This sermon is number 24 in series of 24
Ezekiel - Part 24
"The Millennial Holy Land"
by David Legge | Copyright © 2002 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com
We're turning to Ezekiel 47, Ezekiel chapter 47. We're looking, as I said, at our last study this evening. We have looked at three sections in the final chapters of this book that have been dealing with the restoration and the future of the nation of Israel. Several weeks ago we looked at the new temple that will be situated in the land of Israel, where the Jews will worship again. Then we looked, in our last study in Ezekiel, at the new worship - how men and women in this dispensation of the millennial reign of Christ will worship God in His temple. So, there has been the new temple, the new worship, and now tonight we're looking at the new land - the new Holy Land, 'The Millennial Holy Land', which is not the land this evening as we know it.
Let's read from verse 1 of chapter 47: "Afterward [this angel] brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. And when the man that had the line", the measuring rod, "in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh". Verse 11: "But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for food, and the leaf thereof for medicine".
If you turn over to chapter 48, to the last few verses of this chapter - verses 30 through to verse 35. In between our last reading and verse 30 we get a description of the border of this new land of Israel, and also of the dispersion of the tribes among this new land. Now we're coming and Ezekiel is being told about the city, the new city of Jerusalem in the millennial land of Israel. Verse 30: "These are the goings out of the city on the north side, four thousand and five hundred measures. And the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi. And at the east side four thousand and five hundred: and three gates; and one gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan. And at the south side four thousand and five hundred measures: and three gates; one gate of Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one gate of Zebulun. At the west side four thousand and five hundred, with their three gates; one gate of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali. It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there".
During the American Civil War a delegation from the Southern states, from the Confederation, came to Abraham Lincoln and spread before him a large map of the United States of America. The Confederates of the South drew a line right across the middle of it, dividing it from North to South. They said to Abraham Lincoln: 'South of that line it will be alright to keep people as slaves, but north of that line it will be illegal'. Of course, history tells us that Lincoln placed his huge hand upon the whole of the map of United States, and he said: 'I claim it all in the name of freedom'.
There is a day coming very soon when our Lord Jesus Christ will come to this earth and He will land His feet upon the Mount of Olives, and He will put His nail-pierced hand on the whole of this planet, and He will reign and He will claim this world for Himself. Now, it's very difficult, I think, for us to imagine what the millennial reign of Christ will be like - simply because our world, as we speak, is so full of sin, immorality, unrighteousness and abomination towards God. There is so much war, so much hatred in the hearts of men and women, so much trouble around us, sadness, death, sickness and poverty. But the Scriptures speak prophetically, right throughout the Old and the New Testaments, of a time when men will make war no more, when men with joy shall draw out of the wells of God's salvation, when a child shall die at 100 years of age because few in those days will say: 'I am sick'. The Bible speaks of a time of unequalled prosperity, when the desert will blossom as the rose. There will be no more poverty, no more famine, no more want of anything. A day, as Revelation 20 tells us, when Satan will be bound and the Lord Jesus Christ, for one thousand years, will reign from shore to shore in righteousness - not in heaven, but upon the earth.
Not only does the Bible tell us that there will be a spiritual reign for one thousand years, and spiritual changes, moral changes, national changes, and governmental changes - but the prophet Ezekiel comes to us in these last few chapters and tells us that during the thousand year reign of Christ there will also be geographical changes. That is what we're looking at tonight: chapters 47 and 48, and Ezekiel is given by the Holy Spirit a vision of the new Holy Land during the millennial kingdom.
Now let's look at this tonight in some detail. I have to apologise to you, because I had a number of overheads to show you this evening, but the bulb in the overhead has gone! So, it may be a bit harder for you to picture some of these things tonight, but we do apologise for that. The first thing that Ezekiel speaks to us of in chapter 47, your first point, is: 'The River of Healing', verses 1 to 12 that we have read. Let me just say this: there is the literal interpretation of this river, and it's very important that we understand in prophetic study - and we've been looking at this week after week in the book of Ezekiel specifically - but, no matter what book we go to whether it be a minor or a major prophet, and specifically the book of the Revelation, there is symbolism within the book but generally we interpret the word of God literally. Prophetic Scriptures must be interpreted literally. It is what theologians and scholars and preachers call 'the literal, historical, grammatical hermeneutic'. The study of hermeneutics is simply the study of interpretation of the word of God.
