Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Scripture Passage

      Ezekiel - Chapter 47 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. The man took me back to the temple, where I saw a stream flowing from under the entrance. It began in the south part of the temple, where it ran past the altar and continued east through the courtyard.
    2. We walked out of the temple area through the north gate and went around to the east gate. I saw the small stream of water flowing east from the south side of the gate.
    3. The man walked east, then took out his measuring stick and measured five hundred sixty yards downstream. He told me to wade through the stream there, and the water came up to my ankles.
    4. Then he measured another five hundred sixty yards downstream, and told me to wade through it there. The water came up to my knees. Another five hundred sixty yards downstream the water came up to my waist.
    5. Another five hundred sixty yards downstream, the stream had become a river that could be crossed only by swimming.
    6. The man said, "Ezekiel, son of man, pay attention to what you've seen." We walked to the riverbank,
    7. where I saw dozens of trees on each side.
    8. The man said: This water flows eastward to the Jordan River valley and empties into the Dead Sea, where it turns the salt water into fresh water.
    9. Wherever this water flows, there will be all kinds of animals and fish, because it will bring life and fresh water to the Dead Sea.
    10. From En-Gedi to Eneglaim, people will fish in the sea and dry their nets along the coast. There will be as many kinds of fish in the Dead Sea as there are in the Mediterranean Sea.
    11. But the marshes along the shore will remain salty, so that people can use the salt from them.
    12. Fruit trees will grow all along this river and produce fresh fruit every month. The leaves will never dry out, because they will always have water from the stream that flows from the temple, and they will be used for healing people.
    13. The LORD God said to the people of Israel: When the land is divided among the twelve tribes of Israel, the Joseph tribe will receive two shares. Divide the land equally, because I promised your ancestors that this land would someday belong to their descendants. These are the borders of the land:
    14. (SEE 47:13)
    15. The northern border will begin at the Mediterranean Sea, then continue eastward to Hethlon, to Lebo-Hamath, then across to Zedad,
    16. Berothah, and Sibraim, which is on the border between the two kingdoms of Damascus and Hamath. The border will end at Hazer-Hatticon, which is on the border of Hauran.
    17. So the northern border will run between the Mediterranean Sea and Hazar-Enon, which is on the border between Damascus and Hamath.
    18. The eastern border will begin on the border between the two kingdoms of Hauran and Damascus. It will run south along the Jordan River, which separates the territories of Gilead and Israel, and it will end at the Dead Sea near the town of Tamar.
    19. The southern border will begin at Tamar, then run southwest to the springs near Meribath-Kadesh. It will continue along the Egyptian Gorge and will end at the Mediterranean Sea.
    20. The western border will run north along the Mediterranean Sea to a point just west of Lebo-Hamath.
    21. That is the land to be divided among the tribes of Israel.
    22. It will belong to the Israelites and to any foreigners living among them whose children were born in Israel. These foreigners must be treated like any other Israelite citizen, and they will receive
    23. a share of the land given to the tribe where they live. I, the LORD God, have spoken.

Ezekiel - Chapter 47

Entered: December 26, 2004

Entered: May 05, 2011

Ezekiel was shown the temple kitchens in the previous chapter. From there he was taken to the temple entrance which is described in this chapter. At the temple entrance he saw water flowing "from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the temple faced east." (47:1) The source of this flow of water seems to be the altar in the temple. Ezekiel follows this flow and as he goes it becomes deeper and deeper until he is unable to walk in it. The flow of water becomes a river which flows to the Dead Sea. Along its shores are trees that provide food. "Their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. Each month they will bear fresh fruit because the water comes from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be used for food and their leaves for medicine.Their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. Each month they will bear fresh fruit because the water comes from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be used for food and their leaves for medicine." (47:12)

Though this flow of water is a physical reality, its presence is symbolic of God's blessing. Its source is the inner court of the temple, the place of God's presence. God is the source of this water. And the water is life-giving, producing fresh water that nourishes trees along its shores that never go dormant. They produce fruit year-round. Their fruit is good for food and their leaves for medicine. Furthermore, this fresh water from God will flow into the Dead Sea and turn it brackish water into fresh water, and this sea, which has never had life, will have "a huge number of fish because this water goes there." (47:9) Though the waters of the Dead Sea will be "healed," the "swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be left for salt." (47:11) So God will leave some of the waters unhealed so there will be a source of salt. He leaves no detail undone.

Verses 13-23 discuss the inheritance of the land for the 12 tribes of Israel. Though God's promise of blessings for Israel were conditional on her faithfulness to Him, her inheritance of the land was an everlasting promise that was unconditional. Though exiled from the land at the hands of the Babylonians and Assyrians, Israel will be fully restored to it in the Millenium and the land will be reallocated to each tribe. A difference, however, will be that foreigners living among the Israelites "will be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel." (47:22) The Millennial Age will be a time of blessing for all believers - both Jew and Gentile.