OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 30
2 Chronicles 29-30; 32; 34
- Hezekiah orders the house of the Lord to be cleaned.
- The Assyrians invade the kingdom of Judah. Isaiah and Hezekiah pray
for help, and an angel of the Lord destroys much of the Syrian army.
- Josiah and his people covenant to serve the Lord.
A study of this lesson should inspire us to receive the promised blessings
that come from temple work and scripture study.
Hezekiah Orders The House Of The Lord To Be Cleansed
- Historical Background:
READ 2 CHRONICLES 29:3-5. Hezekiah opens the doors
of the temple.
- After the death of Solomon, dissension developed in the kingdom of
Israel and about 975 B.C. the kingdom was divided.
- The northern kingdom, or Kingdom of Israel, was led by the descendants
of Ephraim and consisted of most of the tribes of Israel.
- The southern kingdom, or Kingdom of Judah, was ruled by the descendants
of Judah and consisted of most of the tribe of Judah and Benjamin, many
descendants from the tribe of Levi, and a few others from all of the other
- After this division, the wicked king Rehoboam continued to reign in
- In about 740 B.C. Ahaz became king in Judah when his righteous father,
Jotham, died. Ahaz did evil in the sight of the Lord and worshipped Baal.
- "And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God,
and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors
of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem"
(2 Chronicles 28:24).
- When Ahaz died, his son Hezekiah became king of Judah, "And
he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD."
READ 2 CHRONICLES 29:8-9. Consequences of Judah's
disregard for the temple.
- WHY DID THE TEMPLE NEED TO BE SANCTIFIED?
- READ 2 CHRONICLES 29:6-7.
- Judah had "trespassed, and done that which was evil in the
eyes of the LORD" (29:6).
- They had "turned away their faces from the habitation of the
- HOW MIGHT WE BE GUILTY OF TURNING AWAY OUR FACES "FROM THE HABITATION
OF THE LORD"?
- Like ancient Judah, we do that as we fail to keep the commandments
or ignore our temple covenants and obligations.
READ 2 CHRONICLES 29:10. Hezekiah desires to covenant
with the Lord.
- ARE THERE CONSEQUENCES FOR OUR TURNING AWAY FROM THE TEMPLE?
- Ancient Judah suffered destruction and captivity. In a similar sense
we face eternal destruction and captivity if we are not faithful to our
covenants made in the temple.
- By failing to attend the temple, we are denying ourselves great blessings.
After the temple was cleansed, Hezekiah gathered the rulers of the
city and went up to the temple (29:20).
- WHAT DID HEZEKIAH HOPE TO ACHEIVE BY CLEANSING THE TEMPLE AND PREPARING
IT FOR WORSHIP AGAIN?
- He wanted to once again gain the favor of the Lord for Judah.
- WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO KEEP UNCLEAN THINGS OUT OF THE TEMPLE?
- Bruce R. McConkie: "A temple is a house of the Lord; it has
been given to him as a place where he may lay his head, as it were; it
is his earthly abode. What is more natural, when he visits an area of the
earth, than to come to his house in that area?" (A New Witness
for the Articles of Faith, p497)
- It is the "habitation" of the Lord. If we defile the temple,
the Lord says, "I will not come into it, and my glory shall not
be there; for I will not come into unholy temples" (D&C 97:17).
- "The physical structure as such is not the source of its holiness.
Rather, the character of those who enter and the sacred ordinances and
instructions received there nurture the spiritual atmosphere found in the
temple. When members enter this holy house and center their thoughts on
serving others, their own understandings are clarified and solutions to
personal problems are received." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.4,
- WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY IN ENSURING THAT NO UNCLEAN THING ENTERS
- "And that no unclean thing shall be permitted to come into
thy house to pollute it; And when thy people transgress, any of them, they
may speedily repent and return unto thee, and find favor in thy sight,
and be restored to the blessings which thou hast ordained to be poured
out upon those who shall reverence thee in thy house." (D&C
- Our number one responsibility is to make sure that we are prepared
to enter the temple. If we have transgressed, we need to repent and rectify
the sin. If we do not, we cannot expect to enjoy the blessings of the temple.
Hezekiah sent letters of invitation to all Israel and Judah, inviting
them to come to Jerusalem and the temple for Passover (30:1). Hezekiah
pleaded, "Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of
Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that
are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria" (30:6).
