OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 44
- Ezekiel is shown a vision of the temple in Jerusalem.
- Ezekiel sees a river flowing from the temple that gives life to the
desert and heals the Dead Sea.
- Ezekiel measures the river's depth.
A study of this lesson should encourage us to partake of the life-giving,
healing powers that are available in the temple.
The Battle of Armageddon - Chapters 38 & 39
- These chapters describe the battle of Armageddon.
Where will these armies come from:
- An army is to be led by Gog from the land of Magog.
- Gog was the chief prince of Meshech & Tubal.
This represents most of what was known as the known world. It may well
be that most of the world will contribute to the army led by Gog against
Elder Bruce R. McConkie provides the context for this great battle,
"The 38th and 39th chapters of Ezekiel record considerable prophetic
detail relative to this great war. It should be noted that it is to take
place 'in the latter years'; that it will be fought in the 'mountains of
Israel' against those who have been gathered to the land of their ancient
inheritance; that the land of Israel shall be relatively unprotected, a
'land of unwalled villages'; that Gog and Magog shall come 'out of the
north parts' in such numbers as 'to cover the land' as a cloud; that the
Lord will then come, and all men shall shake at his presence; that there
will be such an earthquake as has never before been known, which will throw
down the mountains; that there will be pestilence, blood, fire, and brimstone
descend upon the armies; that the forces of Gog and Magog will be destroyed
upon the mountains of Israel; that the Supper of the Great God shall then
take place as the beasts and fowls eat the flesh and drink the blood of
the fallen ones (Rev. 19:17-18; D. & C. 29:18-21); and that the house
of Israel will be seven months burying the dead and seven years burning
the discarded weapons of war." (Mormon Doctrine, p325)
- Magog (38:2) = areas north & east of the Black Sea and the Crimea.
- Now occupied by the Russia & her satellites.
- Meshech (38:2) = people of Meschech were anciently called the Mushki
Some linguists think they gave their name to Moscow. Also in Russia.
- Tubal (38:2) = likely the area around the Black Sea in Georgia and
- Persia (38:5) = Iran.
- Ethiopia (38:5) = Africa south of Egypt & the coastal countries.
- Libya (38:5) = North Africa, except Egypt (Libya, Tunisia, Morocco,
- Gomer (38:6) = Most of modern Europe.
- Togarmah (38:6) = Asia Minor (Armenia, Turkey, & Syria).
Ezekiel's Vision Of The Temple - Chapters 40-44
- Ezekiel was carried in vision to the land of Israel to a very high
mountain, where he saw a man measuring the temple to be built in the latter-days
Take a moment and read the following verses: Ezekiel 43:1-12; 44:6-9,
- Chapters 40-42 include the dimensions and description of the temple.
- WHAT TEMPLE WAS EZEKIEL DESCRIBING?
- The latter-day temple to be built in Jerusalem.
- WHAT DO THESE VERSES TELL US ABOUT THE TEMPLE?
- The glory of the Lord fills the temple (43:2,4-5).
- The temple is "the place of [the Lord's] throne" on earth
- The Lord walks in the temple, calling it "the place of the soles
of my feet" (43:7).
- The temple is a place where the Lord may "dwell in the midst"
of his people (43:7).
- We learn about the laws of the Lord in the temple (43:11).
- There are ordinances that the Lord wants us to perform in the temple
- Even the grounds that surround the temple "shall be most holy"
- Only those who are worthy should enter the temple (44:6-9).
- In the temple we learn the difference between holy and profane and
between clean and unclean (44:23).
- WHY IS THIS KNOWLEDGE IMPORTANT TO US?
- At the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, the following was stated:
"For thou knowest that we have done this work through great tribulation;
and out of our poverty we have given of our substance to build a house
to thy name, that the Son of Man might have a place to manifest himself
to his people" (D&C 109:5). The temple is a place where the
Lord may come and visit his servants. It is there that he will reveal his
will to his prophets. It is that same spirit that we can feel when we visit
the temple, if we enter worthily. As we feel that spirit in the temple,
we are motivated to live correctly and keep the laws of God.
- Orson Pratt: "Do we not expect that the Lord will, by and by,
come and visit us and stay a little while, about a thousand years. Yes,
and then we shall be made glad with the joy of the countenance of our Lord.
He will be among us, an will be our King, and he will reign as a King of
kings and Lord of lords. He will have a throne in Zion, and another in
the Temple at Jerusalem, and he will have with him the twelve disciples
who were with him during his ministry at Jerusalem; and they will eat and
drink with him at his table; and all the people of the globe who are counted
worthy to be called Zion, the pure in heart, will be made glad by the countenance
of their Lord for a thousand years, during which the earth will rest."
