feast: An Abundance of Living Water
God's Spirit Given Without Measure
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 28-Sep-02; Sermon #FT02-13; 57 minutes
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the massive drought in the continental United States, observes that nothing makes one appreciate water like drought. Water has great metaphorical significance on the Last Great Day of the Feast, symbolizing God's Holy Spirit given without measure. Prefigured by the annual Jewish water ceremony, Jesus assures His followers that compared to the meager golden pitcher of water, He would provide rivers of living water. To the Samaritan woman, He suggests that Jacob's Well is paltry compared to the healing, living water of God's Holy Spirit flowing from the Rock. The water flowing from the Millennial Temple mirrors the outflowing of God's Holy Spirit, filling up the whole earth with the life-saving knowledge of God.
It is estimated that just about half of the continental United States is experiencing severe drought conditions. I wrote about that this summer in the Forerunner magazine, and I could see it. I could gauge it by how many times I had to mow my grass this summer. It was the least number of times I think that I ever had to do it since living there in Charlotte.
I only had to do it, about a dozen times, when normally during spring, summer, and fall you would have mow the grass about once a week, or every 10 days because your neighbors might call the police and wonder if various things are hidden somewhere in the tall grass. So, from that standpoint, I loved the drought considering how much I hate mowing the lawn.
Yet, it was interesting that around Charlotte, at least, one really had to look to see the effects of the drought.
It rained just often enough throughout the spring and summer to keep the grass green and the trees green. The flowers bloomed pretty much on schedule. They may not have been as abundant or spectacular, but at least there was something blooming there.
The ground may have been a bit more dusty, dry and hard. The skies were bright and cloudless. The weathermen were talking on about what nice days we were having. It was still quite humid. There was not a drop of water coming down, but there were gallons of perspiration coming off one.
It was hot throughout the summer. It seemed really pretty normal, except for the lack of rainfall.
But, where we found the drought most apparent was in the water levels in the lakes, rivers, streams and ponds. We'd go over a bridge and look down into the lake or river and we could see that it was down several feet. At one place where we were driving into South Carolina, we would go over one bridge, and there was grass growing in the river bed where before, just a few years ago, it had been five or six feet under water. This was the only real way we could see that we were in drought conditions.
Nothing makes one appreciate water like a drought.
And it is this day, the Last Great Day among the holy days, that highlights water. The sheer abundance of living water—not just physical water that you get out of your tap, or see in the ponds, and streams—this is living water that God promises to all humanity.
Let us begin at a typical place in a sermon about the holy days, in Leviticus chapter 23. We will read about the Feast and the Last Great Day in verses 33-39. I will be going from there to Numbers and Nehemiah, because I want to show you the only three references to the Last Great Day in the entire Old Testament.
Leviticus 23:33-39 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it. These are the feasts of the Lord which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the Lord, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day—besides the Sabbaths of the Lord, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to the Lord. Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the Lord for seven days; on the first day there shall be a Sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a Sabbath-rest.'"
So here we have it this day that we're keeping now. The Last Great Day is the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It is part of the Feast of Tabernacles, yet distinctive and different because he mentions that we keep the Feast of Tabernacles in verse 34 for seven days. And then, the eighth day is "tacked on" it seems at the end. It is the last great hurrah of God's feasts for the year.
Let's go on to Numbers 29:35-38. If you want to have a memory cue for the context of chapter 29, it is a list of all the offerings that are given for all the Feast days throughout the year. In this chapter, the Last Great Day, the eighth day is set apart somewhat more than in Leviticus 23 from the Feast of Tabernacles. It is given it's own separate paragraph.
Numbers 29:35-38 On the eighth day you shall have a sacred assembly. You shall do no customary work. You shall present a burnt offering, an offering made by fire as a sweet aroma to the Lord: one bull, one ram, seven lambs in their first year without blemish, and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bull, for the ram, and for the lambs, by their number, according to the ordinance; also one goat as a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offering.
So, there were quite a few things that needed to be done on this Last Great Day. If you notice in comparison to the other days this was normal for a holy day.
Nehemiah 8:18 Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day there was a sacred assembly, according to the prescribed manner.
