Ezekiel — Lesson 24

Ezekiel 47 & 48

I. The River Out of the Temple (47:1-12)

A. We have now reached the concluding two chapters of the book of Ezekiel. In commenting on the end of the book, one commentator notes:

1. "There are but few of the prophets of the Old Testament who have left a more valuable treasure to the Church of God than Ezekiel. It is true that he is in several places obscure; but there is a great proportion of the work that is in the highest degree edifying; and several portions that for the depth of the salvation predicted, and the accuracy and minuteness of the description, have nothing equal to them in the Old Testament Scriptures."

B. Chapter 47 begins with a description of a great river flowing out of the temple that was described in the preceding chapters.

C. Ezekiel is brought to the door of the holy place in the temple and sees a stream of water that flows into the inner court area, south of the altar.

D. The prophet is then taken out of the inner court by way of the north gate into the outer court. He is taken to the eastern outer gate and sees the water coming out of that gate at its southern side. From there the water flows down to the Dead Sea.

E. Flowing rivers are found elsewhere in the Scriptures:

1. In Zechariah 14:8 there are two rivers, one flowing east and the other west.

2. Joel 3:18 speaks of one river that waters the valley of Shittim, which is on the eastern bank of the Jordan.

F. Each of these prophecies about rivers is speaking about the same thing -- a coming blessedness for the people of God as the goodness of God pours forth from his throne. The book of Ezekiel ends with a beautiful description of the goodness of God toward his people.

G. This river gets deeper and wider the farther Ezekiel gets from the city.

1. The water begins as a trickle. The Hebrew word used here means "drop by drop."

2. The water is ankle-deep a 1000 cubits farther downstream. The Hebrew is "water of ankles." So strange did this phrase appear to the translators of the Septuagint that they translated it as "water of remission," which caused many early Christian commentators to see here the water of baptism.

3. Continuing to move along at distances of 1000 cubits, the water is up to his knees, then up to his waist, and then too deep and wide to cross.

a) The Charismatics use these verses as support for their arguments that the power of the Spirit comes in "waves." Some argue that these waves come every 1000 years. One immediate problem with this view is that there aren't any "waves" in Ezekiel 47.

4. What does this deepening depict? There are a number of theories:

a) Some say that it depicts the fact that the more we know and experience the goodness and mercy of God, the more we realize its depth and width.

(1) (Ephesians 3:17-19) "that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height --19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

b) Others say it depicts the blessings of God that began with the patriarchs, then went to the Israelites, and finally to the whole world -- increasing at each step.

c) Others say it depicts the word, which begins as a seed in the heart of a believer and then grows into a fruitful tree.

H. Everywhere this river reaches, it heals.

1. The barren areas thrive and the Dead Sea becomes a sea of life when the river of God reaches it. The Dead Sea's stagnant waters become fresh and swarming with fish.

a) Is any sin so bad that it cannot be cleansed by God's healing power? God's healing power can turn the Dead Sea into the Living Sea!

2. Along the side of this river are trees that bring forth fruit each month of the year. The fruit of these trees is used for food, and the leaves provide healing.

3. Why each month? Twelve is the number symbolizing God's people! This flowing river of goodness is for the people of God.

a) The number twelve is a symbol for the people of God. In the Old Testament, there were the 12 tribes of Israel, and in the New Testament there were the 12 apostles. In Revelation 7 when God wants to emphasize that he is speaking about ALL of his people, he uses the number 144,000, which is 12 times 12 times 1000!

b) Numbers in the bible often have special significance, but we must not take this too far. Numbers can be made to symbolize anything if one is willing to work hard enough. For example, I can “prove” that Hitler was the anti-Christ and that William Shakespeare wrote the Bible.

(1) Let A = 100, B = 101, C = 102, etc. and note that 107 (H) + 108 (I) + 119 (T) + 111 (L) + 104 (E) + 117 (R) = 666!

(2) How old was William Shakespeare in 1611 when the King James version was written? 46. The 46th word in Psalm 46 is “shake.” The 46th word from the end of Psalm 46 is “spear.”

4. No tributaries are mentioned because they would be inconsistent with the message that these blessings all come from one true source.

5. The swamps retain their saltiness. Why? Perhaps because of the need for salt in the priestly activities. (Ezekiel 43:24).

