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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 2

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THE REBELLIOUS HOUSE AND THE BOOK

2:1. And He said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. — It is a mark of favor to stand before a king. (Prov. 22:29.) Those who stand before rulers receive commissions, are invested with authority and power.
2:2. "And the spirit entered into me when He spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard Him that spake unto me." — "The words which I speak, they are spirit" (John 6:63.) When the full import of the Word was discerned. Pastor Russell took a firm stand. The spirit, power, influence of God entered into him never to leave. He stood firmly, before God, before his friends, and before all the hostile hosts of Mystic Babylon the Great.
2:3. "And He said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me, even unto this very day." — Pastor Russell's work was largely among professing Christians  %#8212; not slum work, Christian work among the professedly non-Christians, or a revivalistic work calling to repentance and conversion. This was not the work appropriate to the Harvest of the Christian Age. John the Baptist announced the First Presence of Messiah, and began the harvesting of Jewry, and was not sent to the heathen, but to the Lord's people, the Jews, to acquaint them with the First Advent, expose those withholding the keys of knowledge (Luke 11:52), and warn of the impending destruction of Jerusalem and Judea in A. D. 70 and 73. (Matt 3:7; 24:2.) A like work was to be accomplished in Spiritual Israel, Christendom, after the Lord's Second Advent in 1874. The man raised up, "set upon his feet," and given wisdom, grace and power for the task, was Pastor Russell.
2:4. "For they are impudent children and stiff-hearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God." — Few things are more trying than a family of impudent children. Forwardness in evil-doing and evil-speaking was one of the characteristics of the Hebrew people. They violated the Word of God and justified the violation. (Matt. 15:5.) By impudent — hard faced — tradition they made void the Word of God, The
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effrontery of the "Christian" era has been unsurpassed. Possessing greatest light, they have sinned most grievously. The Word said, "He that is begotten of God sinneth not" (1 John 3:9); yet John Tetzel was, and in some countries Roman Catholic priests still are, selling indulgences to commit sin. Professing "Christians" keep Christianity out of their affairs with the phrase, "Business is business."
2:5. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a Prophet among them. — The work of Ezekiel among the Hebrews in captivity proved a thankless task. He was rejected by both those in captivity and those remaining at Jerusalem under Zedekiah. His following was almost nothing. But he witnessed faithfully, and no Hebrew could say that he had not been cautioned of danger and warned of impending catastrophe. Whether the clergy and people of Christendom wished to heed Pastor Russell or not, they certainly heard his words. |Z.'03-436.) His work was peculiarly prospered. Against difficulties it grew and extended beyond the wildest dreams, until it compassed the civilized world. In the face of the united opposition of Protestant and Romanist clergy, the steward of Almighty God accomplished the most gigantic preaching work ever done by one man. "I cannot open the morning paper without Pastor Russell staring me in the face," said a prominent minister. In the newspapers. in the theatres, on the bill-boards, in billions of tract pages distributed gratis, in millions of home libraries, in the questions of inquiring church members, it was evident everywhere that a great preacher was faithfully sounding forth a trumpet message. With a voice of many waters, reverberating like thunder throughout the world, spoke Pastor Russell; and ere long "they shall know that there hath been a Prophet [preacher] among them."
2:6, 7. "And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions; be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks though they be a rebellious house. And thou Shalt speak My words, unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear; for they are most rebellious. — Fearlessness characterized Ezekiel and Pastor Russell, both outcasts among the 'best" people. Pastor Russell was thrust by the church people into a wilderness condition, amid the briers of opposition and reproach. Though the thorns of persecution crowned his bead, he was never afraid of words nor of angry looks. (Jer. 1:8-10.) "I would rather see him stoned to death," said a Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
