Ezekiel 47:1-12 is what your life will look like as you live and are obedient to what God wrote in His book about you.
In Part 3 I dealt with the strongholds of the mind but now it’s time to see your promised life in Christ.
Envision enjoying a day-by-day experience with Christ Jesus that fills you to overflowing. What if you could hear God’s voice like Jesus did?
What’s more, imagine a scenario where you wake up morning by morning to His voice. Well, that’s exactly what He does.
“The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed” (Isaiah 50:4).
You may wake up with a song going through your mind, or a Scripture comes to your attention or somebody is placed on your heart you should call.
What God wrote in His book about you is lived only one way, and that way is living in the Spirit’s flow. You are aware what the Holy Spirit is saying to you as you fellowship with Him. Conversational Prayer is God communicating with you.
Let’s look at a vision Ezekiel received from God which shows what the Spirit-filled life looks like. Even though this vision was given thousands of years ago it still speaks to every believer today. It shows us the role of the Holy Spirit and where we are as we participate with Him.
Ezekiel’s vision is full of symbols and the Bible will interpret those symbols for us so we can spiritually understand God’s message to us about the ministry of the Holy Spirit for 21st century followers of Christ.
Interpretations of Ezekiel’s vision may vary, so I want to offer what I believe the Spirit has revealed to me. I pray you’ll see and understand some of the same things I see.
I love how the Holy Spirit speaks to us, sometimes from the Scriptures, sometimes through dreams and visions but, everything He reveals to us, is confirmed by the Scriptures.
Also as we look at this vision other Scripture passages may come to your mind that will confirm what you believe you’re seeing and hearing. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth to open our eyes and ears in the Spirit so we can be sensitive to His meaning of this vision. Read through this passage now.
1 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar.
2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side.
3 As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep.
4 He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist.
5 He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.
6 He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river.
7 When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river.
8 He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the
Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh.
9 Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.
10 Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea.
11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt.
12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47:1-12
Symbols everywhere! “I can’t make heads nor tails out of them,” you may be thinking. This is where we need to ask ourselves some questions?
- What is the main symbol?
- What are the other symbols?
- Are there any other Scriptures that speak about these symbols?
- How does the whole vision make me feel?
What follows next is the interpretation of a dream I had on January 9, 2017, that put Ezekiel’s vision into perspective for anyone who desires to walk in ALL the will of God.
In addition, Conversational Prayer came into clearer focus for me like never before after understanding Ezekiel’s vision.
And you will see, God’s PROMISE of Life flows out of you to touch those around you and Ezekiel’s vision is a picture of a person maturing in Christ and influencing those around them.
First, the main symbol is the river. Two Scriptures confirm the meaning of the river.
“He who believes in Me as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water,’ but this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those that believed in Him were to receive. . .” John 7:38-39a. Jesus clearly identifies the river as the Spirit.
The second reference is Revelation 22:1-7,17,
“And He showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, bearing its fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. . . And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”
Now let’s apply Ezekiel’s vision to your life. The unmistakable evidence of the Spirit in a believer’s life is: increasing depth, freshness, fruitfulness, gives life, and helps others heal.
Ezekiel 47:1 starts with Ezekiel getting a tour of a house and was brought to the door. In Scripture Jesus identifies Himself as the door, John 10:9.
“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Ezekiel sees that water (the Spirit) is flowing from under the threshold of the temple, the unending spring of the Holy Spirit is flowing. Immediately I thought of the Boiling Springs swimming pool.
My friends and I swam there every summer and what made the pool so special was where the water came from to fill the pools. On a hot steamy day, the water is always crystal clear, refreshing, and invigorating because the water comes from the natural artesian well springs located in and around the town.
As we continue our journey of faith, we can see ourselves in this picture, in the temple. As we come to faith in Christ we welcome Him to make our body into the temple of the Holy Spirit.
“Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, you were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body” (I Corinthians 6:19-20).
The Scriptures help us to interpret this vision of the temple. We are that temple where the Spirit dwells, he never leaves us because He comes to stay.
But there’s more, this vision is only beginning to unfold. But I was like so many, I was saved and indwelt by the Holy Spirit and was content to stay there not knowing there was so much more to experience.
Remember Ezekiel’s taking a tour of the temple, and now his tour guide takes him outside the temple to see the waters representing the Spirit flowing from the south side of the altar toward the outside of the temple. We need to see the invitation to us is to progress in the ministry of the Holy Spirit after regeneration (new birth).
At our new birth the Spirit comes to live in us and we start our journey of an ongoing living relationship with the Lord. As we fellowship with Him, He equips us for service, and ministry to others.
There’s many still on the bank, meaning they haven’t yet experienced the new birth -Christ living in them. But others choose to step into the water that’s “ankle-deep,” verse 3.
This is a picture of a new believer, they are saved but that’s all they know. They are still in the infant stage and only know that when they die they will go to heaven someday to be with Jesus. It could be that no one has discipled them or strongholds are still hindering them from maturing spiritually.
In the next growth stage, you are beginning to mature and are led through “knee-deep water,” verse 4. You are growing and becoming more like Christ.
Next, you are led through “water that is waist-deep,” verse 4. You are maturing and beginning to understand how to cooperate with the indwelling Holy Spirit and how to hear His voice and You are now beginning to experience the flow of God’s river.
As you continue to mature you find it’s now “water that’s risen and too deep to swim in—a river that no one can cross,” verse 5. You begin to understand the Lordship of Christ in your life.
You are no longer in the driver’s seat because He is now ruling and reigning in your life. You are beginning to see the Kingdom of God for what it is. Instead of the Kingdom of self in control, it’s now King Jesus on the throne of your life; and you are becoming more submitted to the ministry of the Holy Spirit as you continue to mature spiritually.
