Alma 13:8

Alma 13:8

“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 without beginning or end—”
The manner of such person’s ordination is described but-
What does it mean to be “called with a holy calling?” Is there something about the nature of this “calling” that is different from an interview and being “found worthy of advancement in the priesthood” as we commonly see?  What is a “holy calling” anyway?  Why does this kind of priestly calling get described exclusively as “holy” by its nature?  Is there some contact with God required (who is the source of all holiness) as part of this “holy calling?”
Then we have the description of their ordination. What does it mean to be “ordained with a holy ordinance?”  Does our practice of laying on hands, conferring the Aaronic Priesthood and ordaining to the office of Priest answer to this description?  What is the “holy ordinance” that is done to confer this priesthood? 
Can we automatically rule out the entirety of Aaronic and most of the Melchizedek priesthood offices when we see the words: “taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order?”  Is there some office we are aware of which is appropriately described as “taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order?” Think about that for a moment.
If this is a “holy calling” and it results in the person receiving it “taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order” isn’t this something perhaps quite different from what we do to disseminate the priesthood?  And if all the Aaronic Priesthood and most of the Melchizedek Priesthood offices are not what we would appropriately call “the high priesthood of the holy order” then are we talking about either of these two commonly held priesthoods anyway?
Then we have the interesting addition that the “calling, and ordinance, and high priesthood, is without beginning or end” for those involved. That is, without reference to mortality. It was held before coming here, it will endure after leaving here. It is “endless” in the sense it comes “from eternity to eternity” as set out in the preceding verse.
This is potentially quite different from the manner in which we practice priestly ordinations in the church today. I suppose that some will want to confine all this description to our practices.  They are free to see it in that way if they choose.  I’m just asking if it is more likely that the words have a different meaning than we have associated with them before.  If that is possible, then perhaps we ought to be asking the Lord to inform us more about the matter, rather than presuming we already possess what is being described here.
It may just be that our hopes for some great, eternal reward hinge upon getting to the bottom of this matter. It may just be that God’s control over and involvement with the “holy calling” and “holy ordinance” of having the “high priesthood after the Son of God” is immediate and direct.  It may be that this “holy ordinance” will only come from that God who employs no servant at the gate, but is Himself the gatekeeper.  (2 Ne. 9: 41.)  Wouldn’t that be wonderful.  Think about it – no flawed process.  No fooled bishop or stake president letting someone obtain an office for which they are completely unsuited.  It sort of makes sense.

15 thoughts on “Alma 13:8

  1. I am not sure of the “manner of ordination” yet…. whatever it is, it is communicating to the people that this priest or king is legitimate…. i.e. from God.

    Alma seems to be keeping some details about his “manner” from us.

    Meanwhile, dan (and Denver) got me looking at The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (specifically p 322-323):
    Three Grand Orders of the Priesthood…. I’m looking at Joseph’s statement: “What is the power of Melchizedek? Twas not the Priesthood of Aaron which administers in outward ordinances, and the offering of sacrifices. Those holding the FULLNESS of the Melchizedek Priesthood are KINGS and PRIESTS of the MOST HIGH GOD, holding the keys of power and blessings. In fact, THAT Priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, ADMINISTERING ENDLESS LIVES to the sons and daughters of Adam.
    Abraham says to Melchizedek, I believe all that thou hast taught me concerning the priesthood and the coming of the Son of Man; so Melchizedek ordained Abraham and sent him away. Abraham rejoiced, saying, Now i have a priesthood.

