Gospel of Abraham
From The Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Author: Flake, Joel A.
On April 3, 1836, the keys of the "dispensation of the gospel of Abraham" were committed to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple as part of the restoration of all things in the dispensation of the fulness of times (D&C 110:12). It was promised that through latter-day recipients of the gospel and their seed, all generations who accept it shall be blessed (HC 2:434-36). This renewed the promise that was given anciently to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3; Abr. 2:6, 9-11; cf. Gal. 3:7-9, 29).
Latter-day Saints teach that Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and many others headed dispensations of the gospel. Divine blessings and commandments were bestowed appropriate to the circumstances of the faithful people of God in each dispensation.
The gospel dispensation of Abraham includes the patriarchal order of the priesthood and the eternal marriage covenant (D&C 131:1-4;132:28-30; see also Marriage: Eternal Marriage), by which the Abrahamic Covenant is perpetuated from generation to generation among the faithful. Abraham was given a promise of innumerable posterity both in the world and out of the world. This promise is renewed for all who obey the gospel of Jesus Christ and receive the priesthood covenant of celestial marriage, "and by this law is the continuation of the works of [the] Father" among mankind both in time and eternity (D&C 132:31-33). The restoration of all things included the restoration of the keys to Joseph Smith to make it possible in modern times for all who do the works of Abraham to inherit the covenant and blessings of Abraham. [See also Seed of Abraham.] JOEL A. FLAKE