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We have here the continuation of the same subject, but in a vision somewhat clearer to be understood. The Waters issuing from under the threshold of the House; the account of fishermen; and of trees growing on the banks of the river.
If we compare scripture with scripture, (and, which God the Holy Ghost commands, 1 Corinthians 2:13 ) we shall take the most effectual method of arriving to the proper apprehension of what is here said, looking up to the Great Author of his holy word, to make it profitable. Now it was among the promises of Jehovah, that the last day dispensation of grace should be distinguished by the Lord's pouring out his spirit, like water, and dews, and showers, upon the mown grass. Several of the Prophets were directed to speak of the Holy Ghost coming upon his people in this manner. Isaiah 44:3-4 ; Joel 2:28 . And Zechariah, as if in confirmation of what Ezekiel had before said, declared that living waters should go out from Jerusalem. Zechariah 14:8 . And the beloved Apostle John, as if in clearer terms to give a comment upon this vision of Ezekiel, speaks of a river, and water of like, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb. Revelation 22:1 . I stay not to remark many beauties in allusion to the day of gospel grace, which this scripture abounds with; but certain it is, that the manner of expression which Ezekiel hath made use of, becomes truly significant. The Prophet did not see from whence these waters arose; the spring was hidden; so are our lives hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 . John explains the source, when he saith, from the throne of God and the Lamb: meaning from all the Persons of the Godhead; in, and through the Lamb. For God the Father is a fountain. Jeremiah 2:13 . God the Son, is a fountain. Song of Solomon 4:15 . God the Spirit, is a fountain. John 7:37-39 . And all pour their rich mercies like a river, through the mediation of the God-man Christ Jesus. John 14:6 . And is there not a great beauty also, in the thought suggested by the door of the house, and the right side? Jesus calls himself by the name of the door to his sheepfold. John 10:9 . And we know whose side it was that was pierced, when forthwith came there out blood and water. John 19:34 . And as all these things were seen by the Prophet, in his vision concerning Jerusalem, from whence the waters issued: so Jesus first sent forth his Gospel, after his redemption work was finished, from that beloved city. Luke 24:47 . Concerning the swelling of those waters; they form a most beautiful type or figure, of the glorious spreading of the Gospel. Jesus's cause must increase, must run and be glorified, and be a blessing through the earth. Such will be the latter day glory. Psalms 72:8-17 . Some have thought that the Prophet's path, as marked in these waters, first reaching to the ankles, then to the knees, then to the loins, and afterwards to an ocean, to swim in; is meant to show the progress of grace, and our knowledge in the divine life.
Here are many similar allusions, such as were before, in reference to the Lord Jesus, and his Gospel. The trees on the bank of this river cannot be misunderstood, if we read what is here said, with what John the beloved Apostle hath said on the same subject. Revelation 22:2 . Surely the Lord Jesus is the tree of life in the Paradise of God. And being placed on either side the river, most fully shows the presence of the Lord, in both his Churches, as well here as above. Subordinate to this view of the tree of life, we may behold the very many trees here spoken of, also, as those trees of righteousness, which are of the Lord's right hand planting, and represent all true believers in Jesus. Some already transplanted into the kingdom above, and some still on this side the river below. Isaiah 61:3 . The current of these waters, towards the east country, the desert, and the sea; and the wonderful property of them in their healing quality, are most lovely and beautiful similitudes, to show the extensive influence of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the blessed effects of his salvation, wherever the Lord shall send it. And the difference between the marshes and miry places, compared to the ground that shall be healed, most strikingly set forth the distinguishing nature and property of grace. Such indeed ever hath been, and ever must be, the effect of the Gospel. While to some it proves the savor of life unto life, to others it becomes the savor of death unto death. 2 Corinthians 2:16 . Ministers of the Gospel, like the fishermen here spoken of, may cast their gospel net from Engedi (formerly called Hazeron Tamar, nigh to the Dead Sea) even unto En-eglaim, (which reacheth towards Jordan;) but unless Jesus gives the commission, like the pool of Bethesda, there will be no saving ordinance, for the want of that mighty Angel descending upon the waters. Oh! how blessed is it to see both Prophecy, Law, and Gospel, all uniting to the testimony of the truth, as it is in Jesus. The waters will heal, will give life, will restore; and the fruit of the tree shall be both meat, and the leaf for medicine, when Jesus is in both, and in all: but without Him, the one will afford no food, neither the other health, to any dying, dead, or sin-sick soul!
Here seems to open a new subject, in dividing the several portions of the Holy Land to the tribes of Israel. And I would ask, is there not a most gracious and merciful provision made also for the Gentile stranger, whom the after Dispensation of Grace brings in, to make one fold with Israel under one shepherd, Jesus Christ the righteous? John 10:16 .
HERE let my soul take her stand, where the Prophet once stood, and as I behold by the eye of faith, as he then did by vision, the waters issuing from under the threshold of the Lord's house, I would call to mind and contemplate that pure water of life, clear as crystal, which John also saw, to the same purport, and from the same cause, even from the throne of God and the Lamb. Yes! truly, O Lord, all blessings flow in and from Jehovah in his threefold character of Person; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; through the Lamb, Christ Jesus. And oh! how full of healing, sovereign, quickening, cleansing, refreshing, sanctifying grace, are all the thousand streams. Oh! what rich, full, everlasting, ever flowing, and overflowing waters, these are! How they run in the ordinances of the Gospel, and through the several means of grace! In some places to the ankles, in others to the knees, in others to the loins, and in others becoming even a river for the redeemed souls to bathe in! Surely they are commissioned by Him, from whom they issue, to give life, and to give it more abundantly! It is only those marshy and miry souls, who resist the life-giving stream, that are given up to perpetual barrenness! But everywhere, even to the Dead Sea of dead sinners hearts, where this water comes, it quickens to immediate life. Truly, blessed Jesus, mightest thou well call this perennial spring living water; and the water of life; for it springeth up in my soul, and in every soul whom thou causest to partake of it, a well of water springing up to everlasting life. Oh! for every poor sinner that hears of this life-giving stream, to come to it, freely given as it is, without money and without price!
Reader! contemplate the many blessed things of Gospel mercies, contained in this lovely Chapter. Behold the streams of grace; behold the trees of life on the banks of the river, and the many, yea, very many trees of the Lord's right hand planting, on either side! Behold those living waters going forth towards the East Country, and toward the desert of our poor dry nature. And then look up with me, yea, let us both look up together, to the great source, and fountain of those mercies, in Jesus, and pray the Lord to send the healing streams in every direction, to bless the Church of our Lord Jesus throughout the whole habitable earth. O Sacred River! do thou make glad the city of our God. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ezekiel 47". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26