The Latter Major Prophets – Ezekiel 44-48

Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east, and it was shut.  The Lord said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered through it.  The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence of the Lord. He is to enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way.”
Then the man brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple. I looked and saw the glory of the Lord filling the temple of the Lord, and I fell facedown.
The Lord said to me, “Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and give attention to everything I tell you concerning all the regulations and instructions regarding the temple of the Lord. Give attention to the entrance to the temple and all the exits of the sanctuary.  Say to rebellious Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Enough of your detestable practices, people of Israel!  In addition to all your other detestable practices, you brought foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary, desecrating my temple while you offered me food, fat and blood, and you broke my covenant.  Instead of carrying out your duty in regard to my holy things, you put others in charge of my sanctuary.  This is what the Sovereign Lord says: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites.
“‘The Levites who went far from me when Israel went astray and who wandered from me after their idols must bear the consequences of their sin.  They may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve them.  But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the people of Israel fall into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign Lord.  They are not to come near to serve me as priests or come near any of my holy things or my most holy offerings; they must bear the shame of their detestable practices.  And I will appoint them to guard the temple for all the work that is to be done in it.
“‘But the Levitical priests, who are descendants of Zadok and who guarded my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign Lord.  They alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table to minister before me and serve me as guards.
“‘When they enter the gates of the inner court, they are to wear linen clothes; they must not wear any woolen garment while ministering at the gates of the inner court or inside the temple.  They are to wear linen turbans on their heads and linen undergarments around their waists. They must not wear anything that makes them perspire.  When they go out into the outer court where the people are, they are to take off the clothes they have been ministering in and are to leave them in the sacred rooms, and put on other clothes, so that the people are not consecrated through contact with their garments.
“‘They must not shave their heads or let their hair grow long, but they are to keep the hair of their heads trimmed.  No priest is to drink wine when he enters the inner court.  They must not marry widows or divorced women; they may marry only virgins of Israelite descent or widows of priests.  They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.
“‘In any dispute, the priests are to serve as judges and decide it according to my ordinances. They are to keep my laws and my decrees for all my appointed festivals, and they are to keep my Sabbaths holy.
“‘A priest must not defile himself by going near a dead person; however, if the dead person was his father or mother, son or daughter, brother or unmarried sister, then he may defile himself.  After he is cleansed, he must wait seven days.  On the day he goes into the inner court of the sanctuary to minister in the sanctuary, he is to offer a sin offering for himself, declares the Sovereign Lord.
“‘I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession.  They will eat the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings; and everything in Israel devoted to the Lord will belong to them.  The best of all the firstfruits and of all your special gifts will belong to the priests. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal so that a blessing may rest on your household.  The priests must not eat anything, whether bird or animal, found dead or torn by wild animals.

