Ezekiel Chapter 4 [RVIC]

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1 Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it a city, even Jerusalem: Son of man – Pastor Russell. - See Son of Man

Take thee a tile – This is Strong's 3843 and is (in every other case) translated as "brick."
H3843 לבנה lebênâh leb-ay-naw' From H3835; a brick (from the whiteness of the clay): - (altar of) brick, tile.
Other uses of this word involve making brick idols, building the ancient Tower of Babel, and the bricks the children of Israel were forced to make while slaves in Egypt. The use of this material to portray Jerusalem (symbolic of Babylon, Christendom) is ironically appropriate [no doubt the irony is intentional.]

The city, even Jerusalem – Babylon, Christendom (falsely so-called.)

In Ezekiel's days, in Chaldea, a book was a collection of inscribed tiles. The Laodicean servant was to be a writer of books. In many articles and chapters on the kingdoms of this world and their judgment and fall, and that of their ecclesiastical, political and business systems, Pastor Russell portrays Christendom, typically spoken of as Jerusalem. It bore the Lord's name, but was defiled by the evil practices of its inhabitants. (C295.) As a type, Jerusalem represents particularly the ecclesiastical phase of Christendom. FM391
2 and lay siege against it, and build forts against it, and cast up a mound against it; set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it round about. Lay siege against it – The Pastor laid siege against the nominal church systems simply by presenting the Truth.

The reason he is not shown as directly attacking the city is that he was not there for the entire period of time. Therefore he portrays the city on a tile and lays siege against that, as if to say, "This represents an attack on what has transpired during the entire 390 year period, as though I was present for it all."

There are 4 items which the Son of Man is instructed to bring against Jerusalem:
  1. Fort
  2. Mount (rampart)
  3. camp
  4. battering rams
The fact that there are four seems to indicate that there is no escape for Christendom (Jerusalem), the destruction comes from the four corners, from every direction.

Build a fort – He built the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.

Cast a mount against it – Cast a rampart, "a broad elevation or mound of earth raised as a fortification around a place and usually capped with a stone or earth parapet."

Set up a camp also against it – Two thoughts present themselves here - both of which may be correct.
1) This reminds us of the camp which surrounded the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. We remember that the Camp pictured those people of the world who wanted to be closer to God but were not of the justified classes (as opposed to the enemies of God who were pictured by those outside the Camp.)
2) An army camp, in other words, the Lord's great army (Joel 2:1-11.) While this latter was not encouraged by Pastor Russell to attack and destroy Christendom, he nevertheless did explain what part they would play in that destructive work (D542.)

Set battering rams against it – A battering ram is designed to break down the gate or doors of a city wall in order to allow the attacking army to come into the city. The battering ram used by the 7th messenger was Present Truth which relentlessly battered the errors of Christendom.
3 And take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face toward it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.

Take unto thee an iron pan – Why a pan of iron? We know that iron was used to describe the strength of the civil power of the Roman Empire (Dan. 2:40-42.)

Set it for a wall – A strong barrier. Walls are symbolic of protection. A295:3; R5487

Between thee and the city – A city is always the symbol for a government. In this case the city is symbolic Jerusalem, i.e., Christendom. How appropriate. Christendom in Br. Russell's day still had in it the strength of the civil power (iron) of Europe. But Pastor Russell did not have his headquarters in Europe, where the church and state were in an uneasy alliance, but in the United States where such union is forbidden by law.

Set thy face against it – "I have made thy face strong against their faces." Eze. 3:8

It shall be besieged – The promise of God is that Babylon would be besieged and eventually collapse. This phrase here seems to be presented in the manner of an assurance that the promised siege and eventual collapse will really take place.

Thou shalt lay siege against it – Not only will it be besieged, but you (Pastor Russell) will be the one to do it (much as a commander leading his troops.)

He did this not by calling for its downfall but by pointing out that its downfall was promised in the Word of God. He continued to point out that Babylon had already fallen from favor and coupled with that fall was the command to "come out of her my people." (Rev. 18:4) But he additionally foretold that its collapse was due to come with the end of the Times of the Gentiles in the year 1914.

Our Lord Jesus said that "if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done." (Matt. 21:21) That is exactly what Br. Russell did. He, based on the correct understanding of the Word of God, said to the mountain of Christendom, "be thou cast into the midst of the sea" (the irreligious masses of mankind,) and it was done.