6. Another commentator says that the swamps depict the "incorrigibly inpenitent who cannot be healed."

a) (Revelation 22:11) "he who is filthy, let him be filthy still"

I. John uses these same symbols in Revelation 22:1-3.

1. "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."

2. In this chapter, a river flows from the midst of a city. John also sees trees, and twelve fruits, and healing leaves.

a) We have to be careful to remember our rule that identity of symbol does not necessarily imply identity of subject, but I think the link between Revelation 22 and Ezekiel 47 is very clear in this instance. The two chapters follow different judgments -- but the message following each judgment is the same: God has a plan to abundantly bless His people.

3. Revelation 22:3 says that the throne of God will be in "it." Was is that "it"? It is the New Jerusalem described in Revelation 21. What is that "New Jerusalem"?

a) It must be Heaven, right? Because that is where the throne of God is. But, the Bible also views God as ruling from his church. (Ezekiel 43:7; Psalm 2:6) Indeed, as we have seen, God dwells with us in His church.

b) The church fits the name of this city very well -- the New Jerusalem. The old Jerusalem was once the dwelling place for God's people. The church is the new dwelling place for God's people.

c) Revelation 21:2 tells us that this New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, coming down out of Heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband. And what group is pictured in the Bible as the bride of Christ? The church!

(1) (Ephesians 5:25) "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her."

d) This city is holy. This city provides healing to the surrounding nations who are drawn to this city by the light that it casts into the world. This city is the church.

(1) (Isaiah 2:2-4) "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. 3 Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore."

e) But the events in Revelation aren't going to happen for a long time. Right? Well, that is not what the book of Revelation says:

(1) (Revelation 1:1) "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants -- things which must shortly take place."

(2) (Revelation 1:3) "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near."

(3) (Revelation 22:6) "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."

(4) (Revelation 22:10) "And he said to me, 'Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.'"

(5) In Daniel 8:26 Daniel was told to seal up his vision because it wouldn't happen for a long time. John was told not to seal up his message. How long did it take for Daniel's message to be fulfilled? About 400 years.

J. Water in the Bible often represents God's abundant blessings.

1. "Blessing, fertility, and water are almost interchangeable in the Old Testament."

2. (Psalm 46:4) "There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High."

3. (Psalm 65:9) "You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; The river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, For so You have prepared it."

4. (Psalm 36:8) "They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. 9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light."

5. (Habakkuk 2:14) "For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea."

6. The Garden of the Lord: (Isaiah 51:3) "For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody."

7. (Joel 3:18) "And it will come to pass in that day that the mountains shall drip with new wine, the hills shall flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water; A fountain shall flow from the house of the LORD and water the Valley of Acacias."

a) And when were the prophecies of Joel fulfilled? Peter quotes Joel 2 in Acts 2 and said that it was being fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when the church was established.

K. The Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles

1. The Jewish feast of the Tabernacles is described in Leviticus 23:39-43. It came on the 15th day of the seventh month, which was typically around the end of September or early October.

2. The Feast was primarily agricultural and celebrated the gathering of the harvest. In John 7:37 it is referred to as "The Feast." The Rabbies said that "he who has not seen Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles does not know what rejoicing means."

3. One of the most important rituals on this day was the pouring of water in the temple. A specially appointed priest was sent to the Pool of Siloam with a golden pitcher to bring water from the pool. This was poured by the high priest into a basin at the foot of the altar amidst the blasting of trumpets and the singing of the Hallel (Psalm 113-118).

4. The significance of this pouring was twofold. First, it was a symbolic and ritual prayer for abundant rain. Second, it looked toward the outpouring of God's spirit upon all nations as mentioned in Joel 2:28 ("I will pour out my spirit on all flesh") and which Peter in Acts 2 says was fulfilled during the first century.

5. Part of the closing words of Psalm 118 are "Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity." As with the other feasts, this feast looks forward to the coming Messiah.

6. It was at the end of such a celebration that Jesus announced that he was the real source of living water.

a) (John 7:37-38) On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

7. Jesus stood up and said that he was the answer to their prayers! Those who were looking for the river of God's blessings did not need to keep looking. They had found it. Jesus is the source of living water!

8. (Zechariah 14:8) "And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur."

