Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Alma 13: 16

Alma 13: 16:

Now these ordinances were given after this manner, that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, or it being his order, and this that they might look forward to him for a remission of their sins, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord.

Notice the shifting back to "ordinances" from the discussion of priesthood. What ordinances? What manner?

Why would what happened with Melchizedek and Abraham be something pointing to the Son of God?

Why would such an ordination and ordinance always be something that would prepare people to understand and accept the Son of God?

How was it a "type" of the Son of God's order?

What is this referring to in plain language? Is it that the ordinances will reveal a pattern that will unmistakably point back to the ministry of Christ? How?

What is there in conferring priesthood and endowing with understanding that points to Christ? Was Christ endowed with knowledge? Power? Authority? From on-high? When? What account do we have of it? Was it at His baptism when the voice of God declared, "thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee" (which wording was deliberately changed during the Fourth Century Christological debates to read instead: "this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased")?  How does this identify both the holder of this holy order of priesthood and confirm Christ's ministry as the Son of God?

More importantly, why are these things not being taught to us today? This is such basic and important doctrine that Alma is teaching it as introductory material to a potential group of converts.  But as faithful members of the Church we aren't even familiar with them. What have we been doing with the Gospel we received?

Why was the "manner" something which would let those who learned about it know and identify the Lord?

Do we expect to follow Christ? If so, why aren't we anxious to learn about this holy order? Can we follow Him unless we do what is necessary to take upon us that same holy order? If so, then how are we to find it today? Who teaches about it?

It is interesting to read this chapter of Alma. It reinforces that the Book of Mormon is still being neglected. We cycle through it every four years. Perhaps we are still neglecting it's true message? I think this chapter gets lumped in with three others and covered in a 50 minute class every four years. Maybe that is what is meant by  "neglect." Oooops....


  1. Yes, I have asked some of these questions before on reading this chapter... I remember pondering them a lot as a missionary.

    I think I just assumed the answers were out there... so to speak. I think I just always assumed that the answers were in the Temple ordinance we have. Though I never specifically put some of those questions together with knowledge gained there. I just made assumptive links, and further assumed I was on the right track.

    I'm seeing I need to repent of my lack of faith and act on the questions the Spirit was giving me to seek after.

    SWEET! More repentance! More meekness.... This comes easy for me so it's alllllll gooooood. ;0)

  2. Or further I supposed that "the manner" was there in the ordinance we do commonly see and I just wast seeing it...

  3. Understanding of Deep Doctrine: I know that if you are not feed Deep Doctrine and Grow, the opposite will happen. I have looked at my own struggles in life, and feel that many of them are due to not understanding true doctrine, and not understanding who I really am (and thus, who we all can be).
    So, by not emphasizing true doctrine (deep doctrince), it leaves us all on a diet that is not very filling, and thus creates a void. I feel that the Adversary fills this "void" with all of his vices (W of Wisdom, Chastity, Porn, MONEY, Power, leisure, enternainment).
    This understanding is all based on Script (to name one, D&C 123:12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle bcraftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to cdeceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they dknow not where to find it—) and experience.
    SO, By Neglecting the Book of Mormon and Doctine, we will and do suffer the consequences.

  4. I'm beginning to think covering up identity was part of Melchizedek's request of the Lord. I believe Melchizedek is Shem, and my toying with the Eber idea might have a place like so (this is my hypothetical scenario): Shem is a master of using the Lord's symbolism to bring the spiritual realities into the seen world for individuals on a grand scale. Not missing the irony that this draws attention to himself, he devises ways to ensure the symbols stay pure and always point to Christ. First, his people want to be called the people of Shem. He refuses and calls them after one of his descendants, Eber, or the Hebrews. Someone said the name Eber means crossover, so symbolically the name teaches the concept of crossing over to Christ through identity with these people. As one possible proof, the Lord told Moses to tell Pharoah that He was the God of the Hebrews. If the people who were translated were called the Hebrews, then Pharoah would've been familiar with the reports of a people that disappeared and he would've been informed of what kind of a God he was dealing with, particularly because the children of Israel were going to "disappear" out of Egypt. Back to Shem. Shem is making kings and priests consistently with his success. Some who still don't quite get it (not finished the path quite yet) want to rename the Priesthood itself after him. The tendency of the nations at this time to want to make a "name" (translation of the name "Shem") for themselves is still clinging to some of Shem's people. They refuse to let him back down this time like he did before. He proposes that his name as chief of the kings of righteousness be a grander title for it. The redeemed agree because it serves the purpose of helping the name of the Son of God to be used in vain less, and the others are satisfied because they identify Shem as Melchizedek, but Shem gets the last laugh. When the Lord asks him what he wants, Shem pleads that it not be generally known that he is Melchizedek, making the man Melchizedek have no lineage recorded. Shem has a lineage recorded, but if Melchizedek and Shem are never tied together by heaven, then Melchizedek has no lineage known. This last great feat then serves to teach that the Priesthood offered to all, now irregardless of lineage, is the greatest Priesthood man can attain. If this scenario is the case, then what a great high priest he was indeed! I'm not saying its impossible for people to find out that Shem is Melchizedek, but I'm thinking its a one on one thing between a person and God. It sure doesn't seem like God confirms it when anyone else says it. Heaven just stays silent, possibly because of a request.

