinadi's lesson to them about how to get salvation and how to become closer to Christ.
Segment 2 14:30
What immediately comes to your mind when you guys hear the term "law of Moses?"
The movie, ya know with Moses coming down with the two tablets.
I mean me honestly that.
No I love it.
You're probably seeing a pattern, I'm very visual.
Yes, yes totally. Kenz, what do you think of when you hear "law of Moses?"
I think the same thing, just like the 10 commandments. That's just what I see.
For whatever reason, as a kid, my dad taught me this. And it was the "eye for an eye" and I don't even know what it is anymore. I'm like "eye for an eye," is it "tooth for tooth," "ear for ear?" I have no idea. Like, it's the law of Moses seems like this weird, obscure thing that the Jews keep and we don't. But it's fascinating to me because the whole sermon from Abinadi it is about the law of Moses because he talks to these priests who claim that they teach it.
So here's what I want us to do. Let's go into Mosiah chapter 12. And we're going to read verse 27 through 29. Okay. Mosiah 12, 27 through 29. And they're very short verses, and here's where his conversation kind of starts with the people. Kenz, will you read those verses for us?
"Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise. Therefore, what teach ye this people?"
"And they said: We teach the law of Moses."
"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?"
So he's like, "What are you even teaching these people? You claim to be these leaders." And they're like, "Oh, well, we teach the law of Moses." And it's, it's so cool because Abinadi is like, "Nah, let me tell you what you're not teaching them." And so before we go on to the rest of his speech, I thought it would be important for us just to talk a little bit about the law of Moses and what it means to these people. Because when he's saying, "You don't really keep the law of Moses," it's a pretty big deal.
Okay, so I'm just gonna dump all this knowledge on you that I found out about the law of Moses, that helps me especially in light of him saying, "You don't really teach it," there's so much to teach, I can see why they weren't really teaching it or the way it should have been taught. So here's all this information.
So the law of Moses was not given all at once. The 10 Commandments were, but then throughout Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, the children of Israel rebel, so the Lord gives them the rule and then they rebel and they get these rules. So there's a lot of rules to keep. Paul explained in Galatians chapter three, verse 24, that the law of Moses was the school Master, meaning it was going to teach the people what they're preparing to do.
The law of Moses is the ultimate college course preparing you for Christ. And so here's how he says that in Galatians three, verse 24, and I'm just going to read the first part, and it's short, he says, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us onto Christ." That was the whole point. And Paul is saying now, "We don't even have to keep this law anymore," but the Jews insisted on it. And then it'd be Abinadi teaches the purpose of the law of Moses. Let's go to Mosiah chapter 13. And we're going to look at verse 29, through 30. And Ellery, will you read that, please?
"And now I say unto you that it was expedient that there should be a law given to the children of Israel, yea, even a very strict law; for they were a stiff-necked people, quick to do iniquity, and slow to remember the Lord their God;"
"Therefore there was a law given them, yea, a law of performances and of ordinances, a law which they were to observe strictly from day to day, to keep them in remembrance of God and their duty towards him."
Go back in that verse and I want you to underline "a law of performances and of ordinances." There are 613 commandments in the law of Moses. And so I wrote this in the side of my scriptures, "613" and they're broken down in a very clever way. So in the law of Moses, there are 365 negative commandments. These are the "do nots" in the law of Moses, all the things they cannot do.
Interestingly enough, there are 365 days of the year, there are 240 positive commandments and these deal with the treatment of God, family, fellow man, how you treat other people. What's interesting about this number is it's ascribed to the number of bones and main organs in the human body. Now, all of these laws are found in what we've called the "Torah."
Or in Hebrew, the word "Torah" means "the law," and this is Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and this is what Nephi went back to get. These are part of the plates. So they've had these commandments with them. They know the laws, they know the practices, and so when we talk about keeping the law of Moses, it's big. Can you understand now why maybe the priests weren't doing such a hot job with that?
I can. It'd be so hard to remember even half of the commandments and the laws.
Oh, yeah. Well, and even today, if you're Jewish, they have a couple of names. One name is called the "Halacha" which is "the path or the way that they follow." And I'm going to come back to you in a minute Ellery because you spent time in Jerusalem. And I want you to tell me how you saw the law of Moses. So let me go through these things, and I want to come back to you.
So they have the path or the way, and another way of saying of "Old Testament" for Jews is called "Tanakh." And that stands for "Torah," which is "the law." "Navi’im," which is the "prophets," and "Ketuv’im," which is all of the writings found in the Old Testament. Now the law of Moses has these books. So we have the law of Moses, and then we have what's called a "Mishna," and it's a set of six books that define the law.
But how do you know exactly what it means to keep the Sabbath day holy? And so in the Mishna for the "Sabbath day holy," there's a list of 39 things that you're not even supposed to do on the Sabbath. And so there's another set of books, 63 sections called the "Gemara," and this then defines every little aspect of keeping the Sabbath day holy. And I thought this was interesting because it says, "On the Sabbath day, you're not allowed to thresh grain on the Shabbat on Sabbath." That means you can't remove a seed or a kernel or touch its outer layer.
Well, today, no one's really doing that. So you would ask your rabbi, what does this exactly mean? And the Gomorrah is going to say, "Well, actually, it means you can't even get any seed out of anything. So you can't squeeze a lemon for your tea because a seed might pop out." Isn't that interesting? So even today, the law has become so much bigger than we could even imagine. So Ellery, tell me what it looked like when you were in Jerusalem. What did the law of Moses look like?
