Ezekiel 48 - Outline of Ezekiel (MENU page)
This closing chapter, of Ezekiel, provides further detail regarding the division of the land of Israel, in the Millennial Kingdom. While the land will be divided by lot to resident families, the LORD has pre-designated the allocations for each tribe. These allocations differ as to the location and size of the tribal regions, and also the order of the tribes, as compared to those assigned by Joshua, following the Exodus from Egypt (Joshua ch. 15-19).
 
- Portions for Seven northern Tribes (v.1-7)
1. Now these [are] the names of the tribes.
From the north end to the coast of the way of Hethlon, as one goeth to Hamath,
Hazarenan, the border of Damascus northward, to the coast of Hamath;
for these are his sides east [and] west; a [portion for] Dan.
2 And by the border of Dan, from the east side unto the west side, a [portion for] Asher.
3 And by the border of Asher, from the east side even unto the west side, a [portion for] Naphtali.
4 And by the border of Naphtali, from the east side unto the west side, a [portion for] Manasseh.
5 And by the border of Manasseh, from the east side unto the west side, a [portion for] Ephraim.
6 And by the border of Ephraim, from the east side even unto the west side, a [portion for] Reuben.
7 And by the border of Reuben, from the east side unto the west side, a [portion for] Judah.
These seven tribes will have their inheritance north of the Holy Oblation (the LORD's portion).
The precise borders, of the portion for each tribe, are not defined.
Perhaps the regions will be apportioned according to the relative population of the various tribes.
The tribe of Dan is the first mentioned, but it is also the most distant from Holy Oblation.
At the beginning of the Tribulation, the tribe of Dan is omitted from the list of the 144,000 Jewish men who will be sealed, to serve as witnesses for the LORD in that terrible time (Rev 7:3-8). This may be an indication of that tribe's historic distance from the LORD.
  • Dan was the first tribe to fall into idolatry. Judg 18:30; cp. Deu 29:18-21
  • The tribe of Dan may play a role in the Satanic deceptions of the end times.
    Some believe that the antichrist or his false prophet may arise from Dan. Gen 49:16-18; cp. Mat 24:24
Considering those things, the inclusion of Dan, as an heir to the land of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom, is a display of God's Grace in redeeming undeserving sinners on the basis of the merit and work of Christ (2Tim 1:9). The relative distance of Dan, from the place where God's Glory resides, is an illustration of God's righteousness in distributing rewards according to the faithfulness of His servants. Luk 12:42-48; Gal 6:7,8
 
