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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 23

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TWO APOSTATE CHURCH SYSTEMS

23:1, 2. The Word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother. — Chapter 23 describes the church-state unions of the Roman Catholic church, pictured as an unchaste woman, Aholah, and of the Protestant church, her unchaste sister, Aholibah, and the destruction of both in the Time of Trouble by the nations with which they have made unions. — Jer. 3:6-10.
23:3. And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity. — Both of these churches have always catered to worldly ideas and people, and even in their youth were guilty of unions of church with state.
23:4. And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were Mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah. — Their names are significant Aholah means "her own tent." God is not in Romanist ecclesiasticism at all; it has its own tabernacle, called (Acts 7:43) "the tabernacle of Moloch." Satan himself dwells in and actuates the Papal system. Aholibah means "My tent is in her." God's Tabernacle, the true Church, has been among the Protestants chiefly. In this, picture, an unchaste Protestant ecclesiasticism is designated "Jerusalem." They both have sons — prominent ones  — and daughters — sectarian churches.
23:5. And Aholah played the harlot when she was Mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbors. — The Romish church dates back to apostolic days, when she was God's Church [Mine]; but she fell in love with her neighbors, the rulers of that brutal age, and sought temporal power.
23:6. Which were clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding upon horses. — The leaders and rulers in worldly affairs were apparently faithful (clothed in blue, typical of faithfulness), and seemed desirable and attractive to be associated with. They were men of thought and men of action, riding hobbies of vain philosophies.
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23:7. Thus she committed her whoredoms with them, with all them that were the chosen men of Assyria, and with all on whom she doted: with all their idols she defiled herself. — The Church associated with them for gain of worldly power, set her affections on them, instead of on things Above, and defiled herself with their pagan ideas.
23:8. Neither left she her whoredoms brought from Egypt: for in her youth they lay with her, and they bruised the breasts of her virginity, and poured their whoredom upon her. — Nor did she give up her worldliness when she took up oriental asceticism.
23:9, 10. Wherefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted. These discovered her nakedness: they took her sons and her daughters, and slew her with the sword: and she became famous among women; for they had executed judgment upon her. — The rulers discovered the naked, unprotected condition of Romanism; and by hundreds of thousands poured in from the East, literal Tartars, Vandals, Huns and Turks, and the pagan ideas from the same sources, and slew the sons and daughters of Romanism with the literal sword, as well as her children spiritually. Among the Pagan religions (women) Romanist "Christianity" became a name and a byword; for the invaders had executed the judgment of God upon her.

