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A Covenant Keeping People, The Abrahamic Covenant

Updated on September 18, 2012

What is a covenant?

A covenant is an agreement between persons or nations, more often between God and man. It can sometimes be referred to as an "If... Then" condition. If you will do X, then I will do Y. It is important to notice that when a covenant relationship is referred to in the biblical sense, it is not man that sets the terms of the covenant, but God himself. Man simply agrees to the terms set by God. The principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ are received by covenant, creating a firmer obligation for the recipient of the covenant and adding a greater responsibility to honor the commitment.

Sometimes the same word for covenant is rendered "testament." Thus, it might be noted that the Old Testament could be referred to as "The Old Covenant" and the New Testament, "The New Covenant." Technically, it is still the same covenant, it is simply renewed again following each apostasy that occurred in the church, which resulted in the loss of priesthood authority.

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Prophets of "Old" entered into covenants with the Lord, and have an unending line of authority from Adam through Noah.

Each of the prophets of the Old Testament entered into a "covenant" with the Lord, starting with Adam. Following Adam the patriarchal line was broken with Cain, as he was unworthy of the birthright because of the shedding of the innocent blood of Able. The covenant then was renewed or continued with Seth as recorded in Genesis 4, Eve states " For God..hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew."

The covenant then passed through the righteous line of Seth through his posterity until it was renewed with Enoch who eventually was translated with his whole city.

Thus, to continue the covenant with the children of God on the earth, Enoch's son Methuselah was left on the earth as the righteous priesthood holder with authority. He then passed it to his son Lamech, who then passed it to his son Noah allowing the covenant and priesthood authority to continue through the flood.

The Rainbow A Token of God's Covenant

Noah renewing his covenant with the Lord.
Noah renewing his covenant with the Lord.

Apostasy makes a renewal of priesthood authority directly from God necessary.

Noah, in turn, blessed his son Shem with the birthright of the priesthood, and it is through his line, the covenant continued.

Several generations passed and an apostasy occurred because of the unworthiness that Terah, the father of Abraham, showed as he turned to the worshipping of false idols or other Gods, breaking the Covenant with the Lord. Therefore, the covenant is renewed, or restored, again with the prophet Abraham directly from the Lord himself. This is why it is commonly referred to as the "Abrahamic Covenant."

Each worthy birthright son following Abraham entered into the same covenant as he did, and the authority of priesthood is passed on to them, by the laying on of hands, through the blessing from father to son. Following Abraham, Isaac received this responsibility and he bestowed the responsibility to Jacob, (whose name is changed to Israel).

A Covenant Offering

Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac.
Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac.

The "covenant" blesses all nations and people.

Jacob, or Israel, had twelve sons. These sons are also called "the twelve tribes of Israel", through whom the whole earth will be blessed with the opportunity to enter into the "Abrahamic Covenant."

The birthright from Jacob is passed to Joseph who was sold into Egypt by his brothers. He, through divine guidance from the Lord, makes it possible to not only save his family from physical death, by providing them with temporal food during the famine, but also spiritual death. Because of his worthiness he became the rightful birthright heir and received the priesthood authority to bless his family spiritually with the necessary principles and ordinances of the gospel, giving them an opportunity to progress spiritually. Ultimately, the birthright is passed on to his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

The House of Israel lives in bondage in Egypt until they are delivered by the hand of the Lord, because of the covenant that He made with the fathers.

Because of the great famine in the land of Canaan, Jacob brought his family to live under the care of his son Joseph, in the land of Egypt. They lived many years in prosperity, but eventually were brought into bondage.

Exodus 1: 6-13

6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.

7 ¶ And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.

8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.

9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:

10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.

11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.

12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.

13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:

The Covenant Continued With Moses

Moses called from the Lord.
Moses called from the Lord.

The Fullness of thePriesthood Continued With Moses

As recorded in Exodus, there was a man of the tribe of Levi (which held the right to administer in temple ordinances) who married a daughter from the tribe of Levi, and they had a son, and called him Moses. Moses then, clearly a lineal heir to priesthood authority through both his mother and his father, was raised up and called by the Lord to deliver the children of Israel from the bondage they were in.

Symbolically again, they were not only physically delivered, but because of the priesthood which Moses held, they would be allowed to be spiritually delivered also. Moses received his call because of the covenant that was made with his fathers, as it is recorded in Exodus, chapter 2, verse 24, "And God heard their (the children of Israel) groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob (their "fathers"). And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them (because of the covenant)."

Moses, who was called of God, became prophet for a people who were continually regressing back into the traditions of the Egyptians, who had held them bound.