This shall be a sign to the house of Israel – This siege of Christendom was to be a sign the the house of nominal Spiritual Israel (the religious element of Christendom.) They could all see that the old church-state order in Europe was under attack. The message of present truth had been sent out and those within the nominal churches could see the fact of the matter. The faithful heeded the call and came out. Consider D164.
4 Moreover lie thou upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it; according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it, thou shalt bear their iniquity.
In verses 4 to 6 Israel and Judah are included in the same picture, and signify Papacy and established, corrupted Protestantism. The left side was a sign of less favor. Romanism kept on in sin and kept adding, multiplying evil deeds, until iniquity should come to the full (Gen. 15:16). A day in prophecy signifies a year in fulfillment. (Num. 14:34.) Ezekiel here represents the reformer class which had to endure the iniquities of Papacy, both by persecution and by the shame of seeing professed Christians believing grossest error. The iniquity of Papacy, the house of Israel, lay in the fact that the Reformers had shown them insistent proofs of their wrong course, and yet they continued in their own way, heedless of the Divine warnings. Hence less favor has been felt by Jehovah toward them than toward Protestantism. [FM393]

Lie on thy left side – The right side is traditionally the position of favor. Gen. 48:8-20; Psa. 16:11; Acts 5:30-31. Therefore to lie on the left side is to indicate that he is dealing with those of less favor than those on his right. - Please note also our Lord's use of "left" and "right" in the parable of the sheep and goats. Matt. 25:31-46

In this case the Lord is clearly making a prophetic distinction between Israel and Judah. Israel represents Papacy (Romanism) and Judah represents Protestantism. As these two houses constituted the Lord's (nominal) people during the Jewish Age (Amos 3:2.) So too during the Gospel Age the Lord has only dealt with His (nominal) people and they too have become split into the two large groups, i.e., Catholic and Protestant.

Lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it – It is upon the left side that that Ezekiel is to have the iniquity of Israel (catholic) laid upon, and also for him to lie upon his left side. Or to visualize this: Ezekiel lies on his left side, and the iniquity of Israel is underneath him.

According to the number of the days – A day for a year.

That thou shalt lie upon it – 390 days on left side and 40 days on right side as indicated by vss. 5-6.

Thou shalt bear their iniquity – 'Thou shalt bear' is Strong's H5375.

נסה נשׂא

nâśâ' nâsâh

naw-saw', naw-saw'

A primitive root; to lift, in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, absolutely and relatively: - accept, advance, arise, (able to, [armour], suffer to) bear (-er, up), bring (forth), burn, carry (away), cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt (self), extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, high, hold up, honourable (+ man), lade, lay, lift (self) up, lofty, marry, magnify, X needs, obtain, pardon, raise (up), receive, regard, respect, set (up), spare, stir up, + swear, take (away, up), X utterly, wear, yield.
The thought here seems to be to bear or lift up (as opposed to 'carry.') This is exactly what Pastor Russell did, especially in the Fourth Volume. He lifted up Babylon for the whole world to see its true character and its false claims.
5 For I have appointed the years of their iniquity to be unto thee a number of days, even three hundred ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.
The Expanded Bible Comments refer us to C295 and R1341 which are both really the same comment. A careful examination of this material makes it clear that Pastor Russell was responding to another who was making an argument in favor of "Anglo-Israel." It is clear that the response was aimed not at the Brethren, in the sense of giving the prophetic understanding intended for our time, but rather simply in the form of a rebuttal, demonstrating the inaccuracy of their presentation.

In other words, he is NOT here giving to us the explanation of the 390 years applicable to the end times.

Upon the reform element was laid the burden of seeing the dupes of Papal priestcraft continually learning and living error. This was a burden upon conscience, and was repugnant to the enlightened mind of the reform element, known for centuries, in name at least, as Protestant. Priestcraft of the larger division of Christendom was to be under attack for 390 years, during which time the besieging element, the reformers, were to be protected from Papacy by the "iron wall" of the civil powers. This began in 1528 and ends in 1918. [Remember, Br. Fisher's comments on Ezekiel were published in 1917. - site Editor] The year 1528 is one of the turning points of history. Protestantism in England and in Germany was in the balance. The sudden rise of Charles V of Germany to great power had FM394 emboldened Pope Clement to side with Charles. He induced the Emperor to support a measure designed to limit the spread of Protestantism, to be followed by its utter destruction. Under the proposed law no Protestant was to convert a Romanist to the reformed faith, nor would it be allowable for Protestantism to spread to other countries. It meant for all Protestants an end such as the Huguenots came to in France, the suppression of the Renaissance with its "increase of knowledge" (Dan. 12:4), and the end of the prosperous and comparatively enlightened civilization of modern times. The future of the whole world, and of the Divine Plan, was at stake! A general war was barely avoided to destroy Lutheranism. Philip Landgrave of Saxony discovered the plot, took arms, and in 1528 forced indemnity from a Catholic bishop. Other princes of Germany stood with Philip.