- They brought with them animals for an offering (29:21).
- After the offering was made, they bowed in worship to the Lord, sang
praises, and made additional sacrifices and offerings (29:29-31).
- This was a day of rejoicing, for once again the temple was purified.
- "So the posts passed from city to city through the country
of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn,
and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun
humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem" (30:10-11).
- WHAT BLESSINGS DID THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL REJECT BY REFUSING TO COME
TO THE TEMPLE?
- The Israelites were told that if they would come up to the temple,
their Israelite brethren who had been taken captive by Assyria, would be
released. Because of the wickedness of the Israelites, these 10 tribes
were eventually all taken captive by the Assyrians.
- It certainly pays to heed the counsel of the Lord's servants. Instead
of enjoying the fruits and blessings of righteousness, the Israelites were
taken captive by their enemies.
The Assyrians Invade The Kingdom of Judah
- The kingdom of Israel was taken into captivity by the Assyrians. A
few years later the Assyrians began to attack Judah (2 Chronicles 32:1).
Abt 701 B.C.
READ 2 CHRONICLES 32:6-8. The Lord to help Judah
fight their battle.
- Hezekiah counseled with his "princes and mighty men"
to make preparations for war with the Assyrians (32:2-5).
Sennacherib sent his servants to speak to the people in Jerusalem in
an attempt to convince them that they could not succeed in battle against
the Assyrians (32:9).
- AFTER MAKING PREPARATIONS FOR WAR, WHAT DID HEZEKIAH TELL THE PEOPLE
ABOUT THE IMPENDING ATTACK?
- "...with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our
- WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM HEZEKIAH ABOUT THE PROPER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
TRUSTING IN OUR OWN EFFORTS AND TRUSTING IN THE LORD?
- We need to live by that old saying that says to pray as if everything
depended upon God, and work as if everything depended upon you. We must
do all that we can to prepare for a situation and then we must exercise
faith and depend on the Lord.
- Neal A. Maxwell: "With regard to trusting in the arm of flesh,
the Old Testament contains a warning about trusting the arm of flesh instead
of trusting in the Lord. (2 Chronicles 32:8.) Later in the Old Testament,
Jeremiah complained of a circumstance in which some 'trusteth in man, and
maketh flesh his arm.' (Jeremiah 17:5.) Paul warns against walking after
the flesh instead of after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1.) Nephi says, 'I will
not put my trust in the arm of flesh.' (2 Nephi 4:34.) Through the Prophet
Joseph Smith, we are warned about not trusting in the arm of flesh. (D&C
1:19.) How constant that concept is. Regardless of the hemisphere or the
time in which the prophet lived, this warning, too, stays the same."
(Things As They Really Are, p92)
HOW DID HEZEKIAH REACT TO THE WORDS OF SENNACHERIB'S SERVANTS?
- "Whereon do ye trust, that ye abide in the siege in Jerusalem?
Doth not Hezekiah persuade you to give over yourselves to die by famine
and by thirst, saying, The LORD our God shall deliver us out of the hand
of the king of Assyria?" (32:10-11)
- "Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you
on this manner, neither yet believe him: for no god of any nation or kingdom
was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of
my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand?"
- The Assyrians were practicing psychological warfare. They were attempting
to sow the seeds of doubt amongst the people of Judah.
- IN WHAT WAYS DOES SATAN TRY TO CONVINCE US THAT GOD CANNOT OR WILL
NOT HELP US?
- As against the people of Judah, Satan attempts to sow the seeds of
doubt in our hearts. A good example of this is the principle of tithing.
In the July 1998 Ensign, President Hinckley was quoted as saying, "Tithing
is not a matter of money so much as it is a matter of faith. We take the
Lord at His word, and it is my testimony that He keeps His word"
(Ensign, Jul. 1998, p4). Satan attempts to convince us that we cannot afford
to keep tithing. He would lead us to believe that if we give that 10% to
the Lord we cannot make ends meet. But as President Hinckley says, the
Lord keeps His word.
- A young member of the Church said, "The strongest temptations
in my life have been boys and sex. Satan is so strong! He finds a way to
make it look like it's not that bad" (Brigham Young Magazine,
Summer 1998, p44). Satan is using psychological warfare against the youth
of the Church. By making immorality look like it's OK, he is subtly teaching
the youth that the Lord will not support them in their moral behavior.
