Ezek. 47:1 Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.
Ezek. 47:2 Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.
Ezekiel is again taken to the “front door” of the house, so to speak, which is designated as on the east side. As he looked from the entrance, he could see waters flowing eastward from under the right side of the house (facing east that would be south) on the south side of the altar. The Hebrew for “came down” indicates that the water is flowing down as it flows east. This makes sense since scripture indicates that Jerusalem will be on the high ground.
Zech. 14:8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
Zech. 14:9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
Zech. 14:10 All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses.
Then Ezekiel is taken out the north gate (remembering that man cannot go through the east gate) and around to the side of the eastern gate. Ezekiel could see that the waters continue to flow eastward. Note that Zechariah tells us (in verse 8) that these waters will also flow toward the Mediterranean, but I could not find in coming verses that Ezekiel was shown this.
It is appropriate for water to flow from the temple, the Lord’s dwelling place, since He describes Himself as the giver of living water.
John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
John 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
The prophet Joel also speaks of these waters.
Joel 3:17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.
Joel 3:18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
Ezek. 47:3 And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.
Ezek. 47:4 Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.
Ezek. 47:5 Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.
These verses indicate that as the waters flow further away from the temple, they get gradually deeper, beginning as a stream that you can wade across, until they become a river so deep that you can’t walk across it.
I don’t think I would ever have made the connection, but David Legge (http://www.preachtheword.co.uk/sermon/ezek24.shtml) compares this gradual deepening of the flow of the river and its increasing power to the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer as he grows in his walk with the Lord and immerses himself more fully in the power of the Spirit.
Ezek. 47:6 And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river.
Ezek. 47:7 Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other.
Ezekiel is brought back to the riverbank, and he is shown that it is lined with lots of trees on both sides of the river.
Ezek. 47:8 Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.
Ezek. 47:9 And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.
Ezekiel is told that the waters continue to flow eastward down into the desert (the Jordan Valley according to the Hebrew) and empties into the sea, the Dead Sea. Point is made that these waters are healing waters. The Dead Sea will once again be filled with fish and other sea life.
Both Young and the ASV refere to rivers (plural) in verse 9, which makes me wonder if it is referencing streams that may branch off from the main river to reach into other parts of the desert. This could be referencing the part that flows to the Mediterranean. Frankly, after the plagues of the tribulation period, the waters of the Mediterranean may need healing as well.
Jack Kelley (www.gracethrufaith.com) made an interesting observation regarding the geography of that day.
“According to Zechariah 14:6-9 on the day of the Lord's return an earthquake will split the Mt. of Olives in two along an East-West line that creates a great valley through the center of Jerusalem. Immediately a river will fill the valley creating a waterway from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea. If the Lord returns to the same area of the Mt. of Olives from which He left, as suggested by Acts 1:11, the earthquake creating this East-West valley will destroy the current Temple mount and anything that may be standing upon it.
Ezekiel 47:1-12 describes a great river flowing from under the south side of the Temple and then eastward to the Dead Sea during a period of time that most scholars believe has not occurred yet. Revelation 22:1-2 confirms this. If as it appears, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Revelation all describe the same river, then an interesting scenario begins to emerge.
This scenario requires a Temple to be present on the day the Lord returns, but since the current Temple mount will have been destroyed by the earthquake mentioned above, this Temple must be somewhere else. Since the river originates under the Temple and flows from its south side before heading East and West, the Temple must be north of the newly created river valley.”
Ezek. 47:10 And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many.
All along the banks of this river fishermen will experience wonderful fishing; it will be a fisherman’s paradise.
Ezek. 47:11 But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt.
There will still be swamps and marshes in the area that will contain salt water.
Ezek. 47:12 And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.
This is a very interesting verse. It first of all brought to my mind my study of Revelation. Chapter 22 tells us about the New Jerusalem. Note the similarities.
Rev. 22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Rev. 22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
I know the passages are speaking of two different rivers since the river in Ezekiel is sourced from the temple; the river in the New Jerusalem flows from “the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Note: The throne is singular.) The Revelator also tells us that there is no temple in the New Jerusalem.
Rev. 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
In my mind, the New Jerusalem is characterized by the eternal perfection of what the millennial kingdom can only hint at. Obviously, it will be the best time on earth since sin entered the picture.
The trees along the river will all yield edible produce. According to which translation you accept, the trees will either produce a different fruit every month, or they will produce new fruit every month. It seems clear that these trees will be producing on a continual basis. A special bonus, the leaves of the trees will have medicinal benefit. The Hebrew indicates that they will “cure, repair, make whole.” What a wonderful blessing. In Israel, pharmacies and maybe even doctors will be a thing of the past. Isaiah adds this information.
Is. 65:20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old….
Ezek. 47:13 Thus saith the Lord GOD; This shall be the border, whereby ye shall inherit the land according to the twelve tribes of Israel: Joseph shall have two portions.
At this point the Lord gives Ezekiel instructions for the allotment of the land. Joseph is to have two portions; this affirms the blessing Jacob gave Joseph and his sons.
Gen. 48:5 And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.
As when the Israelites first entered the promised land, the Levites are not allotted land since they are considered the Lord’s portion. Having Ephraim and Manasseh designated as tribes keeps the number at 12.
Ezek. 47:14 And ye shall inherit it, one as well as another: concerning the which I lifted up mine hand to give it unto your fathers: and this land shall fall unto you for inheritance.
I think it is important to note that God assigns the allotments for the kingdom age. It is also important to note that this land is Israel’s in fulfillment of God’s covenant with their fathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). It is a gift from God to the Jewish people. Most of the translations indicate that the allotments are to be equal shares.
Ezek. 47:15 And this shall be the border of the land toward the north side, from the great sea, the way of Hethlon, as men go to Zedad;
Ezek. 47:16 Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim, which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath; Hazarhatticon, which is by the coast of Hauran.
Ezek. 47:17 And the border from the sea shall be Hazarenan, the border of Damascus, and the north northward, and the border of Hamath. And this is the north side.
Ezek. 47:18 And the east side ye shall measure from Hauran, and from Damascus, and from Gilead, and from the land of Israel by Jordan, from the border unto the east sea. And this is the east side.
Ezek. 47:19 And the south side southward, from Tamar even to the waters of strife in Kadesh, the river to the great sea. And this is the south side southward.
Ezek. 47:20 The west side also shall be the great sea from the border, till a man come over against Hamath. This is the west side.
These verses are meant to establish the borders of the land. I am going to lean heavily on the commentaries to interpret these borders. What I notice is that the land encompasses more than it has in past history. I am also keeping in mind that though there will be geographical changes, Ezekiel was using landmarks that the people of his day would recognize.
The northern boundary appears to begin at a point on the Mediterranean Coast in what is known today as Lebanon. It stretches east and south to include the city of Damascus. As I look at the different diagrams, it appears to continue south and west to the southern border of the Sea of Galilee. It then follows the Jordan River south to below the Dead Sea. It continues to go south to include the area of Kadesh Barnea and then curves back north and west again until reaching the Mediterranean.
Ezek. 47:21 So shall ye divide this land unto you according to the tribes of Israel.
Ezek. 47:22 And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.
Ezek. 47:23 And it shall come to pass, that in what tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance, saith the Lord GOD.
These verses are a general statement that the land is to be divided among the 12 tribes of Israel. Point is made that any foreigners that are living among them and raising families are to be treated as those who have been born Jewish; they are to be considered members of the tribe among whom they are living. This would seem to apply to those who were living among the Israelis during the tribulation and are entering the kingdom. (See topical study on “The Olivet Discourse.)