9. (John 4:13-14) Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

L. Is this flowing river literal or figurative?

1. McGuiggan begins his comments on this section by saying: "It seems to me that a man will literalize all this only when he has sold himself to literalizing."

2. Another commentator writes: "To attempt to take this literally, as some have done, is to miss completely the point which is being made. ... No amount of water divining will confirm Ezekiel 47."

a) First, there is no such source of water in the Temple. Indeed, when the Assyrians threatened to invade Palestine, King Hezekiah ordered workmen to dig a tunnel through nearly 2000 feet of solid rock from the Pool of Siloam to the spring outside the walls of the city to provide fresh water during the siege.

b) The temple's water came from the Great Bronze Sea, which was a large bronze bowl that stood in the court of Solomon's temple. That source of water was located on the southeast side of the temple (1 Kings 7:39). (The river in Ezekiel 47 begins south of the altar.)

c) There is no literal source of water that could produce the river described by Ezekiel. If after reading this chapter, you are looking forward to a fishing trip to the Dead Sea, I would suggest you go back and read it again -- you have missed something important!

d) McGuiggan: "This is worth spending time on to build up our hearts rather than to spend time figuring out how we can get such a literal river to flow in the manner this one flows."

3. What then does it symbolize? Let's review the clues:

a) The water flows from the temple. God is the source.

b) The water starts small and deepens and widens as it flows.

c) The water purifies and cleanses what it touches. It brings life.

d) The water yields a great harvest of fish.

e) The water produces trees with fruit and healing for the nations.

4. Each of these statements is true of the church and its proclamation of the gospel.

a) God is the source of the church and the gospel. It is His church -- not our church. It is His word that sets men free -- not our word.

b) The church began as a mustard seed on the day of Pentecost when God's spirit was poured out as Joel had prophesied.

(1) Matthew 13:31-32 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 "which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."

c) The gospel purifies, cleanses, and brings life.

d) The gospel yields a great harvest of fish.

(1) Matthew 13:47-48 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48 "which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.

e) The gospel produces trees giving food and healing to the nations.

(1) Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

5. Finally, I think we would miss an important point if we failed to notice the great importance of water in the Scriptures.

a) When God first began to order his creation, he moved upon the face of the waters.

b) When mankind's sin became too great, God cleansed the earth with water.

c) When the Israelites escaped from Egypt, God put a wall of water between their former bondage and their promised land.

d) God put water between the priests and the Holy Place in the temple. Before they could enter they were required to wash themselves with water.

e) God put water between sickness and health in the case of Naaman, who was healed only after he obeyed God and washed himself in the Jordan river.

f) Jesus put water between blindness and sight when he put clay on a blind man's eyes and told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam.

g) God put water between sin and salvation. It is at the point of baptism that our sins are washed away. (Acts 22:16)

h) Anyone who is surprised that God put water between spiritual death and spiritual life just hasn't been paying attention. It would have been surprising if He had not done so!

II. The Land and Its Boundaries (47:13-23)

A. These verses describe the land that is to be divided among the twelve tribes.

1. The specific and orderly division described here and in Chapter 48 would have been very important and very meaningful to the Jewish mind. No longer would the tribes be mixed and confused, but everything would be properly ordered.

2. This is not a prophecy that the church will be divided, but rather to the Jewish mind this orderly division meant that everything under the New Covenant would be as it should be. God will be in charge, and all of His people will be included in his new kingdom. As we will see, the tribes are not arranged randomly.

3. (1 Corinthians 14:40) "Let all things be done decently and in order."

B. What were the twelve tribes?

1. This question is harder than it sounds.

2. The Tribe of Levi had no portion of the land because they were provided for by the offerings and by the land surrounding the temple.

a) (Ezekiel 44:28) And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I am their possession.

3. To keep the total number at 12, Joseph was given two portions -- one for his son Manasseh and one for his son Ephraim.

4. Thus, we have 14 groups to choose from in obtaining 12 tribes.

5. In Revelation 7:4-8, Levi, Joseph, and Manasseh are included, but Dan and Ephraim are left out! Why?

a) Dan was very early connected with idolatry.

(1) Judges 18:30 And the Danites set up the graven image for themselves.

(2) 1 Kings 12:28-29 So the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, "You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt." 29 And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.