PROTESTANTISM'S POLLUTION

23:11. And when her sister Aholibah saw this, she was more corrupt in her inordinate love than she, and in her whoredoms more than her sister in her whoredoms. — Protestantism began in comparative purity, but later on developed an inordinate love for temporal power. Even more than Papacy she tried in every nation to "run things."
23:12. She doted upon the Assyrians her neighbours, captains and rulers clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men. — She, too, set her affections on popularity with earth's rulers, great and small, conservative, radical and revolutionary.
23:13-17. Then I saw that she was defiled, that they took both one way. And that she increased her whoredoms: for when she saw men portrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed with vermilion, girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity: and as soon as she saw them with her eyes, she doted upon them, and sent messengers unto them
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into Chaldea. And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them. — God saw that both churches, Romish and Protestant, were of like tendency to church-state union, especially Protestantism; for she never saw or heard of a great worldly man, even down to the local leaders of the smallest rural communities, that she did not desire their influence and help — particularly their money — and systematically invited them to connect themselves with a church, quite regardless of whether or not they remained worldly. So much did the prominent people in every place crowd into the Protestant churches and try to "boss" things, that the rank and file even of ecclesiastics and of the less prominent supporters of ecclesiasticism grew sick of them.
23:18. So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then My mind was alienated from her, like as My mind was alienated from her sister. — The newspaper writers, Socialists, anarchists and muck-rakers, exposed the worldliness of the Protestant churches; and God Himself, from 1878 on, has been alienated from them.
23:19-21. Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt. For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses. Thus thou calledst to remembrance the lewdness of thy youth, in bruising thy teats by the Egyptians for the paps of thy youth. — Protestant ecclesiasticism multiplied her worldly alliances; and the prominent and wealthy, "of the earth, earthy," filled the churches with tares, worldlings, desirous of profiting by association with prominent people.
23:22. Therefore, O Aholibah, thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy mind is alienated, and I will bring them against thee on every side. — Therefore, O Protestantism, thus saith the Lord Jehovah: I will raise up, in warfare and revolution, the worldly people in you, of whom you are already sick, and bring them against you on every side.
23:23. The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them; all of them desirable young men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses. — The worldly, the worldly-wise (Chaldeans), the officers (Pekod), princes (Shoa), and rulers (Koa), and all the discontented and anarchistic with them shall come against you, riding hobbies destructive to you.
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23:24. And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, which shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet round about: and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgments. — They shall war against thy welfare with organizations of their own (chariots), with leaders (riders, mistranslated wagons), with a systematic plan of operation (wheels), and with a great following of revolutionists; and they shall condemn thee by their own perverted ideas of justice.
23:25. And I will set My jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword; they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire. — Unknown to Protestantism, God's jealousy has been excited by her worldliness; and He will permit the masses to deal with her in fury; they will destroy her spirituality, taking away her ability to discern spiritual things (nose), and to hear (ear) the Word of God. They will force Protestantism's sons and daughters into service in war and revolution; and the remnant will be destroyed in the ensuing anarchy.
23:26. They shall also strip thee out of thy clothes, and take away thy fair jewels. — Protestantism shall be stripped of her robes of self-righteousness and of her imitation jewels — those not truly Christianized; for they will cast off all pretense of religion.
23:27. Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee, and thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt: so that thou shalt not lift up thine eyes unto them, nor remember Egypt any more. — Being no longer attractive or useful to the ruling powers, she will perforce cease her advances toward the grasping of worldly power.
23:28. For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will deliver thee into the hand of them whom thou hatest, into the hand of them from whom thy mind is alienated. — All law-abiding people, and especially Protestant ecclesiasticism, hate and fear the lawless forces destructive of society; but into the cruel hands of such shall they be delivered.
23:29. And they shall deal with thee hatefully, and shall take away all thy labour, and shall leave thee naked and bare; and the nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms. — These evil forces shall deal hatefully with Protestantism, take away all the results of her work, and strip her completely, because of the ultimate evils wrought by union of church and state.
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23:30. I will do these things unto thee, because thou hast gone a whoring after the heathen, and because thou art polluted with their idols. — God will do this because Protestantism has sought and made church-state unions, and has been polluted with worldly ideas and practices.
23:31. Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister; therefore, will 1 give her cup into thine hand. — She has walked in the way of Papacy; therefore will God give to her also Papacy's cup of tribulation. — Jer. 25:15.
23:32. Thus saith the Lord God: Thou shalt drink of thy sister's cup deep and large; thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in derision; it containeth much. — Protestantism shall drink deep and large the measure of Romanism's cup of trouble; it contains much. As a result of wars and devastation brought on by worldliness, in the face of boasted godliness, Protestantism shall be scorned and derided by the whole world. — Rev. 9.
23:33. Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of thy sister Samaria. — Protestantism shall be intoxicated with the war spirit (Jer. 13:13), and later stupefied with amazement at the ruinous results of her own course, ending in the same cup of trouble, utter ruin, as confronts her sister-church, Catholicism.
23:34. Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt break the sherds thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God. — Protestantism shall drain the cup of desolation and sorrow and shall suck out the very dregs. (Isa. 30:14.) It shall be broken up in anarchy, and shall lose all the features that made it attractive to this world's governments for purposes of union of church and state.
23:35. Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Because thou hast forgotten Me, and cast Me behind thy back, therefore bear thou also thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.  — Because she has forgotten the Lord and cast Him out of her mind, Protestantism shall endure unaided by Him the results of her own evil course.
23:36. The Lord said moreover unto me: Son of man, wilt thou Judge Aholah and Aholibah? yea, declare unto them their abominations. — In Verses 36 to 49 Romanism and Protestantism are together jointly condemned.
23:37. That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them. — They have both effected church-state unions. They have blood guilt, for wars, and for causing the spiritual
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death of multitudes. They have given their hearts to idol doctrines. They have caused God's children to endure fiery troubles, and have scorched, scarred and burned their religious lives with the eternal torment theory.
23:38. Moreover this they have done unto Me; they have defiled My Sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned My sabbaths. — They have defiled God's Sanctuary, the Church, with soul-destroying doctrines in the same Day, the Gospel Age. They have derided the Millennium, and have substituted works for the rest of faith, as the basis of justification before God.
23:39. For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into My Sanctuary to profane it; and lo, thus have they done in the midst of Mine house. — They would slay their people in war and the same day go to worship God, even in the midst of God's Sanctuary, the Little Flock of the true Church.
23:40. And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came; for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments. — They sought for union with and sent preachers to prominent men, at heart in a condition far from God; for them they "whitewashed" themselves, made their wisdom (eyes) attractive with worldly philosophies, and adorned themselves with the imitation jewels of courtesy, tact and politeness.
23:41. And satest upon a stately bed, and a table prepared before it, whereupon thou hast set Mine incense and Mine oil. — They took their seat upon a stately creed-bed, adapted to worldly, regal purposes, with a table of religious food, teachings, philosophies, not of God, where they gave their hearts' best endeavor and prostituted what measure of the Holy Spirit they had to worldly ends.