HOW DID THE LORD ANSWER HEZEKIAH'S AND ISAIAH'S PRAYERS?
- "And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah
the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven" (32:20).
Hezekiah and the people of Judah received the protection of the Lord
because of their righteousness. Their righteousness was demonstrated by
their worship at the temple, in contrast to the other tribes of Israel
which refused to come up to the temple.
- The Lord caused the soldiers of Assyria to die. Sennacherib returned
to his home where he was killed by his own sons (32:21-22).
- HOW CAN TEMPLE ATTENDANCE BE A PROTECTION FOR US?
- When the Assyrians came down and attempted to persuade Judah that they
could not succeed against such a mighty nation, Judah was protected because
of the faith of Hezekiah, Isaiah, and the people of Judah. In like manner,
Satan attempts to convince us that we cannot succeed in such a wicked world
and attempts to lure us away into sin and immorality. The temple strengthens
us against the Adversary. We renew and are reminded of our covenants. As
we leave that sacred edifice back into the battlefield of the world, we
are strengthened against the enemy of righteousness.
- WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE TEMPLE WORTHINESS AND ATTENDANCE A PRIORITY
IN OUR LIVES?
- President Howard W. Hunter: "Let us be a temple-attending people.
Attend the temple as frequently as personal circumstances allow. Keep a
picture of a temple in your home that your children may see it. Teach them
about the purposes of the house of the Lord. Have them plan from their
earliest years to go there and to remain worthy of that blessing.
"If proximity to a temple does
not allow frequent attendance, gather in the history of your family and
prepare the names for the sacred ordinances performed only in the temple.
This family research is essential to the work of the temples, and blessings
surely will come to those who do that work." (Ensign, Nov. 1994,
- Is there any question in our minds how important the temple is to our
eternal salvation? There should not be after the April 1998 Annual Conference
of the Church when President Hinckley announced the construction of 30
smaller temples around the world. This is in addition to the 17 temples
under construction at the time of the announcement. President Hinckley
went on to say that "when these 30 or 32 are built, there will
be more yet to come" (Ensign, May 1998, p88). The war begun in
the pre-existence continues at an increased pace. The Lord has seen fit
to bless as many members to the Church as possible with the privilege and
opportunity of attending the temple. This is a great blessing and will
help us in the great battle of the eternities.
Josiah & His People Covenant To Serve The Lord
- Succession to the throne of Hezekiah.
- Manasseh: This son of Hezekiah became king of Judah upon the death
of his father. He ruled in wickedness, including the placing of idols in
the temple. Eventually, he humbled himself and repented.
- Amon: Son of Manasseh. Ruled in wickedness and worshiped the idols
of his father. He was eventually slain by his own servants.
- Josiah: Son of Amon. He became king of Judah at the age of eight.
In the process of renovating the temple, "Hilkiah the priest
found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses" (34:14).
- His reign extended 31 years, until about until 610 B.C. (2 Chronicles
- Josiah "did that which was right in the sight of the LORD"
- He destroyed idolotry in the kingdom of Judah (34:3-7).
- "Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged
the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah
the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair
the house of the LORD his God" (34:8).
"And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the
men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the
Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their ears
all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of
the LORD" (34:30).
- WHAT WAS THE BOOK OF THE LAW?
- Some have suggested that it was the book of Deuteronomy.
- Others believe that it was all five books of Moses from Genesis to
- It appears that the book may have been lost for some time and was virtually
- Its loss may, in part, account for the wickedness of the people.
- We know the necessity of having the scriptures. In the story of Nephi
and the brass plates, Nephi said, "I also thought that they could
not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save
they should have the law" (1 Nephi 4:15).
- "And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of
the law, that he rent his clothes" (34:19).
- WHY DID KING JOSIAH REND HIS CLOTHES WHEN HE HEARD THE LAW OF MOSES
- To rip or tear one's clothes was to signify profound sorrow and tragedy.
When King Josiah heard the law read, it instantly became obvious how far
Israel had strayed from what God required of them. Being a righteous man,
he grieved to realize how far Israel had strayed from the law.
- Said Josiah: "great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured
out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to
do after all that is written in this book" (34:21).
- Maybe these ancient Israelites had a partial excuse for their wickedness.
