Alma taught the rebellious people of Ammonihah about high priests of the Melchizedek Priesthood who are ordained to help people repent and enter into the rest of the Lord. He gave the example of Melchizedek, who helped his people repent and live in peace. Alma tried to teach the people of Ammonihah to have faith and hope and to encourage them to change so they could prepare to enter into the rest of the Lord.
Read the following quotation, and then answer the questions:
“In the premortal spirit world, God appointed certain spirits to fulfill specific missions during their mortal lives. This is called foreordination.
“Foreordination does not guarantee that individuals will receive certain callings or responsibilities. Such opportunities come in this life as a result of the righteous exercise of agency, just as foreordination came as a result of righteousness in the premortal existence” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 69).
What is the connection between choices made during premortal life and foreordination?
How do choices made during mortal life affect foreordination?
Although priesthood holders are discussed in Alma 13, President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us that sisters were also given noble callings in the premortal existence: “Remember, in the world before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments while faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood tasks” (“The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 102).
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “Premortality is not a relaxing doctrine. For each of us, there are choices to be made, incessant and difficult chores to be done, ironies and adversities to be experienced, time to be well spent, talents and gifts to be well employed. Just because we were chosen ‘there and then,’ surely does not mean we can be indifferent ‘here and now.’ Whether foreordination for men, or foredesignation for women, those called and prepared must also prove ‘chosen and faithful.’ (See Rev. 17:14; D&C 121:34–36.)” (“Premortality, a Glorious Reality,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 17).
Alma taught the brethren of Ammonihah that many men were foreordained in the premortal life to receive the priesthood. Read Alma 13:1, 8–9, and identify which priesthood Alma discussed. It may be helpful to know that in this chapter the phrase “holy order” means the Melchizedek Priesthood, or “the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God” (D&C 107:3). Consider marking the phrase “holy order” as you study the rest of this chapter (see Alma 13:2, 6–7, 10–11, 16, 18). Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: “Nephites, who were faithful and true in keeping the law of Moses, had the Melchizedek Priesthood, which means they had the fulness of the gospel” (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ , 421). This means that the Book of Mormon prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and knew how it functioned.
What characteristics did those ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood have? (See Alma 13:3–5, 10.)
What were these Melchizedek Priesthood holders ordained to do? (See Alma 13:6.)
How have you seen this done by Melchizedek Priesthood holders you know in your ward or branch, and how has it blessed your life and the lives of others?
Alma 13 contains a profound discussion about the Melchizedek Priesthood. It teaches that men who receive this priesthood were foreordained to receive it (see verse 3). Those who hold this priesthood are to teach God’s commandments to others so “that they also might enter into his rest” (verse 6). The priesthood is eternal (see verse 9), and it is bestowed on men “on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God” (verse 10). Priesthood holders become sanctified by the Holy Ghost when they learn to abhor (hate) sin, and thus are “made pure and [enter] into the rest of the Lord their God” (verse 12).
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What do you learn from the example of these Melchizedek Priesthood holders about what you can do to receive the sanctifying effect of the Atonement in your life?
Write the following truth in your scriptures by Alma 13:1–12 or in your scripture study journal: Men who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and exercise great faith and choose righteousness are called to the Melchizedek Priesthood to bring others to God. Then write in your scripture study journal about how knowing this gospel principle can affect the way you respond to priesthood leaders throughout your life.
Read Alma 13:13–18, and look for words Alma used to describe Melchizedek and what Melchizedek did for his people. Think about how these words describe Melchizedek’s Christlike life. Alma taught that Melchizedek Priesthood holders are “after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father” (Alma 13:9; see also D&C 107:2–4), who is Jesus Christ, and that they point us to Him by their example and their teachings. Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated: “No doubt there are many events in the lives of many prophets that set those righteous persons apart as types and shadows of their Messiah. It is wholesome and proper to look for similitudes for Christ everywhere and to use them repeatedly in keeping him and his laws uppermost in our minds” (The Promised Messiah, 453).
Read Alma 13:19, and look for what this verse tells us about Melchizedek. Look again at Alma 13:17 to see how Alma described the people in Salem when Melchizedek became their king. Notice how these words could also describe the people of Ammonihah (see Alma 8:9; 9:28). What did the people in Salem do as a result of Melchizedek’s efforts? (See Alma 13:18.)
Notice what Melchizedek exercised, received, and preached in Alma 13:18. Think about what you learn about how a priesthood leader should be from the example of Melchizedek.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: When have you or someone you know experienced peace after following the counsel of a righteous priesthood leader?
Look for and mark the repeated phrase “rest of the Lord” (or a similar phrase) in Alma 13:12, 13, 16, and 29. Alma taught the people of Ammonihah that the Lord called men into the priesthood to help people enter into the rest of the Lord. He used the example of Melchizedek to show them that people who were full of iniquity and wickedness could repent and enter the rest of the Lord (see Alma 13:17–18; see also D&C 84:24).
President Joseph F. Smith said that entering into God’s rest “means entering into the knowledge and love of God, having faith in his purpose and in his plan, to such an extent that we know we are right, and that we are not hunting for something else, we are not disturbed by every wind of doctrine, or by the cunning craftiness of men who lie in wait to deceive. We know of the doctrine that it is of God” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith , 56).
What would you expect someone’s behavior to be if he or she had entered the rest of the Lord in this life as President Joseph F. Smith described it?
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “True saints enter into the rest of the Lord while in this life, and by abiding in the truth, they continue in that blessed state until they rest with the Lord in heaven. … The rest of the Lord, in eternity, is to inherit eternal life, to gain the fulness of the Lord’s glory” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 633).
After Alma warned the people of Ammonihah to prepare for the coming of Christ (see Alma 13:21–26), he provided additional instruction on how to enter the Lord’s rest. Read Alma 13:27–29 to see what those instructions were.
Alma’s teachings can be summarized by the following principle: As we respond humbly to the invitation to repent, the Spirit will ultimately lead us into the rest of the Lord.
Identify one of the blessings mentioned in Alma 13:27–29 that you would like to receive. After you identify the blessing, look for counsel Alma gave that will help you prepare to receive that blessing. Then write a goal in your scripture study journal concerning how you will implement Alma’s counsel so that you can enter into the Lord’s rest in this life and in the next.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Alma 13 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: