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Mormon Showed Us What Happens to the Apostate People Who Reject the Servant
Like the Book of Isaiah, the Book of Mormon is full of composite types which—when pieced together—present us with a full view of a singe end-time scenario. Mormon portrays many types of events and personas which are similar but not identical in order to paint an accurate picture of all relevant aspects of the winding up scenes. The personas and events are connected through themes and word links in similar fashion to Isaiah. In line with what has been taking place in our day, there are many types of apostate people in the Book of Mormon. One in particular has stood out to me recently: the people of Limhi.
King Mosiah, typifying the Davidic Servant in his reign as king over God’s people, authorized 16 “strong men” to search for a people whom they “had heard nothing from” but considered to be “their brethren.”1 Ammon, typifying a specific class of the 144,000 servants in the last days, was appointed as their leader and took the group through the wilderness “down into” the land of Nephi—marking this as a descent phase to a people in a lower state.2 After suffering bonds, hunger, thirst, and fatigue—the price for a chance to teach and deliver these people—Ammon and his brethren were freed and brought into the city whereupon they learned a great deal about these people through the speech of Limhi.3 This is where things get eerily similar to the Lord’s covenant people in our day and what will happen to them.
The people of Limhi were a “temple” worshipping people who had been brought into bondage by a foreign nation.4 They paid tributes to the evil king which were “grievous to be borne,” even one half of all they had or possessed.5
These were people who had a poor track record with following leaders. They followed a man who had been deceived by the “cunning and craftiness” of an evil king to “enter into a treaty” thinking naively it would be honored.6 They had sustained priests who were in full union with the wicked political authority; priests who sat in the highest seats and appeared pious while in reality their words were lying and vain, nothing more than flattery on par with the deception coming from the king.7
The people were ignorant of the conspiracy between their ecclesiastical and civic authorities who were taking advantage of them on both sides in order to be “supported in their laziness and in their idolatry and in their whoredoms.”8 Imagine devout tax and tithe payers who were deceived into thinking their payments were used as they intended. This sense of devoutness filled them with pride and led them to “boast in their own strength” until they became a war-like people who viewed themselves as unconquerable; a people who “did delight in blood and the shedding of blood,” and “this because of the wickedness of their king and priests.”9
These people did not receive a translated record of a people who had before fallen and been destroyed on this land until after they had endured bondage and received deliverance according to their faith and a change in their hearts.10 Mormon’s insertion of Limhi’s people having an opportunity to receive a record but being unable to read it portrays this lack. We have other composite types of the righteous receiving a translated sealed work much sooner than this.11 Not to mention, the reception of greater things by the righteous in a safe, promised land, is also implied by Mosiah’s possession and use of the interpreters.12
Limhi’s lack of knowledge concerning the gifts and role of a seer is insightful. Neither Limhi, or his people, had a correct understanding of what a seer, a prophet, or a revelator actually was!13 Ammon had to teach them. The heavy irony here is they were people well acquainted with the idea of having religious leaders; they adored and willfully followed their pseudo-priests who took advantage of them, yet manifested zero of the real gifts of seers.
To these apostates the Lord had sent Abinadi, typifying the Davidic Servant in his prophet and suffering servant persona. In their “blinded” and “hardened” state the people didn’t recognize him, and considered him “mad,” or infatuated with folly.14 He foretold severe covenant curses which would come upon the people if they did not repent. These curses included but were not limited to the following.15
“they shall be brought into bondage”
“they shall be afflicted by the hand of their enemies”
“when they shall cry unto me, I will be slow to hear their cries”
“[they] shall be smitten on the cheek, yea, and shall be driven by men and shall be slain.”
“And the vultures of the air and the dogs—yea, and the wild beasts—shall devour their flesh.”
“I will smite this my people with sore afflictions, yea, with famine and with pestilence.”
“I will cause that they shall howl all the day long.”
“I will cause that they shall have burdens lashed upon their backs, and they shall be driven before like a dumb ass.”
“I will send forth hail among them, and it shall smite them.”
“insects shall pester their lands also and devour their grain.”
This messenger was put to death in a cruel manner by the priests, who were threatened and terrified by his majesty, authority, and the accuracy of his words. Limhi later lamented:
“And a prophet of the Lord have they slain—yea, a chosen man of God who told them of their wickedness and abominations and prophesied of many things which is to come, yea, even the coming of Christ.”16
These people who rejected the Lord’s Servant suffered immensely. The curses foretold by the Servant did come upon them. They were brought into bondage and smitten “that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled.”17 Their afflictions were “great,” but there “was no way they could deliver themselves.”18 When they tried, they failed, losing battles repeatedly until so many men had died that “there was a great number of women, more than there was of men.”19 Eventually they had no other choice but to “humble themselves even to the dust, subjecting themselves to the yoke of bondage, submitting themselves to be smitten and to be driven to and fro and burdened according to the desires of their enemies.”20 In their humility they “did cry mightily to God,” but He “was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities” and “did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage.”21
Ammon facilitated Limhi and his people entering into a covenant with God to serve him and keep his commandments.22 The Lord began to ease their burdens and they “began to prosper by degrees in the land.”23 Yet they were still left to “deliver themselves out of bondage.”24 Their eventual exodus to freedom in the middle of the night was one of calculated desperation lacking any great or mighty manifestation of power from God.25 They had forfeited their right to that kind of deliverance through their idolatry, and those left were lucky to even be alive.
The people of Limhi were not delivered until king Mosiah, the lawgiver and seer, the Lord’s mouthpiece, “granted” through inspiration and wisdom that the strong men should be sent.26 When the people finally arrived in the land of Zarahemla, typifying Zion, "Mosiah received them with joy.”27
Based on Mormon’s prophetic compilation, it appears there will be opportunity for a later temporal salvation for some who initially rejected the Lord’s marvelous work due to the cunning craftiness of men—albeit not until after they have suffered the full consequences of their choices. This is an astounding act of mercy on the part of Jehovah. Yea, herein is mercy so deep it prompts the disciple to remember the Lord’s parables of the prodigal son and the laborers in the vineyard to even come to terms with it.
Ezekiel 37:22-25 for the Servant as a King, Mosiah 7:1-2
Mosiah 11:7, 11
Omni 1:20 as an example of receiving a record after an exodus, but before a land of promised is fully established.
Mosiah 11:29; 13:1-4
Mosiah 11:20 - 12:8
Mosiah 21:6-12, 17; c.f. Isaiah 3:25-26; 4:1
Mosiah 21:36; 22:1