Alma 13:1 - 13:5
Alma 13:1 And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.
Alma wants to listeners to try to visualize in their minds what it might have been like, before the world was, when God put forth His plan for our redemption and gave us all the list of things we needed to do or live by in order to regain His presence. At that time some were set apart to teach these things while mortals to the rest of us. They were ordained in the same manner as was the Savior and made priest in the same order as was the Savior or Son of God.
Alma 13:2 And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.
They were all ordained in the same manner so the people would know by which means the Son of God would be ordained to His calling.
Alma 13:3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.
Those who were ordained after the manner of the Son of God, had that privilege before the world was created. Those who were ordained were called because they showed great faith and desire to do good rather than choosing to be selfish and rebellious.
I personally think that is very humbling to think that I was one of these persons who showed “exceeding faith and good works” to be so ordained to the priesthood in the pre-existence. I have often wondered what I did. Guess I and all of us will find out at some future date.
Alma 13:4 And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren.
While some were called and ordained, others turned their backs and refused to accept the privilege to serve our brothers and sisters in mortality. They refused to listen to the plan and would not accept its precepts or could not see that it would, indeed, work for all of our benefit.
Alma 13:5 Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son, who was prepared—
We were all equal in the eyes of God and all were given the privilege to be ordained. But some would not accept the opportunity that was part of the atonement of the Christ.
One of the questions that I have had was how long did it take to set all of us priesthood holders apart. There has to be millions or even billions of us. Can you envision setting apart millions of people and giving them blessing as well.