From Feast upon the Word (http://feastupontheword.org). Copyright, Feast upon the Word.
- In verse 1 Alma says, "And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children." The "and again" suggests that he has already cited the people's minds to this time. Looking back, we see that he did this in Alma 12:31. In that case "the time the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children" refers to the time right after Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden when God commanded them "that they should not do evil."
- In this first verse we are told that the Lord God ordained priests "after the order of his Son." This suggests that the "Lord God" in these verses refers to the Father.
- In recognizing that the priesthood is the holy order after the Son of God we ought to consider that holy means sacred, sanctified, consecrated, or dedicated. We note that derivations of holy order, holy calling, and order of the Son are repeated 17 times from vv. 1-18. Knowing this as priesthood holders we ought to strive to change our behavior. We might ask, "When is the last time I felt the seriousness of holding the priesthood?" Or "How might the high priesthood assist me in becoming more sanctified, consecrated, and dedicated?" Alma helps us answer these questions (Alma 13:12). Whenever we become "pure and spotless before God," and "cannot look upon sin save it were with abhorrence" then we know we are becoming more holy, sanctified, and dedicated to the Lord.
- Another possible interpretation is that if you read previous chapter, the discussion is about the pre-existent teaching of God in regard to the plan of salvation. The citing of the minds "forward" is from the time "the plan of redemption which was laid" and when men were to the time when men were "ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people" to the time "the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children" prior to coming to earth. This alludes to a number of "councils" held and the things taught at each of them: Ordinations and pre-mortal missionary training; teaching of the plan (pre-mortal missionary work); instructions preparatory to earth-life. It is also interesting to note that the fore-ordination is referring directly to the "office" of the "high priesthood," allowing for various scholars to have differing thoughts on whether or not this is referring to the office of high priest or simply all Melchizedek priesthood holders.
- In verse 1 Alma remarks that priests were ordained to "teach" the people. This is an interesting departure from the picture that the Old Testament presents of the Levitical system of priests, where their primary function was to offer sacrifices. Even the mention of Melchizedek in verse 15 describes him as one who did "preach repentance."