The Promises of the Covenant
|1. He is Our God. We are His People.
In Mortality: The fundamental and overarching covenant that God makes with His people is this: "[I] will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jeremiah 31:33; see also Hebrews 8:10). It is through the covenant God made with Abraham and then renewed with his son and grandson that the Lord became "the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Exodus 3:6, 15; 1 Nephi 6:4; Mormon 9:11). He identifies Himself as the God of Israel (3 Nephi 11:14; Isaiah 41:17; 45:3) and is called by this name throughout scripture (Exodus 5:1; Luke 1:68; 1 Nephi 5:9-10; D&C 109:1-2). Through this covenant the Lord becomes Israel's lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22; D&C 38:22; 45:59) and they are to humbly trust and obey Him. His voice to them is, "I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God" (Exodus 6:7; see also Zechariah 8:7-8).
To Abraham the Lord declared, "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee" (Genesis 12:3; see also Abraham 2:11). As Israel's God the Lord has promised to fight their battles (D&C 98:32-37; 105:14; 109:24-28; 2 Chronicles 32:7-8). He will be their shield and their buckler (Genesis 15:1; D&C 35:13-14). He will be their rearward (Isaiah 52:12; 58:8). He will protect them (1 Nephi 22:14-19; 2 Nephi 6:13-18). With the Lord as their God, faithful Israelites will receive His help and strength and therefore have nothing to fear (Isaiah 41:8-14).
In Eternity: All of the blessings which the Lord has to give unto His people, both in mortality and eternity, are obtained through the covenant. Those who receive the Lord's covenant and follow Him will obtain all of the blessings of exaltation in eternity.
|1. Cut off from His People.
In Mortality: The prophet Moses declared emphatically that those who reject the words of Christ, who "will not hear [Him] shall be cut off from among the people" (1 Nephi 22:20-21; see also Deut. 18:15-19; Acts 3:22-23). The Father has said, "[W]hosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel" (3 Nephi 21:20).
The Savior taught the Nephites that "whosever will not believe in my words [as found in the Book of Mormon]... which the Father shall cause him [Joseph Smith] to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant" (3 Nephi 21:11).
The Lord prefaced His book of Doctrine and Covenants by declaring that "the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people; For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant" (D&C 1:14-15).
Nephi declared that those born in the covenant, who are heirs to all of the blessings of the covenant, but who "will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel" (2 Nephi 30:2). Hence Paul's teaching that, "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are all children of Abraham, are they the seed" (JST Romans 9:6-7).
This is all, in effect, to say to such, "I am not your God, and you are not my people."
In Eternity: To be cut off from among the Lord's people in mortality is to be cut off from the Lord's blessings in eternity to which His people are heir. It is to such souls that the Lord will say, "Verily I say unto you, I know you not" (Matthew 25:12); "for ye obeyed not my voice when I called to you out of the heavens; ye believed not my servants, and when they were sent unto you ye received them not. Wherefore, they sealed up the testimony and bound up the law, and ye were delivered over unto darkness. These shall go away into outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth" (D&C 133:71-73).
|2. Promised Land.
In Mortality: The righteous are gathered to lands where they are enabled to worship God freely, build temples, and raise a righteous posterity (see 2 Nephi 1:7, 9).
In Eternity: The righteous ultimately "inherit the earth" in its Celestial state (D&C 88:17-20, 26; see also D&C 38:17-20). They "receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him" (D&C 84:38).
|2. Loss of Promised Land.
In Mortality: Covenant breakers are promised that they will be scattered and forfeit the promised land (see 2 Nephi 1:10-11). This usually occurs by losing the land to a conquering enemy. See Scriptural Prophecies of Scattering
In Eternity: No Celestial inheritance.
|3. Right to the Priesthood Blessings.
In Mortality: Through the fulness of priesthood ordinances we are enabled to return to God’s presence (see D&C 84:19-22). The right to hold the priesthood continues through the lineage of the faithful. Their posterity are "lawful heirs, according to the flesh" (D&C 86:8-10). Males inherit the "right ... to administer" the ordinances of salvation to all of God's faithful children in temples (Abr. 1:2).
In Eternity: The exalted wield a fulness of priesthood "powers, dominions, all heights and depths" (D&C 132:19). For them is fulfilled the promise that "thy scepter [shall be] an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever" (D&C 121:46). They receive of the Father's "fulness and of his grace; and he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion" (D&C 76:94-95).
|3. No Right to the Priesthood.
In Mortality: "They shall not have right to the priesthood, nor their posterity after them from generation to generation" (D&C 121:21).
They are cut off from the presence of God (Moses 5:41; 2 Ne. 5:16, 20). This occurs most directly through being "severed from the ordinances of my house" (D&C 121:19). Thus severed, they are unequipped to return to God.
Note: On an individual basis, members of their posterity may repent and be grafted back into the family of the faithful and become again inheritors of the promises in spite of their parents/ancestors, but the fact remains, the rebellious are cut off from the priesthood promises and therefore have no covenant inheritance to bequeath to their posterity.
In Eternity: The fulness of salvation is not available to those who do not receive the fulness of the ordinances.
|4. Blessings of and to Posterity.
In Mortality: In scripture various blessings are promised the faithful concerning their posterity, such as:
- their seed will become the means of blessing the whole earth with the blessings of the Gospel (Abr. 2:11). For doing so they will be highly honored as they gather Israel and graft God's children into the family of the faithful (Abr. 2:9; D&C 132:30-34).
- their seed have a right to the priesthood as "lawful heirs" (see "Priesthood" above).
- their children are heirs to a promised land (2 Ne. 1:5; 3:2; D&C 38:18-20; 56:18-20; 69:8; Abr. 2:6, 19; Ex. 32:13)
- their seed will "continue so long as they were in the world" (D&C 132:30; see also Moses 7:52).
In Eternity: The essence and glory of godhood is "a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever" (D&C 132:19). The faithful ultimately enter into "the exaltation and continuation of the lives" (D&C 132:22). The promise concerning the seed of the faithful is that "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" (D&C 132:30). It is in His endless posterity that the Father "glorifieth himself" (D&C 132:31; see also vs. 63). So it will be in the eternities with those faithful to the covenant.
|4. Various Curses Upon Posterity.
In Mortality: In scripture various curses are pronounced upon covenant breakers and their posterity, such as:
In Eternity: Covenant breakers are those who "did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged [through continuous posterity], but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever" (D&C 132:17). These are they of whom Malachi spoke when he said, "the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root [ancestry] nor branch [posterity]" (Malachi 4:1). In a word, they are damned because they do not continue to procreate.