When it comes to prophecy we look at it literally: what is the literal, plain sense of the verse? We then look at it historically in its historical context, and ask: has that been fulfilled ever in all history? Then we look at it grammatically and see what the language originally, whether in the Old Testament in Hebrew or in the New Testament in Greek, is saying. Then we put them altogether: a literal, historical, grammatical interpretation of the word of God, and it is so important that we do that when we come specifically to prophecy. Therefore, as we come to chapter 47, and not just it but the whole of Ezekiel, we believe that there will be a literal temple, there will be a literal thousand year reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, there will be a literal new Jerusalem. We looked in our last study at how there will be literal sacrifices to remind retrospectively of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, as we come to chapter 47, we must therefore be consistent - as many scholars and preachers are not, we must be - to see that this is a literal river, a river of healing that one day will flow through the nation of Israel.
So let's look at the literal interpretation first of all. Ezekiel, in verses 1 to 12, sees a vision of a river flowing from the door of the temple, past the altar, through the south wall of the east gate, and down to the Dead Sea near the south of the land of Israel. Ezekiel is told that the waters of the sea will be healed, what does that mean? Well, you will know if you've been to Israel that the Dead Sea is a dead sea. There is nothing living in the Dead Sea because there is no outlet for the Dead Sea, there is only an inlet - the waters come in, and then more and more, and all the minerals gather and there's so much salt in the Dead Sea that nothing can live. But this prophecy is saying, in chapter 47, that the rivers, the waters of the Dead Sea one day will be healed. In other words, the Dead Sea will become a freshwater sea with an outlet again.
This is mighty, because as we read in this chapter we find that Ezekiel not only says that it will no longer be salty and will be freshwater, but there will be fish that will be found in the water. In fact, he says in verse 9 if you look at it: "It shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh". This river will flourish with multitudes of sea life and fish, and in fact the passage tells us that it will be greater in capacity of fish than the great sea - and the great sea here is the Mediterranean Sea. Now imagine that! Tonight, as we speak, the Dead Sea is literally dead, but during the thousand year reign of our Lord Jesus Christ there will be multitudes of freshwater fish in a cleansed and a healed Dead Sea.
Right throughout the Old Testament the water of life is a favourite metaphor and picture of the life of God. You will know that Palestine, and the Middle East in general is an arid place, a place of wildernesses and deserts. When God was wanting to depict to His people lushness and flourishing fertility, He would speak to them of a river of life. It was a favourite picture because the desert area needed life, and that life could only be brought through water. This stream, literal stream, will bring life, the Bible says, to the whole nation of Israel and specifically the area of Araba which is very arid this evening. This is a nation, as we speak, that has all sorts of systems of irrigation to get water into a land that has no water, but the day is coming when the Lord Jesus will come and they will have more water than they could ever need.
In fact, this river ever deepens. It gets deeper and deeper as it goes on. It brings life and health and abundant fruit wherever it goes - and please mark this: this will be a literal, geographical river that will flow through Israel during the millennium reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. God will dwell in His temple, we learnt that in chapter 44: God's glory, His Shekinah cloud, will come back again to His people - and out of that temple where God's glory is dwelling there will be a stream of blessing that will ever increase, and will flow and go forth to all of the places in Palestine. How did all this just come to be? Is this not a bit far-fetched? It's such a change in the whole geographical overlook of the whole of Palestine, how could that happen? When will it happen?
