Lesson 60: Mosiah 15–17

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2012


Introduction

As Abinadi continued preaching to King Noah and his priests, he testified of Jesus Christ’s role as the Redeemer. One of Noah’s priests, Alma, believed Abinadi. King Noah cast Alma from his court and ordered his servants to slay him, but Alma escaped and recorded the teachings he had heard from Abinadi. After Abinadi delivered the message the Lord had sent him to share, King Noah and his priests threatened to kill him if he would not take back what he had said. Refusing to deny his testimony, he “suffered death by fire” and “sealed the truth of his words by his death” (Mosiah 17:20).

Suggestions for Teaching

Mosiah 15–16

Abinadi teaches about Jesus Christ’s role as Redeemer

Give students two minutes to find the words redeem, redeemeth, redeemed, and redemption in Mosiah 15–16. You may want to suggest that they mark these words. Explain that when different forms of the same word are repeated in a block of scripture, it can be a signal that the word is important to the writer’s message. Encourage students to watch for Abinadi’s teachings about being redeemed in today’s lesson.

To help students understand Jesus Christ’s role as Redeemer, draw the following diagram on the board:

Jesus Christ’s role diagram

Point to the figure labeled “Offender,” and ask students to imagine that they have committed a crime. They have been sentenced to pay large fines as punishment, and there is no legal and honest way they can avoid paying the fines on their own. Ask students how they would feel facing such a penalty. Then ask them to imagine that a family member or friend offers to pay the fines for them.

  • How would you feel toward this person?

Explain that in paying the fines, the family member or friend would redeem them from their punishment. The word redeem means to release from debt or to set free by paying a ransom. You may want to encourage students to write these definitions next to one of the verses in Mosiah 15 that contains a form of the word redeem.

Write Us under Offender. Write Justice under Punishment. Explain that because we have sinned and broken the laws of God, we must be punished. In other words, we must meet the demands of justice. Read the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask students to listen for some consequences of breaking God’s laws:

“Justice … requires that every broken law be satisfied. When you obey the laws of God, you are blessed, but there is no additional credit earned that can be saved to satisfy the laws that you break. If not resolved, broken laws can cause your life to be miserable and would keep you from returning to God” (“The Atonement Can Secure Your Peace and Happiness,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 42).

  • According to Elder Scott, what are some of the consequences of breaking God’s laws?

As students identify consequences of breaking God’s laws, erase the word Fines from the board. In its place, write Misery and Shut out from the presence of God. Have students read Mosiah 15:1, 8–9 silently. You may want to ask the following questions to help them understand some of the doctrine in those verses:

  • The word intercession refers to a person coming between two people or groups of people to help them become reconciled—in other words, to come to harmony with one another. What do you think it means that Jesus Christ came to “make intercession” for us?

  • The word betwixt means between. What do you think it means that the Savior stands “betwixt [us] and justice”? What do you think it means to satisfy “the demands of justice”?

Help students understand that justice demands that we be punished for our sins. The Savior does not erase the demands of justice; He stands between us and justice to satisfy justice’s demands by taking the punishment for us. He has paid the price to redeem us—to release us from punishment. On the board, place a picture of the Savior (such as the picture titled the Lord Jesus Christ [64001]) between the offender and the punishment.

Jesus Christ’s role diagram

Ask students to read Mosiah 15:5–7 silently, thinking about the price Jesus Christ paid to redeem them—to stand between them and the demands of justice.

Write the following on the board:

Those who choose to be redeemed

Those who refuse to be redeemed

Mosiah 15:11–12

Mosiah 16:2–5, 12

Divide the class in half. Ask half of the students to search Mosiah 15:11–12, looking for characteristics of people who choose to be redeemed. Ask the other half of the class to search Mosiah 16:2–5, 12, looking for characteristics of people who refuse to be redeemed. After sufficient time, ask the first group of students to share what they have found.

  • According to Mosiah 15:11–12, who will be redeemed from their sins? (Make sure students understand that Jesus Christ satisfies the demands of justice for those who hearken to the words of the prophets, believe in His redeeming power, and repent of their sins.)

