Ezekiel 47:21–23

Read the passage.

I know I’m going over verses that were supposed to be covered by the last post, but I realized I left out the most amazing part, and I think it’s worth digging into.

This time, when the land is alotted, those who have immigrated to the land of Israel, settled there, and had children there will be given a share of the land. They are to be treated the same as the native-born, blood-descendants of Abraham. At this point in redemptive history, when Ezekiel is telling all of these things to the people, this is unprecedented. There had always been provisions in the Law to treat aliens and sojourners well, but they were usually grouped with the orphans and widows. That is, they were in need of special care because they had less financial and social support than those around them because they did not have any land inheritance. In an agrarian society like those of the time, land was basically equal to wealth, because that’s how you made food to survive.

When the land of Israel is divided up among the twelve tribes again, those seeking to live near the Lord will be allowed to, and they will be given a portion of the inheritance to be established in the land. I’m not sure I can express how big a deal this is. Over and over again in the Law of Moses, God expresses how important it was to the Israelites that the land must be kept within the family. To the extent that if a man dies without any heirs, his brother is to marry the widow and beget children with her who will inherit the dead man’s land. It was allowed to sell land if cash was needed in dire straits, but only to a fellow Israelite, not a foreigner. Furthermore, it should be sold back at the same price at any time, or even just given back for free in the Year of Jubilee.

Now that we have the story of Peter and Cornelius and understand how God is grafting the Jews and Gentiles together into one people in His kingdom, these verses make a lot of sense. But I expect there was a lot of confusion over these verses with anyone who paid attention to them before Jesus came.

You never change and Your plans have been perfect from the beginning.

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