Ezekiel Chapter 48  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Ezekiel 48
 
Eze 48:1

Beginning from the north end.” That is, the north end of the Promised Land as it will be divided into tribal areas in the Millennial Kingdom.

“Dan, one portion.” The twelve tribes of Israel that were allotted a land area by Joshua (cp. Joshua 13-19) will receive a land area in the Millennial Kingdom. At the time of Joshua, the land was divided by lot. The High Priest would draw lots and the lot would determine how the Promised Land was to be allocated (Num. 26:55-56; 33:54; 34:13; 36:2; Josh. 14:2). However, it was believed that Yahweh determined how the lot fell. In the Millennial Kingdom the lot will not be used to determine the various tribal areas, but Yahweh will simply decree the areas of land the various tribes will get.

It seems fitting that in the Millennial Kingdom the tribe of Dan will get the northernmost section of land, furthest from Jerusalem and the temple. When Joshua divided up the Promised Land, Dan got a tribal area quite close to Jerusalem (Josh. 19:40-48). However, the Danites failed to conquer their land (Judg. 1:34-36), which they could have done with more focus, prayer, godly behavior, and possible help from other tribes. Then, instead of doing what it took to acquire the land that God had given them by lot, the majority of the tribe moved north and conquered the city of Laish and settled there, and immediately began worshiping idols (Judg. 18). Since the Danites chose to be the northernmost tribe throughout the Old Testament, it is fitting that God assigned them the northernmost tribal area in the Millennial Kingdom.

Nothing is said about the width from north to south of each tribal area except it seems that they are equal. Also, since the scholars are somewhat divided on the exact northern and southern boundaries of Israel, it is hard to exactly draw a map of the future Israel and put each tribe on that map. It does seem that Israel in the Millennial Kingdom will be somewhat larger than historic Israel, but by exactly how much is hard to determine. [For more on the future earth and Christ’s kingdom on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth”]

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Eze 48:2

“And on the border of Dan.” That is, on the south border of Dan. So the northern border of the tribe of Asher is the southern border of the tribe of Dan.

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Eze 48:3

Naphtali, one portion.” So the northern border of the tribe of Naphtali is the southern border of the tribe of Asher.

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Eze 48:4

Manasseh, one portion.” So the northern border of the tribe of Manasseh is the southern border of the tribe of Naphtali.

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Eze 48:5

“Ephraim, one portion.” So the northern border of the tribe of Ephraim is the southern border of the tribe of Manasseh.

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Eze 48:6

“Reuben, one portion.” So the northern border of the tribe of Reuben is the southern border of the tribe of Ephraim.

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Eze 48:7

“Judah, one portion.” So the northern border of the tribe of Judah is the southern border of the tribe of Reuben.

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Eze 48:8

“the offering.” Here in Ezekiel 48:8, the “offering” is an area of land in the middle of the tribes of Israel that stretches from the Mediterranean Sea on the west to the Jordan River on the east, and is 25,000 cubits, just over 8 miles, from north to south (25,000 cubits is just over 8 miles; some scholars would say 8.12 miles or 13.06 km). We know that it stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River because it is “as long as one of the other portions” and the other portions are for the other tribes of Israel, especially Judah and Benjamin that border this offering area, and the Jordan River has always been the natural boundary of the central portion of Israel.

Ezekiel 48:8-21 can be somewhat confusing because the word “offering” refers to different areas of land, all of which are offerings to Yahweh. Here in Ezekiel 48:8, the “offering” is the whole strip of land that is about 8 miles from north to south between the tribal area of Judah to the north and the tribal area of Benjamin to the south.

Inside the “offering” of the strip of land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River is another “offering” that is a square of land that is 25,000 cubits by 25,000 cubits (8.12 miles; 13.06 km); thus a square of just over 8 miles (Ezek. 48:20). The 25,000-cubit square “offering” area is divided into three separate “offerings” that are each rectangular in shape.

The northernmost rectangular area is for the Levites, and it is 25,000 cubits east to west and 10,000 cubits (3.25 miles; 5.23 km) north to south (Ezek. 48:13).

South of the area of the Levites is another area that is 25,000 cubits (8.12 miles; 13.06 km) by 10,000 cubits (3.25 miles; 5.23 km), and it is for the priests (Ezek. 48:9-12). Ezekiel describes it as the offering for the priests who had remained faithful when Israel and the Levites went astray (Ezek. 48:11). It called an “offering” (Ezek. 48:9, 12), a “holy offering” (Ezek. 48:10), and a “most holy place” (Ezek. 48:12). We can tell that the section for the priests is the center section of the three areas because it has the temple in it (Ezek. 48:10), and the temple is in the middle of the whole 25,000-cubit square offering area (Ezek. 48:8). Having the Levites occupy the north section, the priests occupy the center section, and Jerusalem occupy the south section, is the only way to get the temple to be in the center of the 25,000-cubit square area.

