Exact Ezekiel; Chapters 47-48
May 1, 2018

C. R. Oliver

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May 1, 2018

Exact Ezekiel
Chapters 47-48


These closing chapters of Ezekiel's prophesy could well be entitled, "God's glorious Wrap Up," for much of the vision is about the restoration and bringing into alignment with His purpose since the beginning of time-which is to dwell among His people.

There are two basic features in these passages: "The Water of Life" and "A Place for His People." Both are designed to bring into the prophetic view the source of all blessings and the place of rest. Both scenes could be termed "mission accomplished," from the eternal perspective.


The vision of the flowing water of life, which Ezekiel witnessed, was re-affirmed in what John saw and recorded in Revelation twenty-two. Ezekiel's vision came over 600 years prior to John. Comparing the two, there are some differences--John saw no Temple; whereas, Ezekiel called the sanctuary where God dwelled the Temple. This time distance and variation is significant, for what Ezekiel saw was a work in progress versus John's completed work.

Note in the following passage the location of the river, where it flows and what happens to those who seek to dam it up or syphon it off. There are also many symbolic references such as:
  1. The great sea is a reference to the masses of people.
  2. The fishermen are the soul winners, for from chapters 44 to 48, all who are in the vision are holy people (a holy priesthood, the Prince of Holiness and a holy prophet).
  3. The different species of fish---universality of cultures who are becoming believers.
  4. The dead waters are the attempts to keep in one place and/or syphon the Life waters for personal gain.
  5. The Temple is the one described in chapter 45-46; Jews historically believe there are two operative cities of Jerusalem, the one above and the one below.
Ezekiel 47:1-13:
Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side.

3 And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles. 4 Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again, he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist. 5 Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed. 6 He said to me, "Son of man, have you seen this?" Then he brought me and returned me to the bank of the river.

7 When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. 8 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. 9 And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. 10 It shall be that fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim; they will be places for spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many. 11 But its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be given over to salt. 12 Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine."

Rabbis teach this river is the Torah, but it is more than that. It is the power of the Spirit flowing out to a world in need of healing-spiritually, physically and emotionally. It is the water promised by Jesus when He told the woman at the well-a water to imbibe and never thirst again. It is the river of water which flows out of the belly of the believer. It's the water and the blood water.

It's that water!

"Measuring man" showed Ezekiel what becomes of a person who wades out into the Spirit and the Word. They become like Simon, "Lord not my feet only-I want to be washed clean all over." Ankle deep is a beginner, knee deep an inquirer, waist deep a devoted follower-but over one's head, where one cannot touch bottom, is the one willing to lose control and be taken where the river carries him or her. That river is not in full abundance and power until one determines to go deeper in it. The churchman who will preach from the deep things of God will gush like a river to his or her people. Ankle deep is a little revelation, but the big question only comes after the deep water is experienced, "Son of man, have you seen this?"

The true man of God wants to live in the river and pour out to others that life giving flood.

John Osteen (until he built the big auditorium on Houston's east side) had a mural in the previous church which dominated one's attention. The picture portrayed a lamb at the top and emanating from the lamb was a stream of water (the head source of the river) flowing down in increasing width and force until its roiling forefront was shown rushing upon a huge picture of the earth. It was the essence of Revelation 22.

Revelation 22:1-18:
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 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. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

6.Then he said to me, "These words are faithful and true." And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.

7 "Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."

8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.

9 Then he said to me, "See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God." 10 And he said to me, "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. 11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still."

(Jesus Testified to the Churches)

12 "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

16 "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star."

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

Notice Ezekiel's vision did not show the source of the water being the Lamb and God, just from the sanctuary of the Most High (the Heavenly Temple). Ezekiel's vision showed the regenerative process as ongoing, while Revelation tells the reader the last estate of completion (Revelation 22:11). Both picture a holy city!

Where are the churches where the river flows today? Where are the pastors who preach from the over flowing waters? Where are the prophets who have abandoned their plans and swim in the river? Congregations are not dying for the food of the word, as much as they suffer dehydration for the lack of the water of life!!!!!

Where is the invitation to come drink made by the Spirit and the Bride? Our churches are dry deserts with no source of real food and healing. The Jimmy Swaggert song, "There is a River" is not heard in the parched atmospheres of the emerging church.