  • Ezekiel 44:1-31

Ezekiel 45:1-25 – Click the link HERE to read this at Biblegateway.com

Ezekiel 46:1-24 – Click the link HERE to read this at Biblegateway.com

Ezekiel 47:1-23 – Click the link HERE to read this at Biblegateway.com

Ezekiel 48:1-35 – Click the link HERE to read this at Biblegateway.com

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Ezekiel 44 ‘introduction’: “Have you ever visited an impressive religious monument? There have been many temples, sanctuaries, and structures built to honor and worship the gods of various cultures. Most of these structures are now nothing more than tourist sites. While Ezekiel has been given a tour of the great Millennial Temple, the Word of the Lord makes it very clear that this is a holy place and it has a holy purpose. …
“The nation of Israel has experienced short-lived stability for most of its existence. The tabernacle was a tent in the wilderness that was packed up and moved through the Exodus journey. There was no permanent place for the house of the Lord until Solomon completed the temple in 961 B. C., but four hundred years later, it was destroyed. In 516 B. C., the temple built under Zerubbabel’s supervision was completed, and then around 20 B. C. King Herod began to remodel it. Herod created a grand structure over a period of 46 years, yet six short years after its completion, it was destroyed by the Romans. (AD 70) Since that time, the Jewish Diaspora has packed up and relocated from one territory to another, always struggling to have a home of their own. Even now, the territories in which they live are under negotiation. Things will be different during the Millennial Kingdom! The vision of the temple shown to Ezekiel indicates a permanent dwelling for the Lord, a place where He will live in their midst forever, and they will have a land of their own.
“When was the last time that you were moved in such a Way by the glory of the Lord?  Seeing the Lord in all of His glory, experiencing His presence on the mountaintop, and knowing Him as your Lord are preparations for you to respond to His call. He prepares us to do His work by showing Himself to us.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 44:5-9 ‘Mark well who may enter’: “Since the Lord’s glory fills the temple, it is sanctified (v. 4), and God is particular about what kind of people worship there. Sins of the past, as in chapters 8-11, must not be repeated and, if they are, will exclude their perpetrators from the temple. Only the circumcised in heart may enter (Deut. 30:6; Jer. 4:4; Rom. 2:25-29), whether of Israel or another nation (vv. 7, 9). Many other peoples than Jews will go into the kingdom in unresurrected bodies, because they have believed in Jesus Christ and were ready for His coming. They will escape His deadly judgment and populate and reproduce in the one-thousand-year kingdom. Such circumcision pertains to a heart which is sincere about removing sin and being devoted to the Lord (cf. Jer. 29:13). In the Millennium, a Jew with an uncircumcised heart will be considered a foreigner (v. 9). ‘Uncircumcised in flesh’ refers to sinners and ‘foreigner’ identifies rejecters of the true God.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 44 ‘summary’: “Have you ever heard of Zadok? I think that he is one of the great unsung heroes! He was more faithful and obedient than most of our favorite Bible characters. I’m sure he wasn’t perfect, but he sets a compelling example for us to follow.
“A look into the New Testament will help us see how we are to be faithful in that to which the Lord has called us. ‘Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes will find so doing.’ Matthew 24:45,46
“We have just seen the incredible vision of the return of the glory of the Lord to His temple.  During the culture of Ezekiel’s time, measuring property was symbolic of taking ownership of the place, and we have seen that every aspect of the future Millennial temple was measured rod by rod and cubit by cubit! That’s a clear indication that the Lord has claimed this temple as His very own dwelling place. He arrived, and shut the door behind Him; He will dwell there forever.
“Sacrifices will be offered to Him there, and His people will be shepherded by none other than the Lord’s Anointed One — Jesus Christ. The Millennial temple will be a place set apart, holy to the Lord, and His faithful servants will minister to Him there.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 45-46 ‘introduction’: “We are about to conclude our study of the book of Ezekiel. The Lord spoke to him over a twenty-five year period, and we ’ve only spent a short time absorbing what He said. I hope you are more familiar with the Word of the Lord to Ezekiel, but you probably don’t feel like you’ve mastered it. I certainly don’t!
