The final nine chapters of Ezekiel are occupied by one continuous vision of the future with three intertwining subjects: the Temple, the Prince, and resettling the Land. In yesterday’s reading the man whose appearance was like bronze showed Ezekiel the plans for the new Temple, and today this expands to draw up the holy district that is dedicated to the LORD. This district covers over 40 square miles, exponentially larger than the Jerusalem that had been destroyed. Given the dimensions of the Holy city, and the layout of the tribes, Ezekiel and his hearers know that this is not simply a rebuilt version of the old.
Next we learn more about the righteous Prince who will rule Israel. It’s tempting to read through this looking for the identity of the future Prince. The author, however, is more concerned with the duties, the covenant obedience, and the nature of the Prince. One can assume, because of what's been written before in Ezekiel, that he will be of the line of David. Jeremiah concurs. But the when and how and where seems to be of secondary concern to this vision. Listen for echoes of Leviticus, and pay attention to the details that are here.
Finally, the land is redistributed to the twelve tribes. The geographic markers are larger than those of Joshua – the size is more comparable to David’s kingdom – and the tribes are stacked in slices of land from north to south, with seven to the north of the holy district and five to the south of it. This design, and the gates of the holy city that are laid out in the last paragraph, don’t follow a recognizable historical pattern, except for the one we saw in Leviticus: that the LORD is attentive to details.
This final act is much less personal and immediate than the first three-quarters of the book. Whether this is climax or epilogue, I’ll leave to you to decide. But there is one last reminder, at the very end, of the LORD’s primary concern.
Our verse for this week is 2 Corinthians 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Ezekiel 45 through 48. Now let’s read it!
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.