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Passage: Ezekiel 46-48

On Tuesday, September 22, 2015, Yujin wrote,

Then he brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar (Ezekiel 47:1).

Ezekiel is brought back into the inner sanctuary to the "door of the house," perhaps the Holy of Holies. Out from somewhere under this house water flows, just as a trickling stream at first but then becoming a deep river that empties into the Dead Sea (aka Salt Sea) (Ezekiel 47:2-5). Amazingly, this water from the Temple transforms the salt water into fresh water (Ezekiel 47:8) and what was dead into a sea full of multitudes of living fish (Ezekiel 47:9-11). What is more, alongside the river there are trees, whose fruit never fail and whose leaves never wither. The fruit provide food while the leaves provide healing (Ezekiel 47:12). Clearly this water has miraculous power to nourish and to heal with an unfailing, unceasing, and ever-expanding reach. 

Friends, what does this picture for us? Does it now show the all-sufficiency of God's providence to abundantly supply our every need? I am reminded of the words of our Lord and Savior:

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:31-33).

Let us, then, stop fretting about the things of this world and of this life. As James wrote: "Life is a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14). Worry adds nothing to our lives, but prayer brings peace (Philippians 4:6-7), and trust and obedience to God brings righteousness and enduring benefit. I would rather drink from the trickle of water that proceeds from the house of God than possess all the treasures and delights the world has to offer. 

So, are you struggling? Don't compromise your faith on account of it. Redouble your devotion to God. Don't allow trials to overcome your good testimony in Christ. Do you suffer financial woes? Don't cheat someone to make ends meet. Do you feel wronged? Don't try to avenge yourself, but leave room for God's justice, and also remember how He extended grace to you and not justice, voluntarily suffering the payment for your sins on the cross. And if you are reviled, don't revile in return, for this is what Christ did:

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23).

Let us also entrust ourselves to our faithful God and Savior. Remember, God's grace is sufficient for us, and He allows us frailty and loss in order to magnify Christ in us, who is our sole hope of glory (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Passage: Ezekiel 46-48

On Sunday, September 23, 2012 (Last Updated on 9/22/2015), Yujin wrote,

The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing." (Ezekiel 47:1, 5, 12 NIV)

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. (Revelation 22:1, 2 NKJV)

Both in Ezekiel's temple and John's throne of God in Revelation there is a river of water, with trees on each side that bear fruit for food and produce leaves for healing. The significant differences is that there is no temple in John's vision, only a throne (Revelation 21:22). And while Ezekiel writes of "fruit trees," John writes of "the tree of life." In light of these and other differences, commentators have differentiated these visions as to reference. Ezekiel's temple may be what will be built for the Millennial Kingdom, where Christ would reign as the "prince" (Ezekiel 44:3) for a thousand years, while John's description in Revelation 22 may point to a temple-less new Jerusalem that follows the Millennium and the final judgment, where God and Christ will reign forever.

"These will be the exits of the city: Beginning on the north side, which is 4,500 cubits long, the gates of the city will be named after the tribes of Israel. The three gates on the north side will be the gate of Reuben, the gate of Judah and the gate of Levi. "On the east side, which is 4,500 cubits long, will be three gates: the gate of Joseph, the gate of Benjamin and the gate of Dan. "On the south side, which measures 4,500 cubits, will be three gates: the gate of Simeon, the gate of Issachar and the gate of Zebulun. "On the west side, which is 4,500 cubits long, will be three gates: the gate of Gad, the gate of Asher and the gate of Naphtali. (Ezekiel 48:30-34 NIV)

It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. (Revelation 21:12, 13 NIV)

Both Ezekiel's city gates and the gates of the new Jerusalem will have similar designations, with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on each gate, with three gates facing North, South, East and West. Surely this attests to God's unceasing remembrance and faithfulness to His chosen people to the very end.

"The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits.
"And the name of the city from that time on will be:
the Lord is there." (Ezekiel 48:35 NIV)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3 NIV)

Once again, another similarity is that both the city described by Ezekiel and John's new Jerusalem will be known for God's presence among His people. 

Friends, what is the takeaway here? There may be too little information to say that these prophets, hundreds of years removed from each other, and writing of things perhaps thousands of years into their futures, are writing of the same thing; however, we can learn this consistent principle that touches every prophecy, namely, that God is faithful to His chosen people. He does not forget His people even after thousands of years, so that we can understand Peter's comment that to God a thousand years is like a day (2 Peter 3:8; Psalm 90:4), and that we should regard this seemingly long gap as merely God's patience with us, not so much that everyone will be saved, but that all who are destined to believe and be saved will be:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you [i.e. "believers" in this context], not wanting anyone [i.e any believer] to perish, but everyone [i.e every believer] to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NIV)

In view of this, as Peter also writes, what sort of people should we be? We should live godly and holy lives in this fallen world until God brings the new world, where only righteousness will exist:

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:11-13 NIV)

Passage: Ezekiel 46-48

On Friday, September 23, 2011 (Last Updated on 9/22/2015), Yujin wrote,

Friends, I pray that your daily reading has been an enriching experience for you, as I know that it has been for many and myself over the years. I can confidently testify that the more you read, as you faithfully meditate on God's Word, the more His Word will transform your thinking, align your priorities, and give you peace.

While I normally share on matters directly addressed in the text, I have recently posted comments on other issues that have peaked my interest over the years. I share them with you not as a final word but as food for your consideration, as we together seek to "rightly divide the Word of God" (2 Timothy 2:15). Many of these comments can also be found on my blog: here. Recently, I've added two entries there. The first is an excerpt from a renowned Christian doctor, who relates his years of experience and research into the question of "miraculous healing." The second is my examination of the Scriptures on the matter of whether it is right to pray directly to Jesus and to the Holy Spirit.

A Medical View of Miraculous Healing

Should We Pray to Jesus or the Holy Spirit?

As I am a learner like you, I would always love to hear your thoughts on these somewhat controversial matters.