The Holy Land And The Holy City

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Canaan, the good land (Gen. 12). At that time God promised Abraham that the land of Canaan ... After forty years of wand
The Holy Land And The Holy City Scripture Reading: Ezek. 45:1-8; 47:13-20; 48:1-35; Rev. 21:12, 13 The Land At the end of the book of Ezekiel there are two things: the holy land and the holy city. We need to see something more concerning the holy land. Apart from the land, there could be no temple. Although we may appreciate the temple very much, we have to realize that the temple is in the land, and without the land there could not be a temple. The temple depends upon the land. The temple typifies the church, and the land typifies Christ. Without the experience of Christ, there is no possibility for us to have the church. The church is the issue of the enjoyment of the riches of Christ. A History of the Land Because the land, typifying Christ, is so crucial, we need to look at it once more. The land is first mentioned in Genesis 1. On the third day of the Lord's recovery of His creation, the land was recovered. The land emerged from the waters of death. Until that time all the land was under the death waters. But on the third day the Lord caused the land to rise up out of the death waters. The land in Genesis 1 typifies Christ. Christ was resurrected from the dead on the third day as the allinclusive land. Every kind of life, whether vegetable, animal, or human, came out of that land. Apart from that land, no life can exist. All of the living things came into being out of the land. Because the land signifies Christ, it means that all the living things come out of Christ. Christ is the good land which God prepared for man. However, man fell and became degraded, causing God to judge the earth again. During the time of Noah, the land was flooded and once more was covered by the death waters (Gen. 7:19). This means that the human race lost the land. Once again, however, the Lord brought the land out of the death waters, and the family of Noah was given the right to enjoy the land. But the descendants of Noah fell and gathered at Babel to build a tower of rebellion against God (Gen. 11). From Babel God scattered the people and called out Abraham from that fallen place and brought him into Canaan, the good land (Gen. 12). At that time God promised Abraham that the land of Canaan would belong to him and to his children. However, the descendants of Abraham also fell. Human history is a record of man's fall. They fell from the good land into Egypt. The whole house of Jacob went down into Egypt and again they lost the good land. But four hundred years later, by God's deliverance, they experienced the Passover and, passing through the Red Sea, they left Egypt (Exo. 12). After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, they passed through the Jordan into the good land. There they fought against all the inhabitants and recovered their lost land. Upon that recovered land, they built the temple, and God's glory descended and filled the temple (2 Chron. 5:14). Later, though, due to their falling away and their degradation, they were carried away from the land again. They lost the land once more. In the midst of the captivity, Ezekiel was brought back to the land by the Spirit (8:3). Ezekiel went back by the Spirit to see the land. Many times in Ezekiel, the Lord promised that He would bring His people back to their land (Ezek. 11, 33, 34, 36 and 37). He promised to bring them back even to the top of the mountains of Israel (34:14). This indicated a real recovery of the land. Before the building can be recovered, the land must be recovered. The recovery of the land signifies the recovery of the enjoyment of Christ. Although Christ Himself can never be lost, Christ in our experience can be lost. At the time we were saved we received Christ, but not long afterward we fell away and lost Christ in our experience. The recovery of the land is the recovery of the experiences of the riches of Christ. Hallelujah! The land was recovered! Then the house was built on the land.

