Ezekiel 47

If like me you find Ezekiel difficult John Gill is very helpful and I judge Scriptural…….Ezekiel 47

This chapter gives an account of the vision of the holy waters, and of the borders of the holy land, and the division of it to Israelites and strangers.
verses 9-11
The waters coming thither: it signifies the great number of living Christians, true believers, who shall appear wherever the Gospel is truly, purely, and powerfully preached; and everything shall live whither the river cometh; not only shall live as before, but continue to live, shall never die; their graces shall not die, nor shall they themselves die the second death, but shall have eternal life; because of the purpose of God, who has ordained them to it; and the promise of God, who is faithful to it; and because of the security of their life in Christ, to whom they are united; and because of the indwelling of the Spirit of life in them.<!–

Ezekiel 47:10–>

The fishers shall stand upon it; upon the brink of the river, or the shore of the sea, whose waters will be healed by this river running into them. These “fishers” are the apostles of Christ, who, of fishermen, were made fishers of men by him; to whom he gave a call, and a commission, and gifts qualifying them to preach the Gospel; whereby they caught men, and brought them to Christ; and so were the instruments of saving them, even of great numbers, both in Judea, and in the Gentile world; of which some instances of their fishing, after their call to the ministry, were emblematical; Matthew 4:18, likewise all other ministers of the Gospel are here meant, especially those that will be in the latter day; compared to fishers for the meanness and contemptibleness of their employment in the eyes of the world; for their labouriousness in it, and for their patient waiting for success therein; and for the bad weather, storms, and tempests, they are exposed unto, the reproach and persecution of men; and their being the happy means of drawing souls out of the abyss of sin and misery unto Christ, for life and salvation: and their “standing” upon the brink of the waters to catch fish may denote their constancy their work; their strict attachment to the doctrines of the Gospel, and their waiting for success in it.<!–

Ezekiel 47:11–>

The miry places shall not be healed; these design the reprobate part of the world, obstinate and perverse sinners, that abandon themselves to their filthy lusts, and sensual pleasures; that wallow like swine in the mire and dirt of sin; are wholly immersed in the things of this world, mind nothing but earth and earthly things, and load themselves with thick clay; whose god is their belly, and who glory in their shame: also hypocrites and apostates may be here meant, who, despising the GospeL, and the doctrines of it, put it away from them, and judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life, and so receive no benefit by it; but, on the contrary, it is the savour of death unto death unto them; see Isaiah 6:9: they shall be given to salt; left to the hardness of their hearts; given up to the lusts of them; devoted to ruin and destruction and remain barren and unfruitful, as places demolished and sown with salt are; see Deuteronomy 29:23, or made an example of, as Lot’s wife was; that others may learn wisdom, and shun those things that have been the cause of their ruin. The Targum is, “its pools and lakes shall not be healed; they shall be for salt pits.”<!–

Ezekiel 47:12–>

Verse 12. And by the river on the banks thereof, on this side and on that side,…. On each side of the river, on the banks of it:

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shall grow all trees for meat; such as bear fruit, that may be eaten, and is good for food: by these “trees” are meant truly gracious souls, converted persons, real Christians, true believers in Christ; who like trees have a root, are rooted in the love of God, in the person and grace of Christ, and have the root of the matter in them, the grace of the blessed Spirit; and who also is their sap, of which they are full, and so grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ; grow up in him, and grow upwards and heavenwards in their affections and desires, and in the exercise of faith and hope: they are the trees of the Lord, trees of righteousness, good trees, that bring forth good fruit; and are often in Scripture compared to trees the most excellent, as palm trees, cedars, olives, myrtles, &c. and wherever the Gospel comes, these trees arise, and are watered and made fruitful by it; sometimes in lesser, and sometimes in greater numbers, as in the first times of the Gospel, and as they will in the latter day; see Psalm 92:12: whose leaf shall not fade; as the leaves of trees in autumn do, and drop off and fall; to which some professors of religion are compared, who bear no fruit, only have the leaves of a profession, and this they drop when any trouble or difficulty arises, Jude 1:12, but true believers, as they take up a profession on principles of grace, they hold it fast without wavering; their root, seed, and sap, remain, and so never wither and die in their profession; see Psalm 1:3:

