Scripture reading – Ezekiel 48

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Note from the Author: Today’s Scripture reading marks the end of our study of The Prophecies of Ezekiel, the prophet of God, to the children of Israel living in Babylon. Thank you for taking this journey with me. I pray that my effort to write a daily commentary on this prophetic book has been a blessing. Of course, your comments and encouragement are welcome. I hope you will share Bible studies from Heart of A Shepherd with others.

Ezekiel 48 returned to apportioning the Promised Land among the Twelve Tribes of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom. The prophet recorded the borders of the land of Israel in Ezekiel 47:15-20. The westernmost boundary was the Mediterranean Sea (Ezekiel 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 (Ezekiel 47:15-17). The eastern boundary of the land was the Jordan River (Ezekiel 47:18). The southern border, located south of the Dead Sea, followed a river westward to the Mediterranean Sea (Ezekiel 48:19).

Instructions were given in Ezekiel 47 for dividing the land among the sons of Joseph (Ezekiel 47:13-14). Joseph was the 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 will each receive a portion of the land in the Millennial Kingdom (Ezekiel 47:14).

The Division of the Land in Messiah’s Kingdom

Ezekiel 48 – The Division of the Land in Messiah’s Kingdom

Faithful to His promise, the LORD promised to gather the Twelve Tribes of Israel from the world’s nations and restore them to their land in His Millennial Kingdom.

Seven Tribes North of the Sacred District (Ezekiel 48:1-7)

Beginning with the tribe of Dan in the north and reaching south, the first seven tribes were assigned their portions (Ezekiel 48:1). To the south of Dan was Asher (Ezekiel 48:2), and was followed by Naphtali (Ezekiel 48:3). Next to Naphtali was Manasseh (48:4; Genesis 48:5-6, 22), and south of Manasseh was Ephraim (Ezekiel 48:5). The tribal land of Reuben was south of Ephraim (Ezekiel 48:6), and next to it was Judah (Ezekiel 48:7).

The Central Land Dedicated to the LORD (Ezekiel 48:8-22)

The LORD will set aside the central land of Israel to serve as the location of the Temple (Ezekiel 48:8-9) and the city of Jerusalem. The portion assigned to the Levites will border Judah’s southern border (Ezekiel 48:13). The priests’ portion will lie north of the city but south of the land assigned to the Levites (Ezekiel 48:10-12). South of the priests’ land will be New Jerusalem, described as “a profane place,” meaning a common, not holy land (Ezekiel 48:15).

The new Jerusalem will be 9 miles square, with houses and “suburbs” (open spaces for pasture) within its borders (Ezekiel 48:15-17). There will also be land for farming to provide “food unto them that serve the city” (Ezekiel 48:18). Workers representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel will reside in and serve the city (Ezekiel 48:19).

The “prince” of the land, whom we have identified as Jerusalem’s administrator, will be assigned a portion of land to the east and west of the sacred district (Ezekiel 48:21-22).

The Temple and Jerusalem

Four Tribal Lands South of the Central Land (Ezekiel 48:23-28).

Lying south of Jerusalem’s sacred district will be land for the tribe of Benjamin (Ezekiel 48:23), followed by Simeon (Ezekiel 48:24), Issachar (Ezekiel 48:25), Zebulun (Ezekiel 48:26), and Gad, the southernmost tribe (Ezekiel 48:27-28). Ezekiel 48:29 reminded Israel that the LORD determined the division of the land.

The Gates of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 48:30-35)

The Jerusalem of the Millennial Kingdom will have twelve gates, each bearing the name of one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel (Ezekiel 48:30-34). The circumference of the city will be 35.8 miles, or about 9 miles square (Ezekiel 48:35). Notice also that the name of the new Jerusalem will be changed, for it will be called “Yahweh Shammah,” which means “The LORD is there” (Ezekiel 48:35b).

Closing thoughts

For some, the boundaries and geographical locations of Jerusalem and Israel in the Millennial Kingdom may seem unimportant, but nothing could be further from the truth.  The locations given to each tribe serve as a legal transaction between Yahweh and His people. No nation or people today may lay perpetual claim to those lands, for they have been given to the Twelve Tribes as an inheritance. 

What a great inspiration for the Jews who were living in Babylon and to the other tribes that were scattered after the Assyrian captivity. They were promised that they would one day receive their inheritance! There will come a day when the LORD will 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 amid His people. What a glorious day that will be!

He that is Mighty watches over Israel!

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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