Ezekiel Sees A River Flowing From The Temple
- READ EZEKIEL 47:1; 6-12. Ezekiel's vision of a
river flowing from the temple.
- WHAT DID EZEKIEL SEE COMING FROM THE EAST DOORS OF THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM?
- "...waters issued out from under the threshold of the house
- WHERE DID THE WATER GO?
- "...toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and
go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea" (47:8).
- ACCORDING TO EZEKIEL'S VISION, WHAT CHANGES WILL TAKE PLACE IN THE
JUDEAN WILDERNESS AND THE DEAD SEA BECAUSE OF THE RIVER FLOWING FROM THE
- Trees to grow along the banks of the river (v7, 12).
- The waters of the Dead Sea to be healed (v8).
- There will be fish in the waters of the Dead Sea, so many that fisherman
will be able to fill their nets (v9-10).
- Consider this verse from the book of Revelation: "And he shewed
me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the
throne of God and of the Lamb.
"In the midst of the street of
it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which
bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the
leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
"And there shall be no more curse:
but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants
shall serve him" (Revelation 22:1-3).
- In Ezekiel 43:7, the Lord calls the temple "the place of my
- WHAT FLOWED FROM THE THRONE OF GOD IN JOHN'S VISION?
- "Water of life" (Rev. 22:1).
- WHAT IS THE "WATER OF LIFE"?
- John's vision appears to be dualistic in nature. Not only does he seem
to be prophesying of the literal waters that shall flow from under the
temple, but also the "water of life" or the gospel message which
leads to eternal life.
- Like the Judean wilderness and the Dead Sea, we can receive eternal
life as we partake of the "water of life."
- HOW DOES THE WATER OF LIFE THAT IS AVAILABLE IN THE TEMPLE HEAL AND
GIVE LIFE TO MARRIAGES? OUR FAMILIES? OUR ANCESTORS?
- A marrriage that is solemnized by the authority of the holy priesthood
in the House of the Lord may become eternal as the husband and wife strive
to live up to their covenants. Such a marriage has purpose. Such a marriage
can whether the challenges and storms of eternity. Such a marriage brings
new life into the world for eternal purposes.
- Those who participate in the renewel of their covenants in the temple,
bring the possibility of eternal life to those who have passed from this
world. The temple is to our ancestors the well of eternal life.
- WHAT GREW ALONG THE BANKS OF THE RIVER IN JOHN'S VISION?
- WHAT IS THIS TREE OF LIFE?
- In Lehi's vision "...the tree of life was a representation
of the love of God" (1 Nephi 11:25).
- HOW DOES THE LOVE OF GOD HEAL AND GIVE LIFE?
- The ultimate expression of God's love is the atoning sacrifice of his
Son. Because he suffered and died for us, we can be healed of the wounds
of sin, if we repent. As we do so, we can partake of the waters of life
which lead to eternal happiness and joy with the righteous, our loved ones,
and with God.
Ezekiel Measures The River's Depth
- READ EZEKIEL 47:2-5. Ezekiel measures the depth
of the river.
President Howard W. Hunter: "I invite the Latter-day Saints
to look to the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of your membership.
It is the deepest desire of my heart to have every member of the Church
worthy to enter the temple. It would please the Lord if every adult member
would be worthy of--and carry--a current temple recommend. The things that
we must do and not do to be worthy of a temple recommend are the very things
that ensure we will be happy as individuals and as families."
(Ensign, Nov. 1994, p8)
- HOW DEEP WAS THE RIVER EACH TIME EZEKIEL CROSSED IT?
- WHAT TRUTH MIGHT THESE VERSES SUGGEST ABOUT THE TEMPLE?
- The water of the river represents the "water of life". As
we engage in the work of the temple (each time we cross the river) the
power and blessings of the temple increase in our lives. How can we drink
from the water, if we don't go to the river?
- Wonderful truths are taught in the temple. When first we attend, our
understanding may be only "ankle deep". As we wade into the "river"
again and again, our understanding deepens.
In his dedication of the Kirtland Temple, the Prophet prayed, "We
ask thee, Holy Father, to establish the people that shall worship, and
honorably hold a name and standing in this thy house, to all generations
and for eternity; That no weapon formed against them shall prosper; that
he who diggeth a pit for them shall fall into the same himself; That no
combination of wickedness shall have power to rise up and prevail over
thy people upon whom thy name shall be put in this house" (D&C
109:24-29). Great power comes to us as we enter the temple worthily and
serve the Lord. We drink deeply of the "water of life". Our knowledge
increases, we have greater power to resist temptation, and we are blessed
with the joy of knowing that we are on the path to eternal life and exaltation.
Lesson 45: Daniel 1; 3; 6; Esther 3-5; 7-8
Additional Reading: Daniel 5; Ester 1-2; 6; 9-10.
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