The Marvelous Work of Fulfilling the Covenant: Part 1 of 4
I owe a great deal to my good friend, Bro. King, for the initial core pieces of the puzzle that got my mind going on the ideas presented.
The Abrahamic Covenant
First we need to identify just what this covenant is and why it is so important. The Abrahamic covenant is outlined in Genesis 12:1-3:
1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Throughout the Bible this covenant is maintained and reaffirmed and looked to as a beacon of hope to the Israelites. The different promises associated with this covenant are outlined as followed:
- His posterity would be numerous (see Genesis 17:5–6; Abraham 2:9; 3:14).
- His seed, or descendants, would receive the gospel and bear the priesthood (see Abraham 2:9).
- Through the ministry of his seed, “all the families of the earth [would] be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11).
LDS.org notes that, “A person can receive all the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant—even if he or she is not a literal descendant of Abraham—by obeying the laws and ordinances of the gospel (see Galatians 3:26–29; 4:1–7; D&C 84:33–40).”
These great blessings to Abraham are unconditional, they were promises made by God to his seed and to all the families of the earth, which means that everyone is at least entitled to the choice to receive or reject these blessings for themselves. Within this covenant is also the amazing promise that ALL families of the earth will be blessed through Abraham’s seed.
There is a problem, however, many billions of people have lived and died upon this earth without ever having been blessed by Abraham’s lineage; does this mean that the covenant has not been fulfilled for them?
To the enemies of Abraham’s seed and Abraham’s God, surely the destruction of these people would show that God’s work and promises can be destroyed by man, thus proving that he does not exist. Moroni issued a warning to those of this persuasion in Mormon 8:21:
21 And he that shall breathe out wrath and strifes against the work of the Lord, and against the covenant people of the Lord who are the house of Israel, and shall say: We will destroy the work of the Lord, and the Lord will not remember his covenant which he hath made unto the house of Israel—the same is in danger to be hewn down and cast into the fire;
It is possible that the slaughter of the Nephites was done in part to rid the wicked of the people of God and their talk of adherance to commandments? Did they want to prevent God from fulfilling his covenant by cutting off their posterity thereby proving that God does not exist?
Whether this was the case or not, Moroni declares in the next verse:
22 For the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled.
So it becomes apparent that God’s covenants will be fulfilled and that even death is not an obstacle to the reach of the almighty and his power to fulfill his words. But how does he do this? It is a common belief among some major Christian sects to teach that anyone who has not accepted Christ (the mediator of the covenant), even if they have never heard of him, will burn in hell forever.
But how can this be if the Abrahamic covenant promises blessings to ALL the families of the earth? This is what we will explore, and what we will discover in the end is something that is definitely worthy of the title “A marvelous work and a wonder”.
Not All Fulfilled
In 3 Nephi 15 of the Book of Mormon, we find a interesting statement by Jesus Christ during his ministry to the survivors of the cataclysms following his death on the American continent:
7 And because I said unto you that old things have passed away (the Law of Moses), I do not destroy that which hath been spoken concerning things which are to come.
8 For behold, the covenant which I have made with my people is not all fulfilled; but the law which was given unto Moses hath an end in me.
Even though the Law of Moses was fulfilled by the atonement of Christ, this didn’t mean that the covenant with Israel was fulfilled yet or that it would not be fulfilled just because the Law was no more. It had been fulfilled to many since the covenant was made to Abraham, but it was not yet all fulfilled because there were many yet to be born and many who had died not yet receiving of these blessings.
This covenant would not be fulfilled until it extended to all families of the earth just as God promised Abraham.
Throughout 3 Nephi, the prophet Mormon selected the words of Christ that are applicable to our generation concerning the fulfillment of this covenant and he quotes Christ relative to the covenant itself, how it will be fulfilled and the specific sign that would herald the commencement of this great fulfillment. Before we continue with the words of Christ to the Nephites, it’s important to see what the Book of Mormon has to say about the fulfilling of this covenant and that is what will be explored in part 2.
Updated: September 8, 2010