Due to various electronic necessities, insignificant formatting, punctuation, capitalization, etc. and other minor editing has taken place. Spelling has been addressed especially where scanning has caused errors.

Links to the various sections can be found at the bottom of the page.


THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET EZEKIEL





EXPLANATORY NOTE

This posthumous work of Pastor Russell (arranged for use as a textbook) is much condensed, including the extracts from the Pastor's pen, all of which are referred back to his works. The abbreviations used are:

A, B, C, D,E, FThe six preceding volumes of "STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES".
(Citations to E in italic figures refer to old editions, figures in ordinary type to later editions.)
B. S. M..........."THE BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY."
H....................."What Say the Scriptures ABOUT HELL?"
P-D................. "PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION" Scenario.
T....................."TABERNACLE SHADOWS."
S....................."SPIRITISM" Pamphlet.
Z......................"ZION'S WATCH TOWER," followed by year and page.

The citations to REVELATION and EZEKIEL refer to the comments herein, as well as to the Bible text.
Other abbreviations used are:

Barnes..........Barnes' "Revelation".
Brit................."Encyclopedia Britannica."
Buck..............Buck's "Theological Dictionary".
Coffin............Coffin's "Story of Liberty".
Cook.............Cook's "Revelation" ; a compendium of the presentations of seventy-two leading commentators on Revelation, in all languages and all ages of the Church.
Edgar............Edgar's "Pyramid Passages". Vol. II.
McC...............McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia.
Mosheim......Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History.
S. B. D...........Smith's Bible Dictionary.
Smith.............Smith's "Thoughts on Daniel and Revelation".
Weym............Weymouth's New Testament in Modern Speech.