To quote from Dr. Peter Bayne, LL. D., the historian ("Martin Luther"), page 486: "These (the princes of the reformed faith) were inflexibly determined that the decree of the majority should not be assented to. Philip of Hesse, John of Saxony, Markgraf George the Pious of Brandenburg-Anspach, the Dukes of Lunenburg and Brunswick, the Prince of Anhalt, and the representatives of Strasburg, Nurnberg and twelve other free cities, entered a solemn protest against the prospective revolution. They were called Protestants! All, to this hour, who claim that Truth shall be unveiled, and that no Pope, or Kaiser, shall congeal the ever-advancing stream of progress and improvement, may take an honorable pride in tracing their spiritual descent to the intrepid Philip and the magnanimous and simple-hearted John." (p. 481): "How thoroughly is the whole pageant of that war, 1528, erased from the memory of the present generation! And yet the effect of those events is not yet exhausted; nor would it be possible for any one without forming some comprehension of them, to understand how link added itself to link in the evolutionary chain of modern history."

Thus Germany set up the iron wall of civic defense between the besieging Protestants and beleaguered Papacy. In England, too, the other great empire which has stood as an iron wall between the reform element and Papacy, the break with Rome began to take form in 1528. This was the year when Pope Clement appointed his legates, Correggio and Wolsey, to conduct the divorce trial of Queen Katherine of Aragon, at the behest of Henry VIII. (Rev. 8:8, 9.) As God raised up a willful, stubborn Pharaoh when He purposed to deliver the Hebrews from Egypt, so He raised up the lustful Henry VIII as the agent 395 through whom the break should come between England and Rome. "The natural result" [of Henry's divorce proceedings], says A. F. Pollard, the historian, in his "Henry VIII," "was the separation of England from Rome." Thus did Divine wisdom use "the wrath of man to praise Him" and cause the "iron wall" of the civil, military and naval powers of the British Empire, Germany, and of the United States, to stand an impregnable barrier against the persecuting power of Great Babylon. Safe behind the iron wall, the reform element was able to live and grow in its camp and to keep up its siege of Roman Catholic priestcraft.

I – Jehovah God.

Have laid upon thee – Upon Pastor Russell. Perhaps here as the representative of all the living saints at that time.

The years of their iniquity – The period of Papacy's evil in their attempts to destroy against the Lord and His people by using their influence with the civil power.

Three hundred ninety days – 390 years from 1528 to 1918 as described by Br. Fisher above.

To further the thought of beginning this period (390 years) with the year 1528 the book "The History of the Reformation in England" has a section entitled "Book Four, The Two Divorces" in which it refers to King Henry VIII's divorce from Ann Boleyn and his (and thus England's) divorce from the Church of Rome. It begins with the year 1528. - Why is this so significant? A few years earlier the Pope had given Henry VIII the title "Defender of the Faith." This makes Henry's split from the Church of Rome all the more impactful.

The following is from infoplease.com under the heading "Defender of the Faith"
"A title given by Pope Leo X. to Henry VIII. of England, in 1521, for a Latin treatise On the Seven Sacraments. Many previous kings, and even subjects, had been termed "defenders of the Catholic faith," "defenders of the Church," and so on, but no one had borne it as a title."

1528 was the year those who opposed the Church of Rome were first called "Protestants."

We also considered the year 1524 for the beginning of the 390 years as a possibility because that was when "The Peasant's Revolt" in Germany began. The Truth about God's character and plan were beginning to come out (primarily through the Lord's agent Martin Luther.) These truths also had the effect of opening mens eyes to their liberties and the inequitable system that prevailed at that time. This rebellion against the old order was rather significant as was the number of lives lost.

