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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 5

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THE SEVERED HAIR CALAMITIES

5:1. And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair. — This is located "after the days of the siege" of Jerusalem, or in antitype after Romanism's and Protestantism's siege is ended in 1918. It had a literal fulfillment in 606 B. C. and is to have a literal and a symbolic fulfillment in and after 1918. It depicts the several kinds of troubles upon Christendom, and the causes provoking them. The shaving of the head represents the affliction of Christendom. (Isaiah 3:17, 20, 24; Jer. 7:29.) The shaving of the beard was part of the ceremonial treatment of a leper (Lev. 14:8, 9), and signifies that after 1918 Christendom will be treated by outraged Justice as a moral leper, unclean with incurable iniquity, the perverseness, which, in the face of continual preaching of the Gospel, led up to the recent wars.
Ezek. 5:2, 12, 16, 17, relate to features of the destruction of literal Jerusalem in 606 B. C. and 70-73 A. D. and of Christendom in the era since 1914. Since in verse 12 a third part of the persons were to suffer death or affliction, the hair in verses 1, 2 and 3 signifies the people in Jerusalem — Christendom. In Samson's case the hair represented his strength; and here the hair cut off signifies that the people who are the strength of Christendom shall be cut off in the brief but terribly eventful period beginning in 1918 A. D. A third part are "burned with fire in the midst of the city." Fire symbolizes destruction. One large part of the adherents of ecclesiasticism will die from pestilence and famine. (Deut. 32:24.) In 6:16, 17 the shafts of hunger are represented as the evil arrows of famine. The staff is that upon which one leans; the staff of bread is the food supply of Christendom. In 1916 there was already a 25 per cent. crop shortage throughout the world, presaging worse conditions to come. In verse 18 the evil beasts sent upon Christendom are the savage "Christian" governments of the world (Deut. 32:24), which, by unheard-of barbarity in war, are bereaving the people by millions and causing bloodshed unparalleled in history,
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5:2. Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them. — A third part of the hair was to be smitten with a knife. See 5:12. This represents people not definitely in or under ecclesiasticism, but associated with it, favoring it, and benefiting from it. These are to be smitten with the sword drawn for destruction of life in the Time of Trouble. A considerable portion of the people will be separated by the winds of warfare and commotion from all connection with churchianity. These have been connected with, sympathizers with, or beneficiaries from churchianity. This class also will be involved in the bloodshed of the "great tribulation." — Matt. 24:21; Rev. 7:14.
5:3, 4. Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts. Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel. — To bind in the skirts is a symbol of close affiliation. A few adherents of churchianity will affiliate themselves with those believing Present Truth, but so searching will be the circumstances of the trouble period that none not at heart "in Present Truth" (2 Pet. 1:12) will be able to remain in the protection overshadowing the Lord's people. These few will be separated, and finally become involved in the destruction upon all supporters of, sympathizers with and beneficiaries of churchianity. Not one shall escape; it will be upon "all the house of Israel." Babylon's conflagration will be hastened by the adherents here described. After 1918 the people supporting churchianity will cease to be its supporters, be destroyed as adherents, by the spiritual pestilence of errors abroad, and by the famine of the Word of God among them. The Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17), which is the Word of God, will be wielded in the hands of "Present Truth" believers in such a manner as to cause conscientious supporters of ecclesiasticism to cease to be supporters.
5:5. Thus saith the Lord God; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her. — God, through the increase of knowledge, the Renaissance, and the dynamic power of belief in the Word of God, has set up Christendom on a pinnacle of power in the midst of the heathen nations of the world.
5:6. And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have
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refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them. — God taught Christendom the principles of Justice and gave her His law of Divine, self-sacrificing love — "A new law, that ye love one another." (John 13:34.) Relatively to the light of Christendom and heathendom, Christendom is far the more wicked; for, having the instructions, exhortations and examples of the Bible, she Has both refused them and not walked in them.
5:7. Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because ye multiplied more than the nations that are round about you, and have not walked in My statutes, neither have kept My judgments, neither have done according to the judgments of the nations that are round about you. — Christendom under the blessing of God has multiplied in material things and in knowledge more than heathendom, and yet has not only not walked in God's Law of Love, but has not lived up to the standards of righteousness and justice of the heathen. Chinese are more reliable in business engagements than are Christians. Some tribes in Africa are more moral sexually than are whites, and explorers have noted the natural kindness of the negroes of Nyassa and Soudan.
5:8. Therefore thus saith the Lord God: behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations. — Because of Christendom's wickedness against light, God is against this system calling itself by Christ's holy name, and will execute upon it judgment of such unprecedented awfulness as to constitute a lasting lesson to "uncivilized" peoples.
5:9. And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations. — 'The punishments come because of churchianity's illicit union of church and state, termed spiritual "fornication" (Rev. 17:2); her licensing of liquor, vice and crime; her doctrines of devils (1 Tim. 4:1), such as eternal torment, inherent immortality and Trinity; her desolating abomination in the Romish mass (Matt. 24:15); and her Phariseeism in the face of wilful butchery of millions.
5:10, 11. Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons In the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds. Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord God; Surely, because thou hast defiled My Sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall Mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity. — The Hebrew sanctuary or temple typed the Christian Sanctuary class, the Church of living stones (1 Pet. 2:5),
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the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16, 17.) True Christianity, pure in apostolic days, was defiled (2 Chr. 36:14) with practices and doctrines detestable and abominable to God, until now it is termed "the great whore" (apostate church of Romanism) and the daughters "harlots" (Protestant churches). (Rev. 17:5.) Divine Justice will not spare nor pity, until upon Christendom has been visited all the righteous blood of hundreds of millions of victims of her long centuries of unchristian wars and persecutions.
5:12, 13. A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them. Thus shall Mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause My fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the Lord have spoken it in My zeal, when I have accomplished My fury in them. — Job hoped for the time when God's wrath should be past. (Job 14:13.) The wrath of God will be over forever when this trouble time is past. (Isa. 10:25.) Divine Justice will be comforted, will rest, having accomplished its sentence of death, with the accompaniments of sickness, sorrow, tears and degradation, mental, moral and physical, upon the human race.
5:14-17. Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by. So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the Lord have spoken it. When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread: So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the Lord have spoken it. — Christendom is to be laid waste by war, revolution, anarchy, famine (Luke 21: 26), and pestilence, from end to end. Her vaunted and envied eminence will pass, through self-destruction, due to false ideals of honor, into a desolation causing the taunts and reproaches of the heathen, and being to the heathen nations a cause of astonishment and source of instruction. The fury of God's anger against her appears in the expression "in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes."

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