Oh, yeah. Shabbat which is Saturday, the whole city, closed. You can't go anywhere, no public transport, everything's completely closed. Actually, for the Jerusalem center where the branch is held, you go to Church on Saturday, just because it, it makes more sense. So they have special permission to do that. So they have this thing called "Shabbat elevators." The law of Moses says you can't light a fire. We don't really light fires very much today, so they interpret it as you can't turn on a light.
And so that also means you can't use your phone because you can use your phone, you're turning on a light, you're breaking the Sabbath. So a lot of people in their houses have like automatic lights switches, so like they have timers. So all day Shabbat they'll turn on and off so they don't have to do it, but Shabbat elevators are they stop at every single floor and the doors open and you don't have to press anything and you just ride it down. So it's fun and convenient until you're on like the 13th floor and you're like ridding all the way down, and there's a lot of things like that in Jerusalem. I could talk about it forever.
You loved it. I know you could.
I did love it. Well, there's also different you know, sects I guess of Judaism. You have your orthodox, your conservative, your reforms. So depending on, on which one they're gonna have also different laws because some say you can't even walk past a certain amount of steps each day or else you're breaking the Sabbath.
Right. Well, and given this huge law of Moses, Abinadi asks a very pointed question to these priests. And I want us to look at this, go to Mosiah chapter 12, verse 31. He asks them this one question. And this is the whole point of the law of Moses, and he's trying to point this out to the priests. So in Mosiah chapter 12, verse 31, look at the very, very last sentence of verse 31. He says, "Doth salvation come by the law of Moses? What say ye?" And look at verse 32. How did they respond?
Yeah, they said, "Oh, yes. Salvation totally comes by way of the law of Moses." And Abinadi is like, "No that's the whole reason I'm here, it doesn't. Salvation does not come by way of the law of Moses. It comes by way of Jesus Christ." And it's what I like about this is the word "salvation." This is so cool, in Hebrew, it's "Yeshua" and that word is "Joshua," which is the name "Jesus."
And that's the Greek name. So the Hebrew name is "Joshua," the Greek name is "Jesus." So he's saying, "Does Jesus Christ, our salvation through him come by way of the law of Moses?" And they're like, "You bet it does." And he says, "No, it doesn't." So Abinadi's like, "You know what? This is telling me everything I need to know, we got to start at the basics. I've got to teach you about Jesus Christ." And so we're going to see how Abinadi does that in the next segment.
Segment 3 23:47
So Kenz, Ellery, on your mission's, did you ever have to teach somebody about Jesus Christ who had never heard of him before? And how did you do it?
You never did?
No. The Guatemalans, they love Jesus. They're all Christian. They love him. You can you can never doubt that.
Beautiful. Kenz, what about you? You were in Asia.
Yeah, the Philippines is a fishing country in Asia. They all are Catholic. They all say, "They're born Catholic, they'll die Catholic." They're born, raised, like grow up knowing that Jesus is the Christ.
Oh, that's beautiful. So let me ask you this, if you were to teach someone about Jesus Christ for the very first time, what's the first thing you would tell them about Jesus?
For me, I feel like I would just start at the beginning and just say, "We know that God is a loving Heavenly Father and he created a plan for us and that Jesus is our brother." I think that's where I'd start. First and foremost because that's what he is. It all ties back that we're family, and that he did that out of love and he loves us.
It's a great start. What about you Ellery?
Yeah, I agree. I think I would definitely start out with a family tie. You know, "He's your older loving brother, but he saved you." I think I'd throw that in, you know?
Yeah. I like that, well, that he saved you. And you know, I'm going to use that Ellery because bouncing off what you just said, that is exactly where Abinadi starts this conversation, as he goes in and says to these priests, "He is your salvation, and let me show you how he is your salvation." So go with me to Mosiah chapter 14, and now this is some heavy marking, so I'm going to warn everybody, get your red pencils, get your papers, we're going to mark up our scriptures a ton because this is Isaiah, and we love Isaiah.
But there's so much symbolism in this and I wanted to share this with you. So I'm going to go all Institute on you. And as we do this, and as we talk about Christ, I want you to kind of think about what strikes you as we study these words, and we'll talk about them when we're done. So this is Isaiah, Abinadi is quoting Isaiah chapter 53. And we're going back, remember how I said earlier, "This is 20 years earlier in our message." I did think this was pretty interesting, Professors Ogden and Professor Skinner at BYU, they believe this, that when King Benjamin was visited by an angel in Mosiah three, they think it could have been Abinadi because it was 20 years before King Benjamin's address, and they deliver the same address.
So they think that Abinadi was martyred and then came back to King Benjamin and said, "Here's what you need to teach the people." Isn't that interesting? I really liked that. I know. So we're going to go into his words, and we're going to read these words and define what everything means. And let's start with Mosiah chapter 14, verse one.
"Yea, even doth not Isaiah say: Who hath believed our report..."
Highlight that. This is basically saying, "Listen, who's going to believe us?" And Abinadi's saying, "Are you going to believe me? Are you, are you, is anyone here going to believe what I'm going to teach you about Jesus Christ?" Paul asked this same question, and I'll leave these scripture references in the shownotes, there's some great ones, there's in John and in Roman's basically supporting this idea of saying, "Who's going to believe us?" I love how he starts that out. "Are you going to believe what I have to say to you about Jesus Christ?"
Then he goes into verse two: "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground;"
Highlight the word "root." The "root" is Jesus Christ himself. Christ is the vine, he is the root, and we are His branches. And he came forth, not in fertile land, but in dry ground. But the interesting thing about that dry ground is it's both spiritually and temporarily. So it was a spiritually dry place. So next to the word "dry ground," I would put this, "It was spiritual bareness, and of the Jewish apostasy." This dry ground is talking about the apostasy of the people. And so when he came forth there was, people were not even looking forward to getting rid of the law of Moses, there was apostasy there. So that's what the word "dry ground" means.