A Land of Milk and Honey The land, with all its riches, is called a land flowing with milk and honey (20:6). Both milk and honey are the product of two lives working together. It takes both the vegetable life and the animal life to produce milk and honey. To produce milk you need cattle, the animal life, and you also need pasture, the vegetable life. Thus, milk is the product of two kinds of lives working together. It is the same with honey. Honey is produced by a little animal. But bees need the flowers of many kinds of plants. Therefore, both milk and honey are the product of two kinds of lives. Christ as our good land has two kinds of lives. He has the vegetable life, and He has the animal life. In the Gospel of John the Lord Jesus says that He is the grain of wheat (John 12:24). This is the vegetable life. The same Gospel also says that He is the Lamb of God (John 1:29). This is the animal life. On the one hand Christ is the wheat, the vegetable life; and on the other hand Christ is the Lamb, the animal life. The animal life is for being slain and shedding the blood for redemption, and the vegetable life is for producing and generating life. One grain of wheat falls into the ground, dies, grows up, and multiplies into many grains. Thus, the animal life is primarily for redemption, while the vegetable life is primarily for generating life. Out of these two lives mingled together we have the riches of Christ, the milk and the honey, for our enjoyment. To help you realize and enjoy the riches of Christ as the good land, I encourage you to read the book, The All-Inclusive Christ. By reading that book, you will discover that the all-inclusive Christ is unsearchably rich. He is our good land for us to live in and walk in and build the temple in. The Borders of the Land Ezekiel presents the borders of the good land in a peculiar and yet wonderful way. He says that the border on the west is the Great Sea (47:20). This means the coast of the Mediterranean Sea is the western border. He says that on the east side there is also a sea (47:18). But the sea on the east is not a great sea, rather it is the Dead Sea. At the top of the Dead Sea is the River Jordan which goes northward to another sea, the Sea of Galilee or the Sea of Tiberias. The position of the good land between these two waters is very meaningful. The good land of Canaan is between the waters of the Great Sea on the west and the waters of the Dead Sea with the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee on the east. The land is surrounded by water, which signifies death. In the Dead Sea there is nothing but death. In the Great Sea there is salt water which also signifies death. Furthermore, the River Jordan in typology signifies death. Thus, the good land is surrounded by death and yet not overflooded by death. The good land coming up out of death typifies the resurrected Christ. Some of the verses in the Bible imply that the good land of Canaan is an elevated land; it is a raised-up land. Christ was raised from the dead; He was elevated from the dead. The good land is not a low land, but a high land. The Dead Sea is hundreds of feet below sea level, but Mount Zion is hundreds of feet above sea level. This shows that the land of Canaan is really an elevated land. This is the resurrected Christ. Another river, the river of Egypt, is the border of the good land on the south (47:19). The good land has water for its border on three sides. This signifies that the land is the resurrected Christ. On the north side, there is no river as a border, but there is Mount Hermon. Mount Hermon signifies the heavens. According to Psalm 133, the dew comes down from Mount Hermon and descends upon the mountains of Zion. This signifies that the grace comes down from the heavens and descends upon all the local churches. The elevated land with Mount Hermon signifies the resurrected Christ joined to the heavens. There is not only the resurrection, but also the ascension. He is not only the resurrected Christ, but also the ascended Christ. He is above all the death waters, and He is joined to the high mountain, Mount Hermon. He is resurrected, and He is ascended. These are the borders of the good land.

The Subdivisions of the Good Land Seven of the tribes of Israel were in the north and five were in the south. Of all the twelve tribes, Judah and Benjamin were the most dear to the Lord. When the tribes became divided, only Judah and Benjamin remained with the Lord and never participated in division. For this reason they were located near to the Lord and were very dear to Him. Because of Gad's poor condition, he was placed in the extreme southern portion of the land. You can have confidence in the Lord's judgment and estimation concerning you. Men may make mistakes about you, but the Lord will never make any mistake about you. The Lord is altogether fair. He knows exactly where He must put you. He knows whether to put you in the north or in the south. The Lord can never be wrong. In the migrations of the local churches, you may not know where to go, but the Lord knows where to put you. No matter how much consideration you give to migration, eventually you will be in a certain place under the Lord's sovereignty. The Lord knows whether you are Dan or Benjamin or Judah or Gad. He can never be wrong, and He is sovereign. Never blame anyone else. You must realize that God is sovereign. Dan was never satisfied with where he was placed. In Revelation 7 the name of Dan is not mentioned in the list of the tribes of Israel because of their idolatry and degradation (Judges 18). The Lord temporarily cut off his name from the list of the tribes. The Holy Portion According to Ezekiel the whole land of Canaan was divided into three portions: the northern portion was for seven tribes (48:1-8), the southern portion was for five tribes (48:23-27), and the middle portion was an offering to God. Because the Lord gave the people of Israel the whole land of Canaan as their possession, He asked them to heave the middle part back to Him as an offering. The middle portion of the land was a heave offering, heaved up by the people to God (48:8-12). The Middle Portion In the middle portion there was a square 25,000 reeds long and 25,000 reeds wide. One reed equals six cubits. The 25,000 reeds indicates the number of responsibility, five, multiplied by 5,000. What a great amount of responsibility this indicates! This square is called the holy heave offering and is divided into three strips. The middle strip is 25,000 reeds long from east to west and 10,000 reeds broad from north to south. This is the part for the temple. This is also the part given to the priests, especially to the sons of Zadok, because of their faithfulness (48:11). This middle part became their inheritance. Within their inheritance was the lot for the temple. This means that the priests, the sons of Zadok, were the Israelites who were the closest to the Lord. The Lord even lived on their portion, their lot. Their inheritance, their lot, was the Lord's dwelling place because they were very close to Him. The second part, on the south, was also 25,000 reeds long by 10,000 reeds broad. This part belonged to the Levites who ministered to the house, to the people, and who helped in all the business of the service with the offerings. The Levites were close to the Lord, but not as close as the priests (48:13). The third portion, on the north side, measured 25,000 reeds by 5,000 reeds, and was for the city (48:15). The city was in the middle part of this northern portion. The remainder of this portion belonged to the laborers, the workers in the city. Thus, the holy heave offering land was divided into three parts: one part for the priests, another part for the Levites, and the third part for the city with all of its workers. According to the map, besides this holy heave offering land, there was still some remainder of land on the west and on the east. These two pieces of land as a residue were assigned and allotted to the king, to the royal family (48:21).

