The Most Glorious Doctrine Ever Revealed (Part 3)
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
The new and everlasting covenant is the first pillar of Zion. Inherent to the Covenant is access to God’s power: the power of deliverance, healing, and asking for and receiving blessings.
In a sweeping vision of the last days, Nephi saw us, the latter-day followers of the Lamb of God, as the objects of Satan’s wrath. Our righteousness became our defense, righteousness which summoned the power of God and in turn empowered us to withstand the adversary so that we might go forth and accomplish our missions.
And it came to pass that I beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory. 1
Zion people derive their power from abiding in the Covenant!
Power Unto Deliverance
Drawing upon the perspective of his experiences in escaping from Jerusalem (Babylon), his wilderness journey, and inheriting the promised land (Zion), Nephi recorded this profound insight: “I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”2 Thereafter, he narrates incident after incident in which the power of his covenant with the Lord saved him and his family. The Book of Mormon is a textbook on power in the Covenant.
Alma and Amulek experienced the power of the Covenant as they went forth in faith to minister among the people. When they had been cast into prison and suffered exceedingly for the sake of Christ, Alma cried unto the Lord for the power of deliverance, a power available because he had made the Covenant, remained faithful to it, and exercised faith in Christ. In an astonishing turn of events, Alma and Amulek broke the cords that bound them—in the same way that Nephi broke his cords3—and the earth shook until the prison fell and killed the abusers.
And Alma and Amulek came forth out of the prison, and they were not hurt; for the Lord had granted unto them power, according to their faith which was in Christ.4” Of their ministry, Mormon wrote, “And they had power given unto them, insomuch that they could not be confined in dungeons; neither was it possible that any man could slay them.5
Zion people obtain the power of deliverance by abiding in the Covenant!
Deliverance from Every Manner of Affliction
When Alma had served as leader of the Church for many years and now was instructing his son, Helaman, in the doctrine of the Covenant, he made this observation: “I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.”6
With perspective, we, too, can look back and point to constant demonstrations of God’s power in our lives. Because he and we abide in the Covenant together, we, by our righteousness, are ever in a position to draw upon his power to mitigate life’s difficulties. Like the ancient Israelites, we, too, can point to times when we have been delivered from bondage and captivity, and our enemies have been neutralized or destroyed. Like Lehi and his family, we, too, by God’s everlasting power, have been called out of a wicked environment, and he has delivered us from time to time even down to the present day.7
When the circumstances of our lives bind us with seemingly unbreakable bands that only God can break, we, like Alma, should retain in our remembrance our former experiences with the power of God.
Because God never changes and because he keeps the Covenant, he will likewise intervene now and in the future, as he has intervened in the past, to help us to face our challenges.8
Our access to his power is a combination of our righteousness and our faith in Christ. We have confidence that he will not leave us forever bound in cords or held in prison or beaten or despised. We believe that our abiding in the Covenant has summoned his power many times, and our continuing to abide in the Covenant will summon his power of deliverance in the future.
Then we, like Alma, can declare that we have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, and in all manner of afflictions, and that God will yet deliver us from prison, and from bonds, and from death. Therefore, we abide in the Covenant with the assurance that if we continue to put our trust in God, he will manifest his power and deliver us.
Other Powers Manifested in the Covenant
Power in the Covenant is manifested in other ways. For example, we enter the Covenant through the ordinance of baptism, which places upon us a name of power—Jesus Christ. The power of the name of Jesus Christ is unequaled. During His mortal ministry, Jesus ordained the seventy, gave them power to use his name, and then sent them on missions. He instructed them:
Heal the sick therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of heaven is come nigh unto you [i.e., We have come with power as authorized servants from the kingdom of heaven and have authority to use the name of Jesus Christ to bless you.].
When the seventy returned from their missions, they were astonished at the power of the name of Jesus Christ:
And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.9
Clearly, the name of Christ is “that ultimate statement of authority.” 10
Concerning the importance of the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord commanded us as Zion people to “take upon you the name of Christ. . . . Behold, Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved [now or in the future]; . . . for in that name [Jesus Christ] shall they be called at the last day.”11 The name of Jesus Christ is a blessing that we often overlook. Given to us at baptism, the name of Jesus Christ opens the door to prayer and access to the Father. This power to ask for and receive blessings is one of the supernal powers of the Covenant.
Prayer is perhaps most efficacious when it is preceded by sacrifice. Because the vicarious sacrifices that we offer in the temple are some of the most Christlike sacrifices—sacrificing for the sake of someone who could not otherwise achieve redemption—our subsequent prayers that we offer in the temple often carry added spiritual weight. We cannot quantify the power of prayers offered in the holy temple.
Prayer in the name of Jesus Christ speaks eloquently regarding our relationship with the Lord as it exists in the Covenant. If we would more readily respond to a request from a friend or a family member than we would from a stranger, would not Heavenly Father readily respond to us because we are in the Covenant with him and a member of the family of Jesus Christ? Moreover, if we were to ask a friend or a family member for help in assisting someone of our acquaintance, would they not be willing to respond favorably because of their relationship to us?
In like manner, when Zion people, who are of the Covenant, ask Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ to bless people of their acquaintance, he will respond to their request because of their covenant relationship. Because the law of heaven requires asking in the name of Jesus Christ to receive blessings, someone must ask.12 We believe that it is because of our loving covenantal relationship with the Father that we can ask and he will respond—because we are family.
That is the power of the Covenant!
This is the third 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.
- 1 Nephi 14:14; emphasis added.
- 1 Nephi 1:20; emphasis added.
- 1 Nephi 8:16–18.
- Alma 14:26–28; emphasis added.
- Alma 8:31.
- Alma 36:27.
- Alma 36:29.
- Alma 36:28–29.
- Luke 10:9, 17; emphasis added.
- Packer, “An Evening with President Boyd K. Packer,” Feb. 29, 2008.
- D&C 18:21–24; emphasis added.
- Packer, “Personal Revelation,” 59–62.