What does it say?
Ezekiel 46 continues the futuristic vision of a revived Levitical system in the earthly millennial kingdom to come. We also meet again this individual called the prince, not the Messiah but an earthly leader of Israel in the future.
Chapters 47 and 48 describe topographical aspects of the coming kingdom. A significant characteristic of Jerusalem in history has been the lack of a river or other key water supply. Ezekiel’s vision includes a powerful river flowing from beneath the temple complex and extending toward what we call today the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea comes to life and is filled with fish. The land that God gave to Abraham again comes into focus and the way in which it will be allotted and used.
What does it mean?
These final visions of Ezekiel are exceedingly difficult to understand other than in generalized terms. They are still future and presented in a dream-like vision within a Jewish Old Testament context.
What we can understand is that God is not finished with his people Israel and that he will honor the promises that he has made to them. Those of us who are Gentile followers of Jesus are told by Paul that it is our teacher to bring us to Christ and that we are spiritual descendants of Abraham and included in that aspect of the promises. However, God will once again deal with Israel and even the Levitical system of worship will continue to have value in some future way for Israel to glorify God.
Remembering that the story of the Bible is one story that leads to the redemption and restoration of all things, we can stand amazed at God’s patience through the centuries and his faithfulness to do everything that he has promised to do, even though it’s not always how or when we expected.
How will I respond?
Living in a culture that values instant gratification, I realize how easy it is for me to get caught up in that and think that God has sometimes forgotten what he promised to me. If God can put up with the multitude of Israel’s sins and yet still be faithful to all his promises, surely he will do the same for me. Is there some God-given promise that I’m not seeing and sometimes tempted to lose faith? How can I apply what I see here to my own life?