“Come to the House of the Lord”
Hezekiah orders the house of the Lord to be cleansed.
The Assyrians invade the kingdom of Judah. Isaiah and Hezekiah pray for
help, and an angel of the Lord destroys much of the Assyrian army.
Josiah and his people covenant to serve the Lord.
A study of this lesson will inspire us to receive the promised
blessings that come from temple work and scripture study.
Scripture references for study: 2
2 Chronicles 32;
2 Chronicles 34
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 30 Handout (PDF
Hezekiah Orders The House Of The Lord To Be Cleansed
2 CHRONICLES 29:3-5. Hezekiah opens the
doors of the temple.
After the death of Solomon, dissension developed in the kingdom of Israel. In 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 primarily of members from the tribe of Judah and
Benjamin. Many descendants from the tribe of Levi and a few others
from all of the tribes were part of this kingdom.
After this division, the wicked king Rehoboam continued to reign in Judah.
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
"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" (2 Chronicles
2 CHRONICLES 29:8-9. Consequences of Judah's
disregard for the temple.
WHY DID THE TEMPLE NEED TO BE SANCTIFIED?
2 CHRONICLES 29:6-7.
Judah had "trespassed, and done that which was
evil in the eyes of the LORD" (v6).
They had "turned away their faces from the habitation
of the LORD" (v6).
HOW MIGHT WE BE GUILTY OF TURNING AWAY OUR FACES "FROM THE HABITATION OF
Like ancient Judah, we do that if we fail to keep the commandments and
ignore temple covenants and obligations.
2 CHRONICLES 29:10. Hezekiah desires to
covenant with the Lord.
ARE THERE CONSEQUENCES IN 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 covenants
made in the temple.
We are denying ourselves great blessings if we fail to attend the temple .
After the temple was cleansed, Hezekiah gathered the rulers of the city
and went up to the temple (2 Chronicles 29:20).
WHAT DID HEZEKIAH HOPE TO ACHIEVE 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?
Elder 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"
"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, p1455)
WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY IN ENSURING THAT NO UNCLEAN THING ENTERS THE
"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."
Our primary 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
Hezekiah sent letters of invitation to all Israel and Judah, inviting them
to come to Jerusalem and the temple for Passover (2 Chronicles 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"
(2 Chronicles 30:6).
They brought with them animals for an offering (2
After the offering was made, they bowed in worship to the Lord, sang praises,
and made additional sacrifices and offerings (2
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" (2
WHAT BLESSINGS DID THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL REJECT BY REFUSING TO COME TO THE
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 ten 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 (about 701 B.C.) the Assyrians began to attack Judah
(2 Chronicles 32:1).
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 (2
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 (2 Chronicles
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 battles" (32:8).
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 us. We must do
all that we can to prepare for a situation and then we must exercise faith
and depend on the Lord.
Elder 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?" (2 Chronicles 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?" (2 Chronicles 32:15)
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
Satan attempts to sow the seeds of doubt
in our hearts. A good example 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 pay tithing. He would lead us to believe that if we give
10% to the Lord we cannot make ends meet. However, 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 is
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"
(2 Chronicles 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 that
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 (2
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 tries to lure us 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 into
the battlefield of the world, we are strengthened against the enemy of
WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE TEMPLE WORTHINESS AND ATTENDANCE A PRIORITY IN OUR
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, p8)
Is there any question in our minds how important the temple is to our eternal
salvation? There should be no doubt after the April 1998 Annual Conference
of the Church when President Hinckley announced the construction of thirty
smaller temples around the world. This was in addition to the seventeen 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 of 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
Successors 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
In the process of renovating the temple, "Hilkiah
the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses"
(2 Chronicles 34:14).
His reign extended 31 years, until about until 610 B.C. (2 Chronicles 34:1).
Josiah "did that which was right in the sight
of the LORD" (2 Chronicles 34:2).
He destroyed idolatry in the kingdom of Judah (2 Chronicles 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" (2 Chronicles 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" (2 Chronicles 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 Deuteronomy.
It appears that the book may have been lost for some time and was virtually
Its loss, in part, may 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" (2 Chronicles 34:19).
WHY DID KING JOSIAH REND HIS CLOTHES WHEN HE HEARD THE LAW OF MOSES READ?
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"
(2 Chronicles 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."
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 THEIR
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 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 can also lose the great
blessings that come from obedience.
President 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
"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 regarding the Book of Mormon, "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,
2 CHRONICLES 34:31-33. Covenant made at the temple.
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
President 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 3 Ne.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?
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
- 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 Lord as taught in the temple and the scriptures.
- Record your thoughts on the importance of the temple and the scriptures.
Resources Used In This Lesson
A New Witness for the Articles of Faith by Bruce R. McConkie.
Brigham Young Magazine.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism edited by Daniel H. Ludlow.
Journal of Discourses (JD).
Things As They Really Are by Neal A. Maxwell.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
15 July 2014