Ezekiel Chapter 9

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Table of Contents

The Man Clothed with Linen with the Writer's Inkhorn by His Side

While it was not originally our intention to prove the identity of this, the central figure in the ninth chapter of Ezekiel, it became evident that something must be presented in order to give the proper import to the analysis of this chapter.

Instead of presenting this on our own, we decided to let others do it for us. There are two articles from which we have liberally quoted. The first is from a notable Pittsburgh historian and the second is taken from the Reprints immediately after Pastor Russell's death.

Please consider the following excerpts from Pittsburgh historian George Swetnam. In an interview he was asked, 'Who are your heroes?' His first answer was 'Andrew Carnegie.' This is notable because of what he says in the first paragraph of this article.

WHERE ELSE BUT PITTSBURGH!
GEORGE SWETNAM

This book is published by Davis & Warde, Inc., to celebrate the Pittsburgh Bicentennial 1958-1959

Witness for Jehovah
"It is an amazing thing that no Pittsburgh history has ever even so much as contained the name of Charles Taze Russell, since his influence has easily been the widest of any man who ever lived in the city, not even excepting Andrew Carnegie.

"He was a pioneer in the chain store, the motion picture industry and other important business ventures. He was one of the most prolific and widely read authors of his day, turning out many books and a column carried at one time by more than 1500 newspapers, with some 15,000,000 readers. He founded the one major religious movement to have appeared in the Pittsburgh district in the past 100 years..

"The name Pastor Russell.. as sincerely loved and as bitterly hated as almost any in American history.

"Around that name for years raged some of the bitterest controversies which ever divided the Christian world, and the controversies still rage, although his name is not so much heard in the discussions.

"Convinced that he had the divine mission, Charles Taze Russell did a strange thing, a very strange thing for a young man of 26 with no formal theological education. He invited all the ministers of Pittsburgh and Allegheny to a meeting, explained his beliefs, and urged them to unite with him on that basis of faith. The fact that they accepted his invitation shows how high young Russell stood in the community, yet it is not surprising that after hearing what he had to say, they politely declined his invitation. It would have been most amazing if most of them had done anything else.

"Determined to carry on with his work, he sold out his Philadelphia store, reduced his travel, and dedicated his entire private fortune, which amounted to some $350,000, to evangelism.

"He founded Zion's Watchtower and Herald of Christ's Presence, a religious paper, published in the building which housed his father's first store in Pittsburgh. Despite his dedication to religious work, he continued to carry on the family haberdasher business for some time.

"In 1890 the Pittsburgh city directory referred to him for the first time as 'Rev. Charles T. Russell.'

"Pastor Russell preached to hundreds of thousands each year and his writings reached millions more. He never permitted a collection to be taken at his meetings and those who distributed his publications made no charge, taking whatever was offered, but money poured in and his work was continually enlarged.

"By 1910 he had become so well known that a newspaper syndicate asked him to write a series of articles, which by 1913 were appearing in more than 1500 papers, read by millions. It was the following year that he completed work on a long-term project, the first epic motion picture. It was called 'The Photo-Drama of Creation,' and although it appeared 15 years before other sound pictures were produced, it offered a combination of motion and still pictures synchronized with a recorded lecture. It was in four parts, running a total of eight hours, and was viewed by some 8,000,000 people.

"For years Pastor Russell traveled constantly, covering more than a million miles, delivering more than 30,000 sermons and lectures and talks, writing books totaling over 50,000 pages, which have reached a circulation of more than 20,000,000 copies. He made close friends and bitter enemies and was constantly accused by voice and through the press of all sorts of crimes and folly. When asked why he never denied any of these accusations, he replied, 'If you stop to kick at every dog that barks at you, you'll never get very far.'

"When anyone who recognized him from his picture would approach and ask if he were not Pastor Russell, his reply was always the same: 'Have you consecrated your life to the Lord?'

"Later in life he set up his entire fortune, by now amounting to well over a million dollars, into a trust fund for the 'Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.' During the almost 40 years of his ministry, he founded more than 1200 congregations, and sent out thousands of workers.

"In the fall of 1916 the snowy-haired, white-bearded man of 64 .. died. His admirers sent so many flowers that the special train from New York could not hold them."



Now consider the following from Reprint R5997:

BIOGRAPHY
CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL, known the world over as Pastor Russell, author, lecturer and minister of the Gospel, was born at Pittsburgh, Pa., February 16, 1852; died October 31, 1916. He was the son of Joseph L. and Eliza Birney Russell, both of Scotch-Irish lineage. He was educated in the common schools and under private tutors. Author of "OBJECT AND MANNER OF OUR LORD'S RETURN," "FOOD FOR THINKING CHRISTIANS," "TABERNACLE SHADOWS," "THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES," "THE TIME IS AT HAND," "THY KINGDOM COME," "THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON," "THE ATONEMENT," "THE NEW CREATION," "WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT HELL," "SPIRITISM," "OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS," "THE PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION," et cetera, et cetera.

Reared under the influence of Christian parents, at an early age he became interested in theology, uniting himself with the Congregational Church, and became active in local mission work. The doctrine of eternal torment of all mankind except the few elect became so abhorrent to him that at the age of seventeen he was a skeptic. He said, "A God that would use His power to create human beings whom He foreknew and predestinated should be eternally tormented, could be neither wise, just nor loving; His standard would be lower than that of many men." He continued to believe, however, in the existence of God, but was not willing to accept the commonly understood teachings as God's revelation of Himself to man. He turned his attention to the investigation of heathen religions, only to find all of these unsatisfactory.

HIS TEACHINGS

Naturally of a reverential mind, desiring to worship and serve the true God, he reasoned, "All the creeds of Christendom claim to be founded on the Bible, and these are conflicting. Is it possible that the Bible has been misrepresented? It may not teach the terrible doctrine of eternal torment." Turning again to the Bible he determined to make a careful, systematic study of it without reference to creeds of men. As a result the remainder of his life was wholly devoted to teaching the Bible, writing and publishing religious books and papers, lecturing and proclaiming the message of Messiah's Kingdom. He was the greatest religious teacher since St. Paul, and did more than any other man of modern times to establish the faith of the people in the Scriptures.

He was not the founder of a new religion, and never made such claim. He revived the great truths taught by Jesus and the Apostles, and turned the light of the twentieth century upon these. He made no claim of a special revelation from God, but held that it was God's due time for the Bible to be understood; and that, being fully consecrated to the Lord and to His service, he was permitted to understand it. Because he devoted himself to the development of the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit, the promise of the Lord was fulfilled in him: "For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." – 2 Peter 1:5-8.

He clearly taught and proved his teachings by the citation of Scriptural authority – that man does not possess an immortal soul, that he is a soul and is mortal; that the wages of sin is death – not eternal torment; that death came upon man as the just penalty for the violation of God's Law; that death means the destruction of man; that God, in His goodness, has provided the great Ransom-price whereby man may be delivered from the bondage of Sin and Death; that God's beloved Son, Jesus, became a man and grew to manhood's estate, was put to death as a man and raised again from the dead a spirit-being, possessing the Divine nature; that by His death and resurrection Christ Jesus provided and produced the Ransom-price for man's deliverance and restoration; that Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man; that every man in God's due time must, therefore, have a fair trial for life, and to this end there shall be a resurrection of all the dead; that Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven and must come the second time; that the period of time elapsing between the First and the Second Coming of the Lord is devoted to the election of the members of the Body of Christ, taken from amongst men; that the requirements for election to that exalted position are, full faith in the shed blood of Jesus as the Ransom-price, a full consecration to do the Father's will, and a faithful continuance in obedience to the Father's will even unto death; that all who thus are consecrated and begotten of the Holy Spirit and are overcomers shall have part in the Chief Resurrection, and be exalted to positions in the Heavenly Kingdom of God and participate with Christ Jesus in His Millennial Reign for the blessing of all the families of the earth; that during the thousand-year reign of Christ all of the dead shall be awakened, and given a fair and impartial trial for life or death; that under said Reign the wilfully disobedient shall be everlastingly destroyed, while those obedient to the righteous rule of Christ shall be fully restored to human perfection of body, mind and character; that during this Millennial Reign the earth shall be brought to a state of Edenic Paradise and made fit as a place habitable for perfect man; that man, fully restored to perfection, will inhabit the beautiful earth in all the ages to come.

HIS WORK

Seeing that God has such a wonderful Plan for the blessing of mankind, Pastor Russell gave all of his power and energy to making known these great truths to the world. He never took a vacation; he worked until the day of his death.