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neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed; which are the graces of the Spirit, and good works flowing from them: the graces of the Spirit are abiding ones, as faith, hope, and love; these never die, are an incorruptible seed, a well of water springing up unto everlasting life; and good works, which are fruits meet for repentance, and evidences of faith, and by which trees are known to be good, always continue to be wrought by believers, in the strength and grace of Christ, from whom they have all their fruits of every kind, Hosea 14:8: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months; or, “first fruits”; that is, everyone of these trees, or every true believer, shall be continually in the exercise of grace, and the performance of duty; they shall be constant and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; they shall never cease from yielding fruit, or doing good; they shall still bring it even in old age; see Psalm 92:14: because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary; because the waters, which issued out of the sanctuary, ran by these trees, and watered them, and made them fruitful, and therefore called their waters: the fruitfulness of these trees, true believers, is not owing to themselves, to their free will and power; to their own industry, diligence, and cultivation; but to the supplies of grace they receive by means of the Gospel, and the doctrines of it; which bring forth, or cause to bring forth fruit, wherever they come with power, Colossians 1:6: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat; not for saints themselves, who live not, neither on their graces, nor their works; though indeed they do eat the fruits of their doings, Isaiah 3:10, that is, enjoy good things, consequent on their works, through the free favour and good will of God; but for meat for others; for their fruit, which appears in their words and actions, are very beneficent to others; their fruit is a tree of life, Proverbs 11:30 and their lips feed many, Proverbs 10:21, with knowledge and understanding; with the Gospel, and the doctrines of it; and with the comfortable experience they have of its truths and promises: yea, their fruit are meat and food for Christ himself; who comes into his garden, and eats his pleasant fruits, feeds and feasts, and delights himself with his own grace in his people, and the exercise of it, Song of Solomon 4:9: and the leaf thereof for medicine; or, “for bruises”; for the healing of them, which is only done by the blood of Christ; who is the only physician, the sun of righteousness, that rises with healing or pardon in his wings; and the whole language of this passage is borrowed from hence by John, and applied to Christ the tree of life, Revelation 22:2 and the Gospel professed by true believers directs to him for healing, or for the remission of sin, and is the means of applying it, Psalm 107:20 and a cheerful constant profession of Christ and his Gospel, which is the Christian’s leaf, does good like a medicine, both to the Christian himself, and to others; who are animated and encouraged thereby to go on with pleasure in the ways of God.
Revelation 22:1-2 speak similarly of this scene in its final glory.

Ezekiel 16:61

 

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For those on the same Bible reading plan as me I found John Gill’s commentary on this difficult verse very helpful..Ezekiel 16:61

Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed
When covenant grace is manifested and applied, it brings persons to a sense of their sins, and to an ingenuous acknowledgment of them, with shame and blushing; they remember their evil ways in which they have walked, and blush at the thoughts of what they have been guilty of; and how they have sinned against a God of love, grace, and mercy; and what vile ungrateful creatures they have been: when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger;
Samaria and Sodom, ( Ezekiel 16:46 )  the Gentiles, even of all nations, ancient and modern, great and small, where the Gospel should come, and such of them as are called and converted by it; these, according to this prophecy, should be received into the communion of the church, to participate of all the privileges and ordinances of it, under the Gospel dispensation. The passage respects the calling of the Gentiles, and the incorporating of them into the Gospel church state.

and I will give them unto thee for daughters;
to be nursed up by the church, through the ministry of the word and ordinances, where they have a place, and a name better than that of sons and daughters; become members of the church, and so daughters of Jerusalem, the mother of us all, ( Galatians 4:26 ) ; to the laws, rules, and ordinances of which they submit, and yield an obedience, as daughters to their mother.

