Atlanta Bible Students
The Book of Ezekiel
Chapter 15
Go To Verse 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

[1] And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [2] Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? [3] Shall wood be taken from it to do any work? or will men take a peg of it to hang any vessel on it? [4] Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devours both the ends of it, and the middle of it is burned. Is it useful for any work? [5] Behold, when it was whole, it was useful for no work: how much less shall it be useful yet for any work, when the fire has devoured it, and it is burned?

[6] Therefore thus says the Lord GOD; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem. [7] And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and you shall know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them. [8] And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, says the Lord GOD.

Verses 1-5
Establishing the Picture

Verses 1-2  Expanded Bible Comments

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [2] Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest?
QuestionAnswer
Who is "me?" Ezekiel, picturing Pastor Russell.
What "came unto me?" "The word of the LORD."
Who is "son of man?" Pastor Russell. – Son of man
What is a vine tree? This simply means the grapevine.
vineyard.jpg"
Picture found at http://carrwinery.com/vineyards/ website.
How does the grape vine compare to other trees? Most trees have a strong base (trunk,) grow upward, and have branches with leaves. Birds and some rodents make their home in them. The grape vine grows out along the ground. It may have a trunk but it has to be trained (by the vinedresser) to grow upward (and not very tall at all.)

Verses 3-5  Expanded Bible Comments

Shall wood be taken from it to do any work? or will men take a peg of it to hang any vessel on it? [4] Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devours both the ends of it, and the middle of it is burned. Is it useful for any work? [5] Behold, when it was whole, it was useful for no work: how much less shall it be useful yet for any work, when the fire has devoured it, and it is burned?
QuestionAnswer
Is the wood of the grape vine useful for construction? Not really.
Do men make pegs or wooden dowels out of it? - too soft No.
What is the vine itself good for? Fuel for the fire.
Why does verse 4 tell us that "the fire devours both ends of it and the middle is burned?"
What about before it was burned, was it good for work then? No.
If it was not useful for work (construction) before it was burned and not useful after it was burned, of what good is it? Whatever it may have been good for, it was not good as a building material and, therefore, not very useful to the ancients.
What is the Lord telling us here about the usefulness of the grapevine? While it was not good for construction of earthly things, the Lord clearly had another use in mind, i.e., the bringing forth of the grapes, the fruit of the vine. He was looking for a nation which will bring forth the fruits of the spirit.


Begin Here October 17, 2017
Verses 6-8
Explaining the Picture

Verses 6-8  Expanded Bible Comments

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem. [7] And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and you shall know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them. [8] And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, says the Lord GOD.
QuestionAnswer
Why did our Lord refer to "the vine trees among the trees of the forest?" Trees here symbolize nations. This is saying "Israel is one nation (tree) among the many nations (trees, forest) of the world." – Luke 21:29
According to the Lord, what is their purpose? "Which I have given to the fire for fuel."
To whom does the Lord compare the vine tree? "The inhabitants of Jerusalem."
In this picture, how does the LORD look upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem? "I will set my face against them."
What is meant by "they shall go out from one fire and another shall devour them?" At the time of the first advent Jerusalem was already controlled by the Romans. Natural Israel was to some extent already in the fire. In 70 A.D. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.
In the above phrase, who is "they?" Jerusalem was the capital city of the church-nation of Israel and often used to picture the whole nation, and especially its leaders. Throughout the Jewish Age they rebelled against God and as a result found themselves serving their enemies (being in the fire.) After a time God would restore them. But at the end of the Age they crucified His Son and in the process said: "His blood be on us and on our children." – Matt. 27:25
During the Gospel Age the church nominal united with the Roman empire to form Christendom (Christ's Kingdom, falsely so-called.) This (Mystic Babylon) corresponds to its Jewish Age counter-part of the church-nation if Israel. They had "the oracles of God," but mis-used and mis-understood His Word. The Lord's people (from the most saintly down to the well-meaning common people) suffered greatly under this arrangement. They went from one fire to another until that system was destroyed at the end of the Gentile Times.
When it says "you shall know that I am the LORD," who is "you?"
According to verse 7, when does this take place? "When I set my face against them."
What is the result of the LORD taking this action? "I will make the land desolate." The land will be "without an inhabitant." – Jer. 9:11
What does that mean? The "land" or "earth" (Strong's H776) is Organized Society under Religious Restraint. (Strong's H776 is translated as "earth" in well over 600 verses.)
Applying this to the nominal Jewish House (church-nation), this happened to them twice. First when Jerusalem was sacked and the Temple destroyed by Babylon. Second when Jerusalem was burned and the Temple destroyed by the Romans.
Applying this to Christendom it indicates that when God sets His face against them and makes their land desolate, they will be without a spiritual inhabitant, i.e., all the spirit-begotten will have left that system, thus it will be "desolate, without an inhabitant." Jer. 9:11
Why does all this take place? "Because they have committed a trespass, says the Lord GOD."