“The Everlasting Covenant: The Fulness of the Gospel, Lesson 25: Sections 66–68,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324–325 (1981), 49–50
“Lesson 25,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide, 49–50
Those who join the Church of Jesus Christ enter into a contractual arrangement with the Lord known as the new and everlasting covenant.
The new and everlasting covenant is the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is new because it has been revealed or restored in each dispensation of time.
It is everlasting because it never changes-the things that would save a man in Adam’s day are the very things that will save a man today.
The new and everlasting covenant is a contractual arrangement in which God and man agree to abide by certain terms and conditions in return for certain benefits.
Man agrees to keep all of God’s commandments and observe every ordinance of salvation.
God, in return, agrees to share with man all the blessings and benefits of eternal life.
Use material from Historical Background and Notes and Commentary to teach each revelation in its historical context.
D&C 66–68. Keeping in mind the theme of this lesson, read and ponder these sections.
D&C 66:2. How does the Lord define the everlasting covenant? Why was it restored?
D&C 45:9. What three special roles does the everlasting covenant perform for man?
D&C 133:57–58. What is another purpose for the new and everlasting covenant?
Jeremiah 31:31–34. Those in the last days who have the new covenant placed in their inward parts will be blessed with what special honor?
D&C 20:8–9. According to this revelation, which book of scripture contains the “fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ”?
D&C 132:6–7. According to this scripture, why was the new and everlasting covenant instituted? What penalty does one who fails to abide by its conditions face?
D&C 131:2; 132:4. A specific law of the new and everlasting covenants is that of eternal marriage. The same is true of baptism (see D&C 22), priesthood ordination (see D&C 84:33–40), and all other gospel ordinances and covenants.
DS, 1:153–59. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the new and everlasting covenant. See also Gos. Doc, p. 85.
DS, 1:154. God stipulates all covenants relating to salvation and eternal life, and man has no right to alter them.
Discourses, p. 160. What do Latter-day Saints receive by covenant when they enter the Church through baptism?
Teachings, p. 323. What is the significant difference between covenants made through the Aaronic Priesthood and those of the Melchizedek Priesthood?
DS, 1:160–64. The word dispensation is defined and some of the dispensations of the gospel are briefly mentioned and commented upon.
DS, 2:338–47. What is the purpose of sacrament meeting?
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 529–30. The gospel is both a “new” and an “everlasting” covenant.
Harold B. Lee, Decisions for Successful Living, p. 140. The endowment is but the revealing of covenants received at the time of baptism.
John Taylor, in Journal of Discourses, 25:165. The violation of our sacred covenants is a very serious matter.
David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, pp. 72–73. We make three special covenants when partaking of the sacrament.
David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 3. Opportunities to learn the gospel have been present in every dispensation.
The teacher should note that lesson 51, “Eternal Marriage,” should be considered in preparing this lesson. Note also that Doctrine and Covenants 131 and 132 deal with the new and everlasting covenant, but from the perspective of eternal marriage.
If desired, write the words apostasy and dispensation on the chalkboard and call for student definitions. Help students to see that a new dispensation is needed each time a major apostasy from divine truth occurs. Point out that there have been many such dispensations.
Draw a large circle on the chalkboard and label it “The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times.” Write “The Restoration of All Things” under it. Then indicate that every former dispensation is included in this, the grandest of all dispensations, and the keys and powers of each have been restored in the latter days. Draw six arrows entering the circle and label them with the names of the major dispensations. Indicate that these dispensations are shown in the diagram as being representative of all dispensations which “feed into” and are comprehended by the dispensation of the fulness of times.
Indicate that every key or power necessary for the salvation of man which has ever been on the earth has been restored in our time. In addition to the keys of former dispensations, the dispensation of the fulness of times includes additional knowledge and keys that are necessary to our time in preparing all things for the coming of the Savior (see D&C 101:32–35; 121:26–32; 124:41; 128:18).
Read Doctrine and Covenants 66:2. Point out that the gospel is the new and everlasting covenant—new because it has been restored, everlasting because it is always the same gospel message. That which would save a man from death and sin in former days will save a man from sin and death today.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 132:4–7 with the class. Call the students’ attention to the wording. Verse four speaks of “a new and everlasting covenant,” while verse six speaks of “the new and everlasting covenant.” The latter we have already defined as the fulness of the gospel itself. Point out that no one principle or ordinance of the gospel stands alone. Temple marriage (vs. 4) is a new and everlasting covenant, but it is not the fulness of the gospel, and neither is baptism, priesthood ordinations, the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, or the temple endowment. Each of these is a part of, but not the whole of, the gospel in its fulness.
This may be represented on the chalkboard by listing some of the gospel principles under the umbrella of “the new and everlasting covenant.”
Point out that the sacrament not only calls to mind the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but it is also an excellent time to renew covenants made with the Lord. Through it we indicate our sorrow for any past wrongdoing, our repentance from sin, and our determination to fulfill our original pledge to be true to any and all promises made to Jesus Christ. It is a time for solemn self-examination and recommitment to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The sacrament ordinance is a good example of how a gospel covenant is a contractual arrangement. Man makes three promises to God: to always remember his Son, to take upon himself God’s name and keep it pure, and to keep all of God’s commandments. In return, God promises that if man keeps his covenants he may always have Christ’s spirit to assist him in his daily life.
A similar analysis could be made of each of the gospel ordinances.
Encourage young people to keep their covenants with God. Conclude by reading the following statement from President John Taylor: “We enter into obligations … and pledge ourselves in the most solemn manner … and if we violate these covenants, and trample under foot the ordinances of God, we ought to be dealt with by the Church and either repent of our sins or be cut off from the Church so that by purging the Church from iniquity, we may be acceptable before God. For the Gods spoken of, are not going to associate with every scallawag in existence; scallawags are not going where they are; and if men do not live according to the laws of a Celestial kingdom, they are not going into a Celestial glory; they cannot pass by the angels and the Gods, who are set to guard the way of life. Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it.” (In Journal of Discourses, 25:165.)