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Relationship to Chapters 1-6. The relationship of Chapters 1-2 to the rest of Chapters 1-6 is discussed at Mosiah 1-6.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 1-2 include:
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- Mosiah 4:6-10. King Benjamin encourages his people to trust in God by first fostering their reverence, similar to Isaiah when he said: "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts... For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord."
- Mosiah 4:6. This verses contain a three-part pattern that King Benjamin repeats in the verses that follow.
- Knowledge of God -- come to know the characteristics (attributes) of God, his power, wisdom, and long-suffering (patience).
- Trust in the Lord -- trust that the redeeming power of Jesus Christ is sufficient to cleanse you from your sins.
- Diligent in keeping his commandments -- make a commitment to be obedient to the will of the Lord from this day until the end of your life.
- The promise is this: whoever does these things will receive salvation through the atonement.
- Mosiah 4:8: None other salvation. There is no more magnificent prize in store for the children of men than this: to be joint heirs with Christ (see Romans 8:17).
- Mosiah 4:9. The pattern of verse 6 is repeated here, in a slightly different way.
- Believe in God -- know God as the creator of both heaven and earth, the possessor of all wisdom and all power.
- Repent -- invoke the power of the atonement to sanctify yourself before God. "Humble yourselves... and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you."
- Act -- be obedient to the commandment of God to repent. "If ye believe all these things, see that ye do them."
- Compare the following terms from both verses:
- See also verse 11-12 for the final iteration of this pattern.
- Knowledge of God -- knowing who God is, and that he has all power and righteousness, is a crucial first step to making the life changes necessary to gain salvation.
- Receive a Remission of Sins -- the repentance process brings us into the presence of God, where we can taste of God's love and feel pure joy. However, in experiencing the greatness of God, we are faced with the reality of our mortal impotence and failings. Through "intentional humility" (purposeful remembrance of our status before God) we can maintain the sense of joy and love that we felt during the repentance process.
- Call upon the Lord, Stand Steadfast -- these are the first of many commandments that are given to the newly repentant to keep them in the path.
- The promise is in verse 12. Those that have "received" a remission of sins through following this pattern, may "retain" a remission of sins by continuing to follow it.
- Mosiah 4:26: Remission. Websters 1828 dictionary gives six definitions of remission, including: 5. Forgiveness; pardon; that is, the giving up of the punishment due to a crime; as the remission of sins. Matt. 26. Heb. 9.
- Mosiah 4:28: New Year's resolution. Scholars believe that the origin of New Year's Resolutions can be "traced back 4000 years to the ancient Babylonians." The most popular yearly resolution was to return borrowed tools to their rightful owners, showing that returning borrowing items was an ancient problem. It is interesting that in the ancient Americas that returning borrowed items was a big enough of a problem to be addressed in the same speech as taking care of the poor, teaching children properly and realizing one's reliance on God - all which are discussed by ancient leaders in Babylon.
- Mosiah 4:30: Watch yourselves. Alma 39:9 uses the phrase cross yourself to describe the same heightened sense of self-awareness. Because it is impossible to hide our sins from God, our words, works, and even thoughts can condemn us (see Alma 12:14).
- Mosiah 4:30: Remember. Remembering is sometimes a greater task than it seems, and so important to "retaining a remission of sins" that is used in the sacrament prayers (see D&C 20:77,79). It may help you to remember that the Lord has promised to "abundantly pardon" the man who forsakes his evil thoughts (see Isaiah 55:6-9).
- Mosiah 5:2: Cried with one voice. Verse 2 tells us that the people all cried with one voice. Given that the people did not all hear the words of King Benjamin at the same time (because there were too many too all hear at once--see Mosiah 2:8) the "one voice" in this phrase probably refers to their unity--rather than that they all spoke at the same time.
- Mosiah 5:5: Enter into a covenant. Compare the terms of this covenant with the promises we make when partaking of the sacrament (see Moroni 4:3). In this verse, the people covenant to be obedient to his commandments. In verse 8, the people take upon themselves the name of Christ, as part of a process of changing their hearts through "faith on his name." Finally, in verse 12, they are asked to "remember to retain the name always" in their hearts.
