The Covenants and Blessings of Abraham

Edward J. Brandt


“Friend of God” (James 2:23), Father of the Faithful (Gal. 3:8–9)

The life of Abraham exemplifies a perfect faith, qualifying him for the blessings he had covenanted to obtain. In their old age, Sarah and Abraham trusted that the Lord would bless them with a lawful heir to the fulfillment of these promises. (Gen. 15:1–6) They patiently endured, and they were eventually blessed with Isaac, of whom the seed of the “multitude” would come. (Gen. 21:1–3; Heb. 11:11–12.) The inheritance of the land for his future posterity was never actually received by Abraham in mortality, and he lived as a stranger there (Heb. 11:8–10, 13–16), but the promise of a resurrection through the atonement of Christ caused Abraham to rejoice, knowing he would obtain such an inheritance (JST, Gen. 15:9–13. John 8:56). God’s command to Abraham to offer Isaac, the son of the birthright, as a sacrifice (Gen. 22:1–19) provided the opportunity for Abraham to demonstrate a complete and “perfect” faith (James 2:21–22), and his obedience was accounted “unto him for righteousness” (D&C 132:36). Through this great test. Abraham not only obeyed in wholeness of faith (Heb. 11:17–19) but learned of the future atonement of Christ with great personal feeling (Jacob 4:5). “Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.” (D&C 132:29.) All who would qualify to be heirs of Abraham, the “jewels” of God. “must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son. (D&C 101:4.)

 

References for blessings to

Explanatory Notes

The Blessings of Abraham and the Latter-day Saints

 

Abraham

Isaac

Jacob (Israel)

   

I. BLESSING OF A PROMISED LAND

“… a strange land which I will give unto thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession …” (Abr. 2:6.)

Gen. 12:7; Gen. 13:15; Gen. 15:9–14 (JST, Gen. 15:7, Gen. 18; Gen. 17:8; Gen. 24:7)

Gen. 26:3–4

Gen. 28:4, Gen. 13; Gen. 48:4

In blessing his son Joseph, Jacob prophesied of another land for his posterity (Gen. 49:22–26; Ether 13:2, 7–8) with the promise that a remnant would never be destroyed (Alma 46:24–25). Joseph’s descendants were led to this land (1 Ne. 2:20), and it stands consecrated to all whom the Lord shall bring (2 Ne. 1:6–7; 2 Ne. 10:10–11; 3 Ne. 15:13; Ether 2:7) upon condition that they serve the Lord (Ether 2:12).

Jackson County, Missouri, is designated as the center place of the “land of promise”—the location of the New Jerusalem. (D&C 52:42; D&C 57:1–3; D&C 84:2–5,) Judah will assemble to the lands given to Abraham. (D&C 109:64.) To the faithful, the earth will eventually be their inheritance (D&C 45:58; D&C 56:20; D&C 63:20) in its celestial state (D&C 88:18–20; D&C 130:6–9).

II. BLESSING OF POSTERITY

A. “… I will make of thee a great nation.” (Abr. 2:9.)

Gen. 12:2; Gen. 18:18

     

“… let my army become very great. …” (D&C 105:26, 31–32.)

B. “thou shalt be a father of many nations.” (Gen. 17:4–6, 16.)

Abr. 1:2

   

A “multitude,” even “a great nation,” was also promised through Abraham’s son Ishmael, who was born of Hagar. (Gen. 16:10; Gen. 17:20; Gen. 21:13; D&C 132:34.) Abraham’s wife Keturah bore him six sons; of these, Midian and his descendants are particularly mentioned as a numerous people. (Gen. 25:1–4; Ex. 3:1; D&C 84:6.)It is generally accepted that Ishmael’s descendants form a large part of the Arab nation, and the posterity of Midian are also a part.

 

C. “… I will multiply thee, and thy seed after thee, like unto … the number of sands [and stars in the heavens].” (Abr. 3:14.)

Gen. 13:16; Gen. 15:5; Gen. 17:2; Gen. 22:17

Gen. 24:60; Gen. 26:4, 24

Gen. 28:3, 14; Gen. 35:11; Gen. 48:4

 

Abraham received promises concerning “his seed [that] … both in the world and out of the world should … continue as innumerable as the stars. …” (D&C 132:30.)

D. “… kings shall come out of thee.” (Gen. 17:6, 16.)

   

Gen. 35:11

The rights of “the sceptre” or lawgiver were promised to Judah and his descendants. (Gen. 49:9–10.) The greatest king to be born of Abraham’s lineage through Judah was Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:1, 17; Luke 1:68–72), “the King of Israel” (John 1:49).