Like other Christians he was looking for the Second Coming of Christ. Between 1872-6 he discovered that the Scriptures clearly teach that the Lord would not return in a body of flesh, but would return as a spirit being, invisible to human eyes, and that His second presence was due in the autumn of 1874. This led to the publishing of a booklet entitled, "The Object and Manner of Our Lord's Return," which had a phenomenal circulation.

Many students of the Bible throughout the United States and Canada responded to the information derived from that book, and his correspondence became voluminous. Realizing the necessity of keeping the Truth before the minds of those who had begun to investigate, in 1879 he began the publication of THE WATCH TOWER AND HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE, and was its sole Editor to the time of his death. This journal is issued semi-monthly; it never publishes advertisements, but is devoted exclusively to religious topics. Among the English speaking people in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, its semi-monthly circulation is 45,000 copies. It is also published in German, French, Swedish, Dano-Norwegian and Polish, reaching a large number of subscribers in America and Europe.

He was President of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY from its organization in 1884 until his death. He was also President of the PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION, organized in 1909, and the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION, incorporated in London, in 1913, both of the latter corporations being adjuncts to the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. Through these religious corporations, as well as by word of mouth, he promulgated the Gospel of Messiah's Kingdom. He was the author of the following publications, issued between the years 1881 and 1914, each having phenomenal circulation, as given below:

FOOD FOR THINKING CHRISTIANS 1,450,000
TABERNACLE SHADOWS 1,000,000
DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES 4,817,000
THE TIME IS AT HAND 1,657,000
THY KINGDOM COME 1,578,000
BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON 464,000
THE ATONEMENT 445,000
THE NEW CREATION 423,000
WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT HELL 3,000,000

He was also the author of WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT SPIRITISM, OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS, et cetera, et cetera. He was the author of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, which had been exhibited prior to his death to more than nine million persons. He wrote and published the SCENARIO of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, which has had a very wide circulation. His publications were translated into thirty-five different languages. At the same time he was Pastor of more than 1,200 congregations of Bible Students, in different parts of the world. These he visited and taught as often as possible.

He organized and conducted a Lecture Bureau which constantly employed seventy Bible lecturers, who traveled and delivered lectures on the Scriptures. He organized and managed an auxiliary lecture bureau of seven hundred men who gave a portion of their time to lecturing on Bible teachings. Each year he wrote practically all of the copy for the BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, the annual distribution of which amounted to approximately fifty million copies.

His weekly sermons were handled by a newspaper syndicate. More than 2,000 newspapers, with a combined circulation of fifteen million readers, at one time published his discourses. All told, more than 4,000 newspapers published these sermons.

The Continent, a publication whose editor often opposed Pastor Russell, once published the following significant statement concerning him:

"His writings are said to have greater newspaper circulation every week than those of any other living man; a greater, doubtless, than the combined circulation of the writings of all the priests and preachers in North America; greater even than the work of Arthur Brisbane, Norman Hapgood, George Horace Lorimer, Dr. Frank Crane, Frederick Haskins, and a dozen other of the best known editors and syndicate writers put together."

HARVEST WORK

In 1910 Pastor Russell visited Palestine and Russia. He there orally delivered lectures to thousands of orthodox Jews on the regathering of Jews to Palestine. In 1911 he was one of a committee of seven who made a journey around the world and especially examined into the conditions of missionary work in Japan, China, Korea and India. On the same occasion he again visited the Jews in Palestine and Galatia, explaining to them that the prophecies teach that the Jews at an early date will again be established in Palestine. On his return to America he was given a great ovation at the New York City Hippodrome by thousands of Jews, his discourse on this occasion being published by Hebrew papers both in America and in Europe.

During the 42 years of Pastor Russell's Christian work he never directly or indirectly solicited money. No collection was ever taken at any meeting addressed by him or by any of his associates. He had faith that the Lord would supply sufficient money to carry on His work; that the work was the Lord's, and not man's. The fact that voluntary contributions were liberally made by many persons throughout the world proved that his conclusions were correct.

He devoted his private fortune entirely to the cause to which he gave his life. He received the nominal sum of $11.00 per month for his personal expenses. He died, leaving no estate whatsoever.

Thus closed the career of a most remarkable man. He was loved most by those who knew him best.



Identification summary
We trust the above will assist any who may still be unsure of the identity of this 'Man clothed in linen with the writer's inkhorn by his side.' We would add that beyond the numbers, the spiritual depth of content is beyond normal human reasoning of unsanctified men. It gives strong evidence of being guided by the Holy Spirit in providing special food for the household of faith according to our Lord's promise. Matt. 24:45; Luke 12:37.

With the identification of the central character in the chapter now established let us proceed with our analysis.



He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. [2] And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. [3] And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side; [4] And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

[5] And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: [6] Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. [7] And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.

[8] And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord God! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem? [9] Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not. [10] And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head. [11] And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.

While this analysis is centered on chapter 9 of Ezekiel it will need to bring in elements of both chapters 8 and 10. Chapter 8 describes just how wicked things had become in (nominal) Jerusalem in the sight of God. As a single example consider verse 6:

He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.

This wickedness brings about the following reaction in the Almighty:

Ezekiel 8:18 – the last verse of Chapter 8.
Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.

This sets the stage for chapter 9. The ninth chapter is describing both the harvest work of sealing the saints in the forehead as well as the destructive work the spread of the truth has upon the various classes of the nominal system. All this is necessitated by the conditions described in chapter 8. The ninth chapter also introduces us to one of the most important characters in scripture: 'The man clothed in linen with the writer's inkhorn by his side.'

The Call
[1] He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand.

"He," in verse 1 is Jehovah God (see chapter 8:1). God is the "He" mentioned several times in chapter 8 and this carries over to chapter 9, for the 9th chapter is but a continuation of the vision which began in chapter 8.

It is interesting to note that the scripture states "He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice." The first significance of this is: this is exactly what those in the city who were doing evil said in the previous verse (8:18): 'though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice.' Previously God may have responded by offering some deliverance but no more. Their corruption has reached unto heaven and the limit of God's patience with their evil ways has been reached.

He cries in the ears of Ezekiel with a loud voice. This is the next clue we have in the 9th chapter as to who is involved. As always, we need to 'compare scripture with scripture.'

'For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:' 1 Thess. 4:16

Thus we see that it is our returned Lord (the Right Hand and Messenger of Jehovah) who cries with a loud voice. Then in Isaiah we read:

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! [8] Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion." Isa. 52:7, 8

Not only does the Lord lift up the voice (of the archangel – 1 Thess. 4:16) but so also do the saints living at the time of His parousia, His presence. This is clearly indicated by the fact that the "watchmen" here do not lift up their own voices. A careful reading of the text above shows that it is "the voice" that they lift up. This can be none other than the voice of our returned Lord, the voice of Present Truth. It is this voice, and particularly the reign of Christ begun ("Thy God Reigneth!") that the watchmen lift up.

'Them that Have charge over the City'

The city here in verse 1 is nominal spiritual Jerusalem. The symbol here used should be understood clearly when we remember that our Lord spoke often of Jerusalem in such language as to make it clear that the city represented the Jewish nation. (Matt. 5:35; 23:37-38; Luke 13:34,35; 21:24.) Therefore to us it pictures the antitype of the nation of Israel, i.e., Christendom. We should bear in mind that at the time of our Lords return, the wheat and the tares were still growing together and the primary point of this chapter is the work of the harvest.

A city is a symbol of a government, kingdom or dominion. A295:2

Them that have charge (care) over this city are supposed to be the true saints, the wheat. The fact that the city has been overrun with tares is irrelevant. It is these (true saints) that the LORD is calling to come forth.

Here is an important point to remember in examining many of the prophecies of both the Old and New Testaments. The Lord will often go back and forth between the true church and Babylon, without any advance notice on His part. It is up to us, as His students and children to be observant. "My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways." – Prov. 23:26

As an example, consider the fact that our Lord told us to let both the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest. We know that although it was originally designed to be a wheat field, it became overrun with tares. So what was it? Was it a wheat field or a tare field? The answer is that it was a wheat field, despite the fact that the tares greatly outnumbered the wheat. So in prophecy we often see our Lord directing His remarks to that wheat field (often calling it "Zion"). Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43

Many of those pronouncements are clearly aimed at the false system along with messages for the true. It is up to us to "let our eyes observe His ways" and be guided by the Holy Spirit in coming to an understanding of those passages. This fact is abundantly clear when we consider the messages to the seven churches in Revelation. There are both warnings and promises contained in each of the messages. Yet the Lord does not stop and say, "this one is for the nominal system" and "this one is for the true church." See Revelation chapters 2 and 3.