Well we must go back for moment, if you turn in your Bibles to Acts chapter 1, and while you're doing that also turn to Zechariah 14 - Acts chapter 1, then Zechariah 14. You remember, the Lord Jesus has been crucified for our sins, He was raised from the dead on the third day, He spent 40 days with His disciples and has been seen of many men - up to 500 at one point. Now He stands at Bethany, and He is about to ascend into heaven to intercede for His people, but as He speaks to His disciples He says in verse 11 of chapter 1: "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven". As the Lord Jesus Christ has gone, He will come again. Then Zechariah 14 and verse 4, speaking prophetically of the Lord again: "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south". Verse 8: "And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be".
Do you see what's happening here? The Lord Jesus is coming again as He went, and He comes and His feet land at the Mount of Olives. As He comes to the earth there is a great earthquake triggered, and it creates a vast east-west valley and fault on the very Mount of Olives. Running through Jerusalem this great valley will be a tributary for water to flow right through it and for this great river to come. This is when it's going to happen - can you imagine what it will be like when the Lord lands on Mount Olivet, and there's an earthquake and everybody knows that the Saviour has come - the nail-printed hand has been put on the map of the earth and He is claiming it for His own!
Look at Micah chapter 1 for a moment, just so that I can prove to you that this is not a fairytale that we're seeing only in the book of Ezekiel, this is right throughout the prophets. We've seen it now in Ezekiel, we've seen it in Zechariah very definitely, and now we come to Micah chapter 1 - again, remember these minor prophets are speaking to Israel, he's speaking about the future of Israel - verse 2 of chapter 1: "Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place".
Do you see it? Come with me to the New Testament, in case you think this has all been done away with in some way in the new covenant. Revelation chapter 16 - I hope you can see how this is a consistent interpretation, right throughout the whole of the Scriptures - Revelation chapter 16 and verse 18: "And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. There we have it again and again and again, that when the Lord Jesus comes - and we're not talking about the rapture, the rapture has taken place, God's people have gone to be with Him in the air, the rapture is to the air. There will be seven years of great tribulation, the church will be going through the Judgement Seat of Christ and the marriage supper of the Lamb, but when those seven years are over then the Lord's feet will come again - His second coming, His second advent. There will be a great earthquake that the world has never seen, Mount Olivet - and there's a fault going through it tonight as we speak, they won't build anything on top of it - it will cleft and this river of healing will come forth from God.
Its mighty stuff, isn't it? What is the source of the river? Look at verse 1 of chapter 47, we have to move on but there's so much spiritual truth within this passage. Chapter 47 of Ezekiel and verse 1, and if you look at it you will see that he's brought to the door of the temple and the waters issue out from under the threshold of the house eastward. It's coming out from the temple, this river is coming from the temple! It's not coming from a mountain from the rain, it's coming from God! That's the source, but what's the course of the river? Well, he says that it's flowing eastward, and it goes south through the desert and the Jordan River to the Dead Sea, where its sweet waters will purify the whole of the nation and bring life to polluted waters. Now, picture Israel in your mind, or if you have a map in the back of your Bible - I wanted to show it up on the overhead tonight, but I can't do it - but if you picture the map in the back of your Bible, you know basically the nation of Israel. Tyre is roundabout the top, OK? The north-west is Tyre, you go over a little bit to the east and you will find Damascus. Well, there will be an area right from about above Tyre a little bit right across to Damascus, it will go down all the way to about the top of the Sea of Galilee, which is round about the middle of Israel. It will then taper in, and under the Sea of Galilee you have the river of Jordan - do you see it? It's like a 'P'-shape, that type of shape. Well, the nation of Israel, on that day of the millennial reign of Christ, will go around like that and will be all of the left-hand side between the coast of the Mediterranean and the Jordan river - all that area in the middle and right up to about the Sea of Galilee, and round in a curve around about Damascus. That is the area that will be during the millennium reign of Christ, and that is the course of the river. It will come from Jerusalem, from the temple, and will come right down the Jordan River, go right through the Dead Sea, and eventually it will meet the river of Egypt. So, you can see it's going right through the whole of the land of Israel.