And then it says, "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him." The idea refers to the Savior's physical appearance, but not just his physical appearance, but the fact that Jesus would look like just an ordinary man, and so the Jews wouldn't recognize him as the Son of God because they expected him to come in such great awesomeness and glory, and he just came as a babe in Bethlehem. So that's what it's talking about. There's nothing fancy or great about how he appeared.
Verse three says, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
What we need to know about this one, highlight the word "sorrows," he is a man of sorrows. This word can also be translated as "pains." So he is despised and rejected of men, "a man of pains" and acquainted with grief. Look at verse four: "Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted."
Put this cross reference next to those two verses, "Matthew chapter eight, verses 14 through 17," this idea that Christ carried our infirmities and our sicknesses, and Matthew is going to say, "He healed all that were sick," and he definitely did. Now, what I want you to do at the end of verse four, is write in big capital letters, "BUT -- B, U, T." Even though it's in the verse five, as you're reading along, it's good for you to read along knowing that this "but" is coming like, "Yes, he's despised, he's rejected. He has borne our griefs, he's carried our sorrows, 'but...'" And it's interesting that it's here. Because this since this implies that there's something good out of all of this, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
The part "the chastisement of our peace was upon him," I remember for a long time, I was like, "What does that mean?" And one year I was getting ready to teach seminary and I was teaching this verse and I couldn't find commentary anywhere, and I still can't on what specifically "the chastisement of our peace was upon him." And so I did what people say to do, you can pray and get your own revelation as to what something means. And I prayed and I studied and I prayed and I studied, and then it came to me like, "Oh my gosh," and it was of course at four in the morning, I woke up, playing those words in my mind "the chastisement of our peace was upon him" and I believe that "the chastisement of our peace," meaning "those of us who were in heaven, watching down on what was happening and could do nothing," like we knew it was part of the plan.
And as a result of that, he was chastised, "the chastisement of our peace was upon him." We wanted to do something we could do nothing. And then "with his stripes we are healed," when Jesus was scourged by Pilot's men, the whip literally left stripes on his back, and you can cross reference that verse with Matthew chapter 27, verses 24 through 26. And now we're going to go to verse seven.
"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;"
Highlight "opened not his mouth. “This prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus appeared before Herod who questioned him with so many words, and the Savior answered nothing, just remained silent.
Go down to verse nine: "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no evil, neither was any deceit in his mouth."
And the cross reference to that would be Mark chapter 15, verses 27 to 28. That talks about how he was crucified with two thieves, one on his right hand, the other on his left, and that scripture was fulfilled or he was numbered with the transgressors. I want to go to verse 10 because I love verse 10 so much. I want to read this out loud and discuss it. So Ellery, can you read verse 10 please?
"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand."
Okay, did it really please the Lord to see him bruised? What does that mean? What do you think it means?
I don't think he was pleased, you know, to see his son be in pain, but maybe he was pleased to see that he, I mean, was completing the plan, was doing what he was set out to do.
Yeah, I agree.
I'm going along with what Ellery said. The plan was not possible without him. And so where it says that "he shall see his seed" at that moment like it all became possible that we could all see each other again and see our heavenly Father again.
Yes. Oh Kenz, I love that you brought that up. In fact, highlight that in your scriptures where it says "he shall see his seed." We're going to come back to that, but I want it to be marked. It's such a powerful statement in this verse, and we'll talk about that more later. Thank you so much for those comments. So I asked you earlier, are there any verses that stood out to you or any definitions, anything you hadn't considered before?
I liked when you said that in verse three "that sorrows could also be pain."
Mmhmm. It goes right along with your favorite scripture. You should put "Alma 7:11" right next to that word "sorrow." Absolutely. Thank you Ellery for sharing that. Let's read this quote by Russell M. Ballard because he talks about the healing that we can receive because of the Savior suffering through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And I think it's perfect. It goes right along with what we just talked about in Isaiah 53. Kenzie, will you read this quote, please?
“… Even though His life was pure and free of sin, He paid the ultimate penalty for sin—yours, mine, and everyone who has ever lived. His mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish were so great they caused Him to bleed from every pore (see Luke 22:44; D&C 19:18). And yet Jesus suffered willingly so that we might all have the opportunity to be washed clean—through having faith in Him, repenting of our sins, being baptized by proper priesthood authority, receiving the purifying gift of the Holy Ghost by confirmation, and accepting all other essential ordinances. Without the Atonement of the Lord, none of these blessings would be available to us, and we could not become worthy and prepared to return to dwell in the presence of God” (M. Russell Ballard, “The Atonement and the Value of One Soul,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 84–85).
Thank you. That goes back to this idea that we're his seed and going back to be a family. I really liked that you brought that up Kenz. So after Abinadi teaches Isaiah, chapter 53, and rehearses it to these priests, he then goes on to interpret Isaiah 53. So I gave you the verses, but now we're going to listen to and study how Abinadi interprets these verses to the priests. And spoiler alert, notice how these words were able to sway one of the priests and about 200 more people to repent and be baptized. This is the cool part of the sermon.
Segment 4 34:47
All right you guys, this was crazy when I read this and it made me a little bit scared because Hugh Nibley said, "Mosiah chapters 15 and 16 are the most difficult chapters in the book of Mormon." So I thought, "Huh, well, alright," so I started reading it and right out of the gates, he wasn't kidding. Because the very first thing we read in Mosiah chapter 15, verses one, two, and three, are pretty heavy. So I want us to read them, and I want us to see if we can chew on this and figure this out because it's one of the most difficult teachings in our doctrine. So let's read this, Mosiah chapter 15 verses one through three, and Ellery, will you read that for us?