“We are still in the midst of studying the written account of Ezekiel ’s vision of the Millennial Kingdom. It is complex and details topics with which we are not familiar. There are many more measurements to plot, as well as feasts and offerings to understand. But let me entice you with something else to come: the scene of a river flowing through the land: ‘Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food,’ their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary.’ (Ezekiel 4 7:12)”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 45:1-5 ‘a district for the Lord’: “This sacred land, set apart at the heart (center) of Palestine, is separate from allotments designated for various tribes, seven to the north and five lo the south (cf. ch. 48). Though the whole earth is the Lord’s (Ps. 24:1), this area is meaningful to Him in a special sense, providing for special purposes which 45:2-8 goes on to define. This holy rectangle (8.5 miles by 3.3 miles) corresponds to 48:8-22, which describes this portion as between Judah to the north and Benjamin to the south, extending from the Mediterranean Sea east to the border. It is the area for the priestly homes (v. 4) particularly, but is also for the benefit of all worshipers.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 45:8, 9-12 ‘My princes shall no longer oppress’: “God pledges a kingdom era free from civil leaders selfishly taking advantage of the people, i.e., seizing their land (cf. 22:27; Num. 36:7-9; 1 Kin. 21; Is. 5:8; Hos. 5:10; Mic. 2:1, 2). The princes most likely are the leaders of each tribe. No one will be deprived of his possession under Messiah’s rule.
“The leaders of the land are urged to be thoroughly honest in their commercial dealings. This warning shows that there will be sin in the Millennium. The believing Jews who entered the one-thousand-year reign of Christ on earth and inherited the promised kingdom will be fully human and, therefore, capable of such sins. There also will be children who do not necessarily believe, as the final rebellion against King Messiah and His temple proves (cf Rev. 20:7-9).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 45:7-17 ‘’: “”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 47:1-12 ‘introduction’: “Do you see that the Lord is ordaining a specific pattern of worship? In the past, the Israelites had broken the laws of the sanctuary. Priests had offered ‘profane fire’ at the tabernacle in the wilderness when it was the duty of the High Priest alone. Kings entered the Most Holy Place when the Lord had appointed only the High Priest to do so. Gentiles had set up abominable idols on the ‘seat’ of the Lord, where the ark of the covenant was located. The manner of worship prescribed in Ezekiel allowed for the temple to be treated as the Holy Place that it was. It was another opportunity for the people to keep the law of the temple, all of its ordinances, all of its forms, and all of its laws. Because the whole area is holy.
“So far, in this grand vision of the future, since Ezekiel 40, we’ve studied the architectural plans, the people, the priests, the prince, and the places of worship. We ’ve observed that the priests, the prince, and the people will present sacrifices and offerings to the Lord. Let ’s look more closely at these sacrifices now. Each of the offerings described in the Mosaic regulations are presented to the Lord during the Millennial reign.
The offerings and sacrifices were to represent the people’s heart of worship, but the people’s hearts were as hard as stone. In the Millennial Kingdom, the Israelites will be able to worship the Lord with their new hearts; they will worship Him with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their strength. Taking a literal interpretation of these Scriptures directs us to conclude that real sacrifices will be made. Keeping the whole Biblical context in mind leads us to understand these sacrifices as memorial ordinances, just as the Lord’s Supper is a memorial ordinance for believers today.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 47:8 ‘River to the Dead Sea’: “The remarkable vision is exceedingly reassuring to those who are troubled by reason of the dreadful condition of the times, and which of us are not? The prophet bids us think of those waters, dreary and dreadful, known by the suggestive name of the Dead Sea. This was the ‘Chamber of Horrors’ of the land of Canaan [ED: an allusion to one of the attractions at Madame Tussauds in London, which opened in 1802]. Travelers describe it as a place of utter desolation. Lying in a deep hollow, some thirteen hundred feet below any other sea, the Dead Sea may be described as deep sunken into the earth, like the mouth of the abyss. It is a place most dread and dismal, the bath of death, the haunt of despair, the home of desolation; and in these respects it is a fit picture of our fallen humanity, a truthful symbol of the whole world, which lies in the wicked one.
“In certain respects such is every man’s natural heart until he is renewed by grace.  The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked and may be well typified by the Sea of Death. If we could but look into it with such eyes as God has, what would we not see? When we are led to gaze on it through our tears, because the Holy Spirit has anointed our eyes with eye salve, and we perceive things in their naked truth, we are distressed beyond expression.  What a thing is human nature!
“Ezekiel saw in a vision the means of the healing of the dreary Lake of Death; the method was simple but effectual. What he saw represented the gospel dispensation—the whole system of divine grace, the gospel attended by the power of the Holy Spirit, the cross and all the truths that come out of it, the message of salvation, the preaching of faith, the testimony of God the Father to the redeeming work of his Son—all this is the river that flows down into this desert world by its own force, that is now making its way into the most horrible guilt and corruption with set purpose so that the waters may be healed.  Be of good courage, for the waters, of which we all loathe drinking will be purified.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

