Week Forty-Four: Ezekiel 1–3; 33–34; 36–37; 47
In Ezekiel’s vision of future Israel, he was brought to the door of the temple or House of the Lord by an angelic minister and “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, at the south side of the altar.”[i]
The depth of the water grew and grew as Ezekiel was brought by his angelic guide through the water. The height began at his ankles, and every thousand cubits or about 3,000 feet, the water rose from his ankles to his knees to his upper thighs and finally he could not pass over the water “for the waters were…waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.”[ii]
These waters that issued forth from the temple healed the waters of the Dead Sea and all the land surrounding it. The trees were full of fruit and the fish were abundant.
“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 whether the river cometh.”[iii]
“[T]he fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi even unto En-egalim; 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.”[iv]
Although the description in Ezekiel indicated that En-Eglaim was on the shore of the Dead Sea, its exact location is unknown. The location of En-Gedi, however, is known and is a modern city located on the western shore of the Dead Sea. [v]
Currently, the Dead Sea is a place where no fish can survive, nor can edible or flourishing vegetation grow around it.
Even though Ezekiel’s vision was of a future event that will happen in Jerusalem and continue all the way to the Dead Sea, we can also see his vision as a symbol of the outpouring of blessings, like a rushing river, that is happening today with the temples which dot the world.
In Ezekiel’s vision, the healing of the temple waters caused all the land around it to expand in beauty and usefulness, which used to be an uninhabitable waste land. This new land of growth and abundance shall be divided into lots for an inheritance for Israel and the strangers who live in Israel. “They shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that in what tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance, saith the Lord God.”[vi]
Isn’t that what happens in the temple? Those who were once strangers are now brought into the family of Israel and given an inheritance as a member of the House of Israel. Temples heal families and bring people together as inheritors of God’s grace and salvation. There are no strangers in the temple. All people receive the same inheritance and abundance of blessings.
Pres. Nelson said “The temple lies at the center of strengthening our faith and spiritual fortitude because the Savior and His doctrine are the very heart of the temple. Everything taught in the temple, through instruction and through the Spirit, increases our understanding of Jesus Christ. His essential ordinances bind us to Him through sacred priesthood covenants. Then, as we keep our covenants, He endows us with His healing, strengthening power.3 And oh, how we will need His power in the days ahead.”[vii]
May we feel the healing power of the temple this week, just like the flowing water out of the temple in Jerusalem in Ezekiel’s vision, which healed the waters of the Dead Sea.
[i] Ezekiel 47:1
[ii] Ezekiel 47:5
[iii] Ezekiel 47:9
[iv] Ezekiel 47:11
[v] Christopher Clarke, “En-Eglaim,” https://doi.org/10.1515/ebr.eneglaim.
[vi] Ezekiel 47:22
[vii] Russell M. Nelson, The Temple and Your Spiritual Foundation, GC October 2021