This last portion of Ezekiel is centered around the Messiah and His place in God’s kingdom. Part of the Jewish Messianic thought is that when the Messiah comes (the Prince of this passage), He will come in through the eastern gate (44:1-3), which has been walled up (by the Turks in the 1500‘s), and the connection has been made by some (mostly Premillennialists) that it will never be opened again until the Messiah enters through it with His victorious army.
These last few chapters of Ezekiel, however, are really a parable, a metaphor for the kingdom of God, using the physical land of Israel as a symbol of God’s church. There are a few religious organizations that mistake these chapters for descriptions of a literal and political kingdom of God on earth, but in view of John 18:36, in which Jesus in crystal clarity tells us that His kingdom is NOT of this world, we must understand these and other passages for descriptions of His spiritual kingdom, now already established (ref. — Colossians 1:13,14; Revelation 1:6). For example, many of the items under discussion in Ezekiel are mirrored in the New Testament, where they are clearly referring to Heaven: water from the altar comes forth, like the description of Heaven in Revelation 21 and 22. Another parallel would include how Gentiles are receiving an inheritance like the New Testament descriptions of the church (Ephesians 2). And water flowing from the altar makes the Dead Sea fresh — making all that was bad good again, the dead is made alive. We can find all the marks of Messianic and Remnant prophecy that seek to describe not a physical premillennial kingdom but the spiritual kingdom of the church.
I’m always inspired, encouraged, and lifted by the ideal of what God hopes for His people. That’s why I love these Old Testament Messianic and Remnant prophecies. The Remnant prophecies in particular give us something to reach for, to aspire to, to grow into; it gives us a standard to adhere to and a landmark to steer toward. Regrettably, God’s people can be influenced by the world to dumb-down the standard, because it’s more “realistic”; but it is idealism that changes the world, not realism; we need to strive to become what God imagined us to be, not what is easier to be; we need to call men to be what God wanted, not what they prefer. Be an idealist and change the world, change yourself, and change your neighbor.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.