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Bible: What Does Ezekiel 47-48 Teach Us About the River of Life and the "Land"?

Updated on September 9, 2016

The Millennial River of Life


The Dead Sea

800px-Dead_Sea_ | Source

The Water from the Temple

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The River

The prophet continues his excursion around the temple with the Angel.

Returning to the door of the temple, he sees "water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east" (v. 1; cf. Rev. 22:1, 2).

After walking to the outer gateway that faces east, Ezekiel follows the "man" with the "line in his hand" into the ever deepening waters that proceeded out of the right side of the temple (vv. 2-5).

The Man meant to teach a lesson by this presentation, but what that truth was He leaves undisclosed (v. 6).

A multitude of trees faces Ezekiel when he returns to shore (v. 7). The prophet's Companion then explains the river's effects upon the Dead Sea into which it flows (vv. 8-10).

Its waters will become fresh, providing a safe habitat for "exceedingly many" fish: a boon for anglers. However, swamps and marshes will remain and not be healed (v. 11).

The trees along the river bank will yield monthly fruit crops and medicinal foliage (v. 12).

[Apparently God will create this river and these trees during the kingdom, and they will remain throughout the eternal state (cf. Rev. 22)].

A new section (vv. 13-23 and on into chapter forty-eight) treats of the borders of the land that God promised to Israel's twelve tribes.

Equality holds sway (v. 14), and the "strangers who sojourn among you" even possess an inheritance (v. 22).

[Knowing the geography of Palestine would greatly enhance one's understanding of the exact limits of everyone's inheritance].

The Land


Circumference of the Millennial Jerusalem

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Ezekiel 48

Beginning from the northern border, Yahweh delineates the extent of the land for each tribe, Dan being the first (v. 1).

In a methodical and painstaking way, Ezekiel assigns land to individual tribes as he "descends" (vv. 2-7).

Below Judah is situated the special district set apart for Yahweh where the priests shall live and serve Him at His sanctuary.

These Zadokite priests possess the distinction of having maintained faithfulness during the apostasy (vv. 8-12).

Levites also shall have a significant portion of land opposite the border of the priests (vv. 13-14).

The remaining land will serve as a place for general use: houses and the common needs of the people (v. 15).

One thousand cubits will be common land, nineteen thousand will be set aside for the city, and twenty thousand will remain "adjacent to the district of the holy portion" which "workers of the city" will cultivate (vv. 16-20).

Other land the prince will possess (vv. 21-22). Below this special district is the land of the other tribes (vv. 23-29).

Verses 30-35 name the gates on the four sides of the city.

Each side has three gates, named according to the various tribes. The city's total circumference is eighteen thousand cubits, and its name is "Yahweh is there."

Summary Questions

1. What were these creatures that came out of the fiery cloud (Ezek. 1)?

2. Why do the words "appearance" and "likeness" occur so often in chapter one?

3. Of what New Testament scene does Ezekiel's scroll-eating remind you?

4. What role does the Spirit play in the early chapters?

5. Where does Ezekiel see the Shekinah a second time, and what does the LORD do to him?

6. What object lesson does the prophet use in chapter four? In chapter five?

7. Whom does the LORD plan to rescue from the disaster, and what will be its role?

8. What happens when God's patience runs out?

9. What does it take for the people to recognize that God is judging them?

10. What three abominations does God show Ezekiel in the temple?

11. Who does the LORD command to execute judgment (chapter nine)?

12. What does the departure of the Shekinah signify?

13. Why do you suppose Ezekiel spends so much time and space describing cherubim and wheels?

14. What is the most widely-used refrain in this prophecy?

15. Which groups does Ezekiel prophesy against in chapter thirteen?

16. Why must chapter eighteen discuss physical deliverance and not spiritual salvation?

17. What figurative language does the prophet use in chapter nineteen?

18. How does Yahweh answer the inquiries of the elders in chapter twenty?

19. Where does Ezekiel discuss the survival of the sacrificial system into the Messianic kingdom?

20. What were the chief sins of Oholah and Oholibah?

21. How does Yahweh use the death of Ezekiel's wife to teach Judah?

22. What was Tyre's main attraction? Why did God single her out for such a severe judgment?

23. What caused the fall of the king of Tyre?

24. Whom will God use to judge Egypt?

25. Where does Pharaoh and all the rest of the heathen land after death?

26. What are the tasks of a true shepherd?

27. For what purpose or reason does God return Israel to his land?

28. What will be the results of God's working in Israel "in that day"?

29. When will Yahweh judge Gog and Magog?

30. What temple does Ezekiel see in chapter forty?

31. Which priesthood will perform the sacrificial rituals during the Messianic kingdom?

32. What or who enters the temple through the eastern gate?

33. Why does the LORD prohibit certain Levites from serving Him as priests?

34. Who is not this "prince" whom Ezekiel mentions?

35. What connection, if any, exists between the waters flowing from this temple and the river of life in the book of Revelation?

36. What will be the dimensions of the land set aside for the LORD's service?

© 2014 glynch1


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    • glynch1 profile image

      glynch1 3 years ago

      Thanks. I wanted to find an appropriate artist's rendition of this miraculous river, but the ones I located seemed hokey. So, I had to use the one I had of the Jordan. I am glad you like it. Few people actually take my quizzes, so thanks for the encouragement.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thank you for the written word, but I love that picture of the river. The pics, quizzes, etc. only add to what you've written.