- The Portion for the LORD (v.8-22)
8 And by the border of Judah, from the east side unto the west side,
shall be the offering which ye shall offer of five and twenty thousand [reeds in] breadth,
and [in] length as one of the [other] parts, from the east side unto the west side:
and the sanctuary shall be in the midst of it.
9 The oblation that ye shall offer unto the LORD [shall be]
of five and twenty thousand in length, and of ten thousand in breadth.
10 And for them, [even] for the priests, shall be [this] holy oblation;
toward the north five and twenty thousand [in length], and toward the west ten thousand in breadth,
and toward the east ten thousand in breadth, and toward the south five and twenty thousand in length:
and the sanctuary of the LORD shall be in the midst thereof.
11 [It shall be] for the priests that are sanctified of the sons of Zadok; which have kept my charge,
which went not astray when the children of Israel went astray, as the Levites went astray.
12 And [this] oblation of the land that is offered shall be unto them a thing most holy by the border of the Levites.
13 And over against the border of the priests
the Levites [shall have] five and twenty thousand in length, and ten thousand in breadth:
all the length [shall be] five and twenty thousand, and the breadth ten thousand.
14 And they shall not sell of it, neither exchange, nor alienate the firstfruits of the land:
for [it is] holy unto the LORD.
15 And the five thousand, that are left in the breadth over against the five and twenty thousand,
shall be a profane [place] for the city, for dwelling, and for suburbs:
and the city shall be in the midst thereof.
16 And these [shall be] the measures thereof;
the north side four thousand and five hundred,
and the south side four thousand and five hundred,
and on the east side four thousand and five hundred,
and the west side four thousand and five hundred.
17 And the suburbs of the city shall be
toward the north two hundred and fifty,
and toward the south two hundred and fifty,
and toward the east two hundred and fifty,
and toward the west two hundred and fifty.
18 And the residue in length over against the oblation of the holy [portion
shall be] ten thousand eastward, and ten thousand westward:
and it shall be over against the oblation of the holy [portion];
and the increase thereof shall be for food unto them that serve the city.
19 And they that serve the city shall serve it out of all the tribes of Israel.
20 All the oblation [shall be] five and twenty thousand by five and twenty thousand:
ye shall offer the holy oblation foursquare, with the possession of the city.
21 And the residue [shall be] for the prince,
on the one side and on the other of the holy oblation, and of the possession of the city,
over against the five and twenty thousand of the oblation toward the east border,
and westward over against the five and twenty thousand toward the west border,
over against the portions for the prince: and it shall be the holy oblation;
and the sanctuary of the house [shall be] in the midst thereof.
22 Moreover from the possession of the Levites, and from the possession of the city,
[being] in the midst [of that] which is the prince's,
between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin, shall be for the prince.
Verses 8-22 review the configuration of the Holy Oblation.
This large square of land is divided into three east - west sections.
  • The central section contains the Temple and housing for the Priests. v.9-12
  • The northern section contains housing for the Levites. v.13,14
  • The southern section (which is half the width of the other two sections) contains the city, with garden areas east and west of the city limits. v.15-19
  • The portion for the prince extends to the east and to the west of the square containing the three sections above. v.20-22
The configuration of these areas was previously described in Eze 45:1-8.
(You may wish to review the Book Notes at Eze 45:1-8.)
     As discussed in the notes for ch. 45, some translations differ as to whether the intended unit of measurement is a 'cubit', or a 'reed' of six cubits (v.8). The editor has assumed the smaller size (as shown in the inset, on the accompanying map). If the larger measure is applied, the Holy Oblation would be a 50 mile square (rather than an 8.3 mile square). Assuming that the southern border of this oblation is as drawn on the map, the northern border (of the 50 mile square) would be drawn horizontally through the middle of Reuben's region on the map. The resulting compression, of the seven northern tribal regions, would reduce the north-south dimension of each of those portions to approximate that of the southern tribes. (This would comport with the assumption of some commentators, that each tribe's portion will be of identical size.)
...between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin...
These two tribes are given positions of honor, being immediately adjacent to the Holy Portion.
     Judah is the tribe from which king David came. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to the Davidic king and to the worship of the LORD in Jerusalem, for awhile after the other ten tribes separated and fell into idolatrous apostasy. But, as the early chapters of Ezekiel made clear, the southern kingdom of Israel (consisting of Judah and Benjamin) also turned away from the LORD and came under judgment. Like all of the other tribes, Judah and Benjamin had proven themselves unworthy of being regathered and restored.
     But God, in Grace, extended mercy to them and to the other tribes, as well. In the Person of Jesus Christ, God came down to redeem His fallen people and draw them to Himself. The Lord Jesus is "the Lion of the tribe of Judah," who prevailed in their behalf (Rev 5:5,6). In accomplishing God's work of salvation for His people, the Lord Jesus was "the Son of my right hand" {the meaning of 'Benjamin,' eg., Psa 118:15,16}. He did this work as "a man of sorrows... acquainted with grief" (Isa 53:3). This is reflected in the name which Benjamin's mother gave to her son, who was also born near Bethlehem. She called him 'Benoni' {ie., 'son of my sorrow,' Gen 35:18,19}. As pilgrims travel through these regions enroute to the Temple, they will be reminded of the identity and work of Christ, the Priest who offered Himself for our sins, and the victorious King who occupies the throne within the Temple.
 
