Leaders of integrity or infamy found in The Book of Mormon provide the fodder for spiritual growth and self-improvement. It was made for us.
Elias is not only the Greco-form of the name Elijah, but it is also a title given to one who comes before or a forerunner. Abinadi. like John the Baptist, was a forerunner of Christ. His purpose was to prepare the way before the coming of Messiah--to prime the people to receive their King, spiritually and/or temporally.
It is important in paralleling Abinadi's life with that of the Messiah's I not take it too far in an attempt to prove a point. Abinadi was an Elias and does in no way reflect complete parallelism with the entire life of Christ.
In this article, the authority by which Abinadi executed for God receives attention. His life is virtually unknown until his public ministry. He appears on the public scene, preaches his message, and suffers his fate with the same determination as would his coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Jesus' Martyrdom Juxtaposes Abinadi's Martyrdom
- Both Abinadi and Christ preached to an apostate society.
Neither Abinadi or Christ was authorized by local priesthood.
- Both Abinadi and Christ informed the people to repent.
- Both Christ and Abinadi were rejected by the priests and the king.
- The priests of both societies accused Christ and Abinadi of treason.
- The king for both men could have released them from bondage, but did not.
- Both men were martyred for their preaching.
Conscientious Objector Zeniff
A soldier by the name of Zeniff, a spy, disobeyed orders from his commander to destroy their enemy the Lamanites. A small army of operatives was deployed from Zarahemla, the capital city of the Nephite government, to gain intelligence on the Lamanite confederacy in order to destroy them.
After being among the Lamanites for some time, Zeniff decided that there was hope for the Lamanites and did not want to act in a way to destroy their society. Zeniff disobey a direct order by way of conscious and took with him a large number of followers leading to a war among the Nephite operatives! Zeniff's action was akin to a revolt in the US military by a low ranking operations officer against his commander!
Zeniff did not actively solicit followers, but he did not relent and submit to the command of his leader. Zeniff describes his leader's title as ruler. saying, "he being an austere and a blood-thirsty man commanded that I should be slain" (Mosiah 9:2). The ruler was a man of strict unyielding with a desire to carry out his directive to kill.
Zeniff and his supporters did not share in the bloodlust prevailed in the battle and returned to Zarahemla to relate the tale to their King, Benjamin. Zeniff wanted "that our ruler should make a treaty with" the Lamanites (Mosiah 9:2). The unnamed ruler declined and the aforementioned battle commenced.
After Zeniff returned to Zarahemla with his report, he and his group recruited others to return to the Land of Nephi, as they called it, to inherit that land--as it once belonged to the Nephites but was lost through intrigue and war to the Lamanites.
Zeniff was a man of faith. He also was the father of the wicked King Noah, the King who would kill Abinadi.
To the point... Zeniff established a kingdom among the Lamanites and his son ascended to the throne following Zeniff's death.
A New Order of Things
Abinadi was not a priest ordain or consecrated by King Noah, the reigning Zeniffite king as mentioned in the article Abinadi: Apostate Society.
He could very well have been one of the priest that King Zeniff consecrated--or at least of that order of priest. King Noah does not appear to know Abinadi before he began prophesying to the people of his kingdom.
By what authority that Abinadi spoke was in question by the court of King Noah as soon as he opened his mouth. This statement attributed to King Noah in Mosiah 11:27 suggests that Abinadi was outside of the priestly circle:
Who is Abinadi, that I and my people should be judged of him, or who is the Lord, that shall bring upon my people such great affliction?
Not only does King Noah question Abinadi's credentials upon hearing of the things he prophesied, but he also questioned the God of whom Abinadi spoke.
Noah was so far away from the truth, that he did not recognize the God of which his apostate religion was patterned after.
I could not blame this oversight since King Noah did not serve God. I assume he worshiped many idols of which the Jehovah-idol existed as one. The King and his priests did not acknowledge Abinadi's authority.
The several sects in Jerusalem did not acknowledge Christ as an authoritative rabbi since he did not originate with any of the sects.
By what Authority?
Jesus sought out John for a proper baptism. But as for Christ's own authority to preach, He took it from Himself, being God in the flesh! In contrast to Jesus, John the Baptist was of priestly heritage through his father Zachariah.
The priestly sects of His society did not believe Jesus to be the promised Messiah. however. Jesus Christ taught in the temple, one of the unifying symbols of God, Jehovah, to the Jewish community of Christ's day. All the sects went there to perform the rituals of the Mosaic Law.
The leaders of the sects,
...the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? (Matt 21:23)
The sects wanted to know where Jesus received his authorization to teach. It was not from either of them!
John was known to have priestly parentage, but he did not officiate in the same circles as the sects of his community. The leaders of the sects could understand people following John the Baptist, though they appear to have not believed John's position on Judaism.
Christ's interrogative about their understanding of John's authority caused a conundrum for them politically. They could not support John or deny him because both answers would cause political fallout with, the people and Rome; so, the consensus was they could not tell.
Jesus' answer to them came with biting rejoinder in my opinion,
Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. (Matt 21:27)
To the thoughtful reader, we know where the authority to act for God came to both Jesus and Abinadi, God. To those who were present with them and threatened by their words, authority was cloudy water. In Abinadi: Bearer of the Message, I the messages of Christ and Abinadi.
© 2018 Rodric Anthony Johnson