There is a fountain that frees the soul from sin,
Come to this water, there is a vast supply,
There is a river that never shall run dry.

There was a thirsty woman,
She was drawing from a well
You see her life was ruined and wasted,
And her soul was bound for hell,
Oh, then she met the Master

And HE told about her sin
And He said, "if you drink of this water,
You will never thirst again."

There is a river, and it flows from deep within,
There is a fountain, that frees the soul from sin,
Come to this water, there is a vast supply
There is a river, that never shall run dry.

…and from the old chorus...

There's a river of life flowing out of me,
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see.
Opens prison door sets the captive free,
There's a river of life flowing out of me.

Spring up o' well
Within my soul!
Spring up o' well!
And make me whole.
Spring up o' well,
And give to me.
That life more abundantly.

There is a fountain flowing from the Savior's side,
All my sin's forgiven in the precious tide;
Jesus paid the price when for me He died,
There's a fountain flowing from the Savior's side.

There's a risen Savior at the Father's throne,
Ever interceding for His very own;
Pouring down the blessings that are His alone,
There's a risen Savior at the Father's throne.

Both in Kiev, Ukraine, and Brashov, Romania, the Lord used the message of living water flowing into and out of the believer's inner being to bring a new awareness of God's provision to witness to a lost world.

In Kiev, it resulted in a new boldness to exercise the believer's spiritual authority (this was during the Soviet days of Communist domination). The Christians were responsible for Soviet Communism's overthrow (This according to Chinese authorities who recently vowed to never allow it to happen in China).

In Brashov (at the dedication of a new church building in a Gypsy community), the Lord used the river message to encourage believers to understand that common to all believers is the resource of the water of life for them to use, not just clergy, to witness powerfully. On the heels of that message, there was issued a prophetic word on how the Lord intended to use Gypsy communities all over Europe to bring revival and a return to God.

I firmly believe this message needs to pour out from every pulpit in the world. I also believe this rushing mighty river cannot be housed in cloistered doors of denominations and fellowships. Dead water has been served long enough! Let the Sons of Zadok pour out their living water in the streets, in their daily walk, in halls of justice and assemblies, in government and politics-let the river flow. The time is now!

CHAPTER 48 (Beginning in Ezekiel 47:13)

Two factors are apparent in this closing chapter:
  1. The restoration of the 12 tribes, incorporating all believers, and their arrangement around the Sanctuary.
  2. A special place for the Prince and the Sons of Zadok.
Scholars view this final vision in several ways. Some make much ado about how the arrangement of the Tribes around the Sanctuary is vastly different from the original arrangement around the Tabernacle in the wilderness, and subsequently, the Temple. A few insist that those closest to the Sanctuary indicate they are the favored ones, while the outlying ones are simply Handmaidens. Since there is symmetry, (equal grouping on all sides) with the inclusion of two places for Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim), there must be a numerical mystery in it all so they say. The fact the Tribes are being restored to positions around the house of God is tantamount to understanding their special place in history and how the world of believers (in all of time) are connected to them as "one new man" with no wall of partition. The central message is that the completed work of Christ will entail believing Israel (both Jew and Gentile) being brought near to the heart of God.

As one reads these passages, it is important to keep the central theme of Holiness: a new Holy Jerusalem, surrounded by Holy people and functioning in all duties of service in Holiness.

Land inheritance is also shown to be equal in area, with special consideration to the Prince and the Sons of Zadok.

Look now at the first passages:

Ezekiel 47:13-48:
13 Thus says the Lord God: "These are the borders by which you shall divide the land as an inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph shall have two portions. 14 You shall inherit it equally with one another; for I raised My hand in an oath to give it to your fathers, and this land shall fall to you as your inheritance.

15 "This shall be the border of the land on the north: from the Great Sea, by the road to Hethlon, as one goes to Zedad, 16 Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim (which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath), to Hazar Hatticon (which is on the border of Hauran). 17 Thus the boundary shall be from the Sea to Hazar Enan, the border of Damascus; and as for the north, northward, it is the border of Hamath. This is the north side.

18 "On the east side you shall mark out the border from between Hauran and Damascus, and between Gilead and the land of Israel, along the Jordan, and along the eastern side of the sea. This is the east side.

19 "The south side, toward the South, shall be from Tamar to the waters of Meribah by Kadesh, along the brook to the Great Sea. This is the south side, toward the South.

