“The Abrahamic Covenant”
God covenants with Abraham.
We are heirs to the blessings and responsibilities of the Abrahamic covenant.
A study of this lesson will help us understand the blessings and
responsibilities of the Abrahamic covenant.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 7 Handout (PDF)
God Covenants With Abraham
There are nine generations between Noah and Abraham. Nineteen generations
between Adam and Abraham.
It is interesting to note that Noah lived past the time of Abraham's birth
and Shem actually outlived Abraham.
4000 B.C. - the fall of Adam.
2300-2400 B.C. - the flood.
1996 B.C. - the birth of Abraham.
Abraham In Ur
Abraham lived the early part of his life in Ur, in the land of the Chaldeans,
not far from the northern tip of the Persian Gulf (now Iraq, close to the
borders of Kuwait and Iran).
Ur was the largest city of Shinar or northern Chaldea, and the principal
commercial center of the country as well as the center of political power.
Ur was consecrated to the worship of Sin, the Babylonian moon-god.
ABRAHAM 1:2. Abraham seeks for blessings.
As a young man, Abraham desired to live righteously and live worthy of
the blessings of God.
WHAT BLESSINGS DID ABRAHAM DESIRE?
Greater happiness and peace.
The blessings of the fathers and the right to be ordained to administer
One who possessed great knowledge.
To be a father of many nations.
A prince of peace.
WHAT ARE THE "BLESSINGS OF THE FATHERS"?
Bruce R. McConkie: "...it has become the
right of those holding special inheritance in the Lord's chosen lineage
to receive the priesthood, provided they are obedient and faithful. Thus
Abraham 'sought for the blessings of the fathers,' and by righteousness
'became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to
the fathers.' The priesthood, he says, 'was conferred upon me from the
fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea,
even from the beginning, or before the foundations of the earth to the
present time, even the right of the firstborn, on the first man, who is
Adam, our first father, through the fathers, unto me. I sought for mine
appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto
the fathers concerning the seed.' (Abra. 1:1-4)." (Mormon Doctrine,
Abraham's fathers turned from righteousness to the worship of the heathen
gods (Abraham 1:5).
"...they turned their hearts to the sacrifice
of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols"
They "endeavored" to take away Abraham's life
"by the hand of
the priest of Elkenah", who was also a priest of Pharaoh (Abraham 1:7,
Abraham lifted his voice to the Lord and "the angel of his presence"
came and released Abraham (Abraham 1:15).
Abraham was told that he would be taken from his father's house into a strange
land (Abraham 1:16).
"...the Lord broke down the altar of Elkenah,
and of the gods of the land, and utterly destroyed them, and smote the
priest that he died" (Abraham 1:20).
A famine was then sent upon the land of Chaldea. Abraham says that his
"father was sorely tormented because of the famine, and he
repented of the evil which he had determined against me." (Abraham 1:30).
"The Lord God caused the famine to wax sore in
the land of Ur." Abraham's brother, Haran, died as a result
of the famine (Abraham 2:1).
Abraham took Sarai as wife (Abraham 2:2).
Abraham Migrates From Ur
"Now the Lord had said unto me: Abraham, get thee
out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house,
unto a land that I will show thee." (Abraham 2:3)
Abraham left Ur with his wife Sarai, Lot (his brother's son) and his wife,
and his repentant father Terah. The scripture says, "and
also my father followed after me" (Abraham 2:4).
They went to and lived in Haran (near the Turkish-Syrian border) for a
- Elder John A. Widtsoe: "Abraham was a chosen
spirit, destined to be a great leader of the work of the Lord. He was commanded
to move into another land to be shown him. where he might be free to worship the
Lord of earth and the heavens .... In obedience to God's command, Abraham,
with believing members of his family, moved into the promised land known to us
as Palestine." (Evidences and Reconciliations, 3:25.)
"And the famine abated; and my father tarried
in Haran and dwelt there, as there were many flocks in Haran; and my father
turned again unto his idolatry" (Abraham 2:5).
As we can see from Abraham's story, his father wavered between idolatry
and worshipping the true God.
HOW CAN WE MAKE OUR COMMITMENT TO GOD MORE CONSISTENT?
President Joseph F. Smith: "In Christ's
Church we cannot be neutral or inert. We must either progress or retrograde.
