THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
To show students that the Lord uses covenants to help us gain immortality and eternal life.
Note: Classes that meet daily may need two class periods to show the video and complete the related activities for this lesson.
BEFORE THE VIDEO
DISCUSSION Tell students: “Everyone in the class has at least five fathers. Who can name them?” (Our earthly father; our Father in Heaven; Adam, the father of the human race; Jesus Christ, the Father of our salvation through the Atonement; and Abraham.) Today’s lesson will help your students understand why we call Abraham our father.
Read as a class Genesis 12:1–3 and ask, “What did the Lord promise Abraham?” (A great nation, blessings, a great name, all the families of the earth would be blessed through him.) Read verse 7 and ask, “What promise did the Lord make in this verse?” (To give the land to Abraham’s posterity.) Ask students why they think Abraham received these promises from the Lord? Tell students that the promises are part of something very special between the Lord and father Abraham, and that this lesson will help them understand what they mean.
DISCUSSION Turn with the students to “Abraham” in the Bible Dictionary (p. 601) . Have them find the answers to the following questions, and list them on the board:
What do the names Abram and Abraham mean? (Exalted father, father of a multitude.)
What is Abraham the founder or father of? (Father of the covenant, or the house of Israel.)
Abraham is the “father of the ____________.” (Faithful.)
What does covenant mean? (An agreement between God and man.)
Turn with the students to “covenant” in the Bible Dictionary (p. 651) . The promises the Lord made to Abraham are part of His covenant with Abraham.
Explain that covenant can be a noun or a verb. We can talk about the covenant of baptism (noun), or we can covenant with the Lord to live His commandments (verb). The Lord uses covenants to bring about His eternal purposes. Ask, “What is the Lord’s eternal purpose for us?” (To bring to pass our immortality and eternal life.)
REVIEW Review with the class the Lord’s plan for us to gain eternal life. Emphasize how the Atonement and first principles of the gospel overcome the effects of the Fall. Point out that to be like God includes having a divine and perfect nature. You may want to draw on the board the bridge from the plan of salvation series (see p. 4) .
DISCUSSION Ask, “Why aren’t all of our Father’s children on earth becoming like Him?” (Answers might include: Many do not know the plan. The process is not automatic. Satan has the power to deceive many.)
USING THE VIDEO
The Abrahamic Covenant • 10:30
SHOW SEGMENT 1 Segment 1 (3:04) uses an illustration to show that man may establish a covenant relationship with the Lord. Those who keep their covenants are entitled to the Lord’s divine help as they pursue the goal of eternal life.
DISCUSSION AND SCRIPTURE CHAIN Write the word covenant vertically on the board. Complete the following diagram during your discussion. Use the scripture chain to reinforce each of the concepts.
Moses 1:39 Why is the Lord willing to enter into a covenant relationship with each of us? (Because His work and glory is to bring to pass our eternal life.)
Genesis 17:7 What is the covenant relationship the Lord is willing to establish? (He will be our God, and we will be His people.)
Moses 6:52 What does the Lord expect us to do to enter into His covenant? (Believe in Jesus Christ, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and live by the Spirit.)
Moses 1:20–22 What power did the Lord give Moses? (Power to command Satan to leave.) How did Moses obtain it? (He called on the Lord and received strength from Him.)
Moses 6:31–32 What power did the Lord give Enoch? (No man would be able to kill Enoch. He was able to speak with power.) Why did the Lord give this to him? (Enoch thought the people hated him, and he was slow of speech.)
DISCUSSION What is a covenant you have already made? (Baptism.)
We renew our baptismal covenant when we take the sacrament. What do the sacrament prayers say we must do as our part of the covenant? (see D&C 20:77–79 ). (Take upon us the name of Christ, always remember Him, and keep His commandments.)
What is the Lord’s part of the baptismal covenant? (The Lord’s Spirit will be with us.)
What additional promise does the Lord make in Moses 6:59 ? (We will inherit eternal life.)
What is a covenant that you are preparing to make? (Temple marriage.)
Ask if any students would like to share ways that their membership in the Church or their relationship with their Father in Heaven has been a strength to them.
Note: If you are teaching this lesson over two days, this is the best place to end the first day’s discussion. As you begin day two, briefly review the significance of covenants.
EXPLANATION Ask, “Did covenants start with Abraham?” (No.) Explain that the Lord’s covenants are eternal. The Lord established His covenant with Adam, Enoch, Noah, and all the other faithful patriarchs and their righteous followers. Around 1900 B.C. , Abraham was selected to head the covenant people from that time forward.