The Septuagint renders it, “for edification”; to be built up on their, most holy faith:

but not by thy covenant:
made with the Israelites at Sinai, which genders to bondage, and under which the Jewish church with her children were in bondage, ( Galatians 4:24 Galatians 4:25 ) ; but by virtue of the covenant of grace made with Christ; one article of which is, “[I] will be [their] father, and [they] shall be my sons and daughters”, ( 2 Corinthians 6:18 ) ; or not on condition of observing the rites and ceremonies of the law, under which the former covenant was administered, the Gentiles being freed from that, the ceremonial law being abrogated by Christ; or, not because thou hast kept the covenant made with thee, therefore I give thee those (for that thou hast broken), but of my own mere grace and favour: or I will give daughters to thee, which are not of thy covenant, of thy law; who are not of the same religion, meaning the Gentiles; and so the phrase is the same with that in ( John 10:16 ) ; “which are not of this fold”.

Adapted.

Ezekiel 46

Ezekiel 46

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The list of offerings continues for prince and people on Sabbaths and new moons. Ordinances how and where the prince was to enter this idealistic temple are also laid out. The prince leads in all of this by godly example as David did and takes his place as an equal before God in the worship (Psalm 42:4). The oblations were public and official but also voluntary. Perhaps the lessons for us are 1) that daily we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God (Rom.12:1) and have devotional time with him 2) thanksgiving is perpetually a part of our homage 3) we only commune with God through the mediation of Jesus Christ. It’s also noteworthy that offerings were of three main types 1) animals of the flock provided for by God (grass) and man’s husbandry 2) flour, milled by man from God’s grain and 3) oil from palms grown by God and harvested by man. So everything brought to God ultimately came from his hand and we refined it for our use. Similarly, all we have is from God, all our abilities, spiritual gifts, graces, possessions, time, money-we give nothing but what he has given, how on earth can we become proud?? (II Cor.4:7, Psalm 50:10). Especially we must continually thank him for his unspeakable gift of Christ (II Cor.9:15). Finally we have the arrangements for the priests supply of boiled meat for themselves, in line with ordinance that the ox not being muzzled as it treads out the corn and ministers of the gospel should have their needs met by their flock.

 

Ezekiel 45

Ezekiel 45

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This chapter concerns the allotment of the land for the sanctuary, the prince, the priests and the people. Although no measurement unit is mentioned it is assumed to be rods (about 12 feet each).God emphasizes justice in weights and measures. It is noteworthy that the prince is responsible for the offerings (v16-17). It is also noteworthy that the number and type of animal to be sacrificed differs from that in the Old Testament e.g. Passover, showing that these were typical.  The prince was to be supplied from the people and for the offerings so that as Fairbairn states, “ this was a symbol of the perfect harmony and mutual co-operation which should exist in such a holy community in regard to the public service and glory of God.” All these typify the order, justice and holiness of the real inheritance of God’s people, namely the new heavens and earth which will be duly apportioned and in the midst of which the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world stands as the perpetual, prevailing, propitiation for our sin.

Ezekiel 43

Ezekiel 43

The prophet having seen in vision Jehovah leave his temple (chapter 11) and rest over the Mount of Olives to watch the destruction of the city, now after judgment is over, he sees Jehovah return by the east gate to dwell and manifest himself among them. The Lord comes as their Divine king to occupy the house as the throne of his kingdom. It is worth noting that in the coming of the incarnate king in bodily form 600 years later we have the most detailed revelation of the mind and character of God since the world was founded and just as the people were to look and measure the pattern of the house (v10) and be ashamed of their iniquities, so as we contemplate Christ in the New Testament we see the perfect standard of his righteousness and are likewise ashamed (Hebrews 1:3, 10:6-9).The commandment of verse 11 is spiritually what the holy apostles did in their New Testament gospels and epistles as they described the pattern of the life of the Saviour who was prefigured in the temple. The last half of the chapter describes the altar of burn offering and how it was to be purified and used, which in the New Testament age and beyond, is done away in Christ, who is himself by the cross, the once-for-all sacrifice for all the sins of all his people.