20 "The west side shall be the Great Sea, from the southern boundary until one comes to a point opposite Hamath. This is the West side.

21 "Thus you shall divide this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. 22 It shall be that you will divide it by lot as an inheritance for yourselves, and for the strangers who dwell among you and who bear children among you. They shall be to you as native-born among the children of Israel; they shall have an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. 23 And it shall be that in whatever tribe the stranger dwells, there you shall give him his inheritance," says the Lord God.

Notice the main theme about equal distribution, which included those dwelling among them (v.21-23). There were many believing Jews who joined people from other nations as they responded to Peter's preaching on the day of Pentecost and following. Paul, centuries later, revealed this truth saying true Israel are those of a circumcised heart. (Romans and the entire book of Hebrews bear this out.) Remember, this is about the new "developing Israel" becoming what it should be vs. the "compromised Israel" of Ezekiel's day. This new Israel has the river and the true Sanctuary, rather than the burned-up hull that lay in ruins in a deserted land. There is no other way to view these passages, regardless of those who seek some "cryptic message."

Ezekiel 48:1-8:
"Now these are the names of the tribes: From the northern border along the road to Hethlon at the entrance of Hamath, to Hazar Enan, the border of Damascus northward, in the direction of Hamath, there shall be one section for Dan from its east to its west side; 2 by the border of Dan, from the east side to the west, one section for Asher; 3 by the border of Asher, from the east side to the west, one section for Naphtali; 4 by the border of Naphtali, from the east side to the west, one section for Manasseh; 5 by the border of Manasseh, from the east side to the west, one section for Ephraim; 6 by the border of Ephraim, from the east side to the west, one section for Reuben; 7 by the border of Reuben, from the east side to the west, one section for Judah; 8 by the border of Judah, from the east side to the west, shall be the district which you shall set apart, twenty-five thousand cubits in width, and in length the same as one of the other portions, from the east side to the west, with the sanctuary in the center.

Special instructions are given in the next verses regarding the "Holiness Factor," for without Holiness, no one will see the Lord. Holiness must return to the house of God in order for there to be a glorious church at His return. Holiness is not an option-it is requisite, regardless of how one quotes Scripture.

Ezekiel 48:9-14:
9 "The district that you shall set apart for the Lord shall be twenty-five thousand cubits in length and ten thousand in width. 10 To these - to the priests - the holy district shall belong: on the north twenty-five thousand cubits in length, on the west ten thousand in width, on the east ten thousand in width, and on the south twenty-five thousand in length. The sanctuary of the Lord shall be in the center. 11 It shall be for the priests of the sons of Zadok, who are sanctified, who have kept My charge, who did not go astray when the children of Israel went astray, as the Levites went astray. 12 And this district of land that is set apart shall be to them a thing most holy by the border of the Levites.

13 "Opposite the border of the priests, the Levites shall have an area twenty-five thousand cubits in length and ten thousand in width; its entire length shall be twenty-five thousand and its width ten thousand. 14 And they shall not sell or exchange any of it; they may not alienate this best part of the land, for it is holy to the Lord.

The underlined passages tell the real story about holiness and being sanctified. True believers are sanctified through Christ, and sanctification is an absolute if one dwells close to the Sanctuary.

David spoke of this prophetically in the 91st Psalm, calling it "the secret place of the Most High." Pulpits once were sacred ground, but now are playgrounds for scenes of showmanship and hype. Pulpiteers once were like the prophets of old; they were holy men moved by the Spirit, but now they are mass psychologists more interested in analyzing the audience's neurosis than hearing from Heaven. Once more the great need for the churches is to be characterized as the Holiness Ones (saints) rather than be characterized as "buffoons of the Basilicas."

Trading the holy for the profane, the gatekeepers of the congregations have sold that which is holy to the Lord for the wealth of the world. They have done the abominable thing and violated verse 14. Let there sound across Christendom the clarion call to retake that which has been stolen and return to God what is rightfully His, lest we as nations and denominations be judged as unworthy stewards of the treasures of the Lord.

There must be a rediscovery of the sacred, as in Ezra's day, when the congregation voluntarily divorced itself from their worldly ways.

Let holiness pour down, with righteousness, like a mighty stream until every member of the body of Christ is baptized afresh with a baptism showing a repentance that has no backslider's option!