South of the area for the priests is the “offering” that is the area for the city of Jerusalem. That area is also 25,000 cubits from east to west, but is only half the size from north to south; 5,000 cubits instead of 10,000 cubits (Ezek. 48:15). The dimensions and partial description of the Millennial city of Jerusalem are given in Ezekiel 48:16-20; 30-35). Jerusalem is on the south side of Mount Zion as described here and stated in Ezekiel 40:2. So as seen from an airplane’s viewpoint, Mount Zion is a high mountain with the Temple on the top which has an area for the priests associated with it. North of the area for the priests, on the north slope of the mountain, is an area for the Levites, and south of the area for the priests, on the south slope of Mount Zion, is the city of Jerusalem, which is just under 1.5 miles (2.4 km) square. The description of Jerusalem can be somewhat difficult in Ezekiel 48 because it is only called “the city,” and never by its name, Jerusalem.

[For more information on the measurements, see commentary on Ezek. 48:8, “25,000 cubits.” For more information on Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth.”]

“25,000 cubits.” The standard of measurement in chapter 48 is never given, but because of the size of Israel and the areas given, and because in Ezekiel 40:5 the measuring reed used was in royal cubits, it is logical to conclude that the “royal cubit” (which is a regular cubit and a hand width: Ezek. 40:5) of about 20.59 inches (52.3 centimeters) is the standard of measurement used in Ezekiel 48. The actual lengths of the cubit and royal cubit are debated by scholars, but they generally estimate the length of the royal cubit to be between 20.3 inches (51.56 cent.) and 20.7 inches (52.57 cent), although some go up to 21 inches (53.34 cent). Nevertheless, recent study done in Israel has led researchers to conclude that the ancient royal cubit was 52.3 centimeters, or 20.59 inches.

If that is the case, then 25,000 royal cubits is just over 8 miles (8.12 miles; 13.06 km), and the sacred area in the Millennial Kingdom will be a square of just over 8 miles. The 10,000 royal cubits (cp. Ezek. 48:9) is roughly 3.25 miles (5.23 km). The 5,000 royal cubits (Ezek. 48:14) is about 1.62 miles (2.6 km).

“in width.” In this context, “width” is the north-south measurement. Since the biblical worldview was oriented to the east, “width” was usually, but not always, a north-south measurement.

“and the sanctuary will be in its middle.” The “sanctuary” is the Millennial Temple. South of the territory of Judah, and north of the territory allotted to Benjamin, will be an area that is set apart. It will be about 8 1/3 miles wide from north to south, and as wide from east to west as the areas allotted to the other tribes (generally from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea). In the center of this special area will be an area 8 1/3 miles square, which will be divided into three parts: a part for the Levites, a part for the priests, and a part for the city of Jerusalem. In the very middle of this special area (in the area designated for the priests), will be the Millennial Temple.

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Eze 48:9

“The offering.” See commentary on Ezekiel 48:8.

“25,000 cubits…10,000 cubits.” 25,000 royal cubits is just over 8 miles (8.12 miles; 13.06 km), while 10,000 royal cubits is roughly 3.25 miles (5.23 km). For the measurement of the royal cubit, see commentary on Ezekiel 48:8.

“in length.” “Length” is the east-west measurement. Since the biblical worldview was oriented to the east, “length” was usually an east-west measurement.

“in width.” In this context, “width” is the north-south measurement.

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Eze 48:10

“for these, even for the priests.” In the Millennial Kingdom the priests will get a section of land that is 25,000 royal cubits (8.12 miles; 13.06 km) from east to west and 10,000 royal cubits (roughly 3.25 miles; 5.23 km) from north to south. This is very different from how things were in the Old Testament when the priests, who are all also Levites, did not get any land of their own but were assigned cities (Josh. 21:1-42). Every priest was a Levite, a descendent of Jacob’s third son, Levi (Gen. 29:34), but not every Levite was a priest, because the priests were descended from Aaron, who was a great-grandson of Levi (Levi, Kohath, Amram, Aaron; 1 Chron. 6:1-3).

The side toward the north will be 25,000 in length.” The rectangle for the priests was to have its north and south border be 25,000 cubits long, and its east and west border 10,000 cubits long, and 25,000 royal cubits is just over 8 miles (8.12 miles; 13.06 km), while 10,000 royal cubits is roughly 3.25 miles (5.23 km). For the measurement of the royal cubit, see commentary on Ezekiel 48:8.

