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Author: Ron Graham

Ezekiel

Ezekiel Chapters 46, 47, and 48
—Outline and Notes

On this page, chapters 46, 47, and 48 of Ezekiel are outlined and analysed. These chapters are about a river flowing from the temple, and the division of the land by tribes.

1 Context Overview

Toward the end of Ezekiel’s ministry, the captivity and exile of the Israelites by the Babylonians is drawing to its close. In time, the Medes and the Persians will be the world power and they will assist the Israelites to return to Jerusalem, rebuild and resettle.

Ezekiel’s last visions showed a plan from God of a temple, a city, and tribal lands.

There were lights among the Israelites such as Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel, and Zechariah. However many Israelites had not learned much from the desolation of Jerusalem and prolonged captivity and exile. Nehemiah mentions some of their errors; for example chapter 13.

God had appointed Ezekiel to be a watchman for Israel. He faithfully performed enactments, published oracles, and described his visions, just as God commanded him. But sadly many failed to heed the word of God that came through Ezekiel. In particular, the temple was built but it failed to conform to the pattern shown to Ezekiel.

2 Outline of Ezekiel 46, 47, and 48

Conduct of Burnt Offerings

Gifts from the Prince’s Inheritances

The Priest’s Chambers and Kitchens

A River Flows from the Temple

The Promised Land Restored

Division of the Land

3 The Meaning of the River

Ezekiel’s description of the temple vision concludes, in chapter 47, with the appearance of a flow of water from the temple.

This stream became a river too deep to cross and running to the sea. It provided abundance of fish and the trees along both sides yielded fruit and medicinal leaves.

If the temple had been built according to the pattern, would this river have flowed from it? God could have worked the miracle, of course, but is this what the vision means? That's a hypothetical question, since the temple actually built was not according to the pattern in Ezekiel.

The other possibility is that this part of the temple vision is symbolic like a similar vision of a river proceeding from the throne of God seen and recorded by John in Revelation 22.

The river that Ezekiel saw could represent the presence of God and life in the blessing of the Holy Spirit. God wanted such fellowship with his people. The river flowing to the sea may represent progress toward the kingdom of Messiah and eternal life.

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