Have you ever made plans to go somewhere, and even though you heard about it, everything you had heard paled in comparison to what you actually observed once you arrived? This was Ezekiel’s plight—and will be our future plight. When something is beyond words, you don’t want to miss out on it.
We’ve already talked a lot about what Ezekiel saw. Yet, the wonders seem to go on and on. We discussed the temple complex and how large it is (about three football fields square). Yet, that is set in a complex that is roughly 8 miles square! This is called the Holy Portion which is further divided into three rectangles. The top rectangle, a little more than 3 miles by 8 miles, is for the Levites. These are those individuals who help in all aspects of temple worship, except for offering sacrifices. The same size rectangle below this one, and in which the temple is located, is for the priests. These are those individuals who are allowed to offer sacrifices at the temple. Although these sections of land are devoted to the priests and Levites, this doesn’t mean it will be devoid of others, and businesses and restaurants. These will be very busy places as people from around the world will come here to offer sacrifices and see their King.
The rectangle below these two, a little over 1.5 miles by 8 miles, completing the larger square, is where the city of Jerusalem will be located. It will be a square in the center of this rectangle with farming to support the city population occurring on both sides. This is likely where king David and the Prince will reside.
As already stated, a stream will flow out from the Holy of Holies of the temple and flow east. This stream becomes deeper and deeper every one-third mile and turns into a river. Some have denoted this as “the Ezekiel River” since this was part of the vision God gave to Ezekiel. Along both sides of this river is a grove of trees. At some point, the river flows over the escarpment which has plunged the city to be high above the surrounding land. Once the river goes over the escarpment, it flows between the two Mounts of Olive (which split in two at the Messiah’s return), and then flows into the Jordan River in the distance and into what is today called the Dead Sea. Yet, this sea will now team with live fish and fresh water.
On both sides of this larger square where the priests, Levites, city of Jerusalem, and temple reside is more farm land which will be owned by the Prince. From the Prince’s fields will come the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offering for festivals, new moon celebrations, and Sabbaths. In addition, those who live within the land of Israel will, in essence, tithe to the Prince of their abundance. They will donate approximately 15% of their wheat and barley, approximately 1% of their olive oil, and 0.5 percent of their sheep. The Prince will use these for fellowship offerings and grain offerings for the people.
This Holy Portion is the inheritance for the Prince and his children. Above and below this Holy Portion is the inheritance given to each of the tribes of Israel. This Holy Portion will lie between the inheritance given to Judah and Benjamin.
So, as you can see, God gave Ezekiel an overwhelming vision—something both he, and even we today, can look forward to. Ezekiel was concerned about his people and their beloved temple and if both would be lost to them forever. God gave Ezekiel an emphatic ‘no’! Not only would it return but be so much grander than anyone could ever imagine. I’m sure Ezekiel was blown away. I’m sure he was overcome with joy in how exceedingly generous God is with us despite our selfishness. We may lose heart and faith, but God is always faithful and never forgets his promises. So, come on and join in his promises. Our future is a grand one: a future beyond our imagination. Don’t you want to experience that? Of course, you do. It only takes a little faith and for you to admit your future cannot be on your on merit, but only through the merit of the one who will give us all we want and more—beyond our imagination!