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Please turn in your Bibles to Ezekiel chapter 46, as we continue our study through the Word of God. And this evening we will finish up our study in this fascinating and challenging book. And keep in mind that chapters 40-48 deal with a time known as the millennial kingdom where Jesus Christ will rule and reign for 1,000 years. And as Ezekiel is sharing these things, understand these words would have given the people great hope. You see, they were taken captive to Babylon, but God is saying one day He will bring them back, and He will keep them in the land this time, never to be taken captive again. With that in mind, lets dig into Ezekiel chapter 46.
1. I, once again, believe that this prince is Jesus Christ. Some say it is king David, others say it is a descendant of David. But I cant see anyone but the Lord entering through the eastern gate. Then why does He make offerings to the Lord? Great question! Again, I believe that Jesus is identifying with the people, being an example to them. So we see here the prince, Jesus Christ, offering worship.
2. Also, we see here the prince go in and go out of the temple the same way. He does not use another gate, but the east gate is used to enter and to leave the temple area for this prince, and only Him. Why? Doesnt that seem strange? Why even mention that? Well, if this prince is Jesus Christ, then it does make perfect sense. In Hebrews 13:8 we are told, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." You see, He never changes, He is God! His ways are perfect! Now we will see the contrast to this as we look how the people enter and leave the temple area.
1. Notice here that if the people enter by the north gate then they are to leave through the south gate. If they enter by the south gate then they are to leave through the north gate. Now what in the world is that all about? I believe the Lord is showing us that we should never leave a worship time with Him the same way as we came in. There should be a change in our lives. God should have spoken to our hearts. He should have challenged us. Too often, in churches today, people come in and do their time, fulfill their obligation, and leave the church as they came in, unchanged! That should not be! It is as Paul said in Romans 12:1-2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." God wants to transform your life if you will let Him! You should not leave His presence the same way you came in!
1. This is interesting. In the Old Testament they offered the burnt offering every morning and every evening. But here we see just the morning burnt offering. Why? Because the night of sin is over, the evening of darkness has come to an end, the kingdom age has begun.
2. We also must understand that in the Old Testament the burnt offerings, the sacrifices could never take away your sins, but it was like a covering, it made you, in a sense, ceremonially clean. It is as Paul said in Hebrews 10:3-4, "But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins." You see, they were looking towards the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who would take away their sins completely, to be remembered no more! It is as Isaiah 53:6 says, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
3. Now that Jesus Christ has come, as He has paid the penalty for our sins by the shedding of His blood, no more sacrifices need to be offered. Again in Hebrews chapter 10 we read, "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all...But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God...Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin." Hebrews 10:10, 12, 18. Then why are sacrifices being offered in the millennial temple? I believe it is for a ceremonial cleansing and a look back to what Christ has done. Remember, there will be people born in the kingdom age that will need to know these things.
1. This prince has sons, and whatever He gives to them, it is theirs. On the other hand, if He gives anything to His servants, they may keep it until the year of Jubilee, which took place every 50 years, and then it would be given back to the prince. Now the objection here is that Jesus Christ doesnt have any sons, or does He?
2. In Romans 8:13-14 we are told "For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." We have been adopted into the family of God. We read in II Corinthians 6:17-18, "Therefore Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." And in I John 3:1-2 we are told "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." And so, as sons of God we have a eternal inheritance. And Revelation 5:9-10 tells us of this relationship, what the Lord has for us, "...You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."
3. Then who are the servants? Those that have been saved during the tribulation period and have made it through that period of time into the kingdom age. Revelation 7:14-17 tells us of those that have been saved during the tribulation period. We read "...These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." You see, servants, not sons!
1. The prince, Jesus Christ, will not rule as some kind of dictator. The things that Jesus gives will come from His own possession!
1. Adjacent to the temple proper were the kitchens of the priests located on the western end.
1. In the outer court, in each of the corners, were the kitchens for the sacrifices of the people.
1. During the kingdom age there will be a river that will flow from the temple area eastward towards the Dead Sea and westward towards the Mediterranean Sea. But, as we are going to see, this river is far different than any rivers we know of today. Also, in Zechariah 14:8-9 we read of this river and the joy of the Lord ruling over all the earth. Zechariah tells us that as the Lord returns and places His foot on the Mount of Olives, it will cleave in half, making a large valley, "And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in both summer and winter it shall occur. And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall beThe LORD is one, and His name one."
1. The amazing thing about this river is it starts out as a trickle. Then, after 1,750 feet the water is ankle deep. As Ezekiel moved out farther, another 1,750 feet, the water came up to his knees. And as he went out still farther, another 1,750 feet, and the water was up to his waist. And finally, as he moved out another 1,750 feet the water was now over his head. Now the reason I said that this was amazing is because the river gets deeper and deeper without any tributaries flowing into it. It would seem that it is some kind of supernatural thing that God has done, and I believe it is.
2. What does that mean to us as Christians today? In John chapter 7 we read "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7:37-39. Thus, I believe this river is a representation of the Holy Spirit. You see, this river started from the altar and flowed outward. That is where the sacrifices were offered. You see, we must first appropriate the finished work of Christ into our lives, and that is done as we go to the cross. As we surrender our life to Jesus. Paul put it this way in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Thus, the river of the Holy Spirit brings us to Christ, we get saved! But it doesnt end there!
As you continue on, the waters go up to your ankles. How did you get there? You walked! Paul, in Galatians 5:16 said "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." This is speaking of our walk in the Spirit. In Ephesians 4:1-3, Paul tells us how we are to walk. He says "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." And so as the waters come up to our ankles, it speaks of our walk in the Spirit. But it doesnt end there!
As we continue on the waters come up to our knees, which speaks of a life of prayer. You are appropriating that power into your life as you are on your knees before the Lord! It is as Jesus said in John 14:12-14, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." Now understand that the key is not our will, but His sovereign rule. That we are coming before the Father and asking these things as representatives of Christ. If He were here He would be asking for these things. And if we are asking amiss, that the Lord would change our will to conform to His will. It is as John tells us in I John 5:14-15,"Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." The power of prayer. But it doesnt end there!
As we go out deeper into the water it is now up to our loins, our waist! And I believe this speaks of our spiritual reproduction. That as people hang around us, they are getting saved. It is as Jesus said in Luke 24:49, "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." That power to be witnesses of Christ. That when people see us they see something different and desire to have what we have. But it doesnt end there!
Before long you are so deep that the water is over your head. No longer are you a vessel that contains God, but a channel from which God can flow through and touch the lives of others. Torrents of living water will flow from your life! Now understand this, you have the Holy Spirit as a believer. The moment you are saved the Holy Spirit moves from a position of being along side of you and drawing you to Christ, to indwelling you. The question you need to ask yourself is this, "Does the Holy Spirit have me?"
If your life is dry, if things are not flowing, you need to open up and let the Holy Spirit have you! Ask Him to empower you for service. To mold you and shape you into the man or woman that He wants you to be. And you will find yourself overflowing with torrents of living water! It is as Jesus said "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8.
1. Here we see the healing affects of this living water as it enters the Dead Sea. Right now the Dead Sea is lifeless. Waters from the Jordan River flow into it bringing many different kinds of minerals into it, making it some 6 times saltier than ocean waters, and thus, unable to support life. It is a Dead Sea! There is no outlet for the waters to flow. But God is going to heal those waters to the point where there will be an abundance of life in it, you will see fishing, abundant life in this sea that was once dead!
2. Now spiritually speaking, if all we do is take in as Christians, we may have many minerals in our spiritual life, but we will become dead, spiritually backed up, you might say! You see, we need an outlet to share our faith and not just a reservoir to contain God but a channel from which He can flow through.
3. We also see trees that are used for medicine - having healing properties. We have that today with plants, but this is far different, you will be completely healed by these plants or trees. Also, when God creates a new heavens and a new earth, we read in Revelation 22:1-2 something that is very similar to what we see here in Ezekiel. It says "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." And so we see in the kingdom age and when God creates a new heavens and a new earth, that there is this river and healing properties in these plants.
1. Here we see the boarders of the land, but first we are told that Joseph will get a double portion, why? Because the Levites portion was the Lord, and thus, to get 12 tribes you have to include Josephs two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.
1. Keep in mind that God promised Abraham this land back in Genesis 13:14-17, where we read "And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are-- northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you." (Also see Genesis 15:17-21). And this has never been rescinded! And so the boarders we see here will be similar to those promised to Israel during the time of Moses in Numbers 34:1-12. It is the Lords land, and He will divided as He sees fit. He wont have to go to the United Nations to get approval, for the Land is His!
1. Here we see the division of the land, sectioned off in rectangular units from north to south.
2. In the book of Revelation, we see the sealing of the 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. But Dan and Ephraim are not sealed. The reason is their idolatry and God was holding them accountable for their actions. In Deuteronomy 29:14 -21 God warned His people by saying "I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, but also with him who stands here with us today before the LORD our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today (for you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt and that we came through the nations which you passed by, and you saw their abominations and their idols which were among them-- wood and stone and silver and gold); so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood; and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, 'I shall have peace, even though I walk in the imagination of my heart'-- as though the drunkard could be included with the sober. The LORD would not spare him; for then the anger of the LORD and His jealousy would burn against that man, and every curse that is written in this book would settle on him, and the LORD would blot out his name from under heaven. And the LORD would separate him from all the tribes of Israel for adversity, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this Book of the Law."
That was the warning and then in Judges 18:30 we see that Dan is the first tribe to go into idolatry as they entered the land, causing the other tribes to follow them. Ephraim was also not sealed in Revelation chapter 7, and the reason for this is told to us in Hosea 4:17-19, where we read "Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone. Their drink is rebellion, they commit harlotry continually. Her rulers dearly love dishonor. The wind has wrapped her up in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices."
But in the millennial kingdom, as the land is being divided up, Dan is the first to be mentioned, and we also see Ephraim given his portion of the land. Even though they were not sealed during the tribulation period because of their idolatry, we see God give them their portion of the land in the kingdom age! That tells me we serve a God who is gracious and merciful. A God who forgives! Isnt He good!
1. Here we see the division of the land for the priests, the Levites, the city and the prince. In the center section, 8.3 miles long and 3.3 miles wide, is where the temple is located and where the priests will live. Then above them, in another area that is 8.3 miles long and 3.3 miles wide, is where the Levites lived. And on the bottom, an area of 8.3 miles long and 1.75 miles wide, is the city where some of the Jews will live and there will be farmland on either side. The area for the prince extends eastward to the Jordan River and westward to the Mediterranean Sea.
1. The land that God had promised them they will possess!
1. The city will be 1½ miles and have 12 gates, 3 gates on each side, each one representing one of the 12 tribes of Israel.
1. That is what we are looking forward to, the Lord is there, YHWH SHAMMAH! The kingdom of God will be among us, as Jesus rules and reigns! For the Jews in captivity, this was great news, it gave them great hope! For us today living in a world full of violence, full of sin, it is great news, it should give us great hope! It is as Isaiah 40:10-11 said "Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young." What a glorious day it will be!