O.T. Handout #44: Ezekiel, Temple, Jerusalem, Jehovah-shammah, gates of Israel, Sacrifices restored, Zadok, 12 Tribes, Holy City, D&C 29, November 2014
Ezekiel 43:1–5; 44:4. The Glory of God Fills the Temple The glory of God is manifest in the brightness and power of His divine presence. It is expected that the glory of the Lord would fill His holy house in Jerusalem. Unquestionably, His glory has filled all of the temples that have been built in His name and by His authority. (See Numbers 9:15–18; 2 Chronicles 5:13–14; Ezra 6:14–16; D&C 110:1–5; 124:27–28, 38–41.)
Ezekiel 43:18–27. What Sacrifices Will Be Offered in the Temple? President Joseph Fielding Smith explained: “When these temples [the temple seen by Ezekiel and others to be built in the New Jerusalem] are built, it is very likely that provision will be made for some ceremonies and ordinances which may be performed by the Aaronic Priesthood and a place provided where the sons of Levi may offer their offering in righteousness. This will have to be the case because all things are to be restored. There were ordinances performed in ancient Israel in the tabernacle when in the wilderness, and after it was established at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, and later in the temple built by Solomon. The Lord has informed us that this was the case and has said that in those edifices ordinances for the people were performed. . . .
“We are living in the dispensation of the fulness of times into which all things are to be gathered, and all things are to be restored since the beginning. Even this earth is to be restored to the condition which prevailed before Adam’s transgression. Now in the nature of things, the law of sacrifice will have to be restored, or all things which were decreed by the Lord would not be restored. It will be necessary, therefore, for the sons of Levi, who offered the blood sacrifices anciently in Israel, to offer such a sacrifice again to round out and complete this ordinance in this dispensation. Sacrifice by the shedding of blood was instituted in the days of Adam and of necessity will have to be restored.
“The sacrifice of animals will be done to complete the restoration when the temple spoken of is built; at the beginning of the millennium, or in the restoration, blood sacrifices will be performed long enough to complete the fulness of the restoration in this dispensation. Afterwards sacrifice will be of some other character.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:93–94.)
Ezekiel 45:1–8; 47:13–48:29. How Will the Land Be Divided among the Tribes of Israel? According to Ezekiel’s vision of the future, the Holy Land will be divided in strips running between the Mediterranean Sea on the west and the Dead Sea and the Jordan River on the east. Each of the twelve tribes will be given a strip of land with a strip out of the middle for the prince, the city, and the Levites, that is, the priests. Joseph will receive a double portion (Ezekiel 47:13)
since Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph’s sons, both became tribes in Israel. The city will have twelve gates, one for each tribe (including Levi and one for Joseph). On the north will be the tribes of Reuben, Judah, and Levi; on the east will be Joseph, Benjamin, and Dan; on the south will be Simeon, Issachar, and Zebulun; on the west will be Gad, Asher, and Naphtali. Jerusalem will then be called the Lord is there (Jehovah-shammah; Ezekiel 48:35). There will be a gathering there of the scattered tribes of Israel, and the temple that Ezekiel saw in vision will be central in location and function in that gathering.
Regarding the inheritances of Joseph’s descendants in the Middle East, Sperry commented: “Of interest to the Latter-day Saints is the fact that provision is made for the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. It is quite evident from Ezekiel’s vision that not all of Joseph’s descendants are to have their inheritance on the American continent, as some of our people have supposed. We may be justified in believing, however, that most of Joseph’s seed will be provided for on this land (see Ether 13:5–12), but Ezekiel very obviously implies that some of Joseph’s descendants will dwell in Palestine.” (Voice of Israel’s Prophets, pp. 236–37.)
Ezekiel 47:1–12. Waters Issue from the Temple: The Prophet Joseph Smith proclaimed: “Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed. It will take some time to rebuild the walls of the city and the temple, &c; and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance.” (Teachings, p. 286.)
The waters issuing forth from under the temple and the healing of the Dead Sea may occur when the Lord Himself sets foot upon the Mount of Olives, causing this mountain to divide in two and create a large valley”. (see Zechariah 14:4; D&C 133:20–24).
Ezekiel 47:22–23. Who Are These Strangers? Undoubtedly there will be converts who are not part of blood Israel who will receive an inheritance because of their devotion to the gospel. They will then be adopted into the house of Israel. These strangers may be some of the gentile peoples who will accept the gospel in the last days.
Ezekiel 48:31–34. The Gates of the City Revelation 22:13–17 has the requirements one must fill to enter in the gates of the holy city.
Ezekiel 48:35. Jerusalem Will Be Called Holy. The Joseph Smith Translation reads: “And the name of the city from that day shall be called, Holy; for the Lord shall be there” (see JST, Ezekiel 48:35; emphasis added). The temple will be built as a symbol to Israel that the Lord is with His people.
