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Day 199 – Thru the Bible
Today we complete in Ezekiel. Way to go!
Ezekiel 45 & 46 – One of the most interesting things to notice about chapters 40–48 is the recurring appearance of this shadowy figure Ezekiel calls “the prince.” In all likelihood, this prince is the culmination of a series of Davidic, messianic images that have appeared throughout the book. In 34:24, for example, God promised, “And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them.” And in 37:25, Ezekiel said, “They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever.”
It makes sense to think that this “prince” is another vision of that same person—a prophecy of the Davidic Messiah who will oversee the worship of God’s people, have authority over them, and rule in righteousness and peace. It is also interesting to see what this prince does with reference to the sacrifices the priests are performing. In these verses (45:13–17), it is the prince’s duty “to furnish the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings!” It is all still shadowy and mysterious, even blurry, but it is nonetheless there—a King, a descendant of David, who Himself provides a sacrifice and makes atonement for God’s people.
When Jesus came, He gathered up all the various threads that run through the Old Testament that anticipate a day of final release, of true and pure leadership, of restoration to the pristine beauty of Eden. In Jesus’ first coming this day dawned. Upon His second coming it will be perfectly consummated.
As a Believer how do you look forward with anticipation Jesus’ second coming?
Ezekiel 47 – In one of the most curious parts of this vision of an eschatological temple, water flows from it. The water flows toward the east, nourishing the part of the world most in need of it. Ezekiel is brought outside and led along the water, which gradually gets deeper and deeper. Eventually the water becomes “a river that could not be passed through.” Drawing on the language of creation in Genesis 1–2, the text here goes on to describe the lush vegetation, trees, and teeming wildlife.This vision of a river flowing from the temple goes not only back, however, but also forward. The influence of these fruitful waters are picked up in Zechariah 14:8, which speaks of the coming day of the Lord by saying, “On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem.” Jesus picks up the theme, saying that the Old Testament speaks of rivers of living water flowing out from the heart of the one who believes in Him—yet not identifying or making transparently clear which Old Testament text He is speaking of (John 7:38). And at the end of all things we see Ezekiel’s watering temple in the new earth (Revelation 22:1–2). Just as in Ezekiel 47:7, 12, in Revelation 22:2 a river (now flowing from the throne of God instead of the temple, since no more sacrifice for sin needs to be made) produces trees growing on both sides of the river, bearing leaves “for the healing of the nations.”
In every case, the waters point to the true refreshment that comes ultimately only in Jesus (John 7:37–39; see also Isaiah 41:17–20; 43:18–21). And, as these life-giving waters flow from the place of atonement (the temple and the throne of the Redeemer), they grow wider and deeper, making eternal life possible for the worst of sinners and for all the nations of the world.
Ezekiel 48 – How far we have come since the beginning of the book of Ezekiel! In chapter 4, the prophet built siegeworks around a model of the city and set his face against it, even putting an iron barrier between it and himself to symbolize God’s determination to destroy the city in his righteous wrath.
Now, by the close of the book, all is reversed. Wrath has given way to grace. The city is safe and secure, and the horrifying image of God’s glory departing from the temple is replaced by the glorious new name of the city, in the very last words of Ezekiel—“The Lord Is There” (48:35).
This journey from exile from God’s presence to gracious return through the Messiah traces the story of the entire Bible. Because of their sin, human beings were banished from God’s presence, cast out of the garden of Eden and barred from returning. By His grace and because of His love, however, God acted through the Messiah Jesus to reconcile His people to Himself and bring them back into His presence. Thus the Bible ends with John’s vision of a new Jerusalem, and the beautiful description in Revelation 21:2–3: “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God.’”What better name for this city than the one Ezekiel gives it? “The Lord Is There.”
How do you enjoy God’s presence with you right now?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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