  5. WOW. This is so intense and so sweet on the part of Shem and a further witness to his greatness and humility. What an important point to make to always refer back over and over and over to the Holy One of Israel.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Though should you have put Shem's secret out for us all to see or should you have honored him as the Lord does... ?

    Just a thought.

    Are you boasting in your intellectual, spiritual, and analytical abilities? Or maybe are you following the Spirit and sharing something the Lord would have us all known but He promised He wouldn't share and He wants people to understand all that much more why He has honored Shem as He has. :0)

    Brother Zang I'm just talking not criticizing or calling you out just wondering, again I’m glad to know you thoguths.

  6. Hi JR,

    Your fine, I think its good to raise the questions you raised. That really was a hypothetical. Plenty of people have speculated and it has always seemed curious to me that no matter how much I like the arguments, there seems to be no confirmation about its truth. That's not to say it isn't true. I wonder if those thoughts I wrote are a possible reason why. If the Lord is keeping it a secret, than He obviously won't confirm it for others just because I guessed right, so I don't think I do any harm by putting it out as a guess. But it is an interesting question that others can use while they are studying it out on their own. So in that light its intended to be helpful. Your point that "should I put Shem's secret out for everyone to see" is a great sign that I am just a fool. It's quite the obvious oversight. It reduces any validity that my message may carry. And yet, does that then help keep the secret safe? I'm being facetious ;-) Really though, that alone should prove to everyone that I'm not a reliable source, but I don't think I'll be upbraided for posing the question, even if I do it publicly. I hope that answers your question about my intentions and I'm glad you asked.

  7. Really what I said about that you should not be saying anything was just a tongue and cheek statement. Based on my own reflection about how I do keeping things to me and having a conversation about great spiritual things.

    Thing about writing it's hard for fun pokes or sarcasm to be shared.

    I'm all about speculation and curiosity, but also I'm trying to not just speculate anymore and really exercise faith for answers and toward understanding for greater faith. So, yeah I was being playful with possible truth and I knew you would take it well and see the possible truth.

    SO, you are no fool! :)

  8. Hi JR,

    Oh, and you should call me Brian. I can't get my tag line changed or it changes other things elsewhere, but I may just change it anyway at some point here (besides from your profile, I see you're 4 years older than me).

    I'd rather stay the fool. If I don't, I lose my blessings ;-)

    Read Denver's post on the same subject about his being the fool. Also check out Jesus' walk to Emmaus where he broke His own commandment and called two disciples fools (making Himself the Fool and the Hypocrite - the Goat), or Nephi's murder and Abraham's lie, or Paul being probably the best at it - fools can do things for the Lord that He can't do being who He is, or when He is being who He is (that makes the devil very angry, and he accuses God of not playing by the rules, when in reality, God is very strict about these things). That's good company, if you ask me. I'm not advocating any course of action, because being a fool comes with a price. Denver has a lot of posts up about sacrificing all things and when and how that happens on an individual level that might be worth a re-read. Without that context, my comments about being a fool can be taken hugely out of proportion. Maybe it'd be best to say "the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord"

    So don't worry, I was continuing the conversation about spiritual things :-) I love the joking, too.

    And by the way, the price is you really are a fool when you play the fool and aren't some better person than others because of it. Justice still must be served.

  9. P.S. - The only sign that a fool is still a true disciple is the only sign that signifies a disciple in the first place: love. A fool without love for others is a damned fool.

  10. You guys are both great. But I must be missing something, here, because I've been taught for the past 30 years that Melchizedek was Shem, and Denver has mentioned it a couple of times on this blog. I thought it was common knowledge and not a secret -- ?

  11. What if the Lord changed his name to Melchizedek, not to hide anything but to just bless Shem? As we have read in Beloved Enos, the Lord sometimes chooses to rename his servants as a sign of their acceptance by Him.

  12. Hi Anonymous,

    Good thoughts. Today maybe different because we are fast approaching the day when all things will be revealed, but although some have said as much about Shem being Melchizedek, I haven't heard many answers as to why it might've been kept a secret in the first place. Maybe it wasn't a secret and maybe I just haven't had my own confirmation even though I believe it was Shem. Oh well, these have all been interesting thoughts.

  13. For sure I was wrong you are indeed a fool! What was I thinking I too am a fool. Thank you for helping me see the light, but now we are both fools because we are totally off topic.

    It's a good thing there is a new post up to consider. :0)

  14. Denver,

    You wrote that the scripture we have was changed from "thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee". How do you know that?


  15. Scriptures were altered in the Fourth Century because of the "adoptionist" arguments/heresy. For information about the form of the alterations, including that one, Bart Ehrman, a Christian researcher and scholar (not a Mormon) has written a book on the changes which these debates made. His book is titled:
    "The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies
    on the Text of the New Testament"

    It is available from Amazon. He uses this as one example of the change to the text, and shows how an underlying controversy directly caused the change to be made.


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