What do the waters in Ezekiel’s temple vision represent?

Author: BibleAsk Team

The Waters – Ezekiel Temple

The passage that mentions the waters in Ezekiel’s vision can be found in chapter 47:

“Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar. He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side (verses 1-2)

“When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. Then he said to me: “This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live” (verses 7-9)

Future Fulfillment

Ezekiel’s vision of the temple is a pictorial prophecy describing a literal economy. It presents conditions as they might have been. To the Israelites plentiful water was the sign of blessings and prosperity. Such blessings were shown by the mention of the fruit trees and the packed life in the waters (verses 7–12). Inasmuch as these predictions were never fulfilled in their initial presentation, they will have a fulfillment in the New Testament church.

And John the Revelator uses the imagery of these chapters and explains what aspects of them will be fulfilled in the new earth. In Revelation 22:2, he quotes Ezekiel 47:12 which says, “Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.” In its secondary application this will meet its fulfillment in the tree of life that will be in the new Eden.


The waters are also used to teach spiritual lessons. The stream, starting in a small way, increased as it flowed out toward the desert. In like manner, the blessings of God’s covenant, of which the Israelites were the first receivers, were to increase until they covered the entire world. And the end time message to evangelize the word will be a fulfillment to this prophecy. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

Thus, these miraculously flowing waters represent an everlasting proof of the power of an omnipresent God working for His faithful ones that seek His help. Such work would be similar to the Old Testament pillar of fire and cloud that protected the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21, 22). This supernatural supply of drinking water sustained His chosen people in the hot desert on their way to the promised land (Exodus 17:1–7). What an encouraging message of hope to God’s people on their journey to their eternal promised kingdom of glory.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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