Atlanta Bible Students

The Book of Ezekiel

Chapter 21
Go To Verse 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32
Overall Chapter Breakdown:

The entire chapter appears to be speaking about Both nominal Fleshly Israel and nominal Spiritual Israel. The sections in the chapter appear to be focused as follows:

Verses 1-7, primarily aimed at nominal Spiritual Israel during Pastor Russell's ministry.

Verses 8-17, still aimed mostly at nominal Spiritual Israel but beginning to focus (to a lesser degree) on nominal Fleshly Israel just prior to the 70 years desolation.

Verses 18-27, mostly aimed at nominal Fleshly Israel (especially verses 25-27.)

Verses 28-32 aimed primarily at nominal Fleshly Israel but clearly some fits better when applied to nominal Spiritual Israel.

[1] And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [2] Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel, [3] And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked. [4] Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north: [5] That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more. [6] Sigh therefore, thou son of man, with the breaking of thy loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes. [7] And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt answer, For the tidings; because it cometh: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water: behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord GOD.

Verses 1-2  Expanded Bible Comments

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [2] Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel,
QuestionSuggested Answer
To whom did "the word of the LORD" come? "To me" Ezekiel; Son of Man.
What is pictured by Jerusalem? Christendom.
What does it mean for "Son of man" to "set thy face toward Jerusalem?" It means to take a stand in opposition to, as opposed to turning ones face away or hiding.
What is pictured by "drop thy word?"
Strong's H5197
נָטַף
nâṭaph
naw-taf'
A primitive root; to ooze, that is, distil gradually; by implication to fall in drops; figuratively to speak by inspiration: - drop (-ping), prophesy (-et).
Tell them the truth, but in a logical manner, not all at once but "precept upon precept, line upon line." Isa. 28:9-10 – We might also notice in the definition the thought of "distilled," i.e., pure truth.
What are "the holy places?" Here we need to remember the time setting. It is the "Son of man" being instructed here, thus it is in the days of Pastor Russell's ministry.
With that in mind, Christendom (Jerusalem) still contained both wheat and tares. We think that is why the reference is to "the holy places." Many of the saints (holy places) are (at that time) still in her. T13 footnote.
Who is this prophecy aimed at? "Prophesy against the land of Israel." The word "land" is Strong's H127
Strong's H127
אֲדָמָה
'ădâmâh
ad-aw-maw'
From H119; soil (from its general redness): - country, earth, ground, husband [-man] (-ry), land.
It is against "the land" of Israel, i.e., the territory of Christendom.

Verse 3  Expanded Bible Comments

And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is "the land of Israel?" The territory of Christendom (primarily Europe.)
From the context, does their immediate future appear to be a good one? No! "Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I am against thee."
What weapon does the LORD say He will use against them? His Sword.
What is pictured by His "sword", and what is pictured by "his sheath?" Sword: Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12.
Sheath: The place from where the sword is kept. This may have reference to the Bible, or to the Lord's people who have both His Word and His spirit within them.
"I.. will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked." Who are "the righteous" and who are "the wicked?" First we need to remember that He said "I.. will cut off from thee.." that "thee" is "the land of Israel," i.e., the territory of Christendom (primarily Europe and western Russia.)
Now the question becomes who are the "righteous" still in Christendom at the time for the fulfillment of this prophecy?
Our suggestion is that the "righteous" in Christendom were the saints who were at that time hearing of the Truth and being "sealed in thier foreheads" by it. These were "cut off" from Babylon by obeying the command to "come out of her my people." – C166:1
"The wicked" would likely be the "q" class on the Chart of the ages.

Verse 4  Expanded Bible Comments

Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north:
QuestionSuggested Answer
Having declared His intent in verse 3, the Lord has "the son of man" reiterate this in verse 4. He then declares that his sword would go forth against all flesh. What does that mean? His sword: Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12; 1 Cor. 4:5.
What is indicated by this being "from the south to the north?" See last question for verse 3 above. Our thought is that this is shown on the Chart of the Ages. Within Christendom this would be the n, m, p and q classes - in reverse order. Outside of Christendom it would be similar. Those on plane R would be "the south" and "the north" would be those tentatively justified ones who were not a part of Christendom.