In this context, “length” is the east-west measurement, and “width” is the north-south measurement. This is contrary to our normal western thinking, but that is the case here.

“and the sanctuary of Yahweh will be in its middle.” The temple of Yahweh was to be in the middle of the area for the priests, and was thus in the middle of the whole 25,000 cubit square. The square was an offering to Yahweh, but the priest’s section, which contained the temple, was the holiest part of the offering, and was “a most holy place” (Ezek. 48:12).

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Eze 48:11

“who kept my instruction.” The section for the priests is for priests who were faithful to God during their lives and did not abandon the Law and go astray after idols and participate in other such sins. There has always been a difference between salvation and rewards. Salvation is, and always has been by grace through trust in God. In contrast, rewards are earned for serving God and will be given out during the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. In this case, part of the rewards for faithful priests is that they get to live in the priestly area that contains the temple. God does not tell us where priests who got saved but were unfaithful get to live in the Millennial Kingdom. [For more on rewards in the Kingdom, see commentary on 2 Cor. 5:10, “good or evil.” For more on the Millennial Kingdom on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth”].

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Eze 48:12

“a most holy place.” The priest’s section, which was 25,000 cubits from east to west and 10,000 cubits from north to south, and contained the temple, was the holiest part of the 25,000 cubit square offering area, and was “a most holy place.” Of the whole 25,000 cubit square land area for the city of Jerusalem, the priests, and the Levites, the 25,000 cubit by 10,000 cubit section for the priests is the only section of the three sections that is referred to as a “most holy place.” That makes perfect sense considering that the priests were the most holy of the people and because the temple was located in the priest’s section of land. For more on the measurements, see commentary on Ezekiel 48:8.

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Eze 48:13

“And alongside the territory for the priests.” When we put the 3 sections of the holy offering area together, we can see that the priests have the central section that contains the temple, and the section with the city of Jerusalem is the south section, so the section for the Levites is next to the section of the priests and on the north side of it (see commentary on Ezekiel 48:8).

“length...width.” In this context, the length is the east-west measurement and the width is the north-south measurement.

“25,000 cubits…10,000 cubits.” 25,000 royal cubits is just over 8 miles (8.12 miles; 13.06 km), while 10,000 royal cubits is roughly 3.25 miles (5.23 km). For the measurement of the royal cubit, see commentary on Ezekiel 48:8.

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Eze 48:14

“choice portion.” The section of land given to the Levites is just north of the section for the priests, and very close to the temple, so it is indeed a “choice portion.”

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Eze 48:15

“will be for common use for the city.” Here in Ezekiel 48, “the city” is Jerusalem. We know that because Jerusalem is the subject of much of the restoration of Israel and it is also the only city referred to as the “holy city” in the Bible, and the city in Ezekiel 48 is the only city in the 25,000 cubit square special gift area that Ezekiel is describing. “The city” can be no other besides Jerusalem.

“5,000 cubits in width and 25,000 in length.” The land area for the Millennial city of Jerusalem will be south of the area for the priests. In this context, the length is the east-west measurement and the width is the north-south measurement. This area will be 25,000 royal cubits from east to west (just over 8 miles; 8.12 miles; 13.06 km), and 5,000 royal cubits from north to south (about 1.62 miles or 2.6 km) (Ezek. 48:14). The city of Jerusalem inside this area will be smaller, only 4,500 royal cubits on a side and 18,000 cubits in circumference (This is just under 1.5 miles (1.44 miles) or 2.4 km. Cp. Ezek. 48:30-35).

[For more on the measurements, see commentary on Ezekiel 48:8.]

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Eze 48:16

“its measurements.” The measurements of the city of Jerusalem, as per Ezek. 48:15.

“4,500 cubits.” This is about 1.46 miles (2.34 km). So the city of Jerusalem in the Millennial Kingdom will be a square that is about 1.5 miles square. [For more on the measurements, see commentary on Ezekiel 48:8].

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Eze 48:17

“pastureland.” The Hebrew can also refer to “open land,” or “open space.” However, although that seems like very little space for pasture, animals could be kept there for a short time if they were going to be offered in the Temple.

“250 cubits.” 250 royal cubits is about 143 yards (130.7 meters). [For more on the measurements, see commentary on Ezek. 48:8.]

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Eze 48:18(top)
Eze 48:19(top)
Eze 48:20

“The entire offering.” That is, the entire offering area that is for the Levites, the priests (and the temple), and the city of Jerusalem. The square area is roughly 8.12 miles (13.06 km) on each side. For more detail, see commentary on Ezekiel 48:8.

