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"To Establish the Order of the Church," Alma 6

Alma 6

After Alma's pivotal discourse at Zarahemla, the record states that "he ordained priests and elders, by laying on his hands according to the order of God, to preside and watch over the church."(vs.1) Those who would repent became a part of the Church of God; those who would not repent and already belonged to the Church of God, had their names "blotted out, that their names were not numbered among those of the righteous." (vs.3)

Thus is the work of the kingdom, to organize according to covenants, the righteous from the wicked, that the righteous might have a support structure in which to strengthen their faith and to perform greater works than they would otherwise be able to do for themselves.

In the fifth verse of this chapter, after explaining this sorting of church members between the wicked and the righteous on conditions of their repentance, the author explains that everyone was permitted to come to church, regardless of their willingness to repent or not.
Now I would that ye should understand that the word of God was liberal unto all, that none were deprived of the privilege of assembling themselves together to hear the word of God.
This naturally makes sense in terms of progress and charity, and in the very next verse we learn that those that had joined to the Church fasted and prayed on behalf of those that had not. Or in other words, the membership of the Church were "joined in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God." (vs. 6)

Having set the affairs of the church in order and having preached the word of God to the people at Zarahemla, Alma moved on to the land of Gideon.

Gideon, the man, has always stood as one of my heros in the Book of Mormon. He never held the office of a prophet, he was never the king, but rather through his righteousness, he was able to bless many as a servant to a king, and as a teacher of righteousness. I think what stands out to me here is that there is now a land where the righteous had gathered to live, and they chose to name the land after Gideon, the teacher, and, by this time, a martyr for the cause of righteousness. 

Finally in verse 8, the author explains that Alma began preaching among the people "according to the revelation of the truth of the word which had been spoken by his fathers, and according to the spirit of prophecy which was in him, according to the testimony of Jesus Christ." This is one of several references in scripture that talks about the spirit of prophecy being synonymous to the testimony of Christ. Revelation 19:10 is another place wherein that similarity is observed.

It strikes me that without prophecy, without revelation from God, man cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.


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