DISCUSSION Write the headings Promises to Abraham and Eternal Significance on the board. Have students read the following verses, and place the answers under the appropriate headings (see the chart below).
Genesis 13:14–15 What did the Lord promise to give Abraham and his seed or children? (Land.) Write Land in the first column.
Genesis 13:16 What will be as numerous as the dust of the earth? (Abraham’s children or seed.) Add Seed to the chart.
Genesis 12:3 How will all the families of the earth be blessed through Abraham? (see footnote 3 e , which suggests missionary work). What do missionaries teach? (The gospel of Jesus Christ.) Add Gospel to the chart.
The three essential elements of the Abrahamic covenant were a promised land, numerous posterity, and the blessings of the gospel. Turn with the students to Abraham 2:11 to discover the eternal significance of the promises made to Abraham.
Abraham 2:11 Eternally, what do we gain if we live the gospel? (Life eternal.) Write Eternal life across from Gospel in the second column of the chart.
Abraham 2:10 Who is included in the seed of Abraham? (All who receive this gospel.) The gospel term for having posterity or children in the eternities is “eternal increase.” Write Eternal increase across from Seed.
Abraham 2:6 How long would Abraham and his children have the promised land? (It was given for an everlasting possession.) What will ultimately become of this earth? (It will become the celestial kingdom.) Eternally, what could this promise mean? (An inheritance in the celestial kingdom.) Add Celestial inheritance across from Land.
Abraham 2:11 Tell the class that the phrase “this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee” means that all of the blessings promised to Abraham are promised to us, including a celestial inheritance, eternal increase, and eternal life.
“LOOK FOR” ACTIVITY Tell the class that the next part of the video tells a story with pictures. Have the students watch the video closely to discover the meaning of the visual story.
SHOW SEGMENT 2 In segment 2 (7:26) a large family is gathered at a picnic area and is enjoying fun and food. A family of strangers arrives at the picnic grounds in an old car that has mechanical problems. They have little food. The people at the family gathering see the needs of the struggling family.
AFTER THE VIDEO
DISCUSSION Ask the following questions:
What seems to be taking place in the video? (A family gathering, a reunion, or ward party.)
What might some of the people from the large group be thinking as they watch the struggling family? (They might be bothered by the interruption, they might not want to associate with the other family, they might not want to share, or they might feel concern for the family’s situation.)
What are some of the ways the large group could respond to the family? (Ignore them, send over some food, invite the family to join them, help them with their car.)
What is the meaning of this segment? (Tell the students that in order to understand the video, they must imagine that they are part of the large family gathering. We need to share the blessings of the gospel with others.)
DISCUSSION Refer to Abraham 2:9 with your students. Ask:
What will Abraham and his descendants do to bless all nations? (Bless them with the blessings of the priesthood and the gospel.)
How is this being accomplished today? (Through missionary work.)
What about people who die and never hear about the gospel? (They are taught in the spirit world, and the ordinances are performed for them in temples.)
How do the priesthood and the gospel help perfect the Saints? (Answers could include through teaching and service.)
What do missionary work, work for the dead, and perfecting the Saints remind you of? (The mission of the Church.)
What can you do to help fulfill the Abrahamic covenant? (Live the commandments, be a missionary, do temple work or family history research, and fulfill Church callings.)
QUOTATION Share the following statement by Elder John A. Widtsoe, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. (You may want to give it to students as a handout.)
“In our preexistent state, in the day of the great council, we made a certain agreement with the Almighty. The Lord proposed a plan, conceived by him. We accepted it. Since the plan is intended for all men, we became parties to the salvation of every person under that plan. We agreed, right then and there, to be not only saviors for ourselves but measurably, saviors for the whole human family. We went into a partnership with the Lord. The working out of the plan became then not merely the Father’s work, and the Savior’s work, but also our work. The least of us, the humblest, is in partnership with the Almighty in achieving the purpose of the eternal plan of salvation.
“That places us in a very responsible attitude towards the human race. By that doctrine, with the Lord at the head, we become saviors on Mount Zion, all committed to the great plan of offering salvation to the untold numbers of spirits. To do this is the Lord’s self-imposed duty, this labor his highest glory. Likewise, it is man’s duty, self-imposed, his pleasure and joy, his labor, and ultimately his glory” (“The Worth of Souls,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Oct. 1934, 189).