Larry Barkdull publishes every Wednesday on Meridian.
This article was adapted from my new book, The Three Pillars of Zion. Click here to receive a free sample.)
This is a six-part series on the new and everlasting covenant, the first pillar of Zion:
- The Most Glorious Doctrine Ever Revealed
- The Covenant Reveals A Loving Relationship
- Power in the Covenant
- Safety in the Covenant
- Progressing in the Covenant
- Abiding in the Covenant
Of all the doctrines that God has ever revealed, the one that stands preeminent is the new and everlasting covenant, the “umbrella covenant” under which all other covenants reside. Beginning with baptism and ending with eternal marriage, the new and everlasting covenant contains the greatest hope and the most impressive promises of anything found on earth or in heaven.
The new and everlasting covenant is the first pillar upon which Zion is built. By abiding its terms we can escape Babylon, flee to Zion, and forever abide safely in the embrace of our Eternal Father.
The Father himself created the new and everlasting covenant for the salvation of his children.[i] The purposes of the Covenant are to provide us:
- Knowledge and power for personal salvation;
- Knowledge, authority, and power to help save other people by offering and administering to them the Covenant.
Our ability to become Zion people—and even our entire eternal future—hang upon our diligence in adhering to the terms of the Covenant. The Lord said, “I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy. For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me.”[ii]
At the Heart of the Covenant, A Holy Relationship
The deeper we dig into the doctrine of the Covenant, the more we discover a loving relationship. A caring Father is offering us all that he has and is. Therefore, he reveals to us the laws by which he lives, and the same eternal covenants of progression and exaltation that made him who he is. He offers these to us knowing that the Covenant will help us to grow from dependence to independence, from natural men to gods.
To make our relationship sure, and, furthermore, to insure the terms of the Covenant, three distinct offerings must be made:
- The Father offers to share with us the supernal blessings of the Covenant;
- The Son offers to cover the infinite expenses of the Covenant that we cannot meet;
- We offer our hearts.
Yielding our hearts to God allows us to be assimilated into the celestial order of the gods. We do this by living the celestial laws of Zion in a telestial world, adopting the Father’s work of redemption as our own, and becoming experts at serving and saving his children.
Power in the Covenant
The Covenant contains multiple benefits and powers. For example, because it is the word of God, the Covenant has the inherent power of leavening. Its doctrines grow within us until we are totally leavened by them. The doctrines of the Covenant transform us into Zion people.
The Covenant separates us from the world. When we enter into the Covenant by baptism, we are born again into a new life.[iii] We die as to our old life and are born again as new beings with a new father, Jesus Christ; we have a new family, the Church of Jesus Christ.[iv] Now we are his covenant people. As such, we will be forever separate and unique, the Lord’s peculiar treasure.[v]
There is power in the Covenant. As we enter the Covenant through baptism, the Lord places upon us his name, which is a name of power—Jesus Christ. Through that name, because we are now in a loving covenantal relationship, we can ask the Father for blessings by the power of the name of Jesus Christ, and God will respond—because we are family.
Safety in the Covenant
There is safety in the Covenant. Because Babylon is a dangerous condition, we seek the Lord’s safety. This can be found only in the Covenant. When we finally garner the courage to abandon the telestial condition and embrace celestial law, which we must do in order to become Zionlike, we will make the discovery of a lifetime: We are absolutely safe—safer than we have ever been or felt before!
Safety in the Covenant also applies to the afflictions that we suffer in mortality. When we suffer, our afflictions are consecrated for our gain in the Covenant.[vi] The Lord converts our afflictions from destructive to exalting: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose [his Covenant].
Order in the Covenant
The Covenant orders our lives so that we might progress to eternal life. As order applies to progression, we initially obey the laws of the Covenant out of a sense of duty. Over time, duty progresses to understanding, and ultimately we are motivated to obey because of love. Step by step, as we progress in the Covenant with each higher law and ordinance, general requirements become more specific. Likewise, we progress in the Covenant from servant to friend to a son or daughter of God.
Living within the order of the Covenant protects us from the wicked one, while disorder, or disobedience, gives Satan power to afflict us. Therefore, the Lord commands us to set our houses in order according to the stipulations of the Covenant.
The order available to us through living the laws and ordinances of the Covenant keeps the compass of our lives oriented toward true north. The Lord reminds us that his house is a house of order and not of confusion. We progress to eternal life by following the ordained path. This path has markers or ordinances, which define the order of the Covenant. Each ordinance must be received in its proper order and lived faithfully if eternal life is to be gained. There is no other way. Without authorized ordinances there is no possibility of salvation.
Order and Consecration
The order of the Covenant and the law of consecration go hand in hand. The Lord’s claim to the resources of the earth supersedes our claims. This is the covenantal order. No longer can we consider ourselves as owners but rather as accountable stewards of the Lord’s property. Moreover, the covenantal order of relationships is one of equality, esteeming all men and women as ourselves and seeking for unity and cooperation. We cannot achieve the necessary faith to live the law of consecration without the ordering power of the priesthood and the Covenant’s additional covenants and ordinances. But if we will allow the Covenant to help us to order our houses and lives, we will reap power, safety, and prosperity, according to the order of the Covenant.
Abide in the Covenant
All of these blessings pivot on our willingness to enter into and keep the terms of the Covenant. “Abide in the Covenant” is the commandment of the Lord. Our ability to access power, find safety, progress, and attain future glory hinge on our abiding (staying put) in the Covenant.
The Covenant secures us to Jesus Christ, the True Vine, from whom we, the branches, receive life and sustaining nourishment. In the Vine, the Husbandman, by covenant, purges and purifies us to fit us for eternal life.
Our faithfulness in abiding in the Covenant directly affects our ability to use the name of Jesus Christ. By this name of power, which we receive a right to use at baptism, we can approach the Father and ask for and receive blessings. Because the Father and the Son promise to respond, we never need to experience lack; sufficiency and abundance are central principles of Zion.
The Covenant is a Manifestation of God’s Love
Our receiving the Father’s blessings speaks to a covenantal relationship founded on love. His blessings anchor us to our hope in Christ and communicate that we are never alone. Because of God’s blessings, we are always indebted to him—an incredible benefit understood only by those who abide faithfully in the Covenant.
These are the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant, the most glorious doctrine ever revealed.
This is the first of six articles on the new and everlasting covenant. These articles were adapted from my new book, The Three Pillars of Zion. Click here to receive a free sample.
[i] 3 Nephi 16:5; 20:12, 25, 27, 29, 46; 21:4, 7; 29:1; Mormon 5:14; 9:47; Ether 4:15; Moroni 10:33; D&C 84:40.
[ii] D&C 98:14–15.
[iii] Mosiah 27:25; Alma 7:14; Moses 6:59; John 3:3–7.
[iv] Moses 5:7.
[v] Exodus 19:5; Psalms 135:4.
[vi] 2 Nephi 2:2.
[vii] Romans 8:28.