Ezekiel 47

Talks for Growing Christians

The Life-Giving Waters from the Millennial Temple

Ezekiel 47

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Lesson Number 44

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The river of water in Ezekiel 47 is literal, but includes spiritual lessons.
  2. The division of the land in Ezekiel 47 is literal and includes the Palestinians.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t dump the details!

Questions

  1. What direction does the river of water flow from the Millennial Temple? Will the river be shallow or deep? Will it be of fresh water or salt water?
  2. Into what existing body of water will the river of water flow, and what affect will it have on this body of water?
  3. Is the hermeneutical principle of drawing spiritual lessons from literal texts the same as spiritualizing the text?
  4. In verses 13-20 of chapter 47, the general description of the future borders of the land of Israel is given. What will be the western border of the land? What will be the eastern border of the land that lies south of the Sea of Galilee?
  5. Describe the instruction given to Israel concerning strangers or sojourners who will live within the future boundaries of the land of Israel.

Answers

  1. The river of water from the Millennial Temple will flow from the eastern side of the Temple complex toward the east (v 8). The river will be shallow as it leaves the area of the Temple, but will become increasingly deep as it flows eastward (vs 3-5), and it will be a river of fresh water (vs 8-9).
  2. The river of fresh water will flow down into the Dead Sea. Verse 8 says that the water from the river will “heal” the salty Dead Sea, bringing it to life in a way that great numbers of fish will thrive (v 9), and fish of the same kinds as in the Mediterranean Sea will be caught in great numbers from its banks (v 10), and on its banks will grow all kinds of food-bearing trees as well as trees bearing leaves with medicinal qualities. Interestingly, the marsh area will intentionally remain salty (v 11), being an important continuing source of salt.
  3. Spiritualizing entire portions of biblical text such as chapters 40-48 of Ezekiel and denying the literal content and details of the text, is much different that drawing spiritual lessons from a biblical text that is interpreted literally. We believe that the scriptural passages of prophecy in these chapters concerning the Millennial Temple, the Millennial City, the future land of Israel, the return of the Jewish people to their land and their restoration to the Lord, and the river of living water flowing from the Temple, are to be taken literally. At the same time, many spiritual lessons can be drawn from the passages for us today, as has been done in many of these studies in the book of Ezekiel.
  4. The western borders of the future land of Israel will be the Mediterranean Sea (vs 14-20). Adjacent to and south of the Sea of Galilee, the eastern border will be the Jordan River and the Jordan River Valley (vs 18-19). North of the Sea of Galilee the eastern border will continue further east, being marked by cities and towns (vs 15-20).
  5. Verses 21-23 give specific instructions to Israel to include strangers and their children (v 22) in the lands given to the twelve tribes. These people, who would include the Palestinians today, are to be incorporated into lands of all twelve tribes, and are to be included as full citizens, including ownership of land (v 22-23).

Discuss/Consider

  1. Consider the impact on the world scene if the solution to the “Palestinian Question” found here in Ezekiel chapter 47 were presented to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and other major world powers. Discuss the actions that would have to take place in order to implement this solution.

Challenge

  1. The many important details in Scripture that are to be taken literally, such as these in Ezekiel, are important for your biblical understanding and growing confidence in God’s Word. Are you committed to consistent Bible study that includes these detailed portions of Scripture?

Key Verses

  • “Then he said to me: ‘This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed.’” Ezekiel 47:8
  • “Thus you shall divide this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel . . . And it shall be that in whatever tribe the stranger sojourns, there you shall give him his inheritance,’ says the Lord God.” Ezekiel 47:21, 23

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