- Mosiah 5:7: Become his sons and daughters. When the people enter into a covenant with God, they "become [Christ's] sons and daughters." Although we enter this world as God's children, we can be spiritually born again when our "hearts are changed through faith on his name." All mankind is required to pass from a fallen (carnal) state to a state of righteousness in order to be redeemed (see Mosiah 27:25). This is the beginning of a transformative process that requires a life-long commitment to be obedient.
- Mosiah 5:8: Take upon you the name of Christ. To "take upon you the Name of Christ" appears to be a holy priesthood ordinance, appropriately revealed here by King Benjamin in the temple. Since this ordinance and covenent is not clearly revealed in our modern bible, it may be one of the "plain and precious things" that the was taken out of the scriptures by the Deuteronomistic reforms around the time Lehi left Jerusalem, and that the Lord has restored to us through the Book of Mormon.
- The phrase "take upon you the Name of Christ" does not appear anywhere in our modern version of the Bible.
- Mosiah 5:12: Name written always in your hearts. We are literally expected to come to "hear and know the voice" of Jesus. The act of remembering is crucial to the process of building a personal relationship with the Savior. It is important to remember why we serve, and who we follow.
- Mosiah 5:15: Seal you his. The final verses of this passage focus on remembering the covenant and name of Christ, to keep it "written in your hearts." Once we have received a knowledge of God, through our conversion and spiritual rebirth, we participate in a relationship with God. If we consistently abound in good works, we may receive a further promise of "everlasting salvation and eternal life" through an additional act of sealing.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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- Mosiah 4:12: Grow in knowledge. How can knowledge grow? How is this related to the growing seed and increasing faith described in Alma 32:29ff?
- Mosiah 4:21: In faith, believing that ye shall receive. Who is exercising faith here, God or the recipient of the blessings? How does this decision affect our understanding of this verse and the underlying theme in the greater context? If the recipient is the one exercising faith, then this seems to make God's gifts contingent on faith being displayed by the recipient. This would seem to counter the theme of unqualified grace—that we should give to anyone who asks, without judgment. Or, perhaps this reading could be taken to emphasize the sense in which the beggar who asks is displaying a sincere kind of faith, analogous to those who ask God and beg for blessings, "in faith, believing that [they] shall receive." The other possible reading here is that God himself is exercising faith that the recipient will receive the blessings that God bestows (cf. D&C 88:33).
- Mosiah 4:26: What is a "remission" of sins?
- Mosiah 4:26: What is the relationship between service and retaining a remission of sins? While the ordinances of baptism and the sacrament provide lifetime and weekly opportunities to remit sins, how does service do so on a daily basis? Is this part of fulfilling baptismal covenants?
- Mosiah 4:26: In the sacrament prayer, we are told to always remember Christ so that we can have His Spirit to be with us. Is there a relationship between daily service of others, and having the Spirit with us always?
- Mosiah 4:26: Does this verse imply that we should be involved with daily service? Or just that the occasional service will suffice to help us retain the daily remission of sins?
- Mosiah 4:26: What does it mean to "walk guiltless before God"?
- Mosiah 4:26: Why is it important to minister to both spiritual and temporal wants?
- Mosiah 4:26: What is a "want"? Is that the same as a desire? Should we be giving people what they want, or just what we think they need?
- Mosiah 5:7: What does it mean to be called the children of Christ?
- Mosiah 5:7: What does it mean to be "spiritually begotten"? How is this different from being begotten as spirits by our Heavenly Father?
- Mosiah 5:7: How can hearts be changed "through faith on [Christ's] name?
- Mosiah 5:7: How does this change of heart constitute a new birth?
- Mosiah 5:8: Under his head. What does this phrase mean?
- Mosiah 5:8: How are we made free "under [Christ's] head? What does it mean to be "made free"?
- Mosiah 5:8: How does salvation come by a given name?
- Mosiah 5:8: Could "taking upon you the name of Christ" be the same as receiving an anointing as a high priest--the mark referred to in Jacob 4:14?
- Mosiah 5:8: What does it mean to covenant to "be obedient unto the end of your lives"?
- Mosiah 5:9: What does it mean to "be found at the right hand of God"? Where does this imagery come from?