  2. It seems there is a strong correlation between these priests and the 144,000 (maybe one in the same?)

    And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. (Revelation 7:2-3)

    Q. What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel—twelve thousand out of every tribe?
    A. We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn. (D&C 77:11)

    …he indicated that the conferral of the fulness of the priesthood was a “sealing…on top of the head”, of which the phrase “sealed in their foreheads” was symbolic. Furthermore, Joseph Smith here taught that it was through the ordinance of conferral of the fulness of the priesthood that men could be qualified to be a part of the special missionary force of the last days which would number 144,000 high priests. (The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph. P 297)


  3. These verses are remarkable and exhilarating:
    (look at V 27–the covenant which God made with Enoch? translation of the body? V29–calling came by God’s voice V30 and 31-wow–here is power in the priesthood)

    GENESIS 14: 25-40

    Melchizedek’s great ministry is mentioned; the powers and blessings of the Melchizedek Priesthood are described. (compare Genesis 14)

    25 And Melchizedek lifted up his voice and blessed Abram.

    26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.

    27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,

    28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;

    29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.

    30 For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;

    31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.

    32 And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven.

    33 And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of peace.

    34 And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world;

    35 And hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire.

    36 And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace.

    37 And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God;

    38 Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor.

    39 Wherefore, Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.

    40 And it came to pass, that God blessed Abram, and gave unto him riches, and honor, and lands for an everlasting possession; according to the covenant which he had made, and according to the blessing wherewith Melchizedek had blessed him.

  4. This holy calling may have reference to how often the Lord said that if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work. Called to what work? This work of the holy order? Does that mean that we select ourselves for this work? The holy calling then, would it be a sign to us that we have this desire to serve in this particular way? Do we deceive ourselves into thinking we have this desire when a busy Bishop unloads part of his burden on us, forgetting to pray about it? D&C 19 has the Lord delegating to the future apostles the work to dispense ordinations and calls according to the gifts and callings given to men. Is the holy calling then on a higher plane above the commission delegated to the apostles? Do the apostles always respond with giving a call to those who mature to this holy desire? What if they are sleeping? What if they are on vacation? What if we cut ourselves to show our sincerity? Does it work then?

  5. 144,000 doesn’t have to be the exact number. 12 is symbolic of the Priesthood. 12×12, or 144, means a fulness of the priesthood. 1,000 means a multitude. So it reads, “A multitude with a fulness of the Priesthood” and 12,000 from every tribe could read “with a representative Priesthood multitude from every tribe making up the whole”. I wouldn’t put it past God to make the actual amount fit the symbolic number, either, but this at least dissuades the notion that “maybe the number is all filled up and there is no more room for me!”

  6. But wait, Denver! Some may say, we know the scripture says the keeper is the Lord, but why are we all stuck on Peter the apostle keeping the pearly gates? Even us LDS are confused when we hear about Peter. Could Peter’s last message to us be telling? He was crucified upside down and said he wasn’t worthy of the post his ministry symbolized. Maybe then he was the little “rock”, but he wasn’t THAT ROCK! Was that what he was trying to say? Although some may be of Peter, we know at least he was a true disciple because of this love that he showed. Shouldn’t we heed his message and ween ourselves off of Peter and nourish ourselves from the water that comes out of the true ROCK? What’s that I hear? Peter is dead and we LDS don’t make that mistake anymore? Whoever has ears to hear…

  7. Here’s another thought: “being called with a holy calling,” = calling; “and ordained with a holy ordinance,” = election; “and taking upon them the high priesthood” = made sure. Perhaps the first two can be delegated (indeed Joseph had his own Anointed Quorum), but the last no man can ever do. Interesting that taking upon them the Priesthood doesn’t happen in either the call or the election / ordination, but after they receive the Holy Spirit of Promise. The keeper of the gate truly is the Holy One of Israel!

  8. DKD I really want to thank you for putting up the translated 14th Chapter of Genesis I don’t know if I would have read it in this context if you’d not had put it up and it has struck me as well today. Thx.

    I hope I am ready and able to pay tithes and all I have into the “store house of God” I wonder if Abram’s payment is part of the “manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.”?

  9. I began reading the Second Comforter some time back with the eyes of a skeptic. By the time I finished my first read, I felt a great desire to fully understand the path of redemption.

    I suppose in today’s world it would be foolish to not include some divine distrust as a part of our daily armor and I shouldn’t feel badly about being initially skeptical of a Harley D Dude.

