Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Old Covenant and The New and Everlasting Covenant

I love the Gospel, or “Good News” of Jesus Christ and the simplicity of it. As I have begun teaching from the Doctrine and Covenants this year I have found how simply beautiful the doctrine and principles of His Gospel are for each of us to understand and embrace.

I am thankful for the past year of study I have had solely in the first five books of Moses in the Old Testament. It has given me a greater understanding of the covenant relationship we have with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. With that foundational understanding I have been allowed to see the relationship the “Old Covenant” has with the “New and Everlasting Covenant” of today.

What exactly is the “Old Covenant” I am referring to?

Many people term the “Old Covenant” as the Abrahamic Covenant. That has been somewhat confusing to me at times, because the covenant was originally made with Adam, renewed with Enoch, Noah, and so forth throughout all the dispensation heads. I have often wondered why it was not labeled the Adamic Covenant, since it truly began with Adam, but I guess that is food for thought for another post, right?

My intended purpose for writing this post is to express my thoughts of WHAT the covenant, or as we call it, Abrahamic Covenant, really is. For simplicity I have broken it down in this way:

A covenant is a two way promise between God and man, with God setting the terms. Applied to that promise are blessings or consequences for how well you live up to your end of the “contract”. God always lives up to His end of the deal that is why He is God.

The actual promise is really very simple. God has stated that “If you will make me your God, then I will make you my people, therefore walk with me.”

Leviticus 26:3-12

3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;

4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.

6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.

7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.

8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.

10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.

11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.

12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.

IF we make Him our God we must learn to “walk with Him”. What exactly does that entail really? I have spent much time pondering that question, and have found that it is really as simple as learning to be obedient and being willing to sacrifice. This life is given to us so that we may learn to walk. How easy that learning process is, is our own choice, but ultimately we will all learn to walk.

If we choose not to “walk the walk” patterned after His walk then there are consequences as well:

Leviticus 26: 27-28

27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;

28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.

Even if we do not choose the easy path, He still allows us to learn to walk. We are simply given a different, or most times harder, path to walk until we learn to walk WITH Him. Through His chastisement or the difficult path we are given, we WILL learn. This difficult path is for our own growth, for “whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.”

The covenant we make is simply this: to make Him our God and walk in His ways. He in turn will make us His people. I think, in that deal we are getting more than we are giving really, but isn’t that how it always is with our Father in Heaven?