Verse 5  Expanded Bible Comments

That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more.
QuestionSuggested Answer
"All flesh may know.." Since the time setting is during the ministry of Pastor Russell, does this indicate that all will know the Lord has done this during Pastor Russell's day? "All flesh may [at some time] know.." There are at least two ways of answering this.
1. Prior to 1914 hardly anyone understood that this was true.
2. After the war had been under way for a time, many realized the hypocrisy of "Christian Nations" fighting against each other (R5829.) What appears to be in the future is the fact that God is the one doing all this.
What is the purpose for someone to "draw forth" their sword? To use in battle. In this case, the battle of Armageddon.
Does the LORD put away His sword? "It shall not return any more."

Verse 6  Expanded Bible Comments

Sigh therefore, thou son of man, with the breaking of thy loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is meant by "the breaking of thy loins?" These other translations may help:

(BBE) Make sounds of grief, son of man; with body bent and a bitter heart make sounds of grief before their eyes.
(CEV) Ezekiel, groan in sorrow and despair so that everyone can hear you.
(ERV) "Son of man, make sad sounds like a sad person with a broken heart. Make these sad sounds in front of the people.
(ESV) As for you, son of man, groan; with breaking heart and bitter grief, groan before their eyes.

In other words the heart of the "son of man" hurt.
Why would the "son of man.. with bitterness sigh?" Because many of the Lord's people are still (during the Pastor's ministry) in Babylon. Jer. 51:9

Verse 7  Expanded Bible Comments

And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt answer, For the tidings; because it cometh: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water: behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord GOD.
QuestionSuggested Answer
When asked why he sighs, what reasons are given?
  • every heart shall melt
  • all hands shall be feeble
  • every spirit shall faint
  • all knees shall be week as water
In other words, Pastor Russell had a heart. – Compare with Jesus' attitude in Luke 19:41-42.
Was it really coming? Absolutely.
How certain was it that it "shall be brought to pass?" "Saith the Lord GOD."

[8] Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [9] Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished: [10] It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? it contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree. [11] And he hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer. [12] Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh. [13] Because it is a trial, and what if the sword contemn even the rod? it shall be no more, saith the Lord GOD. [14] Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite thine hands together, and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which entereth into their privy chambers. [15] I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter. [16] Go thee one way or other, either on the right hand, or on the left, whithersoever thy face is set. [17] I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the LORD have said it.

Verses 8-9  Expanded Bible Comments

Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [9] Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished:
QuestionSuggested Answer
To whom does the word of the LORD come? "To me." Literally to the prophet Ezekiel, symbolically to the 7th Messenger. Son of Man.
What was the "Son of man" told to do? To "prophesy."
What does it mean to "furbish?"
Strong's H4803
מָרַט
mâraṭ
maw-rat'
A primitive root; to polish; by implication to make bald (the head), to gall (the shoulder); also, to sharpen: - bright, furbish, (have his) hair (be) fallen off, peeled, pluck off (hair.)
What is to be "furbished?" "A sword." – The Word of God.
Besides being "furbished" (polished,) what else is done to this "sword" and what does that indicate? It is being "sharpened." This clearly indicates it is ready for use in battle.

Verse 10  Expanded Bible Comments

It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? it contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree.
QuestionSuggested Answer
Why is the sword "sharpened?" "To make a sore slaughter."

The Strong's words for "sore slaughter" are H2873 and H2874 – practically the same word. This is like the same word repeating in Hebrew which indicates making it very strong.
Why is it "furbished" (polished,) and what does that mean? "It is furbished (polished) that it may glitter." It is polished to make it stand out, so that all may see that this sword (Truth of God's word) is different than the Babylonish swords.
"Should we then make mirth?" Who is "we" and what does it mean to "make mirth?"
Strong's H7797
שִׂישׂ שׂוּשׂ
śûś śı̂yś
soos, sece
A primitive root; to be bright, that is, cheerful: - be glad, X greatly, joy, make mirth, rejoice.
What is meant by "contemneth?"
Strong's H3988
מָאַס
mâ'as
maw-as'
A primitive root; to spurn; also (intransitively) to disappear: - abhor, cast away (off), contemn, despise, disdain, (become) loathe (-some), melt away, refuse, reject, reprobate, X utterly, vile person.
What do "trees" represent? Righteous men – Isa. 61:3; Psa. 1:2-3
Nations – Luke 21:29
"It contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree." What does this mean? By replacing "it" with "the sword," and adjusting the English translation to fit better with modern English, verse 10 would read:
The sword (of the Spirit, the Bible) disdained the sceptre (right to rule) of my son, as (it does with) every [other] tree (nation.)
So how do we understand this? Our suggestion is that the reason the sword (Bible) spurns or disdains our Lord's right to rule is that this sword is being weilded by Christendom and they have so corrupted Bible truth that their use of it is in complete opposition to our Lord's right to rule. Remember, their claim is that they are the kingdom of Christ. They are firmly holding to the "three unclean spirits" and demanding that all accept this as being from God. [Three Unclean Spirits like FrogsRev. 16:13]
While the true sword (the Harvest Message) is now polished and easily understood by Truth seekers, it forces Christendom to "dig in" and attempt to shore up their false arrangment.
They spurn all rule other than their own, thus they attempt to use the (corrupted) sword that they are weilding for the purpose of maintaining their positions.