Ezekiel 47 ‘the throne of God’: “The book closes with a wonderful passage in chapter 47 describing Ezekiel’s vision of God’s throne. From beneath the throne comes the river of God, flowing majestically through the temple, out the eastern side, down across the land, and gently spilling into the Dead Sea to heal its waters. It is a marvelous picture of the healing, cleansing, restoring Spirit of God in the day of the millennial kingdom.”

  • Ray C. Stedman, Adventuring through the Bible

Ezekiel 47 ‘the river flows from it’: “The literal interpretation of Ezekiel is that it is a prophecy of Israel’s restoration. But that does not exhaust the meaning of this book by any means. The entire story can be applied not only to Israel’s history and future, but to our own lives in an intensely practical way. What God is doing on a large scale in the history of the world, He is also ready to do on the intimate scale of your life.
“God wants to call the dry bones of your empty existence together and breathe life into your soul. He wants to reverse the process of disintegration in your life and heal you by the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. God wants us to experience the abundant life every day.
“Through this passage, God invites us to experience the glorious ideal manhood and womanhood that He intended for us from the beginning of creation. He wants us to rise up and walk in His power, alive and energized by the Holy Spirit, conquering His enemies by His arm of strength, demonstrating His power by the way we live our lives.”

  • Ray C. Stedman, Adventuring through the Bible

Ezekiel 47:1-12 ‘summary’: “What would we do without water? Our bodies are composed of over 70% water. It is essential for proper digestion and nutrient absorption. It is essential for proper circulation, and it helps remove wastes and toxins from our bodies. Water regulates our bodies’ temperatures. Failure to drink enough water can lead to dehydration. We can apply these physical facts about water to our spiritual lives!
“When Jesus spoke of Living Water, He was speaking of the Holy Spirit. We have no life without the Spirit. Remember the dry bones in Ezekiel 37? The bones came together and skin covered them, creating corpses — with ‘no breath in them.’  The Lord explained the demonstration in Ezekiel 37:14: ‘I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live.’  Without the Spirit giving us understanding, we cannot digest and absorb the Word of God. Without the Holy Spirit controlling our lives, our temperatures can get pretty hot! Without the Holy Spirit, we are completely dehydrated and spiritually dead.
“You are sealed with the Spirit, but don’t seal Him up in you. Let the fountain of living waters quench your soul and flow out through your words and actions that others around you might be refreshed and resuscitated.
“Our literal interpretation of these Scriptures indicates that this river will flow in the land of Israel one day.  The vision of the river in Israel is a continuation of the theme of abundant blessing, a garden of Eden paradisiacal setting and a provision of food, fruit, and fish. All flows from the throne of God.  He is the source of goodness and blessing.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 47:13-48 ‘introduction’: “lf you have trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you are not in exile. You have been set free from the captivity of sin and death. You are, however, a stranger and an alien here on this earth. [The] Lord has quite some plans for the future home of His chosen people, the Israelites.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 47:13-48 ‘summary’: “At the present time, there are eight gates in Jerusalem, but one has been sealed shut. The Eastern Gate in the wall around the city was permanently closed by the Muslim Suleiman the Magnificent because he knew the Jews anticipated the return of the Messiah through the eastern gate. When Jesus Christ the Messiah comes back, no sealed gate will keep Him out of His holy city!
“The King of Glory shall come in! Yes, He shall! When He arrives in the city, it will have a new name. Nowhere in the prophecy of Ezekiel 40-46 have we seen the city called Jerusalem or called by any other name. It is declared in the last sentence of the book of Ezekiel. It truly is the grand finale to the prophecy.
“This city will truly be the joy of the whole earth, for the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place, saying ‘This is my resting place forever.’  (Psalm 131:13, 14) Let the things you have seen and studied … soak in and lead you to worship your Lord because He is there, with you, right now. We will continue rejoicing in all that He has done and all that He is going to do.
“The Israelites experienced the shekinah glory of the Lord, His very presence, during their exodus from Egypt. They experienced His presence as they conquered the land of Canaan, as they settled there, and as they grew as a nation under King David. They experienced His presence even as they committed atrocious idolatry against Him during the reign of the kings of Judah and the kings of Israel.
“But then, the Lord left. The glory of the Lord departed from Jerusalem. And the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel. He experienced the presence of the Lord in all of His glory. He experienced the presence of the Lord in the power of the Spirit. He experienced the presence of the Lord as he received visions of the new covenant and the Shepherd-King.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 48:35 ‘The Lord is There’: “Finally, Ezekiel concludes his prophecy by identifying the name of this twelve-gate city. It is ‘THE LORD IS THERE.’ ‘Jerusalem’ is conspicuous by its absence. What gives the city any kind of sanctity is not tradition, but the presence of the Lord. His glory is not confined to the temple. It spills into the whole land.  In Ezekiel’s city and John’s city (Rev. 21:12ff.) the climax is the same: God’s dwelling is with men.”