It is necessary for the Latter-day Saints to keep pushing on in order that
they may keep their faith alive and their spirits quickened to the performance
of their duties. Let us remember that we are engaged in God's work—and
when I say God's work, I mean that we are engaged in the work which the
Almighty has instituted in the earth for our salvation individually. Every
man should be laboring for his own good and as far as possible for the
good of others." (Gospel Doctrine, p115)
President Lorenzo Snow: "We should labor
for perfection so far as possible, and seek to go onward. There is no man
or woman who can stand still any great length of time. In this path over
which we are moving we are very likely to go backward if we undertake to
stand still or act indifferently. We must push forward, because as the
Church moves on, it is very evident that things of a more difficult character
are occurring constantly, and we will find it far from easy to overcome
them. Unless we improve as we move along we will find it very difficult
to magnify our callings and to perform the work required at our hands.
Latter-day Saints should not permit themselves to stand still. It is a
privilege we have to serve the Lord and enjoy His spirit in our labors,
but many of the people lose that portion of happiness that they might enjoy
because of not reflecting seriously upon their duties and acting wisely
and prudently." (Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p95)
While in Haran, Abraham prayed and received a vision in which God covenanted
to bless him and his posterity. This is called the Abrahamic covenant.
ABRAHAM 2:6-11. The Lord covenants with Abraham.
WHAT BLESSINGS DID GOD PROMISE ABRAHAM IN THIS COVENANT? (see chart at
end of lesson)
He will be taken to a "strange land which I will
give unto thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession, when they
hearken to my voice" (v6).
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Abraham's inheritance in
Canaan, for himself and his seed after him. was to be an eternal inheritance,
one that would endure in time and in eternity. This promise is the hope of
Israel, the hope that the meek shall inherit the earth, first during the
millennial era and finally in that same immortal state when the earth becomes a
celestial sphere. (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., pp. 366-368.) The principle is the
same as when the Lord spoke to his Latter-day Saints of their 'land of promise'
[D&C 38:19-20]." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:71)
He would be made a great nation (v9).
"Thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after
thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood
unto all nations" (v9).
"For as many as receive this Gospel shall be
called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise
up and bless thee, as their father" (v10).
- "For ye are all the children of God by faith in
Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on
Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is
neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be
Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
- Brother Robert L. Millet commented on the above verse:
"Paul is here teaching a mighty truth that is little understood in the
religious world. We know that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are
entitled to 'the promises made unto the fathers' (Romans 15:8)—the right to
receive the gospel, the priesthood, and, upon faithful obedience, the fulness of
eternal life (Abraham 2:8-11). These blessings are made available through
receipt of the ordinances of salvation, especially the ordinance of celestial
marriage, performed only in holy temples." (Alive in Christ: The
Miracle of Spiritual Rebirth, 78 - 79)
"...in thy seed after thee...shall all the families
of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are
the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal" (v11).
We Are Heirs To The Blessings & Responsibilities
Of The Abrahamic Covenant
All Church Members Are The "Seed of Abraham"
WHO HAS RECEIVED A PATRIARCHAL BLESSING? ACCORDING TO THAT BLESSING, WHAT
IS YOUR LINEAGE?
"And I will bless them through thy name; for as
many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be
accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father"
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "The great
majority of those who become members of the Church are literal descendants
of Abraham through Ephraim, son of Joseph. Those who are not literal descendants
of Abraham and Israel must become such, and when they are baptized and
confirmed they are grafted into the tree and are entitled to all the rights
and privileges as heirs." (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:246)
Joseph Smith: "...the effect of the Holy
Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually
of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham
(naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost." (TPJS,
Heirs To The Covenant
HOW DO WE BECOME HEIRS TO THIS COVENANT?
When we are baptized into the Church, the Abrahamic covenant's promise
of salvation is renewed with us.
- Robert L. Millet: "Those who are not lineal
descendants of the ancient patriarchs may, through baptism into The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, be adopted into Abraham's family and become
heirs to all the blessings promised to those who are actual descendants. The
passage from Galatians affirms that lineage alone does not qualify us for
transcendent spiritual blessings; we must be loyal to the royal within us and
become a people of covenant." (Alive in Christ: The Miracle of
Spiritual Rebirth, p79)
When we are sealed in the temple, the Abrahamic covenant's promise of exaltation
is renewed with us.
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Abraham first
received the gospel by baptism (which is the covenant of salvation); then
he had conferred upon him the higher priesthood, and he entered into celestial
marriage (which is the covenant of exaltation), gaining assurance thereby
that he would have eternal increase; finally he received a promise that
all of these blessings would be offered to all of his mortal posterity.
