The river from the temple. The boundaries of the land.
VERSE 1. He brought me back to the door of the temple; and behold, waters flowed out from under the threshold of the temple eastward, for the front of the temple faced toward the east. The waters came down from underneath, from the right side of the temple, on the south of the altar.
NASB translation. Then he brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar.
water was flowing. There is a fountain. It trickles forth from the presence of the LORD God. It turns into a river. It flows in every direction.
But most people interpret this metaphorically. Here are two examples of metaphorical interpretations:
Example 1. The river refers to the blessings that flow from the presence of the LORD God.
Example 2. The river represents the wounds of the Lord Jesus Christ. On the cross, from his side, water flowed.
This river is mentioned by three prophets:
Ezekiel 47:1. He brought me back to the door of the temple; and behold, waters flowed out from under the threshold of the temple eastward, for the front of the temple faced toward the east. The waters came down from underneath, from the right side of the temple, on the south of the altar.
Joel 3:18. It will happen in that day, that the mountains will drop down sweet wine, the hills will flow with milk, all the brooks of Judah will flow with waters, and a fountain will flow out from the LORD’s house, and will water the valley of Shittim.
Zechariah 14:8. It will happen in that day that living waters will go out from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea. It will be so in summer and in winter.
VERSE 2. Then he brought me out by the way of the gate northward, and led me around by the way outside to the outer gate, by the way of the gate that looks toward the east. Behold, waters ran out on the right side.
VERSE 3. When the man went out eastward with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he caused me to pass through the waters, waters that were to the ankles.
one thousand cubits. A cubit is the length from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow on a man’s arm, or about 18 inches or 46 centimeters.
waters that were to the ankles. After 1,750 feet (1000 cubits) the water is ankle-deep.
VERSE 4. Again he measured one thousand, and caused me to pass through the waters, waters that were to the knees. Again he measured one thousand, and caused me to pass through waters that were to the waist.
waters that were to the knees. After another 1,750 feet, the river is knee-deep.
VERSE 5. Afterward he measured one thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the waters had risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be walked through.
NASB translation. Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.
he measured one thousand. After another 1,750 feet, the river is deep enough to swim in.
a river that I could not ford. The fountain trickles outward from the presence of God. It increases as it goes. It exponentially increases.
It never lessens, no matter how far you go, no matter how far you walk, no matter how deeply you know.
VERSE 6. He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he brought me and caused me to return to the bank of the river.
VERSE 7. Now when I had returned, behold, on the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other.
very many trees. This river will produce beautiful vegetation along its banks.
VERSE 8. Then he said to me, “These waters flow out toward the eastern region and will go down into the Arabah. Then they will go toward the sea and flow into the sea which will be made to flow out; and the waters will be healed.
the Arabah. This is the Jordan Valley, running south from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea and ultimately to the Gulf of Aqabah.
the waters will be healed. In our day, the Dead Sea is six times saltier than the ocean.
But when this new river flows into it, it will become salt-free. This is a great miracle from the Most High God!
VERSE 9. It will happen that every living creature which swarms, in every place where the rivers come, will live. Then there will be a very great multitude of fish; for these waters have come there, and the waters of the sea will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river comes.
VERSE 10. It will happen that fishermen will stand by it. From En Gedi even to En Eglaim will be a place for the spreading of nets. Their fish will be after their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceedingly many.
fishermen. The presence of fishermen suggests this is not a metaphorical river.
swamps marshes. The presence of swamps and marshes suggests this is not a metaphorical river.
VERSE 12. By the river banks, on both sides, will grow every tree for food, whose leaf won’t wither, neither will its fruit fail. It will produce new fruit every month, because its waters issue out of the sanctuary. Its fruit will be for food, and its leaf for healing.”
NASB translation. By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.
They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary. The river that flows from the presence of the LORD God is a fountain of grace. It gives life. It heals.
VERSE 13. The Lord GOD says: “This shall be the border by which you shall divide the land for inheritance according to the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph shall have two portions.
divide the land for inheritance. These borders are similar to those mapped out by Moses. See Numbers 34:1-15. The borders of the Promised Land.
VERSE 14. You shall inherit it, one as well as another; for I swore to give it to your fathers. This land will fall to you for inheritance.
VERSE 15. “This shall be the border of the land: “On the north side, from the great sea, by the way of Hethlon, to the entrance of Zedad;
VERSE 16. Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim (which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath), to Hazer Hatticon, which is by the border of Hauran.
VERSE 17. The border from the sea shall be Hazar Enon at the border of Damascus; and on the north northward is the border of Hamath. This is the north side.
VERSE 18. “The east side, between Hauran, Damascus, Gilead, and Eretz-Israel, shall be the Jordan; from the north border to the east sea you shall measure. This is the east side.
VERSE 19. “The south side southward shall be from Tamar as far as the waters of Meriboth Kadesh, to the brook, to the great sea. This is the south side southward.
VERSE 20. “The west side shall be the great sea, from the south border as far as opposite the entrance of Hamath. This is the west side.
VERSE 21. “So you shall divide this land to yourselves according to the tribes of Israel.
VERSE 22. You shall divide it by lot for an inheritance to you and to the aliens who live among you, who will father children among you. Then they shall be to you as the native-born among the children of Israel. They shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.
NIV translation. You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.
consider them as native-born Israelites. This is revolutionary!
The foreigner is to be treated as equal to the people of the LORD God’s Covenant! The Gentile is to be considered as if Jewish.
The Jewish people welcome outsiders with especially open arms, with obvious signs of grace and favor.
The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »
VERSE 23. In whatever tribe the stranger lives, there you shall give him his inheritance,” says the Lord GOD.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.