Why does every man have in his hand a destroying weapon? It is because of all the abominations described in chapter 8. Note God's declaration of His purpose in the last verse:

Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.

Answering the Call

[2] And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar.

These men are said to come 'from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north.' These come from a higher place than others. This gate lies toward the North, i.e., nearer to God. This helps to identify these as being identified with the Heavenly Father. The north is symbolic of the seat of divine authority. Consider Psa. 75:6, 7.

[6] "For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. [7] But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another."
"Throughout the Scriptures the North seems to be closely associated with Jehovah's government of the earth." – R5710

See Isa. 14:13 ['sides of the north.'], also Psa. 48:2

These who come forth are there to be the instruments of the Lord in the destruction of that city. It is worthy of note that this weapon they carry is in their hand, i.e., they are ready to wield it in the Lord's service.

Why six men? Six is the number of imperfect man. If these are supposed to be the servants of the Lord, why six? While six normally denotes fallen man, in this case it is used in association with the seventh, "the man ... with the writer's inkhorn." As such it pictures the church in the flesh who are working in conjunction with the "Seventh Messenger." These six men are also identified by what they do. This will be examined a little later.

These six have "slaughter weapon's" in their hands. This also is significant. According to the margin (KJV) it is "A weapon of his breaking in pieces." (This too will be examined later in a bit more detail.) This brings to mind the 'smiting of the image' in Dan. 2:44 how the kingdom of God would 'break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms..'

This weapon is the message of Present Truth, which acts as a slaughter weapon to those who do not have the right heart attitude to receive it.

"One man among them.." This is a reference to Pastor Russell. ASV, Darby, JPS, RVIC and YLT all translate this as "one man in their midst.." This seems to carry the thought that the number here is really seven (six plus the "one man in their midst"). So why was the Lord specific about six men? We suggest that it is to indicate that these are not on the other side of the veil, but rather are still in an earthly condition. In fact, it appears that the entire book of Ezekiel is written as if being viewed from the earthly standpoint (whereas the book of Revelation tends to be viewed more from the divine standpoint). This shows the association of the six with Pastor Russell, thus strengthening the thought that these six men represent the church in the flesh at the end of the Gospel Age.

At this point it would be good to consider the thought expressed by some Bible Students that the one man here represents our Lord. This is a good thought. If this is "a good thought," how then does this fit with the identification just given that the "one man" represents Pastor Russell?

Like Father Like Son

To properly understand this we need to examine the relationship that exists between the Heavenly Father and His Heavenly Son. The possession of ability usually means the possessor enjoys using that ability. A good singer enjoys singing. The same with a writer or a painter or most any other thing we can think of. Our Heavenly Father is the possessor of the highest level of all abilities and yet it pleased Him to turn the creation of our universe over to His Son.

The worldly saying "like father, like son" is appropriate here. Upon our Lord's return, He decided to work through human agencies, primarily brother Russell. In this He was emulating His Father. It does not mean that Pastor Russell was divinely inspired the way the Apostles were, but it does mean that he was "made ruler (steward) over all His (our Lord's) goods." – Matt. 24:45-47

This is really the only way to properly understand the entire book of Ezekiel. Note the usage of the phrase "thou son of man..." This phrase is used 93 times in the book of Ezekiel. This is how our Lord referred to Himself at His first advent. (See Matt. 8:20; 9:6; 10:23; 11:19; 12:8; 13:37,41; 18:11; Matt. 16:13 as a few examples.) But at His second advent we see the fulfillment of the book of Ezekiel and quickly recognize that this phrase is not directly referring to our Lord, but rather to Pastor Russell. Why is this so? Because Pastor Russell is acting as the Lord's earthly representative in the role of a steward. This is the same role that Joseph had twice while in Egypt, first in the house of Potiphar and later at the right hand of Pharaoh.

The Man Clothed in Linen

This one man mentioned in verse 2 is described as being "Clothed in linen." This immediately brings our minds back to the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the fact that the Priests wore linen garments. Thus we see a clear a connection between the priesthood and this "man clothed in linen."

Yet, though the priests did indeed wear linen garments, this phrase "the man.. clothed in linen" cannot be found in any book of the Bible other than Ezekiel and Daniel. It is a definite designation intended for one specific individual. In fact, in the Hebrew the phrase is comprised of only three words which, translated back into English, are "man (Strong's 376), clothed (Strong's 3847), linen (Strong's 906)." This phrase occurs exactly seven times in the bible:

Eze. 9:3, 11; 10:2, 6; Dan. 10:5; 12:6, 7

"With a writer's inkhorn by his side." Here in the 9th chapter of Ezekiel is the only place in the Bible where there is reference to the inkhorn. If the "man clothed in linen" phrase was not enough to identify the 7th messenger, then surely this reference is.

"And they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar." These seven are here described as being in the court, where we find the brasen (copper) altar. The court represents the condition of justification (whether that justification be tentative, as in the case of the prospective members of the little flock, or actual, as in the case of our Lord). Remember, that while we normally think of the church as being represented in the Holy of the tabernacle, they still have access to the condition represented by the court, i.e., they never lose their justification.

What this verse is saying is two-fold.

1.These 7 are justified (as shown by them standing in the court) and
2.They support (stand beside) the Ransom (as represented in the Brasen Altar).

The Voice of the Bridegroom

[3] And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side;

The glory of God is the Truth and its spirit, i.e., that which reveals His character. This is as close as man can come to actually seeing God. "No man hath seen God at any time." John 1:18; 1 John 4:12

The God of Israel is a reminder that spiritual Israel has never been lost sight of by the Lord. They are His and He will never leave nor forsake them. Heb. 13:5 The glory of God is here described as being on or over the cherub from which it then moves (to the threshold of the house or temple). The cherub would be on the Ark of the Covenant, which symbolizes The Christ Head and body.

"It [the ark] therefore represents Christ Jesus and his Bride, the "little flock," to be partakers of the divine nature, and to be imbued with the power and great glory – the prize of our high calling – the joy set before our Lord, and all the members of his Body." – T121:1

At this point in time the glory of the Lord was in "the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north." Eze. 8:3, 4. In other words, it is still within the (true) temple, which is within the (nominal) city of Jerusalem (Ecclesiasticism). But now the Truth and its Spirit (the glory of the God of Israel) moves. It leaves the city and goes to the threshold of the house (temple). The threshold is the entrance of the house. In other words, the Truth and its spirit (the power of spirit-begettal) moves from within the nominal system (where it had been) to outside the nominal system.

This fits well with the application of Rev. 18:2-4 given by Pastor Russell. He applies this "Come out of her my people" to 1878 A.D. It is here, in 1878, that Babylon is cast out of the Lord's mouth, i.e., they no longer speak for him and give out a message that has the power to beget children as it did in the past. We suggest that between 1878 and 1881 is when "the glory of the God of Israel" moved from "the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north... to the threshold of the house."

Consider the following from R4303 (Jan. 1909):

We still believe that in the year 1881 the special call of this Gospel Age ceased as a call. Our understanding still is that at that date a sufficient number had made consecration to complete the predestinated figure, and that God would not permit others to be called, for whom there would be no place; that, instead, he arranged that others consecrating since that time, should, like the servants in the parable, wait for an opportunity to enter the vineyard – peradventure it might come, even at the eleventh hour. We still understand that all the consecrated and accepted ones in 1881 will be subject to testings, proving, and that as one will be found unworthy, his name will be blotted out and his crown set aside [R4303 : page 4] for another, and that thus vacancies have occurred and been filled from time to time without a formal call – merely the consecrated being admitted to the privileges of the service and blessed with the begetting of the Spirit and the knowledge of the Truth.

Looking back to 1881 we find that in the few years preceding that date a considerable work of evangelization took place – Moody and Sankey and, later, Whittle and Bliss revival meetings from 1875 up to 1881. Their work appeared to be of a more substantial kind than that of revivalists generally since. They made prominent Justification by Faith through the merit of the precious blood of Christ, and urged a full consecration to the Lord, to a degree that has seldom been equaled by evangelists. Large numbers professed thorough conversion, under their labors, and the depth of their work and of its hold upon the people is witnessed by a large sale and use of their Gospel hymns. It is our thought that the Lord used these men, and through their ministry the fore-ordained number was completed at the fore-ordained time, 1881.

From that point (1881) foreword the voice of the Bridegroom is no longer heard in her, because the Truth and its Spirit have left that system and gone to the threshold.

