Scripture reading – Ezekiel 48
Today’s Scripture marks the conclusion of our study of The Prophecies of Ezekiel, the prophet of God to the children of Israel living in Babylon. Ezekiel 48 returned to the matter of dividing the Promised Land among the Twelve Tribes of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom.
The prophet had recorded the borders of the land of Israel in Ezekiel 47:15-20. The westernmost boundary was the Mediterranean Sea (47:15-17, 21). The northern boundary of Israel in the Millennial began with the Mediterranean Sea in the west and reached eastward to Damascus (47:15-17). The eastern boundary of the land was the Jordan River (47:18). The southern border, located south of the Dead Sea, followed a river westward to the Mediterranean Sea (48:19).
Instructions were also given in Ezekiel 47 for dividing the land among the sons of Joseph (47:13-14). Joseph was father of two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were numbered among the Twelve Tribes (for the Tribe of Levi was chosen by the LORD to serve Him as priests to Israel). The descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh would each receive a portion of the land (47:14).
Ezekiel 48 – The Division of the Land in Messiah’s Kingdom
Faithful to His promise, the LORD will gather the Twelve Tribes of Israel from the nations of the world, and restore them to their land in His Millennial Kingdom.
Seven Tribes North of the Sacred District (48:1-7)
Beginning with the tribe of Dan in the north and reaching south, the first seven tribes were assigned their portions (48:1). To the south of Dan was Asher (48:2), and was followed by Naphtali (48:3). Next to Naphtali was Manasseh (48:4; Genesis 48:5-6, 22), and south of Manasseh was Ephraim (48:5). The tribal land of Reuben was south of Ephraim (48:6), and next to it was Judah (48:7).
The Central Land Dedicated to the LORD (48:8-22)
The central land was set aside by the LORD to serve as the location of the Temple (48:8-9), and the city of Jerusalem. The portion assigned to the Levites bordered Judah’s southern border (48:13). The priests’ portion was north of the city, but south of the land assigned to the Levites (48:10-12). South of the priests’ land was New Jerusalem, described as “a profane place,” meaning a common, not holy land (48:15).
The city will be 9 miles square, with houses and “suburbs” (open spaces for pasture) found within its borders (48:15-17). There will also be land for farming, to provide “food unto them that serve the city (48:18). Workers, representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel, will reside in and serve the city (48:19).
The “prince” of the land, who will serve as the administrator for the LORD, will be assigned a portion of land to the east and west of the Sacred district (48:21-22).
Four Tribal Lands South of the Central Land (48:23-28).
Land for the tribe of Benjamin was immediately south of the Sacred section (48:23), and was followed by Simeon(48:24), Issachar (48:25), Zebulun (48:26), and Gad, the southernmost tribe (48:27-28). Ezekiel 48:29 reminded Israel that the division of the land was determined by the LORD.
The Gates of Jerusalem (48:30-35)
Jerusalem of the Millennial Kingdom will have twelve gates, with each bearing the name of one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel (48:30-34). The circumference of the city will be 35.8 miles, or about 9 miles square (48:35).
Closing thoughts (48:35b) – The name of the new Jerusalem will be changed, for it will be called “Yahweh Shammah,” meaning, “The LORD is there” (48:35b).
For some, the boundaries and geographical locations may seem unimportant, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The locations given to each tribe serves as a legal transaction between Yahweh and His people. No nation today may lay perpetual claim to these lands, for they have been given to the Twelve Tribes as an inheritance.
What a great inspiration for the Jews living in captivity, and to the other tribes that they will one day receive their inheritance! The LORD promised His people there would come a day when He would draw the Twelve Tribes of Israel out of the nations, and bring them home. That day is yet to be, but the promise of “Emmanuel” (“God with us”) will be perpetual, for the glory of the LORD will dwell forever in the midst of His people. What a glorious day that will be!
He that is Mighty watches over Israel!
Copyright 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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