We see here a reinstitution of the keeping of the Holy Days, not just the Feast of Tabernacles, but also the Last Great Day, or as Dean Blackwell used to say, The Last Great Eighth Day (or was it the Last Eighth Great Day?) of the Feast. I always thought that was just a bit of a mouthful. Why don't we keep it just The Last Great Day? But, he threw that "Eighth" in there and got me all messed up!
But, here we have it. We've just been three or four minutes in these verses, and this is it. This is pretty much all we have to draw from in the Old Testament directly about the Last Great Day. It seems like it is just simply tacked there as the last hurrah of feasting and worship before God; before the long, dark winter months before spring.
But in the New Testament, we have an understanding given of what the Last Great Day means. So, if you will turn with me to Revelation 20:11-15 we see the fulfillment of the Last Great Day in the Great White Throne Judgment.
Now at this point in time the Millennium has already lasted a thousand years, at the end of which was a great rebellion. Then we see in verses 7-10 that God does not allow this rebellion to be successful. And then He comes, and blasts them into smithereens and out of existence, and then He casts the Devil and his demons into the Lake of Fire.
And now here we have the Great White Throne Judgment.
Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
So the Last Great Day is fulfilled in the White Throne Judgment. This is the time tacked on, just like the Last Great Day is tacked onto the Feast of Tabernacles. This is a time tacked on to the end of the Millennium.
I don't want to diminish it by using the term "tacked on," because it is a great and separate festival all by itself. And I think that we see in what happens here in the Great White Throne Judgment, that it is a time of great judgment. A period of people living and learning, and growing, and overcoming, and repenting. It is a chance for them to re-live life under the new conditions that will allow them to become part of the Family of God.
There is a negative side to it as well, in that it is a time when those who choose not to accept it get burned up just like the Beast and the False Prophet are burned up in the Lake of Fire. They will quickly die and become ashes under the soles of our feet.
There's a very positive aspect to this day and a negative aspect to this day. It will be quite unlike the time that the Protestants think about. We'll get to that a little bit later.
But this gives us here in Revelation 20 the time frame and overview of the main activity of the period.
I'd like to focus on one particular aspect today, and obviously that focus is water.
Please turn to John 7,where Jesus Christ Himself opens up this revelation to us about the significance water has to the Last Great Day. Just three little verses, but it explodes our understanding of this Last Great Day, and the White Throne Judgment period.
John 7:37-39 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
We know by John's commentary here that he is definitely talking about the Holy Spirit being given seemingly without measure—in great abundance to those who would believe on Him. He also tells us that the Holy Spirit became available, not generally and widely, but to those who would believe—those whom God would call—as soon as Jesus had died, and rose again, and had returned to His Father. And if we would go on, and read some of the things that Jesus said at the Last Supper, we would find that He specifically said that He had to go away in order to grant them the power to do the things that they would need to do. And if He did not go away, things would not be good. He had to go away so that He could supply them with this abundant, living water.
We in the Church of God have no problem identifying what John says here as the Last Great Day. We understand that because we understand Leviticus 23. But if you go in and read some of the commentaries on this, they seem to think that this is the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the seventh day. They will make comments about it being the last day of the Feast, but they don't have the revelation to understand all of the symbolism that is involved here—all the fulfillment in the book of Revelation—that this must apply to the Last Great Day, and not to the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Jesus is talking about an abundance of water being given to the people of the earth. The Feast of Tabernacles is a time of giving this abundant water to only a very small number of people. I'm sure that our populations will burgeon throughout those thousand years. But the population that has lived on this earth from the time of Adam through the Flood, all the way down to our time today is far greater, I would imagine, than what will live and die during the Millennium.
So Jesus is talking about an outpouring of God's Spirit upon millions and billions of people because those are the ones who are going to rise on that Last Great Day—that time of God's judgment. God will just open the floodgates, as it were, to these people. And they will be able to drink of this water of life freely, just as He says here.
Now, Jesus' action here seems surprising. Thinking of His ministry and the things that He had said, He would talk privately to His disciples about things. He would tell people who came for healing "Don't tell anybody about this." "Keep this secret." "Just between you and me."
But now at this Feast day, He stands up in the midst of thousands of people that were there on the Last Great Day in the Temple precincts, and actually invites them all to salvation. "If anyone thirsts, let him come unto Me." He offered to them a general call to salvation.
Now I don't believe that very many people took Him up on it. But, it is surely something that He will once again do in the Great White Judgment period.
