21 June 2015

"The Prince of Peace... the King of Salem," Alma 13:14-19

Alma 13:14-19

I don't know, or I don't believe that we have anywhere in modern, available scripture a more accurate or accessible account of Melchizedek, who lived during the time of Abraham. I find it curious that the people of his land, the land of Salem, "had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination... full of all manner of wickedness." (vs. 17) The form and manner in which he choose to address this great difficulty was to become ordained to the priesthood and then preach repentance unto his people. To which his people responded by repenting. (see vs. 18)

I find in this hope that at any time, one can decide where he stands before God, and take action to change the course of his own life, and literally the direction of the community where he lives.

19 June 2015

"A Holy Calling... Without Beginning or End," Alma 13:1-13

Alma 13:1-13

Immediately following a discussion on the Plan of Redemption and a call to repentance at the end of chapter 12, Alma then begins to discuss the priesthood and the calling of high priests. Perhaps it's a little clearer in my mind this time as I read it, but the two topics are more closely related than I had previously supposed.

The difference between those called to the high priesthood and those who are not is distinguished solely by the individual's ability to exercise faith and perform good works. Alma explains that in all other regards men are equal (see vs. 4-5). The great divide among men is on whether men will repent of their sins and exercise faith in Christ, or not.

The purposes of this high priesthood is to point men to Christ (see vs. 9), even the residue of men, that they might see how it is that they can return to God by following the path that those who have been ordained high priests have had to follow in order to qualify for that ordination.

03 June 2015

"A Plan... Prepared from the Foundation of the World," Alma 12:25-37

Alma 12:25-37

In the corruption of Christianity through the means of the great Apostasy, one of the greatest cover-ups that Satan has tried to execute is the reality of a plan: a plan of redemption. No where in scripture is the reality of the plan of redemption (also called the plan of happiness, the plan of salvation, etc. -- it's all the same plan) more clearly explained. Repeatedly, Alma asserts that this plan was prepared from the foundation of the world, and that everything that has transpired since then has been according to plan. (There are 7 specific references to the "plan of redemption" in the end of this chapter.)

As discussed previously, there was a plan laid so that when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit that they would still be allowed a period of probation, in order that they may prepare to return to God's presence. The verses then that follow explain how without the plan, there would have been no resurrection, no probationary state, and the word of God would have been made void.

I've always felt that planning was a good thing. Yet, what these scriptures are saying is that without a plan, eternal absolutes such as the resurrection, mortality (a period of preparation), and the holy scriptures (the word of God) would not exist. Planning now is a bit more essential than I has previously supposed.


Another term that is frequently repeated in these same verses that makes reference to this planning of our redemption is "appointed." In verse 27, "but it was appointed unto men that they must die... " Or in other words, it was planned that death must be come unto man. The verse continues, "... and after death, they must come to judgment, even that same judgment of which we have spoken, which is the end."

Then replacing the word "appointed" with the word "planned" verse 28 reads like this:
And after God had [planned] that these things should come unto man, behold, then he saw that it was expedient that man should know concerning the things whereof he had [planned for] them;
I'm not suggesting that "planned" is a better term here. It is just helping me to understand how thoroughly prepared and orchestrated this probationary state really is. "Appointed" is defined as "decided on beforehand; designated." 

Verse 29 reads "Therefore he sent angels to converse with them, who caused men to behold of his glory." What was his glory? If verse 28 is telling us that God saw that men should know about the plan that was prepared for them, then verse 29 says that in response he sent angels to cause them to behold of his glory, is not this saying that in this plan of redemption is that glory of God. (I don't even hardly understand this, only that the Spirit confirms that it is true!)

What am I to understand about the divine purposes associated with planning, and how to accomplish the greater good through strategic organization? I keep thinking of how satan's greatest deceptions are those that are well planned and organized. Yet, also there is that prevalent philosophy of chance -- that all this just happened by chance. Satan in some ways understands the power of planning, but in the beginning there was no opposing plan at all, simply an idea to try and rise above the glory of God.

On the contrary, God is an organizer of light. The planning, the preparation, the appointments, the organization exists in such exquisite fashion as to accomplish his divinely appointed objective to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.