What is Ezekiel's River?

Ezekiel saw a great river that went down into the Dead Sea, producing life where it went. This is a glorious picture of the power of the message about Jesus the Messiah, which brings life to those who receive and trust the message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The change of hearts that results from acceptance of this message has the power to heal the nations and bring peace to all who believe.
Ezek 47:1-12
1 Then he brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar.
2 He brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by way of the gate that faces east. And behold, water was trickling from the south side.
3 When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles.
4 Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the loins.
5 Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.
6 He said to me, "Son of man, have you seen this?" Then he brought me back to the bank of the river.
7 Now when I had returned, behold, on the bank of the river there were very many trees on the one side and on the other.
8 Then he said to me, "These waters go out toward the eastern region and go down into the Arabah; then they go toward the sea, being made to flow into the sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh.
9 "It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.
10 "And it will come about that fishermen will stand beside it; from Engedi to Eneglaim there will be a place for the spreading of nets. Their fish will be according to their kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea, very many.
11 "But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt.
12 "By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing." NASU

This vision of Ezekiel is a vivid picture of the power of the gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ, the crucified and resurrected Son of God. This message began to be taught at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost following the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth at the time of the Passover, probably in AD 30. First the message spread among the Jews who had gathered at Jerusalem for the occasion, and then spread throughout the nation of Israel, and then to all nations of the earth. Wherever honest hearts received the message, new life of concern for fellow man began, like the healing of the waters of the Dead Sea by the river that flowed there in the vision. But the message about Jesus the Messiah was not received everywhere, but like the evaporation ponds of the Dead Sea today, some areas would not be healed by the flowing waters, but be left for salt.

Godís prophet Isaiah gave a parallel prophecy recorded in Isa 2:1-3
1 The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
3 And many peoples will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths."
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem
The prophet Zechariah made a similar prediction, recorded in Zech 14:6-9
6 In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle.
7 For it will be a unique day which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light.
8 And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.
9 And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.
Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, and gave them their marching orders. This is recorded in the gospel of Matthew, Matt 28:18 Ė20:
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Christianity spread throughout the world. Within three centuries, Christianity had changed the nature of manís devotion from worship of pagan idols to the worship of the true and living God who has revealed himself in history. All over the world, the idol temples fell into ruins, and the exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord of all was demonstrated.

The establishment of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire soon led to the corruption of the faith of the church, as political power, wealth, and social position became the goals of some leaders within the church. This corruption opened the door for the purge of the church by the followers of Mohammad, who soon established their rule from India to Spain, enforcing their religious faith by the power of the sword.

Three branches of the descendants of Abraham (Jews through Isaac, Arabs through Ishmael, and Christians through Jesus, descendant of David) became entwined in a struggle that has dominated history. The promise of the angel to Hagar regarding her son Ishmael has been amply fulfilled. He became the father of twelve princes, and the resulting Arab tribes. And his violent promise has been realized, as predicted by the angel, recorded in Genesis, Gen 16:7-13:

7 Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.
8 He said, "Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from and where are you going?" And she said, "I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai."
9 Then the angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority."
10 Moreover, the angel of the LORD said to her, "I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count."
11 The angel of the LORD said to her further,
"Behold, you are with child,
And you will bear a son;
And you shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.
12 "He will be a wild donkey of a man,
His hand will be against everyone,
And everyone's hand will be against him;
And he will live to the east of all his brothers."

Today it is into this dead sea of hatred that the love of Jesus is again being poured forth like springs in the desert. The prophet Isaiah described the gospel in this way:

Isa 35
1 The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like the crocus 2 It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, The majesty of our God. 3 Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. 4 Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you." 5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. 6 Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah. 7 The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs of water; In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, Grass becomes reeds and rushes. 8 A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it. 9 No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there, 10 And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Jesus Christ is the hope for peace in the Middle East, for Jew, Christian, and Palestinian. When people stop hating each other, and begin to think about what is best for everyone involved, it will be like water in the desert that causes the crocus to blossom profusely.

The gospel of Jesus Christ, calling us to life in the presence of the living God who has revealed himself in history, and spoken through his prophets, can bring life to the land plagued by the darkness of ancient hatreds and rivalries.

Yeshua is the promised messiah, and he rules within the hearts of all who trust in him. Those who refuse his presence are like the flats of the Dead Sea, left for salt. Those who trust in him will have abundant life, and will produce healing for the nations.

Randolph Gonce