I think it would be interesting for us to understand the background of these scriptures because the apostle John left out a great deal of detail about what was going on when Jesus did this. And, why He would say something like this.
What happened on the Last Great Day was that the priests—the Levites—would conduct a water ceremony. To the sound of trumpets blaring, a great procession would wind down from the Temple area. They would walk in this procession down to the pool of Siloam, in the city of David. It was a good jaunt of about 1,000 yards. It was no small procession.
The Last Great Day for the Jews was a great day of feasting and joy. People just thronged to the city of Jerusalem. They lined the streets especially on this procession route, waiting for the priests and the procession to come from the Temple. And with great cheering, and blaring of trumpets, they would walk following this procession as well as they could down to the pool of Siloam.
Now this was a mass of people crammed into a very small area. With the noise and the hubbub, it was a festive, joyous atmosphere.
When they got to the pool of Siloam, the priests would draw some water out of that well, and would dip in a golden pitcher. They would then take this water, and proceed back up to the Temple. Once they got there, the water would be taken in a ceremonial fashion and poured upon the altar. And as it was being poured out, the Levitical choir—and probably the people as well, because they had seen this year after year, and they knew the tune, and they knew the words—would sing Isaiah 12:3. "Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of Salvation."
Of course this was not just singing this one sentence one time. I'm sure there was a great chorus and response. It was a great production. "Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of Salvation." Back and forth among the people and priests, and the choir as they associated this water being poured on the altar as an offering to God in thanksgiving for salvation. Then the response of God in giving His Spirit—they didn't understand this—back to the people.
And, this is where Jesus stood up. This is the time when Jesus stood up and said, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me, and drink." And then He says, "He who believes in Me as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water!'" not this measly golden pitcher of water.
If you want an interpretation, He says, "This ceremony is so paltry compared to what I'm willing to give all of you if you would just believe in me!" "You have a gallon of water, I will give you a sea if you want it!"
John provides us with the interpretation of course. The water is the Holy Spirit that one receives upon belief, repentance, and baptism. And of course, at this point, it had not been given except to those few to whom God had called to preach and warn—the Old Testament prophets. And once Jesus Christ died, rose, and ascended to heaven, the Spirit could be given more generally to those who believe.
But even then, it was just a trickle. Of course, we here read in the Bible in Acts, that 3,000 on this day, 5,000 on that day. And the word spread, and there were many disciples. But, among all humanity, this was just a little bit. And as I said, on down through history to today, it has still only been a little bit. Almost a trickle. There have been times when the Church has almost stopped. But of course, we know that the gates of Hell will not prevail against this church because Jesus Christ is at its head. So, He would revive a work, and the church would go on. He would supply as much of His Spirit as would be needed.
But, even today there are so few, and God's pouring out of His Spirit is enough for what we need, but it is not the river—the abundance—of living water that He's talking about here.
That is for another time, this day that we are commemorating—memorializing—beforehand.
In a way, water is one of the themes in the book of John—the water of life—especially in chapters 4 and 7. I want to look at this in chapter 4. Jesus is talking to the Samaritan woman.
John 4:5-6 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
We figure that this is probably noon in the heat of the day. John counts time, as we understand it, from daybreak. So this will be about noontime.
John 4:7-10 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." for His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" for Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."
Now I'm sure this lady is going, "What?"
If you noticed in the Bible when Jesus is asked questions, He sometimes goes off on an angle that no human being would ever thing of. He was after bigger fish here. He didn't necessarily want to answer this woman's question about why He was different from a normal Jew. But, he does answer the question. He basically says, "I'm God Almighty. I deal with all my children. I'm not a normal Jew."
But, He strikes off on this seeming tangent about water, and who it is who is speaking with her, and the gift of God, which is the Holy Spirit.
John 4:11 The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?
She's approaching it totally physically, and carnally. She's saying, "If I had asked you for a drink, I wouldn't have gotten anything because you have no pitcher to draw the water with. And, where is this living water?"
You see, there is something you need to understand here about Jacob's well.
Jacob's well is what is called a "seep well." It is a deep hole in the ground that has been dug and water seeps into it. It is filled by water seeping from the surrounding soil. People would then drop their buckets in there and get the water. It is not inexhaustible. There wasn't a great aquifer that you were reaching through this well. There probably was an aquifer underneath it, but it didn't reach up directly to this well.
