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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 34

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THE UNFAITHFUL SHEPHERDS

34:1, 2. And the Word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? — God is against the clergy. Chapter 34 is a burning arraignment of ecclesiasticism. It is to be taken in a dual sense as concerning the clergy's treatment of God's true people, the true Church on the spiritual plane, and of the Jews on the earthly plane, both of whom the self-appointed shepherds, the clergy, have neglected, abused and scattered. (34:1-8, 17-21.) God will judge ecclesiasticism (34:9, 10, 16, 17, 20, 22), and will Himself, through His own agencies, regather and bless His true flock, Jewish and Christian. (34:10, 11-17, 22-31.) The words "shepherd" and "pastor" have the same meaning (D62; F287). Thus saith Jehovah God to the clergy, from Pope to preachers, Woe — in the revolution and anarchy, from 1918 on — woe to the clergy that selfishly look out for "No. 1," that seek big salaries, live in tax-free and rent-free parsonages and rectories, that apply to themselves every promise of the Divine Word. Should not the clergy, the pastors, unselfishly feed the flock of God?
34:3. Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. — Ye live on the choicest offerings of the people. Ye "fleece" the sheep of their golden fleece. Them that are fed to fatness with the Word of God, ye kill spiritually if ye can. Ye have literally killed over fifty millions in bloody persecutions. Ye have preached millions into a dreadful death in the trenches. Ye do everything to the sheep but feed them. Did I not command you thrice, "Feed My sheep?" — John 21:17; 1 Pet. 5:2.
34:4. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. — Those weakened by spiritual disease — by the pestilence of false doctrines — ye have not strengthened
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with the pure Word of God, the Bread of Life. Rather ye have thrown them poisonous, death-dealing doctrines (1 Cor. 10:21) from the "table of devils." Ye have not healed with the Divine Word of comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-7; Rom. 15:4) those spiritually sick with temporary ailment of the soul. Ye have not bound up, with the strong promises of God, the broken in spirit. (Isa. 61:1.) Neither have ye brought back into renewed faithfulness those driven away by your treatment, nor sought to find and bring to renewed relation to God those sheep that have strayed from him in life and doctrine. Rather than feed them, serve and shepherd them, ye have ruled them, lorded over God's heritage (1 Pet. 5:3), as concerns both God's true Christian sheep and His sheep of the Hebrew race.
34:5. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. — "My sheep know My voice [of love], and a stranger will they not follow." (John 10:4, 5.) They were not kept together, cared for and cherished in the bonds of Christian love. There were not among you the true under-shepherds having My Spirit of Divine Love; and you, adulterous priests of Baal, and of Molech — the cruel, fiery-torment God — none having My Spirit could hear or follow. And when they were scattered, they, the inoffensive, unresisting ones, became the prey of every evil government and of every evil employer and corporation. Ye made them cannon-fodder by the thousands for the blood-guilty kaisers, czars, kings and generals of your evil order of things.
34:6. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, My flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. — My people wandered homeless and friendless throughout all the nations of this evil world. My flock of Apostles, martyrs, sacrificers, was scattered throughout all human society. Not one of the selfish, idolatrous clergy of either Romanism or Protestantism cared for them, or loved My beloved ones enough to seek after them; but rather ignored them, ostracized them, compelled their silence, drove them out from the churches, and stilled their voices in persecution and in death.
34:7. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the Word of the Lord. — Ye have done this for centuries; and God permitted you to continue, because the time had not come. But now has come the hour of your judgment, ye popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, preachers, revivalists, and clergy of Baal, of every order and grade. Hear ye the Word of Jehovah.
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THE GOOD SHEPHERD

34:8. As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not My flock. — As I live, saith the Living God, surely because My true flock became a prey, and was exploited by every evil ruler and employer, because there was no true shepherd among you, and you clergy did not love and cherish and seek for My beloved flock, but you loved and fed yourselves, and starved My true people with a famine for the hearing of the Word of God. — Amos 8:11.
34:9. Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. — Therefore, ye clergy, hear the Word of the true God, Jehovah.