"And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people."
"And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—"
"The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—"
Okay. Tell me, how can Jesus be the Father and the Son? What are your thoughts on this?
Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, right?
I think, when I interpret it, I think, "Oh, that's the Father." And then when he came in the New Testament, he was "the Son" right, in the flesh. And then I also think of like our baptismal covenants we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, and so my interpretation of that has always been, "Christ therefore I am his child because I took upon his name," you know, like a last name. Like I was adopted to him. That's the way I've always interpreted it.
Well, hello Ellery. Apparently it wasn't that hard for you. I love the way you just said that. You both served in foreign countries where this might be a little confusing because it sounds like the Trinity, but we don't believe in the Trinity, so how would you describe this? Kenz, do you have any thoughts?
As missionaries sometimes it's hard for us to walk into people's homes and tell them that the things that they've been taught their whole lives aren't exactly correct. And so especially with the Trinity, especially when you give people the Book of Mormon and they start reading it, and they get to like Mosiah and some other places in the Book of Mormon, they're like, "Well, it says right here, that it is," and it is confusing, but that's what we get from the restoration is that they are separate beings and that as individuals, we all are separate beings, but we all have our pieces to add and our divine roles and our divine places in God's kingdom.
Oh, I like the way you said that, Kenz. Thank you. Let's read these two quotes because I like the way that they define it. We understand that he is the Son because he was begotten by God the Father and he submitted to the will of the Father. So that makes sense, like he is the son, but how is he the father? So let's read these two quotes. Ellery, we'll start with you. And again, this is from Professors Ogden and Skinner.
“He is the Father because he is the creator or Father of this earth, He is the God or Father of the Old Testament, and the Father or Author of our Salvation; he was and is the great Jehovah; he has all the attributes of the Father, and by divine investiture he serves the role of the Father in all things relative to our salvation.” (Ogden, Skinner Verse by Verse the Book of Mormon, pg.354)
Yes, just like you said, and so as the God of the Old Testament, Jehovah, and then we make covenants through him that he is the father of our covenants, and we are his seed. I like how you said that. There's a quote by Elder Holland. Let's read this, it gives us a little more information, and let's see, Kenz, do you want to read that?
“As Abinadi taught, Christ was ‘conceived by the power of God’ [Mosiah 15:3] and therefore has the powers of the Father within him. In addition to that divine lineal relationship, Christ also acts as the Father in that he is the Creator of heaven and earth [see Mosiah 15:4], is the father of our spiritual rebirth and salvation, and is faithful in honoring—and therefore claiming the power of—the will of his Father above that of his own will” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon , 183–84).
Perfect, thank you. So he is the father because of our covenants. And as covenant keepers, we are his seed. I had you mark that "we are his seed" in Mosiah chapter 14 verse 10, so go back to verse 10 because we're going to use that. And I just want to know though, first of all, do either of you have experience with gardening or planting seeds?
I don't but I love cactuses and succulents. I have like 40 in my room.
So you like to grow things?
Just cactuses and succulents. If you asked me to grow some tomatoes, I don't know if I could do that very well for you, but...
That's great. I like it. Ellery, what about you?
Well, "Halls Balls," my mom. My mom probably once every three years decides to grow a garden.
You're gardeners, I've seen your garden before.
Yes. Yeah. So I know what it's like, I know what different plants need different, you know, sunlight and watering and acquire different types of holes to be dug to put them in.
Yeah, so it takes care, doesn't it? Like there's specific things you have to do to get seeds to grow. It's not very easy. It's easy to get weeds to grow for sure. I married a man who loves to garden and as a result my kids do, and so we are big time gardeners. And we just got done planting our peas and all of our lettuce and onions, all the cold weather stuff. But I love watching my daughter carefully take care of every one of these things. She checks on the seeds every day, she waters these seeds because we're growing some tomato plants in our house. Every day she goes in, and I loved it because she was with Jim the other day and they were looking at the seeds, and she just said, I heard she goes, "Looks good dad."
Like she's given the tip of the hat like, "Great job, dad." This idea of this seed, I want you to think about that of all the work that it takes to get a seed to grow because the Lord refers to us here, and Mosiah says, "That he shall see his seed." That's us. He is going to see us. Next to verse 10, I want you to cross reference this verse. So put next to verse 10, "Mosiah chapter 15, verses 10 and 11."
And in Mosiah chapter 15, verses 10 and 11, Abinadi is going to teach us who Christ's seed is, how do we become his seed? Because there are qualifications to becoming his seed. And I want us to read and number those, I like to number things in my scriptures. And so at the very end of verse 10, he says, "And who shall be his seed?" And now verse 11 is going to teach us this, and there are four things. So grab your markers and your scripture pens, and we're going to highlight and number these and I'll read it.
"Behold, I say to you..." That number one, put a number one there. "...whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord—I say unto you, that..." Number two. "...all those who have hearkened unto their words..."
And we've studied that word "hearkened." In Hebrew, the word "here" or "hearken" means "to obey." So all those who have obeyed their words, number three, "believed that the Lord would redeem his people." And number four, "have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God."
Now look at those four things, and let me ask you, what one do you think is the hardest to do?
I think it's hard sometimes to hearken unto the words.
My whole life, I've had a really hard time in like, ooh, I am already starting to cry, I'm so sorry. In you know, sacrament meeting, or like testimony meeting when people would go up and bear their testimonies and be like, "The gospel is so easy." I just I've never agreed. I always thought it was pretty hard. You know, I'm 23 years old, and a lot of people I love have left the Church. You know, they're returned missionaries, you know, they're not even more than two years out of being home, and I understand why, it's hard.