Now what He says here is that, "If you had asked Me, I'll give you living water."
Living water to a Jew or Samaritan, was understood as flowing water, running water, a fountain of water, or a spring where there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of fresh water that is constantly bubbling up; the invigorating, refreshing type of water.
But here is Jacob's well with this water just seeping out of the mud, dirt and sand at the bottom of the well. Quite a difference from what Jesus would give. Let's go on a few more verses.
John 4:12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"
She says, "Our patriarch Jacob dug this well, with his sons; are you saying you could give me water from a well that's better than the water Jacob provided? Are you better than Jacob?"
His answer: He does not answer her question.
John 4:13-14 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
If you go on and read it, she never does get the point, until He tells her about her living situation. But, that's another sermon.
What He is saying here is that, "Lady, Jacob's well is paltry, and nothing compared to the Rock out of which springs the water of life. The water that I give to you is so nourishing, so wonderful, and so abundant that if you drink from this water you will never need to be satisfied by anything else! You will never crave any other water! This water, once it begins to work within you, refreshing and filling you up, and nourishing you, will end up bringing you to the point of eternal life."
There's no comparison between the water of Jacob's well and the water from the Rock—the fountain of living water.
Talk about your power drink! Gatorade has nothing on living water, even if they do try to make a water. Have you seen those commercials with all those people popping out of these little droplets of water, and they've got all this energy, and they're going to go conquer the world through whatever their sport is.
But the water that Christ gives is a water that is eternally energizing! And will allow one to live the life of God.
All the yearnings of the human spirit are fulfilled in its combination with God's Spirit, and the ensuing process of growth that ends in eternal salvation and life as God lives it. What a gift this living water is! And we can have it because it has been offered to us.
Revelation 21:6-7 And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
Once we add this to the understanding of the Last Great Day, being a time of judgment after the Millennium, when the unsaved dead rise again to life, we can conclude what this time of judgment is.
Remember I talked about the way the Protestants think of this. I don't know if you've ever gotten a Protestant pamphlet, or whatnot talking about the Day of Judgment? They have people coming before the Great White Throne, and it is like a big screen is opened before them of one type or another. Their life is run like a movie on the screen, and every once in a while, God will say, "Now what were you doing here, son, when you did this? I have to judge you for this," and it is either thumbs up, or thumbs down, like the Roman emperors during a gladiatorial game.
And if you get too many thumbs down throughout your life, then "Whoops!" they open the chute, and go down to Hell, and you burn forever and ever.
Of, if you have a pretty good life, thumbs up, you get wafted upward toward heaven with wings sprouting out of your back!
But, it is not anything like this!
This Great White Throne Judgment period is a chance at another lifetime of decisions and growth. But, this time the one missing element—Mr. Armstrong called it the missing dimension—is added to their life: God's Spirit—the water, freely given, in abundance as much as they desire, as much as they need.
And it is there to guide and direct them towards salvation.
Let's go now to Ezekiel 47:1-12. Now this is the time period after what we call the Millennial Temple period where is shown just the various ways the area of Jerusalem and Israel will be set up. The Levites having their jobs reinstated to them—given their chance, let's say, to do it right this time, and to be the Levites that they should have been. The Prince being given his authority, and directions, and offerings. And finally we get down to chapter 47 which has a great deal of parallelism to Revelation 22:17 which I'll read to you right now, just so you know what it is.
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Ezekiel 47:1-2 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.
Now if you know anything about the lay of the land there in Jerusalem now, you have the Temple Mount on what is now the east side of Jerusalem. There is a valley that goes on down and then the Mount of Olives is eastward across from the Temple.
What he says here is that the Temple here faces east, toward the Mount of Olives. And we know that the Mount of Olives probably won't be there because it says in Zechariah 14 that the Mount of Olives will be split in two, and makes the way to flee. It may be that it opens up that way for this that we're going to see right here—the river valley channel down which this river of living water shall flow.
So, what he says here is that the water is flowing out from the right side of the Temple, south of the altar.
The Jews (the Hebrews I should say) when they give you directions always faced east. If they said that something was in front of you, they meant east of you. If it is in back of you, they meant west of you, which was toward the Mediterranean Sea. Toward the right, is the word Negev, and it is toward your south. And, to the north would be toward your left.
