Atlanta Bible Students

The Book of Ezekiel

Chapter 19
Go To Verse 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

[1] Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, [2] And say, What is thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions. [3] And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men. [4] The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt. [5] Now when she saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost, then she took another of her whelps, and made him a young lion. [6] And he went up and down among the lions, he became a young lion, and learned to catch the prey, and devoured men. [7] And he knew their desolate palaces, and he laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and the fulness thereof, by the noise of his roaring. [8] Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit. [9] And they put him in ward in chains, and brought him to the king of Babylon: they brought him into holds, that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel.

Preliminary assessment
Verses 1-9

Verse 1 Tells us what is to happen to the leaders of the Nominal Church, things which cause them to be in mourning.

Verses 2-4 describe the nominal church as a lioness who raises up one of her whelps to become a young lion which is strong and devours men. That lion is captured and brought to Egypt in chains.

Verses 5-7 describes the same lioness (nominal church) as raising up a second lion who also becomes strong and devours men. This one knew of their desolate places and wastes their cities.

Verses 8-9 describes the nations capturing this lion and bringing it in chains to Babylon "that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel."

Verse 1  Expanded Bible Comments

Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,
QuestionAnswer
Who is "thou?" This refers to the prophet Ezekiel directly giving this message from God to the nation of Israel. It also appears to picture the same thing at the end of the Gospel Age except that here the reference is to Pastor Russell delivering the message to nominal Spiritual Israel.
What is meant by "a lamentation?" To lament or mourn.
Who are "the princes of Israel?" The leaders of nominal Spiritual Israel, i.e., their priests, bishops, etc.

Verses 2-3  Expanded Bible Comments

And say, What is thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions. [3] And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men.
QuestionAnswer
What is OUR mother? "Jerusalem which is above.." R5246
If this is a lamentation upon the leaders of the nominal church, who would be "Thy mother?" They claimed to be the true church. However, instead of being the one true church, they became (eventually) "the mother of harlots.."
In this verse "thy mother," is described as being a lioness. Why? Because the real power here is Satan, the Devil. He is the one who is bringing up the false church (symbolically a woman, a female,) thus described as a lioness, i.e., a church with the characteristics of her true leader, the Devil – a lion. 1 Pet. 5:8
What is meant by "she lay down among lions?" Perhaps a reference to mating. The early false church did not have power. Eventually the church nominal united (married) the kings of the earth.
"She nourished her whelps among young lions." What does this mean? Her whelps are her children. The church developed her children under the Roman Empire. We remember that "A lion.. is strongest among beasts." Prov. 30:30
"One of her whelps.. became a young lion.. and it learned to catch the prey." What does this mean? One young lion developed and became strong and did indeed catch prey. "It devoured men." This one lion was the Papacy.

Verse 4  Expanded Bible Comments

The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt.
QuestionAnswer
Who were "the nations" that "heard of him?" The Gentile nations who eventually became the "ten toes" of the image in Daniel chapter 2. The "him" was the "young lion" who "learned to catch the prey" and "devour men."
"He was taken in their pit." What does this mean? To be taken in a pit generally indicates a trap. The Pope was caught in the "trap" of falling back on his usual method of claiming some false intervention by God on the Papacy's behalf. He tried this with Napoleon but Bonaparte "took immediate steps to bring 'His Holiness' to his senses." C41
"Brought him in chains" – What does this mean? Papacy (the young lion) was brought to the nation's pit, i.e., Napoleon took the Pope prisoner, 1798-99.
Where was he brought and what does that mean? "To the land of Egypt." – To the world, i.e., brought down from a high religious organization to the level of a worldly, man-made organization. This is the effect upon the world in general as they saw the Pope's proclamations against Napoleon failed. He was no longer feared as "a God on earth."

Verse 5  Expanded Bible Comments

Now when she saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost, then she took another of her whelps, and made him a young lion.
QuestionAnswer
Who is "she?" The lioness of verse 2.
What was "her hope [that] was lost?" The hope of ruling the world. The "lioness" (ecclesiastasism) had ruled the remains of the Roman Empire, claiming that Christ's Kingdom was set up and reigning. The hope was that this would continue. Napoleon took away that hope.
What did the lioness (ecclesiastasism) do? "She took another of her whelps, and made him a young lion." She made "an image of the beast," by organizing the Protestants and having them use the same evil tactics as the "mother church" in order to "devour men."