But what about the bride? Notice that it was not the entire Ark of the Covenant that moved to the threshold but only the Glory of the God of Israel. God removed His spirit from Babylon in 1878 but His call to "come out of her my people" only began there. Thus, the ark (picturing the Christ) has not (fully) come out of her yet (as of 1878).

And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side. Between 1878 and 1881 that the Lord dealt specially with Pastor Russell. It was during this period he had his trial and split with Barbour, began Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, as well as published Food for Thinking Christians and Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices.

The Lord's Commission to Pastor Russell

[4] And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

Note that Pastor Russell's commission is not from man but from God: "The LORD said unto him..." Because of this he had a conviction that others did not possess.

Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem. This does not mean that he was to go back into Babylon, but rather that his proclamation of the Truth should go through that system. We should notice here that he is not commissioned to go into the temple (or house) but rather through the city. A city, in prophecy, pictures a government. Here we see he was to go through the governments of Christendom, primarily to the symbolic 'earth' class and give his message. Why does the Lord place such an importance on the city of Jerusalem? It is because He has put His Name there. – See 1 Kings 11:36; 2 Kings 21:4; 2 Kings 21:7; 2 Kings 23:27; 2 Chron. 6:5-6

Not only does our Lord place this emphasis on the city of Jerusalem but also upon its people. Consider 2 Chron. 7:14

[14] If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. Before considering the mark let us notice the condition of those being marked. They are very upset, to the point that they "sigh and cry" because of the wickedness of the city. This is important. The Lord's people are to be like him, "conformed to the image of his Son," and he "loved righteousness and hated iniquity" – Rom. 8:29; Heb. 1:9. So these also love righteousness and hate iniquity. As a result they are sick of what is going on within Christendom and are therefore depicted as "sighing and crying for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof." In other words, these are the Lord's saints who were in Christendom at that time.

What is this mark received on the forehead and why is it needed?

This can be none other that the intellectual understanding of present truth. This corresponds exactly with the seal in the forehead of the 144,000 as described in Rev. 7:1-4. According to Pastor Russell (the man clothed in linen with the writer's inkhorn, the man who had the special commission to place this mark in their forehead) the seal in the forehead of Rev. 7 is an intellectual understanding of present truth, especially the time features and presence of the Lord, and this seal is received on this side of the veil.

This mark or seal in the forehead is akin to the command to "come out of her my people (Rev. 18:4)."

But note another item here. Between the time when Babylon is cast off, falls from favor (1878), and the time when the plagues or troubles come upon her, is a brief interval, during which the faithful of the Lord's people are all to be informed on this subject, and gathered out of Babylon. This is clearly shown in the same verse; for with the message, "Babylon is fallen," is coupled the call, "Come out of her, my people, that ye...receive not of her [coming] plagues." This same interval of time, and the same work to be accomplished in it, are also referred to in symbol, in Rev. 7:3. To the messenger of wrath the command is given, "Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, until we have SEALED the servants of our God in their foreheads." The forehead sealing indicates that a mental comprehension of the truth will be the mark or seal which will separate and distinguish the servants of God from the servants and votaries [C166] of Babylon. And this agrees with Daniel's testimony: "The wise [of thy people] shall understand; but none of the wicked [unfaithful to their covenant] shall understand." (Dan. 12:10) Thus the classes are to be marked and separated before the plagues come upon rejected, cast off Babylon.

And that this knowledge is to be both a sealing and a separating agent is clearly implied in the verse before considered; for the declaration is first made, that "Babylon is fallen," and that certain plagues or punishments are coming upon her, before the Lord's people are expected to obey the command, "Come out," based upon that knowledge. Indeed, we know that all must be well "sealed in their foreheads" – intelligently informed – concerning God's plan, before they can rightly appreciate or obey this command.

And is it not apparent that this very work of sealing the servants of God is now progressing? Are we not being sealed in our foreheads? and that, too, at the very proper time? – C165.2 thru 166.2 1st 2 sentences.

What Pastor Russell Wrote about Ezekiel Chapter 9

Many have noted that Brother Russell wrote nothing about Ezekiel chapter 9. Our observation suggests that he actually did write quite a bit about it, just not by directly quoting the chapter. How did he do this? By writing about the corresponding New Testament passage, i.e., Revelation 7:1-4 the Loosing of the Four Winds and the related Sealing in the Forehead of the 144,000. And on that subject he wrote a great deal.

What follows is a brief list of quotations from the pen of Pastor Russell on his teachings concerning Revelation 7:1-4.

Seal in Forehead = Intellectual Understanding of Present Truth
It takes place on this side of the veil.
"Hence, though we are already in the day of the Lord's presence, and in the beginning of the great fire of trouble, we see that it is even as shown us in symbol (Rev. 7:1,2) – the storm is held in check until the faithful servants of God are "sealed in their foreheads:" i.e., until such are given an intellectual appreciation of the time, presence, etc., which will not only comfort them, and shield them, but also be a mark, seal or evidence of their sonship, as indicated by our Lord when he promised that the holy Spirit should show to the faithful "things to come." John 16:13" – B169.

"And now trouble is impending over nominal Christendom, but the storm is stayed until the wheat is garnered, until God's messengers seal his servants in their foreheads (intellects) with the truth. Rev. 7:3" – B235:1

"The little quiet of the present [1889] favorable time, with its greater liberties and advantages in every way, is divinely arranged in order to the sealing of the true servants of God in their foreheads (intellectually, with the truth). Rev. 7:3" – B264:1

"The Bible represents that Divine Power holds these in check – the four angels holding the four winds – that they shall not blow upon the earth to its injury until the appointed time, until all of God's elect Church shall have been sealed in their foreheads – their intellect – with the Truth." R5496

Four Winds of Heaven = Nominal Church
"And he shall send his angels [messengers – servants] with a great sound of a trumpet [the "seventh trump," or "trump of God"], and they shall gather together [into union and oneness] his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. [The church nominal is the present heavens; the little flock, when by-and-by exalted, will be the new heavens.] The little flock as eagles are being gathered from out the present "heavens." "From the four winds" from every direction; from all denominations. Matt. 24:28 and 31. – R711:8

But we bear in mind that the harvest of the age is come and that the harvest work of thrusting in the sickle of present truth and gathering the elect from the four winds (from every quarter of the field) and from one end of heaven (the nominal Christian Church) to the other (Matt. 24:31) is the seasonable work of the truly enlightened now – the Lord's work and hence the work of his co-laborers. – R1333:8

"And he shall send his angels with a great trumpet and he shall gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Sinaitic MS omits "sound.") Matt. 24:31

This work will be in progress in the interim, the "harvest." The angels (messengers of the new King of earth) will do a separating work, not between the church and the world, but a separating work in the nominal church – among nominal professors, the present "heavens." This work is represented under various symbolic descriptions – it is the gathering of the wheat from the tares into the barn (Matt. 13:30); it is the gathering of the good fish into baskets and the casting of the unsuitable fish caught in the gospel net back into the sea (Matt. 13:47-49); it is the gathering of his jewels (Mal. 3:17); it is the calling of "my [D601] people" out of Babylon (Rev. 18:4); it is the midnight cry to the virgins, which separates the wise from the foolish (Matt. 25:6); and in this prophecy it is the gathering of the "elect" from all the non-elect of Christendom, from the four winds – from every quarter. – D600

Angels (Messengers) who gather from 4 winds = Church in the flesh
"And he shall send his angels [messengers – servants] with a great sound of a trumpet [the "seventh trump," or "trump of God"], and they shall gather together [into union and oneness] his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. [The church nominal is the present heavens; the little flock, when by-and-by exalted, will be the new heavens.] The little flock as eagles are being gathered from out the present "heavens." "From the four winds" from every direction; from all denominations. Matt. 24:28 and 31. R711

The duty of the present hour, then, is harvest work, and there is plenty of it in every direction, and the Lord of the harvest is present directing it. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels – messengers or missionaries. (Matt. 13:39.) And again it is written, "He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matt. 24:31.) The great sound of a trumpet here referred to, is the truth now proclaimed by the saints, the messengers ("angels") of God. R885

The "angels" or messengers doing this sealing (Rev. 7:1) are the same messengers referred to by our Lord when he declared that in the harvest or end of this age he would send forth his messengers with the sound of a great trumpet [the seventh trumpet], to gather together his elect from one end of heaven to the other. Every consecrated child of God who receives the truth realizes at once his duty and privilege of imparting it to others. He hears the commission, "Go ye into the vineyard;" and "He that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto eternal life." These are the Lord's "angels" – messengers or servants. R1279

Sealing in Forehead = Gathering = Harvest Work
..The sealing and the gathering we understand to refer to the same thing. And the heavens through which these messengers go sealing and gathering is not the heaven of God's throne, but the symbolic heavens so often referred to in the book of Revelation, namely, the nominal church.