Ezekiel 1

367

GOD'S CHARACTER AND PLAN

1:1. Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. — Christ promised that at His Second Advent He would raise up a "faithful and wise servant," or "steward," who should watch and give forth in due season meat for the Household of Faith. This one should be given charge of all the Storehouse, the Word of God, to bring out of it things new and old. (Matt. 24: 44-47; Luke 12:42-44.) The Prophet Ezekiel types this servant. As Ezekiel was among the Lord's people, the Hebrews, in captivity in literal Babylon, this servant was among those in captivity in Mystic Babylon, beside the great river Chebar ("Joining"), the stream of commerce which joins the nations, on which Christendom is founded, and from which she draws her support, as did in a literal sense Babylon from her great river, Euphrates. In his thirtieth year Charles Taze Russell found himself engaged in commerce, but earnestly studying the Word of God, and striving to teach what he found therein. In fulfilment of the Divine promise the Heavenly things were opened to him (Matt. 3:16), and he saw the significance of the visions, prophecies, given in olden times by the Almighty. He was given a crystal-clear understanding of the character of Jehovah.
1:2, 3. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity, the Word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him — Men do not raise themselves up to become great and honored agents in God's outworking of the Divine Plan of the Ages (Lake 18:14; Eph. 3:11); but now and then throughout the centuries Jehovah Himself (1 Cor. 12:18) has raised up Christian men to carry forward one step or another of His purposes. God made special use of St Paul, St. John, Arius, Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther and Charles T. Russell. The significance of the word Ezekiel is "God is
368
strong," and epitomizes the faith and the message of Pastor Russell He shows the power of Jehovah to save His people now (Acts 15:14), and later to save all the willing and obedient of mankind. (Acts 15:17.) As Ezekiel was the son of Buzi, "Contemned of God," Pastor Russell was born the child of a nominal religious system which is unfaithful to Jehovah. Pastor Russell, by the faithful carrying oat of his vow of consecration to Divine service, was accepted as a true priest of the Almighty. He sacrificed himself and all that he had until, in October, 1916, he died penniless, but rich in the things of God. Chosen expressly by God to declare the message of Present Truth to the last, or Laodicean age, of the Church, the hand, power, of Jehovah was upon him.
1:4. And I looked and behold, a whirlwind came out off the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. — As a young man Charles T. Russell was looking intently to see what might be discerned in the Word of God. "Watch," said the Master. Pastor Russell took for his motto, "I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me." (Hab. 2:1.) He called his semi-monthly publication, "THE WATCH TOWER"; and, firm in the belief that the Second Advent took place in 1874, he included as a sub-title, "And Herald of Christ's Presence." The north symbolizes the spiritual phase of the Kingdom of God. (Isa. 14:13; D653.) Pastor Russell beheld coming, permitted by God, a great Time of Trouble, a whirlwind of warfare, revolution and anarchy. (Jer. 25: 32; Psa. 58:9, 10; D528.) It was the cloud accompanying the approach to human affairs of Him for whose Kingdom many have so long prayed. "Clouds and darkness are round about Him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His Throne, a fire goeth before Him and burneth up His enemies round about" (Psa. 97:2.) A conflagration, beginning with world war, is upon the earth, developing into revolution and anarchy. Fire symbolizes the last of these misfortunes. (Dan. 7:11.) The situation is complicated, infolding, perplexing None of the national leaders understand the situation. To the poor world, in gross darkness, and lying ' in the wicked one," the cloud is full of darkness (Isa. 60:2), of gloominess (Joel 2:2; Zeph. 1:15); but to those who are taken out of the world and into Christ, it is full of brightness and hope — a white cloud, with a silver lining. In the bright light of the dawning Day of Christ the faces of the Lord's people light up with joy as they see these things coming to pass; for
369
their "deliverance draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28) — the deliverance, too, of the whole world from the kingdom of Satan, the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), into the glorious Kingdom of God, the other side of the trouble. With the understanding of God, His work, plan and purpose, there shone forth the amber, golden glow of the Divine presence, and of the true character, nature and glory of the Almighty God of Love. The Father Himself is supervising the troublous commotion, bruising to heal (Hos. 6:1), and "shortening the days." — Matt. 24: 22.
1:5. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. — Out of the contemplation of the cloud of trouble, the worldwide commotion, the destructive anarchy, and of the golden amber glow of God's presence, came a wonderful understanding of something long misunderstood and misrepresented — the character of God. As the vision showed "four living creatures," so the Divine character was seen by the Laodicean steward to consist of four active principles (Rev. 3:14); Justice. Power, Love and Wisdom. The four have the likeness of a perfect man.
1:6. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. — Each of the four attributes has four characteristics or attributes; and each has the Word of God (wines — Rev. 12:14), in the Old and New Testament, in two different ways of operation (two pairs).
1:7. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. — The feet members of Christ, embodying the Divine attributes on earth, are righteous (straight) in Christ's righteousness, pure, unblemished in God's sight, holy, acceptable, living sacrifices (the calf is a type of unblemished sacrifice); and they shine with the imputed perfection of the Man Christ Jesus.
1:8. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides: and they four had their faces and their wings. — The hand is symbolic of power and of execution of purpose. Overshadowed by the Word of God is the Divine power (hand) to execute the thing purposed, operating through human channels, through the power of men. He shows the qualities of the Divine mind through man. Shielded, protected, sustained by the Word (wings)  — (Psa. 61:4), the work of the Almighty goes on through "the foolishness of preaching." (1 Cor. 1:21.) Men and women are "coworkers with God." (2 Cor. 6:1.) The hands (powers) of man are instruments for the operation of infinite Justice, Power, Love and Wisdom.
370


