1 And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks—
2 And harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded.
(1 Nephi 14:1-2)
During a vision in which he saw events in the distant future, Nephi learned an important principle about covenants. He was a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and he knew that his ancestors had entered into a covenant relationship with God. He also knew that the covenant pertained not only to them but also to their descendants. (See 1 Nephi 15:18.) But in the passage above, the angel clarified that lineage alone does not qualify a person for that covenant. He described people in our day who were not descendants of Israel but who qualified nevertheless for the same covenant and who are essentially adopted into the family of Israel.
How did they qualify? When they saw the hand of God in their lives, demonstrating his power “in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks,” they chose to hearken — to hear and obey — and not to harden their hearts. In other words, they qualified by turning their hearts to God, humbling themselves, and following Him, which is exactly the way the ancient patriarchs qualified for the same blessing. As Nephi later explained to his brothers:
He loveth those who will have him to be their God. Behold, he loved our fathers, and he covenanted with them, yea, even Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and he remembered the covenants which he had made; wherefore, he did bring them out of the land of Egypt (1 Nephi 17:40).
As President Russell M. Nelson taught:
In the Bible we read of men and women in the Old World who were identified as children of the covenant. What covenant? “The covenant which God made with [their] fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed….”
Some of us are the literal seed of Abraham; others are gathered into his family by adoption. The Lord makes no distinction. Together we receive these promised blessings—if we seek the Lord and obey His commandments (“Covenants,” General Conference, October 2011).
Today, I will be grateful for the covenants I have made with God and which He is willing to make with anyone who will humble themselves, turn their hearts to Him and keep His commandments.