34:10. Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require My flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. — Thus saith Jehovah God; Behold, I am against the clergy (H12), great and little, high and low; and I will exact from them an accounting for My beloved people; I will take My flock entirely from them. "Come out of her, O My people, and touch not the unclean thing." (Rev. 18:4; 2 Cor. 6:17.) And I will cause the clergy to cease from feeding or attempting to preach to My flock, or any flock in My name; for in a Time of great Trouble I will deliver My people from the mouths of the clergy (Rev. 9:17-19), that My flock may not furnish them support any more, that My people may not ever again be preached by the clergy into slaughter.
34:11. For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search My sheep, and seek them out. — Jehovah will ignore the hireling, faithless clergy, and through an agency of His own lowly despised, caluminated, ostracised will patiently, persistently, lovingly search for all His "little ones," those having His Spirit, and will seek them out.
34:12. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out My sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. — As an oriental shepherd, who knows and loves his sheep and is known and loved of them, seeks them out, when they are scattered (John 10:4-15), so will God seek
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out every one of His beloved ones, and will deliver them out of the condition of loneliness, distress, famine and persecution, where they have been scattered by the apostate clergy in the troublous and dark period of the Gospel Age.
34:13. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.  — God himself will bring them together from the various paganized "Christian" denominations, into the Joy and peace and love of a condition at one with Himself and with others of like precious faith. Upon the height of the Heavenly Kingdom will He feed them, by rivers of crystal clear Truth, and amid the rejoicing throngs of the Heavenly courts. His chosen people, the Jews, will God bring toy the agency of the resurrected Ancient Worthies to Palestine, where He will feed them upon the historic mountains of that hallowed land, in the then great cities of a realized Zionism.
34:14. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. — God will feed His Little Flock, first on Present Truth and then, at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb He will appoint their place as Kings and Priests of the Kingdom. He will make them abide forever in the place, the Divine spirit nature, which Christ went to Heaven to prepare. Upon the Word, fresh from the mind of God, shall they feast forever, in the spiritual phase Of the Kingdom. To the Jews will be fulfilled these promises in the earthly phase of the Kingdom.
84:15. I will feed My flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. — God will feed His Flock with Present Truth, and will give them the rest of "the peace that passeth understanding." — Phil. 4:7.
34:16. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. — Not one true sheep shall be lost. God's unerring eye will seek every one, and bring all back, first into the Truth, and then into the Kingdom. He will bind up the broken in spirit and strengthen the spiritually sick. In the latter part of this verse the picture of the shepherds is dropped and a new parable begins, likening the clergy and their strong supporters and "laity" to different classes of sheep and goats (cattle). God purposes in the impending revolution and anarchy to destroy all the fat priests
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and clergy of all grades — as priests and clergy, at least — and those that, like the Pharisees of old, are sure they will securely stand in the presence of the Lord. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (1 Cor. 10:12.) He will feed them with famine and destruction, and with the judgments pronounced in His Word.
34:17. And as for you, O My flock, thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the goats. — The nominal flock is made up of clergy and laity of sheep and goats. In the flock God discerns the weaker sheep and the stronger rams and the goats — the clergy, class-leaders, etc., — some of whom are real sheep and some goats, destined to the left side of disfavor. Many of these are even wolves in sheep's clothing. — Matt. 7:15.
34:18. Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? — The stronger ones have not helped the weak to feed and grow strong; but, as though it were a small matter, the clergy, have lived on the fat of the land, relatively to their poorer congregations. They have eaten up the good Word of God for themselves, particularly the Romish clergy; and what spiritual food they have given the laity, they have walked all over with muddy feet — mingled it with earthly doctrines, social and civic betterment and traditions of men. They have drunk of the water of Truth (C65) coming from the Bible, but have spoiled the waters by mingling it with Evolution and Higher Criticism.
34:19. And as for My flock, they eat that which ye have trodden down with your feet; and they drink that which yet have fouled with your feet. — And the laity, God's flock, whom God commissioned the shepherds to feed with the good Word of God, have eaten and drunk spiritual food polluted by the clergy with doctrines of devils.
