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Now that the boundaries of the promised land have been defined, the prophet can begin to speak of the division of the land among the twelve tribes. Just as there will be a new exodus (Eze 20:32-38) and a new covenant (Eze 34:23-30; Eze 37:21-28), so there will be a new division and allocation of the land to the various tribes. The people will acknowledge with great joy that the LORD Himself makes that division and allocation: “He chooses our inheritance for us, the glory of Jacob whom He loves. Selah” (Psa 47:4).
In the division of the land we see three major parts:
1. a northern part for seven tribes,
2. a middle part as an offering to the LORD,
3. a southern part for five tribes.
In the middle part is an area of 25,000 x 25,000 cubits containing
1. a northern part for the priests and the temple,
2. a middle part for the Levites,
3. a southern part for the city and for those who serve the city,
4./5. to the left and the right of this three-part area an area for the prince.
New Division of the North
These verses list seven tribes, all of which lie north of the holy area. The area of the tribes consists of a straight strip of land running from east to west across the entire width of the land. The tribes of the northern half are listed in order from north to south.
Judah is the southernmost tribe of the north and Benjamin the northernmost tribe of the south (Eze 48:23). These two tribes are centrally located in the land.
The Allotment for the LORD
These verses repeat what has already been said in the description of the temple (Eze 45:1-6). Here it happens in connection with the division of the land among the twelve tribes. The LORD shows that He also asserts His right to the land in the division of the land. As Creator, the whole earth belongs to Him (Psa 24:1-2). He also says explicitly in the law that the land belongs to Him (Lev 25:23). He has designated a portion of the land as an allotment or collection or heave-offering for Himself. That portion is first and foremost allotted to the priests (Eze 48:10). The reason is that they are in direct connection with the sanctuary where they perform their service in the presence of the LORD.
The priests are further referred to as the sons of Zadok (Eze 48:11). They are given this excellent place because of their outstanding faithfulness to the LORD at a time when the entire people, including the Levites, have strayed away from Him. They are given the charge of the land before the LORD that will be “a most holy place” to them (Eze 48:12). They have made themselves worthy of that position. Their territory borders the territory of the Levites.
After the priests, the Levites are assigned a portion of the area given to the LORD as an allotment or a heave-offering (Eze 48:13). Their area is adjacent to the area of the priests and runs parallel to it. Applied spiritually, this means that the offering of sacrifices (priestly service) runs parallel to the teaching of the Word from the Scriptures (Levite service). It connects and is consistent with it.
To the Levites, it is not so much their privileges that are recited, but rather their responsibilities (Eze 48:14). They are not to take any action that would result in their land changing hands. They must remain well aware that their land is “holy to the LORD”, which means that they may enjoy only its usufruct.
The City and Its Area
Also in these verses what has already been said in the description of the temple (Eze 45:7-8) is repeated, but is now said in connection with the division of the land. The city that lies before the LORD in this portion of the allotment or heave-offering does not belong specifically to any tribe, but belongs to all the tribes (Eze 48:15; Eze 48:19). Each tribe may send people to serve the city. So may it also be in the church. Every believer may serve his fellow believer.
The dimensions of the city are 4,500 cubits square (Eze 48:16). Surrounding the city is a piece of pasture land two hundred and fifty cubits on each side (Eze 48:17), bringing the total to 5,000 cubits (= 2.625 km) square (Eze 48:15).
The whole area of the city is 25,000 cubits (= 13.125 km) wide: the city 5,000 cubits (= 2.625 km) with both to the east and west another area of 10,000 cubits (= 2x5.25 km) (Eze 48:18). It is emphasized that the area runs “alongside the holy allotment [or: heave-offering]”.
The Holy Allotment
The area of the holy square of 25,000 times 25,000 cubits contains the three strips mentioned in the previous verses: for the priests (10,000 cubits), for the Levites (10,000 cubits) and for the city (5,000 cubits). Because the area of the city is said to be “for common use” (Eze 48:15; cf. Eze 42:20), it is emphatically stated here that the city and the area of the city do belong to the “holy allotment [or: heave-offering]” (Eze 48:20).
There is another area to the west and an area to the east of the holy square area that is designated as an allotment or a heave-offering to the LORD (Eze 48:21). Both of these areas are for the prince. The holy allotment or heave-offering and the temple sanctuary are between the two areas of the prince, demonstrating his direct involvement.
The location “of the property of the Levites and the property of the city” is also attached to the area of the prince. It is said to be “in the middle of that which belongs to the prince” (Eze 48:22). This indicates that there is a close connection between the area of the prince and that of the Levites and the people.
New Division of the South
Now in Eze 48:23-28 follows the division of the land of the remaining five tribes. These tribes are south of the sanctuary and the area that is as an allotment or a heave-offering for the LORD. Like the tribes north of them, these tribes also receive a strip of land across the entire width of the land, from east to west. These tribes are also named in order from north to south.