- Portions for Five southern Tribes (v.23-29)
23 As for the rest of the tribes, from the east side unto the west side, Benjamin [shall have] a [portion].
24 And by the border of Benjamin, from the east side unto the west side, Simeon [shall have] a [portion].
25 And by the border of Simeon, from the east side unto the west side, Issachar a [portion].
26 And by the border of Issachar, from the east side unto the west side, Zebulun a [portion].
27 And by the border of Zebulun, from the east side unto the west side, Gad a [portion].
28 And by the border of Gad, at the south side southward,
the border shall be even from Tamar [unto] the waters of strife [in] Kadesh,
[and] to the river toward the great sea.
29 This [is] the land which ye shall divide by lot unto the tribes of Israel for inheritance,
and these [are] their portions, saith the Lord GOD.
 
- Particulars concerning the City (v.30-35)
30 And these [are] the goings out of the city on the north side,
four thousand and five hundred measures.
31. And the gates of the city [shall be] after the names of the tribes of Israel:
three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi.
32 And at the east side four thousand and five hundred: and three gates;
and one gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan.
33 And at the south side four thousand and five hundred measures: and three gates;
one gate of Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one gate of Zebulun.
34 At the west side four thousand and five hundred, [with] their three gates;
one gate of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali.
35 [It was] round about eighteen thousand [measures]:
{4,500 x 4 =18,000}
and the name of the city from [that] day [shall be], The LORD [is] there.
The measurements of the sides of the city are repeated here, from v.16.
The city has twelve gates, each named for a tribe of Israel.
But notice that Ephraim and Manasseh are not named. Rather, they are included in Joseph. Also note that although the tribe of Levi has no portion of land, one of the city gates bears its name.
     This feature, of twelve gates named for the twelve tribes, is strikingly similar to the city mentioned in Rev 21:10-13. Therefore, some see this city as identical with the New Jerusalem. However, there are several differences between the Jerusalem of the Millennial Kingdom (which Ezekiel foresaw) and the city of the Eternal Kingdom in the New Heaven and New Earth (which John foresaw, in Revelation ch. 21-22).
Ezekiel ch. 48Revelation ch. 21
- The city is located upon a high mountain on the earth. Eze 40:2- The city is descending from heaven, Rev 21:10.
- There is no mention of city walls.- The city has a great high wall, 144 cubits tall, Rev 21:12,17.
- There is no mention of foundations.- The city has 12 foundations, named for the apostles, Rev 21:14.
- The city is a square, with equal length and width.- The city is a cube, with equal length, width, and height, Rev 21:16.
- The city measures 4,500 units per side
  (1.7 miles if cubits; 10 mi. if reeds of 6 cubits).
- The city measures 12,000 furlongs {GK=stadion, about 1/8 mile},
  1/8 mile x 12,000 = 1,500 miles in 3 dimensions, Rev 21:16.
- The city has an associated Temple.- There is no Temple there, Rev 21:22.
 
...and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there. (cp. Jer 3:17)
[ Editor's note: Our study closes with a quote borrowed from a brother in the Lord.]
     Then comes the majestic ending, the last word the man of God pronounced. "And the name of that city from that day shall be 'Jehovah Shammah', the Lord is there." It is a fitting finale to this great Book. In its beginning we see the glory of the Lord departing. Throughout the pages of the Book we read of Israel's rebellion, Jerusalem's judgments, the nation's disobedience and rejection. Then follow the messages of Hope -- Israel's conversion, the regathering of the twelve tribes, the final conflict, the returning glory of the Lord; and from that day the name of the city will be Jehovah Shammah. Because He has manifested His gracious presence in the midst of His people and established His throne, blessed His people with all the spiritual and national blessings promised by His holy prophets, destroyed all their enemies, and covers all with His visible glory once more, therefore the city will have the name "Jehovah is there."
     What a glory it will be for Him. The city through which He once walked with weary feet, the Son of God garbed in servant's form; the city through which He was dragged, when the cross was laid upon His shoulders, the city which cast Him out, the city outside of which He endured the cross and despised the shame -- that same city will be made in that day the glory spot of the earth.
     [quoted from the final paragraph, pg. 346, Ezekiel, Arno C. Gaebelein, Fleming H. Revell Co., 1918]
 
[The Map of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom was adapted from TBKC.]

This concludes the study in Ezekiel.
Return to Ezekiel - MENU page.
Return to the Book Notes menu.

Limited permission is granted to copy & distribute these notes from www.theBookWurm.com


Go to The Book opening page.