That's the course of the river. The source of it, the course of it, but we see also that Ezekiel found the force of the river - for it reached Ezekiel's ankles, then it went as far up as his knees, then it came to his waist, and then he felt it was just at his neck level that he could only swim to survive. The source of the river is the temple. The course of the river is right through the whole land of Palestine, down to the very bottom, meeting in Egypt. It will make the whole land flourish, bringing healing to all the arid wilderness of the whole of the nation of God. What a force! It will increase: it will come to ankle level, then to knee level, then to the loins, the waist, and then eventually it will make the whole people of God swim in its healing river.
Today Jerusalem has no river, but in the millennium reign of Christ it will not only have a river but the death-giving Dead Sea will become alive! Joel says in chapter 3 and verse 18: "It shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim". Waters out of the house of the Lord to all of Israel! There will be, the Bible says, all kinds of fruitful trees along the banks of this river providing food for God's people. There will be fishermen on the shores of the Dead Sea - imagine that sight! - with their nets catching great draughts of fish. There will be leaves from these healing trees as medicine for the people.
Oh, it's literal alright, its literal because one of the greatest things that Israel needs this evening is water. But there is a spiritual interpretation within these verses, and it's important for us not to miss it either because the Lord is telling us that this is a healing river. This brings spiritual healing to the people because it's coming from the temple, it's not coming from an ordinary mountain. This is a vivid picture of the life-giving ministry of God. As we go right throughout the whole of the Scriptures we find that one of the symbols of God's Holy Spirit is a river and is water. As we look at this description that Ezekiel was given in a vision, this is no different here. Remember that the Lord took, in His sermon to the woman at the well, the Samaritan woman, He took the figure of water. Do you remember what He said to that old sinner woman? She was living in an adulterous relationship and had been married so many times, and the person she was living with she wasn't married to, and as far as religion was concerned there was no hope for her - culture had excluded her from any religious practices of the Jews, she was separated from Christ socially, morally, religiously, culturally, and in every way you can. But He said to her: 'Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst again, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him, a well of water springing up into everlasting life'.
You can go to the Old Testament, go to the New Testament, and water - whether it's literal water or not - is also a symbol of spiritual life. Let's look at these verses in the light of this, and I've so much to get through. Verse 1, Ezekiel says: "Behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward". Now if you look carefully at it and study it, you will find that not only do these waters come from below the door of the temple, but within the temple their source is the very altar of God. They came from the altar! Do you see what's being said here? The blessings of God originate from the altar. Remember there's no veil in this millennial temple, why? Because the veil of the temple was rent in twain when my God was satisfied with the sacrificial, efficacious, substitutionary, vicarious death of the Lord Jesus Christ - and when He said: 'It is finished', God demonstrated that it was finished and tore the veil. Because of that in this new millennial Jerusalem temple, there will be waters issuing out from the altar of God - why? Because all the blessings we have, and all the blessings this world will ever have and the Jews will have, will be because of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
My friend, remember when Abraham was told that he was going to have a child, and through that child all the nations of the earth would be blessed? It wasn't because the Jews would bless them, but it was because of his lineage and of his seed there would be that man Christ Jesus, that one day would bring the whole world underneath His rule and His sway! He didn't do it through a conquering army, He did it through His ruby red blood. Oh, if we could learn in our lives as believers that all our blessings originate from the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, from the altar of God. No wonder Paul could say: 'God forbid that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ'! Do you know what he meant? Everything I have is because of the cross! Do you see it? The whole of Palestine is being blessed from the altar of this temple because of Christ's death.
But look on, look at verse 3, it says that Ezekiel, as he was wading through this river the waters came to his ankles. You know, we could look at that and see that it's speaking of the walk of the child of God, the walk of the believer that must be in the Spirit of God - it's in the water. We're instructed also in the book of Galatians, if we walk and live in the Spirit - we must walk in the Spirit, and if we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfil the lust of the flesh. You see, there's a progression and there's a deepening in this river. It's coming from the altar, and you have to start at Calvary. My friend, if you're here tonight and you've never started at Calvary, you're not saved at all. I don't care that you're trying to walk after Christ, I don't care that you're following His commands and trying to obey everything He said - you have to start at the altar, at Calvary! But, my friend, don't stop at Calvary like many do. You've got to go on and walk in the Spirit that you'll not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Then in verse 4 the waters rose from the ankles up to his knees, and I wonder is that speaking of prayer in the Spirit? You've got to go on walking in the Spirit, but then praying in the Spirit - for Jude says you've to build up yourselves on your most holy faith, that's the walking, but you've to pray also in the Holy Ghost.
