He was an Israelite prophet, called by God to preach to a nation called the Nephites, and he referred to himself as Abinadi. His manner was quiet and unassuming, and his presence on one occasion was unnoticed as he went about in disguise. He was just a small man, in fact, but when he spoke to the people, he immediately caused a stir and became the center of attention.
In his visit to the Nephite people, one of the kings named Noah ruled unrighteously and caused many of his subjects to disobey God's commandments. Abinadi reminded them of this, and as far as their king was concerned, he said he would be penalized for his unrighteous rule. "And it shall come to pass," the Lord said, speaking through Abinadi, "that the life of king Noah shall be valued even as a garment in a hot furnace; for he shall know that I am the Lord." (Mosiah 12:3)
Noah had surrounded himself with his own high priests, and with them he ruled the people. Often they would sit together in council, during their administration, being supported in laziness and luxurious living by enforced taxation. It was to them the prophet Abinadi was brought, being accused of demeaning and criticizing the king. They sent him to prison at first but after conferring with one another had him brought before them again for questioning. Their intent was to cross-examine and confuse him, but he repulsed their questions and reprimanded them for abusing and misguiding the people. Doing what he had been sent to do, he accused them of violating the word of God, including disobeying the Ten Commandments.
"Yea, ye know that I speak the truth," he said; "and ye ought to tremble before God.
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'(Mosiah 12:30-31)
He said many things at that time, and the king finally convicted him, commanding the priests to take him and cause that he be put to death, which they eventually did. But something then happened that was very surprising, something that was to have unexpected and fortunate consequences for the Nephite people. One of the king's priests, who was just a young man among them, suddenly stepped forward and pled with Noah, asking him not to be angry with the prophet but allow him to depart in peace. As a consequence, he was immediately ostracized and had to flee for his life.
There had been no indication earlier that the young priest had been in such contrast of character with the others, but now for whatever reasons pertaining to the prophet, there had been an abrupt change. Most likely unknown to the youth himself, his destiny was altered, and because of the unusual circumstances, he was now an outcast and a fugitive. Never would his life be the same. It was a timely and noble thing for one to do and instigated an entirely new era in Nephite history, one dramatically described in the pages of the Book of Mormon!
Written by Clay McConkie.
Click here "Mosaih 12:17-37; 13:1-10; 17:1" to read the actual account of this story from the Book of Mormon.