The allotment of the land and the placement of the tribes upon their particular portion of land is very meaningful. First, this picture shows us that they all enjoyed Christ. From Dan in the north to Gad in the south all the Israelites enjoyed Christ, but their nearness to Christ was not the same. The closest ones to Christ were the priests, the faithful sons of Zadok. Next to them were the Levites and those who worked in the city. Next to these were the royal family. Each tribe enjoyed Christ, but their distance from Christ varied. One tribe was very close to Christ and another was not close to Christ, yet both were enjoying Christ. The distance of the tribes from Christ determined their importance. The most important people were the priests who were closest to Christ. They maintained the fellowship between the Israelites and the Lord. The fellowship was maintained by the closest ones. The Levites were next in nearness to the Lord, and they maintained a service unto the Lord. Service to the Lord is good, but it is not as good as fellowship. Their service was not as dear and precious as fellowship. Then the workers for the city were the third closest to the Lord. They maintained a work for the city. Thus, there was the fellowship, the service, and the work for the city. The city is the symbol of the divine government, so there was a work to maintain God's government. Besides this, there was the royal family with the king and the kingship. According to Ezekiel's record, the temple was not within the city, but was separated from the city. The temple signifies the fellowship of God, and the city signifies the government of God. The temple is the house, and the city is the kingdom. The temple is God's house, God's dwelling place, for His rest, and the city is God's kingdom for His authority. It is very important to realize that all these things—the fellowship of the priests, the service of the Levites, the work to maintain God's government, and the kingship—come out of the riches of the good land. This means that all the fellowship, service, work, government, royalty, lordship, and kingship come out of our enjoyment of the riches of Christ. The more we enjoy Christ, the closer we are to Him. The closer we are to Him, the more important we are in His purpose. We may be like Dan or Gad, far away from His presence, yet still enjoying some of His riches. But we are not that crucial to His economy because of our great distance from the Lord. Look at the priests. They are extremely crucial. Their lot, their portion, is the Lord's dwelling place. We all must desire to be there. Do not be concerned about who will be in the place of Dan. Let the Lord take care of that. You must aspire and exercise to be a priest. Revelation 1:6 says that Christ has made us all kings and priests unto God and His Father. As kings and priests we have been predestined to be very close to the Lord. We should not be content to be like Dan, far away at the northern extreme of the land. We must be the priests and the kings who are very close to the Lord. We all must be the sons of Zadok. Revelation 20:6 says that we will be kings and priests for eternity. We will enjoy the milk and the honey—all the riches of Christ. Today we need to learn to enjoy Christ. Do not care that much for teachings and gifts. Care for the riches of Christ. I am bold to tell you this because I have the solid gold in my hands. What you have in your hands is at best copper. I will never exchange my gold for your copper. Sooner or later you will be convinced to drop your copper and pick up my gold. If you will not do it today, you will do it tomorrow. If you will not drop your copper in this age, surely you will drop it in the coming age. If not in the coming age, you will drop it in eternity. We have not been predestined to teachings or gifts. We have been predestined to the enjoyment of Christ. Learn to enjoy the riches of Christ as the good land. Day by day enjoy Him by eating, drinking, and breathing Him. This is the way for us to go on. Praise the Lord!

The City Both Ezekiel and Revelation end with a city, Jerusalem. Only one city in the whole Bible has twelve gates with twelve names of the twelve tribes of Israel, and that is the city of Jerusalem. We must apply the things mentioned in Ezekiel to ourselves because eventually we will be that city. We should not regard all the words of Ezekiel as merely a prophecy. It does contain prophecies, but primarily we must apply the record to ourselves. Do not apply the points in Ezekiel merely to the future, but also to the present. A Mingling of God And Man With this city there is the number twelve which is composed, not of six times two, but of three times four. It is three times four because there are three gates on four sides making a total of twelve gates. Please remember that four is the number of the creature and three is the number of the Triune God. Twelve signifies the mingling of the Triune God with the creatures. This city eventually is not only a mingling, but also a perfect government with a complete administration. Twelve in the Bible also indicates a perfect government and administration in completion. It is not just a mingling of divinity with humanity, but also a perfect government which comes out of this mingling. Thus, it is a city. As a city it is a government which exercises full authority for God's complete administration. God's government and God's administration come from the mingling of God with His creatures. This mingling is for eternity. The church must be like this. The church must be just the mingling of God with man. Out of such a mingling there will be the church government for God's administration on the earth and for the whole universe. All this is very meaningful. Causing All Who Enter to Be One The city has four sides with three gates on each side. This indicates that no matter from which side we enter the city, we will be in the same city. No matter which gate we enter, we all will be one. In that city we can never be divided. We are one because we are in one city. The New Jerusalem has only one street. Regardless of which direction you come from, and regardless of which gate you enter through, you will be on the same street. On that same street there is the one flow, the one river, with the one drink and the one tree of life. All are the same, all are one. There is one city, one street, one river, one flow, one drink, one tree of life. We all have to be impressed—one! one! one! we all are one!