Selected Teachings on
Promises to the Heirs of the Covenant

Those born in or adopted into "the covenant" are heirs of certain blessings promised to the posterity of the ancient patriarchs. Covenant heirs lay claim upon covenant blessings through their faithfulness to the Lord. Those whose right it is to claim these promised blessings can be referred to as "the children of the covenant" (3 Nephi 20:26) or "lawful heirs, according to the flesh" (D&C 86:9). The following list briefly outlines the covenant promises:

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.

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; 10:19; D&C 42:35-36).

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).

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).

4. Blessings of and to Posterity.

In Mortality: In scripture various blessings are promised the faithful concerning their posterity, such as:

  • they will have posterity (D&C 132:30).
  • 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 "Right to Priesthood Blessings" above)
  • their children are heirs to a promised land (2 Ne. 1:5; 3:2; D&C 38:18-20; 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).
  • even if they wander, the Lord will reach out to their seed with mercy to extend the blessings of the priesthood to which they are heir.
  • even if their posterity wander and go astray, the Lord will eventually extend ample opportunities to them to repent and claim the covenant blessings. The Lord’s assurance to the faithful concerning their errant posterity is that they are “not cast off forever” (Book of Mormon Title Page; see also The Blessings of Temple Sealings on Children).

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; emphasis added). 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.

Russell M. Nelson (Quorum of the Twelve)

We have the right to receive the fulness of the gospel, enjoy the blessings of the priesthood, and qualify for God’s greatest blessing—that of eternal life (see D&C 14:7).

Some of us are the literal seed of Abraham; others are gathered into his family by adoption. The Lord makes no distinction (see Acts 10:34–35). Together we receive these promised blessings—if we seek the Lord and obey His commandments (see Exodus 19:5). But if we don’t, we lose the blessings of the covenant. To assist us, His Church provides patriarchal blessings to give each recipient a vision for his or her future as well as a connection with the past, even a declaration of lineage back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Brethren of the covenant have the right to qualify for the oath and covenant of the priesthood (see D&C 84:33–34, 39–40). If you are “faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods … and the magnifying [of your] calling, [you] are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of [your] bodies” (D&C 84:33). That is not all. Men who worthily receive the priesthood receive the Lord Jesus Christ, and those who receive the Lord receive God the Father (see D&C 84:35, 37). And those who receive the Father receive all that He has (see D&C 84:38). Incredible blessings flow from this oath and covenant to worthy men, women, and children in all the world.

Ours is the responsibility to help fulfill the Abrahamic covenant. Ours is the seed foreordained and prepared to bless all people of the world (see Alma 13:1–9). That is why priesthood duty includes missionary work. After some 4,000 years of anticipation and preparation, this is the appointed day when the gospel is to be taken to the kindreds of the earth. This is the time of the promised gathering of Israel. And we get to participate! Isn’t that exciting? The Lord is counting on us and our sons—and He is profoundly grateful for our daughters—who worthily serve as missionaries in this great time of the gathering of Israel....

Children of the covenant have the right to receive His doctrine and to know the plan of salvation. They claim it by making covenants of sacred significance. ("Covenants," Ensign, Nov. 2011)