Chapter 47:13-23 (ESV) - Thus says the Lord God: “This is the boundary by which you shall divide the land for inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph shall have two portions. And you shall divide equally what I swore to give to your fathers. This land shall fall to you as your inheritance.
“This shall be the boundary of the land: On the north side, from the Great Sea by way of Hethlon to Lebo-hamath, and on to Zedad, Berothah, Sibraim (which lies on the border between Damascus and Hamath), as far as Hazer-hatticon, which is on the border of Hauran. So the boundary shall run from the sea to Hazar-enan, which is on the northern border of Damascus, with the border of Hamath to the north. This shall be the north side.
“On the east side, the boundary shall run between Hauran and Damascus; along the Jordan between Gilead and the land of Israel; to the eastern sea and as far as Tamar. This shall be the east side.
“On the south side, it shall run from Tamar as far as the waters of Meribah-kadesh, from there along the Brook of Egypt to the Great Sea. This shall be the south side.
“On the west side, the Great Sea shall be the boundary to a point opposite Lebo-hamath. This shall be the west side.
“So you shall divide this land among you according to the tribes of Israel. You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the sojourners who reside among you and have had children among you. They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the sojourner resides, there you shall assign him his inheritance, declares the Lord God.
Question to consider: Who are the sojourners who will be as native-born children of Israel?
After Judas left the last supper to initiate his betrayal, Jesus asked the other disciples to put their faith in Him just as they had put their faith in God the Father, for He was going to prepare a place for them in His kingdom (John 14:1-3) Outside of being a bold declaration of deity to put Himself on par with the Father, I think it was also a reference to this heavenly temple described by Ezekiel and the inheritance in the kingdom which is described in today’s passage.
Ezekiel described it in relation to the earthly Israel because that is how it was revealed to him by the Lord. It gave the people something specific and concrete to focus on in the midst of their exile. It had secure borders and kept out those who would harm them or spread corruption. The most interesting part of this passage is that after Ezekiel deals with those of Israel, he adds in the sojourners who resided among them and have had children among them and says that they are to be as native-born children of Israel. This is a description of the grafting-in of Gentiles (and Samaritans) into the New Testament family of God.
Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) In this passage, the inheritance is defined in these terms: first for the Jew and then the sojourner. Matthew described the following after the death of Jesus, “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” (Matthew 27:51-53) At the moment of Christ’s death, the earthly temple became desolate, and the Old Testament saints were raised to go with their prince to the place which was being prepared for them in the heavenly kingdom.
I believe this to be the beginning of the first resurrection talked about in scripture. The New Testament saints also participate in this first resurrection in our baptism. As Paul wrote in Colossians 2:11-14, “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (italics added)
I cannot say whether we will get a literal plot of land in the heavenly kingdom, but I think the key part of this passage is letting us know that we have a permanent part of the kingdom of heaven, and that God’s family would be extended to include the generations of sojourners who would come to know the Prince of Peace.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for the assurance that we have a permanent place with You where Christ will dwell among us, and we will never again worry about the trials and tribulations of this world. Amen.