371


372
1:9. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went everyone straight forward. — The wings (Psa. 91:4; Rev. 12:14) are perfectly joined together in unity of purpose and action. Straight on to the end ordained of God goes His Word, upholding and strengthening. — Isa. 46:10, 11.
1:10. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. — The character of Jehovah possesses four fundamental attributes, each composed of all the others. The four faces or features of the living creatures represent the four attributes of God, each inseparable from the others, and in each operate each and all of the four. Divine Justice operates in the fulness of Power, Love and Wisdom. In the fall of man into sin, unbending Justice enforced death for disobedience. Love delayed the execution of the sentence upon Adam 930 years (Gen. 5:6), that Wisdom might impress upon the erring human son an indelible lesson of the exceeding sinfulness of sin (Rom. 7:13) and the extent of the penalty, death, that man, by said experience, might "know evil." (Gen. 3:5.) Divine power will raise man from the dead, that he may learn to "know good" and experience the fulness of the Father's Love and Wisdom. All who are willing and obedient, who consecrate fully to God's will, shall enjoy "pleasures forevermore" (Psa. 16:11) in the sunshine of Divine favor. The unwilling and disobedient shall suffer the full penalty of Justice in the Second Death (Rev. 21:8), ''utter destruction" (2 Thes. 1:9), final and eternal obliteration. (Psa. 87:10.) The face of a man symbolizes the quality of Love, in the character image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27), the God of love. (1 John 4:8.) The ox represents Power (Rev. 4:7); for no animal is stronger, or more patient in the exercise of strength. The majestic lion is God's Justice, roaring its message of death, and executing all that oppose its voice. (Psa. 89:14.) No other creature is so far-sighted, or soars so high as the eagle. The eagle symbolizes Wisdom, far-seeing, ordering all the affairs of the Almighty along the lines of Justice, Power and Love.
1:11. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. — Each pair of wings (Rev. 12:14) symbolizes a separate function of God's Word; one pair to fly with, to carry forward the Plan in the spirit realm, the powers of the air (Eph. 2:2), the other to uphold "all things by the Word" (Heb. 1:3) and to cover and protect — Psa. 91:4.
373
1:12. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. — Not with wavering, as darkened minds imagine, proceeds the Divine Word, but "without variableness or shadow of turning." (Jas. 1:17.) Wheresoever the mind, or Spirit, of Jehovah sends forth His Word, thither straight onward go perfect Justice, Power, Love and Wisdom.
1:13. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. — God's Justice, Power, Love and Wisdom glow with the light of wisdom. The understanding of God's attributes makes every quality of the Almighty to glow with a wondrous illumination to anyone given to see the "visions of God" first perceived clearly by the Laodicean Servant. "Thy Word is a lamp" (Psa. 119:105), shedding light in the darkness, effecting a personal local illumination. The Word is a lamp to the "feet" members Of Christ. (Eph. 1:23.) Up and down, everywhere, throughout all the Divine qualities, wherever manifested, spreads the illumination now shining through the Lamp, the Word.
1:14. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. — In the operation of Divine Justice, Power, Love and Wisdom are sudden gleams of Heavenly wisdom upon great problems, such as now light up the dark clouds of the Time of Trouble.
1:15. Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. — The word "cycle," or "wheel," is familiar in bicycle, motorcycle, and in cycle as applied to epochs. The Divine attributes operate upon human society, the symbolic earth, in cycles, or ages (Eph. 3:11), and in the mechanisms of ages by which God's Plan is carried forward, His character, or face, is seen.
1:16. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness; and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. — Pliny says of the beryl or chrysolithos, "It is a transparent stone with a refulgence like that of gold." Says Smith's Bible Dictionary, "The ancient chrysolithos, or modern topaz, appears to have a better claim than any other stone to represent the tarshish of the Hebrew Bible." Gold is symbolic of things Divine. These golden cycles are the Divinely appointed ages in connection with the four attributes of
374
Deity. The Divine operations are not in one simple age, cycle, or manner of operation, but cycle within cycle, age within age, many operations working together "manifold" (Eph. 3:10), like a vast and complicated machine.
1:17. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. — Divine Justice conflicts not with Divine Love, nor with Wisdom nor Power, but all qualities are in simultaneous operation. They proceed along lines planned ages ago. — Jas. 1:17.
1:18. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. — "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways (plans) higher than your ways." (Isa. 55:9.) The Plan of the Ages reveals the lengths, breadths, heights and depths of the purposes of God, and fills the reverent soul with awe. The Plan of God is full of the infinite Wisdom (eyes — Psa. 32:8) of its Author. — B305.
1:19. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. — Whenever God's attributes operate they are in accordance with the Divine Plan; sometimes the Divine qualities are exercised towards celestial things and sometimes towards things terrestrial. — 1 Cor. 15:40.