(3) Genesis 49:17 Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse's heels so that his rider falls backward.

b) Rome was full of idolatry and so was Dan. Hence, Dan was not used in the description of the church in Revelation 7. Dan was the classic example of a tribe that compromised with the world! The message to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 was not to compromise with the world!

c) Why was Ephraim left out? For the same reason.

(1) Hosea 4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone.

(2) Hosea 12:1 Ephraim herds the wind, and pursues the east wind all day long; they multiply falsehood and violence; they make a bargain with Assyria, and oil is carried to Egypt.

d) Ephraim had forsaken God and was busy trying to make deals with the world. They made a covenant with Assyria, but at the same time were making deals with Egypt. Ephraim was also guilty of compromise.

e) Note the careful use of symbolism in Revelation 7 in the omission of Dan and Ephraim because of their compromise with the world and in the inclusion of Manasseh and Joseph to keep the total number at 12.

f) A question for the premillennialists: Why bother will all of this if the numbers are not symbolic? If the numbers are literal, then who cares if we have 12 tribes or 13 tribes? Why not throw them all in and have 14 tribes? And why 1000 years? Does God just like nice round numbers or is there a deeper significance?

C. What area of land is described here?

1. The Great Sea (the Mediterranean) is on the west (verse 20) and the river Jordan is on the east (verse 18).

2. The northern border runs along a line drawn roughly from Tyre on the coast to the headwaters of the Jordan, southwest of Damascus (verses 15-17).

3. The eastern boundary follows the Jordan to the Dead Sea (which is the eastern sea in verse 18). Tamar was probably near its southern end, and it marked the beginning of the southern boundary, which ran to the Mediterranean coastline.

D. It is very interesting that the boundaries given here in Ezekiel 47 match the boundaries given in Numbers 34.

1. Premillennialists insist that the land promise was never fulfilled to Abraham's seed -- not as to either area or duration.

a) They point to Genesis 15:18 for the area and to Genesis 17:8 for the duration ("everlasting possession").

b) As we discussed in earlier lessons, Joshua tells us that the "area" promise was completely fulfilled, and Deuteronomy tells us that the "duration" promise was forfeited when Israel broke their covenant with God.

2. According to the premillennialists, these promises will be fulfilled in the Millennium. But what does the Bible say?

3. Israel possessed and dwelled in all the land mentioned in Numbers 34. See Joshua 21:43-45 and 23:14-16. But the millennialist says that was not enough -- God owed them even more land and they have not received it even to this very day! But Ezekiel tells us here that Israel will not have enough land even in the supposed Millennium because Ezekiel here does not include all of the land mentioned in Genesis 15.

4. Also, if the land is an everlasting possession then Israel will have to dwell there for all eternity! I don't know about you, but I don't want any land as an everlasting possession. I had much rather move on to that place that Jesus has prepared (John 14:2).

E. What about the land in Genesis 15:18? Has Israel ever possessed all of that land? If not, then is that a promise remaining to be fulfilled?

1. First, the passages from Joshua 21 and 23 listed above tell us four times that ALL of the promises to Israel were fulfilled.

a) Example: (Joshua 21:43) And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.

2. But what about Genesis 15:18 and Exodus 23:28ff, which speak of much larger tracts of land? Although that land was given to Israel, only a section of that gift was ever intended to be the promised inheritance.

3. The promised land was a subset of the land described in Genesis 15. How do we know this? We ask and answer a simple question -- Did Moses ever enter the promised land?

a) (Numbers 20:12) Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."

b) (Numbers 27:12-13) Now the LORD said to Moses: "Go up into this Mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the children of Israel. 13 "And when you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was gathered.

c) If that huge section of land mentioned in Genesis 15 and Exodus 23 was the promised land, then Moses was standing in the promised land when God told him he would never enter the promised land!

d) The promised land was located entirely to the west of the Jordan river. Deuteronomy 2:29 tells us that the people would have to "cross the Jordan to the land which the LORD our God is giving us." That is the same land that Joshua said the Israelites had possessed, and it is the same land described here by Ezekiel.

F. Strangers are not be mistreated, but are to be treated as the home-born.

1. This was a common theme in the Mosaic Law, although it was never followed whole-heartedly by the Jews. It points toward the day when God would bless the entire world through Abraham.

2. (Leviticus 24:22) "Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God."

3. (Isaiah 56:6-8) "Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. 8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him."

