Abr 2:1-16

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Home > The Pearl of Great Price > Abraham > Chapters 1-2 > Verses 2:1-16
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Relationship to Chapters 1-2. The relationship of Verses 2:1-16 to the rest of Chapters 1-2 is discussed at Chapters 1-2.


Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 2:1-16 include:


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  • Abr 2:4: Terah in Haran. Notice that Genesis 12 does not mention Abraham's father, Terah, going with Abraham and lot and their wives to Haran like this verse does, but Gen 11:31 does.
  • Abr 2:6: I have purposed to take thee away. This phrase suggests a foreordained plan that God has for Abraham. Compare Abr 3:23.
  • Abr 2:8-11: Abrahamic Covenant. The giving of the Abrahamic Covenant is recounted in several places in the scriptures. (Gen 13-18; Abr. 2:8-11).
Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:18 (1-21); 17:11, 13 (1-27); 18:18; 22:18; 26:3-5; 28:10-14; Exo 2:24; 6:2-5; Lev 26:42-45; 2 Kgs 13:23; 17:15, 35, 38; 18:12; 23:2-3, 21; 1 Chron 16:15-17; Psalm 105:9; Acts 3:25; 7:8 - circumcision
In Gen 12:1-3 God promised Abraham a place, a people, and the presence of God. I am with you. Treated as a third starting point (after Adam and Noah) for the family of believers and for blessing all mankind.
The Lord will again establish this covenant with Israel when he sets his hand the second time to recover them - Isa 11; Rom 11:25-27; Jer 31:31-33. The Gentiles have now broken the covenant - Isa 24:5.
1. Land of inheritance.
  • Canaan. Gen 13:14-15. This inheritance is eternal, not immediate or temporal - Gen 17:18; Acts 7:5; Heb 11:8-10. The Jews will eventually gather to Canaan. Jer 31; Ezek 36-39; 47-48 (esp 47:13); Zech 14; Rev 7. (For a discussion of the history and evolution of this promise of possessing the Promised Land of Canaan, see the discussion at Isaiah).
  • Joseph. Joseph is given a double portion in America, the "utmost bound" - Gen 49:22, 26. Also see the discussion of 1 Ne. 2:19-24 regarding the Covenant with Nephi in America.
2. Innumerable seed.
  • in the world - literal descendants - Gen 17:20; Heb 11:8-12; Deut 4; 32
  • in the world - adoption
  • Gentiles to be adopted - Abr 2:8-11; Gal 3:7-29; D&C 132:29-33; D&C 84:33-41; 2 Ne 30:2
  • Unrighteous Israel rejected - John 8:31-47; Rom 9:6; 2 Ne 30:2
  • in eternity - eternal increase - D&C 132:30; Gen 13:16; 15:5; 17:4; 22:16-18; 26:4; 28:14; sealed into the lineage of Abraham
3. Bless friends, curse enemies.
4. Descendants to inherit these same blessings.
  • descendants entitled to have the covenant offered to them - D&C 86:8-11; 132:30 (29-50); Abr 2:9-11; Rom 9:4; Gal 3-4
5. All nations blessed through his seed.
  • descendants to minister
  • Christ - Acts 3:25-26; 3 Ne 20:25-27
  • many other great ones - missionaries
  • scattering among the nations, or leavening - Hosea "cake mixed?"
  • do the works of Abraham - John 8:39; D&C 132:31-32
  • teach children - Gen 18:19; D&C 93:40; 68:25
  • will gather and restore when repent
  • circumcision
Renewals. Renewed in Gen 24:60; 26:1-4, 24; 28; 35:9-13; 48:3-4
  • Isaac
  • Jacob
  • Joseph. He did not just inherit, but shared with his brothers.
  • Abr 2:11: Building on previous verses. Reading this verse in terms of previous verses in Abraham may shed some light:
And I will bless them that bless thee (bless Abraham as their father, perhaps? see verse 10)
and curse them that curse thee;
and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) (This is about to explain how Abraham and his seed will bless all families of the earth. It seems that the way "Abraham" himself can bless them is in his Priesthood, by giving others the blessings of the gospel. See verse 9 and the end of verse 11)
and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), (see verse 9 again: his seed will have the Priesthood and bear it and this ministry to all nations. The word "Priesthood" can also be thought about as a group of priests, just like a neighborhood is a group of neighbors. Abraham's "group" happens to be his family)
for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, (This is the promise Abraham sought for in Abr 1:2! He sought for the Priesthood, to be a "rightful heir," to be one who inherited the blessings that Adam himself had.)
and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) (Abr. 1:4. He also sought for the "right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same" and the "appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed." The purpose of the parenthesis seems to be to emphasize that yes, as verse 10 says, anyone who receives the gospel will be "counted" as his seed as so have the blessings and rights promised, but the promise is first to his literal seed. It seems that if there are others who will be "counted" as his seed, there needs to actually be a "literal seed" to grouped into. In addition, there is a promise mentioned in D&C 107 of having one's literal seed alive throughout history and alive at the second coming. The purpose of this promise, it may be, is that there will be one line alive who has the right to the priesthood, and thus all others can be blessed by that line and also counted up into it. A "welding link," like that in D&C 128, as it were?)
shall all the families of the earth be blessed, (Note again verse 9, that his seed which has the Priesthood can carry this ministry and to all nations. Therefore, "families of the earth" could here be understood in two different but overlapping ways: "Families" could mean nations or peoples, but also to individual families with their own children. As mentioned above, it appears that one way all the families of the earth are blessed is by becoming part of Abraham's line. When parents are counted as Abraham's seed, and teach their children to receive the blessings of the Priesthood, then this right to the Priesthood begins to continue in their own literal seed as well. Others can become like Abraham, parallel fathers blessing their own families, by being counted as Abraham's seed.)
even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.
  • Abr 2:16: Eternity. The suddenly exalted language of this verses suggests that something more than mere beauty of words is at play. It should be noted that "eternity" is characterized three times, each in a radically different manner. First, it is a covering, something above. Second, it is a rock, something below. Third, it is salvation, which is apparently not to be understood in any spatio-temporal sense. Putting the first two characterizations of "eternity," one might understand "eternity" to be the tent Abraham travels in: both the support ("rock") and the protection ("covering"). This might be born out by Hugh Nibley's studies of Lehi's tent (to be found at length in Lehi in the Desert. It might moreover be significant that Abraham calls this tent "eternity" because of the meaning of the Hebrew word: two words were pronounced identically in Hebrew (though they had different vowells), one meaning eternity and the other meaning the area stretched opened between two pillars (as in the porch of Solomon's temple). It may be that there is some connection intended between these two terms: eternity is that space stretched out between the poles, the place of the threshold, the place where man meets God (salvation?). Whatever the details of these possibilities come down to, there is certainly here the hint of Abraham traveling in a cosmic tent, marking the stars as he goes and cutting out a template of the world thereby. It is significant that Facsimile no. 3 pictures Abraham inside a tent, the ceiling of which is marked with stars, while he reasons upon "the principles of astronomy."

