Ezekiel:47:1 – Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar.
This River has shown up all throughout the history of prophetic revelation. In Ezekiel’s vision he sees the water flowing out from the threshold of the temple. This is quite stunning in light of what John tells us in Revelation. He says that there is no temple (per se) in the city because the Lord is the temple. This corresponds to what John also said, the River flows from the throne of the Father and the Son of God. Here are some interesting comments on this passage from John Bunyan.
“This water is said in Ezekiel and Revelation to have the tree of life grow on the banks of it and was a type of the Word and Spirit of God, by which Christ himself sanctified himself, in order to worship as high priest (Ezek 47; Rev 22). And also this water is that which heals all those that shall be saved and by which, they being sanctified thereby also, do all their works of worship and service acceptably, through Jesus Christ our Lord. This water therefore is said to go forth into the sea, the world, and to heal its fish, the sinners therein; indeed, this is that water of which Christ Jesus our Lord says, “Whoever shall drink thereof shall live forever”.
Bunyan says that this River speaks to us of the Word and the Spirit. He says it is the River that sanctifies us to minister as priests before the Lord. He also says that this water heals all of those that shall be saved, it is the Spirit that draws us, regenerates us, and perfects us for our priestly duties. Then Bunyan makes an interesting observation reminiscent of what Jesus said to Peter about being a fisher of men. Bunyan says the water goes out to heal the fish or the sinners of the world. Just as Jesus ministered to the Samaritan woman and restored her, this River attracts and heals all the so called fish in the sea. The River is still flowing out from the threshold of the temple, today the temple is the local church. These waters are for the healing and conversion of the nations.
Ezekiel.47:9 – And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the river goes, will live.
Ezekiel’s vision is a glimpse into the recovery of our world at the end of this age. Ezekiel saw the millennial temple and the river of God flowing out to bring healing to our devastated world. When Jesus returns there will be a great need for the healing nature of His river to flow all throughout the land. In Ezekiel’s vision the Lord led Ezekiel out into the healing waters for himself. We don’t have to wait for the millennium to enjoy the healing properties of the River of God. Even now anyone who is thirsty can come and drink. This living water will flow into you and heal and restore every broken part of your life. Everything, from your mind to your emotions, your inner man to your body; everywhere this river flows there is healing and there is life. Here is how Matthew Henry described this passage.
“The healing virtue of this river. The waters of the sanctuary, wherever they come and have a free course, will be found a wonderful restorative. Being brought forth into the sea, the sulphureous lake of Sodom, that standing monument of divine vengeance, even those waters shall be healed, shall become sweet, and pleasant, and healthful. This intimates the wonderful and blessed change that the gospel would make, wheresoever it came in its power, a great change, in respect both of character and condition, as the turning of the dead sea into a fountain of gardens…..Christ, coming into the world to be its physician, sent his gospel as the great medicine, the panpharmacon; there is in it a remedy for every malady. Nay, wherever these rivers come, they make things to live, both plants and animals; they are the water of life. Christ came, that we might have life and for that end he sends his gospel. Every thing shall live whither the river comes. The grace of God makes dead sinners alive and living saints lively; everything is made fruitful and flourishing by it.”
The river restores every part of our life. Actually the river is a person, the blessed Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a healing spirit; the Holy Spirit is the spirit of life. Today, find some way to get into the river. Worship the Lord, gather with friends in prayer, find a service where the Holy Spirit is being poured out; Push out into the depths of the river and experience His healing and life.
Ezek. 47:4 Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep.
At first glance, it seems like this vision is about you wading out into the deep places in God’s river But maybe there is more to it than that. Maybe this vision is about the river in you. Maybe this vision is about the deep places of God’s grace that He has worked in your life. Didn’t the Apostle Peter talk about growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus our Lord? If that is the case, are you growing up into the knowledge of Jesus our Savior? Is Christ being formed in you or are you stuck in the stagnant swamp of lethargy or worldly behavior? Let’s follow Ezekiel as we allow God to work His work in us. Here are some thoughts from Maclaren on the powerful prophetic vision.