Verse 11  Expanded Bible Comments

And he hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer.
QuestionSuggested Answer
Why is this sword "to be furbished?" "That it may be handled."
What is the purpose for this sword being both "sharpened" and "furbished?" "To give it into the hand of the slayer."
Who (or what) is "the slayer?" In the standard version (KJV) the cities of refuge were where "the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares." – This would suggest that "the slayer" may be the Lord's people (as described in Eze. 9:2,5,6.) While it is not the intent of the brethren to "slay" anyone, they did "slay" many who were good people but not saints. – It might be more accurate to say they "slew" their false beliefs.

Verse 12  Expanded Bible Comments

Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is the "son of man" to do? "Cry and howl."
Why is he to do this? "For [because] it shall be upon my people." It will be on those who claim to be God's people, i.e., nominal Christendom. – Matt. 23:37-38
In this context, who would be "the princes of Israel?" The leaders of the religious element of Christendom.
What is meant by "terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people?" This sounds like the "terrors" would be the plagues (truths) which come upon the nominal Christians because of His sharpened and polished sword – His Word.
What is meant by "smite therefore upon thy thigh?" It appears to be an expression of contrition. Compare with Jer. 31:19.

Verse 13  Expanded Bible Comments

Because it is a trial, and what if the sword contemn even the rod? it shall be no more, saith the Lord GOD.
QuestionSuggested Answer
Who is this "trial" upon? Upon "my people," i.e., upon nominal spiritual Israel (which, at that time, included saints – Eze. 9.)
Explain "What if the sword contemn even the rod?" See comments on verse 10.
"It shall be no more." What "it" is being spoken of here and why will it "be no more?" It appears that "it" is referring to either "the sword" or to "the rod."
If it is "the sword," this would indicate that Christendom is no longer able to make the people to believe their errors, especially the "three unclean spirits like frogs."
If it refers to "the rod," the same principle would apply. They can no longer fool the people by telling them that they have the "right to rule" and that they are the Kingdom of Christ – especially since they went to war against themselves. – Talk about being schizophrenic!
Just how sure can we be that "it shall be no more?" "Saith the Lord GOD!!"

Verse 14  Expanded Bible Comments

Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite thine hands together, and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which entereth into their privy chambers.
QuestionSuggested Answer
In verse 14 the "son of man" is instructed to prophesy and do other things. The verse begins with "Thou therefore.." To what is the "therefore" referring to? This likely refers to the sword (word of God, bible) being being corrupted by Babylon to tell the people that they (Christendom) are "The Kingdom of Christ." By so saying, they were despising the right (Sceptre) of the True King (Christ) to rule.
Why is the "son of man" told to "smite thine hands together?" This sounds like clapping the hands. Perhaps to get someone's attention, or in applause (at the magnificent Divine Plan now opened up to him.)
"Let the sword be doubled the third time."
What is meant by "Let the sword be doubled?"
Strong's H3717
כָּפַל
kâphal
kaw-fal'
A primitive root; to fold together; figuratively to repeat: - double.
Perhaps to be compared to when Elijah wrapped his mantle – 2 Kings 2:8. While not the same Hebrew word, it does mean "folded."
¿¿ Gaining greater understanding due to the Lord's return. ??
What then is indicated by the sword being "doubled the third time?" ¿¿ Now add the clearer understanding of seeing type and antitype. ??
Is this the sword of the Lord? What sword is it, and what does that mean? "The sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain." See Isa. 34:2-3,8,12
What are "their privy chambers?" Eze. 8:11-12

