11) COVENANTS: What covenants has the Lord made with Israel?

Prophetic Statements

Joseph Smith

From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of man, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.   1

Joseph Fielding Smith

“When the Lord called Abraham out of Ur, the land of his fathers, he made certain covenants with him because of his faithfulness. One promise was that through him and his seed after him all nations of the earth should be blessed. This blessing is accomplished in several ways.

1. Through Jesus Christ who came through the lineage of Abraham;

2. Through the priesthood which was conferred upon Abraham and his descendants;

3. Through the scattering of Israel among all nations by which the blood of Israel was sprinkled among the nations, and thus the nations partake of the leaven of righteousness, on condition of their repentance, and are entitled to the promises made to the children of Abraham; and

4. In the fact that the Lord covenanted with Abraham that after his time all who embraced the gospel should be called by his name, or, should be numbered among his seed, and should receive the Holy Ghost.” 2


Deuteronomy 33: 13-16

“And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his bland, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,

And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,

And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,

And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.”

Abraham 2:8-11

My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations; 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; And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) 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. 3

Abraham 1:18-19

Behold, I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood of thy father, and my power shall be over thee. As it was with Noah so shall it be with thee; but through thy ministry my name shall be known in the earth forever, for I am thy God.

1 Nephi 13:26-27, 29

They have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.

And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. . . .

And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.

D&C 22:1-4

Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.

Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times it availeth him nothing, for you cannot enter in at the strait gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works.

For it is because of your dead works that I have caused this last covenant and this church to be built up unto me, even as in days of old.

Wherefore, enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen.

 D&C 109:38

Put upon thy servants the testimony of the covenant.  4

D&C 132:28-33

I am the Lord thy God, and will give unto thee the law of my Holy Priesthood, as was ordained by me and my Father before the world was.

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.

Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins—from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.

This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself.

Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.

But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham.

Supporting Statements

Bruce R. McConkie

‘Ye are the children of the prophets: and ye are of the house of Israel: and ye are of the covenant which the Father made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.’ So spoke the Risen Lord to the Nephite remnant of Israel: so might the Mortal Lord have spoken to those Jews who stood in his presence on this 1And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee. 8th day of October, A.D. 29, on the octave of the Feast of Tabernacles in that year; and so might he speak to that remnant of his ancient people who have been gathered into the true fold and kingdom in our day.

Children of the prophets! The literal seed of Abraham, the seed of his body, his posterity who are natural heirs of the blessings of their father! And those blessings are the blessings of celestial marriage, of an enduring family unit, of posterity both in the world and out of the world, as numerous as the sands upon the seashore or as the stars in the heavens. They are the blessings of eternal increase, of eternal life in the Everlasting Presence.” 5

Let this then be our covenant–whatever the past has been–let this then be our covenant, that we will walk in all the ordinances of the Lord blameless. Let this be our covenant, that we will keep the commandments of God and be living witnesses of the truth and divinity of this glorious work, which is destined to sweep the earth as with a flood and which shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.  6

Orson F. Whitney

What is the significance of sending into the world a chosen race of spirits, called upon earth the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but known to us to have been the children of God before Abraham was born? They were chosen in the heavens, before they came in the flesh, and were sent forth from the presence of God with a mission. We who call ourselves Latter-day. Saints are a branch of the house of Israel, gathered out from among the Gentiles; we are a portion of that martyred nation, chosen of God and sent upon earth to suffer and endure for His sake and for the sake of all mankind; to bear the oracles of God, and be His representatives in the midst of the human race.

Read what Moses says in the eighth verse of the 32nd chapter of Deuteronomy, if you doubt that Israel had an existence before the earthly days of Father Abraham. The passage runs as follows: “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number Of the children of Israel.” This was before the birth of Abraham. The Lord had nations upon the earth before that time, and he set their bounds according to the number of the children of Israel.” What does this mean, If not that Israel was a pro-existent race, ordained before the world was to perform the great and important mission that has rested upon them all down the ages, and a portion of which is now being performed by the Latter-day Saints, the gathered children of Ephraim. 7

Robert L. Millet, Joseph Fielding McConkie

The assault on the concept of a covenant people has not ended. . . . In various shades of darkness it creeps into the thinking of the Latter-day Saint people. We need to be reminded that should we as a people lose either our understanding of the covenant God made with our ancient fathers or our faith in its application and relevance today, then we will lose with it its train of attendants–revelation, prophets, priesthood and temple blessings. Such is the lesson of history.
. . . .

The doctrine that salvation centers in covenants reaches to a time long before we were born. It has been named the new and everlasting covenant, thus emphasizing that though we enter into it anew in mortality and though it has been restored anew in this dispensation, its principles are everlasting and were known to us and agreed upon by us long before we were born into mortality. Emphasizing this very point, the Savior asked: “Will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was?” (D&C 132:11).  8


  1. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 1:245
  2. Doctrines of Salvation, 3:246-247
  3. Abraham 2:8-11, as quoted in Answers To Gospel Questions 2:52, Joseph Fielding Smith
  4. Joseph Smith, Dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, March 27, 1836
  5. Bruce R. McConkie, ‘’The Mortal Messiah’’, p. 160
  6. Bruce R. McConkie, Solemn Assembly, October 6, 1972
  7. Orson F. Whitney., Conference Report, October 1905, Outdoor Meeting. 97.
  8. Robert L. Millet, Joseph Fielding McConkie, Our Destiny: The Call and Election of the House of Israel, p. 13
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