While this revolt came about largely as a development of Martin Luther's work, Martin Luther himself was opposed to it. Please consider the following from Wikipedia:

(German Peasant's War) "Martin Luther, the dominant leader of the Reformation in Germany, took a middle course in the Peasants' War. He criticized the injustices imposed on the peasants, and the rashness of the peasants in fighting back. He also tended to support the centralization and urbanization of the economy. This position alienated the lesser nobles, but shored up his position with the burghers. Luther argued that work was the chief duty on earth; the duty of the peasants was farm labor and the duty of the ruling classes was upholding the peace. He could not support the Peasant War because it broke the peace, an evil he thought greater than the evils the peasants were rebelling against; he also criticized the ruling classes for their merciless suppression of the insurrection. Luther has often been sharply criticized for his position."

So why do we not think that the reference here is to 1528 and not 1524? 1524 was, after all, exactly 390 years prior to "The Great War (WWI)." Because WWI was the destruction of Christendom in which the nations of Christendom were fighting against each other. It was not the peasants rising up against their oppressors.

We also ask: What do the events of 1524 have to do with Papal iniquity? Remember, Israel here pictures the Papal system while Judah the Protestant. Whereas the events of 1528 all had to do with the status of the Church of Rome and the breaking away from them by Protestants (even as poor a representative as King Henry VIII.)

Bear the iniquity –
Please see Additional Comments at the end of verse 4.

Of the house of Israel – Papacy. Why would they be described as having their iniquity covering the period of 390 years. Why not both Papacy (Israel) and Protestantism (Judah?) We suggest it is because Protestantism (Judah) was there (1528) just beginning and had not yet proven itself to be worthy of judgment, whereas the Papacy (Israel) had, for about a thousand years, demonstrated itself unworthy of the Lord's favor.
6 And again, when thou hast accomplished these, thou shalt lie on thy right side, and shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah: forty days, each day for a year, have I appointed it unto thee. Please see 1st Additional Comment for verse 5.

When thou hast accomplished them – This sounds like when the 390 years are up (1918 ?) then the next part takes place, i.e., the 40 years. Clearly this cannot be the case since this instruction is being given to "son of man" - Pastor Russell (see vs. 1.) We therefore suggest that it was first the Papacy (Israel) which Pastor Russell attacked. He did so in his writings by bringing out those things which he later combined in Volume 2 Study IX, "The Man of Sin." There he demonstrates clearly how all that was predicted of this man of sin was fulfilled by the Papacy.

The following is from Br. Meggison's notes. While they are his comments for verse 3, we thought this was the place to include them:
AN IRON PAN - This iron pan may point to the League of Schmalkald by which all Protestant Princes formed a protective union on behalf of Protestantism, against the Papacy and Charles V, who planned to exterminate Protestantism by fire and sword. But this league made such a powerful impression upon Charles V, that they gave up their designs. Formed in 1531 between Dec. 1530 and April 1531 the 390 years reach to 1921; and the 40 years 1881-1921. Bro. Russell was made a watchman in 1881 when the Tabernacle Shadows and "Food for Thinking Christians" came.
While Br. Meggison's application is not identical with with ours, it is following the same track, i.e., measuring backward into Luther's day.

Lie again on thy right side – Now son of man, turn your attention to Judah (Protestantism.) Give it your primary attention (the right side.) The focus of the Harvest work is to be aimed there.

Thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah – It was in 1878 that Pastor Russell called the Protestant ministers of Pittsburgh and Allegheny together, presented them with the opportunity to forward the message of Present Truth and offered his fortune in that effort. They refused the offer. It would seem that this was the beginning of bearing the iniquity of the house of Judah (Protestantism.)

Forty days – Forty years, from 1878 to 1918. By the end of 1918 all the Protestant church-state unions of Europe had been dissolved.

I have appointed thee each day for a year – The key to understanding prophetic time. For an example of how this works please see the Lord's use of this principle in Num. 14:33,34.
7 And thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, with thine arm uncovered; and thou shalt prophesy against it. Thou shalt set thy face – Pastor Russell was to face this task head on. "I will make thy strong against their faces." Eze. 3:8.

Toward the siege of Jerusalem – Jerusalem pictures the city (government) known as Christendom (Christ's Kingdom, falsely so-called - consisting of both Catholic and Protestant systems united with the states in Europe.)

Thine arm – Thy strength.

Shall be uncovered – The active promulgation of the Truth (which the Lord uses to bring down Christendom) is not to be restricted. There is to be no binding (restraints) on his arm (figurative of his strength) in his attack on the errors Christendom.

Thou shalt prophecy against it – Pastor Russell did indeed prophecy against the continuation of Christendom. He prophesied their destruction, based upon the Scriptural testimony. Eze. 2:5.
8 And, behold, I lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to the other, till thou hast accomplished the days of thy siege.