And Satan works hard and we have weaknesses and being of flesh and blood, it's hard, people are mean. I get why people have a hard time with it and I get why people leave. It's a conscious decision I think with the gospel, it's a decision you need to make every day. It's a decision I make hourly to live it because, you know, Satan's good at his job. Satan's really good at his job, and you know, leaders mess up, and it hurts, and you get offended, and it's a choice I have to make daily, and it's a hard one sometimes.
So let me ask you this Ellery, going back to the metaphor of being his seed, and that verse of scripture that says "he sees you," and how you take care of seeds, how does that apply to this? And to all of us, and to those of us who leave?
Again, I think that's why I love the Scripture in alma 11, no, 7:11 excuse me, because he knows what we're feeling and he knows it's hard for us and he knows that we're offended and hurt, I think, and we are still his seed. He'll always be there. And I love that.
And I feel like he, he's standing over you and he's, you know, he's with heavenly Father and he's like, "You know what, looks good dad." Like Sophia said, "Looks good. It's gonna be okay. We're gonna keep watering this plant. We're gonna keep nourishing it." Kenz, any thoughts you have?
I loved what Ellery said. Something that's always stuck in my mind, one time I was in a devotional and the guy said he just stood at the microphone and said, "He understands." And then he paused for like a minute and then he said, "He understands," paused for like a minute, and he just kept saying it like five times. And ever since, like the moments where I've sat there and been like, "Heavenly Father, I don't want to follow this," or like, "Heavenly Father, this is hard." Like, I've just known that, like, my Savior has felt my exact feelings.
And it's such a comfort that although he's our Savior, and although he's this amazing, indescribable person that he understands our deepest most innermost feelings.
Wow. Thank you. Thank you Kenz and Ellery. That's the message that Abinadi is trying to teach. I want us to read this quote, this is by Hugh Nibley, and he talks, I love the way he puts this into perspective for anyone who is struggling, and not even for anyone, for everyone who is struggling. That's how I should say it because we all are. For everyone who is struggling, I want you to hear this quote.
“So we must be put on probation if we are going to make it at all. That's the word the Book of Mormon uses throughout, 'Therefore this life became a state of probation.' We are being tested every minute we are here to see how we will do. Every minute you have to make a decision, and it's never too late to make the right decision, as Ezek. 38 says. If you have made the right decision every day of your life and suddenly decide to make the wrong decision, then you are on the way down. Then you are wicked. If you have been wicked and made wrong decisions every day of your life and finally decide to make the right ones, then you are righteous no matter what you have done in the past. It depends not on how high or low you are on the stairway but in which direction you are facing. If you are facing down, your condition is lamentable. If you are facing up, your condition is joyful-even though you may be on the bottom step facing up. It's the direction you are facing. We are subject to this test here. We haven't qualified for it [the higher life], so we are put on this time of probation to determine who, if any, can come up to the required standards. Can we do that?” (Hugh Nibley Teachings of the Book of Mormon, vol. 2 pg 80)
The idea of direction, if you're facing upwards, you're doing okay. Even if you're on the bottom rung of that ladder, he absolutely understands where you are on that ladder and as his seed he is going to continually feed you and nourish you. So let's go to Mosiah chapter 15 and verse 12.
Verse 12, says, "For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed?"
And we all are. I almost want to put next to that question mark an exclamation point. I would do that in my scriptures. Are they not his seed? Absolutely. Christ sees his seed, he knows us, and in the next segment, we're going to talk about what you two specifically have done in your life serving a mission and what we as members can be doing as his seed.
Segment 5 47:27
Ellery and Kenzie, tell me why you served a mission. Why did you decide to go?
I served because I was brought true happiness from the gospel that I couldn't get anywhere else and I wanted to share that.
Did you always know you wanted to go?
Absolutely not. Nope.
So how'd you end up going?
Stuff happened in my life where my original plans weren't happening, and then I was just kind of upset like, "Why did this happen? My plans were good. They were righteous." And then one day it was like, "Oh, Ellery it's because you're going on a mission," and I cried. I never wanted to serve a mission. It was always a joke in my family. It's like, you know, when pigs fly, it's like, "When Ellery goes on a mission." But it happened. So, actually I surprised my family. I don't know if you remember that.
Oh, that's right. You did it all on your own. You were in college.
I did it all on my own. Actually, no, my parents knew because they got $1,000 Dental bill, and they were not happy. And I was like, "Oh, okay. Surprise."
That's great. I love that. Kenz, what about you?
I'd always thought about a mission, but after China, I came home from China, I was depressed out of my mind, and I was like, "Heavenly Father, I'm not going." Everything like Ellery said, everything for me just kind of start falling through, and so I went to the temple parking lot one night and I was crying in my car. And I was like, "Heavenly Father, I don't want to serve. I don't want to leave my family. I don't want to leave the country." I said, "But if I'm supposed to, you got to let me know everything's gonna be okay."
And the next day they dropped the news that you could call home every week, and I was like, "Oh my gosh." And I took that as a sign that I was supposed to serve. And like, of course now I'm so thankful that I was given the opportunity to serve, and my biggest thing was I just wanted people to know that they could be with their families forever.
Do you miss it?
Yes, there's definitely things I don't miss, of course, but I do miss interacting with people. I miss the heat. It's too cold here in Utah. Yeah, I miss the spirit you just feel all the time. I didn't I guess I didn't recognize that spirit as a missionary as much, cause you just always have it, but coming home and being released, you just recognize how much of a difference it is.
