Saturday, February 15, 2014

Gospel Doctrine OT c7: Abrahamic Covenant

Gospel Doctrine – Old Testament
C7 Abrahamic Covenant

What is a Patriarchal blessing?  What does this blessing tell us generally? 
It tells us our lineage and blessings for our future.

The First Presidency said: “Patriarchal blessings [are] an inspired declaration of the lineage of the recipient, and also, where so moved upon by the Spirit, an inspired and prophetic statement of the life mission of the recipient, together with such blessings, cautions, and admonitions as the patriarch may be prompted to give. … The realization of all promised blessings is conditioned upon faithfulness to the gospel of our Lord.” (letter to stake presidents, 28 June 1957; quoted in Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 558).

I kind of see the Abrahamic Covenant as a patriarchal blessing for an entire group of people. A covenant and blessing for all of us.

What does it mean to have the patriarch declare our lineage?
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.” (“How One May Become of the House of Israel,” Improvement Era, Oct 1923, 1149).

Who is Abraham? 
Terah  (father to these sons)
(Lived in Ur of the Chaldees, then due to famine, moved to Haran, part of Canaan where Terah died)
                l                                               l                                                               l
     Abram (Sarai)                       Nahor (Milcah)                               Haran (died)
(After Haran, went to Egypt then back to Canaan)                                                    Lot (son)

Read Abraham 1:1  Why a new place to live? Abr 1:5 (6-7, 12, 15-17, 20)
Read Abr 1:2-4
What do we learn about Abraham?

Pres. Spencer W. Kimball: “Remember that Abraham sought for his appointment to the priesthood. He did not wait for God to come to him; he sought diligently through prayer and obedient living to learn the will of God…  As we follow Abraham’s example, we will grow from grace to grace, we will find greater happiness and peace and rest, we will find favor with God and with man.  As we follow his example, we will confirm upon ourselves and our families joy and fulfillment in this life and for all eternity.” (“The Example of Abraham” Ensign, June 1975)

First mention of the covenant is in v2-4, clearly restated again in Abr 1:18-19.

(Famine is bad, brother Haran dies, Father repents, they travel to land of Canaan to a place called Haran)

In Haran, Abraham is given a vision and God covenants to bless him and his posterity. Abr 2:9-11, Gen 12:2-3, Gen 17:1-9

Read Abrahamic covenant, first 2 paragraphs)
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 (D&C 132:29–50Abr. 2:6–11). Included in the divine promises to Abraham were the assurances that (1) Christ would come through his lineage, and that (2) Abraham’s posterity would receive certain lands as an eternal inheritance (Gen. 1722:15–18Gal. 3Abr. 2). These promises taken together are called the “Abrahamic covenant.” It was renewed with Isaac (Gen. 26:1–4, 24) and again with Jacob (Gen. 2835:9–1348:3–4).
The portions of the covenant that pertain to personal salvation and eternal increase are renewed with each individual who receives the ordinance of celestial marriage (see D&C 132:29–33). Those of non-Israelite lineage, commonly known as Gentiles, are adopted into the house of Israel and become heirs of the covenant and the seed of Abraham through the ordinances of the gospel (Gal. 3:26–29).

From reading those verses, what is the Abrahamic Covenant?
            -promised land Abr 2:6, 19; Gen 12:7; 17:8  (Salvation)
            -great posterity Abr 2:9-10; Gen 12:2-3; 17:2,4-6  (Eternal marriage/increase)
            -gospel and priesthood Abr 1:18; Abr 2:9-11; Gen 17:7   (Exaltation)

S. Michael Wilcox: “Other blessings were promised to Abraham’s descendants including promised lands, but the blessings of the truths of the gospel and the ordinances of the priesthood that bring exaltation were the most critical because these blessings alone result in seed as numerous as the sands of the sea or the stars of heaven…”

Temple Temple Temple covenants!!!
“When we are baptized into the church, the Abrahamic covenant’s promise of salvation is renewed with us. When we are sealed in the temple, the Abrahamic covenant’s promise of exaltation is renewed with us. To receive the blessings of the covenant, we must fulfill the associated responsibilities and live worthily.” (Gospel Doctrine manual)

Any more thoughts on the Abrahamic covenant?

Wilcox: “The Lord granted unto Abraham’s seed the great blessings of truth, priesthood and the ordinances of exaltation, but he expected the recipients of these blessings to covenant to do something in return. ‘For of him unto whom much is given much is required’ (D&C 82:3)”

What is required of us?
Abraham - Abr 1:18-19; 2:9; Gen 18:19
Isaac - Gen 26:4-5
Jacob - Gen 28:14
We are required to minister and bless the lives of others

Video clip: “The Abrahamic Covenant” 7:16

Fast forward 30 years –
What does this look like in our lives today?
How have you seen the responsibility of the Abrahamic covenant active in your life?

Pres. Packer: “We, as members of the Church, have the fullness of the gospel. Every conceivable manner of spiritual nourishment is ours. Every part of the spiritual menu is included. It provides an unending supply of spiritual strength. Like the widow’s cruse of oil, it is replenished as we use it and shall never fail.

“And yet, there are people across the world and about us – our neighbors, our friends, some in our own families 0 who, spiritually speaking, are undernourished. Some of them are starving to death! If we keep all this to ourselves, it is not unlike feasting before those who are hungry. We are to go out to them, and to invite them to join us. We are to be missionaries.” (“Feed My Sheep” Ensign May 1984)

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