Oh, to master praying in the Holy Ghost, praying in the will of God, praying with your whole life dedicated to prayer in the Spirit and according to the will of God and what God wants - asking for what God wants, and seeing what God wants realised in your life. Then, as we read on in the second part of verse 4 we see that the water rose to his waist, to his loins. We are told in the New Testament to gird up our loins for service, Peter says: "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ". Gird up the loins of your mind, get ready for action! Watch what you're letting into your mind! But, you know, loins speak of fruitfulness, it speaks of reproduction - and I believe what the Holy Spirit is saying here is that you need to walk in the Spirit, you need to pray in the Spirit, but you need to have reproduction in the Spirit - you need to bear fruit!
Then in verse 5 we see that Ezekiel finds himself swimming in these waters. Boy, this is powerful! Do you see the progression here? Do you see the deepening walk of this child of God as he comes and he begins to be flooded by this type of the Spirit of the Living God? What does Paul say? 'Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess', when you're drunk with wine you're happy with it and you're controlled with it and it dominates you, but Paul says: 'Be ye filled with the Holy Spirit'. 'Be ye continually filled, controlled with the Holy Spirit' - and do you see what happens when you're controlled with the Holy Spirit? You lose the use of your arms, the use of your legs, and the water just takes you along! Isn't that right?
His walk speaks of spiritual direction. Where is your spiritual direction tonight? Where are you going spiritually? His knees speak of spiritual devotion and prayer life, and your heart-life with God - how is that tonight? Is it progressing? Have you moved on from the walk to the praying in the Holy Spirit? The loins speak of development and fruitfulness - are you developing day by day? Then the swimming speaks of the dynamic, it is the fullness, the controlling power within your life - what is motivating you? Can I ask you tonight: is your walk with God deepening, is it maturing, is it developing?
Now, let's apply this to this dispensation. For in this dispensation God dwelleth not in temples made by men's hands, but Paul says to the Corinthians: 'Ye are the temple, the church of the living God'. But he individualises it by saying to the believer: 'Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit'. Now look, if this applies to us, if you're the temple, from your heart and from your body there should be rivers of blessing of the Holy Spirit flowing out to the world around. But is it? 'In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)'. But Jesus is glorified now, and the Spirit is given - does He flow out of our bellies?
God will touch others through our lives if we're filled with the Holy Spirit, but what came to me today studying this was this: you can go as deep into the Holy Spirit as you want. You can go in your Christian life as deep, as mature, as developed as you can and you want to - and the tragedy of many a believer today is this: they are sitting paddling on the edge of the shore! They have never gone in, they have never known the blessings of the Spirit of God. There's a whole ocean out there to enjoy, but they're satisfied with just dabbling! Don't linger in the shallows when there are depths for you to enjoy, my friend. Go deep, plunge in!
Verse 12 tells us of the fruitfulness. There will be many trees that will be there for the meat of Israel, the food that means, the medicine, the healing of the people. I can't help looking at this and thinking: this is just like Eden of old. You go back to Genesis chapter 2 and you find that they were given the Garden, and God told them: 'Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat'. What God is doing, you look at this: there at the very beginning in the rebellion of man, Adam was the chief and the king of all of creation - he was God's appointed regent. But there in the Garden he handed over all of that sovereignty and management to the devil - well, here Christ has taken it from him! Hallelujah! He has taken it back for Himself, and He has created a new Eden upon the earth. God has put under His feet every principality and power, and given Him dominion over absolutely everything.
