47:1, 2 The courtyard of the tabernacle had a large basin or laver where the priests washed (Ex. 30:17–21). In Solomon’s temple there was a much larger Sea (1 Kin. 7:23–26). This Sea too was used for ritual washing (2 Chr. 4:6), but in addition it symbolized the primeval ocean, no longer as a menacing symbol of chaos (28:2 note), but subjected by God to the service of His temple. In Ezekiel’s temple vision, these earlier basins are replaced by a life-giving river (Rev. 21:1; 22:1, 2). The tabernacle laver and the temple Sea stood south of the altar in the sanctuary courtyard; the river too originates from south of the altar. This passage should be compared with others that speak of a river in the city of God (Ps. 46:4), or describe the eruption of a stream in the city (Joel 3:18; Zech. 14:3–8). Since the temple in part symbolized paradise, Ezekiel’s river recalls the rivers issuing from the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:10–14).
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