I – Jehovah God.

Will lay bands upon thee – There may well be other aspects to this description of God laying bands (restraints) upon Pastor Russell, but we suggest that these restraints were those of recognizing the will of God in this matter. It was God's prophets who foretold the downfall of Christendom and Pastor Russell was merely pointing out the fact that because it was what God's word declared (Isa. 55:11), the resultant collapse of Mystic Babylon was unstoppable.

Thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another – "This one thing I do" - Phil. 3:13

Till thou hast ended the days of thy siege – "I have done as thou hast commanded me." Eze. 9:11
9 Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof; according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, even three hundred ninety days, shalt thou eat thereof. Wheat .. barley .. beans .. lentiles .. millet .. fitches – These various ingredients seem to represent the various classes of people that would be found in the nominal church systems. The wheat would picture the "little flock." The barley pictures the Great Company. This thought would seem to be supported by Rev. 6:6 where we find that both the wheat and the barley are priced at a penny - the same pay given to the workers in the parable of the workers in the vineyard. (Matt. 20:1-16) Since that parable is directed at the spirit begotten during the Gospel Age, it would seem that the pay would fit here as well.

Topical study of Ezekiel's bread

According to the number of days.. 390 days shalt thou eat thereof – Throughout the period from 1528 to 1918 the Lord's people would get at least something from God's storehouse of Truth.
10 And thy food which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it.
A shekel was half an ounce; twenty shekels were ten ounces. A hin was a gallon and a half. The sixth part of a hin was one quart. This was the daily ration, a starvation allowance. They were not to feed on it continuously, but on Sundays, or two or three times a week – "from time to time." The people would, as a class, have a scanty spiritual subsistence during the siege period. FM396

Thy meat – The meat given by God to His people.

"My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." John 4:34

"My meat also which I gave thee, fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed thee.. saith the Lord GOD." Eze. 16:19

Which thou shalt eat – It is clear that this bread is to be eaten by Ezekiel.

By weight, twenty shekels a day – This (as described by Br. Fisher above) is "a starvation allowance."

Remember, it says "which thou shalt eat." If he ("son of man") pictures Pastor Russell, then why would he be given this bread, and in such small portions?

Our suggestion is that as Pastor Russell was the one specially used by our Returned Lord to give out the message of Truth, and in the process to "lay siege" to the city of nominal Christendom (falsely so-called,) he also pictured the faithful saints during the entire period of the siege (i.e., the 390 years, not just the last 40.) The faithful saints during that period had but meager food to eat. The golden vessels of the Lord's Word had been corrupted by Dark Age doctrines of devils. And while there was a bold strike for liberty with the Protestant Reformation, still most of the precious Truths from the early church had been lost site of. Still, the message of the Bible was at least getting out. And from time to time the Lord raised up some who championed some particular part of the Truth so that those who needed the food could at least get some spiritual nourishment. This food was thus not the good food found at the beginning of the Gospel Age, but it was instead the bread described in verse 9.

From time to time shalt thou eat it – From time to time the Lord raised up some to help in dispensing to the household of faith items from the Bible. Such men as Zwingli, Knox, William Miller and others.

The word "time" here is Strong's 6256. It is NOT the same as in Daniel 12:7 (which is Strong's 4150) where it refers to a year ("time, times and an half.") Nor is it the same as in Dan.7:25 ("a time and times and the dividing of time") which is Strong's 5732 and also refers to a year, nor is it Strong's 7651 as used in Lev. 26 ("punish you seven times.") – The point here is that this does NOT seem to be saying: "From symbolic year to symbolic year."
11 And thou shalt drink water by measure, the sixth part of a hin: from time to time shalt thou drink. Thou shalt drink also water – Refreshing Truth. R5780; R1695:12; Eph. 5:26

The sixth part of an hin – We suggest that the sixth part is reminding that there are six parts in the bread. The first part (the sixth part) is wheat, picturing the saints who are developed by eating this bread. The measured water (one sixth part of an hin) would seem to have reference to the real refreshing that comes of having fellowship with those "of like precious faith" who appreciate the Truth.

See Bible Weights and Measures

From time to time shalt thou drink – This refreshing does not continue for the entire time but, during this period, the Lord raises up those who replenish the water supply by bringing out this truth or that.
12 And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it in their sight with dung that cometh out of man. Thou shalt eat it as barley cakes – Continuing with the picture that the bread (spiritual food) during this time develops several classes (wheat - little flock, barley - great company, etc.), one of which is barley (great company.) By stating that Ezekiel should eat it as barley may be suggesting that for most of the 390 days, the Lord's people had spiritual food such as would be more likely to produce great company than to produce little flock.

