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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 4

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THE PAPAL AND PROTESTANT SIEGES

4:1. Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it the city, even Jerusalem.  — In Ezekiel's days, in Chaldea, a book was a collection of inscribed tiles. The Laodicean servant was to be a writer of books. In many articles and chapters on the kingdoms of this world and their judgment and fall, and that of their ecclesiastical, political and business systems, Pastor Russell portrays Christendom, typically spoken of as Jerusalem. It bore the Lord's name, but was defiled by the evil practices of its inhabitants. (C295.) As a type, Jerusalem represents particularly the ecclesiastical phase of Christendom.
4:2. And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it, set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about. — Ecclesiasticism was to experience prolonged siege by a class symbolized by Ezekiel. The siege was to be conducted by Truth, encompassing the stronghold of the nominal city of God. Beleaguered ecclesiasticism was to go through experiences like that of a besieged city shut off from its province, shorn of its actual dominion, while nominally retaining it, cut off from the supplies that had flowed from the tributary peoples. In addition to the slow weakening of a close besiegement, it was to withstand occasional assaults, make sorties and go through a period of warfare, with only one possible end, the utter destruction of the city. The besieged city was surrounded on every side with a line of military works, trenches, palisades and forts, collectively called a fort; from which, especially from the principal center of offense, it was continually harassed by wearing-down activities and assaulted by surprise attacks. So ecclesiasticism was to be surrounded and placed on the defensive, by strongly entrenched and fortified enemies. "God is our fortress." (2 Sam. 22:2.) It was to be done by a class of progressive and liberty-loving Christians in revolt against and attack upon the intolerance, superstition, and tyranny of priestcraft.
Ancient cities were surrounded by high walls, with frequent towers for watchmen, spearmen, bowmen and slingmen. The walls, in emergencies, were lined with such
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fighters and with throwers of boulders and firebrands. The attack was made upon a weak point in the wall; and an earthen mound or mounds was cast up to furnish an elevation from which to equalize for the besiegers the advantages of the defenders. The walls of ecclesiasticism are its defense of creeds and of formalism and, not least of all, of the civil powers and the men who stand as a bulwark against attack. A "mount" symbolizes a government. (Dan. 2:44, 45.) The nation (mount) was organized, militant Protestantism. The camp is the temporary abiding place of those who are fighting on the Lord's side. (Heb. 13:13.) A battering ram was a device for battering down the wall of a city to make a breach for the attack of the soldiery. Ecclesiasticism has surrounded itself with walls of living stones, soldiers, police and other officers of the civil powers who protect the churches and church people (Isa. 59:10), educators to build up belief in ecclesiasticism, writers to write articles and books, and a host of other adherents and supporters. In the siege of ecclesiasticism the Lord's yeomen have attacked aggressively with books, newspapers, missionaries, lectures and education; seeking to loosen and dislodge some of the living stones surrounding organized error. — Jer. 6:6.
4:3. Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city; and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.  — An iron pan, literally a "thin plate," was between besieging Protestantism and beleaguered ecclesiasticism. "They were holpen with a little help" (Dan. 11:34). The civil powers were to stand as a wall of iron protecting the Lord's people from the persecuting power of ruling priestcraft. No breaches could be made in the wall. It was a "wall of iron." "No evil shall befall thee." (Psa. 91:10.) "Greater is He that is for thee than all these that be against thee." (2 Kings 6:16.) Iron, as in the iron claws and teeth of the beast of Daniel, symbolizes the agencies of an irresistible power. Turning the face toward or against anything was a mark of favor or of disfavor. (Psa. 104:29.) The Lord's people were resolutely to disfavor established ecclesiasticism and to besiege it from the Reformation to the close of the Harvest When Ezekiel sees another doing something it usually signifies another than Pastor Russell doing it, but may signify Pastor Russell seeing himself, or the Ezekiel class. The Ezekiel prophecy types and symbolizes Pastor Russell or the Reformer class seeing Pastor Russell or the Reformer class or some member of that class doing the thing typed or
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symbolized. Here, the Protestant class from the Protestant Reformation down through the Harvest period, is seen systematically and effectually besieging established ecclesiasticism. The house of Israel ordinarily meant the Hebrew nation, the nominal fleshly house of Israel. The Hebrews were divided into the ten tribes (Israel), thoroughly infected with Pagan beliefs and practices, and the two tribes (Judah), holding more closely to Jehovah. In antitype, when both Israel and Judah are mentioned, and the prophecy is intended for an antitypical fulfillment, Israel signifies the Papacy and Judah signifies established Protestantism. Here the sign was to be the whole nominal house of Israel — all professing Christians, Catholics and Protestants. — Z.'05-179.
