“Unit 29: Day 3, Ezekiel 38–48,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 29: Day 3,” Old Testament Study Guide
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 Dead Sea. 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 you study the prophecies of Ezekiel in Ezekiel 38–48, look for what the Lord will make sure everyone knows about Him as part of His Second Coming.
Read Ezekiel 38:1–3, looking for whom the Lord declared He was against.
Gog was the “chief prince” (Ezekiel 38:2) 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.
Ancient Persia was east of Jerusalem, ancient Ethiopia was south of Jerusalem, and ancient Libya was west of Jerusalem. Ezekiel may have used these countries symbolically to illustrate that this army would come from many surrounding nations.
In Ezekiel 38:7–14 we learn that after the armies of Gog gather, their purpose will be to attack what they perceive to be the defenseless people of Israel. This prophecy refers to the great battle commonly referred to as the battle of Armageddon that will precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The army of Gog symbolizes the great army that will attack Jerusalem. (Sometimes people can be confused because the Apostle John referred to another battle that would take place at the end of the Millennium as the battle of Gog and Magog [see Revelation 20:7–9]. These are two different battles.)
Read Ezekiel 38:15–16, looking for the Lord’s purpose in allowing the army of Gog to attack the people in Jerusalem in the latter days.
You may want to mark the phrase “that the heathen may know me” in verse 16. The word heathen refers to people who do not know the Lord. The phrase “I shall be sanctified in thee” in verse 16 means that the Lord would manifest Himself as He sustains the people of Israel against the army of Gog.
Read Ezekiel 38:18–23, looking for how the Lord will demonstrate His power against the army of Gog.
Ezekiel 39 explains 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 mean a long time or refer to the land becoming complete and whole again.
Read Ezekiel 39:7, 21–22, looking for what the children of Israel would know after this battle. You may want to mark what you find.
As a result of this battle, all people will know that Jesus Christ is the Lord.
- In your scripture study journal, explain how the battle that will take place at Jerusalem before the Second Coming will help all people to know that Jesus Christ is the Lord.
In Ezekiel 40–43 we read that an angel guided Ezekiel through another vision pertaining to the last days.
Read the chapter summaries in your scriptures for Ezekiel 40–43, looking for what Ezekiel saw.
The temple Ezekiel saw is a temple that will be built in Jerusalem in the last days.
Read Ezekiel 44:5, looking for what the Lord told Ezekiel to do to maintain the holy nature of the temple. To “mark well the entering in of the house” means to pay attention to who or what enters the house. How do priesthood leaders fulfill a similar responsibility for temples today?
In Ezekiel 44:6–8 we read that the Lord condemned the children of Israel for failing to maintain the sacredness of His holy house. Read Ezekiel 44:9, looking for whom the Lord did not permit to enter His temple.
The word stranger in verse 9 refers to non-Israelites who had not made covenants to follow the Lord. The phrase “uncircumcised in heart” in this verse similarly refers to unworthy individuals from outside the covenant.
Based on these verses, we learn the following principle: If we make and keep covenants with the Lord, He will permit us to enter His holy house.
President Howard W. Hunter further explained what we must do to prepare to enter the house of the Lord: “To qualify for the blessings of the temple, each of us must ensure that our lives are in harmony with the teachings of the Church. Before going to the temple, you are interviewed by your bishop. In that interview you certify to him that you meet a standard of conduct relating to the holy temple. We want you to decide today that you will always maintain this standard and be worthy of the privilege of going to the house of the Lord” (“Your Temple Recommend,” New Era, Apr. 1995, 6).
You can prepare to enter the house of the Lord by honoring your baptismal covenant to obey Heavenly Father’s commandments, including the law of chastity, the law of tithing, and the Word of Wisdom.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: Why do you think the Lord has standards that we must meet before we enter His house?
Imagine that you are dressed in your finest temple-appropriate clothes and are on the grounds of a temple. Picture yourself walking to the front doors of the temple and entering. Imagine how you would feel knowing that you are worthy to enter.
Ponder your responses to the following questions:
Are you currently worthy to enter the Lord’s house?
What changes will you make to be better prepared to enter the Lord’s house?
Be sure to follow any promptings you have received to prepare yourself to be worthy to enter the Lord’s house.
In Ezekiel 44:10–46:24 we learn that the messenger showed Ezekiel how priests were to prepare and properly perform their duties in the temple. Ezekiel was then brought to the door of the temple. There he saw a symbolic representation of the blessings that come to all who live worthy to worship in the temple.
Read Ezekiel 47:1, looking for what Ezekiel saw as he stood at the door of the temple.
After Ezekiel saw water flowing out from the temple, he saw a man with a measuring line who measured the water as it flowed farther away from the temple. Read Ezekiel 47:3–5, looking for what happened to the water as it flowed away from the temple.
Ezekiel 47:6–7 explains that the messenger brought Ezekiel to the bank of the river, and Ezekiel noticed many trees along both sides of the river.
Read Ezekiel 47:8, looking for where the water went.
The accompanying image, which is similar to the image included in your scriptures as Bible Photographs, no. 3, “Judean Wilderness,” shows the area that the water in Ezekiel’s vision will flow through. The sea Ezekiel saw is called the Dead Sea because of its inability to sustain animal or plant life due to the high concentration of salt in the water.
From what you learn in Ezekiel 47:8, what will the waters that come out from the temple do to the waters of the Dead Sea?
The waters in this vision may represent the Spirit and power of God, which will in a future day heal all nations. The waters may also represent the blessings that flow from the temple. One truth we can learn from Ezekiel’s vision is that the blessings of the temple heal and give life to those who keep the sacred covenants they make in the temple.
- Answer one or both of the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Symbolically, how might a person be like a desert or a salty sea when he or she is not worthy of the blessings of the temple?
When have you experienced blessings from the temple that could be like healing water?
Read Ezekiel 47:12, looking for how Ezekiel described the trees along the banks of the river.
Consider how the description of the trees along the banks of this river can be like individuals who experience the blessings of the temple. Like the trees, those individuals can help nourish and heal others. As you worship Heavenly Father in the temple, you can experience the greatest blessings available to us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, including eternal life. As illustrated in Ezekiel’s vision, you can be healed and changed.
Ezekiel 47:13–48:35 informs us 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 in Ezekiel 48:35 by explaining what Jerusalem will be called after the Lord’s Second Coming. According to the Joseph Smith Translation of Ezekiel 48:35, Ezekiel said, “The name of the city from that day shall be called, Holy; for the Lord shall be there” (in Ezekiel 48:35, footnote a, of the 2013 edition of the scriptures).
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Ezekiel 38–48 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: