A New Land and a New People


Text: Ezekiel 45-48


 

I.         Division of the land surrounding the temple - Ezekiel 45:1-8

            A.        500 x 500 rods for the temple (just over a square mile)

            B.        An additional 50 cubits all around for open space (75 feet)

            C.        Then land for the sanctuary 25,000 x 10,000 cubits (over 7 miles x almost 3 miles)

                        1.         Note cubits is not in the Hebrew text.

                        2.         If rods, then 53 miles by 21 miles

            D.        In this district would be the homes of the priests and Levites - Ezekiel 45:4-5

            E.        Next to this in a section 25,000 x 5,000 would be an area for the people.

                        1.         A place to house people coming to the temple.

                        2.         This would be the capital city.

                        3.         Note that it is half the size of the temple’s land.

            F.        The prince will have property on each side of what is described above

                        1.         The size is not given, but specified to extend parallel to the other tribe’s divisions.

                        2.         Since such a large territory is given to the rulers, there will be no reason to oppress the people for the rulers’ needs.

II.        God demands fairness and justice - Ezekiel 45:9-12; Leviticus 19:35-56; Proverbs 11:1

III.       Offering (taxes) to the ruler and the prince’s offering - Ezekiel 45:13-17

IV.      The sin offering - Ezekiel 45:18-25

            A.        Note same offering given for intentional sins and sins of ignorance - Ezekiel 45:20

V.        Rules for worship - Ezekiel 46:1-15

            A.        The east gate of the inner sanctuary was to be keep closed except on Sabbaths, New Moons, and when the prince offers a voluntary burnt offering (Ezekiel 45:1-2, 12

            B.        The prince is to enter and leave by the east gate

            C.        The people are to come by the north or south gate, but they must leave by the opposite gate.

                        1.         Some suggest this is courtesy of not turning their backs on God - Jeremiah 32:33

            D.        The prince and the people are to worship together - Ezekiel 46:11

VI.      Rules for gifts from the prince - Ezekiel 46:16-18

            A.        Referring to gifts of property, a son retains his inheritance.

            B.        But gifts to servants (not family) revert back to the prince’s family at the year of jubilee (year of liberty) - Leviticus 25:10

            C.        The prince cannot enlarge his holdings by taking other people’s land (as Ahab did to Naboth).

VII.     Tour of the cooking facilities - Ezekiel 46:19-24

            A.        At the north inner sanctuary gate is where the priest gate is and facing is the priest quarters.

                        1.         On the western end was a place to cook the sin and trespass offerings the priests were to eat - Leviticus 7:7

                        2.         It was also where the grain offerings were to be baked - Leviticus 2:4-7

            B.        In the four corners of the outer sanctuary was where the people’s sacrifices were to be cook.

                        1.         These would be the peace offerings that the people ate along with the priests

VIII.    The river of life - Ezekiel 47:1-12

            A.        Other references - Psalm 36:8-9; 46:4; Joel 3:18; Zechariah 14:8; Revelation 22:1

            B.        Even though Ezekiel had walked by here several times, only now does he notice the stream

                        1.         It flows from the south side of the east gate, pass the altar on the south side

                        2.         Note that no such water source ever existed. Another indication that all of this is figurative.

            C.        Meaning

                        1.         The blessing of the Holy Spirit - Isaiah 44:3-4; John 7:37-39

                        2.         Salvation - Zechariah 13:1

                        3.         Knowledge of God - Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14

            D.        Ezekiel and his guide leave by the north gate and walk over to the east gate (remember the east gate is shut)

                        1.         They go out about a third of a mile (1,000 cubits) and find the water ankle deep.

                        2.         They go another third of a mile and the water is up to Ezekiel’s waist

                        3.         Another third of a mile and the water is too deep and flowing too swiftly to cross.

                        4.         Obviously this is not a natural river as it increases too quickly in less than a mile without any tributaries.

                        5.         Similar to the parable of the mustard seed - Matthew 13:31-32

            E.        The river is lined with trees on each bank - Psalm 1:3; Isaiah 61:3

            F.        The waters flow down into the Dead Sea, but it is no longer dead, its poisons have been healed.

                        1.         The river and the sea will have an abundance of fish

                        2.         Able to fish from the southwest (En Gedi) to the northeast (En Eglaim).

            G.        The marshy edges would not be healed.

            H.        The trees along the river are variety, an allusion back to the garden of Eden - Jeremiah 17:8

            I.         Most see this vision as the spreading of God’s teaching and His kingdom through the world.

IX.      Division of the land to the tribes - Ezekiel 47:13-23

            A.        Because of Reuben’s sin, Joseph received the double inheritance - I Chronicles 5:1

            B.        Notice that all the tribes are being given inheritance in the land - Jeremiah 3:18; 31:1

            C.        Borders are established on the north from Hethlon which is near Mt. Hermon and on the south edge of Damascus.

            D.        On the east, though, the boarder follows the Jordan river valley to the Dead Sea, though including land on the east side of the Jordan - Numbers 34:11-12

            E.        On the south from the southern edge of the Dead Sea to Gaza.

            F.        One major difference is found in Ezekiel 47:22. Where non-Israelites did not receive an inheritance before, now those who live in Israel are to receive land - Isaiah 56:3; Romans 10:12; Ephesians 3:6

X.        The Assignment of Land - Ezekiel 48:1-29

            A.        Once again, we see hints that this is not physical Israel that is being discussed. The land is divided in stripes, i.e. simple divisions unlike that in Joshua’s day.

            B.        Nor do we find things like Simeon being given an inheritance inside of Judah, or Zebulun given the haven for ships on the north.

            C.        From North to center

                        1.         Dan

                        2.         Asher

                        3.         Naphtali

                        4.         Manasseh

                        5.         Ephraim

                        6.         Reuben

                        7.         Judah

            D.        Then comes the center area assigned to the priests, Levites and the temple

                        1.         This is different from Joshua’s division where the Levite’s inheritance was scattered among the other tribes.

                        2.         Basically a large rectangle with the temple in the center

                        3.         And area is assigned for the city and for growing food

                        4.         The city is exactly square with the suburbs extending equally on all sides.

                        5.         The remainder on each side and along the north and south is assigned to the ruling family

            E.        From center to South

                        1.         Benjamin

                        2.         Simeon

                        3.         Issachar

                        4.         Zebulun

                        5.         Gad

XI.      The assignment of gates - Ezekiel 48:30-35

            A.        One gate per tribe, three gates on each side of the city

            B.        The city’s circumference is about five miles

            C.        The new name for the city is “The Lord is there” - Psalm 144:15