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Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Ezekiel 46-48
Today we will read more proof of the Sabbaths and Feasts (appointed times or moedim) being kept in the future. Of course, we should not be surprised at this as YHWH said they were forever and He also said He never changes. As we move forward into the Gospels we will see our Messiah and all of the disciples keeping them both during and after Messiah’s lifetime here on earth. I take great comfort in knowing that YHWH does not change. He is constant. He is steadfast.
9 “When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed feast… – Ezekiel 46:9
I read this verse about YHWH’s people coming before Him for His feasts in the future and my one thought is “If we’re gonna do it then, Let’s start now!”
Goodness, here we go. Friends, today we’re going to have to rethink our image of what living in the Kingdom is going to be like. Like me, you probably grew up imagining this as a place where we all had wings and lived on clouds. This is the general perception of eternity. We saw it in movies, read about it in books, and watched it in cartoons when we were younger. However, today, we’re going to see what the Bible says about the afterlife for us. If you’re anything like me, this is going to require not only some rethinking, but some unlearning and relearning as well.
Here is the thing: I don’t think we realize how much of our “biblical” knowledge is actually from the world instead of the Word. And I know you’ve heard it said before but it is very true that you and the way you live your life is going to be the only “bible” that some people ever read. When we live our lives as professing followers of Messiah, it is absolutely vital that we not misrepresent Him or His word.
The thing is, when we go through life collecting bits and pieces of seemingly biblical knowledge in all of the media we consume. This knowledge then blends together in our head and we feel as if we have the truth. It’s very much like consuming empty calories that make you feel full, but in the end you have no real nutrition. A bag of chips may make us as full as a plate of vegetables, but will they add to our health in the nourishing ways we need? In today’s world, folks would call vegetables the “real” food, just as firsthand knowledge of the Bible is real truth.
By the time we start realizing that we have a spiritual nutritional deficiency, it is usually much later in life. At that point, the folklore and movies and cartoons have become a part of our very fiber. They are so interwoven in the tapestry of who we are that we have a tendency to read the Word and just weave that in along with them, blending truth and error, holy and unholy, and developing a slightly changed narrative that is still close enough to what we grew up with that it feels familiar and doesn’t make folks think of us as “too” weird.
And this is why reading the Bible causes us to change.
YHWH’s word exposes us to His truth and presents us with a decision we must make: Word or world?
We can only put our faith and trust in one. Daily, in our reading, we are faced with this decision. Each time we read something that contradicts what we’ve thought to be true we have to choose: Word or world. One has to go. Each time the Father calls us to trust in His wisdom over our own we also have to choose: Is He going to be our God or not?
As a friend said to me last week,
The word of YHWH is sharp. It can either be a scalpel that cuts out the cancer and heals you or a sword that kills you.
~M Louvale Williams
And so today we finish up the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel contains a lot of prophecy that may be difficult to understand and as I’ve been saying, it is far more important to know the prophecy than it is to know interpretation of the prophecy. Today we will read about prophecy that is far less vague and far more clear than some others that we have read recently. Even still, focus on knowing what YHWH says because in His words we find truth.
I need you to know: It is difficult for me to write about what we are shown in chapter 47 because it feels too holy to try to describe it with my words. Reading this chapter, I feel a longing for a home that I’ve never seen and a stirring in my soul for the healing that this place will bring.
We will notice flowing waters, abundant life, trees that bear unending fruit, and people living in peace. Ezekiel 47 very much feels reminiscent of the Garden of Eden. My sister and I had a wonderful conversation about this chapter and she pointed out that before, when man was in the garden, there was no need of healing, we were whole. YHWH was in every aspect of their lives. They didn’t have to seek Him, He was there, physically, with them. Then, man was banished and had to begin seeking Him in everything. In some ways, you could say we’ve been working our way back to the garden ever since.
As we read in Ezekiel 47:8, in some verses it says that the water will be healed as it flows into the sea:
Then he said to me: “This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. Ezekiel 47:8
We will also see that the tree, which bears fresh fruit each month and the fruit never falls to the ground (rots), has leaves that are for healing. Ezekiel 47:12
Keep in mind all of the birthing pains and events that lead up to the restoration of His kingdom on earth. Countless generations of our struggle to make our way back to Him, to escape the clutches of this world and cling to His truth amid it all. It has been a lot. It will be a lot more still. There is trauma. There is pain. And now, we read of this place in the midst of our Father and we see that it very much feels like a place of healing.
Imagine all that Ezekiel had been through in his lifetime. He seems to be almost in awe and struggling to process this when we see the Father having to get his attention, “Son of man, have you seen this?” as if he keeps lingering on each new thing he beholds and has to be snapped back to the fact that he is taking a tour.
“So you shall divide this land among you according to the tribes of Israel. 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. In whatever tribe the sojourner resides, there you shall assign him his inheritance, declares YHWH God. – Ezekiel 47:21-23
Wow. Can we get any clearer about where we fit into the picture? I don’t know about you, but the Father has given me great peace and fulfillment in this world – But. I’m longing for that healing that will only come when we are reunited with Him.
Now for some serious rethinking: Is this taking place in the sky?
Notice that His temple and His dwelling are in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40:2 and other verses), here on earth. He is healing the waters that are here now (Ezekiel 47:9). We see fishermen casting their nets (Ezekiel 47:10) and trees bearing fruit (Ezekiel 47:12) so we can surmise that we will be going about living in some form, working, eating, dwelling. We will also see that people will come from the land (the root word used here for land is also used for earth) in Ezekiel 46:9 to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts so from that we could surmise that we could still be living throughout the world. A punishment for anyone who chooses not to keep the feasts will be a drought in their land, so from that we could surmise that farming would be taking place (Zech 14:17).
9 And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. 10 Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. 11 But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. 12 And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47:9-12
Once the city has been described, Ezekiel ends with this line:
And the name of the city from that time on shall be, YHWH is There. Ezekiel 48:35
In Hebrew this transliterates as “YHWH is Shammah” but the way it is phrased, in the context, could mean that Jerusalem will undergo a literal name change OR it could also read as to be speaking of the reputation of the city. An example is, whenever someone mentions Jerusalem, the reply would be “Yes! YHWH is there!”.
Either way, He will dwell there, in a very special way, His full presence.
My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Ezekiel 37:27
We are longing for our rightful home with you, precious Father! There is a lot to think about today. I want to encourage you not to feel as if you have to understand it all now. Take it to soul, ponder it it out with the Father, and remain in Him as we continue to read His Word.
And with that, we have completed another book. Rak Chazak!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!