I felt drawn to revisit Alma 13 this morning.
Years ago, Kim and I did a study of Alma 13 together. She suggested that “manner” (that oh-so-confusing term in Alma 13) might mean the trio of “calling, ordinance, priesthood.”
Reviewing verses 3-8 with that in mind, I see the flow better than I had before (or at least, better than I have since we did those readings together….)
Verse 3 introduces the idea of “call.” Verses 1 and 2 mention ordination, but not calling. Verse 3 emphasizes that God had planned this long in advance. It was not a new idea, nor an idea that men came up with.
And beyond that, the individuals that he will call were also planned long in advance. Thus, these people are “called with a holy calling, yeah, with that holy calling which was prepared.” Calling here, not meaning what we commonly use it to mean — not a job, an temporary occupation in God’s service. But calling here meaning something more straightforward, as in God “calling” out someone, through His Spirit, through a vision, through another priest/prophet, etc. The point here, I think, is that God is initiating the process.
(?Verses 4-5 explain that God will reach out to those who will not reject this calling, knowing in advance through prior actions if we will or will not reject?)
Verse 6 introduces “ordained,” but really skips over that one to the “high priesthood or the holy order.” It explains (what I take to be) the purpose of this priesthood: “to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest.” Verse 1 said something similar: “The Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order…to teach these things unto the people.”
Verse 7 goes on to explain priesthood more. For now, the point is that it existed “from the foundation of the world.”
Verse 8 wraps these three things together: “Now they were ordained after this manner — being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order, which calling, and ordinance, and high priesthood, is with out beginning or end — Thus they become high priests.”
Verse 8 also added slightly to the “ordain” part of the trio. They are “ordained with a holy ordinance.” Whatever that ordinance is is left unsaid, but there is some event, some moment, some procedure that makes this legitimized.
As I re-read verses 3-8, I see a clear organizational pattern, something that has often eluded me in Alma 13.