 

III. BLESSING OF PRIESTHOOD

A. “… I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood.” (Abr. 1:18.)

         

B. “… thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed … they shall bear (my) … ministry and Priesthood unto all nations.” (Abr. 2:9.)

         

C. “… this right [of priesthood] shall continue in thee, and in thy seed (… the literal seed, or the seed of the body)” … (Abr. 2:11.)

Gen. 17:7, 19; Abr. 1:3–4

Gen. 17:9; Gen. 21:12

   

“… you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers—For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh (D&C 86:8–9.)

D. “… I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee. …” (Abr. 2:11.)

Gen. 12:3

   

Those who function in the priesthood likewise have power in righteousness to bless and to curse. (D&C 75:18–22; D&C 132:47)

 

E. “… through thy ministry my name shall be known in the earth forever” (Abr. 1:19.)

Gen. 17:7–8

Gen. 26:24

Gen. 28:13

The true knowledge of God and the gospel was and is made known to the world through Abraham and those called of his seed. (Ex. 3:6, 13–15; Ex. 4:5; Matt. 22:32; John 8:56–58; 1 Ne. 19:10; D&C 136:21.)

 

IV. BLESSING OF SALVATION AND EXALTATION

A. “And I will bless them through thy name: … as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed. …” (Abr. 2:10.)

     

Acceptance of the gospel brings into an individual’s life the Holy Ghost: and “as the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seeds of Abraham, it is calm and serene; and his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually the seed of Abraham.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 149–50.)

“… ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham” (D&C 103:17. See also Mosiah 5:7.)

B. “… and make thy name great among all nations. …” (Abr. 2:9.)

Gen. 12:2

   

On April 3, 1836, Elias appeared in the Kirtland Temple and “committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham.” (D&C 110:12.) This Elias was Noah. (See Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, April 1960, p. 72.) He restored the fullness of the gospel blessings that Adam (Moses 5:58; Moses 6:51–52) and he himself (Moses 8:19–20, 23–24), as well as other patriarchs before Abraham, had possessed.

 
 

But Abraham is honored to have the blessings spoken of in his name, because through his ministry and the ministry of his seed, the name of God and the gospel would be made “known in the earth forever.” (Abr. 1:19.)

C. “… and [many] shall rise up and bless thee, as their father.” (Abr. 2:10. See also Isa. 51:2.)

     
   

D. “… and he [Abraham] will command his children and … they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. …” (Gen. 18:19.)

Gen. 17:9 (JST, Gen. 17:4–7, 11–12)

 

Rom. 9:13

Through the generations, many have claimed that a blood relationship to Abraham guaranteed his blessings unto them. But the scriptures testify that “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children …” (Rom. 9:6–7); “they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (Gal. 3:7.)

“… whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods … and the magnifying their calling … become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham. …” (D&C 84:33–34.)

“Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.” (D&C 132:32.)

 

For the promises of the gospel are obtained only by righteousness. (Rom. 4:13.) Those who are the children of Abraham “do the works of Abraham.” (John 8:39.)

E. “… in thy seed after thee … shall all the families of the earth be blessed. …” (Abr. 2:11.)

Gen. 12:3; Gen. 18:18; Gen. 22:18

Gen. 26:4

Gen. 28:14

The gospel message of the atonement of Jesus Christ is the single most important blessing for all the families of the earth. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121; 1 Cor. 15:22.)

Through the work of the Restoration at the hands of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the promise is being fulfilled wherein Abraham’s seed would be a blessing unto the “kindred of the earth. …” (D&C 124:58.)

 

The seed of Abraham (Israel) was scattered among the families of the earth (Deut. 4:27; Deut. 28:64; Lev. 26:33), that “the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles …” (Gal. 3:14) and the nations. (See also 1 Ne. 15:16–18; Jacob 5.)

F. “… I will bless thee above measure … even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.” (Abr. 2:9, 11.)

Gen. 12:2

   

The prophets foresaw the restoration of the gospel (1 Ne. 22:4–9; 3 Ne. 20:27; 3 Ne. 21:1–7) and the renewal of the covenants (D&C 1:17, 22–23; Deut. 4:31; Jer. 31:31–34; Ezek. 37:24–28), even the instrumentalities in Israel who should carry out this work (2 Ne. 3:4–21). The gathering of the house of Israel is part of the work of the restoration. (Deut. 30:1–5; 1 Ne. 14:7; 1 Ne. 15:12–16.)

Those who qualify and enter into the covenant of celestial (temple) marriage and who are sealed “by the Holy Spirit of promise” shall obtain an exaltation, with “a continuation of the seeds. … Then shall they be gods. …” (D&C 132:19–20. See also D&C 132:29–31.)