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….