Explain that the price the Savior has paid is a personal gift for anyone who will choose to qualify for redemption by repenting and striving to keep the commandments and their covenants with the Lord.

To emphasize the personal nature of the Atonement, invite a student to read Mosiah 15:10 aloud. Then direct students’ attention to the phrase “he shall see his seed” in that verse. You may want to suggest that they mark this phrase. Explain that in this verse, the word seed refers to children.

  • When have we learned about becoming “children of Christ”? (Remind students of King Benjamin’s words on this subject, found in Mosiah 5. See also lesson 55.)

You may want to suggest that students personalize Mosiah 15:10 by writing their names in place of the phrase “his seed.” Invite them to ponder for a moment what this means to them.

  • How does this teaching influence your understanding of the Atonement?

Ask the students who read Mosiah 16:2–5, 12 to share what they found about those who refuse to be redeemed. To emphasize the seriousness of refusing to be redeemed, ask all students to read Mosiah 16:5 silently.

  • What happens to the diagram on the board if the offender persists in sin and refuses to repent? (As students respond, remove the picture of Jesus Christ from the diagram. You might emphasize that for such a person, it “is as though there was no redemption made.”)

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–17 to discover what will happen to those who refuse to repent and accept the Savior’s redemption. You may want to encourage students to write D&C 19:16–17 in their scriptures next to Mosiah 16:5.

Put the picture of the Savior back in its place on the board.

  • What truths have you learned today about your Redeemer?

After students have responded to this question, explain that in addition to teaching that the Savior offers to redeem us from the punishment for our sins, Abinadi taught that the Savior redeems us from death. Ask a few students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 16:6–11. Share your testimony that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all people will be resurrected. You may also want to point out that the righteous will be resurrected to a state of happiness.

Invite students to write in their scripture study journals or class notebooks about their feelings for their Redeemer and what they will do so they will be able to receive the redemption He offers.

Mosiah 17

Alma believes Abinadi and is cast out; Abinadi is burned

Ask students:

  • Have you ever seen someone stand up for what is right when it was difficult for them to do so? What happened?

    Abinadi before King Noah

Show the picture Abinadi before King Noah (62042; Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 75). Summarize Mosiah 17:1–6 by explaining that when Abinadi concluded his message, a priest named Alma tried to convince the king that Abinadi had spoken the truth and should be released. The king cast Alma out and sent servants to kill him. Alma hid and wrote the words of Abinadi. Three days later, the king and his priests sentenced Abinadi to die.

Divide students into pairs. Ask them to study the following scripture passages with their partners: Mosiah 17:7–10, which is about Abinadi’s choices, and Mosiah 17:11–12, which is about King Noah’s choices. Ask them to compare Abinadi’s choices with King Noah’s choices. Also ask them to discuss the following questions. (You may want to write these questions on the board.)

  • Why do you think Abinadi’s words affected King Noah the way they did? (See Mosiah 17:11.) How did King Noah’s priests influence him? (See Mosiah 17:12–13.)

  • What lessons can we learn from Abinadi’s example? (One answer students may give is we can be true to God in all circumstances.)

If possible, provide students with a copy of the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

Be strong—in standing for the right. We live in an age of compromise. … In situations with which we are daily confronted, we know what is right. … We must cultivate the strength to follow our convictions” (“Building Your Tabernacle,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 52).

You may want to invite students to write I will be true to God in all circumstances in their scriptures next to Mosiah 17:9–12. Direct students’ attention to Abinadi’s last words, found in Mosiah 17:19—“O God, receive my soul.” Then ask a student to read Mosiah 17:20 aloud.

  • What impresses you about Abinadi’s last words?

Ask students to answer the following question in their scripture study journals:

  • What will you do to be true to God in all circumstances?

After sufficient time, invite several students to share what they have written. Also ask if any students would like to share what the gospel means to them and what they have done in the past to be true to the Lord during difficult times. Conclude with your testimony.