I like how both of you were able to talk about that because back when Abinadi originally showed up and he was presented before the priests, the priests tried to cross him, and I liked the use of that word, in the scriptures it says, "They were trying to trick him." And so they ask Abinadi this question and you can see that question in Mosiah chapter 12, and it's in verses 19 through 22. Verse 19, says, "They began to question him that they might cross him." And so they asked him this question, and it's interesting because it's out of my Isaiah chapter 52.
So these wicked priests are actually using scripture to trick Abinadi. So they say, "What do you mean, how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth good peace, that publisheth good tidings," and they rehearse these verses to him, and Abinadi doesn't answer right then, in fact, he waits. So let's go to Mosiah chapter 15, and we're going to read Abinadi's answer where he says, "You know what, you tried to cross me. You tried to trick me with Isaiah's words. Let me tell you what those words really mean and why they're so important to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints today in our day."
And Ellery and Kenzie, your experience on your mission is fulfillment of these words, but I also think being a member, just a member of the Church fulfills these words. So let's look at some of these words, and when I read them in Hebrew, it changed everything for me. So I love these words. So Ellery, will you please start reading for us in Mosiah chapter 15. And we're just going to read verses 15 through 18.
"And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet!"
"And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace!"
"And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever!"
"And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people;"
Next to those verses, I want you to write a couple of things. First of all, these specific verses of scripture appear seven times in the Book of Mormon. Isn't that cool? It's so oft quoted. So it must be important and we need to know what that this means. Now the mountains, let's mark the word "mountains" in verse 15. This describes the place where the gospel is preached. Regardless of the actual physical location in the world, it's just a metaphor. It's a word to describe anywhere that the gospel is being preached. You can put Doctrine and Covenants section 19, verse 29, as a cross reference to the word mountains.
Now let's mark the word "feet" in verse 15. The word "feet," this is really cool, the idea is without feet, you can't deliver a message. That that's how it's going to get to all the different lands and places. I've read a fun quote by Hugh Nibley, he says, "He doesn't need our hands. He needs our feet so we can get to where we need to go." And you know, you can hold the message in your mouth, but you have to have your feet to deliver it. The word "beautiful," this is the word that I love. So I got so excited about this. So the word "beautiful" kind of basically two words in Hebrew that mean beautiful.
So I grew up in St. Louis, and in the summers, we would go to Nauvoo. And then you would go see the Nauvoo pageant that all the teenagers were in and I can remember the first song that they sing is "City of Joseph, City of beautiful, city of Joseph, Nauvoo." How about that? You guys like that? And I know that because everybody's sang it all summer. And I remember hearing, "Oh, he named it 'Nauvoo' because Nauvoo means 'beautiful' in Hebrew." And I was like, "Oh, that's neat." Then I took Hebrew, and then I was like, "Wait a minute. That's not the word I know for beautiful."
So here's the two words for beautiful. In Hebrew, "Yapheh" is the word for beautiful to describe someone who's beautiful. "She's so Yapheh." But the other word in beautiful is "Naah." The word "Naah" is a verb. Like when has the word "beautiful" been a verb, right? For us, it's an adjective. It's describing the way someone looks. But in Hebrew, the word for beautiful is "Naah." "Vu" is the tense, that's how they translate their verbs. So the "Vu" would mean "they are all beautiful." So it's an action, it's not an adjective.
And now when you look at this verse, "How beautiful upon the mountains were their feet." We're not describing how pretty all of the missionaries are, or how pretty all of the members are, what are we describing? What does that mean? Now that you know that "beautiful" is a verb?
That we're becoming beautiful and we're becoming like our Savior slowly, and that the journey, and I think I love this verse too, and I love how it ties back to Mosiah... What is that? 12.
Because like right now, we all have a really big mountain that we're climbing as a world but we all have our individual mountains as well. And I love that it talks about that we're becoming like this mountain that we're slowly becoming beautiful through this. And even though like for me, and I'm sure for my fellow missionaries, I came home early. It's like we thought we were on the path that we were supposed to be on, you know, but it feels almost as that we got pulled off it, and maybe in all of our lives, the people that were going to get married, or people that were, you know, all the 2020 kids that were going to graduate this year, like they were on their path and it might as feel as though we've all been pulled off of our path a little bit, but that this mountain has already been set and climbed before, and that we're becoming something through this new path that he's kind of putting us on.
Oh, Kenz, that is perfect. That everyone's becoming beautiful by continuing on the mountain that they're on. And what are we doing with the trials that hit us on that mountain? Are we publishing good tidings of peace? Look back at verse 18 because it's so specific, "...bringeth good tidings of the founder of peace," who is the founder of peace?
Yeah. Are we publishing good tidings of him while we're going through that trial because it's so easy to be, "Woe is me, God forgot me." But he understands, remember we're his seed, he's going to always see us.
In the next segment, we're going to talk about how publishing peace or publishing the Lord's name, and being beautiful in the verb sense of it will ultimately make us endlessly happy.
Segment 6 55:59
So here's what I'm curious to know, both of you since you served in foreign countries, how did you teach the resurrection? Was this a hard thing to teach? Ellery, you're laughing?
Yes, it was hard to teach. So in Guatemala, there's a lot of Catholics, but there's also a lot of Evangelical people. They know that Christ was resurrected, and it depended who you talked to. Some people understood that we would also be resurrected, some didn't even know Christ was resurrected. It was hard to teach, and I would always just teach it in lesson two, which is the Plan of Salvation. I think that was the easiest way to teach someone about the resurrection because it's so much easier to teach someone the gospel in context of a family, and I would always say, "And then you will have a perfect physical body."