In verse 6 the man in Ezekiel’s vision asks, “Do you see this?” Sometimes we see but we don’t see.
Meaning we don’t have clear spiritual understanding until the Holy Spirit opens up our understanding to see what He means. We can see the symbols but do we understand what the symbols mean? The only way to understand what the symbols mean is to receive the Holy Spirit’s meaning. We can’t make them mean what we want them to mean.
Ezekiel saw a “great number of trees on each side of the river,” verse 7. As we are assured in ALL the will of God we are like firmly planted trees along a river bed.
“Most blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river, and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
Spirit-filled believers are those trees, deeply rooted in Christ and attuned to the Spirit’s voice. We are not stationary trees like in the natural but spiritual trees firmly established, grounded and walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.
“This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh,” verse 8.
Meaning wherever you go (not just in church Sunday morning) you bring freshness because you are like a breath of fresh air and you are like a refreshing drink of cold water to those around you.
I remember when our family moved to New York in 1978 for my husband Dick to go to Bible School. He was refreshed every day by other Spirit filled believers at school.
But for me the first year away from home was like being in a desert. The Arabah means dry, depressed, hot, barren and an unfruitful desert. It never occurred to me before leaving Carlisle that I’d find myself in such a dry place spiritually.
I missed our close-knit fellowship we’d enjoyed and here I was in a place where I knew no one. But it was in that dry place I learned to fellowship with the Holy Spirit and found refreshment as I communed with Him.
Don’t be surprised if you experience your own dry place. It’s part of learning to walk in the Holy Spirit. We tend to think only outside things can bring refreshment but He’s preparing us to find out that our refreshment and fruitfulness comes from within.
“Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live,” verse 9.
Instead of the culture around you squeezing you into its mold, you are a positive influence wherever you go, not because of how good you are but because of Christ living in you.
“Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places forspreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds-like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea,” verse10.
“En Gedi means ‘the fountain of the kid’, (‘kid’ being the young offspring of either a goat or an ibex) refers to the mountain goat that roams so solemnly onto the steep cliffs of the desert.
En Gedi was originally the name of a moderate fountain in the very center of the oasis, a tiny pastoral spot that now renders its name to the whole surrounding region. The two big steady rivers all yielding a remarkable flow of cool, drinkable fresh water to the heart of the harsh, dry desert, brimming with the saltiest basin of water on earth.”
This is humanity being supernaturally refreshed by the Spirit who brings life and healing wherever He flows.
First we were drawn by the Holy Spirit, next, we experienced the new birth, then He equips and prepares us. Now it’s time to go fishing!
“Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
Any good fishermen knows how to draw different kinds of fish to themselves by the bait they use. “The fish will be of many kinds-like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea,” verse 10.” This speaks of God’s desire to draw people from all nations and languages.
We might be tempted to stay in “knee-deep” water because it feels safe there but in verse 11 we have a warning. “But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh.”
Who wants to be known as a “swamp dweller” or “marsh dweller.” I don’t. I confess I didn’t know I was refusing to move with the Holy Spirit because it can be very subtle. We can camp out on old experiences and little by little we rely more on past experiences then trusting on the fresh work the Holy Spirits wants to do in us.
Have you ever seen a stagnant pond? Not a pretty sight! We don’t want to get bogged down in the “swamps” and “marshes” of stinky, stale religion. So how can we tell if we’ve become a “swamp dweller”? The dead give away is there is NO fruit.
“Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, or will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing,” verse 12.
The life-giving spring continually bubbles up for all who would answer Jesus’ call to drink of the waters that will never run dry. In other words there will be evidence of the Spirit living in you.
WHAT KIND OF FRUIT IS COMING FROM YOUR LIFE?
There is a stark difference between what we can produce on our own and the “fruit of the Spirit.”
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:19-24).
Jesus made it clear that a person’s spiritual condition would be seen by the “fruit” of his behavior (Matthew 7:16-23).
As you deal with your own unmet needs, unhealed hurts, and unresolved issues (strongholds) as needed, you are now able to help others grow and heal too. Instead of staying in a dysfunctional lifestyle you are becoming healthy and you are thriving in your relationship with Christ. Now you can start to help others grow spiritually.
Ezekiel 47:1-12 is what your life will look like as you live and are obedient to what God wrote in His book about you. This is His dream for every person in His family, to live like His eternal Son, Jesus Christ. That’s the reason He’s given you the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Now ask the Lord where you are in this vision, and take some time in His presence and let Him show you where you really are. God sees you as complete in Christ because this is what He wrote in His book concerning you.
Maybe you are still a seeker and not yet born again, you are still welcome and the Father is happy to be with you in your journey. If you have read this far I believe the Holy Spirit is drawing you to Himself.
If you are already a follower of Christ maybe you are maturing and you see yourself in different stages of spiritual growth. You may have experienced “ankle-deep” water or “waist-deep” water and drawing daily on the life-giving flow.
Or you might realize you are stuck in the “marshes” or in a dry desert place or you may be bearing fruit under the waterfall at En Gedi, wherever you are be honest and acknowledge it to God.
Now ask yourself the question, “Where do I want to be?” Remember you can be as deep in the river as you want to be because this is what God wrote in His book concerning every follower of Christ.
May we never forget what God’s eternal purpose is:
“Christ in You the Hope of Glory” – All of Him in All of You!
In closing hear the Spirit’s invitation to fulfill what God wrote in His book about you. As you deal with the strongholds in your life; and drink freely of the kingdom’s crystal clear, River know that He’s called you, equipped you and is now sending you to fulfill All the will of God.
You can now change how you think about your future because of what God wrote in His book about you. Hallelujah!
Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above
all that we ask or think, according to the power that
works within us, to Him be glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus to all generations
forever and ever. Amen