Verse 6  Expanded Bible Comments

And he went up and down among the lions, he became a young lion, and learned to catch the prey, and devoured men.
QuestionAnswer
Who is "he" in this verse? Organized Protestantism, the "image of the beast." Rev. 13:14-15
Who are "the lions?" Strong nations.
What is the difference between "learned to catch the prey" and "devoured men." The "prey" here would refer to mankind in general. "Devouring men" would seem to indicate turning those who are disposed to righteousness away from seeking the Truth by leading into the outward show of "good people" in the Protestant churches.
This was the popular evangelist well trained in catching men and shekels. FM454

Verse 7  Expanded Bible Comments

And he knew their desolate palaces, and he laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and the fulness thereof, by the noise of his roaring.
QuestionAnswer
Who is "he?" Organized Protestantism, "the image of the beast."
What are "their desolate places?" Desolate: "Barren or laid waste" – Dictionary.com. This would indicate places with little or no inhabitants.
How did he "lay waste their cities?" Cities are normally filled with people. So the question becomes "How did organized Protestantism lay waste the cities (religious governments) of the Papacy?"
"The land was desolate" – of what? When the cities no longer provide protection its inhabitants flee to the land outside the cities. This seems to say that those places are also to be without an inhabitant.
What is meant by "and the fulness thereof?" This seems to magnify the level of desolation.
What was "the noise of his roaring," and how did this cause the desolation of the land and/or "the fullness thereof?" Taking on the characteristic of their true leader, that of intimidation. 1 Pet. 5:8
The revivalists caught men by thousands, and "the fulness thereof," great contributions for a few weeks of noisy evangelism. FM454

Verse 8  Expanded Bible Comments

Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit.
QuestionAnswer
When (and how) did "the nations set against him on every side?" The Gentile nations, especially the ten kingdoms, were once again trying to exercise the higher position in this illicit church-state union.
In what manner did this come "from the provinces?" The "provinces" likely refers to those nations associated with Christendom but not technically part of the "ten toes."
How did the nations "spread their net over him?" First, to "spread their net over him" is how they would capture a wild animal such as a lion. This differs from placing the animal in a pit (which normally comes later.) This "net" would be worldly teachings and/or actions taken by the nations to keep the "image of the beast" (Protestantism) from gaining the upper hand in the church-state union.
What is meant by "he was taken in their pit?" Being put or trapped in a pit is a very common way of trapping an animal, in this case, the "young lion" of verse 6.
Then the "unconvertible" people, anarchists, Socialists, etc., spread the net of their teachings. The people, indignant at their sufferings from wars and high cost of living, declined further support. FM455

Verse 9  Expanded Bible Comments

And they put him in ward in chains, and brought him to the king of Babylon: they brought him into holds, that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel.
QuestionAnswer
"And they put him in ward.." Who is "they?" "The nations" from verse 8, i.e., the Gentile powers or nations of Christendom.
"And they put him in ward.." Who does "him" refer to? The second lion, "the image of the beast."
In what way did "they put him in ward in chains?" "In chains" sounds a lot like establishing the Truth a link at a time, "precept upon precept, line upon line." Isa. 28:13.
Who is "the king of Babylon?" The Adversary? The Pope? Our Lord having taken control after Gentile Times expired? Someone or something else?
What is meant by "they brought him into holds?" Into strongholds or place of protection or captivity.
Why was he "brought.. into holds?" To silence him: "that his voice should be no more heard?"
What is pictured by "the mountains of Israel?" The kingdoms of Christendom.
Revolution and anarchy will place a complete restraint upon the revivalists, and bring them to their end. FM455

[10] Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters. [11] And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches. [12] But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them. [13] And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground. [14] And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.

Preliminary assessment
Verses 10-14

These verses appear to describe the Religious element of Christendom and her fall.

Verse 10  Expanded Bible Comments

Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.
QuestionAnswer
Why "a vine?" Jesus said "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit" – John 15:5. The church must abide in Christ in order to bear spiritual fruitage. The church nominal did not abide in Christ but instead adopted man-made ideas and became corrupted in both doctrine and practice. All this under the influence of the Adversary. [Consider Ezek. 28:2,12. Verses 2-10 talk about the "Prince of Tyrus," the Pope, and verses 12-19 are about the "King of Tyrus," the Adversary. This shows the true arrangement of that evil system. People see the Pope (the prince) but the real control is from the Adversary (the King.)]
In this case the reference is to the false vine (the Devil,) and the false branches (churches.)
"In thy blood." What does that tell us? 1) This could this have reference to the "vine of the earth" being cast into the winepress and being trodden for 1600 furlongs." Blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles." Rev. 14:20
2) This could also have reference to the bloody past of the church nominal. Rev. 6:10; Rev. 18:24
What is pictured by "planted by the waters?" "Peoples, multitudes, nations, tongues"Rev. 17:15. The life blood of Babylon was the Euphrates river which ran through it.
What does it mean that "she was fruitful and full of branches?" She prospered in her worldly influence and eventually had many branches (churches, church-state unions.)

