The Double Edged Sword of Truth (Mosiah 13:8)

In Mosiah Chapters 12-15, Abinadi the prophet is delivering a message to the wicked priests of King Noah.

Abinadi preaches a message of truth. It is, for the most part a message of hope. It is the message that Christ will come. It is the message of the gospel and how God’s commandments bring us joy and peace in this life and in the life to come.

Of course, the gospel of Christ is also a message of our agency. We don’t have to choose to keep the commandments. We don’t have to choose to covenant with Him. We can do whatever we want to do. However, we are warned that when we don’t keep the commandments, then we will experience pain and misery.

Abinadi is teaching the priests truth. This message is “laws of the universe” kind of stuff. That might not make sense. What I mean is – the connection between righteousness and joy is as sure of a universal truth as gravity is. You can’t really disagree with the law of gravity. It’s a law.

I mean, I guess you could disagree with it. But you are still susceptible to it, and must be obedient to it or else experience grave results. The Lord’s laws are just as sure. But not everyone accepts or rejoices in truth.

The Priests, who claimed to be preaching the gospel, didn’t rejoice at Abinadi’s words. They didn’t nod their heads and give an “amen.” Instead, we read:

” Ye see that ye have not power to slay me, therefore I finish my message. Yea, and I perceive that it cuts you to your hearts because I tell you the truth concerning your iniquities.

Yea, and my words fill you with wonder and amazement, and with anger.” – Mosiah 13:7-8

I’ll try to cut the priests some slack. Abinadi was calling them out on their wickedness. This is because they were ripening for destruction, and God loves His children. He sent a prophet to warn them – with the hope that they would repent and unite themselves again with a God who loves them and would protect them. It isn’t always easy to hear or take correction – especially if you’re somewhat fond of your sin.

So, I can learn a lesson from these wicked priests, and ask myself, Do I respond in like manner? When someone corrects me, am I filled with “wonder, amazement, and anger?” or do I swallow my pride, accept correction, and seek to repair my relationship with God?

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What was their Problem??? (Mosiah 7:27)

Just so you know, I mean the wicked priests of wicked King Noah. What on earth was their problem???

Abinadi delivers this amazing message of hope and peace – Christ. And they get angry.

“And because he said unto them that Christ was the God, the Father of all things, and said that he should take upon him the image of man, and it should be the image after which man was created in the beginning; or in other words, he said that man was created after the image of God, and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth—

And now, because he said this, they did put him to death; and many more things did they do which brought down the wrath of God upon them. Therefore, who wondereth that they are in bondage, and that they are smitten with sore afflictions?” – Mosiah 7:27-28

Okay. So Abinadi also testifies of their wickedness – which might not have been the most peaceful, fuzzy prophecy. But he teaches them why they need to put off wickedness and be righteous. He teaches them that Christ will come to earth. These are the “glad tidings of great joy.”

And how do they respond? They twist his words and burn him at the stake. I can’t help but wonder, what was their problem???

I suppose I can guess, though. These priests didn’t want the hope of Christ. They didn’t want to hear about redemption and salvation. They wanted to keep sinning. The message of the gospel only offers hope and peace to the repentant. To the unrepentant, the gospel of Christ threatens their rebellious lifestyle.

So, they don’t feel peace when they hear the gospel message because they can’t feel peace. They are angry. They are guilt-ridden and miserable.

To get out of the pain of their guilt, they choose not to repent, but to continue on living their lie by destroying anything that threatens to expose it. So, they kill Abinadi. Of course, this doesn’t change the facts. They are still sinning. They are still sewing the seeds of their own misery and destruction. Even with Abinadi gone, they are still miserable and angry.