(Abra. 2:6-11; D. & C. 132:29-50.) Included in the divine promises
to Abraham was the assurance that Christ would come through his lineage,
and the assurance that Abraham's posterity would receive certain choice,
promised lands as an eternal inheritance. (Abra. 2; Gen. 17; 22:15-18;
of these promises lumped together are called the Abrahamic covenant. This
covenant was renewed with Isaac (Gen. 24:60; 26:1-4, 24) and again with
Jacob. (Gen. 28; 35:9-13; 48:3-4.) Those portions of it which pertain to
personal exaltation and eternal increase are renewed with each member of
the house of Israel who enters the order of celestial marriage; through
that order the participating parties become inheritors of all the blessings
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (D. & C. 132; Rom. 9:4; Gal. 3; 4.)"
(Mormon Doctrine, p13)
WHAT BLESSINGS DO WE RECEIVE AS HEIRS TO THE COVENANT? (see chart at end
Eternal family relationships.
WHAT ARE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS HEIRS OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT? (see
chart at end of lesson)
To help all of God's children receive the full blessings of the gospel.
"...in their hands they shall bear this ministry
and Priesthood unto all nations" (Abraham 2:9).
"...in thy seed after thee...shall all the families
of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel"
Elder John A. Widtsoe: "This covenant with Abraham was
also a call to leadership. Therefore, it has been interpreted to mean that
Abraham and his descendants were chosen to conserve in purity and to advance on
earth the eternal plan for human salvation." (Gospel Interpretations,
Joseph Fielding McConkie: "In claiming to be a chosen
people, we make no pretense to be superior to any other people but simply claim
to have been chosen to serve as the Lord's messengers in declaring the message
of salvation among the nations of the earth. Ours is a call to service, not to
privilege, though the service itself is such. The promise given to Abraham was
that his posterity would be called upon to bear the ministry and priesthood
among all nations." (Answers: Straightforward Answers to Tough Gospel
Questions, 181 - 182)
Obey God's commandments.
"...keep the way of the LORD" (Genesis
HOW DO WE HELP ALL OF GOD'S CHILDREN RECEIVE THE FULL BLESSINGS OF THE
President Ezra Taft Benson: "The responsibility
of the seed of Abraham, which we are, is to be missionaries to 'bear this
ministry and Priesthood unto all nations' (Abr. 2:9)." (Ensign,
May 1987, p85)
Doing genealogy and performing temple ordinances for the dead.
"Let us, therefore, as a church and a people,
and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness;
and let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing
the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation." (D&C 128:24)
Being examples of righteousness.
- "Let your light so shine
before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father
which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)
Blessings & Responsibilities Of The Abrahamic
||A promised land to live in (Abr. 2:6,19; Gen.
||A great posterity (Abr. 2:9-10; Gen. 12:2-3;
||The gospel of Jesus Christ and the priesthood for Abraham
& his posterity (Abr. 2:2-11; Gen. 17:7)
||The celestial kingdom (D&C 88:17-20)
||Eternal marriage & eternal increase (D&C 132:19-22)
||Exaltation and eternal life (D&C 132:23-24)
||Help all of God's children receive the full blessings of
the gospel (Abr. 2:9,11)
Obey God's commandments (Gen. 18:19)
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Abraham lived a life of righteousness. In a day when most worshipped
false gods, Abraham remained true to the Lord and his commandments. His faith was strong and he
was dependent on the Lord. So great was his
faith that the Lord made a remarkable covenant with him. We can be blessed
by that covenant in our lives. The key is to follow the example of
Abraham through faithfulness, obedience to the commandments, and endeavoring
to share the gospel with those around us.
Record your thoughts on the Abrahamic Covenant and what you can do to
better fulfill its responsibilities and to obtain its blessings.
Resources Used In This Lesson
Alive in Christ: The Miracle of Spiritual Rebirth by Robert L. Millet.
Answers: Straightforward Answers to Tough Gospel Questions by Joseph Fielding
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Volume 2, by Bruce R. McConkie.
Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Evidences and Reconciliations, Volume 3, by John A. Widtsoe.
Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and
Writings of Joseph F. Smith.
Gospel Interpretations by John A. Widtsoe.
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
Teachings of Lorenzo Snow.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
06 November 2017