1:20. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. — The Spirit, or Power of God, is in all His attributes and in all their operations.
1:21. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them; for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. — In whatever direction the Divine Spirit is to act, whether in earthly things or among spirit beings, thither the operations of the Spirit go in the cooperative action of all God's attributes. When an age is finished and one attribute ceases its action, they all cease.
1:22. And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. — The firmament is the air or atmosphere (Gen. 1:20), and symbolizes the powers of spiritual control. Above the attributes of God and controlling their operations is the Divine will. The expression of God's will during the time indicated by the vision is the Christ. Head and Body. "All power in Heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18) is given unto Christ, and will
375
be shared by His Bride and Joint-heir. (Rev. 20:4.) "The terrible crystal" — literally "the reverential ice" — suggests the reverence due to the ruling Christ Head and Body, and their own reverential attitude towards the Father. The color is that of ice, clear as crystal, pure, unmixed "truth in the inward parts" (Psa. 51:6), characterizing the new ruling powers in the spiritual phase of the Kingdom of God.
1:23. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. — Beneath, subject to the direction of the Christ, Head and Church triumphant, are the wings (Word of God — Rev. 12:14). Whenever Divine Justice, Power, Love and Wisdom are in action, the Word of God points straight up to the Father as the Source of every good thing.
1:24. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of a host: when they stood, they let down their wings. — The sound of the Father's Word is as the voice of great waters (Rev. 1:15), mighty truths, in "the voice of speech," for the benefit of His children. It is the voice of God, too, when spoken by His people. When Divine Justice, Power, Love and Wisdom operate upon human society, then the Word of God is in full harmony therewith.
1:25. And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings. — It is through the reigning Christ, Zion, that the voice of Jehovah shall sound forth. "The Lord will roar from Zion." (Amos 1:2.) "Out of Zion shall go forth the Law." (Isa. 2:3.) Through The Christ sounds forth the Word of God bespeaking to the world infinite Justice, Power, Love and Wisdom.
1:26. And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a Man above upon it. — "THE HEAD OF CHRIST IS GOD." (1 Cor. 11:3.) Above the triumphant Christ, Head and Body, is the Throne of Almighty God. "The Son [is] subject to Him that put all things under Him." (1 Cor. 15:28.) The Throne represents the dominion of God. As the blue sapphire (symbolic of faithfulness), so is the rulership of the Almighty. "God is faithful" (1 Cor. 1:9.) In the contemplation of the watchers, the faithfulness, unchangeableness of God, is seen shining through the Christ, the firmament, like the
376
soft blue of the sapphire atone. Man is in the image and likeness of God. Reigning over all is One whom men can understand, a Deity whose perfect Justice, Power, Love and Wisdom elicit complete consecration. God is seen to be not a ferocious demon, belying His own command of love, but a just, reasonable, loving God, able to save all the willing and obedient Jesus, the friend of sinners, was and is the perfect image of the Father.
1:27. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of His loins even upward, and from the appearance of His loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. — "God dwelleth in light whereto no man can approach." (1 Tim. 6.16.) Radiant is the Almighty with the golden glow of the Divine nature. "Our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12: 29); only the perfect can stand in His presence; for all dross, not refinable (Mal. 3:2, 3), is consumed by Justice. The essence of the Divine Revelation is Love, the golden light radiating in every direction from Our Father. "Ho that loveth his brother abideth in the light" (1 John 2:18). in the Divine love-light that surrounds the Throne and pervades the entire spirit realm. This love is the light of the world, to light men unto God.
1:28. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. — The Throne and He that sat thereon were surrounded by all the colors of the rainbow. (Rev. 4:3.) The love spirit finds fruitage in character fruits. So the light of our Father is divisible into the warm red of love, the glowing blue of faithfulness, the brilliant green of immortality, the royal purple of kingship, for those on any plane who are worthy of that honor, etc. — the manifestation of every good character fruit and every good purpose for the blessing of all His creatures. (John 15:8; Gal. 5:22.) The glory of God is not a display of blinding light to terrify men; but it is to do good, to manifest to the uttermost His character of love. When the watchman of the Laodicean age discerned the Divine character and Plan he fell upon his face (Rev. 1:17), in reverential worship and in complete consecration to do the will of his Father in Heaven. There sounded forth and through him, from the pages of God's Word (Isa. 30:21), the voice of the Sublime One who has been speaking to Christendom during this dawn of the Golden Age.

Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0!