A Bible Lesson on Ezekiel 47:13-23

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright 2000; 2001, by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Last half of Ezekiel 47 describes the division of a future restored land of Israel among a complete people of God (including tribes that have already in Ezekiel’s time passed out of existence–having been carried off and dispersed by the conquering Assyrians–and even believing gentiles). The details of the exact boundaries are probably not so important except that they are concrete and exact and at God’s choice alone. (They are different from boundaries of the tribal regions given to Moses.)

Ezekiel 47:13 Thus says the Lord GOD: “This is the boundary by which you shall divide the land for inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph shall have two portions.

The Levites are given no land, and to keep the number of portions at a full/complete “12” portions, Ephraim and Manasseh are given separate allotments.

14 And you shall divide equally what I swore to give to your fathers. This land shall fall to you as your inheritance.

The word “equally” is important in the eternal scheme of things. God’s future provision will not be subject to the politics and gerrymandering that is standard human fare. All will be treated on the same basis. And what is done will be consistent with God’s oaths to the patriarchs. We ought to hear something bigger and beyond division of land here. This is the nature of a future eternity. All who are saved will come to God on the same basis of Christ.

15 “This shall be the boundary of the land: On the north side, from the Great Sea by way of Hethlon to Lebo-hamath, and on to Zedad,

16 Berothah, Sibraim (which lies on the border between Damascus and Hamath), as far as Hazer-hatticon, which is on the border of Hauran.

17 So the boundary shall run from the sea to Hazar-enan, which is on the northern border of Damascus, with the border of Hamath to the north. This shall be the north side.

18 “On the east side, the boundary shall run between Hauran and Damascus; along the Jordan between Gilead and the land of Israel; to the eastern sea and as far as Tamar. This shall be the east side.

19 “On the south side, it shall run from Tamar as far as the waters of Meribah-kadesh, from there along the Brook of Egypt to the Great Sea. This shall be the south side.

20 “On the west side, the Great Sea shall be the boundary to a point opposite Lebo-hamath. This shall be the west side.

21 “So you shall divide this land among you according to the tribes of Israel.

Ethnic Israel was the original people of promise. To this point, it seems that God has been speaking of future provision for that people. But in a way goes way beyond anything most devout Jews would have expected, God goes on.

22 You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the sojourners who reside among you and have had children among you. They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.

The provision, the promise, the future is not just for the ethic people, but also for sojourners who “reside among you and have had children among you.” This is gentiles who come to God as do Jews who properly worship Him, who love Him and have faith in Him. This is more than just hanging around, this is participation in the genuine spiritual life of God’s elect. And those who come to the light have the same place in eternity as those “born into” real Faith.

23 In whatever tribe the sojourner resides, there you shall assign him his inheritance, declares the Lord GOD.

So, consistent with His eternal promises God will in the end treat with equity His peoples that to human reckoning are completely obliterated. His people will be complete, figuratively speaking all 12 tribes will be there. And outsiders, sojourners, ones not originally counted among the chosen people will have a part! Gentiles like most of us, will be in the number of true Israel. There will be religious purity but ethnic diversity.

The apostle Paul saw this and gloried in it.

Ephesians 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

Ephesians 3:6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

The last sentence of the book of Ezekiel is a definitive description of the final state of the redeemed.

Eze 48:35b And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The LORD Is There.”

The end of history, the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him eternally. God is eternally with His people. This is the Bible story from beginning to end. God will have a people who are His and reflect His glory, and He will dwell eternally with them.

Here is a .pdf of this lesson.

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright 2000; 2001, by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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