4. This river was not just a blessing to the Jews, but was blessing to all of the people of God everywhere. God through Jesus Christ fulfilled his promise to bless the entire world through the seed of Abraham.

III. The Division of the Land Among the Tribes (48)

A. The land is divided among the twelve tribes in Chapter 48. (See handout.)

B. Again, we are faced with a now familiar question -- literal or figurative?

1. If literal, remember that Ezekiel 37:25 tells us that these people will live in this divided land forever.

a) Ezekiel 37:25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever.

2. After all we have seen, we must conclude that this division of the land is a symbolic division. God is showing us his wonderful plan for the church -- it will include all of his people and none will be left out. He uses the symbol 144,000 in Revelation 7 to say the same thing.

C. Judah and Benjamin are located right next to the Levites and the Temple area.

1. Judah had the position of honor immediately north of the temple area because the royal Davidic line was from the tribe of Judah. (Genesis 49:8-12)

2. Judah superseded Reuben (the oldest son), who received the next position on the north side.

3. The other two northern places are held by the grandsons of Rachel, the children of Joseph.

D. The three tribes that are farthest north of the sanctuary (Dan, Asher, and Naphtali) were the sons of Jacob's concubines.

1. Dan and Naphtali were born to Rachel's maid Bilhah, and Asher to Leah's maid Zilpah.

a) Only one Biblical character of note came from tribe of Asher -- and it was a New Testament character! It was Anna the prophetess in Luke 2:36.

2. The positions farthest from the temple were the least honorable positions. Dan is the farthest away to the north, and interestingly as we have seen Dan is excluded from the list of tribes in Revelation 7.

3. The fourth son by a concubine (Gad) is the farthest away from the sanctuary in the southern group of tribes.

4. To the Jewish mind, this orderly division is a clear message that under the New Covenant everything will be as it should be. God will be in charge, and there will be no confusion.

E. The central portion is described in verses 8-22.

1. Much of this description is an expansion of what we were told in 45:1-8.

2. The central portion includes the temple area, the priestly area, the city proper, land belonging to the city, and land along each side belonging to the Prince. (See Lesson 23 for a discussion of the Prince.)

3. The total area is 25,000 by 25,000 cubits, which would be between 50 and 70 square miles.

F. To the south of the city are the five remaining tribes.

1. Benjamin, as his father's youngest son by Rachel, has the privileged position immediately next to the sanctuary.

2. Simeon, Issachar, and Zebulun come next, all born of Leah.

3. Finally, we have Gad, a son of the concubine Zilpah.

G. The city that stands south of the temple area has twelve gates, each of which is named after one of the tribes.

1. In this list, Levi has a gate, and so Joseph gets one gate in place of his two sons to keep the total number at 12.

2. On the north side (the side facing the sanctuary) the gates are named after Reuben (the eldest son), Judah (the Davidic ancestor), and Levi (the founder of the priesthood).

H. These verses can also be compared with Revelation 21-22.

1. As we have seen, that chapter describes the new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven. It too had twelve gates, named after the twelve tribes of Israel, but it was also inscribed with the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

a) Recall that Matthias was added to the apostles in Acts 1:26 to replace Judas, again to maintain the total number of 12. (But Paul was also an apostle, so yet again we seem to have 14 people for 12 positions.)

I. The book closes with the name of that city: "Jehovah is there!"

1. McGuiggan: "A great ending for a great book."

2. Ezekiel's closing words give the city its new name -- The Lord is There!

a) Jeremiah 3:17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts.

b) Jeremiah 33:16 In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.'

3. Again, compare Revelation 21:3 -- "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people."

a) God dwells with man now in the church! If you want to find God, then look in His church. The Lord is there!

b) Zechariah 2:10-11 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst," says the LORD. 11 "Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.

c) Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

d) Ephesians 2:19-22 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

4. In his 25 years of exile and in the 48 chapters of his book:

a) Ezekiel had seen God withdraw from his temple because of the sin that was committed there.

b) He had seen God by the waters of Babylon in the vision of the chariot throne.

c) He had promised the exiles that that there would be a new covenant when God would be with his people forever.

d) Now at last, he saw the completion -- the time when God would be with his people forever under that new covenant.

e) (Jeremiah 33:14-18) Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: 15 'In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David A Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.' 17 "For thus says the LORD: 'David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; 18 'nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.' "

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)