The division of the inheritance of the tribes of Israel concludes by saying that each tribe will have its inheritance and portion (Eze 48:29). The manner in which the inheritance is appropriated is by lot.
For us it is also important to accept the portion that has been allotted to us by the Lord and His Spirit and then to abide by it (Rom 12:3; 1Cor 12:14; 18-20; 27; 2Cor 10:12-18; Eph 4:7). When we abide by what we have received in terms of spiritual gifts, what the Lord has allotted to us, it will keep us from slothfulness on the one hand and from lording over others on the other. It means that we respect others in what they have been given. We may serve with what we ourselves have received and we may be served by what others have received.
The Gates of the City
The description of the temple and the land in the realm of peace concludes with a description of “the exits of the city” and the mention of the length “on the north side, 4,500 [cubits] by measurement” (Eze 48:30). This length then applies also to the east side (Eze 48:32), the south side (Eze 48:33), and the west side (Eze 48:34). The exits, which are then called “gates”, are “named for the tribes of Israel”, that is, of all twelve tribes (Eze 48:31a; cf. Rev 21:12). This indicates that the city is the property of all twelve tribes. It is the city of the true people of God. The city is the capital of all the tribes. That there is mention of “exits” makes it clear that the city is the center of blessing from which blessing goes to each tribe.
The enumeration of the exits (Eze 48:30-34) begins with the north side, just as it does with the tribes of the land (Eze 48:1-7). Each of the four sides of the city has three exits, so that the whole city has twelve. It is noteworthy that there is mention of “the gate of Levi” (Eze 48:31). This is possible because there is also a “gate of Joseph” (Eze 48:32), in which the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph, are joined.
The enumeration begins with the “three gates toward the north: the gate of Reuben, one; the gate of Judah, one; the gate of Levi, one” (Eze 48:31b). The names mentioned are those of the sons of Leah. They are also mentioned first in Moses’ blessing (Deu 33:6-8). Reuben is the firstborn in age, Judah is the king’s tribe, and Levi was chosen by God to serve Him in place of the firstborn.
Then follow the gates on the east side: “the gate of Joseph, one; the gate of Benjamin, one; the gate of Dan, one” (Eze 48:32). Joseph and Benjamin are the two sons of Rachel. Dan is the eldest son of Rachel’s maid.
Next, the names of the gates on the south side are mentioned: “the gate of Simeon, one; the gate of Issachar, one; the gate of Zebulun, one” (Eze 48:33). These are the names of the three other sons of Leah.
Finally, we are given the names of the gates on the west side: “the gate of Gad, one; the gate of Asher, one; the gate of Naphtali, one” (Eze 48:34). These are the names of the three other sons of the two maids.
The Name of the City; Summary of Future Events
Finally, after the names of the gates of the city, which is of all Israel, are mentioned, the city itself is given a name. By that name the city is exalted to the highest state, the state of the city of God. In the last words of this book, the name of the city beautifully summarizes the purpose God has for Israel and for humanity.
Just as God will dwell in the midst of the gathered and renewed Israel, so it will be in eternity. Then God will dwell with men on the new earth (Rev 21:3). During the time of the church on earth, which is now, God dwells by His Spirit in His redeemed (Rom 8:11) and in His church (Eph 2:22).
It is also noteworthy that in Ezekiel 40-48 the name Jerusalem is not mentioned. It speaks of “the city”. It is Jerusalem in the realm of peace, a Jerusalem without walls, for the LORD Himself will be a wall of fire around her (Zec 2:4-5). The city is reminiscent of the city that Abraham expected in faith: “The city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb 11:10). The name of the city we read here: “The LORD is there”. His Name is forever attached to that city.
Summary of future events
The following overview is no more than an attempt to discover an order in the events of the end time on the basis of a number of Scriptures. It concerns events that directly precede and directly follow the great event of the coming of the Lord Jesus. The places of action are Israel and the countries around it or the Middle East.
The following overview does not pretend to say that the order is exactly as it is shown. Sometimes events coincide, sometimes events are so close together that it is difficult to determine what the correct order is. However, a general line can be detected in “which must soon take place” (Rev 1:1).
For a sound study of prophecy, Peter gives another important instruction at the conclusion of chapter 1 of his second letter: “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is [a matter] of one’s own interpretation” (2Pet 1:20). He is saying here that first of all (“know this first”) we should not look at a prophecy only where it is written, but always in connection with other prophecies. This means that we should always compare Scripture with Scripture.
If we don’t, there is a great danger that we will manipulate the prophetic word and bend it to our will. We will then explain it as it suits us best. The fulfillment of the prophecies takes place in the manner stated in the Word and not according to our own views. This also means that we must also see the text references in the context of the book of the Bible in which they appear.
It is therefore highly recommended to read the texts referred to after each point: “Seek from the book of the LORD, and read” (Isa 34:16). In many cases there are other texts that can clarify the point in question, but the texts referred to speak most clearly, in my opinion.
