03856_000_023This story is found in Mosiah 11–19.
Abinadi was sent to warn King Noah’s people that if they continued in wickedness, they would become slaves to their enemies. When Abinadi delivered this message, the people became angry and tried to kill him. King Noah heard of Abinadi’s preaching and was furious. He ordered that Abinadi be arrested so that he could have him put to death. However, the Lord helped Abinadi escape.
Two years passed, but neither King Noah nor his people repented. Once again the Lord sent his prophet among the people. But this time Abinadi’s message was different. The Lord instructed Abinadi to tell King Noah’s people that because of their wickedness they would become slaves to their enemies and suffer greatly, and then, if they still did not repent, they would be destroyed.
Again the people became angry. They took Abinadi, tied him up, and carried him before the king. Abinadi had prophesied that King Noah’s life would be like clothing in a furnace of fire and that he would be like a dried plant that is run over and trodden down by men and animals. This prophecy made King Noah even more angry. His heart was hard, and he refused to understand. He could not believe that such things could happen to a powerful king like himself.
King Noah and his priests questioned Abinadi, trying to find something they could accuse him of so that they could condemn him to death. Abinadi answered their questions with teachings from the scriptures, but King Noah still did not repent and commanded, “Take this man away and kill him, for he is mad.”
King Noah’s men stepped forward to seize Abinadi. “Touch me not,” Abinadi warned; “God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver. Therefore, God will not suffer that I shall be destroyed at this time.” Fearfully the men stepped back, not daring to touch Abinadi because the Spirit of the Lord was upon him; and his face shone with exceeding luster. Abinadi continued to speak with power and authority from God. He told King Noah he must deliver the message that God had sent him to deliver. Abinadi was not concerned about what might happen to him. His only concern was to obey the Lord.
Abinadi reminded the wicked priests of the commandments of Heavenly Father. He taught them about Jesus and the Atonement. He taught them about the resurrection and the final judgment. After Abinadi ended his testimony, King Noah was still angry and ordered the priests to put Abinadi to death.
But Abinadi’s word had not been wasted. Alma, one of King Noah’s priests, believed all that Abinadi had said. He pleaded with the king to release Abinadi, but it made King Noah more furious to think that one of his priests had believed Abinadi. He cast Alma out; then he ordered his servants to follow Alma and kill him. But Alma hid from them and wrote down all that Abinadi had said.
Abinadi was cast into prison. Three days later he was brought before King Noah again. Noah told Abinadi that he was to die because he had said that God would come down among the children of men. The king told Abinadi that unless he would deny his words, he would be put to death.
Abinadi courageously replied, “I will not recall the words which I have spoken unto you, for they are true. And they shall stand as a testimony against you. If ye slay me, ye will shed innocent blood, and this shall also stand as a testimony against you at the last day.”
These words frightened King Noah. He was almost ready to release Abinadi, but the priests stirred him to anger again. King Noah commanded that Abinadi be put to death by fire.
As the flames rose about him, Abinadi continued to prophesy, “Ye shall be smitten on every hand and shall be driven and scattered to and fro. In that day ye shall be hunted, and ye shall be taken by the hand of your enemies. Then ye shall suffer, as I suffer, the pains of death by fire.” Then he prayed, “O God, receive my soul.” Abinadi died sealing the truth of his words by his death.
Shortly after the death of Abinadi, some of King Noah’s people became displeased with him. A man named Gideon vowed he would kill King Noah. He chased the king onto a high tower and was about to kill him, when King Noah saw an army of Lamanites approaching their city.
He cried out, “Gideon, spare me, for the Lamanites are upon us, and they will destroy us.”
Seeing the danger, Gideon did not kill King Noah. But because he feared for himself more than for anyone else, King Noah did not try to defend his land from the Lamanites. Instead he told everyone to run into the wilderness. The Lamanite army quickly caught the people and began to kill them.
Selfishly King Noah commanded his men to abandon their wives and children and run for their lives. Many refused and stayed with their families. They convinced the Lamanites to take them as slaves rather than kill them. The Lamanites agreed, thus fulfilling part of Abinadi’s prophecies.
Most of the men who had run away soon regretted their cowardly action. They decided to return and suffer the consequences with their families. King Noah and his priests, however, felt no guilt and commanded the men not to return. The men became angry. Realizing how much evil King Noah had caused, they put him to death by fire, as the prophet Abinadi had foretold.