Ezekiel's Last Vision
The Christian Magazine
Ezekiel 48:1-35
Now these are the names of the tribes. From the north end to the coast of the way of Hethlon, as one goes to Hamath, Hazarenan…

The following are some of the principal heads of prophetic instruction intended by the vision.

1. That there was to be an entire new state of things in the Church. This is intimated by the new order in the arrangement of the tribes, which is not according to the birth of the patriarchs, nor the blessing of Jacob, nor the allotments they received in the ancient division of the land by Joshua. It is farther intimated by the grant of a distinct portion to the Levites, who had formerly no inheritance among their brethren; and by the distance between the temple and the city — the former, which was anciently within the walls of the latter, being here separated from it by the intervening portion of Levi. There is also in this vision a portion on each side of the temple, the Levites, and the city, assigned to the prince. A new order of things was established by Christ and His apostles, an order very different from that which formerly existed; and by this the vision was in so far fulfilled, though there be nothing in the present state of the Church to literally conform to the subordinate parts. Nor is anything of the kind to be expected, since the New Testament constitution neither admits of a temple, Levites, or sacred metropolis, nor will ever be altered to the end of time. We may only remark, that by the double portion of the prince, our thoughts are led to Him who is the First-born among many brethren, and who is now gloriously manifested to be so in His exalted state. The figure, too, of his portion stretching on each side of the temple, the Levites, and the city, seems to coincide in meaning with those Scriptures which represent Him as in His royal character, the Lord of all sacred institutions, and the guardian of those ordinances by which the work of His priesthood is exhibited, and all its benefits realised by the children of men (Zechariah 6:13; Revelation 1:13, 16; Ephesians 1:21, 22; Ephesians 2:20, 21).

2. That the new constitution was to be as truly Divine in its origin, and as minute and exact in its authoritative appointments, as the ancient. This is suggested by the idea of a pattern shown to Ezekiel, as was of old done to Moses. And although this was not, as in the case of the carnal ordinances, a real plan to be strictly followed, but only a visionary and symbolical exhibition, yet on this very ground it must be doctrinally instructive, the minute detail of the several parts denoting that everything pertaining to the New Testament state, its laws, ordinances, and forms, should be as exactly appointed, and as authoritatively enjoined, as any thing in the dispensation by Moses.

3. That the new constitution would far excel the former in symmetry and beauty. This is suggested by the regularity which pervades this visionary distribution of things, and which far surpasses anything in the ancient allotments of the tribes, or the structure of their city and temple. The symmetry and beauty, symbolically expressed, must of course be spiritual, but not the less visible and pleasing will it be to the eye of the Christian.

4. That the new constitution was to be far more extensive in its range than the ancient. This is intimated by the greater magnitude of the city and temple. All the twelve tribes, too, have a portion assigned them, no doubt with a reference to the future conversion of all Israel, a much grander event than the restoration of the two tribes from Babylon. But as the twelve tribes in Revelation 7 and 21 stand for the spiritual Israel or Church of God, the vision sets before us the provision made by the new constitution for the ingathering of the Jews with the fulness of the Gentiles. The gates of the city accordingly stand open in every direction.

5. That in the new constitution the Church would clearly exhibit her several aspects. Of old she was a great military body, an ecclesiastical nation, whose laws and constitution, though sacred, had necessarily a respect to what form the civil rights and privileges of man in other nations, and whose sacred censures partook in certain cases of the nature of civil punishment. Now, however, she was to be contemplated(1) As a chosen society, a peculiar people, inheriting the earth, and solacing themselves in all that abundance of spiritual privilege which was anciently prefigured by the land of promise. "They shall rejoice in their portion."(2) As a scene of worship, distinctly marked out in this light by the temple, which stands apart, and hath in its vicinity the portion of the Levites. The latter are thus represented as more fitly accommodated for their sacred service than of old, and as no longer labouring under the disadvantage of the curse on literal Levi, "I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel." This curse had no original connection with sacred office; it was restricted to the posterity of Levi, and ceases to display itself in the new constitution. Though ministers of the Gospel be scattered over the Church, we are taught to regard them as blessed with their portion, a body for whom provision should be made without subjecting them to any disadvantage, and as all, wherever they are, connected with the temple or system of ordinances, residing spiritually as one body in its vicinity.

(3) As the seat of government — of a sacred government, such as that for which God established the thrones of judgment in Jerusalem of old — denoted by the city. Thus completed in all her form, Christ ruleth in her to the ends of the earth; and her name shall be seen and acknowledged to be Jehovah-shammah, "The Lord is there."

(The Christian Magazine.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now these are the names of the tribes. From the north end to the coast of the way of Hethlon, as one goeth to Hamath, Hazarenan, the border of Damascus northward, to the coast of Hamath; for these are his sides east and west; a portion for Dan.

WEB: Now these are the names of the tribes: From the north end, beside the way of Hethlon to the entrance of Hamath, Hazar Enan at the border of Damascus, northward beside Hamath, (and they shall have their sides east [and] west), Dan, one [portion].

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