“Lesson 143: Ezekiel 38–48,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 143,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Ezekiel saw in vision a great battle that will precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. He also saw in vision a latter-day temple that will be built in Jerusalem. He saw water flowing from this temple through the surrounding land and into the waters of the Dead Sea, which were then healed. Many of the details regarding these prophecies have not yet been revealed.
If you could pick two things that you would like the world to know about Jesus Christ, what would they be? Why?
As students study the prophecies of Ezekiel in Ezekiel 38–48, ask them to look for what the Lord will make sure everyone knows about Him as part of His Second Coming.
Invite a student to read Ezekiel 38:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for whom the Lord declared He was against.
Explain that Gog was the king (or chief prince) of a land called Magog, located north of Jerusalem. Ezekiel used Gog symbolically to represent a wicked leader or leaders who will seek to destroy God’s people in the last days. Write the word Jerusalem in the center of the board. Write Gog of Magog above the word Jerusalem.
What countries gathered to Gog?
Explain that ancient Persia was east of Jerusalem, ancient Ethiopia was south of Jerusalem, and ancient Libya was west of Jerusalem. Explain that Ezekiel may have used these countries symbolically to illustrate that this army would come from many surrounding nations. Write the names of these countries on the board, and draw arrows from them to Gog.
Summarize Ezekiel 38:7–14 by explaining that after the army of Gog gathers, their purpose will be to attack what they perceive to be the defenseless kingdom of Israel. This prophecy refers to the great battle commonly referred to as the battle of Armageddon, which will precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. (Note: The battle at the end of the Millennium described by John is also referred to as the battle of Gog and Magog. See Revelation 20:7–9.) The army of Gog symbolizes the great army that will attack Jerusalem. Add a large arrow pointing down from Gog of Magog to Jerusalem to represent this attack.
Invite a student to read Ezekiel 38:15–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s purpose in allowing the army of Gog to attack the people in Jerusalem in the latter days.
What does the Lord say is His purpose in allowing Gog to battle the people of Israel?
You may want to suggest that students mark the phrase “that the heathen may know me” in verse 16. You may want to explain that the word heathen refers to people who do not know the Lord. Further explain that the phrase “I shall be sanctified in thee” in verse 16 means that the Lord will manifest Himself as He sustains the people of Israel against the army of Gog.
Divide students into groups of two or three and invite them to take turns reading aloud from Ezekiel 38:18–23, looking for how the Lord will demonstrate His power against the army of Gog.
How will the Lord demonstrate His power against Gog?
According to verse 23, what will many nations come to know as they witness the destruction of Gog?
Summarize Ezekiel 39:1–29 by explaining that after most of the army of Gog is destroyed, it will take seven months for the house of Israel to bury the dead and seven years to clean up after the battle. Sometimes in the scriptures, writers use numbers to convey symbolic meaning beyond the literal understanding. Thus, the number seven may refer to a long time or to the land becoming complete and whole again.
Invite a student to read Ezekiel 39:7, 21–22 aloud. Invite the class to follow along and look for what the children of Israel would know after this battle. You may want to suggest that students mark what they find.
What will the children of Israel know after this battle?
According to Ezekiel 39:7, what name or title does the Lord use to refer to Himself?
What truth will all people, including the entire house of Israel, eventually know as a result of this battle? (Students may use different words, but they should identify something similar to the following truth: All people will know that Jesus Christ is the Lord.)
Explain that in Ezekiel 40–43 we read that an angel guided Ezekiel through another vision pertaining to the last days.
Invite students to read the chapter summaries for Ezekiel 40–43 silently, looking for what Ezekiel saw.
What did Ezekiel see in vision?
Explain that the temple Ezekiel saw is a temple that will be built in Jerusalem in the last days.
Show students a picture of a temple.
Why are temples sacred, or holy, places?
Invite a student to read Ezekiel 44:5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord told Ezekiel to do to maintain the holy nature of the temple.
