Promised Land Covenant Established To Bless All God’s Children
This covenant, according to Abraham, “came down from the fathers…before the foundation of the earth” (Abraham 1:2-3) and was provided by God for the purpose that His covenant people, whilst they lived righteously on their covenanted and promised lands, would be a blessing to “all the nations of the earth” (Gen. 22:18). The Lord covenanted with Abraham that “in thy seed after thee 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” (Abraham 2:11, 3 Nephi 20:25-27). The primary responsibility is to use the covenant blessings provided to bless all God’s children with the gospel.
These two covenant lands, one New World and one Old World, would be provided with the necessities for their success in blessing God’s children with the gospel and would be located conducive to the fulfillment of this responsibility. Just as ancient Israel was situated amidst the civilizations of Egypt, Babylon, Assyria and Persia, yet remained among the later civilizations of Rome and Greece at the time of Christ, so too the New World covenant land would be provided with all things necessary for its success. It would also be situated to best take advantage of its location to bless other nations and peoples, to become a shining beacon of hope and light and bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world as had ancient Israel. These two lands were covenanted and promised by God for the inheritance of His covenant people throughout the history of mankind and these same two promised lands are designated as the final gathering place for God’s chosen people, Israel. They are, namely, Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem. Both of these physical locations are known through history and through revelation respectively, and are not speculative (D&C 84:1-4).
The Book of Mormon is Consistent With Recorded Old Testament History
Nephi knew of the Promised Land Covenant made and claimed by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Old World (1 Nephi 17:40). According to Christ’s recorded words to the Nephites in the Book of Mormon, there are only two mentioned covenant lands of promise for the house of Israel; Jerusalem (3 Nephi 20:29) and New Jerusalem (3 Nephi 20:22). Through modern revelation the location where the New Jerusalem will be built is today known as the state of Missouri, USA (D&C 84:1-4). This is also the revealed location of theGarden of Eden. Therefore following the expulsion of Adam and Eve, this is where they began their family, built an altar later located by Joseph Smith, and blessed his righteous posterity (D&C 107:53) in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, making the region the most likely location of the ancient land of Cainan, the original “land of promise.” The scriptures have been consistent throughout time because these covenant lands of promise were established before the foundations of the world.
Jaredites Invoke the Promised Land Covenant
Prior to Lehi’s arrival, the Jaredites, another people led to a promised land by the Lord (Ether 1:42-43, Ether 2:7-10 ) invoked the Promised Land Covenant. They record that “this land” the land their civilization occupied, was reserved for the “remnant of the house of Joseph” and that this same land will be the location of the “Holy City,” the New Jerusalem of the latter days (Ether 13:8). Ether confirms that after the waters of Noah’s flood receded off the face of this land, it became a “choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord” and then affirms that “it was the place of the New Jerusalem…” Moroni, the narrator of the record of Ether, then proclaims that “Ether saw the days of Christ, and he [Christ] spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land” (Ether 13:2-4). Therefore, the lands of the Jaredites were the same as those of the Adamic land of promise, and, according to Christ, on the New Jerusalem lands of the latter days. Ether also reiterates that the knowledge of the Father’s covenant with the house of Israel, that has been “hid up from the foundation of the world,” will be remembered (Ether 4:14-15). Ether acknowledges God’s Promised Land Covenant blessings upon them (Ether 10:28).
What Was the “Covenant” Spoken Of?
Both of these covenant lands were established before the foundations of the world. The covenant was initiated by Adam in the Garden of Eden on the American land of promise (Moses 5:11-12). It was invoked anew in the Mediterranean region by Noah and Abraham (Gen. 6:18, 8:20, 9:9, Abraham 1:2-3, Ether 13:10-11). Those brought by the Lord back to His land of promise in the America’s re-invoked the covenant upon the people through their prophet leaders, the brother of Jared of the Jaredites (Ether 2:7-12, 15), and Lehi, father of the Nephites and Lamanites (2 Nephi 1:5-9).