This "gathering together" is not a literal assembling in one locality, just as the heavens are not literal. The gathering is into one condition, into unity of heart and mind through the knowledge of the divine plan of the ages, and corresponds exactly to the sealing in the forehead; for all the elect are to be sealed with the same seal; and all thus sealed are to see eye to eye, and to be one in heart and hope and work. R1279
"...Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." – Rev. 7:1-3.

We have long seen that these symbolic winds represent strife, anarchy, the great time of trouble which is held in check by Divine power until the completion of the harvest work – the sealing of the living members of the elect class with Present Truth. R4822

Winds = war, strife, the Great Time of Trouble
Thus we see before us a fulfilment of God's prediction that the violent winds of war should be checked and holden until the sealing of the saints of God should be accomplished. – Rev. 7:1-3. R1279
The matter is rapidly settling itself by the Armenians becoming Mohammedans, as the only escape from death. Thus quickly can threatening wars be averted, and the winds of strife held back, that the sealing of the servants of God may be first accomplished, as suggested in our last issue. R1919
After telling of the sealing of the elect class, the spiritual Israel, the peculiar people zealous of good works, the little flock, the bride, the overcomers, a definite, predetermined number, "a hundred and forty and four thousand," gathered out of Babylon before the winds of the great tribulation are let loose upon the world, all of them bearing the seal or mark of God's favor in their foreheads – a noticeable intellectual evidence of divine favor, the impress of the spirit of the truth as well as the word of truth, our Lord shows us the "great multitude" of his followers.. R2160
...The Bible represents that Divine Power holds these in check – the four angels holding the four winds – that they shall not blow upon the earth to its injury until the appointed time, until all of God's elect Church shall have been sealed in their foreheads – their intellect – with the Truth.

At the appropriate time those "winds" of strife will be let loose, and great will be the trouble, until in due time the King of kings and Lord of lords shall intervene to rescue the race from itself and from the Adversary. Then Satan shall be bound for a thousand years, and Messiah's Kingdom shall be established for the blessing of all the families of the earth. R5496:2

We urge any who are examining this subject to strongly consider the writings of Pastor Russell about the Loosing of the Four Winds of Rev. 7.  Please see "What Pastor Russell Taught about the Loosing of the Four Winds" on this site.

This was the vital work given to Pastor Russell to accomplish. This was Harvest Work!

What about the Six Men?
[5] And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:

The "others" here are the six men mentioned in the beginning of the chapter. These follow the man clothed in linen through the city. This is corroborative of the fact that these represent the living saints at the time of Pastor Russell. These follow him as he followed Christ. 1 Cor. 11:1

Remember the last verse of the previous chapter (8:18) where God says that He is the one who will deal in His fury and His eye will not spare, etc? Now we have the six men (the "others") whom He commands to follow (after) the man with the inkhorn who marked those in the forehead. What is their job? It is to smite, without pity. These are doing the work that God has laid out for them.

They are Identified by What They Do
and by the Weapon They Use
[6] Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.

The six men (the church in the flesh who follow Pastor Russell as he follows Christ) are to go through the city (Jerusalem, nominal Zion, Christendom) and do a smiting work. Not only do they do a smiting work but their commission from God is to "slay utterly" the various ones mentioned here in verse 6. This is not to be a haphazard work. It is to be a complete and thorough job.

In order to correctly identify the six men who follow after Pastor Russell, again we need to compare scripture with scripture. If we can find another prophecy that depicts the same work and who is doing that work, then we will be on safe ground. But is there such a prophetic picture?

Let us consider the prophetic description of the fall of Babylon found in Jer. 51. Verses 17-19 and how it tells us the condition of things and whom God is going to use in the disciplining of that system.


[17] Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. [18] They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. [19] The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the LORD of hosts is his name.

Verses 20-23 is the description of what these do, who they slay. The list in Jeremiah is longer that in Ezekiel but the groups that are in common are clearly enough to establish that both Jer. 51 and Eze. 9 are making reference to the same instruments of the Lord.

Jeremiah 51:20-23

[20] Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; [21] And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider; [22] With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid; [23] I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers.

What Weapon do the Six Men Use?

Remember back in verse 2 it was pointed out that each of these six men had a 'slaughter weapon' in his hand? Most translations agree with the marginal reading of the standard version that this is "a weapon of his breaking in pieces." This is exactly what (spiritual) Israel uses to do the Lord's work here in Jer. 51:20-23. "With thee will I break in pieces..." Note the comparison of the groups 'slain' or 'broken in pieces' in the following:

The list from Jeremiah 51 The list from Ezekiel 9
Nations Young Old
Kingdoms Young Man Young
Horse Maid Maids
Horse Rider Shepherd Little Children
Chariot Flock Women
Chariot Rider Husbandman
Man Yoke of Oxen
Woman Captains
Old Rulers

So, what is this 'slaughter weapon'? We answer that it is the same tool that the Man Clothed in Linen is using to mark in the forehead the Lord's saints in that system. It is the message of Present Truth.

Why then aren't they all shown as marking in the forehead? Why just the Man Clothed in Linen? The Lord is here giving the point of view of mankind watching this work unfold before them. In this picture God seems to be giving credit for the mark in the forehead to the one who is presenting the message of truth (through the Volumes and Towers) rather than those who are receiving that message and then passing it on to others. When we turn to the parallel passage in Revelation 7:1-4 we find that it is described both as being one who has the seal (the angel from the east, our Lord – vs. 2) and as being many ("till we have sealed..." vs. 3) who do the sealing.

The world sees "the man clothed in linen" and how so many are being drawn to his message. Thus they see him as setting the mark in the forehead. Then those who receive this mark are (initially) still in their midst and begin asking questions for which they and their leaders have no reasonable answers. Thus they view those who follow after "the man clothed in linen" as doing a destroying work.

Consider for a moment the different views given by the Lord as found in Ezekiel and Revelation. In Revelation things are taken more from what we might call "the Divine standpoint," i.e., things are seen with the view of the spirit-begotten class. Thus, for example, this class may stand on the sea (irreligious, restless masses of mankind) that is mingled with fire (the spirit of anarchy) and yet to these all things are as clear as glass, as if they were in a glass-bottom boat. Rev. 15:2.

In Ezekiel the viewpoint is different. It seems to be taken from the standpoint of mankind. To man it is not the returned Lord who has the seal of the living God and is using that to mark the little flock in the forehead (Rev. 7:2-3) but rather it is "that man" with the writer's inkhorn that they see.

It is the message of Truth that is accomplishing both works. To the one class it marks or seals them in the forehead. To the others it smites them, i.e., it smites or slays their beliefs. It tends to make them lose faith (really, credulity) in what they thought they knew.

Here in Ezekiel 9 the "weapon of his breaking in pieces" is used to slay, in Jeremiah 51 it is used to "break in pieces." This seems to be directly connected to Dan. 2:44.

[44] And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

Remember, it is the stone cut out of the mountain without hands (the embryo kingdom of God) that does this work of smiting the image.


And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the NATIONS; [27] AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;

It is the privilege of the Lord's people to break in pieces the nations. Clearly some will be on the other side of the veil at this time, but it also seems clear that there is a work on this side the veil for His people in connection with this smiting.


Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. [6] Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; [7] To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; [8] To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; [9] To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord.

The Lord's people are here described as handling a two-edged sword, i.e., the Word of God. With this they execute vengeance upon the heathen (gentiles). This is simply another way of describing the work being done by the six men here in Ezekiel 9. Remember, it is not the vengeance of the six men that is here described. It is the vengeance of God. Once again we are reminded of the last verse of the previous chapter.


Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.

How do these six men accomplish this work? They do it simply by spreading the Word of God. Notice in the verse just quoted that the Heavenly Father is doing the real work; He is simply pleased to allow the saints to be His willing servants in the exercise of His power.


Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

The power to move the minds of men does not come from military or personal physical might or any other kind of power. Instead it comes from the Spirit of God and from those who are begotten by the spirit of truth, the word of God. In their smiting work they are instructed to "come not near any man upon whom is the mark." That is to say that the work of those spreading the message of present truth will go far and wide, but the effect will not be harmful to those who have the proper attitude of heart and mind, those who receive the mark. These will not be hurt by the message of truth but will instead rejoice in it.

In their smiting work they are instructed to "come not near any man upon whom is the mark." That is to say that the work of those spreading the message of present truth will go far and wide, but the effect will not be harmful to those who have the proper attitude of heart and mind, those who receive the mark. These will not be hurt by the message of truth but will instead rejoice in it.