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Jerusalem East Gate blocked off.

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Altar of burnt offering in tabernacle.

Ezekiel 41-42 (The Temple itself)

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Ezekiel 41

Ezekiel 42

Fairbairn says that the prophet’s great object was chiefly,” to show that in the Divine purpose for the future there was to be a full and every way complete reconstruction of the house of God…in higher things which that represented and symbolized.” This temple supersedes all previous and is much larger than Solomon’s or Herod’s . Here is what Gill says on the last verse of chapter 42. “The four sides, each measuring five hundred reeds; a total of two thousand reeds, or seven thousand yards shows that no material building can be designed; never was an edifice of such dimensions; this seems rather to describe a city than a temple; and denotes the largeness of the Gospel church state in the latter day, when the fullness of (Jew) and the Gentiles (will be) brought in: it had a wall round about: the same with that in ( Ezekiel 40:5 ) : five hundred reeds long, and five hundred broad; it was foursquare, as the building was, and exactly answered to that in its dimensions.” He quotes a Mr Lee who observes, (these) “signify the great fullness of the Gentiles, and that compass of the church in Gospel days should be marvellously extended. The use of it was, to make a separation between the sanctuary and the profane place:
the church and the world; the world is profane, and lies in wickedness, and the men of it ought not to be admitted into the church of God, and partake of holy things in it; a difference must be made between the precious and the vile; and greater care will be taken in the latter day of the admission of members into Gospel churches.”

Fairbairn notices that,” nothing is scarcely said of its sacred furniture, not even the slightest notice taken of the ark of the covenant.” ” No longer, as in the old sanctuary, will Jehovah manifest himself in an imperfect manner, but in the full splendour of his glory, as in Chapter 43:1-12. The entire compass of the temple-mount has become the holy of holies(43:12), on this account the ark had no place in this temple; the full display of the Divine Shechinah has come in its room.” The only article of sacred furniture mentioned is the altar of incense and it’s called,” the Lord’s table probably referring to the satisfaction and delight with which the Lord was to regard the services, which were henceforth to be offered to him by his renewed people (namely prayer which the altar if incense typified-JK)”.

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Altar of incense in the tabernacle.

Ezekiel 40

Ezekiel 40

The contrast between this final vision and the ones by the River Chebar is noteworthy says Fairbairn. The former were fitted chiefly to awaken thoughts of terror and solemn awe but this one to produce feelings of lively confidence and exalted hope. In contrast to the tabernacle and Solomon’s temple even the boundary wall and gates were sacred and whereas there were apartments in the previous temple for common uses e.g. Jeremiah was imprisoned in one (Jer.20:2), everything in this visionary temple is sacred. There is much obscure in the description and as Fairbairn says it is quite unnecessary to go into minutiae. The porches and the guard chambers were beautiful ornate and magnificent, all with a view to holiness and to maintain the sanctity of it c.f. Rev.21:27 “ And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Like the tabernacle, concerning which Moses was given explicit instructions, so here Ezekiel’s vision is explicit and all we can say is that both typified something of the real temple in heaven,”Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”(Heb.8:5)

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Artistic impression of one of the porches

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The porches and the altar.

The detail and intricately planned and constructed building in this visionary temple picture the detail, beauty and perfection of the true temple of God, the church of all the elect, which he is presently building, fitting together and inhabiting both presently but even more fully through all eternity (Revelation 21).

Ezekiel 40-48 (intro)

 

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In case anyone is prone to misinterpret the next eight chapters Fairbairn spends a chapter of his book proving that Ezekiel 40-48 is NOT about a literal temple that has been or shall be built in Israel! Quoting Acts 15:14-16 really should be enough to prove this,”

14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

In other words God’s rebuilding of David’s (or Solomon’s) temple would take the form of his building the church of Jew and Gentile! We must remember Ezekiel is seeing a VISION. “Never has God given laws and ordinances to it (the church) simply by vision” (Fairbairn). These chapters speak in OT typology of “the enlarging of the spiritual Jerusalem and temple, the church, under the gospel, the spiritual beauty and glory of it.”(Fairbairn).