Lehi Invokes the Promised Land Covenant
The prophet Lehi and his son Nephi invoked the Promised Land Covenant or promise with God anew for themselves and their posterity. They record Gods promised blessings they are to receive and reiterate their willingness to obey His commandments in accordance with their part of the covenant. Lehi proclaims that he invoked and obtained God’s Promised Land Covenant.
2 Nephi 1:5 speaks directly of a “land of promise” that is “choice above all other lands” that the “Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me and to my children forever.” Christ reiterates His commitment to Lehi’s posterity as He again proclaims, “And behold, this is the land of your inheritance; and the Father hath given it unto you.” (3 Nephi 15:13)
For an overview of Lehi’s American Promised Land Covenant read 2 Nephi 1
Covenant Requirements and Promises
The Lord‘s only requirement, in order to receive all the promised blessings of the promised land, along with the posterity, prosperity and security associated with the covenant, is simply this…obey His commandments. Societies who will live by these rules of conduct provided by the Lord cannot help but enjoy the associated blessings since their people would not be bearing false witness, they would be honoring their fathers and mothers, refraining from stealing, not committing adultery or coveting another’s possessions and so on. However, only certain specified lands are involved with the covenant blessings and associated requirement of blessing the other nations of the earth with the gospel.
Nephi records that “if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath give, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity (security); if so, it shall be because of iniquity” (2 Nephi 1:7). Lehi “obtained a promise” that as long as his people would keep His commandments they “shall prosper upon the face of this land: and they shall be kept from all other nations” and have the land for themselves. If they will but keep those commandments they “shall be blessed upon the face of this land” and no one will molest or be given power to take away their covenanted lands and “they shall dwell safely forever.” (2 Nephi 1:9)
Breaching of the Covenant, Judgments of God and Subsequent Re-Invoking of the Covenant
Each time that the singular requirement – obeying the commandments – is ignored by the people under the covenant, the Lord allows judgments to come upon them (see listing of judgments, Deut. 28:15-68). These covenant blessings are generally revoked sequentially in reverse order of how they were given in a merciful effort by the Lord to turn His childrens hearts and minds back to Him; to cause the covenant people to repent and ask for His protection and guidance. Their blessings are revoked in reverse order.
1. Security is breached; helping them realize their lack of security without God’s protection.
2. Prosperity removed; humbling them into the realization that prosperity is a blessing from God, not man.
3. Posterity is taken away, usually through internal conflict and war; helping them realize God’s blessing of having children.
4. Swept from the sacred land; God’s final consequence for disobedience – for God will not suffer unrighteous people to occupy His Promised Lands.
Each time the covenant is ignored and the judgments of God fall upon the people, in order for the covenant to be reinstated, the people and their leaders must humble themselves, repent, vow to obey the commandments of God, and re-invoke the covenant. Such has been the case with prophets throughout Old Testament history as well as those who were directed to the American promised land. The Book of Mormon provides multiple examples of such re-invocations such as Limhi (Mosiah 21:32) Lachoneus (3 Nephi 3:12-25) and Captain Moroni (Alma 46:10-13).
Article by Rodney L. Meldrum Full Article Here
Genesis 24–36: The Covenant Line Continues with Isaac and Jacob
Old Testament Student Manual Genesis-2 Samuel, (1980), 82–90
Why did the Lord choose Isaac and Jacob? How were they chosen to perpetuate the covenant the Lord had made with Abraham? The purpose of this chapter is to assist you in picking out the significant events as the God of Abraham became the God of Isaac and Jacob. You will learn that of the eight sons of Abraham recorded in scripture the Lord singled out Isaac to become the heir to the covenant. Later, God chose Jacob over Esau, even though Esau was the firstborn and seemed to be his father’s favorite.
