“The Abrahamic Covenant”

 

Abraham, father of the faithful

 

Jeffrey Bradshaw, Craig Foster, and Martin Tanner focus, in this the fifty-seventh (57th) Interpreter Foundation scripture roundtable, on the seventh lesson in the 2014 Old Testament Gospel Doctrine manual:

 

http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/scripture-roundtable-57-old-testament-gospel-doctrine-lesson-7-the-abrahamic-covenant/

 

We hope that these will be useful to Gospel Doctrine teachers and students.

 

Posted from Orlando, Florida

 

 

  • R Crawford

    Interesting broadcast which brought to my mind a few questions.

    Isaac wasn’t Abraham’s only son. There was Ishmael and others. If we look to Abraham as one of the “Fathers” who has gone on to a celestial reward what else can we learn from his life.

    His relationship with Hagar, a concubine by whom he had a child, both the mother and son, perhaps due to further jealousy between Hagar and Sarah, were so dysfunctional in the family that Abraham separated Hagar and Ishmael and sent them to survive on their own merits. There was no recorded subsequent responsibility recorded in the record where Abraham supported this abandoned concubine/wife and his son. The posterity of this son have been locked in a death grip with the descendants of his favorite son Ishmael resulting in thousands of years of alienation (both prior to and after Mohammed) and retribution for real or supposed injury. What do we learn from this aspect of Abraham’s life. What if anything can dysfunctional families in our day learn? What can abandoned wife’s learn? Can we dismiss these experiences as being set in a different culture? If we ignore these family issues are we justified in praising Abraham’s successes which also came out of a different culture?

    What do we learn from the promises given to Abraham. Land, posterity and priesthood. None of these promises came to fruition in Abraham’s life time. That being the case, what can we learn about the perspectives on eternity of God? If the promises to Abraham were meant to be fulfilled in the future, do we accept God’s promises to us with the same futuristic perspective? Do we have the right to require of God a blessing when we have complied with the requirements for receiving that blessing or should we expect that those blessings will come in God’s time which includes in many if not most cases post mortal expectations?

    Is there something in Abraham’s account that parents can hold onto when their posterity chose a course that is not in harmony with what they are taught by their parents? We rightly hold the Joseph Smith family up as positive examples, yet did any of Joseph Smith Junior’s immediate family remain in the church? Is there a lesson or consolation in that which should be understood in the hope for righteous posterity which is certainly what Abraham was thinking of when given promises of posterity and priesthood. For that matter, what of Joseph Smith Senior’s family. Alvin, born to a righteous family and righteous himself, died before the church was restored, is there a lesson there? Hyrum, Joseph, Don Carlos died in the faith, but William, Sophronia, Lucy (daughter), and Catharine all lived long after the death of Joseph Smith Junior and lived all of their lives outside the church. Even Joseph Smith Senior’s wife and his daughter in law Emma (Joseph Smith Junior’s wife) lived the remainder of their lives outside the church. Is there a lesson for parents related to prominent people in the church, Old Testament or in this day that teaches us of expectations. Is it healthy to hold ourselves up to what may be unrealistic expectations that were not met by some of the most favored people throughout ecclesiastical history? Guilt can be both positive and negative, but if we hide reality, which is what we do when we don’t fully ponder all of the evidence, do we cause ourselves unhealthy feelings of guilt due to false expectations that can be disastrous to health and lifestyle.

    Example, I had an employee, a faithful member of his religion that was called away from work, to go immediately to his home, by the police. He arrived and found his wife had taken a butcher knife, killed the children and then turned it on herself. His comment much latter was that she had misunderstood something she read in the Bible. I don’t know what it was that she misunderstood, but the account of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac comes to mind. The difference was the source of the command to make the sacrifice and the fact that in one case the ultimate sacrifice wasn’t fully carried out. In a family of 15 million people are we so sure that we all understand the gospel and revelation so completely that we can dismiss this aspect of the story of Abraham? If Abraham’s faith gained his calling and election because of his willingness to sacrifice Isaac, although falsely led what can we say of the faith of one that completed the sacrifice?

    Do we set our members up for disaster when we pick and chose the events of Abraham’s life to discuss, while ignoring Abraham’s willingness to murder his son or send another son into the dessert with his mother without support, falsify (nice way for saying lie – is bearing false witness then justified in special circumstances?) the relationship with his wife to the Egyptians so he could save his own life, are we justified in ignoring the negative aspects of Abraham’s life? What do we do with the fact that Abraham is justified in calling Sarah his sister but we have examples in the Book of Mormon of those that gave up their lives rather than deny their particular take on theology? Is it alright to deny ones family but not ones religious belief when in both cases your life is at risk? If we draw the line at the point of our belief in God, does that put everything else we say in question?


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