4:4. Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. — In verses 4 to 6 Israel and Judah are included in the same picture, and signify Papacy and established, corrupted Protestantism. The left side was a sign of less favor. Romanism kept on in sin and kept adding, multiplying evil deeds, until iniquity should come to the full (Gen. 16:16). A day in prophecy signifies a year in fulfillment. (Num. 14:34.) Ezekiel here represents the reformer class which had to endure the iniquities of Papacy, both by persecution and by the shame of seeing professed Christians believing grossest error. The iniquity of Papacy, the house of Israel, lay in the fact that the Reformers had shown them insistent proofs of their wrong course, and yet they continued in their own way, heedless of the Divine warnings. Hence less favor has been felt by Jehovah toward them than toward Protestantism.
4:5. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. — Upon the reform element was laid the burden of seeing the dupes of Papal priestcraft continually learning and living error. This was a burden upon conscience, and was repugnant to the enlightened mind of the reform element, known for centuries, in name at least, as Protestant. Priestcraft of the larger division of Christendom was to be under attack for 390 years, during which time the besieging element, the reformers, were to be protected from Papacy by the "iron wall" of the civil powers. This began in 1528 and ends in 1918. The year 1528 is one of the turning points of history. Protestantism in England and in Germany was in the balance. The sudden rise of Charles V of Germany to great power had
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emboldened Pope Clement to side with Charles. He induced the Emperor to support a measure designed to limit the spread of Protestantism, to be followed by its utter destruction. Under the proposed law no Protestant was to convert a Romanist to the reformed faith, nor would it be allowable for Protestantism to spread to other countries. It meant for all Protestants an end such as the Huguenots came to in France, the suppression of the Renaissance with its "increase of knowledge" (Dan. 12:4), and the end of the prosperous and comparatively enlightened civilization of modern times. The future of the whole world, and of the Divine Plan, was at stake! A general war was barely avoided to destroy Lutheranism. Philip Landgrave of Saxony discovered the plot, took arms, and in 1528 forced indemnity from a Catholic bishop. Other princes of Germany stood with Philip.
To quote from Dr. Peter Bayne, LL. D., the historian ("Martin Luther"), page 486: "These (the princes of the reformed faith) were inflexibly determined that the decree of the majority should not be assented to. Philip of Hesse, John of Saxony, Markgraf George the Pious of Brandenburg-Anspach, the Dukes of Lunenburg and Brunswick, the Prince of Anhalt, and the representatives of Strasburg, Nurnberg and twelve other free cities, entered a solemn protest against the prospective revolution. They were called Protestants! All, to this hour, who claim that Truth shall be unveiled, and that no Pope, or Kaiser, shall congeal the ever-advancing stream of progress and improvement, may take an honorable pride in tracing their spiritual descent to the intrepid Philip and the magnanimous and simple-hearted John." (p. 481): "How thoroughly is the whole pageant of that year, 1528, erased from the memory of the present generation! And yet the effect of those events is not yet exhausted; nor would it be possible for any one without forming some comprehension of them, to understand how link added itself to link in the evolutionary chain of modern history."
Thus Germany set up the iron wall of civic defense between the besieging Protestants and beleaguered Papacy. In England, too, the other great empire which has stood as an iron wall between the reform element and Papacy, the break with Rome began to take form in 1528. This was the year when Pope Clement appointed his legates, Correggio and Wolsey, to conduct the divorce trial of Queen Katherine of Aragon, at the behest of Henry VIII. (Rev. 8:8, 9.) As God raised up a willful, stubborn Pharaoh when He purposed to deliver the Hebrews from Egypt, so He raised up the lustful Henry VIII as the agent
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through whom the break should come between England and Rome. "The natural result" [of Henry's divorce proceedings], says A. F. Pollard, the historian, in his "Henry VIII," "was the separation of England from Rome." Thus did Divine wisdom use "the wrath of man to praise Him" and cause the "iron wall" of the civil, military and naval powers of the British Empire, Germany, and of the United States, to stand an impregnable barrier against the persecuting power of Great Babylon. Safe behind the iron wall, the reform element was able to live and grow in its camp and to keep up its siege of Roman Catholic priestcraft.
