OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 7
Abraham 1:1-4; 2:1-11; Genesis 12:1-8; 17:1-9
- God covenants with Abraham.
- We are heirs to the blessings and responsibilities of the Abrahamic
A study of this lesson should help us understand the blessings and
responsibilities of the Abrahamic covenant.
God Covenants With Abraham
- There are nine generations between Noah and Abraham. Nineteen generations
between Adam & Abraham.
- It is interesting to note that Noah lived past the time of Abraham's
birth and Shem actually outlived Abraham.
- 4000 BC - the fall of Adam.
- 2300-2400 BC - the flood.
- 1996 BC - the birth of Abraham.
Abraham In Ur
- Abraham lived the early part of his life in Ur, in the land of the
Chaldeans, not too far from the northern tip of the Persian Gulf (now Iraq,
close to the borders of Kuwait and Iran).
READ ABRAHAM 1:2. Abraham seeks for blessings.
- 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's fathers turned from righteousness to the worship of the heathen
gods (Abr. 1:5).
- As a young man, Abraham desired to live righteously and live worthy
of the blessings of God.
- WHAT BLESSINGS DID ABRAHAM DESIRE?
- Greater happiness & peace.
- The blessings of the fathers & 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, p478)
A famine was then sent upon the land of Chaldea. Abraham says: "and
my father was sorely tormented because of the famine, and he repented of
the evil which he had determined against me..." (Abr. 1:30).
- "...they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen
in offering up their children unto these dumb idols" (Abr. 1:7).
- They "endeavored" to take away Abraham's life "by
the hand of the priest of Elkenah", who was also a priest of Pharaoh
(Abr. 1:7, 12).
- Abraham lifted his voice to the Lord and "the angel of his
presence" came and released Abraham (Abr. 1:15).
- Abraham was told that he would be taken from his father's house into
a strange land (Abr. 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 took "Sarai" as a wife (Abr. 2:2).
- "...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 Migrates From Ur
- Abraham 2:3: "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 2:5: "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 left Ur with his wife Sarai, Lot (his brother's son) and his
wife, and his repentent father Terah. The scripture says, "and
also my father followed after me" (Abr. 2:4).
- They went to and lived in Haran (near the Turkish-Syrian border) for
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.
- 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?
- READ 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" (Abr. 2:6).
- He would be made a great nation (Abr. 2:9).
- "...thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that
in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations"
- "...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" (Abr. 2:10).
- "...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." (Abr. 2:11)
We Are Heirs To The Blessings & Responsibilities Of
The Abrahamic Covenant
All Church Members Are The "Seed of Abraham"
- WHO HAS RECEIVED THEIR PATRIARCHAL 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"
- 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, p149)
Heirs To The Covenant
- HOW DO WE BECOME HEIRS TO THIS COVENANT?
WHAT BLESSINGS DO WE RECEIVE AS HEIRS TO THE COVENANT?
- 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.
- 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; Gal. 3.)
"All 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)
(see chart at end of lesson)
WHAT ARE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS HEIRS OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT? (see
chart at end of lesson)
- The gospel.
- The priesthood.
- Eternal family relationships.
HOW DO WE HELP ALL OF GOD'S CHILDREN RECEIVE THE FULL BLESSSINGS OF
- 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" (Abr. 2:9).
- "...in thy seed after thee...shall all the families of the
earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel" (Abr.
- Obey God's commandments.
- "...keep the way of the LORD" (Gen. 18:19).
- Missionary work.
- 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 geneology and performing temple ordinances for the dead.
- D&C 128:24: "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."
- Being examples of righteousness.
- Matthew 5:16: "Let your light so shine before men, that they
may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Blessings & Responsibilities Of The Abrahamic Covenant
||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
||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)
WHAT DOES THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT MEAN TO YOU?
As I study this ancient patriarch, Abraham, I often find it difficult
to relate to him. He lived nearly 4,000 years ago. There was little technology.
There was little contact with the outside world. He lived in a far off
and foreign land. How can I, living in this advanced, highly technological
age relate to such an ancient figure? I have a word processor and e-mail
that enables me within minutes to transmit these written words around the
world. Abraham's writings probably saw little distribution in his time.
What does this ancient patriarch have to do with me?
My own father passed away a few months ago. He left a legacy for myself,
my children, and my newly born grandchildren. What was that legacy? Almost
three years ago, the family gathered to celebrate the 60th anniversary
of dad and mom. At that time I shared with the family some of the things
that I considered part of their legacy. I would like to share my thoughts
from that day that were addressed to dad and mom:
Sixty years ago, on June 19, 1935, you were united in eternal marriage.
On that sacred day, in the House of the Lord, you began a legacy that has
blessed the lives of your children and grandchildren, and will continue
to bless your posterity for generations. What is that legacy?
Love - We have been touched in tender moments to see the love
which you have for each other. We have felt your love in our lives and
been lifted and strengthened by it.
Eternal Principles - Your example has been a foundation in
our lives to understanding and living gospel principles. You began your
marriage in the House of God, being sealed by the Holy Priesthood. You
have taught us the importance of gospel principles by daily family prayer,
supporting missionaries, honoring the brethren, service to others, and
in the lives of integrity which you have lived.
Commitment - In a day when so many break contracts and promises,
you have blessed us with a powerful example of commitment. Your commitment
to each other and our family has never wavered through the depression,
war, child bearing and rearing, financially difficult times, and the challenges
of the golden years. Through times of great change we have all felt the
security of that commitment
Honest Work - Through your word and example, we have learned
that “a job worth doing is worth doing well.” You have worked hard most
of your lives to provide for and care for our family. You did not expect
something for nothing, but gave your best effort in all that you did.
Prudence - You have provided a powerful example of prudent
living. We were always well provided for and had the necessities of life
and yet you always lived within your means. You prepared for the future
with savings and food storage.
Pride - Your example has taught us to have pride in ourselves
and our belongings. Our home was always neat and our yard well taken care
of and groomed. You have been the ideal for personal cleanliness of person
This is only part of your legacy that continues to bless our lives.
You have been as the Lord encouraged his disciples to be, “the salt of
the earth.” Thank you for this legacy.
What does this legacy mean in my life? It has helped me to become what
I am. The principles taught by dad and mom have guided me through life
and will affect my eternal destiny. They have been a great blessing in
my life. Now as I have children growing into adulthood and beginning the
process of child bearing, I see many of those principles continuing through
the generations. But the blessings only continue as we as a family strive
to honor and live the legacy left by dad and mom.
So it is with Abraham. He lived a life of righteousness. In a day when
most worshipped false gods, Abraham remained true to the Lord. His faith
was strong and he depended 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 as much as the legacy dad and mom left me. The key is to follow
the example of Abraham. To be faithful, keep the commandments, and endeavor
to share the gospel with those around us.
Lesson 8: Genesis 13-14; 18-19.
Additional Reading: Genesis 12; JST Genesis 14:25-40; 19:9-15.
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Changes last made on: Mon Feb 9 1998