They were delivered physically from their captors, but did not allow themselves to be fully delivered spiritually.

The fullness of the priesthood was given to Moses but the children of Israel, in their uncommitted state, were not ready to be the recipients of the blessings that the Lord had to offer through Moses. They therefore, were only entitled to a portion of the blessings that could have been theirs. Moses warns them in the book of Deuteronomy in the following words:

Deuteronomy 4

23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.

24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

25 ¶ When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:

26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.

27 And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.

28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.

29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;

31 (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

Moses Prophesied of the scattering and the gathering of Israel. This gathering is happening today.

As a prophet, seer, and revelator, for the Church of Jesus Christ, Moses prophesied to the children of Israel concerning their future. He told them of their scattering from the land of promise because of their inability to live up to the covenants made by their fathers.

He also gave them, and their future generations, council concerning their ability to call upon the blessings given to their fathers, by turning to the Lord and being obedient to His voice.

He warned them that the process would not fully take place until the "latter days", but it would take place because he is "merciful" and will "not forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them." This is known as the gathering of the children of Israel which is taking place today or the "latter days."

Christ Ordaining His Apostles With The Priesthood Authority to Act In His Name

By revelation Jesus Christ chose twelve of His followers and ordained them to be His Apostles. He gave them the priesthood, which is the power to act in His name, so that they could preach the gospel and minister to the people.
By revelation Jesus Christ chose twelve of His followers and ordained them to be His Apostles. He gave them the priesthood, which is the power to act in His name, so that they could preach the gospel and minister to the people.

Christ once again established His church personally, with priesthood authority.

The unwillingness of the children of Israel to enter into the fullness of the promise of “the covenant” continued until the days of Jesus Christ, when He himself came to the earth and once again established His Church.

Christ restored the covenant blessings that had been lost due to partial apostasy. He organized his church and called twelve apostles to preside over it, giving them the authority to administer in the laws and ordinances of His gospel.

With the death of the apostles, the priesthood authority was not in effect upon the earth, and once again the church fell into apostasy and the fullness of the blessings of the covenant lay dormant. A restoration of this authority was necessary for these ordinances to be performed in His name.

A restoration of Priesthood authority was needed to have the continuation of Christ's church again on this earth.

Sometime in June of 1829 while Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were in the process of translating the Book of Mormon, they inquired of the Lord as to the necessity of having this priesthood authority to administer in His church.

It was at this time that the appearance of the apostles Peter, James, and John occurred, where they conferred the priesthood authority, which they received from "the laying on of hands" by the Savior himself, by "the laying on of hands" to both of these men.

They gave to them the "keys to the kingdom" and the "right of presidency" with the "power and authority over all the offices in the church". With this priesthood restoration, The Church of Jesus Christ could again be established in these latter days, and as spoken by the mouth of Moses the prophet, the "mercy of God" will allow "Him to remember the covenant which he sware unto our fathers."

Apostasy and Restoration by Tad Callister

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Leaders, Prophets, Bishops, Teachers

Priesthood Restoration

Sometime after John the Baptist gave them the Aaronic Priesthood, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were visited by the Apostles Peter, James, and John near the Susquehanna River in the state of Pennsylvania. The Apostles conferred upon Joseph and Oliv
Sometime after John the Baptist gave them the Aaronic Priesthood, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were visited by the Apostles Peter, James, and John near the Susquehanna River in the state of Pennsylvania. The Apostles conferred upon Joseph and Oliv

The Abrahamic Covenant is simply a promise that if "we" make Him our God, we will be His people.

This great covenant, that was made from the beginning with our father Adam and is offered to each of us today, is simple. The terms of the covenant that the Lord has set for us are:

1) To make Him our God, and He will make us His people

2) To "walk before Him" and "be thou perfect."


When we agree to make Him our God, we in essence are committing to do everything He has commanded us to do, to be submissive to His will, and willing to sacrifice our pride.

In our journey or "walk" through this life, we are instructed to make it one we take with or "before" him. Obedience to the ordinances that he requires of us, such as baptism and the reception of the Holy Ghost through the proper priesthood authorities, must be met. He requires complete fidelity on our part. He requires we utilize the full blessings of the Atonement by applying the principles of faith and repentance, unto perfection, through Christ.

The blessings for entering into this covenant are as "numerous as the sands of the seas" or "the stars in the heavens." Most importantly He will make us His people, which is the crowning blessing available.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are covenant making people. They understand the promises that were given to the "Fathers" and are willing to enter into the terms set by the Lord. They are a "covenant keeping" people.


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