4:6. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year. — The right side signifies less disfavor than to Papacy. The house of Judah represents Protestantism, the Protestant churches. Until 1878, when cast off by the returned and present Messiah, Protestantism enjoyed Divine favor, just as the two tribes, collectively called Judah, did as compared with the idolatrous ten tribes of Israel. After 1874 the Present Truth took the form of a general overhauling of creeds and the announcement of Christ's Second Presence. This was unanimously rejected by the Protestant churches; and organized Protestant ecclesiasticism from 1878 on for forty years became the Judah of this type, besieged on every side by the reform element, under the leadership of the steward of Divine Truth, Pastor Russell. Until 1918, Hebrew reckoning, beginning in the fall of 1917, the civil powers continue as a "wall of iron," protecting the Lord's people in their witness against error. — Rev. 3:14; B66, 91.
4:7. Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it. — The Ezekiel class, the true Protestant reform class, during the 390 and the 40 years Bet themselves to the attack upon priestcraft. Pastor Russell seldom spoke without some words of objection to or warning about ecclesiasticism. The arm symbolizes power (E50, 47) and the uncovering of the arm is as when & man takes off his coat in attacking a task. The siege was to be carried on with energy. The reform element was to preach continually, not condoning or excusing priestcraft, but directly and pointedly attacking it.
4:8. And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege. — God bound His true people to this work. The reform element were not to change their attitude, but continually to keep at the attack upon
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ecclesiastical corruption until the siege should end with the downfall of Babylon.
4:9. Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side; three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. — These grains represent different grades of spiritual food, each kind of food to be eaten by the kind of Christian represented by the food. Wheat represents the true Gospel of the Kingdom, as in the parable of the sower (Matt. 13:1-30), and is the food of the Little Flock. Barley among the Hebrews was little esteemed, for it was the price of an adulteress. (Hos. 3:2.) It signifies the spiritual food of a class guilty of spiritual adultery, unhallowed alliance with the world in the bringing forth of "strange" children. (Hos. 5:7.) Beans, lentiles, millet and fitches represent grades of food inferior to wheat (which contains every element to support life) and inferior even to barley. Their continued use as foods, causes physical deficiencies, weaknesses and disease. Lentiles are usually cultivated for fodder. Millet is still inferior. Symbolically it represents Christians who "have no depth of earth." (Matt. 13:5.) Vetches, sometimes called "tares" or "prickly spelt," are a very poor food. Their prickly nature suggests a type of hard-to-get-along-with Christians, and the kind of mental, moral and spiritual food that produces them. In with some of the true wheat, in established churchianity, as shown by verse 16, were to be gathered Christians of various degrees of development, each eating the kind of food corresponding to his Christian development, the wheat class assimilating the best of the Divine Word, and so on down to those who absorbed the poorest grade of spiritual provender, some of it food usually regarded as fit only for animals. This was the food the various classes should subsist on, each according to his capacity, from 1528 to 1918, and from 1878 to 1918.
4:10, 11. And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it. Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of a hin: from time to time shalt thou drink. — A shekel was half an ounce; twenty shekels were ten ounces. A hin was a gallon and a half. The sixth part of a hin was one quart. This was the daily ration, a starvation allowance. They were not to feed on it continuously, but on Sundays, or two or three times a week — "from time to time." The people would, as a class, have a scanty spiritual subsistence during the siege period.
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4:12. And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. — Cakes, made of this mixture, were used by the very poor in times of scarcity, depicting the scarcity of spiritual food among the followers of ecclesiasticism. The poor, not having stoves or ovens, baked their bread or cakes on heated stones or in the fire, or roasted them by placing them between layers of dung, which burns slowly. Only the dung of animals was used ordinarily. No insult or defilement was greater than to turn a man's house into a receptacle for human excrement. (Deut. 23:12-14.) Our Lord associated human dung with "that which defileth a man." (Matt. 15:11.) Luther spoke of the "dunghill of Roman decretals." The human dung signifies human traditions, clerical additions to the Word of God.
4:13. And the Lord said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them. — The spiritual food, poor as the mixture was, was to be thoroughly defiled.
4:14. Then said I, Ah Lord God! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth. — This typifies the heart desire of the reformer class to keep clear of defiling errors.
4:15. Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare they bread therewith. — The spiritual food would be unsavory enough.
4:16. Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem; and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure; and with astonishment. — The type enacted by Ezekiel was intended to depict spiritual conditions in ecclesiasticism, Romish after 1528 A. D. and Protestant after 1878 A. D., in Jerusalem (churchianity), the besieged city, where there would be a famine of the Word of God. As prophecies often have a literal as well as a symbolic fulfillment, this refers also to the straitness of the siege of literal Jerusalem and to the literal scarcity of food in the Time of Trouble upon Christendom, with its high cost of living, food dictators and food tickets. — Lev. 26:26.
4:17. That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity. — Like as people on poor food in starvation quantities weaken and die, so Christians weaken and die spiritually on the diet provided by priests and clergy.

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