Kenz, what about you?
Because the Filipinos, they're amazing. Like I said, they've just grown up knowing like Christ lives that he's the Savior. So when we would teach the resurrection, they would be like, "Oh, yeah, we know." Like, I'd say, like, "I know that Jesus Christ lives," and they're like, "Yeah, we know that too." But I think what was cool is when me and my companion would like stop them and be like, "Okay, but like, what does that look like? Like Jesus Christ living? Like, let's stop and think about this for a minute," you know, because we always say it. We know that everyone gets up and bears their testimony, "I know that Jesus Christ lives," but like, what does that look like?
And I think for me when I would like step back in a lesson and like, because we always do it with them, of course, you know, being like, "What does that look like? Jesus Christ living," picturing like a real person walking out of that tomb and like conquering any and everything is just so powerful. And they would just, they'd usually just get it because it is, our souls like know this already. Deep down, you know?
I like that. Thank you. We started the very beginning of this episode by tarting at the end, and Abinadi says that, "Redemption cometh in and through the Lord Savior Jesus Christ." So he just spent these chapters teaching us that redemption from our sins comes through Jesus Christ, and now he's going to teach us the second part of that word "redemption," which is the "resurrection." And he's going to teach these people how important it is to understand the resurrection.
Let's read Mosiah chapter 15, verses 20 and 21. And see what Abinadi says about the resurrection. So let's go there. Kenz, can you read for us Mosiah chapter 15, verse 21 and 22.
"And there cometh a resurrection, even a first resurrection; yea, even a resurrection of those that have been, and who are, and who shall be, even until the resurrection of Christ—for so shall he be called."
"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; therefore, they are the first resurrection."
Okay, what kind of resurrection was it? What word was it called?
A first resurrection. Let's put a cross reference next to this. Highlight the word "first resurrection." And we're going to put Matthew chapter 27, verses 52 through 53. And then put third Nephi, Chapter 23, verses 9 through 13. This is an interesting topic right here. We have a first resurrection. When Jesus Christ was resurrected, that began the first resurrection. And if you read Matthew and third Nephi, the people who lived before Jesus Christ were also resurrected. And so I like the way Matthew says it, but it's basically like people on the street saw loved ones like, "Wait, what are you doing, you were dead?"
I mean, that's... I love those verses. So people are resurrected up until the time the Savior was and then that began the first resurrection. And there's going to be a continuation of the first resurrection that will take place at the Second Coming, and we're going to put all those scripture references in our show notes. So you guys can look this up and read, but it's important to note that Abinadi teaches about this first resurrection to a group of people who could qualify for that resurrection. He's like, "Listen," and in fact, he says at the end of verse 21, "All those who believe in the words and all those that keep the commandments of God, they're going to come forth in that first resurrection."
And so he continues to talk to him about the resurrection. Let's turn to Mosiah chapter 16, and we're going to read what he says about who gets resurrected. And I love the descriptive words he uses for what the resurrection will be like. So for those of you that took part of the redemption through sin, or didn't, like there are words he uses to describe this resurrection. And we're going to read Mosiah chapter 16, verses 10 and 11, Ellery where you read those, please? And as you read it, I want you guys to highlight how he describes what the resurrection could possibly be like. There's two different ways, two different feelings associated with it.
"Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil—"
"If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation—"
Thank you. What did you mark? What describes two different ways we could feel?
A happiness, endless life and happiness or endless damnation.
Yeah, that's not so good, huh?
Endless, endless, or endless. You're going to have endless happiness, or endless damnation. And you're probably like, as you read that you go, "Oh, that just seem so futile right?" But I like how Abinadi teaches in the next two verses, well, all right, then, let's find out who is not going to get the endless happiness because there's three things he points out to these priests. That is found in verse 12, and I'm just going to read verse 12.
He says, "Having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires;" And we're gonna number these now, number 1: "...having never called upon the Lord while the arms of mercy were extended towards them; for the arms of mercy were extended towards them, and they would not;" Number 2: "...they being warned of their iniquities and yet they would not depart from them;" And number 3: "...and they were commanded to repent and yet they would not repent."
Those three things right there will lead us to endless damnation. I think the most sad one of they're like, "Okay, they won't repent, they were warned of their iniquities," but when number one, when Abinadi says, "They never called upon the Lord while the arms of mercy were extended towards them." What do you think of when you hear those words?
I think of my parents, when they watch me struggle, and they know they can help me but I just refuse to ask for their help. I know for a fact that makes my dad sad. You know, my dad wants to give me the world. I know that. He tells me all the time. And so I just imagine his sadness when I don't do that and I feel like our Heavenly Father is the exact same. He wants to give us the world. He wants to help us. I mean, right? That's his whole point of this is to bring us eternal life and to bring us home to him. And I'm sure it's just a knife in the heart when we, you know, willfully just reject him like that.
Wow. I 100% agree with you. Kenz?
Like sometimes in my own life, when I've messed up, I felt like, "Oh, like I can't, you know, I can't go back. I'm unworthy to like ask for his help." But I also think of like the atonement and like what's the purpose of it if it's not being used, you know, like, that's why it's there. And he wants us to reach out to him, and he is mercy. He's the middle bar between justice and us. That it's never too late to turn back, and I love that even there when he's telling about who is going to have eternal damnation even there before he says anything, he says that his arms of mercy are always extended. And reading those requirements of... not requirements, I don't know what you call those... reading those requirements of what would send you to endless damnation. It's very, very, very hard to reach those requirements.
Not many people are gonna get into that.
