THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
#05-1138
Engedi Signifies Life
July 28, 2011
I have one more thought about the word Engedi , and it has to do with life, specifically the river of the
water of life that comes from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
On one level, Engedi means that the battle is the Lord's; therefore, stand and see the salvation of the
Lord. It is a good word, and one that should encourage our hearts in this day of great uncertainty and a
multitude of enemies that are set against God's people and His kingdom.
On yet a higher level, Engedi signifies life.
Engedi or Hazazon-tamar is mentioned seven times in scripture (Genesis 14:7; Joshua 15:62; 1
Samuel 23:29; 24:1; 2 Chronicles 20:2; Song of Solomon 1:14; Ezekiel 47:10). It could be argued that
all references have some connection to life, but it is Ezekiel that most definitely links Engedi to life.
Engedi was an important oasis town and fresh-water spring west of the Dead Sea and on the eastern
border of the Judean Desert. The elevation of the surrounding land goes from the level of the Dead Sea
at 423 meters below sea level to the heights of the Judean Desert at 200 meters above sea level. It
was known for its rugged terrain, including many caves carved into limestone, and fertility, all of which
made it an ideal place for refuge. For example, David hid from Saul in the terrain of Engedi.
The name means "spring of a kid (goat)" or "fountain of the goat," which recognizes the spring-fed
streams that flow year round and the goats that roam the surrounding rugged terrain. Today, it is a
nature reserve that is a sanctuary for many types of birds, animals, and plants. Its natural springs are
used for agriculture and water for human consumption.
So, on the natural level, Engedi is a source of life for man, along with many of God's creatures. But, on
the spiritual level, there is an even greater meaning to the word, as revealed through Ezekiel and
explained through John.
Much like John, Ezekiel was caught up in spirit and given a vision of a city. This is easily seen by
comparing the two visions.
In the visions of God He brought me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain,
and on it to the south there was a structure like a city. And the Spirit lifted me up and brought
me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house. (Ezekiel 40:2; 43:5
NASB)
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city,
Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. … I saw no temple in
it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:10-11a, 22 NASB)
Without any doubt, John saw New Jerusalem, but there is disagreement among commentators as to
what city Ezekiel saw. Did he see New Jerusalem, or did he see an earthly Jerusalem that will rise up in
the Middle East during the Kingdom Age? Since this is beyond the scope of the word Engedi , I must
leave this question unanswered. Besides, I am not sure I have an answer for it at this point in time. I
simply want to highlight the similarities of the two visions and their connection to life.
One thing for sure; the visions of both Ezekiel and John touch upon life and convey a mighty important
spiritual lesson.
Starting in chapter 47, Ezekiel describes a river of water flowing out of the house of the Lord toward the
east, which means it was flowing in the direction of the Jordan River and the Dead (Salt) Sea. I read an
interesting article by a geologist-pastor who described how this could occur based on the movement of
tectonic plates. In light of Ezekiel's vision and Zechariah's prophecy of the Mount of Olives splitting in
two due to a major earthquake (Zechariah 14:4), the Sinai plate would move south and the Gaza plate
would move north, thus splitting the Mount in two, with one portion moving north and the other moving
south. At the same time, the Arabian plate would move east, thus shifting the Jordan River toward the
west, and Ezekiel's river would then flow into the Jordan and south into the Dead Sea.
In Ezekiel's vision, the command was given to measure the depth of the stream every 1,000 cubits until
it was 4,000 cubits east of the gate of the city. Each measurement revealed that, as the stream moved
east, it grew deeper and deeper until the river could not be forded; one could only swim in it (see
Ezekiel 47:1-6). Ezekiel was brought back to the bank of the river to see some trees.
(7) Now when I had returned, behold, on the bank of the river there were very many trees on the
one side and on the other. (8) Then he said to me, "These waters go out toward the eastern
region and go down into the Arabah; then they go toward the sea, being made to flow into the
sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh. (9) It will come about that every living creature
which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for
these waters go there and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.
(10) And it will come about that fishermen will stand beside it; from Engedi to Eneglaim there
will be a place for the spreading of nets. Their fish will be according to their kinds, like the fish
of the Great Sea, very many." (12) "By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will
grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will
bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food
and their leaves for healing." (Ezekiel 47:1-10, 12 NASB)
These verses speak of life that comes forth from the river that flows out of the house of the Lord.
Wherever this river flows and whatever touches it is given life. The Dead Sea will no longer be a sea
that cannot sustain life. The geologist-pastor states that the Dead Sea is a dead end, so to speak, due
to a risen fault at its southern edge. When the great earthquake hits, this fault or plate will move and
open up the Dead Sea so the river of life will flow through it and out to the Gulf of Aqaba. Trees will
bear fruit for food and healing, and fish will thrive in the water from Engedi (to the south) to Eneglaim (to
the north).
Thus, Engedi is associated with life , and, on a spiritual level, fish signify humanity that needs to be
saved and given the life of God through His Son (see Matthew 4:19; 13:47-50). When the river of life
reaches an area that once was dead, abundant life springs up, and Engedi is the first place identified
with this life.
Now, whether this is a picture of something natural that will occur in the next age, I do not know. But
what I do know is that this is clearly a spiritual picture of New Jerusalem as seen by John. For more on
this topic, please see my book New Jerusalem (2009).
(1) Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of
God and of the Lamb, (2) in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of
life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were
for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2 NASB)
New Jerusalem is all about life; life in the oncoming eon (eonian life) and beyond. Engedi is a recipient
of this life. So, as the crisis comes upon the world, remember Engedi!
The Upward Call: #05-1138
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by: Stuart H. Pouliot