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preacher, in answer to a kindly invitation to come and hear Pastor Russell preach. "He ought to be skinned alive, and his hide stretched on a door," remarked a Chicago "divine" to another "divine," coming out from one of Pastor Russell's addresses. A scorpion has a great swelling, formidable looking head, but it stings with its tall. (Rev. 9:5, 10.) Ecclesiasticism is made up of organizations whose heads utter boastful, swelling words, but which do injury through their followers. The sting of a scorpion — of the followers of synods and popes — in through poisoned words. Every great reformer has had some turn on him who were very close to him. Not from outside did Pastor Russell suffer most. A few from among his own household, whom he had befriended, helped, pushed, advanced, struck at him to ruin him and destroy his influence and his work. It is characteristic of the scorpion to sting and poison in the dark corners of a man's own home. "Be not afraid, though thou dost dwell among scorpions."
2:8. But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house; open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. — The attitude of the rebellious Christian was not that of God's chosen servant Never did he rebel against the Divine leading, nor seek to pervert the Word of God. "My flesh is meat (food) indeed." (Jno. 6:55.) "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matt 4:4.) Whatever the word or message that came from the Father's lips through the inspired pages of the Bible, the Laodicean steward was to appropriate, assimilate. — Rev. 10:9.
2:9. And when I looked, behold, a hand was sent unto me; and lo, a roll of a book was therein. — The Divine hand sent from God is the Divine power, support, upholding and advancing the interests of whatever is in the hand. "The book therein" is the Divine Plan of the Ages, Present Truth, especially as relating to the impending downfall of Christendom in the end of this Age. Ancient books were written on a continuous sheet, rolled up. The sheet was often written on both sides. The writing outside could be plainly read until covered by the rolling, but that inside was entirely hidden from view. Present Truth, the Divine Plan of the Ages, contains features which are plain to any one who looks at them; such as those relating to the earthly features of God's Plan — the evil in the earth, the clashing interests of rich and poor, and various other elements of the present order of things, the great war, and the approach, of a better order of things after
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the present troubles are over. Present Truth, "the roll of the book," also contains hidden, deep truths, discernible only to those who have the Holy Spirit. It possesses features impossible for natural men, not anointed with the Spirit, to perceive. "The natural man perceiveth not the things of the Spirit, neither can he know them; for they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14.) Many thousands of consecrated Christians are upheld, comforted and rejoiced by the deep things of God, made clear for the first time in centuries by the "roll of the book."
2:10. And He spread it before me; and it was written within and without; and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe. — What an honor to be the person before whom the Almighty would clearly spread out His purposes, — the honor which came to Pastor Russell, and with it a witness work of vast extent and responsibility! The purpose of Present Truth is to inform the Lord's people and the people of the world, as far as they may listen, concerning the significance of the times. All classes profit more or less from the warning of Pastor Russell, as the message goes broadcast throughout the world. It comes with a different significance to Church and to world. To the Church it is a trumpet call of truth (Rev. 10:2-7), to get ready quickly for deliverance, resurrection glory, honor and immortality. To the world, the worldly-minded, the Present Truth is something to be dreaded. (Isa. 28:19.) This world, age, state of affairs, is in process of destruction. The destroying agencies, as portrayed in the Scriptures (1 Kings 19:11, 12; Z.'04-249; Z.'98 - 207, 208) are world-wide war, then revolutions on an unprecedented scale, and finally universal anarchy — savagery. The significance of anarchy is appreciated by but few. It means an utter absence of government, first the paralysis, and ultimately the ceasing, of the governmental functions which now afford protection, peace and safety to property and life. As matters progress to the climax, as disaster after disaster overtakes human effort, and disintegration descends into the dissolution of law and order, the whole earth will be "filled with violence" (Gen. 6:11; Micah 6:12); and men's hearts will utterly fail. (Luke 21:26.) Picture the worst revolutions ever known; this trouble will outdo them all. Paint the darkest picture, and none will be as black as the sable pall of this dreadful night, this reign of terror already settling down upon mankind. Truly, "mourning, lamentation and woe" were the burden of God's Prophet Ezekiel, as he foresaw the destruction of his beloved city, Jerusalem — and of Pastor Russell, as he foreknew the desolation of a world!

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