Commentary and Background Information

Mosiah 15:9. Justice and mercy

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught us about the reality of justice and the blessing of mercy:

“Each of us makes mistakes in life. They result in broken eternal laws. Justice is that part of Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness that maintains order. It is like gravity to a rock climber, ever present. It is a friend if eternal laws are observed. It responds to your detriment if they are ignored. Justice guarantees that you will receive the blessings you earn for obeying the laws of God. Justice also requires that every broken law be satisfied. When you obey the laws of God, you are blessed, but there is no additional credit earned that can be saved to satisfy the laws that you break. If not resolved, broken laws can cause your life to be miserable and would keep you from returning to God. Only the life, teachings, and particularly the Atonement of Jesus Christ can release you from this otherwise impossible predicament.

“The demands of justice for broken law can be satisfied through mercy, earned by your continual repentance and obedience to the laws of God. Such repentance and obedience are absolutely essential for the Atonement to work its complete miracle in your life. The Redeemer can settle your individual account with justice and grant forgiveness through the merciful path of your repentance. Through the Atonement you can live in a world where justice assures that you will retain what you earn by obedience. Through His mercy you can resolve the consequences of broken laws” (“The Atonement Can Secure Your Peace and Happiness,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 41–42).

Supplemental Teaching Ideas

Mosiah 15:1–9. “The Father and the Son”

Abinadi’s words in Mosiah 15:1–9 are about Jesus Christ’s roles as the Son of God and as a Father. They are not about God the Father. If students ask you to help them understand these verses, the following teaching idea may be helpful:

  • Are all fathers also sons?

  • In what ways is Jesus Christ both a Father and a Son?

Explain that Jesus is a Father in many ways. This does not mean that He and Heavenly Father are the same person. It means that Jesus Christ can also be called “the Father.” In August 1916, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued a doctrinal exposition to clarify scriptural teachings about the roles of God the Father and Jesus Christ. In this exposition, they explained the meaning of certain scriptures in which Jesus Christ is designated as the Father. The following excerpts from that statement may help students understand Abinadi’s teaching about Jesus Christ as Father and Son:

“[One] sense in which Jesus Christ is regarded as the ‘Father’ has reference to the relationship between Him and those who accept His gospel and thereby become heirs of eternal life. …

“Salvation is attainable only through compliance with the laws and ordinances of the gospel; and all who are thus saved become sons and daughters unto God in a distinctive sense. In a revelation given through Joseph the Prophet to Emma Smith, the Lord Jesus addressed the woman as ‘my daughter’ and said, ‘For verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom’ (D&C 25:1). In many instances the Lord had addressed men as His sons (e.g., D&C 9:1; 34:3; 121:7).

“That by obedience to the gospel men may become sons of God, both as sons of Jesus Christ, and, through Him, as sons of His Father, is set forth in many revelations given in the current dispensation. …

“If it be proper to speak of those who accept and abide in the gospel as Christ’s sons and daughters—and upon this matter the scriptures are explicit and cannot be gainsaid nor denied—it is consistently proper to speak of Jesus Christ as the Father of the righteous, they having become His children and He having been made their Father through the second birth—the baptismal regeneration” (“The Father and the Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,” Ensign, Apr. 2002, 14–15, 17; originally published in Improvement Era, Aug. 1916, 936–37, 939).

To summarize the ways that Jesus Christ is a Father, share the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“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” (Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon [1997], 183–84).

Mosiah 15:21–27. “The first resurrection

Abinadi used the term “first resurrection” when he referred to the resurrection of the righteous and the innocent.

Write the following on the board:

Will come forth in the first resurrection

Will not be part of the first resurrection

Mosiah 15:21–25

Mosiah 15:26–27

Ask half of the class to read Mosiah 15:21–25 to see who will take part in the first resurrection. Ask the other half of the class to read Mosiah 15:26–27 to see who will not be allowed to take part in the first resurrection. Then ask each half of the class to share what they have discovered.