Verse 11  Expanded Bible Comments

And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches.
QuestionAnswer
Is this speaking (symbolically) of a man or of a woman, and what does that tell us? It is speaking of a woman. This tells us it is speaking of a church.
Who is "she?" The religious element of Christendom, the "miry clay" part of the Image's feet. Dan. 2:43.
What does a "sceptre" represent? The right to rule. B85; B86; Gen. 49:10
What is meant by "She had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule?" The word "rods" is Strong's H4294
Strong's H4294
מַטָּה מַטֶּה
maṭṭeh maṭṭâh
mat-teh', mat-taw'
From H5186; a branch (as extending); figuratively a tribe; also a rod, whether for chastising (figuratively correction), ruling (a sceptre), throwing (a lance), or walking (a staff; figuratively a support of life, for example bread): - rod, staff, tribe.
This is the same as used in Exo. 4:2 "And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod."
These rods were for scepters (right to rule,) note: not a scepter (singular,) but scepters (plural.) This was for the Ten Kings of Christendom.
What is meant by "her stature was exalted among the thick branches?" Her stature was indeed exalted among the Kings of Christendom, her "thick branches" to whom she gave the (illegitimate) scepters.
"She appeared in her height.." What does that mean? This would seem to be speaking of the time when the religious element of Christendom was at her zenith. Perhaps around 800 A.D. when the Pope crowned Charlemagne, which event began the so-called "Papal millennium."
Who were "the multitude of her branches? Among them were the "ten toes" of Christendom.

Verse 12  Expanded Bible Comments

But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.
QuestionAnswer
Who is "she?" The religious element of Christendom.
What is meant by "She was plucked up in fury?" "Plucked up" = removed from her position of power. "By fury." = The fury of God's wrath. Rev. 15:1
"She was cast down to the ground." What does that mean? Cast down (from her lofty, supposedly spiritual, place) to the ground, the earth. Indicating that people now knew that she was not what she claimed to be. She was not the church of God, but a man-made church.
What is indicated by "the east wind dried up her fruit." Her fruit was her large number of followers, those who actually believed her claims to be Christ's kingdom, ruling by Divine right. It was the loosing of the winds of war in 1914 which lead to the people no longer believing her false claims, thus her "fruit" was dried up.
"Her strong rods were broken and withered." What happened to cause this? The Gentile Times ended, at which time our Lord, the one "whose right it is," began to "break them with a rod of iron"Eze. 21:27; Psa. 2:8-9. Along with loosing of the Four Winds of heaven, the Lord combined this with the pouring out of the 7th plague; Armageddon. This combination resulted in her "strong rods," which had been "for the scepters of them that bare rule" (verse 11) were broken.
What is indicated by "the fire consumed them." The fire of anarchy, over time, completely destroys whatever was left of that false religious system.

Verse 13  Expanded Bible Comments

And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground.
QuestionAnswer
What is symbolized by "the wilderness?" A wilderness is a place of separateness from the world. Also a place with little or no water. D26:2
Why does it add "in a dry and thirsty ground?" Because our Lord rejected the nominal church and removed His spirit from her. The voice of the bridegroom and bride are gone from her.

Verse 14  Expanded Bible Comments

And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.
QuestionAnswer
What is symbolized by "fire?" Destruction, anarchy.
Begin Here November 5, 2019
This "fire is gone out of a rod of her branches." What does that mean? In verse 11 we were told that "she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule." She (religious element of Christendom) did not realize that the "scepter" belonged to our Lord only, and He was the one who had the right to rule. She thought that she had strong rods for septers, and that she gave them to the kings of Christendom (whose rulership was up in 1914 when the "Times of the Gentiles" expired.) Luke 21:24
What would constitute "her fruit?" Her fruitage would be her followers, devotees. Those who in Revelation are styled "them that dewll on the earth." See topical mini-study "earth dwellers."
Why does it say that this destructive "fire is gone out of a rod of her branches?" Her "branches" picture the various denominations of Christendom. This may have specific reference to the fifth plague where we have the description of them eating their own words. Rev. 16:10-11
What is meant by "so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule?" The result of the publication of "present truth" was to force the false religious systems to hold more strongly their ridiculous teachings. This created confusion (smoke) in her midst, especially now that there was an educated public. Their over-reaction to the Truth resulted in binding more tightly the denominational bundles while it released many of her former captives. There were none left who had any "authority" to speak for Christendom - none of them had a strong rod to rule.
Why does it say "This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation?" The time under consideration here appears to be in Pastor Russell's day. What has been described above was indeed a lamentation for the old order. That lamentation continues on the crumbled ruins of that church-state system to this day and will continue until the work of Armageddon is completely finished.