What we have here is water coming out of the Temple from under the threshold of the temple, and it goes toward the east. It flows out from under the right side of the Temple, south of the altar. It is coming out somewhat at the side of the altar there.
Now the angel takes Ezekiel out to the left, the north, and they go out through the North Gate, and then they come back around toward the east to take a look at what is going on from the perspective of the northeast, looking back toward the Temple.
They see the water going down, running out from the right side. So it is running out from the south side of the wall/gate.
Ezekiel 47:3 And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles.
Now we see that it is coming out of the south side, and it is flowing eastward, and he's taking Ezekiel 1,000 cubits, and says that at that point the water was wetting the bottom of his trousers. It was flowing at his ankles.
Ezekiel 47:4a Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters;
It says they are walking through the waters again. I get the impression of Ezekiel standing in the middle of this "flood"—this river—and the angel is taking him down the center of the river, and they are walking eastward, one thousand cubits it says here. Then at this time:
Ezekiel 47:4b ...the water came up to my knees.
So the water is deepening.
Ezekiel 47:4c Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist.
It is steadily increasing. Now it is going to be somewhat different from the way that it is now. If you know anything about the elevations of that area now, it runs at a very precipitous angle from Jerusalem down to Jericho in the east. It is a stiff climb if you are coming westward up that trail or road from Jericho back to Jerusalem because the Dead Sea is below sea level, and I believe the top of the mountain where Jerusalem sits is about 5,000 feet or so. So, it's a plunge of about 6,000 feet today.
But at this time depicted in the verses here he has gone already 2,000 cubits and it is only up to his knees. 3,000 cubits it is up to his waist. This is a gently flowing stream at this point, because Ezekiel is able to stand up in it. The water level is only slowly rising over thousands of cubits. A cubit is about 2/3 of a yard. So, let's say a 1,000 cubits would be somewhere in the range of 600 yards.
So, we haven't gone very far from Jerusalem. And, the river is just slowly rising. But, the volume as it slowly rises is getting greater and greater.
Ezekiel 47:5 Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross;
If he had been standing in the middle of it, he would be sunk.
Ezekiel 47:5b For the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed.
He mentioned it twice there. By the time they went down to this fourth thousand cubits, it was over his head, and he was struggling. He couldn't swim in the water it was so deep. So at some point between 3 and 4 thousand cubits, it was like dropping off the deep end of a pool. This seems like the continental shelf. You go out and it is a slow descent, then you come to the edge and it drops off into the abyss—into the deep of the ocean.
And so, that is what this was like. Just steadily increasing, and then this great amount of water so deep and abundant that you can't even swim in it. It will be a river that flows with living water coming directly from the Source—from the altar, from the Temple.
Ezekiel 47:6a He said to me, "Son of man, have you seen this?"
As if to say, "Have you recognized this? Have you realized what this means?"
Ezekiel 47:6b Then he brought me and returned me to the bank of the river.
I wonder if he was talking to him while he was out there going, "Help! Help!" He picked him up and put him on the bank of the river.
Ezekiel 47:7 When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other.
Now you can understand that where there is a great deal of water, there is going to be a great deal of growth. There were very many trees that were getting nourishment from this wonderful, great river flowing out from the Temple.
Ezekiel 47:8-9 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. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.
He mentions that again. Whenever things are repeated in the Bible it means something. This is a water that causes life.
Ezekiel 47:10 It shall be that fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim; they will be places for spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many.
Now you know that the Dead Sea now, which he is talking about here, doesn't support fish. It is too salty. And if there are fish in that basin, they are not the same types of fish that will live and flourish as in the Mediterranean. There are two different salinities there. Now we will find out why.
Ezekiel 47:11-12 But its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be given over to salt. 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."
Actually, he had given the answer earlier, that the waters that came out of the Temple healed the waters of the Dead Sea. It was able to bring the dead to life! Isn't that what the Holy Spirit does? It is exactly what the Holy Spirit does. It heals and allows for growth and abundance. It allows for something totally miraculous to happen.
Here God gives us an example on a physical level of a sea that was once dead, being able to now support fish that would not have ever lived there had it just been the natural process of things. But, when God intervenes and sends His living water out into this basin—this reservoir—it heals. It produces the atmosphere for growth—for fecundity as Charles Whitaker said the other day.