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  • Abr 2:3: Compare to Abr 1:1. In Abr 1:1, Abraham writes, "I saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence." Here, Abraham says that the Lord tells him to get out of the country. Why does Abraham mention his own thoughts in Abr 1:1 before mentioning God's commandment to him here? What is going on in terms of the structure in these chapters with this verse picking up where Abr 1:1 left off?
  • Abr 2:7: I dwell in heaven. Later, God will dwell in the cloud that follows Moses and the children of Israel out of Egypt [reference needed], and then in the ark of the Covenant [reference needed from Numbers, Joshua, Judges?, and 1-2 Samuel]. Why does God's dwelling place change (or does it)? Does this affect the way that God interects with his people?
  • Abr 2:11: Thy Priesthood. Why is the parenthetical statement "that is, (in) thy Priesthood" used twice here? Substituting these parentheticals for the words they seem to modify seems to make for a confusing statement: "and in thy Priesthood and (in) thy Priesthood . . . shall all the families of the earth be blessed . . . ." Might this be read as the Priesthood dissolving the distinction between Abraham and his seed? What else might this mean?
  • Abr 2:11: Literal seed. Why does Abraham specify that he means "literal seed, or seed of the body"? (Or might this be an editorial comment by Joseph?) What is the difference between the meaning of seed in a figurative vs. literal sense?
  • Abr 2:12: After the Lord had withdrawn. Why does Abraham say what he says in his heart only "after the Lord had withdrawn." Was Abraham "speechless" in the presence of the Lord, to caught up in what the Lord was saying to be able to form his own words, even if only said to his heart?


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  • Abr 2:11. Craig A. Cardon, "Moving Closer to Him," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 94–96. Elder Cardon states: "The crowning temple ordinance is available only to a man and a woman when they are sealed together, forming an eternal family unit. It is by virtue of this and all other priesthood ordinances that 'the families of the earth [shall] be blessed'... No other doctrine in all of religion better confirms God's commensurate love for both His sons and His daughters."


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