    Recently, my heart was broken; I no longer knew how I could persist in the path the Lord put before me more than a decade ago, which included very personal communications and blessings that helped enable me along the path. Because of my apparent failure, I assumed my faith had utterly failed me, although I did not know what more I could have done. The extent of work, ingenuity, creativity and effort I employed had known no bounds. I assumed that I had somehow come up short before the Lord. I didn’t know why. I persisted determined not to fail, but I fell even harder, so hard in fact that my prodigal son was moved to tears and love toward the father he thought he hated. I was numb and did not know what to do. I made plans to press forward in my losing cause anyway and to move forward again when to my amazement the clouds parted and something wonderful happened. Our ability to persist was restored in the most beautiful manner.

    In addition to this physical blessing, something very personal happened that increased my faith in how much God loves us on a personal basis.

    A few weeks ago, when the rest of my world was crashing around me, I was careless and put a very special horse into a new pasture, without first securing the entire enclosure against potential risks, something I’ve always done since my Idaho youth. Due to my negligence, perhaps the best horse I’ve ever known (and I’ve had hundreds) suffered a life-changing injury.

    I too have such an injury and my heart grieved for this magnificent creature. It seemed unfair that he should be sidelined for life because of my negligence. Ironically, it was his brother who sidelined me for life. I offered a prayer in his behalf and asked that through Christ’s infinite atonement this good soul would be made whole again. Last night I dreamed of a flaming red horse being ridden by a Nephi-like Warrior. Very, very cool, in fact, too cool for words!

    As I awoke from my dream, I felt strongly that Red Mist (my horse) and I will become translated and will become companions who will go forth to the nations of the earth to preach the gospel. Ironically, I’ve been telling my children stories about The Legend of Red Mist for the past year. They know he is special too and love him and the stories of the half horse half wolf.

    Now, imagine, being seated upon beautiful horse-hide upholstery and traveling about at the speed of thought on a flaming red horse, which of course is the real thing and beats a Harley Davidson all day long:) What a ride!

    I love how Heavenly Father is so personal with us and loves us to be happy. I didn’t even imagine he would give me such a sweet and personal dream, which brought me great joy and hope. Even though I am broken and my horse is broken, I think it will not always be so!

    Rev your motors boys and girls, grab hold of the redemptive process and let’s get prepared to build Zion and go forth to the nations of the earth.

    Let the Legend of Red Mist and his Wild Horseman begin:). This process is amazing. Can Harley Ds travel at the speed of thought?

    P.S. My prodigal filed his mission papers last week; will miracles never cease?

  10. Thanks, JDS… and really all of you. I feel a kinship with you and hope to be able to meet you some day.

    Your dream reminds me of when Alma headed a mission to the Zoramites:

    Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

    And after that they did separate themselves one from another, taking no thought for themselves what they should eat, or what they should drink, or what they should put on.

    And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith.

    I, too have dreamed that some day I might be able to go about the world, consumed in the joy of Christ, spreading the truth. Not until recently did I ever think it would be possible for me!


  11. There are a lot of people who write about the subject without really understanding what the subject involves. The result is a whole lot of error gets incorporated into people’s thinking. It would be a lot better if those who know nothing about translation would not try to expound on the subject. I haven’t tried to straighten the subject out, and may not. But it is apparent to me there is a great deal of confusion about the topic.

  12. Denver said: “There are a lot of people who write about the subject without really understanding what the subject involves. The result is a whole lot of error gets incorporated into people’s thinking. It would be a lot better if those who know nothing about translation would not try to expound on the subject. I haven’t tried to straighten the subject out, and may not. But it is apparent to me there is a great deal of confusion about the topic.”

    The Triumph of Zion by John M. Pontius deals with the doctrine of translation extensively.

  13. Are you so sure John M. Pontius isn’t one of those people who write about the subject without really understanding what the subject involves? Just a thought. I can’t say not having read it or knowing much about the subject myself.

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