What the Lord is here showing is that from a certain standpoint the credit for marking in the forehead goes to the special servant who causes the message of present truth to be spread, i.e., Pastor Russell. The saints still in the flesh at this time are also given credit, but this is not the aspect that is shown in this picture. Here the Lord is showing the church's part in executing the judgments written, thus they are described as slaying these various classes. Their message does no harm to those of the right attitude of mind for these are marked or sealed in the forehead by this message, and the credit, in this picture, goes to the man clothed in linen with the writer's inkhorn.

To further demonstrate that the six men represent the church in the flesh and the smiting work they are doing is accomplished by their presentation of the Truth, we cite the following from a Tower article in 1894.

THE following was written to a Brother who, having engaged in the Colporteur Work, was discouraged and stopped by being told by some that his work was doing harm – disintegrating churches, arousing questions disconcerting to ministers, etc., and that in some cases some who believed seemed if anything more careless than ever of religious matters. R1633

This sounds exactly like the description of the work of these six men here in Ezekiel 9!

Pastor Russell wrote a letter to this brother and in so doing provided us with an example of the connection between the 'six men' and the one 'man clothed in linen with the writer's inkhorn.' Note the last paragraph of brother Russell's letter to the brother.

But now the Millennial morning is here, and all must be awaked; for a great and dark hour (a night) of unbelief approaches, in which all will be tested. If some on being awakened receive the grace of God in vain, we cannot stop for them. They would reach the same results later on anyway. We must awaken and enthuse the real saints of God, whom we are commissioned to "seal in their foreheads" and "gather unto him," out of sectarian bondage and error, from the four quarters of heaven. R1634

Who are the First to be Slain?

These six men were also instructed in their smiting work to "begin at my sanctuary." Here again we need to remember that at the time this work begins it is the beginning of the Harvest period and therefore the (nominal) sanctuary includes both the true and the false. Since these are described as doing a destructive work, this means, as we shall see, that they will be starting with the ecclesiastical leaders within the nominal church. How do we know they start by slaying (the beliefs and influence of) the leaders of ecclesiasticism? This we discover by noting carefully how the six men respond to their instruction.

"Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house." This is a clear reference back to chapter 8 verse 11.


And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up.

Who were the men of ancient Israel, associated with the temple, whose number was seventy? This, of course, is a reference to the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin were those who were supposed to be the most learned and pious amongst the Jews. Since our time setting is at the Second Advent, we must look for the nominal Gospel church equivalent. This we would find in the leaders of the false systems, the (so-called) doctors of divinity, etc. These are slain by the message of Present Truth being delivered by the true church in the flesh (the six men).

These leaders, instead of holding firm to the Bible and its precepts, were quickly turned to follow other "gods," evolution, pantheism, etc.

"Defile the house"
And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.

Several times now we have been reminded that it is God's work that these six men are doing. Here again we see that it is God who is giving these their instructions. "And he said unto them.."

"Defile the [nominal] temple." At this point the temple has already been defiled (see chapter 8.) So why would God tell the six men to defile the temple? We suggest the thought here is (in keeping with the general standpoint of the book of Ezekiel) that this defilement will become evident to the world. The world will be able to recognize what they had not in the past, i.e., that this is NOT Christ's Kingdom and the name Christendom [Christ's Kingdom] is a misnomer.

"Fill the court with the slain.." While in most translations the word is "courts" – plural, it does not have to be. It is Strong's 2691 that is the word used to describe the court of the Tabernacle in Exo. 27:9-19. This describes for us a key step in the Divine Plan and corresponds exactly with what is shown to us in the Chart of the Ages. These six men (the church in the flesh who are following after the "man clothed in linen with the writer's inkhorn") are being credited with doing this slaying work. Remember, these are merely presenting the Truth of God's Word. It is really God who is doing the slaying (remember Eze. 8:18. See also the next verse where the cry is "Lord God! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel?"). It is the privilege of these six men to be used as the instruments of the Lord in the carrying out of His will.

So, what does it mean to "fill the court with the slain?" We remember that our Lord cast off Babylon in 1878 (see Vol. II Chapter 7 and R2553). We notice on the Chart of the Ages that during the Harvest time of the Gospel Age the nominal system is breaking (in pieces) and falling, even from the justified condition (shown on plane N – note especially incomplete pyramid 'u')! This is what is being described here in verse 7, i.e., the court (the plane of justification) is being filled with the slain. How are they slain? They are slain in the sense that their beliefs have been slain. They once thought they had a one-way ticket to heaven simply because they belonged to a church and attended regular Sunday services. Now they are being forced to confront some of their long cherished ideas.

  • Is this really Christ's Kingdom?
  • Are the kings of Europe really under the rulership of Christ?
  • Is it true that in going against the civil or the religious authorities one is going against God?

This may be another way of describing the burning of the tares.

THE BURNING OF THE TARES
Whether the overcoming saints will have a part in the burning of the tare class is a thought not very clear at this time. "This honor have all His saints, to execute the judgments written." All the saints would include, then, those who would be living in the world when the judgments are executed, as well as the resurrected saints. Just how any living here would have a share in executing the judgments written we do not see; but we are keeping our eyes open, with the thought that this may be so.

It would seem that the burning of the tares has now been going on for some time; that is, some who have professed that they are Christians and have thought that they are Christians, but have never entered into true relationship with the Lord and become of the wheat class, are to be destroyed as tares, shown in their true light. If questioned now as to their consecration, these will say, "I am no saint, but I wish to be right and just in my dealings so far as possible." Thus such demonstrate that they have not understood what it is to be a real Christian.

This great war in Europe is waking up people to think in a way that they have never thought before; and now is the time when the real Christianity and the counterfeit will be differentiated. Many people will come more or less rapidly to recognize this. But there is a large proportion of tares that have not yet been burned. Emperor William of Germany, King George of England, the Czar of Russia, the Pope, etc., have not yet learned the difference between the true Christianity and the imitation. So it is with many others. But the burning will progress to its completion, and the true and the false will be completely manifested to all. – R5761
"And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground." Jer. 25:33

In considering this verse we need to remember the definition of the symbolic "earth" given us in R498:

"Land or earth as a symbol represents settled, organized religious society."

With this in mind we can more easily understand this text. The slain of the Lord will be throughout all of the symbolic earth, i.e., organized society under religious restraint. They will have lost their faith in the religious element of Christendom. Remember, Christendom [Christ's Kingdom] is the counterfeit of the true, complete with both its Civil and its Religious rulership. But after the spectacle of the various (so-called) kingdoms of Christ warring against one another (a.k.a. World War I), who could any longer believe that this was the Kingdom of Christ? No wonder their slain are from one end of the symbolic earth to the other. Are these lamented? By whom would they be lamented? After the war, the kings of the symbolic earth were gone. Who could possibly believe in "the divine right of kings" now? There is none to gather these. They are in a most pitiable condition for they have had their faith exposed as being misplaced. They are become as dung upon the ground.

"And they went forth, and slew in the city." It is interesting here to note that the six men here are described not as going through the house or temple and doing the slaying but rather going through the city. A city is symbolic of a government. In this case, it is the great city "Babylon" or "Christendom." Remember, this is exactly where the man clothed in linen went. His job was to mark in the forehead those who were mourning the poor condition in (nominal) Jerusalem. The six men were told (in vs 5) to "Go ye after him through the city, and smite.."

We should understand that there is a certain perspective that is here being presented. The man clothed in linen with the writer's inkhorn is credited with setting the mark in the forehead of all the saints in the city (Christendom). The destructive results of presenting the truth is attributed to the six men.

Lament for the Destruction

Ezekiel 9:8 (KJV)

And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord God! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?

This sounds very much like Abraham pleading with the Lord to consider saving the city of Sodom if even ten righteous could be found there. The Lord assured Abraham that if even ten were found there he would not destroy the city. God then sent his angels to get Lot and his family out of the city before the destruction. Lot pictures the Great Company (see R2857). Even in the face of the destruction of the city (Babylon) as they flee they are instructed to "escape to the mountain," (Gen. 19:17) as the Lord's people are told to "come out of her my people" they are instructed to "get ye up into the high mountain (the embryo kingdom of God – D40)." Lot however did not go to the mountain (kingdom) but preferred to go to another, smaller, city (vs. 20). In this he demonstrates another characteristic of the Great Company, i.e., they have to be coerced into doing the will of God (Heb. 2:15; 1 Cor. 3:15; Lev. 16:21.) Eventually Lot does get into the mountain but it is only out of fear (Gen. 19:30).