34:20. Therefore thus saith the Lord God unto them; Behold I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. — Therefore God Himself is about to judge and make a manifest difference between the unfaithful, rich in learning and opportunity, and the poorer ones on whom they have imposed.
34:21. Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad. — Because the rich, learned and exclusive have shoved aside the weaker ones, and have, by their earthly power, pushed out of the churches all His flock, those not "at ease in Zion." — Amos 6:1; Isa. 66:5.
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34:22. Therefore will I save My flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. — Therefore will God Himself save His own in these troublous times, by teaching them Present Truth; and they shall "come out of her" (Rev. 18:4), out of the churches altogether, so that the clergy and the "best" people can no longer exploit them.
34:23. And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even My servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their Shepherd. — God has established Jesus (David) the Beloved (Jer. 23; 4, 5; John 10:11), and Pastor Russell as a faithful and wise under-shepherd, to bring forth from the Bible Storehouse truths new and old, to feed the sheep.
34:24. And I the Lord will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it. — Jehovah (not the eternal-torment Molech God) will be their God, and His beloved Son and his under-shepherds shall occupy exalted places among them. In the Times of Restitution the Beloved Christ, Head and body, (David, beloved) will be the true Shepherd to the earthly flock, the Jews.
34:25. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. — With the truly Christian flock God will make a covenant of the peace that passeth understanding (Phil. 4:7); and with the Jews will make the New Covenant, through its Mediator, The Christ He will cause the roaring lion (Isa, 35:9), Satan, to cease from troubling (Job 3:17), and will forever restrain in oblivion the evil governments. His flock shall dwell securely, even in the wilderness condition, until their change come (Job. 14:14), and shall rest in the cooling shadows (Cant 2:3), in the refreshing truths brought forth from the Storehouse by righteous, strong teachers and leaders among them.
34:26. And I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. — The Lord will make the Truth people, His flock, and everything and every condition related to His Kingdom, a blessing to others (Mal. 3:10); they shall be the Seed of Abraham, to bless all the families of the earth. (Gal. 3:8.) God has caused showers of truth to descend upon His flock at their appointed times, down-pours of spiritual blessing in the "Studies in the Scriptures." At the appointed time of the beginning of returning favor to the Jews, 1878, the latter rains began to fall in Palestine, making that fertile land a fit habitation again for the chosen nation.
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34:27. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. — Thinking, manly men, gathered into Present Truth from the world, yield their fruitage of spirit fruits of character; and the blessed condition in which they are yields its increase of spiritual blessing and food; they are safe in their place, "seated with Christ in the Heavenlies" (Eph. 1:3, 20), where they assuredly know God with heart knowledge. God has broken the bands of the heavy yoke of ecclesiasticism, and delivered them out of the hand of a clergy that lived upon His flock, calling it "their people." For Fleshly Israel and those who shall become Israelites there shall be the blessings of an earthly Eden, with an abundance of fruitage from trees and soil (A192).
34:28. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. — God's flock of spirit-begotten ones shall be no more preyed upon by paganized "Christians," nor persecuted, devoured, destroyed, by the great "beast" of Christendom, the Papacy, with its "Holy Inquisition;" but they shall dwell safely to the hollow of His hand, His power, and none can make afraid those sealed in their foreheads with the Truth.
34:29. And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. — God raised up, in 1878, in the First Resurrection of the dead, the Body members of His Son, "the Stem of David," and previously in 1874, had sent again His Son to feed the flock, to serve them (Luke 12:undecipherable) and sup with them (Rev. 3:20) in a feast of fat things spiritual — the Present Truth. Those in the Truth shall never again suffer from famine of the Word of God; nor shall they, when raised up to sit with Christ in power and glory (Matt. 19:28), ever again bear reproach from a paganized "Christian" apostasy.
34:30. Thus shall they know that I the Lord their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are My people, saith the Lord God. — This is the way that the Lord's Spiritual Flock and both Jews, and nominal Christians, shall come to know of a certainty that Jehovah is with them, that they are His people.
34:31. And ye My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God. — This prophecy, this type, this symbolism, refers to the people who constitute God's flock, Jewish and nominal.

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