THE WORST OF MEN TAKEN INTO THE CHURCHES

23:42. And a voice of a multitude being at ease was with her; and with the men of the common sort were brought Sabeans from the wilderness, which put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads. — With the ecclesiasticism of Papacy and Protestantism was the voice of a multitude of worldly church members, thoroughly at ease in apostate Zion. (Amos 6:1.) Among the church members were men of the blackest character (Sabeans, descendants of Ham, disfavored of God), who belonged outside the pale of religion, who adorned themselves with seeming character jewels and crowns of inherent immortality, not of God, but of Plato.
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23:43. Then said I unto her that was old in adulteries, Will they now commit whoredoms with her, and she with them? — It seemed impossible that the churches should unite with such evil men, to gain influence and power.
23:44. Yet they went in unto her, as they go in unto a woman that playeth the harlot: so went they in unto Aholah and unto Aholibah, the lewd women. — Nevertheless, both Romish and Protestant ecclesiasticism did so.

JUDGED BY GOOD MEN, PUNISHED BY EVIL MEN

23:45. And the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood; because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands. — But men with a sense of decency, justice and the fitness of things will condemn both Churches, Romish and Protestant, as adulteresses were Judged among the Hebrews — stone them to death with hard facts, and by the ravages of revolution and anarchy.
23:46. For thus saith the Lord God, I will bring up a company upon them, and will give them to be removed and spoiled. — God will bring up against them a great rabble of people with a keen sense of outraged justice — Socialists, trades-union men, laborites, social democrats, nihilists and anarchists. Also a multitude of God's children, begotten of the Holy Spirit, will rise up against these apostacies.
23:47. And the company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire. — This multitude will down ecclesiasticism with hard facts, and destroy her with material weapons and with the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. The anarchists will literally slay church members by millions; and the sons of God will by His Holy Word cause them to cease their pretense of being Christians.
23:48. Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness. — Thus will the Lord cause the desire for the union of churches with worldly power to cease out of human society, that all religious bodies may learn forever to avoid this abominable practice.
23:49. And they shall recompense your lewdness upon you, and ye shall bear the sins of your idols: and ye shall know that I am the Lord God. — Thus shall ecclesiasticism's faithless apostasy be recompensed upon her when she suffers the results of the sinfulness of loving other mighty ones than Jehovah, and thus shall she learn the supremacy of God in the affairs of men.

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