There is an interesting part of this story which seems to have a bearing here. While Lot's family is leaving Sodom the angel says

"Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither." Gen. 19:22

It would seem that the destruction of the city could not take place while there were still any righteous within it – "escape .. for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither."

Thus we are reminded that the destruction of Babylon coincides with the escape of the Great Company. Another way to look at this is to say that any of the spirit-begotten class who would remain in Babylon when the time for her destruction arrives would be in danger of death. This is also pointed out in verse 6 as indicated by the classes that the six men are slaying. One of these classes are "maids," i.e., virgins! Psa. 45:14.

That this class is indeed in danger is also indicated by Isa. 34:6 where they are described as lambs.

The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.

In D17 brother Russell applies these slain lambs of Isa. 34:6 as being the great company.

The symbolic Edom of Isaiah's prophecy corresponds to the symbolic Babylon of Revelation, and of the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Thus the Lord designates and describes that great system to which men ascribe the misleading name, Christendom – Christ's Kingdom. As all of the land of Edom symbolizes all of "Christendom," so its capital city, Bozrah, represented Ecclesiasticism, the chief citadel of Christendom. The prophet represents the Lord as a victorious warrior who makes a great slaughter in Edom, and specially in Bozrah. The name Bozrah signifies "sheepfold." Bozrah is even yet noted for its goats, and the slaughter of this day of vengeance is said to be of the "lambs and goats." (Isa. 34:6) The goats would correspond to the "tares," while the lambs would represent the tribulation saints (Rev. 7:14; 1 Cor. 3:1) who neglected to use the opportunities granted them, and did not so run as to obtain the prize of their high calling; and who therefore, although not rejected of the Lord, were not accounted worthy to escape the trouble as matured "sheep" – called, chosen and faithful. D17:1

Destroy the Residue?

But the concern expressed in verse 8 is that God will destroy ALL the residue of (spiritual) Israel. This naturally begs the question: "Who are the residue of Israel?"

Here the church class is pictured as feeling sorry for those that are being slain in the city. Remember, it is not our desire to see any suffering, even from those who have been supporting the old order of Christendom. With its fall there is great weeping and while we rejoice to see the old system destroyed (knowing what is coming in to replace it) we nevertheless do not like to see any suffer.

We know that it is after the work of setting the mark or seal in the forehead of the 144,000 has been accomplished that the four winds are let loose (Eze. 9:4; Rev. 7:1-4). The Lord has pictured this destruction or loosing of the winds for us in several ways, one of which is found in 1 Kings 19. Elijah flees from Jezebel into the wilderness where he is fed by the ravens (picturing the Miller movement where the brethren were fed with good spiritual food) – 1 Kings 19:5, 6. This corresponds to the first stirring of the virgins in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matt. 25:1). After this Elijah (the church in the flesh) went to sleep (compare Matt. 25:5.)

Following this Elijah is wakened (1 Kings 19:7), corresponding to the second stirring among the virgins (see Matt. 25:6-7.)

"And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat [in due season] forty days [a day for a year, 40 years, from 1874 to 1914] and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God." 1 Kings 19:7-8

When he gets there what does he see?

"And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind." 1 Kings 19:11

This is the letting loose of the Four Winds of Rev. 7:1-4. This indicates that by the outbreak of War in 1914 the 144,000 had all been sealed in their forehead. This is also the universal teaching of Pastor Russell. The winds were only held back until the little flock had been sealed in their foreheads. But this forehead sealing is not the same as glorification. (Again, please see "Loosing the Four Winds" on www.mostholyfaith.com under Bible Topics for a much more thorough examination of what Pastor Russell taught on the subject.)

A special note. For those who have not had the opportunity to study closely Pastor Russell's teaching on this subject of the seal in the forehead and the loosing of the 4 winds, we will simply state the matter here now. The seal in the forehead of the 144,000 does not equate to their glorification.

It is the intellectual understanding (symbolized by the forehead) of Present Truth which is necessary to be an overcomer. This sealing takes place on this side of the veil.

This is the universal teaching of Pastor Russell on this subject – and we heartily agree. Please see top of page B169.

After Elijah (church in the flesh) sees the 4 manifestations of God's power (wind, earthquake, fire, still small voice) he still has more work to do. Just after the 40 days journey and just prior to the vision of the wind, earthquake, etc. we find God asking Elijah the question: "What doest thou here Elijah?" 1 Kings 19:9. Elijah's response is found in vs 10.

After the vision we see the exact same thing repeated in 1 Kings 19:13-14. At the end of vs 13 the question is asked by God "What doest thou here Elijah?" The answer of Elijah in vs 14 is word for word the same as his answer was in vs 10. It should be clear what the Lord is doing here. He is giving us two portraits of the same thing. In the first we see that after 40 years (1874-1914) comes the time for the loosing of the winds. By giving us this His question and Elijah's answer just after the 40 days journey He is letting us know this takes place in 1914.

He then shows us the vision of the wind, earthquake, fire and still small voice. After this He backs up and repeats the same question and receives the same answer from Elijah. In other words, God is telling us that what follows from that point also begins in 1914 and is running in parallel (time-wise) to the wind, earthquake, fire and still small voice.

St. Paul refers to this exact event during the Jewish age harvest saying "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." Rom. 11:5. In vs 4 he refers to this exact statement of 1 Kings 19:17 that 7,000 are the remnant of Israel who have not bowed the knee to Baal.

Since Paul refers to this 7,000 as symbolic of the "remnant" of Israel left in the Jewish Age harvest, and we see the same situation in 1 Kings 19 pointing us to 1914, we conclude there is a clear connection between the date 1914 and the "remnant" of spiritual Israel remaining in the Gospel Age harvest, especially after 1914. Since the loosing of the winds in 1914 indicates the 144,000 had been sealed in their foreheads, what does that mean for Spiritual Israel post 1914 and especially what does it mean for the 7,000?

It would seem to indicate that there was a remnant of spiritual Israel still left after 1914. While this could refer to the Great Company, we suggest it refers to those who have answered the call, i.e., both little flock and great company. Since we have been on a replacement program ever since 1881 and we see the saints still here ("blindness in part has happened unto Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in"), this seems to be a reasonable conclusion. When Paul talks of the 7,000 as being the "residue" of Israel he applies it to the (probationary members of) the little flock.

The concern being expressed in verse 8 seems to be "Lord, will you destroy all, even the spirit-begotten, in this process of destruction?"

God Gives His Reply
Ezekiel 9:9 (KJV)

Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not.

The patience of the Almighty is incredible but not infinite. He will not permit defiance of His will to continue. During the Gospel Age He permits it, largely for the development of the church class, but eventually this comes to an end and those who have committed these acts of rebellion against Him are brought to justice.

Here is just that situation. God tells us of the great iniquity done by both branches of Christendom (here pictured by Israel and Judah). The result of their actions is "the land (earth, organized society) is full of blood." – vs. 9 (compare Isa. 34:7)

Shed Blood is life poured out. In this case we see it is the life blood of those in Christendom. The land (earth, organized society) is full of this life poured out. They have shed the blood of saints and prophets and now, therefore, the time has come for God's justice to be poured out upon Christendom (Rev. 16:6). His justice comes in the form of the seven last plagues (more on this when we consider chapter 10.)

The city (Babylon, Christendom) is full of perverseness (false doctrine and false practices based upon those false doctrines) for they (the seventy of chapter 8, the leaders of Christendom) say 'the LORD seeth not.' This is exactly what the 70 in 8:12 said. This is their justification for ignoring the word of the LORD and doing what they please. They are hypocrites who think that God does not notice what is going on.

Ezekiel 9:10 (KJV)

And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head.

The word recompense has the thought of payment. While it can be a legitimate payment for services, i.e., wages, the normal thought of this word is closer to our modern expression of "pay back." It tends to indicate that "you have wronged me (or those whom I care for) and therefore you are about to receive a recompense, a payback, a balancing of the scales of justice." This usually does not bode well for the one receiving this payback or recompense.

The operative word here is Justice. Justice is the foundation of God's throne (Psa. 89:14) and it cannot be long delayed. These have most certainly earned their 'recompense' or 'payback.' This payback comes from God in the form of "breaking in pieces" the various groups as mentioned in vs. 7 by the instrumentality of the "six men". It comes in the form of the pouring out of the seven last plagues as described in Rev. 16. When properly understood both these works are really the same.

