Ezekiel 47-48The Message (MSG)
Trees on Both Sides of the River
47 1-2 Now he brought me back to the entrance to the Temple. I saw water pouring out from under the Temple porch to the east (the Temple faced east). The water poured from the south side of the Temple, south of the altar. He then took me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the gate complex on the east. The water was gushing from under the south front of the Temple.
3-5 He walked to the east with a measuring tape and measured off fifteen hundred feet, leading me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another fifteen hundred feet, leading me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another fifteen hundred feet, leading me through water waist-deep. He measured off another fifteen hundred feet. By now it was a river over my head, water to swim in, water no one could possibly walk through.
6-7 He said, “Son of man, have you had a good look?”
Then he took me back to the riverbank. While sitting on the bank, I noticed a lot of trees on both sides of the river.
8-10 He told me, “This water flows east, descends to the Arabah and then into the sea, the sea of stagnant waters. When it empties into those waters, the sea will become fresh. Wherever the river flows, life will flourish—great schools of fish—because the river is turning the salt sea into fresh water. Where the river flows, life abounds. Fishermen will stand shoulder to shoulder along the shore from En-gedi all the way north to En-eglaim, casting their nets. The sea will teem with fish of all kinds, like the fish of the Great Mediterranean.
11 “The swamps and marshes won’t become fresh. They’ll stay salty.
12 “But the river itself, on both banks, will grow fruit trees of all kinds. Their leaves won’t wither, the fruit won’t fail. Every month they’ll bear fresh fruit because the river from the Sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.”
Divide Up This Land
13-14 A Message from God, the Master: “These are the boundaries by which you are to divide up the inheritance of the land for the twelve tribes of Israel, with Joseph getting two parcels. It is to be divided up equally. I swore in a solemn oath to give it to your ancestors, swore that this land would be your inheritance.
15-17 “These are the boundaries of the land:
“The northern boundary runs from the Great Mediterranean Sea along the Hethlon road to where you turn off to the entrance of Hamath, Zedad, Berothah, and Sibraim, which lies between the territory of Damascus and the territory of Hamath, and on to Hazor-hatticon on the border of Hauran. The boundary runs from the Sea to Hazor-enon, with the territories of Damascus and Hamath to the north. That is the northern boundary.
18 “The eastern boundary runs between Damascus and Hauran, down along the Jordan between Gilead and the land of Israel to the Eastern Sea as far as Tamar. This is the eastern boundary.
19 “The southern boundary runs west from Tamar to the waters of Meribah-kadesh, along the Brook of Egypt, and out to the Great Mediterranean Sea. This is the southern boundary.
20 “The western boundary is formed by the Great Mediterranean Sea north to where the road turns east toward the entrance to Hamath. This is the western boundary.
21-23 “Divide up this land among the twelve tribes of Israel. Divide it up as your inheritance, and include in it the resident aliens who have made themselves at home among you and now have children. Treat them as if they were born there, just like yourselves. They also get an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the resident alien lives, there he gets his inheritance. Decree of God, the Master.”
The Sanctuary of God at the Center
48 “These are the tribes:
“Dan: one portion, along the northern boundary, following the Hethlon road that turns off to the entrance of Hamath as far as Hazor-enon so that the territory of Damascus lies to the north alongside Hamath, the northern border stretching from east to west.
2 “Asher: one portion, bordering Dan from east to west.
3 “Naphtali: one portion, bordering Asher from east to west.
4 “Manasseh: one portion, bordering Naphtali from east to west.
5 “Ephraim: one portion, bordering Manasseh from east to west.
6 “Reuben: one portion, bordering Ephraim from east to west.
7 “Judah: one portion, bordering Reuben from east to west.
8-9 “Bordering Judah from east to west is the consecrated area that you will set aside as holy: a square approximately seven by seven miles, with the Sanctuary set at the center. The consecrated area reserved for God is to be seven miles long and a little less than three miles wide.