Look at the fruit coming from these trees. It makes me think of the man in Psalm number 1, the man who is godly, the man who follows God and meditates in His law day and night: "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper". Is it any wonder the great Psalmist said: "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early".
I thought I hadn't enough to say tonight, but our second point is: 'The Borders of the Land'. Verses 13 to 23, the future border and division of the land - and I've covered it a little bit already - it will be going over from Tyre sort of to Damascus in the east, and right down to the Sea of Galilee, and then it will taper in and follow the line of the Jordan. All of that west coast will be filled, from the Mediterranean to Jordan in the east, will be filled as the new land of Israel. The boundaries will be larger, substantially, to that that was told to Moses in the Pentateuch. It will be greater than that which we read in Numbers 34, detailed for us in the Old Testament. It will be greater than what Joshua inherited in the book of Joshua as he went into Canaan land - it will be far greater than all of that. It's amazing, because the land promised to Abraham - verse 14 says: "Ye shall inherit it, one as well as another: concerning the which I lifted up mine hand to give it unto your fathers: and this land shall fall unto you for inheritance". All of the land was prophesied to Abraham, all of the specific geographical limits shall be within Israel, and will be finally fulfilled and occupied by them on that day. The Muslims might want it, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation might try to blow them and shoot them out of it, but they need to know today that God will put them in it! They will have a greater part of the land than they have ever had! Never in history have the people of Israel had that covenant promise that was given to Abraham, never have they populated that whole land - but there is a day coming when Jesus shall reign, when He will give to His people the fulfilment of that covenant.
You've got it all detailed here. We don't have time to go into it, but what's lovely is in verse 13 we find that Joseph shall have two portions. You remember in the Old Testament, this is just the same as the Old Testament: the Levites were not given a portion. Why? Because they were told: 'The Lord is your portion', and it's no different in the millennial reign. But Joseph shall be given two portions, what does that mean? His sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, will be represented as two separate tribes because God told him that no matter what they did - and this is remarkable to me, you look at the life of Ephraim and look at the life of Manasseh and they're nothing to be proud about - but what God is saying here is: it doesn't matter, for I have promised it in My grace! Unconditional promise! It is by grace that they will be there. You remember Reuben, he gave up his birthright because he had an incestuous relationship with Bilhah, his father's concubine - but even though that happened and he gave up his birthright, he will be there as a tribe in the millennium reign of Christ, why? Why?
'Through many dangers toils and snares,
I have already come.
Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home'.
Isn't it well we're saved by grace? We're not talking about reward here now, that's very important for you to know. We'll see that in a minute. My friend, we'll get there, but we'll get there not on our own steam, but on grace - because God has promised that: 'Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved'. Take joy out of that tonight dear saint of God, if you're finding it difficult with temptation, if you're going through a cold period, if you're having hard times trying to read the word of God, and you find it difficult praying and witnessing, and you feel like jacking it all in - you'll get there by grace! The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. We'll get there because of Him.
We've got to move on: 'The Distribution of the Tribes'. You can see this on your sheet, on the back of your sheet. There's the land, that square at the very top, that rectangle: Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben, Judah. Then there's an area which is blown up for you at the bottom where the temple will be. That little shaded area is the temple, the north will be for the Levites, the middle for the Priests, and then at the bottom the city of Jerusalem is in the corner there and all the people round about - but that's in the middle of your top diagram. Underneath are the tribes of Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, and Gad. Now let me please draw your attention to this. When you turn to Revelation 7 you find that during the great tribulation period the 144,000 witnesses preach the gospel during that time - Jews. But there is one tribe in chapter 7 of Revelation that is not mentioned, and that is the tribe of Dan - but the tribe of Dan is here in the millennial kingdom! I believe what that is saying to us here tonight is this: Dan has been excluded from service during the tribulation period because of their gross idolatry in their history, grace will bring them into the millennial reign of Christ, but it will be through their works that they will be rewarded - and they're not rewarded. They are not rewarded in the great tribulation serving God, preaching the Gospel. It's a very important point.