Yeah, like very, very few people. And especially if you're like, even listening to this podcast, it shows like that you want to like, that you're trying, that you want to somehow show that you want to grow closer, you know, and like, he notices our efforts he notices. He knows the desires of our hearts.
Well, I also feel like those things, sorry. You have to like, very consciously do those last two. You're warned but you still don't do it. That's a very conscious decision that they have to make in order to get that and so I don't know, maybe I'm a little altruistic, but I don't, I don't think very many people are consciously trying so hard to do that.
Right. And you know one of my favorite stories from the Book of Judges is Samson, Samson and Delilah. Because even in that story where boy Samson struggled, talk about, you know, he just made a lot of poor choices. And now here he is, he's chained up, two arms between two pillars, his eyes have been poked out, and it goes back to what we've talked about in our last episode, my friend Holly said, "Even in the moment of you saying, 'Dear Heavenly Father,' he comes running to your aid or help," and here's Samson, his life is over, it's done, and he calls upon Heavenly Father and in the very moment, he says, "Dear Heavenly Father," he is given all the strength back that he was promised and he's able to push the pillars out, destroy all the wicked.
And people have problems like that, like, "Why would God help a sinner?" But why wouldn't he? Absolutely. He called upon God and boom, there it was. He received those arms of mercy for sure. So one of the most beautiful things that has happened today is both of you, and we don't even talk before this happened. I think it's interesting that you both have cited how important family is in the whole picture of salvation and redemption, and that, first of all, it speaks volumes about your own families.
And that that is what salvation means to you is to be with family, but I love the idea of also being joined back with the family of Christ. And that is the ultimate goal for everyone is to be with everybody, to be back with our Heavenly Father, and who Ellery like you said, like your dad wants to give us everything, and he really does. And so let's read this quote by Joseph Smith. He describes what it will be like and I just love this description. Kenz, will you read this quote for us?
"Those who have died in Jesus Christ may expect to enter into all that fruition of joy when they come forth, which they possessed or anticipated here."
". . . All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful. By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it."
" . . . The expectation of seeing my friends in the morning of the resurrection cheers my soul and makes me bear up against the evils of life. It is like their taking a long journey, and on their return we meet them with increased joy." (Joseph Smith, LDS Church News April 6, 1996)
Isn't that so great? Especially the last paragraph. Ellery, how do you imagine that happening?
That makes me feel like when you're at the end of a sports game and you win, and then you all run and how each other.
Yes, we all run onto the field.
That's what I'm picturing. Yeah, storming the field.
Totally. It's a total storming the field moment. I love that. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. So the idea of having eternal happiness, wow, that sounds pretty great, doesn't it? And that is the message that Abinadi wanted these people to know and understand. So we just finished talking about Abinadi's sermon and we learned so much today. So here's what I want to ask both of you. What was your takeaway? What's something that stood out to you or something that you learned that you didn't know before?
I really liked when we talked about, you know, "beautiful," the verb of it. It makes sense, doesn't it? That the gospel, you know transforms you into beauty. This you know, celestial beauty or whatever you want to call it. You learn and grow and understand and become more like Christ, a true disciple of Christ. Every aspect of your life is unified.
I like how you said, "Every aspect of your life is more beautiful."
But it doesn't mean that life's not hard.
Well, that's true.
Sometimes it's just hard.
Sometimes it's just beautifully awful isn't it?
I loved at the end when Ellery said that, "We're all on the same team." And like storming the field. I've just been thinking a lot, I've been watching a lot of movies again recently. And I've noticed like throughout the past few years there's been a ton of like recent movies that like the end, like the Avengers endgame when Captain America is standing alone and out of nowhere comes all the help.
And in the new Star Wars when he says, "Like the enemy wants you to feel alone," and when they are at the very last point all this help comes. Just thousands of ships. Sorry if you haven't seen it, I just ruined the movie, but I just think it's so powerful, like we're all on the same team, and oftentimes Satan tries to make us feel like we're alone, especially now that we're alone and tries to turn us against each other. But in reality, we all need each other and like we need each other to get through the day, and to make it back to our Heavenly Father.
That's so great. I love the application you made to those movies. That's spot on. For me, definitely. I think it was the end too. Reading that quote by Joseph Smith because nothing makes me happier than seeing someone that I've known for years or grew up with or served my mission with and they're still members of the Church. I can't wait for that day when we storm the field and hug each other and love each other and no more sorrows. Everything's gone. It doesn't matter anymore. Like we did it. And that is going to be such a beautiful moment, truly beautiful in the verb form.
Thank you ladies. Thank you so much for joining us. This was such a great episode. I loved talking about Abinadi's words with you, and I mean I can see why Heavenly Father was like, "Call Kenzie and Ellery."
For those of you listening, we would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. I want you to share it with us. If you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook, and if you're not following us on Instagram, you should because it's such a great place to ask questions as you study throughout the week. And when you post the questions on Instagram and Facebook, I read them and I answer them. I'll research anything and give you the answer as fast as I can. And then at the end of every week, usually on a Sunday, we will post asking what your big takeaway was from the week. So comment on the post that relates to this specific lesson, and let me know what you learned. I read every single one and I just truly, truly want to hear what it is that you're learning.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. And it's not a bad idea to go there anyway because it's where we have links to all the references and we have an entire transcript of this discussion. So check that out.
The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our fabulous study group participants were Ellery Howarth and Kenzie Green. You can find out more about these ladies at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday.
Our podcast is produced by KaRyn Lay with post-production and editing by Erika Free. It is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios and our Executive Producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week, and please remember, that as Ellery said, "God wants to give you everything" because you're his favorite.