TODAY’S READING: EZEKIEL 45-48
The allotment of land for the priests and the Temple (chapter forty-five); offerings and sacrifices during the millennium (chapter forty-six); the waters of the land healed and the land divided (chapters forty-seven through forty-eight).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Chapter 45 begins with an allotment of land to be offered unto the Lord during the millennium (45:1-8). This portion of land will cover a territory of about eight square miles. A rectangle of 25,000 x 10,000 cubits in the middle will be for the Temple; and set aside for the priests. A similar rectangle north of it will be for the Levites. On the south, a rectangle of 25,000 x 5,000 cubits will be reserved for the city itself.
The Temple will be the focal point of the land, surrounded by an area for the priests on the east and west, an area for the Levites on the north, with the city located to the south. An area for the prince (discussed in yesterday’s reading) will exist outside the domain of the priests.
After giving the layout of the land, Ezekiel admonishes the priests of his day (45:9-12) to execute judgment and justice and stop taking advantage of the people. The conduct to which the priests had grown accustomed will not be tolerated during the millennium.
Ezekiel 45:13-17 records the offerings Israel will give to the prince. The prince in turn will make provision for the public sacrifices for worship. The rest of the chapter (45:18-20) records the institution of a new festival to start the “new year” with an emphasis on holiness and the reinstitution of the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles (45:21-25). The offerings in the millennial Temple will be much richer and more abundant than those under the law.
Chapter 46 deals with the offerings and the sacrifices that will be offered during the millennium. Here we learn that the Sabbath will be reinstituted (46:1). The Sabbath, an entirely Jewish day, was never intended to be kept by anyone other than a Jew. We see in this chapter that the context of these sacrifices and offerings will once again be entirely Jewish. On the Sabbath, the prince will enter through the eastern gate of the inner court to lead the children of Israel in worship (46:12).
Ezekiel 46:16-17 teaches that if the prince gives an inheritance to his sons it is permanent, but a gift to a servant lasts only to the year of Jubilee. What a beautiful picture. Praise God that His prince (Christ) deals with us as sons and not as servants (Rom. 8:14)!
Chapter 47 begins with Ezekiel being escorted again to the door of the Temple (47:1). The waters issue forth from the entrance to the Temple. This symbolizes that all blessing flows from the presence of the Lord. God then heals the waters and transforms the Dead Sea, which could not formally support life, into a living sea of fresh water (47:6-12). What a picture of the transforming power of God. That which could not support life is now made to support life.
The rest of this chapter (47:13-23) and chapter 48 deal with the dividing of the land. It should be noted that the stranger (the “non Jews”) living during the millennium will not be excluded (47:21-23). The Mosaic Law did not permit the stranger to acquire land, as it is granted here. The right is extended to those who will settle permanently in the land of promise, having children there. This further reminds us that there will be children born during the millennium.
The final chapter concerns the distribution of the Promised Land for the millennial age. All the tribal portions extend across the breadth of the land. All the tribes are west of the Jordan. A central tract of land is separated for the Temple, for the city, and for the prince’s land (discussed in chapter 45).
Dan is the first tribe mentioned. Dan is omitted during the tribulation (Rev. 7). The omission during the tribulation is probably due to Dan’s idolatry. However, here in the millennium Dan is restored. That is what God is all about – grace! He restores what has been lost! He repairs what has been broken! God sees past our failures! God sees our restoration!
The Book of Ezekiel began with much of Israel in exile. Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the world. Over the course of Ezekiel’s life the glory of the LORD departed from the Temple, and the Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed and burned. However, in these last nine chapters, God has given Ezekiel a glimpse of Israel’s future. The Book ends (48:35) with a new city, and the name of that city is “The LORD is there”!
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As waters of life coming forth form the presence of God – Eze. 47:1 (John 4:14).
*Tomorrow we will look at the life of a man that was close to the same age as Ezekiel who also prophesied during Israel’s exile.