Section 22

DC 22:1 this is a new and an everlasting covenant

We often speak of temple marriage as "the new and everlasting covenant." In fact, the marriage covenant is only part of the new and everlasting covenant of the gospel.

"We need to understand that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the 'everlasting covenant'-it is God's promise of eternal life and salvation (see D&C 66:2; D&C 133:57). Although the gospel is the new and everlasting covenant, it consists of many individual covenants. For example, baptism is 'a new and everlasting covenant,' and celestial marriage is also 'a new and everlasting covenant,' (D&C 22:1- 2; D&C 132:4; italics added)." (Robert J. Matthews, "Our Covenants with the Lord," Ensign, Dec. 1980, 34)

Dallin H. Oaks

The covenant described in these scriptures, made new by its renewal and confirmation in these latter days, refers to our covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. It incorporates the fulness of the gospel (see D&C 66:2; D&C 132:6), which President Joseph Fielding Smith described as "the sum total of all gospel covenants and obligations" (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:156). ("Another Testament of Jesus Christ," Ensign, Mar. 1994, 63-64)

Boyd K. Packer

Every Latter-day Saint is under covenant. Baptism is a covenant; so is the sacrament. ("Covenants," Ensign, Nov. 1990, 84)

Joseph Fielding Smith

There are some members of the Church who seem to think that the new and everlasting covenant is the covenant of celestial marriage, or marriage for eternity, but this is not so. Marriage for eternity is an everlasting covenant, and like the Lord said of baptism, we may say of marriage, it is a new as well as an everlasting covenant because it was from the beginning. It will be, if properly performed according to the law of the Lord, eternal. In the opening verses of Section 132, the Lord draws a distinction between a new and everlasting covenant and the new and everlasting covenant. While the definition is given in the negative form, it is plainly discernible that the new and everlasting covenant is the fulness of the Gospel. In the words of the Lord, "All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead." (D. & C. 132:7.)

If members of the Church would keep this clearly in mind it would save them from difficulties. (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 4: 158.)

DC 22:2 although a man should be baptized an hundred times

Delbert L. Stapley

The ordinance of baptism into the kingdom of God is a binding covenant upon all who receive that ordinance. Early in the history of the Church, in consequence of some who had previously been baptized into other churches and desired to unite with the Restored Church without yielding to another baptism because they considered their former baptism efficacious, the Lord gave a revelation which made clear and unmistakable the course which they should follow. He declared:

   Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.

   Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times, it availeth him nothing, for you cannot enter in at the straight gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works. (D&C 22:1-2.)

President Brigham Young added this significant contribution to the obligation associated with the covenant of baptism:

"All latter-day Saints," said President Young, "enter the new and everlasting covenant when they enter this Church. The covenant to cease sustaining, upholding and cherishing the kingdom of the Devil and the kingdoms of this world. They enter the new and everlasting covenant to sustain the Kingdom of God and no other kingdom. They take a vow of the most solemn kind, before the heavens and earth, and that, too, upon the validity of their own salvation, that they will sustain truth and righteousness instead of wickedness and falsehood, and build up the Kingdom of God, instead of the kingdoms of this world." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 160.)

These admonitions and instructions emphasize the sacred and binding nature of the covenant which baptism into the Church places upon every soul receiving this gospel ordinance. (Conference Report, April 1959, Afternoon Meeting 108-109.)

DC 22:2 you cannot enter in at the strait gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works

James E. Talmage

That it (i.e. the Church) was and is something new, and yet something old, as it is in fact eternal, was set forth by the Lord in a revelation given in April, 1830, just after the organization of the Church. There were people who had joined other churches. Many of them had been and were devout. They had been baptized, some of them by sprinkling and some of them by pouring, but they called it baptism, and some of them by immersion; and they raised the question as to whether they could not become members of this Church now by application and profession of faith alone, affirming that it was unjust that they should be required to be baptized again. In this claim they plainly forgot that the outward form of baptism can be performed by anybody, but that baptism as an ordinance acceptable unto the Lord requires the power and the authority of the Priesthood which he has given. Therefore the Lord said:

   Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.

   Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times it availeth him nothing, for you cannot enter in at the strait gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works.

   For it is because of your dead works that I have caused this last covenant and this church to be built up unto me, even as in days of old.

   Wherefore, enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded.

I have read from Section 22 of the D&C. Isn't that in line with the declaration our Lord made while he talked in the flesh, even the Christ, known as Jesus of Nazareth, who was acknowledged as a marvelous prophet whose teachings were full of wisdom? On one occasion, amidst circumstances which the rest of the chapter wilt give unto you, he spoke these words recorded in the 9th Chapter of Matthew, beginning with the sixteenth verse:

   No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.

   Neither do men put new wine into old bottles; else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish; but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

The Judaism of that day was a travesty on the law that God had given. Many believed in part of what Christ said, but they wanted to tack it on to the Judaism of the day; they wanted to make the word of God conform to their philosophy, or with their sophistry, or with their man-made precepts, and the Lord warned them: Do not put a new piece of cloth on the old garment, it will tear it away and make a more hideous rent than there was before. Do not put that newly fermenting juice into old leathern bags, for that was the nature of the bottles of that day. You know how quickly old leather breaks. Don't put it into such bottles, for the fermentation will burst the bottles and the good wine will be lost and the bottles will be entirely ruined. There was to be no compromise with the semi-pagan doctrines of the day, nor was there to be any compromise between the principles of the gospel of Christ and the teachings of men not conforming therewith, the doctrines of men that have been evolved in the minds of men without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit-no compromise! (Conference Report, October 1922, Afternoon Session 71-72.)

DC 22:4 seek not to counsel your God

There are many ways in which we unknowingly seek to counsel God. Perhaps we lack humility when our prayers aren't answered according to expectation. Perhaps his choice of Bishop is different than ours. Or perhaps we agree to keep only some of his commandments-reserving the right to pass judgment on the universal applicability of some principle or doctrine. Holding back on a particular commandment, policy, or doctrine can be dangerous. Elder Neal A. Maxwell noted, "This holding back is like leaving Egypt without journeying all the way to the Holy Land, or waiting in Nauvoo for the railroad to come through, or staying permanently at Winter Quarters." ("Willing to Submit," Ensign, May 1985, 70)

Demanding that the Lord meet our standards is a role reversal of the most dangerous kind. We are supposed to meet his standards not the other way around. Ultimately, there are many ways in which we can seek to counsel the Lord. In the end, the disciple who is holding back finds out that the only thing actually held back is his own spiritual progression.

Gay N. Blanchard noted, "God allows you to do your own thing. He defends your free agency to the end. But don't try to counsel God by demanding that He do your own thing. You can't negotiate His purposes. You can't compromise His truth, diminish His light, or degrade His love. God, who is all ultimate Truth, Light, Love, does not change. He is dependably always the same. He does His own thing." (New Era, Feb. 1974, 46)

Richard G. Scott

Sometimes you may feel to complain to the Lord about a challenge that has come into your life through no fault of your own. Jacob taught: "Seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works." (Jacob 4:10)

God knows what is best for us. Although we may not understand why we experience some things now, in His timetable we will know and be grateful. ("He Lives," Ensign, Nov. 1999, 88)

Marion G. Romney

In my view, seeking to counsel the Lord generally means disregarding the Lord's counsel, either knowingly or unknowingly, and in place thereof substituting our own counsel or the persuasions of men. Doing this is a very common human weakness. But until we are able to conquer it, real closeness to the Spirit of the Lord eludes us regardless of our other gifts and attainments. ("Seek Not to Counsel the Lord," Ensign, Aug. 1985, 2)