Oh Alma, why is chapter 13 so confusing? Why do the verse seem to stumble over each other?
Also, what help is D&C 138 in understanding Alma 13? Let’s give it a try:
Alma 13:1 And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.
D&C 138:30 But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, andcommissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.
Alma 13:2 And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.
I had always read this “order of his Son” as a sort of “name for the Melchizedek Priesthood.” I’m wondering now if I ought to hear it in something like “the order of His Son.” I’m thinking of D&C 132 etc where we read that one person has the authority to seal, but that power can be distributed under that one person’s authority. Or, something like all other sealers only perform ordinances based on someone else’s power and authority. Something like that, maybe? If I’m close on that, then I’m hearing here something like “those priests were ordained to do work under the authority of his Son.” If I read it that way, then the second half of verse 2 finally makes sense to me! “That thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption” would happen if the priests who were teaching about the gospel also explained their authority came from the Son who was the only one with any power whatsoever. I think that might work!
Alma 13:3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.
At what point here are they being left to choose good or evil? If they were called from the foundation of the world, are we talking about the choices they made then? In Heaven? Or, is this saying that they were chosen and prepared, but, just like all of us, when they get to earth they are tested to see if they will still choose good? And these passed the test and are now called with the calling that was prepared, if they were still going to be worthy of it once they got to earth? What about this preparatory redemption?? Is it that those who are holy and given, say, the sealing power, are basically already saved? Can it mean “calling and election made sure” – made holy on earth, etc.? I think D&C 132 suggests that someone has to be that holy to receive the sealing power, the fullest authority of the priesthood man can have (it’s all the Son’s power of course!). So perhaps “preparatory redemption” means “calling and election made sure”/”second endowment” etc.? Maybe???
Alma 13:4 And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren.
5 Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son, who was prepared—
So again, my question is at what point in time are we referring to? At what point are they on the same standing? Are we talking about the very very beginning? Some passed the test then and so a calling was prepared for them? Or, are we talking about many who received preparations in Heaven but only some of them followed through on earth? (The clarification that the calling was prepared “for such as would not harden their hearts” might be an explanation of why some of those prepared do get called in this earth life, and some don’t?)
Alma 13:6 And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest—
I think that’s a fine definition of the work of the priesthood right there: “to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest— ” I think “enter into his rest” probably means calling and election (to have that “rest” or comfort that you are saved?). So they work to allow others to “also” enter into his rest, which seems to say those preaching already have. D&C 84 explains Moses sought diligently to bring his people to this point (but they didn’t want it! how sad!).
7 This high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things—
Why this reassurance that this order was from the beginning, without beginning, etc.? I know Alma is in part got to be trying to explain why he himself has any authority to be preaching. Hmm, what else is going on in Alma 12 and 13 that would help? Ah, the people were asking questions about Adam and Eve and how they couldn’t get back. Perhaps the “foreknowledge of all things” is mean to explain that the priesthood was set up way before Adam and Eve fell, and in fact, was set up according to the knowledge that they would fall. Nothing has been undone! The Fall was foreseen.
I meant to be adding in more from D&C 138. This verse seems to relate to Alma 13:7:
D&C 138:56 Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.
Interesting. This was more productive on Alma 13 that usual, or at least maybe it feels that way since I’m so sleepy. 🙂