Bake it with dung as cometh out of a man – Man-made doctrines that are as worthless as dung.

At the Lord's command man's dung was not to be found inside the camp of Israel for that would make it unclean and the Lord would turn away from them. Deut. 23:13-14
13 And Jehovah said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their bread unclean, among the nations whither I will drive them. The children of Israel – Nominal spiritual Israel, i.e., those in the nominal churches.

Eat their defiled bread – As the saints are eating the symbolic shewbread (the Truth, the Bible) so those in the nominal churches are forced to eat the bread (teachings which are supposed to nourish them spiritually) that has been defiled (see Additional Comments vs. 12,) cooked using man's dung as it were.

Among the Gentiles – Among those of the world who are not believers, in the truth or the false teachings of Christendom.

Wither I drive them – Because the teachings are man-made and there are those who desire to eat that bread (supposedly spiritual teachings) rather than the true bread, the Lord drives these out to be among the Gentiles.

Remember that we are speaking of a period that begins with a bold strike for liberty and truth in the Reformation.
14 Then said I, Ah Lord Jehovah! behold, my soul hath not been polluted; for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn of beasts; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth. I – Ezekiel, picturing Pastor Russell and perhaps also the wheat class during the 390 years.

My soul hath not been polluted – Because I (wheat class) have not received my nourishment from bread (the Word of God) "cooked" by men. The saints have always tried to get to the pure word of Truth.

From my youth – From the beginning of the 390 days, circa 1528 A.D.

Up even till now – The time of our Lord's second advent.

Have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself.. torn in pieces.. – In other words, he has not eaten anything that was in violation of God's Law. This reaction is nearly identical to that of the Apostle Peter. Acts 10:9-16
15 Then he said unto me, See, I have given thee cow’s dung for mans dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread thereon. I – Jehovah God.

Cow's dung – Word here used for 'cow' is Strong's H1241 which is generally translated as "herd" or "oxen" but also is associated with "young" bullock.
H1241 בּקר
From H1239; a beeve or animal of the ox kind of either gender (as used for ploughing); collectively a herd: - beeve, bull (+ -ock), + calf, + cow, great [cattle], + heifer, herd, kine, ox.

It is also worth noting that the only animals that are spoken of in the Scriptures which have their dung burned outside the camp are the bullock for the sin-offering, the Lord's goat for the sin-offering and the Red Heifer – All of whom are animals which represent those of our race who achieve the highest degree of faithfulness to the Lord during their earthly course.
Bullock Christ
Lord's Goat Little Flock
Red Heifer Ancient Worthies

Man's dung – See additional comments for verse 12.

Thou shalt prepare thy bread – In other words, they were not to consume biblical teachings (bread) based upon men's ideas but instead were to take in biblical teachings based on the promised Spirit of God and lead by the promised teachers. John 14:16-17; Rev. 2:1,8,12,18; 3:1,7,14
16 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with fearfulness; and they shall drink water by measure, and in dismay: I will break the staff of bread – It is not our job to do this, it is the Lord's.

He promised Israel in Lev. 26 that, as long as they obeyed His laws, He would bless them greatly. But if they disobeyed Him they would have the reverse. And in Lev. 26:26 God promised "when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied."

In Jerusalem – In the nominal church systems.

They shall eat bread – Biblical teachings.

By weight – That is by small weight.

With care – Care is Strong's 1674 meaning with anxiety or fear.

And isn't that how those under Christendom's rule spent their lives?

Drink water – Spiritual refreshing from God's Word.

By measure – By small amount.

With astonishment – Strong's 8078, - "stupefaction," "the state of being stupefied." That is just what those who believed in the false "Kingdom of Christ" must have thought.
17 that they may want bread and water, and be dismayed one with another, and pine away in their iniquity. They may want bread and water – The word "want" as used here (and in other places) means "lack" or to "be in want" or to "be without." The thought is clear enough. They will be greatly lacking the real Biblical teachings (bread) and the refreshing (water) Truth of God's Word and Spirit.

This all sounds a lot like Amos 8:11,12.

Astonied – Various translations render this as: "amazed," "dismayed," "astonished," "shocked," "appalled," "stricken dumb," "panic-stricken."

Consume away for their iniquity – Because they obeyed not even the meager truth they did have.
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