The Prophet Abinadi, Part 2
“And except they repent and turn to the Lord their God, behold, I will deliver them into the hands of their enemies; yea, and they shall be brought into bondage; and they shall be afflicted by the hand of their enemies.
“And it shall come to pass that they shall know that I am the Lord their God, and am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of my people.
“And it shall come to pass that except this people repent and turn unto the Lord their God, they shall be brought into bondage; and none shall deliver them, except it be the Lord the Almighty God.
“Yea, and it shall come to pass that when they shall cry unto me I will be slow to hear their cries; yea, and I will suffer them that they be smitten by their enemies.
“And except they repent in sackcloth and ashes, and cry mightily to the Lord their God, I will not hear their prayers, neither will I deliver them out of their afflictions; and thus saith the Lord, and thus hath he commanded me” (Mosiah 11:21-25).
Because God loves his children and desires to save them, the message of repentance has been sent from God from the beginning. Adam and his family were taught the gospel of repentance by the Lord and angels sent by Him (Moses 5:58; 6:1, 23,57). All other righteous patriarchs and prophets received and taught the gospel of repentance (Moses7:10-12; 8:19-20; Ezek. 14:6; 1 Ne. 1:4; Alma 5:32-33, among many others). The opposite of a message of repentance would be the message of flattery delivered by king Noah and his priests. Flattery is not borne of love, but of lies. It is the anti-Christ that will use flattery as a tool (Jacob 7:2).
Helaman 12 is an excellent sermon on the “unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men” (Hel. 12:1). The sermon is true of men and women from the beginning of the earth until the end. Men tend to “forget the Lord their God…and this is because of their ease, and their exceeding great prosperity” (v. 2). Things haven’t changed. We remain the same. While in this telestial world there is a persistent need to combat the decaying force of entropy that is ever-present. Men not only lose hair and muscle with the advance of time, but are always losing “light and truth” (D&C 93:39).
Consistent with that truth therefore, is that the message men need to hear has never changed. The message required to bring men to the Son of God 6000 years ago, was the same message required to bring men to the Son of God 2000 years ago, and is the same today. In a revelation given to the Prophet in 1833 this is verified:
“Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on me name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth me commandments, shall see my face and know that I am” (D&C 93:1).
In our day the Lord commanded Joseph Smith to share the message of repentance. Those who repent can be reconciled to Christ and “know that [He is]” while in the flesh.
In order to combat the constant decay of light and truth, prophets reveal and restore lost truths, and always preach repentance, pointing people to Christ. If the message “inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ” you may know “with a perfect knowledge it is of God” (Moro. 7:16).