Ezekiel 48:15-20:
15 "The five thousand cubits in width that remain, along the edge of the twenty-five thousand, shall be for general use by the city, for dwellings and common-land; and the city shall be in the center. 16 These shall be its measurements: the north side four thousand five hundred cubits, the south side four thousand five hundred, the east side four thousand five hundred, and the west side four thousand five hundred. 17 The common-land of the city shall be: to the north two hundred and fifty cubits, to the south two hundred and fifty, to the east two hundred and fifty, and to the west two hundred and fifty. 18 The rest of the length, alongside the district of the holy section, shall be ten thousand cubits to the east and ten thousand to the west. It shall be adjacent to the district of the holy section, and its produce shall be food for the workers of the city. 19 The workers of the city, from all the tribes of Israel, shall cultivate it. 20 The entire district shall be twenty-five thousand cubits by twenty-five thousand cubits, foursquare. You shall set apart the holy district with the property of the city.


The New Jerusalem is always shown as a place for provision. In this city, there are no places of rank and privilege, no region for those less fortunate, no side for slums or suburbs of wealth. The lands so designated are owed "in common (shared by all)" and owned by no individual. They are located next to the "Holy Land" and cultivated by those from ALL the Tribes. Food cultivated there is for the common good (like the upper room bunch). Food for the workers might well be a way of saying "everybody is busy contributing to this Great enterprise." Everyone is involved as an integral part of the kingdom---much like Paul's litany on he and Apollos (Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase [ I Cor.3:6])

Ezekiel 48:21-22:
21 "The rest shall belong to the prince, on one side and on the other of the holy district and of the city's property, next to the twenty-five thousand cubits of the holy district as far as the eastern border, and westward next to the twenty-five thousand as far as the western border, adjacent to the tribal portions; it shall belong to the prince. It shall be the holy district, and the sanctuary of the temple shall be in the center. 22 Moreover, apart from the possession of the Levites and the possession of the city which are in the midst of what belongs to the prince, the area between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin shall belong to the prince.

The "Prince' is special and has special accommodations. His portion is singled out and is next to the people yet positioned adjacent to the Holy Sanctuary. His position between the people and God reflects His being the mediator between God and man. The Prince links Judah to Benjamin, which is only assumed in the days before captivity and down played in the city and Temple of the returning captives. Jerusalem is in Benjamin.

Ezekiel 48:30-35:
30 "These are the exits of the city. On the north side, measuring four thousand five hundred cubits 31 (the gates of the city shall be named after the tribes of Israel), the three gates northward: one gate for Reuben, one gate for Judah, and one gate for Levi; 32 on the east side, four thousand five hundred cubits, three gates: one gate for Joseph, one gate for Benjamin, and one gate for Dan; 33 on the south side, measuring four thousand five hundred cubits, three gates: one gate for Simeon, one gate for Issachar, and one gate for Zebulun; 34 on the west side, four thousand five hundred cubits with their three gates: one gate for Gad, one gate for Asher, and one gate for Naphtali. 35 All the way around shall be eighteen thousand cubits; and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE."

Two significant matters close the prophetic vision of the New Jerusalem from above: it's gates and its Name. Imagine the unity and joy when entering the gates of the City of God from any direction and seeing the name of one's Tribe. Imagine the flags of each one of them flying over the gates that never close, with perpetual ministry, for HE is THERE in perpetual communion with His children. The place called THERE is where God reigns. (See En Punto and the chapter, "The Place Called There.")

It is noteworthy to say Revelation 22 does not record the gates and details of Ezekiel's vision, for it reveals a completed work. Because this is all a finished work, the Bride and the Spirit can now join in unison with those "having ears that hear" in saying:

Revelation 22:17:
And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

O' that ears would open to the Spirit; O' that eyes would see and repent of blindness and seek healing; O' that the church could return to the time where the saints meet and testify of voicing one great desire:

Revelation 22:20:
20 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Author's note:
     It has been a blessing to review Ezekiel's writings with so many, for what is now over a year. My joy is evident, for this prophet's book has been lying in my mind and heart for a very long time. Ezekiel's dedication to doing exactly what God instructed him to do, without question, is a model for believers who live today. The closing chapters of his book are sort of a reward for such service-the power of a finished work seen by faith.

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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In German:

Die Sohn Zadoks

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