Together these seven (six men plus the one man clothed in linen) correspond exactly to the seven angels of Rev. 15:1, 6. Revelation shows us God's perspective whereas Ezekiel shows us more of an earthly perspective. In Revelation it is described as the entire church (the 7 angels) who pour out the plagues. When we remember that the plagues are God's judgments upon the old order (symbolic earth), and that one of the living creatures (attributes of God) gives these plagues to the seven angels, we have a clear picture. Of course the one attribute of God that is shown as giving the plagues to the angels is justice.

The Report

Ezekiel 9:11 (KJV)

And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.

Here Pastor Russell is described as giving his last report to God. When he does this he says "I have done as thou hast commanded me." This is too similar to the expression found in Rev. 16:17.

"The seventh angel poured out his vial into the air [the power of spiritual control]; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done ["I have done as thou has commanded me"].

No Bible student, recognizing the wonderful way in which the Lord used Pastor Russell, can read the account of his last hours on this earth (R6004) without recognizing that what was taking place was brother Russell's acknowledgment of his role as "the man clothed in linen with the writer's inkhorn by his side." The last time he stood upon his feet (clothed in a white robe) he was really saying "I have done as thou hast commanded me." What a wonderful legacy of love and untiring zeal and devotion to the Heavenly Father and His Son our Lord Jesus.

Having completed the work given to him by God, Pastor Russell finished his course faithfully in death. At first this might seem to end Ezekiel's prophetic description of the man and his work. But not so.

Chapter 10


Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.

Here we are reminded that at the time of the fulfillment of this vision the Lord has returned as a king upon his throne.

And he spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the city. And he went in in my sight.

Once again God gives instruction to "the man clothed with linen." In chapter 9 it was to set a mark in the forehead. Here in chapter 10 it is to scatter coals of fire over the city. The first and most obvious thing we should notice is that this is the same man, i.e., Pastor Russell.

Several questions present themselves here. What is indicated by going in "between the wheels?," Why "under the cherubims?" What are the coals of fire and what is indicated by these being scattered over the city?

Between the wheels is, we believe, a reference to the chart of the ages and the fact that Pastor Russell was indeed to go in between the overlapping of the Gospel and Millennial ages (between the wheels) to perform his divinely appointed tasks.

Why "under the cherubims?" The cherubims are part of the lid of thee ark of the covenant. The base (called the "mercy seat") represents Justice. The two cherubims represent the attributes of Love and Power which are both looking down to the mercy-seat, waiting for the blood to be sprinkled, i.e., waiting for justice to be satisfied before they can go into full flight. God's Wisdom is represented by the supernatural light coming from between the cherubim where (according to other scriptures) God dwells (1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 6:2; 2 Kings 19:15; 1 Chron. 13:6; Psalm 80:1; Psalm 99:1; Isaiah 37:16). This reminds us of the driving force behind brother Russell's ministry. He did things with both love and power from on high. This is what is represented by the two cherubims on the mercy-seat.

What about "the coals of fire?" For this we look unto Psa. 18 to find the answer.

Psa. 18:13

The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.

In other words, the hail stones represent the Word (voice) of God. Hail stones are made up of water (truth). Since this is frozen water it represents hard truth. Often when a hail stone is sliced open it is found to have layers of varying size. This reminds us that hard truths are given "line upon line." Isa. 28:9-13

Hail_Layers

It is these "hard truths" that are scattered over the city by "the man clothed in linen" – Pastor Russell. Since we also recognize this term from Rev. 16:21 we see the association with the seventh plague. Since all these truths comprise the "plagues" upon Babylon, Christendom, we conclude that scattering of the coals of fire over the city indicate the pouring out of the seven last plagues. More on this a little later. This, as much as the sealing in the forehead, was the work given by God to Pastor Russell and we remember that at the end of his earthly career he declared "I have done as thou hast commanded me."

Parallel Work

Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord's glory.

This should sound very familiar. This is exactly the description given in chapter 9 verse 3!

Eze. 9:3 Eze. 10:4
And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house... Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house...

The glory of the Lord is the Truth and its Spirit. Here it moves from the cherub (ark of the covenant) to the threshold (entrance) of the (Lord's) house (or temple.)

So the natural question is: Why is the Lord showing this exact same thing again? The answer is the same as we find in so many other prophetic pictures. God is showing us two views of the same thing or the same time period. In chapter 9 He showed us that after He had removed His spirit from the nominal temple He had a special work that had to be done, i.e., having the man clothed in linen set a mark (seal) in the forehead (intellects) of His people.

Now the Lord has brought us back to the same setting. Once again we have "the man clothed in linen" and he is given a special job to do, i.e., "scatter coals of fire over the city." When does this take place? It takes place when the glory of the Lord moves from the cherub to the threshold of the house. In other words, it happens at exactly the same time as does the mark or sealing in the forehead! And, as we have already seen, this work was faithfully accomplished during the period from 1881 to 1914.


And it came to pass, that when he had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then he went in, and stood beside the wheels. [7] And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that was between the cherubims, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it, and went out.

We have already seen (when examining verse 2) that coals of fire represent God's Word, His Truth. The fact that fire is included in this symbol indicates that fiery trials are to be associated with the usage of His Word. This is in complete harmony with the understanding that these coals of fire represent the seven last plagues.

It is interesting to note in these verses (6-7) that two standpoints are presented. From one standpoint Pastor Russell is actively taking the coals of fire from between the wheels (vs 6) whereas in vs 7 it is the one cherub that takes the coals of fire and puts it into the hands of that faithful servant.

Pastor Russell was, as we all should be, both passive in the Lord's hands, i.e., submissive to His will, and also active in the pursuance of that will. The Lord wants to see this same attitude in all of His servants. We all need to be humble, meek, pliable in the Master's hand so we may be shaped into the likeness of Christ. At the same time we must be active in this development process. We cannot be satisfied to be merely passive, waiting for the Lord to work some transformation miracle on our behalf.

The Four Attributes of God

And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.

We find this symbology of the 4 attributes of God given directly in only two other places in scripture. Eze. 1:10 and Rev. 4:7. Here the attributes are Justice (cherub), Love (man), Power (lion), Wisdom (eagle.)

These are not, however, the only places where we see the 4 attributes in a prophetic picture. One of the other places is in Rev. 15:5-8.

And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: [6] And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. [7] And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. [8] And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

What we see in this prophetic description is exactly the same as in Eze. 10. In the Revelation account it is the seven angels while in Ezekiel it is the man clothed in linen. In both accounts one of the 4 attributes of God gives out the plagues (hard truths). In each case there is the same description given (simply using different words). In Revelation the seven angels come out of the temple. In Ezekiel, the Glory of God has come out of the temple (and moved to the threshold or entrance). In both cases the temple is filled with smoke or a cloud and in Revelation the cause of this smoke filling the temple is said to be the Glory of God.

There can be no doubt that these two accounts (Rev. 15:5-8 and Eze. 10) are speaking of the same thing. It also seems clear that the one "beast" or "living creature" (attribute) which gives these plagues out is the attribute of justice.

The Temple was Filled with the Cloud

Many have questioned, especially in the Revelation account: "Is this the true or the nominal temple?" In their attempt to answer this question some have attempted to pit brother Russell against himself by pointing to his stating it as the nominal temple (R498) and then calling it the true temple in "To us the scriptures clearly teach." – This attitude (while perhaps well intentioned) is incorrect.

In the parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matt. 13:24-30). The field was originally a wheat field but it became overrun with tares. So what was it, a wheat field or a tare field? It was always a wheat field. The fact that the tares were far more numerous did not change that fact. This thought is borne out in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. The messages given to the seven churches contain instructions clearly aimed at both the true and the imitation wheat. "Let both grow together until the harvest."

This is clearly what Ezekiel chapters 9 and 10 are all about. The marking, separating of the true from the false and the destruction of the false.

In Ezekiel 10:4 and Rev. 15:8 we see the effect of the withdrawal of God's Spirit from the nominal temple (which at that time still contained the true temple.) It resulted in a cloud of confusion filling the nominal temple because of the stark contrast between the rubble of Babylon's teachings and the purity of the Truth. This thought is strengthened by the fact that "no man was able to enter into the temple" until the plagues were finished. The temple is to be the meeting place between God and man throughout the ages. Prior to the time of the withdrawal of God's spirit from the nominal temple it was possible for a man to come into the true temple, i.e., become a probationary member of the little flock, while in the nominal temple. One of the meanings of "Babylon" is "gateway to God." When His Spirit has been withdrawn from Babylon and His people called out from there it is very similar to God driving out Adam from the garden of Eden. He placed a cherub in the entrance to the garden, blocking the way. This is the same thought here. No man will be able to enter into the true temple by way of Babylon any longer.