  • Walter A. Elwell, editor, Baker Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 48:35 ‘Without God?’: “If we would escape from the presence of God, our state is clearly revealed by that fact. There can be no heaven for us, for heaven is where the Lord’s presence is fullness of joy. If we could be happy to be far off from God, I must tell you what our fate will be. We are now going away from God in our heart and desire; and at last the great judge of all will say to us, “Depart, you cursed.” And we will then be driven from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.
“I know there is a company who can truly say they feel only happy when they are conscious that God is with them. The place where they meet with the Lord is dear and precious to them because of his unveilings. The memory of holy convocations is sweet because the Lord was among them. They would not care to go where God is not. If there were a place forsaken of God, however happy and full of merriment men might think it, they would not be found among its guests. Where we cannot enjoy God’s company, we will not go.  In him we live, and move, and have our being; and, therefore, it would be death to us to be apart from God. Without God we should be without hope. Whatever our difficulties, trials, and sorrows, all is well with us if God is our delight and his presence our joy.  But, however high our temporal enjoyments may rise, it is all wrong with us if we can rest away from the God of grace.  The child must be in a sad state of heart when he does not care to have his father’s approving smile. Things must be terribly wrong with any creature when it can be content to walk contrary to its Creator.  Nothing but the corruption of the heart could permit any man to be at ease away from God.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

My Thoughts

Again, like the previous chapters, there is a lot of detail and a lot of measurements.  It is made clear in the apportionments that the twelve tribes will be reunited.  While the scholars comment that God is making His home there, staking His claim, there is also a claim for each of the twelve tribes.  This would bring hope to the Israelites, but also to us as well.  God promises us an inheritance.

One gate in Jerusalem has been sealed, according to Elizabeth Ficken, but as she says, God will use that gate.  The eastern gate will be the entrance for the Prince. The Prince is not Jesus, for he offers sacrifices for his sin.  There are arguments as to who this Prince could be, a descendant of David perhaps?

Zadok was a priest during David’s reign as king.  When Absalom had his insurrection, Zadok and Abiathar followed David, but David had them turn back and continue to serve in the tabernacle.  They were still loyal to David, but they were also privy to what Absalom was doing.  Later, when Adonijah established himself as king near the time that David died, it was Zadok who ensured that Solomon would ascend to the throne.  In the face of the worshipping of false gods, Zadok remained true to the Lord.

Is it odd that the priests inherit nothing?  But they have want for nothing.  They enjoy the first fruits.

A television show featuring four pastors recently discussed first fruits.  The first fruits are the initial harvested grain, fruit, or veggies, the best of the best.  Then, later the harvest comes where the crop is gathered, but the first fruits are selectively picked.  In a society outside an agricultural society, there must be some kind of equivalent established that conveys that same message of the prime selection.  The same panel of pastors also said that we are not just to give a tenth of our money, but a tenth of our time, our energy, our everything.

I have noted how many of the prophets mentioned the sin of corrupt scales, usually toward the northern tribes, but not exclusively.  Again, corrupt scales appears, but in a positive light that there will be no corrupt scales.

In my work in maintenance engineering, if an instrument had to be calibrated back to the national standards, special care was made if anything needed adjustment.  If large adjustments were made, all measurements since the previous calibration were then made suspect.  Countless things would have to be retested or measured.  When I worked in the nuclear industry, once you brought an instrument into a nuclear contamination area, it could never leave to be calibrated.  It was considered contaminated.  So how do you keep your “standards” in a clean area while the instruments to be calibrated remained in the contamination area?  I created a device that kept the division between the clean and the contaminated but allowed for an interface to ensure recalibration back to the national standard.  So, this discussion of the measures may have been boring for most readers, but I understood the deep intricacies.  It was as if the concept of a set “standard” where humidity control and temperature control were a must …  All that was hinted in God’s insistence on precise measurement in Ezekiel 45.

And with all the strife in Israel today, it is interesting that foreigners will inherit a portion (Ezekiel 47:22-23).

