What is a covenant?
- A covenant is a promise—a commitment—between two or more people.
- “The purpose of any covenant is conjunction, that is to say, its purpose is that people may live together in friendship or love” (Arcana Coelestia 1038).
- The Ten commandments show us the covenant the Lord made with the children of Israel. He told them what should not be done, and they responded, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8).
- The Lord alone conjoins a person to Himself, and not a person to the Lord. The Lord conjoins a person to Himself when the person knows, understands, wills, and does the precepts of the Decalogue (see Apocalypse Explained 1027:2).
- “The covenant that the Lord has made with us and we have made with the Lord is the Word” (True Christian Religion 730).
Other discussion ideas
- The Ten Commandments were written on two tables or tablets of stone. The first table shows us how to love the Lord, looking to Him as our source of good and truth. And the second table helps us see how to love the neighbor.
- We should obey the commandments, both literally and spiritually. The Heavenly Doctrines can show us deeper levels of meaning to help us better follow the Lord’s rules.
- “The Ten Commandments contain everything concerning doctrine and life…. That is why the law was written on two tablets, one dealing with God, the other with people” (True Christian Religion 287:2).
- When a person conjoins himself to the Lord by following the last six commandments, as of himself, then the Lord conjoins Himself to the person by the first three precepts which involve acknowledging and believing in the Lord and keeping His name holy. For unless a person obeys the commandments that involve loving the neighbor, he is not loving the Lord (see Apocalypse Explained 1027:4).
- The Lord and the angels are always with us, helping us obey the commandments. But we have to do our part in learning how to apply these commandments to our lives and reflecting on ways we need to change.
- “If you walk according to these commandments because God has spoken them, then you are walking in the path that leads to heaven, to eternal happiness, and to true freedom” (Elmo Carmen Acton).
- “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28)
- “How to Love the Lord” by George de Charms (ages 7-18)
It is by keeping the commandments that people can truly love the Lord.
- “The Fifth Commandment: You Shall Not Murder” by Kurt Horigan Asplundh (ages 7-14)
Our love to the neighbor should lead us to avoid all hatred and instead act from mercy and charity.
- “Making the Lord Your God” by Ormond Odhner (ages 16 and up)
We can truly love and honor the Lord by controlling our external lives and allowing Him to help us with our spiritual growth.
- “Peace Like a River” by Walter E. Orthwein (ages 18 and up)
The path to peace is to keep the commandments. Love, trust and peace will come to us as we are prepared to receive them.
Projects and Activities for all ages
- Moses Carries the Commandments Coloring Page by Marguerite L. Acton
Illustration of Moses looking upward as he holds the tables of stone.
- The Ten Commandments in Our Hearts
Make a heart with a door that opens to see the Ten Commandments in a person's heart.
- Moses with the Ten Commandments Poster by Nancy Schnarr Bruell
Beautiful color illustration of Moses holding the Ten Commandments.
- Make a Mobile of the Lord’s Commandments (ages 10-14)
This complex project combines the two great commandments and the Ten Commandments.
- Keeping the Covenant Each Day (teens and up)
Take 10 small stones and write a number from 1-10. Put these in a special bag (a velvet pouch perhaps), a beautiful bowl, or a small box. Without looking, draw one out each day. Then work on applying that commandment to your life.
- Inspirational Quotation: Those Who Keep Your Law
A peaceful landscape suggests the peace the Lord gives those who love His law.
- Prayers on Keeping the Ten Commandments (ages 18 and up)
Four prayers asking the Lord for help in keeping His commandments.
- Ten Commandments Spiritual Tasks by David C. Roth (ages 18 and up)
Spiritual tasks to help us apply the Ten Commandments.
- Receiving the Commandments (teens)
Receiving the Lord’s good and truth is an active choice. Choose one of the commandments and think of one thing you can do to actively receive it into your life?
“Great peace have those who love Your law” (Psalm 119:165).
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