“the property of the city.” That is, the city of Jerusalem.

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Eze 48:21

“prince.” The Messiah, Jesus Christ, is the prince, the Son of God, the king (see commentary on Ezek. 44:3). He will have a land area set aside for himself in the Millennial Kingdom. Joshua, a type of Christ, foreshadowed this when he received a city in the Promised Land as his personal inheritance in return for his faithfulness to God (Josh. 19:49-50).

“to the east border of the land.” The east border of the land of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom will be the Jordan River.

“to the west border.” The west border is the Mediterranean Sea.

“the house.” The house of God, meaning the Temple, and the sanctuary, in the temple proper, in the middle of the holy area.

“will be in its middle.” That is, in the middle of the 25,000 cubit square holy area, not in the middle of the whole east-west strip of land. Jerusalem and the Temple are not “in the middle” or the land belonging to the prince, the Messiah. They are to the east of the middle of that whole section, and although the topography of the earth will be different in the Millennial Kingdom than it is now, there is no indication that the Temple Mount will shift to the west from its current position.

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Eze 48:22

“prince.” The Messiah, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “prince” because he is the Son of the King, God (see commentary on Ezek. 44:3).

the land between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin.” So, there is the special land area that is to be for the “prince,” Jesus Christ and for the 25,000 cubit square holy area that is for the Levites, priests, and the city of Jerusalem. That entire special area is between the land that is given to the tribe of Judah, which is to the north, and the tribal area of the tribe of Benjamin which is to the south. So going through Israel from north to south one would have to travel through the tribal area of Judah, then through the special area, then through the tribal area of Benjamin.

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Eze 48:23

“Benjamin, one portion.” Nothing is said about the width of each tribal area except it seems that they are equal. Also, since the scholars are somewhat divided on the exact north and south boundaries of the Land, it is hard to exactly divide them. The result of that is that we are not sure how wide from north to south each tribal area is. (See commentary on Ezek. 48:1).

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Eze 48:24

“Simeon, one portion.” So the northern border of the tribe of Simeon is the southern border of the tribe of Benjamin.

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Eze 48:25

“Issachar, one portion.” So the northern border of the tribe of Issachar is the southern border of the tribe of Simeon.

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Eze 48:26

“Zebulun, one portion.” So the northern border of the tribe of Zebulun is the southern border of the tribe of Issachar.

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Eze 48:27

“Gad, one portion.” So the northern border of the tribe of Gad is the southern border of the tribe of Zebulun.

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Eze 48:28(top)
Eze 48:29(top)
Eze 48:30

“the city.” This is the city of Jerusalem as it will be in the Millennial Kingdom. It will be on the south side of Mount Zion, which has the Millennial Temple at the top (Ezek. 40:2).

“4,500 cubits by measure.” This is just under 1.5 miles (1.46 miles) or 2.35 km. The city will be a square with about 1.5 miles on each side. This is larger than the walled city of Jerusalem has ever been, giving more evidence that this is the Millennial Jerusalem, not some Jerusalem that has existed at some time in the past. Jeremiah 31:38-40 also gives the dimensions of the city and refers to it being part of the New Covenant, but Jeremiah uses landmarks instead of measuring by cubits. Unfortunately, those landmarks cannot now be identified, but enough is known about them that the basic idea of the layout of the city can be known (cp. Keil and Delitzsch's Commentary on the Old Testament).

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Eze 48:31

“Reuben...Judah...Levi.”It makes sense that the three gates leading north from the city of Jerusalem would be for Reuben, Judah, and Levi. The north gates would lead directly uphill to the Temple, which was on top of Mount Zion.

The city of Jerusalem will be on the south slope of Mount Zion (Ezek. 40:2) so the palace of the Messiah will be on the “right hand” of God, who dwells in the Temple just north of the city of Jerusalem (Ps. 110:1). The Messiah, Jesus Christ, comes from the tribe of Judah, so that Judah Gate would give him direct access to the Temple (of course he could use other gates as well to leave Jerusalem, but the one named after his tribe would be to the north). Similarly, the Levites would have quick access to the Temple where they served through the Levi Gate. Lastly, it would honor Reuben, who was the first son of the twelve sons of Jacob, to have a gate on the north side of Jerusalem.

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Eze 48:32(top)
Eze 48:33(top)
Eze 48:34(top)
Eze 48:35

“Yahweh is There.” Yahweh will be present in the Millennial Jerusalem because He will reign through His Son, Jesus Christ, and His nature, righteousness, will reign in the land. Also, just uphill to the north of the city will be Yahweh’s Temple.

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