What do you think it means to “mark well the entering in of the house”?
How do priesthood leaders fulfill a similar responsibility today?
Summarize Ezekiel 44:6–8 by explaining that the Lord condemned Israel for failing to maintain the sacredness of His holy house. Invite a student to read Ezekiel 44:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for whom the Lord did not permit to enter His temple.
Whom did the Lord not permit to enter His temple?
Explain that the phrase “stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh” in verse 9 refers to non-Israelites who had not made covenants to follow the Lord.
Based on these verses, what principle can we learn about who can enter the house of the Lord? (Students may use different words, but make sure it is clear that if we make and keep covenants with the Lord, He will permit us to enter His holy house.)
Why do you think the Lord has standards that we must meet before we enter His house?
What standards do we need to live to be worthy to worship in the temple?
Invite students to imagine that they have dressed up in their Church clothes and are on the temple grounds. They walk to the front doors of the temple and enter. Invite them to imagine how they might feel knowing that they are worthy to enter.
Ask students to ponder the following questions:
Are you currently worthy to enter the Lord’s house?
What changes can you make to be better prepared to enter the Lord’s house?
Encourage students to follow any promptings they receive to help them be worthy to enter the Lord’s house.
Summarize Ezekiel 44:10–46:24 by explaining that the messenger showed Ezekiel how priests were to prepare for and properly perform their duties in the temple.
Explain that in Ezekiel 47 we read that Ezekiel was brought to the door of the temple, where he saw in vision an event that the Prophet Joseph Smith taught would occur before the Savior’s Second Coming (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 252). This vision is also a symbolic representation of the blessings that come to all who live worthy to worship in the temple.
Invite a student to read Ezekiel 47:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Ezekiel saw as he stood at the door of the temple.
What did Ezekiel see?
Explain that Ezekiel then saw a man with a measuring line who measured the water flowing farther away from the temple. Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Ezekiel 47:3–5. Ask the class to follow along and look for what happened to the water as it flowed away from the temple.
What did Ezekiel notice about the water as it flowed farther and farther away from the temple?
Summarize Ezekiel 47:6–7 by explaining that the messenger brought Ezekiel to the bank of the river, where he noticed many trees along both sides of the river.
Invite a student to read Ezekiel 47:8 aloud. Ask the class to look for where the water went.
Where did the water go?
Direct students to the picture “Judean Wilderness” (Bible Photographs, no. 3) in the Bible appendix, and explain that in Ezekiel’s vision, this was the area through which the water ran. Point out that the sea Ezekiel saw was the Dead Sea, so named because of its inability to sustain animal or plant life.
Invite a student to read Ezekiel 47:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the water would do to everything it touched.
What would the water do to everything it touched?
What can Ezekiel’s vision teach us about the blessings we can experience through temple worship? (The blessings of the temple heal and give life to those who keep the sacred covenants they make in the temple.)
What are some of the blessings of the temple that can heal or give life?
When have you experienced blessings from the temple that could be like healing water?
Invite a student to read aloud Ezekiel 47:12. Ask the class to look for how Ezekiel described the trees on the banks of the river.
How can the description of the trees on the banks of this river be like individuals who experience the blessings of the temple? (Those individuals can have eternal life and help nourish and heal others.)
Testify that by worshipping Heavenly Father in the temple, we can experience the greatest blessings available to us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, including eternal life. As illustrated in Ezekiel’s vision, we can be healed and changed.
Summarize Ezekiel 47:13–48:35 by explaining that Ezekiel heard the voice of the Lord and saw how the promised land would be divided among the house of Israel. Ezekiel concluded his record by explaining what Jerusalem will be called after the Lord’s Second Coming (see Ezekiel 48:35). According to the Joseph Smith Translation, “the name of the city from that day shall be called, Holy; for the Lord shall be there” (in Ezekiel 48:35, footnote a).