The law had been lost to them for a period. Orson Pratt: "For a
long period previous to finding the book, the Jews had been ignorant of
the Scriptures, and had fallen into the grossest idolatry." (JD
- READ 2 CHRONICLES 34:24-25. The prophetess Huldah
reveals the consequences of disobedience.
- WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO US IF WE NEGLECT TO READ THE SCRIPTURES AND APPLY
- The Lord told the Jews that they would be punished because they had
"forsaken" him. Even though the book of the law had been
lost, they evidently still had sufficient knowledge of the commandments
to know what was right. We have the scriptures and I believe we will be
subject to even greater consequences than these ancient Jews. We also will
lose the great blessings that come from obedience.
- Ezra Taft Benson: "In 1829, the Lord warned the Saints that
they are not to 'trifle with sacred things' (D&C 6:12). Surely the
Book of Mormon is a sacred thing, and yet many trifle with it, or in other
words, take it lightly, treat it as though it is of little importance.
"In 1832, as some early missionaries
returned from their fields of labor, the Lord reproved them for treating
the Book of Mormon lightly. As a result of that attitude, He said their
minds had been darkened. Not only had treating this sacred book lightly
brought a loss of light to themselves, it had also brought the whole Church
under condemnation, even all the children of Zion. And then the Lord said,
'And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember
the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon' (D&C 84:54-57)....
"If the early Saints were rebuked
for treating the Book of Mormon lightly, are we under any less condemnation
if we do the same." (Ensign, Nov. 1986, pp4-5)
Unlike these ancient Israelites, we have the scriptures readily available
to us in many forms, the printed Standard Works, recordings, and electronic
- WHY DID JOSIAH DO THIS?
- He must have felt that if the Jews heard the words of the Lord they
would desire to repent and be obedient to the commandments of the Lord.
- There is power in the word of God that motivates us to live righteously.
Both for the ancient Jews and for us in our day, reading, studying, and
hearing the words of the Lord becomes a powerful catalyst to move us to
greater degrees of righteousness.
- Consider President Benson's promise, "I promise you that from
this moment forward, if we will daily sup from its pages and abide by its
precepts, God will pour out upon each child of Zion and the Church a blessing
hitherto unknown." (Ensign, May 1986, p78)
READ 2 CHRONICLES 34:31-33. Covenant made at the
- HOW CAN WE SHOW THE VALUE WE PLACE ON THE SCRIPTURES?
- Daily scripture study.
- Applying the principles learned from our study.
- Teaching our families and others the principles taught in the scriptures.
- Sharing the scriptures (particularly the Book of Mormon) with our non-member
- Spencer W. Kimball: "The Lord is not trifling with us when
he gives us these things, for 'unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall
be much required.' (Luke 12:48) Access to these things means responsibility
for them. We must study the scriptures according to the Lord's commandment
(see 3Ne.23:1-5); and we must let them govern our lives." (Ensign,
Sep. 1976, p5)
- President Benson counseled the brethren in a Church leadership meeting:
"I urge you to recommit yourselves to a study of the scriptures.
Immerse yourselves in them daily so you will have the power of the Spirit
to attend you in your callings. Read them in your families and teach your
children to love and treasure them. Then prayerfully and in counsel with
others, seek every way possible to encourage the members of the Church
to follow your example." (Ensign, May 1986, pp81-82)
- Like the people of Josiah, we have gone to the temple to make sacred
covenants with the Lord. By making and keeping these covenants we will
receive earthly blessings and eternal exaltation.
- ONCE WE HAVE MADE THESE COVENANTS, WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT WE RETURN
TO THE TEMPLE AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE?
- Part of the human condition seems to be drifting from righteousness,
unless we take specific steps. Regular attendance at the temple reminds
us of the sacred covenants we have made at the temple. Also, the influence
of the sweet spirit that resides there encourages us to do better.
The kingdom of Judah eventually became so wicked that the Lord allowed
them to be taken captive. During the reigns of Hezekiah and Josiah, these
good kings sought to strengthen the people by turning their attention to
the temple and the scriptures. Nothing has changed. The temple and the
scriptures are vital for us today. We need to live worthy to attend the
temple and renew our sacred covenants. Daily scripture study helps us to
do that and reminds us of that which is most important. The ancient Jews
were eventually taken captive because they did not give proper attention
to these important things. Our captivity may last an eternity if we are
not diligent in the turning our hearts and minds to the things of the temple
and the scriptures.
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