Old Testament Scriptural Selections and Commentary
Ezekiel, Selections from chapters in the Teacher's Manual
Gospel Doctrine Class, Sunday School Lesson #44
"Every Thing Shall Live Whither the River Cometh" - Ezekiel 47:9
Reference: Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, (2001), 207-10
Reference: Old Testament Student Manual Kings-Malachi, (1982), 279–88
"In one of the most remarkable visions of the Old Testament, Ezekiel had the privilege of being carried away by the Spirit to the holy city of Jerusalem to behold on the temple mount the magnificent temple to be built there in the latter days" (Old Testament Student Manual Kings—Malachi, p. 286).
Elder James E. Talmage wrote:
“In the twenty-fifth year of the Babylonian captivity, while yet the people of Israel were in exile in a strange land, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Ezekiel; the power of God rested upon him; and he saw in vision a glorious Temple, the plan of which he minutely described. As to whether the prophet himself considered the design so shown as one to be subsequently realized, or as but a grand yet unattainable ideal, is not declared. Certain it is that the Temple of the vision has not yet been builded [built]" (The House of the Lord, pp. 37–38; quoted in the Student Manual, p. 286).
The purpose of this lesson is "to encourage class members to partake of the life-giving, healing powers that are available in the temple."
Ezekiel 43:1-12; 44:9. 23 - Ezekiel is shown a vision of the temple in Jerusalem
▶"And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory" (43:1).
▶"And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house" (43:4-5).
▶"And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne [on earth], and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell [walk and appear] in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places" (43:7).
▶"And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house [temple], and the fashion thereof,…and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof: and all the ordinances thereof, and do them" (43:11).
▶"This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit [surroundings] thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house" (43:12)
▶"Thus saith the Lord God; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary [temple], of any stranger that is among the children of Israel (44:9)" ("Only those who are worthy should enter the temple" from the Teacher's Manual.)
▶"And they shall teach my people [in the temple] the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean" (44:23).
Ezekiel sees a river flowing from the temple that gives life to the desert and heals the Dead Sea
"Afterward he [the Lord] brought me again [still in vision] unto the door of the house; and behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house; eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under the right side of the house, and the south side of the altar" (47:1).
"And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river (47:6).
"Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other (47:7).
"Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed (47:8).
"The Judean wilderness is a barren desert, and the Dead Sea is too salty to sustain animal life. According to Ezekiel’s vision, …changes will take place in the Judean wilderness and the Dead Sea because of the river flowing from the temple" (see Ezekiel 47:6–12). (Teacher's Manual).
Revelation 22:1 - "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.
Ezekiel measures the river’s depth
When Ezekiel first wades into the stream, "the waters were to the ankles." As he walked another thousand cubits through the waters, "the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and "the waters were to the loins." Then he measured a thousand; and it was a river that he could not pass over; "for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over" (47:2-5).
"Wonderful truths are taught in the temple, many through symbols. If at first our understanding of these truths or of temple ordinances is only “ankle deep,” what should we do? (See Ezekiel 47:2–5.) We should wade into the 'river' again and again—or, in other words, attend the temple as often as possible" (Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 207–10).
"[The] Lord has called the temple 'a place of thanksgiving' (D&C 97:13)." We should often express our thankfulness for the blessings that come from attending the temple
"I have loved the habitation of thy house” Psalm 26:8
"Many of the psalms mention blessings we receive from temple attendance and express beautiful feelings of love and thanksgiving for the temple" (Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 207–10).
Psalm 24:3-4 - "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully."
Psalm 27:4-6 - "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide [protect] me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord."
Psalm 65:4 - "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts; we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of the holy temple."
Psalm 84:10 - "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."
Psalm 122:1, 9 - "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord."
9 "Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good."
Psalm 134:1-3 - "Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord. The Lord that made heaven and earth [and he will] bless thee out of Zion."
“The Great Symbol of [Our] Membership”
President Howard W. Hunter said: “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” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 8; quoted in the Teacher's Manual).