There is this special area in the middle, and then fourthly and finally there is: 'The City of the Name'. In verse 35 we have many descriptions: there are 12 gates on this city, 3 on each side; and all the tribes of Israel are represented on these gates. This will be the worship centre for the world. They will come to the temple of God, Isaiah said, they will come to the hill, all the nations of the world, and worship the Lord in His temple. It's about 6 miles in circumference, during the Lord's time the city was about 4 miles in circumference - but this will be bigger. But friends, please give me a little bit of time to come to this climax this evening. The name of that city, verse 35, will be 'The Lord Is There' - Jehovah Shammah, The Lord Is There. It reminds us of the whole of biblical truth, that from the very beginning the reason why God created Adam and Eve was to have fellowship with humanity, and to have a people to obey Him and worship Him and enjoy Him forever. Then the fall came in the Garden, and the cry went out to sinful humanity: 'Adam, where are you?', and from that moment on through bloody sacrifice, through the law of God, through the prophets, and through the temple and the tabernacle, God was seeking to know men and women. The heart of God was after men to love them and to know them, He had a plan to be close to you and to me.
We have seen right throughout this whole book, we have seen how God's people have shunned Him and the glory has departed, and God presence had left them. We thought at times it was going to leave them forever and forever, but the thing about it is this: we find at the very end, God is there! If Ezekiel is trying to tell us anything in all of these studies, and if you have missed everything - and I wouldn't be surprised if you've missed a lot of it, because I have - but friends, don't miss this: Ezekiel wants everybody to know that the presence of God is everything! Everything! If you haven't got God's presence, you're nothing! But, glory of glories, God wants to dwell with us!
Oh, if we only realised that He is what we need - that's all, just Him. Jehovah Shammah is only one of nine titles given to God right throughout the Scriptures, there are others: Jehovah Jireh - what's your need tonight? God can meet your need: Jehovah Jireh, The Lord Will Provide, the Lord will see to it. Jehovah Rophe, The Lord Who Heals - do you need healed tonight? God has the ability, if He has the will, to touch you and heal you. Jehovah Nissi, The Lord My Banner, who stands up and fights for you. Jehovah M'Kaddesh, The Lord Who Sanctifies - are you having trouble in sin and temptation? God is the One who can sanctify! Jehovah Shalom, The Lord My Peace - are you wrecked with worries and pains and anxieties? The Lord is your peace! Jehovah Tsidkenu, are you trying to strive in righteousness and earning the merit of God? The Lord Our Righteousness. Jehovah Rohi, The Lord My Shepherd. Jehovah Sabaoth, The Lord of Hosts. Do you know what that tells me? The Lord is everything we need, and no matter what we need He's enough!
My friend, if the message of Ezekiel is anything, this old prophet in this concentration camp by the River of Chebar away from home, cut off from family, his wife dead - he's looking to heaven, and he's seeing that there's hope! Would you look to heaven and see that there's hope? Whatever you need, and whatever you want, seek God and you will find your need! I finish with quoting one of my favourite hymns, I think it sums up the whole of this prophecy. It's by F. Brook, listen very carefully:
'My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God;
'Tis His to lead me there - not mine, but His -
At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.
So faith bounds forward to its goal in God,
And love can trust her Lord to lead her there;
Upheld by Him, my soul is following hard
Till God hath full fulfilled my deepest prayer.
No matter if the way be sometimes dark,
No matter though the cost be oft-times great,
He knoweth how I best shall reach the mark;
The way that leads to Him must needs be strait.
One thing I know, I cannot say Him nay;
One thing I do, I press towards my Lord;
My God, my glory here, from day to day,
And in the glory there my great Reward'.
The Lord is there!
Our Father, we thank Thee that we have the victory in our Lord Jesus Christ. No matter what circumstances we're going through, like Ezekiel and like John the apostle in the Revelation, we would lift our eyes heavenward and see that if God be for us, who or what can stand against us?
Preach The Word
This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the twenty-fourth tape in his Ezekiel series, titled "The Millennial Holy Land" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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