The centerpiece of prophecy is a Person: the Messiah. It is about His coming into the world. Scripture shows us two comings of the Messiah. His first coming is behind us. He came as the suffering Messiah. His second coming is before us. He is coming as the reigning Messiah. The key to understanding the prophecies correctly is Christ and His suffering and the glory to come, for “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev 19:10b).
1. Although it is not a future event now, the establishment of the State of Israel, in 1948, it was for a long time. It is written about by the prophets. The establishment, in unbelief, but by the providence of God, is a proof of the truth of the prophetic Word (Isa 18:1-7; Eze 37:1-14).
NOTE Before the events listed below will take place, the church will first be raptured. This event is not mentioned anywhere in the prophecies. The rapture of the church, in which there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile (Eph 2:14; Col 3:11), is a hidden event in the Old Testament (1Thes 4:14-18; 1Cor 15:51-54).
2. An apostate head of state, the antichrist, is given power in Israel (Jn 5:43; Dan 11:36-39; Isa 30:33; Zec 11:15-17; 1Jn 2:18; 22).
3. The antichrist makes a protective covenant with the European Union (Dan 9:27; Isa 28:14-15; Isa 57:9-11; Rev 13:11-13).
4. The dictator of Western Europe is made an idol in Israel (Mt 24:15; 2Thes 2:4; Rev 13:11-18).
5. The king of the south (Egypt) moves against Israel (Dan 11:40).
6. The Assyrians overrun Israel. God uses them as His rod to discipline His apostate people; they are supported by Gog (Russia) (Isa 8:5-8; Isa 10:5; 28-32; Isa 28:2; 14-19; Dan 9:27; Zec 14:1-2; Dan 8:24).
7. The Assyrians capture Jerusalem and Egypt is also overrun (Isa 10:24; 32; Isa 28:14-19; Dan 11:40-43; Zec 14:1-4).
8. The European armies rush to Israel’s aid because of the alliance between the dictator of Europe and the antichrist (Rev 16:13-16; Rev 17:7-14; Rev 19:19).
9. The Lord Jesus descends on the Mount of Olives and goes to war as a Hero against His enemies; this is the beginning of His Davidic reign (Zec 14:3-7; Acts 1:11; Col 3:4).
10. The European armies are destroyed by Christ in northern Israel, at Har-Magedon (Rev 16:16; Rev 19:11-19; Dan 2:34-35; 44-45; Dan 7:7-14).
11. The leaders of the rebellion, the beast and the false prophet, are thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 19:20-21).
12. The returned remnant from the two tribes that had fled, along with the faithful left in Jerusalem, drive the occupying force of the Assyrians out of the land (Mic 5:5-6).
13. Because of rumors from the east and north, the main force of the Assyrians returns to Jerusalem with the king of the north from Egypt (Dan 11:44-45; Isa 29:1-4).
14. Christ destroys in Edom, the greatest hater of His people, the nations gathered in Edom (Isa 63:1-6).
15. The Lord Jesus comes from Edom (Isa 63:1) to Jerusalem and destroys the Assyrians and the king of the north at Jerusalem (Isa 10:5-27; Isa 29:1-8; Isa 30:27-33; Isa 31:4-8; Dan 8:20-26; Dan 11:44-45).
16. The rest of the wicked Jews are killed (Isa 17:4-6; Zep 3:11; 15; Zec 13:8-9; Zec 14:1-15).
17. The faithful remnant of the Jews are redeemed (Isa 10:20-27; Isa 28:16; Isa 29:1-8; Isa 30:18-26; Mic 5:2-9; Zep 3:12-20).
18. They judge Jordan, Arabia, the Palestinians and others (Isa 11:11-16; Joel 3:4-8; Zep 2:4-5; 8-9; 12-13).
19. The remnant of the ten tribes returns to Israel from all nations (Mt 24:31).
20. Israel lives as one people under one King in peace and security in the land (Eze 37:15-28).
21. The Russian powers with people from Persia, Ethiopia and Put in their ranks go up against Israel and are destroyed on the mountains of Israel (Eze 38:18-23; Eze 39:1-8).
22. Satan is bound for a thousand years (Rev 20:1-3).
Explanation: It is not easy to determine at what point satan will be bound. It is most likely, in my opinion, that it is at this time, because with the extermination of these last hostile powers, his reign over the world will be over.
23. The Lord Jesus, seated on the throne of His glory on earth, judges the living nations; beginning of His Solomon’s reign (Mt 25:31-46).
24. Enduring peace, Jerusalem the center of the earth (Isa 2:1-5; Isa 11:1-10; Isa 35:1-10; Jer 30:1-24; Jer 31:1-40; Rev 20:4-6).
25. Also restoration for Assyria, Egypt, Jordan and Persia (Isa 19:16-25; Jer 46:26-27; Jer 48:47; Jer 49:6; 39).
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Ezekiel 48". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13