“The stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph”
In this next lesson we find ourselves in the book of Ezekiel, and another shining example the Mormon Church’s inflated ego that tells them a passage in this book is about them.
Probably one of the most well-known prophecies in Ezekiel amongst the Mormon people is found in chapter 37. In verses 15-28 Ezekiel has a prophecy of the reunion between Judah and Israel. However Mormons see it as a uniting of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. (“The stick of Judah symbolizes the Bible, and the stick of Joseph symbolizes the Book of Mormon.”)
Elder Boyd K. Packer said: “The stick or record of Judah—the Old Testament and the New Testament—and the stick or record of Ephraim—the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ—are now woven together in such a way that as you pore over one you are drawn to the other; as you learn from one you are enlightened by the other. They are indeed one in our hands. Ezekiel’s prophecy now stands fulfilled” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 75; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 53).
Not being one who only looks at one side I thought I’d see what someone else had to say about the “two sticks”.
In Matthew Henry’s commentary of these verses we read:
“This emblem was to show the people, that the Lord would unite Judah and Israel. Christ is the true David, Israel’s King of old; and those whom he makes willing in the day of his power, he makes to walk in his judgments, and to keep his statutes. Events yet to come will further explain this prophecy. Nothing has more hindered the success of the gospel than divisions. Let us study to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; let us seek for Divine grace to keep us from detestable things; and let us pray that all nations may be obedient and happy subjects of the Son of David, that the Lord may be our God, and we may be his people for evermore. “
These are two very different views of this short section of scripture. I’ve read over this same passage numerous times and all I see is God’s hand in bring His people together. Yet Mormons imagine this to be about God bringing two different books together. It give you a visual of how Mormons believe this all came to about I found an illustration that might help (or confuse) you, as you try to understand how they imagine these two sticks coming together.
As if theorizing that the one of the two sticks is about the Book of Mormon wasn’t horrendous enough in the last part of chapter 37 they being to discuss the restoration of the tabernacle. I think we can guess where they’re going with this one, but for context purposes let’s see what God actually says.
Ezekiel 37:26-28 reads: “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. (27) My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (28) And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.”
These verses refer to the New Covenant, this covenant is one of grace and peace, one that’s a complete and brings everlasting salvation to the nation of Israel. This is something they’ve never experienced because they were under the Law. Paul quotes verse 27 in 2 Corinthians 6:16
“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
What an amazing promise this is to the believer but also to the Jew who heard this message. It’s wonderful to know that God can dwell in your heart and be with you always, and to know that you don’t have to make the trek to the temple (or anywhere else) just to be near Him.
As the lesson concludes class members are to reflect on what the Book of Mormon the blessings and means to them, and how it helps them understand the Bible more clearly. From my own personal experience prior to coming to Christ I had a difficult time understanding the Bible even with the Book of Mormon right next to me. It wasn’t until I left Mormonism that realized what I was missing was the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has helped me understand God’s word and given me a love for it that I never had as a committed member of the Mormon Church.
Melissa Grimes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For additional reading on this topic please check out our other writings on this topic at the links provided below.
The Stick of Judah and Joseph (Life After Ministry)
The Bible and the Book of Mormon (Life After Ministry)