The measurements of the prophet, just as those shown John in Revelation 21, are all symbolical of perfection and immense greatness, and John’s far surpass those of Ezekiel. The tribes mentioned are no longer in existence! Any restoration of sacrifices or ceremonies of Judaism in a future temple would directly contradict the New Testament and as Christ himself told the woman of Samaria,” Woman, believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” “A temple with sacrifices now would be the most daring denial of the all-sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ..” (Fairbairn).

“From this sanctuary there gushes forth an unbounded fullness of blessings upon the people (the river)..” (Fairbairn). This is the tabernacle of God with men in the real Canaan, the new heavens and earth, the inheritance of all God’s people-the new Paradise.

Ezekiel 38 and 39

Ezekiel 38

Ezekiel 39

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These two chapters and Revelation 20 are the two places where Gog and Magog are mentioned massing and coming against God’s people from the ends of the earth. Magog was a nation from a descendant of Japheth (Gen.10:2) and Gog was it’s head. The picture, and remember these are visions, of a mighty force coming against the church (Israel) is frequent in Scripture (Isaiah 29:6-8, Joel 3:11-16, Zech. 14, Rev.19:17-21, Rev.20:8-9). Fairbairn makes an excellent point when he states,” when we find the prophet giving to the head of the great movement an ideal name, derived from a sort of indefinite, obscurely known territory, it is scarcely possible to avoid the impression at the outset, that the description is intended to possess an idea, not a real character.” In other words Gog and Magog are representative of a wide conglomeration of heathen nations ranged against the people of God. This league of nations united in hatred against God’s church under Satan occurs at his “little season” when he is released from his binding (Rev.20:3 and 8) to deceive the nations, in the great tribulation when Antichrist arises (his trump card!).

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In the different scriptures mentioned above there are four distinct localities for this last battle of Armageddon which ends in the final triumph of the cause of God over the united hostility of the world and this by itself rules out a literal interpretation because these locations would contradict each other. If Christ’s kingdom is neither defended nor advanced by literal swords or munitions (as he himself said) how can such conflicts be literally fulfilled? The time for defending and advancing God’s Kingdom by literal bloody warfare was in the Old Testament! Fairbairn sums it up well,” Every stroke that has been dealt since (the cross) against the idolatry and corruption of the world, is a part of that great conflict which the prophet in the vision saw collected as into a single locality and accomplished in a moment of time.” In other words this is the battle of the ages, this is the antithesis being worked through from Cain and Abel till the last trump, in which God defends and preserves his people, reaching its climax in the great tribulation when his people appear utterly defeated but when he ultimately gives them the public victory on the return of Christ. Someone worked out that if the burying of the dead army was literal it would number 360,000,000 and where on earth would you find the vultures, eagles and scavenging animals to even begin to consume that amount of corpses!

Ezekiel 36

Ezekiel 36

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Israel’s prospective revival and prosperity as God’s covenant people.

Vv1-15 The distinction between Israel and the heathen.

Vv 16-21 Reason for God’s judgment.

Vv 22-33 His purpose, for his own name’s sake, to renew them.

Vv 34-38 Result.

God’s holiness and zeal for his name, and not any merit among his people, is the cause of his acting to renew and sanctify them and bless them. As the prophet says in 20:41-42, “I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.42 And ye shall know that I am the Lord.”

As Fairbairn says, “ Holiness was everything, and that by the possession or want of it all his outward dealings must be regulated.”

The fulfilment of this prophecy was in part when a remnant returned from Babylon but in reality it would have to wait till the New Testament age and specifically Pentecost when God would pour out his Spirit on all flesh.