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Alma 13:

7 This high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things—

What does this scripture teach us about eternity, time, and forever?

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Alma 13:

7 This high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world;

We know the foundation of this world had a beginning. The start of the creation story tells us it did. I believe we are being shown the nature of the Priesthood, that it did not have a beginning, because it has always been the means whereby man in all the eternities have legally performed the saving ordinances and made the necessary covenants to bring about his eternal life (as opposed to immortality).

He goes on to explain in other words what He means:

or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years,

This, obviously, is referencing the fact that the Priesthood exists in eternity, so it did not begin when this earth had it's beginning.

being prepared from eternity to all eternity,

If you consider Joseph Smith's teaching that Father in Heaven once dwelt on an earth like this one and was perfected and exalted in much the same manner we are, you can see that this Priesthood (the means God gives His children to make binding ordinances and covenants in heaven while mortal) is a continuation, like a line of authority, from one generation to the next. It was "prepared" before hand.

according to his foreknowledge of all things—

I believe much of His foreknowledge comes from experience.

I know there is much about this topic I don't understand. By studying and discussing I hope to gain a better understanding of what "eternity" might mean to one who lives in eternity.

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i'm not sure our minds can really comprehend eternity in fact i would go as far to say we are limited in our capacity to truly comprehend what eternity is.

taking the scripture on face value, it tells us that the Priesthood is an eternal entity. We measure things in this life by time and define our accomplishments according to man's time. in the eternities, i would speculate that this measurement of a period does not exist as we know it, existing in a homogenous Godlike rhelm of something we may one day learn to comprehend, only not in this probationary sphere.

i'm rambling.... does that make any sense?

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i'm not sure our minds can really comprehend eternity in fact i would go as far to say we are limited in our capacity to truly comprehend what eternity is.

taking the scripture on face value, it tells us that the Priesthood is an eternal entity. We measure things in this life by time and define our accomplishments according to man's time. in the eternities, i would speculate that this measurement of a period does not exist as we know it, existing in a homogenous Godlike rhelm of something we may one day learn to comprehend, only not in this probationary sphere.

i'm rambling.... does that make any sense?

The concept of eternity was quite different among the enlightened ancients. Because in our “temporal” existence we tend to think of reality as time based we try to measure everything within time constraints. Thus our modern concept of eternity is an infinite or very long time. The ancients had a different concept of eternity based on “the now”. Their concept was one of “unchanging” with respect to the now. The now being something which is not subject to the constraints of time. We see this concept appearing in scripture in reference to G-d as an unchanging G-d.

This unchanging concept is especially important when we subject temporal things in time to Einstein’s theory of special relativity. Only with such a non temporal concept can we know G-d within constant parameters (eternal majesty). Thus the Priesthood is without beginning or end as used by Alma becomes a divine attribute not subject to time – especially in “the now”.

The Traveler

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I agree we cannot comprehend "infinite" or something that existed/exists for ever (past, present, and future). I don't believe "eternal" was ever meant to portray "infinite." I think of eternity as "generations" that exists outside of time. Since there is no time to measure by, you can measure an "eternity" by measuring a generation.

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