Friday, January 23, 2009

Do the Works of Abraham

So far as I know, two peoples in the world claim the ancestry of Abraham and the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant: the Jewish people and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Mormons claim the blessings of that ancestry, mostly through Ephraim and Joseph, but occasionally through others of the twelve tribes, as told to them by a Patriarch of the Church. The scriptures promise great blessings to "Ephraim and his fellows," including the Priesthood and the power to gather the nations unto Christ. The Abrahamic covenant is also a major part of the basis for the Jewish state of Israel. Now, Christ told the Jews to do the works of Abraham. What does that mean?

For Latter-day Saints, it means to ask and recieve knowledge from God. The LDS Book of Abraham is a great blessing, and it says that Abraham received many revelations. We can inherit this blessing. We can receive all of the blessings of the Priesthood through temple ordinances and covenants that are necessary for us in this life to lead to exaltation and eternal families.

For the Jewish people, it means to do their best to make peace with their neighbors. In the book of Genesis, Abraham made sacrifices in order to guarantee peace with those around him, even when they were the offenders. In Genesis chapter 13, Abraham gives part of the land promised to him to his nephew Lot when both of them became too prosperous to share the same herding and grazing grounds. He shared his blessing generously. He had every right to ask Abraham to leave, but he did not. Isaac did the works of Abraham his father in Genesis 26, when he kept digging wells until there were enough that everyone was happy.

I hope that all the people of the world will do the works of Abraham and receive the promised blessing. It is a tremendous blessing indeed. No greater promises are made in the scriptures to those who are faithful.

8 comments:

Bjorn said...

You forgot! The Arabs also claim to be from Abraham :D

Olorin said...

I've heard both ways on that. I'm sure some do and some don't, but I don't have any sort of hard data.

Olorin said...

In other words, if you have a source, I would be delighted to learn more about the subject. I've never done any real research.

Bjorn said...

According to Wikipedia, which isn't the best source, but I believe it, Josephus and the Book of Jubilees says it (of course, these aren't the most reliable sources either). I have found it in my reading, however, but I can't remember exactly where except one source, which is my favorite: http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=643b615b01a6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

I'll be looking it up more when I start my capstone research, so I'll let you know what I find.

Bjorn said...

Umm... that source didn't work out that well. Basically, look up "All Are Alike Unto God" by Howard W. Hunter on lds.org. I'm sure you'd love to read it anyway :D.

Olorin said...

Well, my point isn't just whether they are descendants of Abraham--I think it's very likely that the Arab nations are--but it's also whether or not they look to Abraham as their ancestor and the person who got the Abrahamic covenant for them. Muslims recognize Abraham as a great prophet, but I think my argument would have greater strength among Jews than Arabs or any other culture or religion except our own.

Bjorn said...

I'm not so sure about that. Jews focus a lot more on Moses than they do Abraham, just like Muslims focus a lot more on Muhammad than they do Abraham; however, Abraham is a very important prophet in both religions. Also, I'm still pretty sure that they both consider Abraham their forefather for the most part, but as I said, I'll be finding that out later so I can't substantiate it quite yet.

Bjorn said...

I forgot to write this in the previous post: I concur that the argument works best with Jews considering they look at Abraham as the source of covenants. Muslims don't seem to have this concept as much, even though the Qur'an could be read in such a way.