And the fish teemed in this new sea. It won't be the Dead Sea anymore; it will be the Live Sea! A living sea healed by the water that God produces and sends forth to heal. And everything that touches it produces health, healing, nourishment, and growth.
This is what we see in Ezekiel the 47th chapter.
Let's go now to Habakkuk 2. This is somewhat pulled out of context, but I want this as a capstone upon this, because that river that flows out from the Temple on the south side, doesn't stop in the Dead Sea. Let's read what happens:
Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
This water begins going out from the Temple in the Millennium.
The Millennium begins a time of preparation for the Last Great Day in which the people of the earth and those who will be made God's sons and daughters at the First Resurrection will be preparing a place for these billions of people who come up.
God of course will direct this, and it starts with this act of sending out the water in great abundance from Jerusalem, from the Temple specifically. And here it says in Habakkuk 2:14 that as it goes out, it fills up, and fills up, and fills up until the whole earth feels the effects of this great abundance of water of God.
Now we can see in the picture of the way water moves that it doesn't happen all at once. He just doesn't snap His fingers and suddenly the earth is full of the water of God. It flows. And as we saw in Ezekiel, at first it is not very much. And it rises, and it rises, and it rises, until at some point, whatever that point may happen to be, whenever it happens to come, the whole earth will be saturated with God's knowledge. And with it, will be the water that allows for understanding.
The Word, and the water always work together to produce understanding to apply revelation, to give correction, to give guidance, and a whole host of other gifts that are necessary for us to have salvation.
I think we sometimes don't understand how much God has promised us, and promised the people of this world. It is almost like "If you would just give Me a chance, I will inundate you with every good thing! I want to give you all of it," just like Jesus said to the Samaritan woman. "If you would just ask Me for a drink of this living water, I'll give it to you in spades, and it will be flowing out of you!" This is what the Holy Spirit does.
Once we imbibe it for ourselves, it works within us to produce a spirit that flows out of us in good works, understanding, help, correction, and all those things that we can give as gifts to others.
The water of life is not from a seep well where the water just lies there at the bottom waiting for someone to draw it out. The water of life is an energy. It moves. It is active. It works. And if you would just drink it, there's nothing that can stop you. It will inspire you to act just like the Source—Jesus Christ.
And if we keep drinking, and drinking, and drinking—you are allowed to get "drunk" on this stuff—you will be like Christ fully! His partner, His twin. His younger brother, or sister.
God says, "If you believe in Me. If you will just come to Me, and ask Me for a drink, I'll give it to you! Please!"
It is not like He is begging us, but He is imploring us as a kind Elder Brother, and High Priest to take advantage of it. "Look! It is free! All you have to do is to commit to drinking it!"
Isaiah 55:1-3 Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; and you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you—The sure mercies of David.
"Come on, people! Come! Dive in! Drink your fill! It is free! You don't owe Me anything!—except your obedience, and belief. But, that's nothing compared to what you are going to get back on your investment! Why are you wasting your time with all these things that don't work? All these stratagems for salvation that aren't going to get you a step closer to what you really want? Be satisfied with what I'm willing to give you. And, if that's what it takes, you will see that you made the right decision! Once you drink of it, you won't want anything else! It will be the tonic for you! Just listen, and you will live—not just now, but for ever!"
This will be the proclamation that goes out during this time of the Great White Throne Judgment.
This is very similar to what Jesus said when He stood up during that water ceremony and said, "Come to Me everyone who thirsts! Ho! Everyone who thirsts! Come to the waters and drink. There's water for everyone, and more than enough! All will have as much as they desire."
Let's conclude then in Psalm 36. Think of this in terms of people speaking during the Great White Throne Judgment.
Psalm 36:5-9 Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. [It is so high, it is so wonderful, it is stellar, you might say. There is no end to it.] Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; O Lord, You preserve man and beast. How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.
In the Great White Throne Judgment the children of men will put their trust in God, just as it says here. "Therefore, the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings." And they will be abundantly satisfied with the water of life—this Fountain of Life that He says in verse 9.
And as far as we can tell the vast majority—maybe John Bulharowski's 99.9%—will drink from the river of living waters.