Begin Here November 24, 2020

Verse 15  Expanded Bible Comments

I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is meant by "the point of the sword?" This is the part that does the most damage, it does the stabbing into the enemy. This is normally the part that kills.
"The point of the sword against all their gates." What are "their gates?" The entrances to the city (Jerusalem, Christendom.)
Why would this cause "their heart to faint?" This is what happens to a city under seige, especially if they are not really prepared.
What would cause them to have "ruins" and then have those "ruins" to "be multiplied?" Christendom (the counterfeit of the kingdom of Christ) was made up of two parts: iron (civil power of the Roman empire) and clay (man-made religion,) Dan. 2:41-44. The man-made religion had been falling since 1799. The civil was being weakened by the Lord's great army (especially from 1881-1914.)
"It is made bright." (1) What is "it?"
(2) What is meant by "it is made bright?"
(1) The sword (of Truth, the Word of God.)
(2) Various translations indicate it is like lightening, flashing, glittering. – The Truth at that time is made glittering (especially compared to the errors of that day.)
What is indicated by "it is wrapped up for the slaughter?"
Strong's H123
אֱדוֹם אֱדֹם
'ĕdôm 'ĕdôm
ed-ome', ed-ome'
From H122; red (see Gen_25:25); Edom, the elder twin-brother of Jacob; hence the region (Idumaea) occuped by him: - Edom, Edomites, Idumea.
Isa. 34:6 – Idumea is Esau who pictures Christendom – D14:4; D17:1 – Esau is Edom Gen. 25:30; 36:1,8

Verse 16  Expanded Bible Comments

Go thee one way or other, either on the right hand, or on the left, whithersoever thy face is set.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What does this verse mean? The Lord had given him a special mission (Eze. 3; 9) and the promise that The Lord would always be with him.

Verse 17  Expanded Bible Comments

I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the LORD have said it.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What does it mean for the Lord to "smite mine hands together?"
What is the Lord's "fury?" In this verse "fury" is Strong's H2534
Strong's H2534
חֵמָא חֵמָה
chêmâh chêmâ'
khay-maw', khay-maw'
From H3179; heat; figuratively anger, poison (from its fever): - anger, bottles, hot displeasure, furious (-ly, -ry), heat, indignation, poison, rage, wrath (-ful). See H2529.
See the first four times it is used: Gen. 27:44; Lev. 26:28; Num. 25:11; Deut. 9:19
This is how the Lord describes the seven last plagues: Rev. 15:1.
"I will cause my fury to rest." What does that say about what takes place just prior to that? This suggests that the first six of the seven last plagues will have been poured out. The pouring out of the seventh (last) plague will complete his fury (wrath.) How long the 7th plague will last is unknown. It would appear that it brings the world to the point where the New Covenant begins.
Will this really take place? "I the LORD have said it."

[18] The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, [19] Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city. [20] Appoint a way, that the sword may come to Rabbath of the Ammonites, and to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced. [21] For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver. [22] At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering rams against the gates, to cast a mount, and to build a fort. [23] And it shall be unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity, that they may be taken.

Verse 18  Expanded Bible Comments

The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 19  Expanded Bible Comments

Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 20  Expanded Bible Comments

Appoint a way, that the sword may come to Rabbath of the Ammonites, and to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 21  Expanded Bible Comments

For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 22  Expanded Bible Comments

At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering rams against the gates, to cast a mount, and to build a fort.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 23  Expanded Bible Comments

And it shall be unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity, that they may be taken.
QuestionSuggested Answer

[24] Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because, I say, that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand. [25] And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, [26] Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. [27] I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.

Verse 24  Expanded Bible Comments

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because, I say, that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 25  Expanded Bible Comments

And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 26  Expanded Bible Comments

Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 27  Expanded Bible Comments

I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.
QuestionSuggested Answer

[28] And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; even say thou, The sword, the sword is drawn: for the slaughter it is furbished, to consume because of the glittering: [29] While they see vanity unto thee, while they divine a lie unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain, of the wicked, whose day is come, when their iniquity shall have an end. [30] Shall I cause it to return into his sheath? I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity. [31] And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skilful to destroy. [32] Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land; thou shalt be no more remembered: for I the LORD have spoken it.

Verse 28  Expanded Bible Comments

And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; even say thou, The sword, the sword is drawn: for the slaughter it is furbished, to consume because of the glittering:
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 29  Expanded Bible Comments

While they see vanity unto thee, while they divine a lie unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain, of the wicked, whose day is come, when their iniquity shall have an end.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 30  Expanded Bible Comments

Shall I cause it to return into his sheath? I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 31  Expanded Bible Comments

And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skilful to destroy.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 32  Expanded Bible Comments

Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land; thou shalt be no more remembered: for I the LORD have spoken it.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Chapter 20   Chapter 22