Jesus Christ, chosen as the sacrifice to pay mankind’s eternal debt, became the Lamb of God.
And behold, Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh; and his soul rejoiced, saying: The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world.
To a lesser extent, prophets became a type of, or mirrored, Christ’s eternal symbol of the sacrificial lamb slain in finality of divine mission.
When Joseph went to Carthage to deliver himself up to the pretended requirements of the law, two or three days previous to his assassination, he said: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me—he was murdered in cold blood.”
In Doctrine and Covenants 135:4, John Taylor recorded Joseph Smith’s prophecy of his own death. John Taylor testified that Joseph,
. . . like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood.
What other prophets sealed their testimonies with their own deaths?
And [King Noah] said unto him: Abinadi, we have found an accusation against thee, and thou art worthy of death.
Now Abinadi said unto him: I say unto you, I will not recall the words which I have spoken unto you concerning this people, for they are true; and that ye may know of their surety I have suffered myself that I have fallen into your hands.
Yea, and I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you. And if ye slay me ye will shed innocent blood, and this shall also stand as a testimony against you at the last day.
King Noah and his wicked priest burned Abinadi at the stake, even after he declared that his death would testify against them.
John the Baptist
But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.
Herod beheaded John the Baptist and gave John’s head to Salome as promised.
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
Brought to trial and condemned because of false witnesses, Stephen testified of Jesus Christ and His divine mission. Stephen also testified that many prophets suffered at the people’s hands.
Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
And cast him out of the city, and stoned him…And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Extracanonical accounts tell of Isaiah’s prophetic demise. Isaiah told Hezekiah that Hezekiah’s only son and heir would depart from the faith and execute Isaiah. This news distressed Hezekiah so much that he determined to slay his son. Isaiah testified that this path was his calling.
Isaiah said to Hezekiah the king, but not in the presence of Manasseh only did he say unto him: `As the Lord
liveth, and the Spirit which speaketh in me liveth, all these commands and these words will be made of none effect by Manasseh thy son, and through the agency of his hands I shall depart mid the torture of my body.
And Sammael Malchira will serve Manasseh, and execute all his desire, and he will become a follower of Beliar rather than of me:
And many in Jerusalem and in Judea he will cause to abandon the true faith, and Beliar will dwell in Manasseh, and by his hands I shall be sawn asunder.’
And when Hezekiah heard these words he wept very bitterly, and rent his garments, and placed earth upon his head, and fell on his face. . .
And on that day Hezekiah resolved in his heart to slay Manasseh his son.
And Isaiah said to Hezekiah: `The Beloved hath made of none effect thy design, and the purpose of thy heart will not be accomplished, for with this calling have I been called and I shall inherit the heritage of the Beloved.’
Hezekiah died. Manasseh ruled in wickedness and had Isaiah sawed in two.
Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Zechariah
The demise of the following prophets is recorded in extra-Biblical accounts as well.
Extra-Biblical texts say that Jeremiah died by stoning in Egypt after being carried there from Jerusalem.
In Babylon, the chief priest slew Ezekiel after Ezekiel rebuked him for worshipping false idols. An alternate story claims that someone killed Ezekiel for cursing his children and flocks.
The priest of Bethel, Amaziah, severely tortured Amos. Amaziah’s son mortally beat Amos with a club. Amos apparently initially survived and made his way home where he died a few days later.
Zechariah, son of Jehoiada, denounced King Jehoash, his father-in-law. Jehoash immediately slew Zechariah in the temple courtyard and sprinkled his blood on the altar. The priests burned his body. Rabbinic literature records Zechariah’s death as the Sabbath Day of Atonement, the day a lamb is slain for the sins of the congregation.
They Lived For Christ and Died for Christ
All of these prophets laid down their lives for Jesus Christ’s sake, sealing their testimony with their blood.
Paul taught, “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.”
Of their sacrifices, the Savior promised, ” And all they who have given their lives for my name shall be crowned.”
Featured image: The Good Shepherd by Del Parson
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.