- Mosiah 5:9: How are we "called by the name of Christ"?
- Mosiah 5:10: What does it mean to be found "on the left hand of God"?
- Mosiah 5:11: What does it mean for the people to have a new name given unto them?
- Mosiah 5:11: What does it mean that the new name "never should be blotted out"? What does "blotted out" mean?
- Mosiah 5:11: Why would transgression lead to the new name being blotted out?
- Mosiah 5:11: What does transgression mean? Is there a difference between transgression and sin?
- Mosiah 5:11: How is it that the name can be possibly "blotted out of your hearts"? Is it written there? What does it even mean for the name to be in your heart?
- Mosiah 5:12: How can the name of Christ be written on your heart? What does it mean to retain it written there?
- Mosiah 5:12: What does it mean to be on the left hand of God?
- Mosiah 5:12: What is the relationship between hearing and knowing the voice of God and having Christ's name written in our hearts?
- Mosiah 5:13: How does serving a master lead one to know him?
- Mosiah 5:13: What does it mean for Christ to be "far from the thoughts and intents of [our hearts]?
- Mosiah 5:13: How can we keep Christ in our thoughts and close to the intents of our hearts?
- Mosiah 5:13: What does it mean for us to be called by the name of Christ?
- Mosiah 5:14: How does this analogy with the ass relate to what king Benjamin is saying?
- Mosiah 5:14: If we do not belong to Christ, who do we belong to that would lead Christ to drive us away?
- Mosiah 5:14: Why will Christ drive us away if we do not know the name by which we are called?
- Mosiah 5:14: What does it mean to know the name by which we are called? What is that name? How are we called by that name?
- Mosiah 5:15: What does it mean to "be steadfast and immovable? What does that have to do with abounding in good works?
- Mosiah 5:15: What are the good works that we are supposed to abound in?
- Mosiah 5:15: What does it mean for Benjamin to call Christ "the Lord God Omnipotent"?
- Mosiah 5:15: How is Christ omnipotent?
- Mosiah 5:15: What does it mean for Christ to "seal you his"?
- Mosiah 5:15: What does it mean to be "brought to heaven"?
- Mosiah 5:15: What is "everlasting salvation and eternal life"? Are these two things equivalent?
- Mosiah 5:15: How is everlasting salvation and eternal life brought about "through the wisdom and power, and justice, and mercy" of Christ?
- Mosiah 5:15: Who is the "God above all" that "created all t hings, in heaven and in earth"? Is that Christ or His Father?
- Mosiah 6:1: Why would it be expedient for king Benjamin to "take the names of all those who had entered into a covenant with God"? Do we ever read of the leaders making use of this list?
- Mosiah 6:1: What is the difference between this act of organization, and the later Church organization under the leadership of Alma?
- Mosiah 6:2: How is it possible that all of the people could enter into this covenant with God?
- Mosiah 6:2: Is there a problem with people "joining the Church" en masse? Isn't that supposed to be an individual choice? Why don't we baptize whole congregations into the Church anymore?
- Mosiah 6:2: What does it mean to "take upon...the n ame of Christ"? How does this differ from what we do at baptism?
- Mosiah 6:3: What did consecration of Nephite kings entail? Do they follow coronation rites of ancient Israel?
- Mosiah 6:3: Mosiah is consecrated "to be a ruler and a king"--what's the difference between a ruler and a king?
- Mosiah 6:3: King Benjamin appoints priests "to teach the people". How is this different from Old Testament priests who served in the temple? Does this indicate that there were now two types of priests--temple priests and teaching priests"?
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- Mosiah 4:11-15. Mosiah 4:26 offers more advice about "retaining a remission of your sins from day to day" -- feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, and administering to their relief.
- Mosiah 4:11-15. Alma 12:10 explains how our attitude is important to growing in spiritual knowledge (verse 12). "He that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God, until he know them in full."
- Mosiah 4:27.Use 2 Timothy 4:6-8 as an example of proper attitude towards enduring to the end. "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith..." Likewise, Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us how to choose our focus: "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..."
- Mosiah 5:8: Deuteronomistic reforms. For more information on the Deuteronomistic reforms during the time of Lehi, see article by Kevin Christensen here
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