“It came from the abundant welling-up in the sanctuary. The fountain was the mother of the river—that is to say, God’s ideal for the world, for the Church, for the individual Christian, is rapid increase in their experience of the depth and the force of the stream of blessings which together make up salvation. So we come to a very sharp testing question. Will anybody tell me that the rate at which Christianity has grown for these nineteen centuries corresponds with Ezekiel’s vision—which is God’s ideal? Will any Christian man say, ‘My own growth in grace, and increase in the depth and fulness of the flow of the river through my spirit and my life correspond to that ideal’? A mile from the source the river is unfordable. How many miles from the source of our first experience do we stand? How many of us, instead of having ‘a river that could not be passed over, waters to swim in,’ have but a poor and all but stagnant feeble trickle, as shallow as or shallower than it was at first?”
So rather than hanging out in the shallow places of our early experiences let’s press on to know the Lord. There is more of God available for each of us, more than we ever imagined. Letting go and following Ezekiel as he wades deeper and deeper will begin your greatest adventure, it will start you on the journey that will define your purpose in life.
Ezek. 47:3 ¶ And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles.
Ezek. 47:4 Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist.
Ezek. 47:5 Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed.
This is quite an amazing passage of scripture, Ezekiel recounting one of the many visions he had while in exile on the banks of the Chebar River. This particular vision is a picture of the temple of God with a river flowing out from the threshold. Of course the temple is a picture of Christ and the River is the River of the Spirit of God flowing out from the Lord. An angel guide begins to take Ezekiel out into the River measuring a thousand cubits between each stop. The first stop the River measures ankle deep. This could be interpreted as a Christian being touched by the River and The River having an effect on his walk, how he lives his life. The second stop the River advances to the knees. This could mean that as the believer goes deeper into the River that prayer becomes a normal part of his life. The third stop has the River up to his waste, the actual direction and thrust of the Christian’s life is being influenced by the River of God. The final stop has the River going over Ezekiel’s head. This speaks to us of a life totally taken over by God. The believer’s entire life has been swallowed up, he has now taken on the identity of Christ.
You and I live in the time of the incredible fulfillment of this prophesy. The Spirit is being poured out on all flesh.
Our church, like many others, experienced an incredible touch of the River of God beginning in 1994. Shortly after the visitation began in our church I realized it had been going on in other places for several years and I was clueless. I don’t want to be clueless. Ezekiel’s River is flowing in our generation, wade out into the waters, let Him have more of your life. Soon, you may find yourself swimming in the River of God.
THE GREAT FLOOD OF 2011
…it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through.
It seems like every week we have another unprecedented tragedy demanding our attention. If it is not an earthquake or a tsunami, it may be a nuclear disaster. If not a nuclear tragedy, then maybe another terrorist attack or the capture or death of the world’s most wanted. This week we are having catastrophic flooding, floods we haven’t seen in our lifetime. If we are not careful, it is easy to become callous and not realize individual’s lives are being decimated in these horrible events. I drove through the Morganza Spillway recently and was painfully aware of what may happen next week. Hundreds of homes are in the path of the Mississippi River and will be destroyed if they open the gates. Many will lose all they have (further north people have already lost everything).
Floods are often catastrophic but are also a picture of the move of the Holy Spirit. I had a vision when I fell into a trance in the outpouring of 1994. In this vision I saw the whole New Orleans region under water. I do not feel this vision was fulfilled in the Katrina event of 2005. The sense that I had was this flood was the flooding of a river and not of a storm. Don’t be alarmed, it seemed this flood was not a catastrophe but actually the greatest blessing of our lifetime. I believe it was a glimpse of a coming regional spiritual awakening, one pictured by the river of the Holy Spirit seen in the vision of Ezekiel.
When the Spirit of God begins to visit an area, it can be quit alarming. The Holy Spirit will come suddenly and for many, unexpectedly. It will carry many of the similarities of a river. It is powerful and uncontrollable. It has cleansing characteristics as well as the ability to bring fertility and prosperity in its wake. The one thing that we sometimes forget is this, this spiritual river is more than an experience that we can take or leave. The River is a person, the third person of the trinity, the beautiful Holy Spirit.
He is flowing out from the Father and the Son, the actual manifestation of the Father’s love for His Son, expressed in a person. This awakening may be upon us. As we have seen the signs of the times all around us, the greatest sign of all is the flooding of this spiritual river. Get ready, the greatest Bible days of all may be just ahead.