Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ezekiel And The Temple

This coming June 12th will make 17 years of marriage for Decker and I, and this coming August 14th will make 15 years since Decker was called to his mission on the other side of the veil.

The fact that so much time has passed since both events is both easy and hard to believe: I remember our time together as if it were yesterday, yet it seems like Decker has been gone forever.  I guess that's one of the paradigms of this fallen world, and a paradigm of time as we know it.

I have been wanting to post about Ezekiel and The Temple for a while now, it was a Sunday School lesson for the Old Testament I was given the blessing of teaching.  The reason I say blessing you will understand shortly.

While Decker was alive, we tried to have children, but I couldn't conceive.  Nothing was working.  We spent a lot of time in the Temple, and while there at one point I received a vision.  I was dressed in white and holding a newborn boy in my arms who looked just like Decker, hair and all.  The message was loud and clear that I would be given this child, however I was a little confused as to why I was also wearing white.

Then Decker passed away.

Someone dear to me, after Decker's death, insisted that Decker could never father a child as a resurrected being.  This was another blow.

I got on my knees and had a heart to heart with Heavenly Father and the Savior.  I asked, very pointedly, how I could be given such a vision (and what I felt to be a promise) of something to come when the Lord had every intention of taking my husband early without fulfilling the promise?

The answer, thankfully, came with patience and love:  Why are you placing limits on what God can do?  Not every power of God has been revealed to man just yet.

I found a confirmation to that lesson in the scriptures, with Ezekiel and The Temple.

The place is Babylon, at the end of the saga that constitutes the Old Testament, aka the Old Covenant.  Ezekiel is among the Jews who were taken from Jerusalem to Babylon to be made slaves and placed under house arrest.  They lost their land of inheritance, their Temple was defiled and then destroyed, the Ark of The Covenant went missing.  The Jews were sold into slavery and the Tribes of Israel were "lost" and scattered.

In all of this, the Jehovah calls Ezekiel as a prophet and gives Ezekiel a series of visions, including this one, which is of the Millennial Temple.

Ezekiel 43:1-12

Ezekiel 44:6-9, 23

The burning question for me was:  why?  Why show Ezekiel a temple he would never live to see?

And just like my anguished question of the Lord, the answer came:  Not every power of God has been revealed to man just yet.  Ezekiel was to record his vision for a later generation who would not only see temples during their lifetime, but would need to understand the healing that is to come for the faithful.

Now, about the symbolism of the water used on the temple grounds of our modern-day temples.  It's not just a symbol of a paradisal glory, another meaning comes from Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 47:1,6-12

Particularly, verse 9:

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.

This is a river flowing from an alter within the temple, coming out from under the temple, flowing through a desert and into the Dead Sea.

There is a lot of symbolism going on here so let's break this down:

1.  The river is flowing from an altar within the temple.  Why?  Because the altar represents the Throne of Jehovah.  Jehovah is the source of the water.

2.  As it flows through the desert, what happens along the pathway?  Vegetation comes to life, and spontaneously produces fruit.  The desert, a symbol of famine, is healed by the water of Jehovah.

3.  The water reaches and heals the Dead Sea.  What happens when it heals?  It's not just a multitude of fish that appear.

10 And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many.

The interesting part is the description of the fish.  They shall exceed in the kinds of the fish of the great sea.  Not only will the fish who would have been native to the Dead Sea will live there, but more, much more.

This isn't just about healing.

When we make covenants with the Lord in our latter-day temples, there are promises and blessings the Lord has in store for us that we cannot even imagine, numbering much like the fish in the restored Dead Sea.  

The healed desert?  That is us, being healed so we will become the kind of disciples the Lord knows we can be.  We will be healed to reach our full potential to flow to the sea and partake of the multitude of blessings that await us.  

Do you have any kind of unfulfilled expectation in your life?  A blessing that has been withheld for a time?  This is where it comes to fruition.  We can become the spouses to our eternal companions the Lord knows we can be.  We can be the kind of parents to the children awaiting us the Lord knows we can be.

How does this happen?  It is the healing power of the Lord, through the blessings flowing from the temple, that make this happen.

Do you think this applies today?  Yes, to a limited degree.  There is water flowing from the temple, a spiritual water that can heal you from the pain, suffering, depression this world brings.  It awaits us at the temple.

Source:  https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/temples/mesa-arizona?lang=eng

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