Thing Shall Live Whither the River Cometh”
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 will encourage us to partake of the life-giving,
healing powers that are available in the temple.
Scripture references for study: Ezekiel
43–44; Ezekiel 47
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 44 Handout (PDF
The Battle of Armageddon - Ezekiel 38 & 39
These chapters describe the battle of Armageddon.
Where these armies will come from (see
Ezekiel 38:2, 5-6):
An army is to be led by Gog from the land of Magog.
Gog was the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.
This represents most of what was anciently the known world. It may
well be that most of the world will contribute to the army led by Gog against
Magog = areas north and east of the Black Sea and the Crimea.
Now occupied by the Russia and her satellites.
Meshech = people of Meschech were anciently called the Mushki. Some
linguists think they gave their name to Moscow. Also in Russia.
Tubal = likely the area around the Black Sea in Georgia and Turkey.
Persia = Iran.
Ethiopia = Africa south of Egypt and the coastal countries.
Libya = North Africa, except Egypt (Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria).
Gomer = Most of modern Europe.
Togarmah = Asia Minor (Armenia, Turkey, & Syria).
- 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,
Ezekiel's Vision Of The Temple - Chapters 40-44
Ezekiel was taken in vision, to the land of Israel, on a very high mountain. He saw a man measuring the temple to be built in the latter-days (Ezekiel 40:1-3).
Take a moment and read the following verses:
Ezekiel 44:6-9, 23.
Ezekiel 40-42 includes 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 (43:7).
The Lord walks in the temple, calling it "the place of the soles of my
The temple is a place where the Lord may "dwell in the midst" of his people
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 (43:11).
Even the grounds that surround the temple "shall be most holy" (43:12).
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 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, and 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." (JD 17:332-333)
Ezekiel Sees A River Flowing From The Temple
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 eastward" (v1).
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"
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 TEMPLE?
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 throne."
WHAT FLOWED FROM THE THRONE OF GOD IN JOHN'S VISION?
"Water of life" (Revelation 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 (AVAILABLE IN THE TEMPLE) HEAL AND GIVE
LIFE TO MARRIAGES? OUR FAMILIES? OUR ANCESTORS?
A marriage 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 weather the challenges and storms of eternity. Such a marriage brings new life into the world for eternal purposes.
Those who participate in the renewal 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
EZEKIEL 47:2-5. Ezekiel measures the depth of
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.
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
- 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." As our knowledge and righteousness 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.
- Record your thoughts on the temple. How has it blessed your life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Journal of Discourses (JD).
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
07 November 2014