Isaac and Jacob were foreordained to their responsibilities. Through their personal worthiness, however, they justified their callings in the covenant line. Since the time of these mighty patriarchs, all of the chosen people of the Lord have come through their lineage or have been adopted into their lineage. In the Old Testament, Jehovah is repeatedly called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Thus, it is significant that you understand not only who Abraham is but also why the Lord chose Isaac and Jacob to be the first of the house of Israel.
As you begin to study the expansion of the covenant line, remember one thing. Sometimes we tend to oversimplify the concept of a covenant people and the heritage of certain groups of people. For example, we tend to think of the Arabs as descendants of Ishmael or Esau, the Jews as descendants of Judah, the American Indians and South Pacific Islanders as descendants of Laman, and so forth. In broad terms all of these statements are true, of course, but through centuries of intermarriage and conversion, the “pure blood lines” (an impossible term in reality) of the various ancestors have been vastly intermingled. Surely down through nearly four thousand years the descendants of Isaac have intermarried with the descendants of Ishmael and the other sons of Abraham. We know that after the ten tribes were taken into captivity the term Jew was used in a nationalistic sense (to mean a member of the kingdom of Judah) and not just in a tribal sense (to mean a descendant of Judah, son of Jacob). Thus, Lehi, who was of Manasseh (see Alma 10:3), and Ishmael, who was of Ephraim (see Erastus Snow, in Journal of Discourses, 23:184–85), were Jews, that is, were living in Judah.
In the Book of Mormon, Lamanite was used in a spiritual sense (to mean one who had apostatized from the truth), as well as in the sense of lineage from Laman (see 4 Nephi 1:38). A later example of how blood lines mix is found in the conversion of a whole nation to Judaism in the eighth century A.D. The majority of the people in the kingdom of the Khazars, in what is present-day Russia, became Jews by religion (see Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. “Khazars,” 10:944–47). Many modern Jews from Europe can trace their lineage to the Khazars who, before 740 A.D., were Gentiles.
The black Africans of Ethiopia claim to be descendants of King David through the marriage of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (see 1 Kings 10:1–13; Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. “Ethiopia,” 6:943). So it is possible that the blood of Israel spread through Africa as well.
Even though there are groups today that could be thought of as predominantly Israel or predominantly Gentile, almost certainly blood of both lines can be found in most peoples of the earth. The important thing is that being Israel, or a covenant person, involves faithfulness as well as blood lineage. Thus, as Nephi said, repentance and faith in the Holy One of Israel is what determines whether one is of the covenant (see 2 Nephi 30:2), a concept also taught by Paul (see Romans 2:28–29). In other words, while the blood lineage is significant, it can be overridden by one’s own faithfulness or lack of faithfulness. You will see this concept taught from the beginning as you read the early history of the covenant people.
Comparing Joseph of Egypt with The Savior
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that all prophets are types of Christ:
“A prophet is one who has the testimony of Jesus, who knows by the revelations of the Holy Ghost to his soul that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. In addition to this divine knowledge, many of them lived in special situations or did particular things that singled them out as types and patterns and shadows of that which was to be in the life of him who is our Lord.” (The Promised Messiah, p. 448.)
Likewise, the life and mission of Joseph typifies the life and mission of Jesus. Consider the following:
Judah, the head of the tribe of Judah, proposed the sale of Joseph. Certain leaders of the Jews in Jesus’ day turned Jesus over to the Romans. Judas (the Greek spelling of Judah) was the one who actually sold Jesus. (See Genesis 37:26; Matthew 27:3.)
Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver, the price of a slave his age. Christ was sold for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave His age. (See Genesis 37:28;Matthew 27:3; Exodus 21:32; Leviticus 27:5.)
In their very attempt to destroy Joseph, his brothers actually set up the conditions that would bring about their eventual temporal salvation—that is, Joseph, by virtue of being sold, would become their deliverer. Jesus, by His being given into the hands of the Gentiles, was crucified and completed the atoning sacrifice, becoming the Deliverer for all mankind.