D&C 29 is an end-time prophecy, adding many details:
20 And it shall come to pass that the beasts of the forest and the fowls of the air shall devour them up. 21 And the great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall be cast down by devouring fire, according as it is spoken by the mouth of Ezekiel the prophet, who spoke of these things, which have not come to pass but surely must, as I live, for abominations shall not reign. 22 And again, verily, verily, I say unto you that when the thousand years are ended, and men again begin to deny their God, then will I spare the earth but for a little season; 23 And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth.
A website, The Temple Institute, www.templeinstitute.org, is actively in search of funds to build the Third Temple in Jerusalem. Some of the vessels, priestly garments, the location of a Red Heifer, paintings, a new Sanhedrin, are already in place and waiting for the million or so dollars to fund a rebuilding. A place has not been chosen or secured. Here is a paragraph from their website:
“THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE CONSIDERS IT OF PRIMARY IMPORTANCE to educate about the great significance of Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the only site in the world that is considered holy by the Jewish people, and the only site in the world which G-d chose to rest His presence through the establishment of the Holy Temple. To learn more about the sacred Temple Mount…
to find out how to request a tour of the Temple Mount according to halacha, Jewish law, without treading upon the actual site of the Temple, which is Biblically forbidden for all people, whether Jew or Gentile.”
Throughout the Bible, the lack of a proper burial constitutes a curse and punishment. In Deut 28:26 one curse that befalls those who disobey the covenant statutes involves military conquest and death without burial. This is what the Judeans faced as they marched out of their fallen cities. Ancient Judeans and Israelites had no concenpt of heaven or hell. Those who died were thought to be in a sleep. Place of the dead=Sheol, but this was imagined as an underworld, a pit.
Thumbnail of final events in Judah history: Remember that the ancient Kingdom of Judah, captured and led to Babylon around the 7th century BCE, had been a client state in the Assyrian empire. Egypt feared the sudden rise of Babylon. It seized control of Assyrian territory to the Euphrates in Syria, but Babylon counterattacked. Josiah, king of Judah, paid tribute but was killed in battle with Egyptians at Megiddo in 609 b.c. The court of Jerusalem divided into two parties, one supporting Egypt, the other Babylon. After a 3 month siege in Jerusalem in 598 b.c. resulting in death of next few of Judah’s kings, Nebuchadnezzar pillaged Jerusalem and the Temple and took many, including Zedekiah, to Babylon. He was blinded. Judah was then called Yehud Medinata (Judah Province), putting an end to the Kingdom of Judah.
In 539 b.c. the Persians conquered Babylon. The Decree of Cyrus allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem. By 520-515 b.c., in addition to those who remained in Judah, there were significant Jewish communities in Babylon and in Egypt; this was the beginning of the later numerous Jewish communities living permanently outside Judah in the Jewish Diaspora (Dispersion). The foundation of the Second Temple laid. The people of Judah spent 70 years in captivity. (Jer 29:10-14, 25:12, Ezra 1:2-4).
Benefits to captivity:
Cured of Idolatry
The Jews were almost completely cured of idolatry, no matter what their faults and downfalls were in later periods of history, they never returned to the idolatry of the nations around them as they had. The Babylonian Captivity had taught them to abhor the worship of idols.
2. The Scribes and Rabbinic Literature
The situation caused them to be separated from Jerusalem and the Temple and thus there came a new order called the “Scribes.” In their earliest stages they served the Jewish colonists in a very valuable way, especially in teaching, guarding and preserving the Scriptures. The Scribes produced the rabbinical literature known as the Mishna (God’s laws allegedly passed down orally and not recorded in Scripture), the Gemara (a commentary on the Mishna and a compilation of accepted traditions). These two volumes were later added to and combined to form the Talmud (Babylonian Talmud). There was also other important literature and secular writings.
3. The Synagogues
Places for assembly or “synagogues” were instituted in order to conduct formal Jewish worship, and to provide schools for education while they were far from their homeland. It was the difficult circumstances of the Babylonian Captivity that allowed for the synagogues, without these unusual circumstances there might not have been synagogues which kept the national spirit of the Jewish people even after the fall of the Second Temple.
4. The Teaching of the Scriptures
The Jewish people pursued the Scriptures. They compiled the Scriptures and studied them intensely, realizing the reason for the Captivity and teaching this to their children. Later Ezra, the Scribe, taught the Scriptures and gave light to its meaning.
5. Unification of the Jewish People
Similar to the captivity in Egypt, the Babylonian Captivity brought a common hardship and isolation which brought a common sympathy and a closer relationship with each of individual of the nation. They returned united and purified, anyone who would not learn this lesson remained in Babylon only to become lost in history.