Some Serendipitous Reflections

“1. Circumcision made a male a Jew. Why did God exclude non-Jews from his temple?  What slang word for ‘Gentile’ did Jesus use (see Mk 7:26-27)? Is there any type of person you‘d just as soon not speak to?
“2. What rite makes a person a Christian?  Ezekiel spoke of those whose hearts weren’t circumcised. Can there be Christians whose hearts aren’t baptized?
“3. Why is the Lord so concerned with the cleanness of his representatives? Have prominent figures who claim to represent God been known for cleanness in our society? How has this affected God’s reputation? Does your life show the cleanness or holiness of God?
“4. What characterizes your tithes and offerings: (a) Prime rib? (b) Rump roast? (c) Leftovers? How can you give God your first fruits?  ls money the only acceptable sacrifice?
“5. What do you think of Ezekiel’s system for paying priests? Is this how modern ministers should be compensated?
“1. Why does God care about land distribution, weights and measures? Should Christians be more concerned about people’s ’spiritual’ needs?
“2. How do people in your line of work commonly ‘bend the rules’? Have you ever done this?
“3. Do people in power have more temptation than others, or does power simply attract corruptible people?
“1. Imagine you are an Israelite worshipping in the temple. What do you see, hear, smell, and taste? What effect does such a service have on you’? What effect do you think the Lord wants to produce? How does this effect compare to the one at your church?
“2. Israel worshipped the Lord by offering him things. What can we offer him? Could you afford one-tenth of your time every day (2.4 hours)?
“3. Can you think of Christian equivalents to: (a) Passover? (b) Feast of Harvest (or ‘Weeks’)? (c) Feast of lngathering (or ‘Booths’)? (d) Sabbath? (e) New Moon?
“4. Does your relationship with God contain as much celebration as Israel’s did? Should it? Do you have an idea for a special ‘small group festival’ you can celebrate together?
“1. What might Ezekiel‘s river represent? How do Jesus and the NT writers use the image of the river (Jn 4:14, Rev 22:2)?
“2. What best describes your relationship with God: (a) Dying of thirst? (b) Man overboard? (c) Treading water? (d) Overflowing? (e) Water-logged? (f) Smooth sailing?
“3. Does some part of your life feel like a parched desert? What could happen that would be like living water in the desert?
“4. Picture the spiritual life as a river that keeps getting deeper and deeper. Are you ‘testing the waters’? Ankle deep? Up to your waist? What is the next step? Can the small group help you take it?
“1. How important is ‘settling down’ to you? Do you need land? A house? An army to protect them?
“2. What people in your area are regarded as ‘aliens’? ls there prejudice in your town? Does your church have the racial and social mix of the surrounding population? Does the small group?
“3. Has God given you an inheritance or were you ‘left out of the will’? What is it? What would you like it to be?
“1. When you picture God’s kingdom coming to this world, do you see economic justice as a central feature? Why or why not? Should it be? What do you imagine it will look like?
“2. Should individual rights suffer for the good of the community, or should the community suffer to protect individual rights? What prevails in this country?
“3. What are the biggest barriers to community in your neighborhood? How can you promote community in the world?
“1. What name would you give this small group to express its nature and purpose?
“2. The prophets often see the image of God living in the midst of a peaceful city. Why hasn‘t it come to pass? Do you think we humans are called to build the ‘beautiful city,’ or is that a job only for God?
“3. In John’s vision of the ‘New Jerusalem’ (see Rev 21 -22), what kind of person will live there? Are you one of its citizens?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

There is one set of questions per chapter, with two sets of questions for chapter 47 and 48.

I was a bit disappointed in these questions from the Serendipity Bible.  The questions that refer to small groups could apply to many different groups, but in these questions, it implies that the small group could be a source of mutual support rather than a group with which to only share worship and Bible study time.  Do you have that kind of a group that you can depend upon in difficult times?

Many of the questions for chapter 44 seem to have a poor grasp of spiritual circumcision (although the text states spiritual and physical circumcision) and baptism of the Spirit.

The second question 1 is answered in the scholarly quotations.  The fifth set of questions, for the second half of chapter 47, talks of diversity, but the language used may not sound sincere.  If God promises us an inheritance, how can we be left out of the will?

And with the last question, Why is the city referred to as the New Jerusalem in John’s Revelation, but in Ezekiel, it is simply called “The Lord lives here”?

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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