The Lord is There

Ezekiel 48:30–35 (NKJV)

30 “These are the exits of the city. On the north side, measuring four thousand five hundred cubits 31 (the gates of the city shall be named after the tribes of Israel), the three gates northward: one gate for Reuben, one gate for Judah, and one gate for Levi; 32 on the east side, four thousand five hundred cubits, three gates: one gate for Joseph, one gate for Benjamin, and one gate for Dan; 33 on the south side, measuring four thousand five hundred cubits, three gates: one gate for Simeon, one gate for Issachar, and one gate for Zebulun; 34 on the west side, four thousand five hundred cubits with their three gates: one gate for Gad, one gate for Asher, and one gate for Naphtali. 35 All the way around shall be eighteen thousand cubits; and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.

The last nine chapters of Ezekiel deal with the future restoration of not only the city of Jerusalem, but all of the tribal lands, as well as the temple.  It speaks of the restoration of worship, properly and according to God’s design and plan.  In this short passage, the Lord puts some of the final touches on the plan, sharing the design of the gates of the city of Jerusalem and naming them.  But the name of the city is the interesting and powerful part of the passage.  He says that the city will be called: “The Lord is There.”  What a powerful statement of God’s plan to inhabit and dwell in this city.  

“The Lord is There” is translated from the Hebrew, Jehovah-Shammah.  This is one of the compound names of God in the Old Testament, like Jehovah-Jireh (The Lord Will Provide), Jehovah-Rophe (The Lord That Heals), Jehovah-Rohi (The Lord is My Shepherd), and many others.  These names were designed to honor and keep the name Jehovah (Yahweh) at the center, as the Lord told Moses that Yahweh was His name.  The other characterics or roles the Lord would reveal to men were simply added to the self-identification of God to Moses.

Language like this, indicating the abiding or eternal presence of God, is what moves many scholars to think this is a prophetic image of Jerusalem either in the millenium or even related to the New Jerusalem that will come down out of heaven.  Several years ago, while studying at seminary, my professors told me that every prophecy has a present and a future application.  In this case, I think that Israel may have been told that God would restore physical Israel after the exile, which He did.  There may also be a futuristic element to this prophecy, speaking of the beauty and order of the temple in the millinial reign.  However, I also think that every believer can interpret and believe this prophecy on a personal level, knowing that as long as he or she serves and worships God in holiness that His presence will dwell with him or her.  Serve God and worship Him, and go in the confidence that He is there.

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