10-12 “This is how it will be parceled out. The priest will get the area measuring seven miles on the north and south boundaries, with a width of a little more than three miles at the east and west boundaries. The Sanctuary of God will be at the center. This is for the consecrated priests, the Zadokites who stayed true in their service to me and didn’t get off track as the Levites did when Israel wandered off the main road. This is their special gift, a gift from the land itself, most holy ground, bordering the section of the Levites.
13-14 “The Levites get a section equal in size to that of the priests, roughly seven by three miles. They are not permitted to sell or trade any of it. It’s the choice part of the land, to say nothing of being holy to God.
15-19 “What’s left of the ‘sacred square’—each side measures out at seven miles by a mile and a half—is for ordinary use: the city and its buildings with open country around it, but the city at the center. The north, south, east, and west sides of the city are each about a mile and a half in length. A strip of pasture, one hundred twenty-five yards wide, will border the city on all sides. The remainder of this portion, three miles of countryside to the east and to the west of the sacred precinct, is for farming. It will supply food for the city. Workers from all the tribes of Israel will serve as field hands to farm the land.
20 “This dedicated area, set apart for holy purposes, will be a square, seven miles by seven miles, a ‘holy square,’ which includes the part set aside for the city.
21-22 “The rest of this land, the country stretching east to the Jordan and west to the Mediterranean from the seven-mile sides of the ‘holy square,’ belongs to the prince. His land is sandwiched between the tribal portions north and south, and goes out both east and west from the ‘sacred square’ with its Temple at the center. The land set aside for the Levites on one side and the city on the other is in the middle of the territory assigned to the prince. The ‘sacred square’ is flanked east and west by the prince’s land and bordered on the north and south by the territories of Judah and Benjamin, respectively.
23 “And then the rest of the tribes:
“Benjamin: one portion, stretching from the eastern to the western boundary.
24 “Simeon: one portion, bordering Benjamin from east to west.
25 “Issachar: one portion, bordering Simeon from east to west.
26 “Zebulun: one portion, bordering Issachar from east to west.
27 “Gad: one portion, bordering Zebulun from east to west.
28 “The southern boundary of Gad will run south from Tamar to the waters of Meribah-kadesh, along the Brook of Egypt and then out to the Great Mediterranean Sea.
29 “This is the land that you are to divide up among the tribes of Israel as their inheritance. These are their portions.” Decree of God, the Master.
30-31 “These are the gates of the city. On the north side, which is 2,250 yards long (the gates of the city are named after the tribes of Israel), three gates: the gate of Reuben, the gate of Judah, the gate of Levi.
32 “On the east side, measuring 2,250 yards, three gates: the gate of Joseph, the gate of Benjamin, the gate of Dan.
33 “On the south side, measuring 2,250 yards, three gates: the gate of Simeon, the gate of Issachar, the gate of Zebulun.
34 “On the west side, measuring 2,250 yards, three gates: the gate of Gad, the gate of Asher, the gate of Naphtali.
35 “The four sides of the city measure to a total of nearly six miles.
“From now on the name of the city will be Yahweh-Shammah:
1 John 3The Message (MSG)
3 What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.
2-3 But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.
4-6 All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God’s order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They’ve got him all backward.
7-8 So, my dear children, don’t let anyone divert you from the truth. It’s the person who acts right who is right, just as we see it lived out in our righteous Messiah. Those who make a practice of sin are straight from the Devil, the pioneer in the practice of sin. The Son of God entered the scene to abolish the Devil’s ways.
9-10 People conceived and brought into life by God don’t make a practice of sin. How could they? God’s seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It’s not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin. Here’s how you tell the difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children: The one who won’t practice righteous ways isn’t from God, nor is the one who won’t love brother or sister. A simple test.
11 For this is the original message we heard: We should love each other.
12-13 We must not be like Cain, who joined the Evil One and then killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because he was deep in the practice of evil, while the acts of his brother were righteous. So don’t be surprised, friends, when the world hates you. This has been going on a long time.
14-15 The way we know we’ve been transferred from death to life is that we love our brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn’t love is as good as dead. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know very well that eternal life and murder don’t go together.
16-17 This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.
When We Practice Real Love
18-20 My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.
21-24 And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us.