Alma 13:13-31

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Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 8-16 > Chapter 13b / Verses 13:13-31
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Summary[edit]

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The relationship of Verses 13:13-21 to the rest of Chapters 8-16 is discussed at Alma 8-16.

Discussion[edit]

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  • Alma 13:16. This verse may be misplaced: Rather than following from the discussion of Melchizedek, Abraham and tithing in verses 14 and 15, it seems to fit quite naturally into the discussion of the ordinance of ordination to the priesthood, and the relationship of that ordinance to the Atonement, in verses 8-12. In fact, verse 16 follows quite naturally from verse 12, which speaks about how those who were ordained enter into the Lord's rest, and leads quite well into verse 13, which exhorts the hearer to prepare personally to enter into the Lord's rest, by describing how the ordinance served as a sign to the people of the direction to look to in order to enter into the Lord's rest.
  • Alma 13:21-25: The coming of the Lord. In verse 21 Alma stretches forth his hand and tells the people that the day of salvation is drawing nigh. Verses 22 tells us that angels are declaring this unto all the Lord's people, even those scattered abroad--including the Nephites. Verse 24 tells us that angels are telling many people in the land of the Nephites these glad tidings to prepare their hearts to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory. Specifically those phrases noted in italics suggest that the coming of the Lord spoken of here is not Christ's birth. Jesus's coming in glory would be in contrast to his humble birth. This explains why it is that Alma says they do not know how soon the Lord will come (in verse 25). (Were Alma speaking of Christ's birth, this statement would seem odd since it would be unlikely that Alma would have been unaware of Lehi's prophecy that Christ would be born in 600 years after Lehi left Jerusalem (1 Ne 10:4). Though it could be that he knew of the prophecy but didn't assume that it was to be interpretted as an exact count of the years.)
It seems that Alma is speaking of the time that Jesus would come to visit the righteous Nephites and Lamanites (see 3 Ne 11). Alternatively we might assume that Alma is speaking here of the second coming. In favor of the former, the fact that the scriptures specifically notes that angels are visiting many people preparing their hearts for this coming suggests the sooner event when Christs visits in 3 Ne 11. On the other hand, the phrase day of salvation though it could be applied to Christ's visit seems to suggest the alternative interpretation.
  • Alma 13:23. In the preceding verses Alma says that angels declare unto all nations that now is the time to repent and that the day of salvation draweth nigh. In this verse Alma links the fact that his people receive this news of salvation "in plain terms" with the fact that they are wanderers in a strange land. He goes on to also link their being wanderers in a strange land to that the fact that this news of salvation is declared in all parts of their land (by angels according to verse 24).
Alma's point seems to be that the Lord has chosen to be more clear and straightforward with wanderers in a strange land than he has with those in Jerusalem.
When we compare what the the Book of Mormon says about Christ before he came to earth with what the Old Testament says about Christ, we see that the Book of Mormon is much more clear. In other places the scriptures give one reason for that difference: that many plain and precious parts have been lost from the Bible. This verse suggests an additional reason: God chose to reveal more frequently and plainly the coming role of Christ with the Nephites than he did with those around Jerusalem because the Nephites were wanderers in a strange land.
See discussion also of 2 Ne 25:4.
  • Alma 13:28. Verse 28 has a comma after the phrase "watch and pray continually." With the comma this means that by watching and praying continually we can avoid being tempted above what we can bear. We might also read this verse without the comma. In that case this section of the verse would mean that we should pray continually that we will not be tempted more than we can bear. The change in meaning is only slightly different in both cases.
  • Alma 13:31. One wonders whether the "many more words" that "are not written in this book" might have included more hortatory discourse and less theological content. At any rate, Alma's full discourse seems to have driven the people to repentance, and there may be reason to suspect that more "practical" content has been overlooked in the abridgement. Of course, one must then ask why Mormon chose to cut what he cut.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

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  • Alma 13:20: Alma finishes this 20 verse tangent about the Melchizedek Priesthood by saying, "I don't need to tell you about this, you have the scriptures." The same could have been said for the previous 19 verses. Why does he go on this tangent? It seems to come out of nowhere and it lacks a pertinent conclusion. He briefly makes a connection to his audience in v13-14, but not one that would justify the amount of detail about the ancient Priesthood that he gives. His transition in v21 is abrupt. Why did Alma speak about the ancient order at all?
  • Alma 13:20: Why does he warn them about wresting the scriptures?
  • Alma 13:22: At the beginning of this verse Alma says that angels declare unto all nations that "now is the time to repent for the day of salvation draweth nigh." Later in this verse he says "he doth sound these glad tidings among all his people." Does "all his people" and "all nations" refer to the same groups? If so, do both refer to every people in the world? Or just the house of Israel?
  • Alma 13:23: Alma links the fact his people are made aware in plain terms that the day of salvation is nigh with the fact that they are wanderers in a strange land. (See exegesis.) Why would the Lord choose to be more plain with wanderers in a strange land?
  • Alma 13:24: Alma says that angels were visiting "many" people. What does this suggest about our own time? Are angels visiting many of our people? If not, why not?
  • Alma 13:25: Alma says that he doesn't know when Christ will come (or even if he'll be alive to see His coming), but Nephi already prophesied that it would be 600 years from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem. Did Alma not know about the 600-year prophesy?

Resources[edit]

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  • Alma 13:16. Craig A. Cardon, "Moving Closer to Him," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 94–96. Elder Cardon states: "When a man is ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood, he enters into an 'order' by which he may be refined through service to others, especially his own family, and blessed by the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost."
  • Alma 13:21-25: Angelic visitations. See Elder Neal A. Maxwell's 1986 General Conference address “God Will Yet Reveal,” (Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, Nov. 1986, 52). There Elder Maxwell says "Therefore, the process of revelation typically involves angels and prophets (see Alma 12:28–29)."
  • Alma 13:21-25: Angelic visitations. See Elder Hartman Rector, Jr.'s 1979 General Conference address Follow Christ to Victory" (Hartman Rector, Jr., Ensign, May 1979, 30). Elder Rector says "If you pray for a revelation from the Lord, he will probably send you your bishop with the answer. You really don’t need a visit from an angel so long as you have a bishop."

Notes[edit]

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