Ezekiel 47-48
(Conclusion of Ezekiel)
September 9th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Thus says the Lord GOD: These are the boundaries of the land which you shall apportion among the twelve tribes of Israel, with Joseph having two portions. You shall apportion it equally because I swore to give it to your ancestors as a heritage; this land, then, is your heritage.

- Ezekiel 47:13-14 (NAB)

Summary of Chapters

These two chapters conclude the final section and the book of Ezekiel. In chapter 47, the man who had been introduced in chapter 40 showed Ezekiel water coming from the temple that forms a great river. The river feeds trees that always bear fruit and when it reaches the sea it maintains its fresh water purity.

In chapter 48, the LORD instructed Ezekiel how the land should be divided among the Israelites when they return from exile. The land was to be divided equally among the twelve tribes – although there are two for Joseph, one for Manasseh and one for Ephraim. Aliens were to be welcomed if they choose to settle in any of the areas.

The lands were allocated in equal blocks that span a west to east territory. The northernmost block for Dan, followed by six other tribes. Judah was the last one defined before the special area, which was reserved for the Levites and the city of the temple. Benjamin received the privileged position just south of the special area, and was followed by the remainder of the tribes.

In the final verses, the LORD named the twelve gates of the city, one for each tribe (only one for Joseph in this case). The perimeter would be 18,000 cubits, which might be about 2 miles.

    ““From now on the name of the city will be Yahweh-Shammah:

      “God-Is-There.” .”

    - Ezekiel 48:35 (MSG)

Reflection and Application

The water coming from the temple may have been symbolic and may have related to the end of times. The river is like God’s love in that it can sustain new life indefinitely and cannot be diluted by salt water or other elements of the world. It is good for us to remember these attributes of our Creator when we praise him, for he can not be diluted by the elements of this world.

While some of the topics in this section may be symbolic, the division of the lands and naming of the gates were literal and were followed through by the people. These places are referred to in subsequent sections in the Bible. When we read about them we can remember that the assigned land and names came from God, as recorded by Ezekiel.

Ezekiel accomplished a lot for God in his lifetime, warning people through various illustrations and bringing back specifications for the temple and allocation of land. He did not necessarily have any great power or wisdom on his own, but just did what God told him. His book records the dark days when the Glory of the LORD left the Temple, leaving it vulnerable to destruction. The book concludes with the vision of the return of the Glory and the return of the people to worship the LORD. The people are forgiven, and are provided with a fresh start. Aliens are also welcomed to the land and invited to worship the one true God.

We have only examined the surface of the story of Ezekiel. Clearly there are much deeper themes on which we could spend time. While we may be scratching our heads at some of the visions and interpretations, we do know this: God was there in the temple and he was with Ezekiel and the exiles. He exists in many places at once. The concept is incomprehensible according to human and earthly frameworks. However, we can believe it by faith. Our houses of worship are special places to remember and worship him, but we can reach out and receive his word at any time, because he is with us in exile, in our cars, on trains, at home, at work, at play, and at rest.

If you feel called to further explore the book of Ezekiel then I encourage you to follow that call. Otherwise, I invite you to join us as we continue our journey through the prophets and look ahead to the coming of the Messiah.

What are the words that stand out in your mind from the 48 chapters of Ezekiel? Think about the four or five most frequent ones and compare to the word cloud from the website "Sixty-Six Clouds." In a word cloud, the size of the words are proportional to the number of times the word is used. The largest word in the cloud is the one that appears the most often, the second-biggest is the one used second most often and so on. You can see the cloud at the following link: Ezekiel Word Cloud

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What is one of your favorite rivers?
    2. In what ways does a river symbolize God’s love and blessing?
    3. How would you summarize the book of Ezekiel for a friend?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven we know you are here. Help us to hear you and obey you.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    People in a self-imposed exile

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Daniel 1-3 (A Judean Exile in King Nebuchadnezzar's Court)

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