Ezekiel Chapter 3 [KJVwc]

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1 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that which thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. He – Jesus. - Note* - While this seems to be our returned Lord Jesus, a case can easily be made that this is the Father Himself. We do well not to be too insistent here remembering the Divine arrangement that all things are of the Father and by the son. 1 Cor. 8:6

Unto me – Unto the 7th messenger.

Son of man – The title used throughout this book of Ezekiel that identifies him as being the representative of our Returned Lord Jesus (the true "Son of Man" as he many times stated of Himself.) - see mini-study topic "Son of Man."

Eat – Nourish your new creature. (see "The Shewbread" in Bible Topic: "Eat in the Holy Place".)

That which thou findest – This indicates that the 7th Messenger was indeed searching, else how could he have found anything?

Eat this roll – Do not swallow just any old teaching but eat this roll, the roll of the book that was just spread before him (Eze. 2:9).

Go speak unto the house of Israel – Now that you have digested the true Plan of God, you must tell it to the house of Nominal Spiritual Israel. It is time for the Harvest of that system to begin.
2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. I – Pastor Russell.

Opened my mouth – He was ready to receive the spiritual food for which he had been seeking.
"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11

He caused me to eat that roll – Our returned Lord made sure that the 7th Messenger, not only was fed, but that he was fed with the proper food. He made sure he ate, not just any design, but "that roll," the correct understanding of the Divine Plan of the Ages.
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. He – Jesus at His second advent.

Son of man – Earthly representative of our Returned Lord to carry the message of Present Truth.

Cause thy belly to eat – Not only cause thy mouth to taste the Truth, but cause thy belly to eat. This indicates that learning the real Truth of God's plan will not be one of taste alone, but it will also be one of nourishment. – See Additional comment under "eat" from verse 1.

Fill thy bowels – Not only is the New creature nourished by the Truth, its service becomes the motivating factor of his life thereafter. When thus "ingested" this indwelling of the Holy Spirit of Truth causes its possessor to himself become a (spiritual) life-giver and life-nurturer. - The word for bowels (Strong's 4578) is described below.
From an unused root probably meaning to be soft; used only in plural the intestines, or (collectively) the abdomen, figuratively sympathy; by implication a vest; by extension the stomach, the uterus (or of men, the seat of generation), the heart (figuratively): - belly, bowels, X heart, womb.
For examples of this usage please see: Gen. 15:4; Gen. 25:23; Ruth 1:11; 2Sa. 7:12; 2Sa. 16:11; 2Ch. 32:21; Psa. 40:8; Psa. 71:6; Isa. 48:19; Isa. 49:1

With this roll – With this Truth, this understanding of the Divine Plan.

That I give thee – Our Lord Jesus is the one who, at His first advent, earned the right to open the sealed book (Rev. 5:1,5-7) and He now (at His second advent) gives the now open book (revealed plan of God) to the 7th Messenger.

I did eat it – This reminds us of chapter 9 vs 11.

In my mouth as honey – Compare Rev. 10:8-10.

No mere casual scanning of Present Truth would suffice. The man of God was to be filled with the great Message. (Rev. 10:9, 10.) "The sweetest story ever told" (Psa. 19:10; 119:103) brought inexpressible peace. It sweetened the experiences of a life of sacrifice. Whoever eats, assimilates Present Truth, finds every heart question answered, every doubt silenced. He learns "the peace of God that passeth understanding" (Phil. 4:7), and a sweetness as of honey in the promises, plans, and purposes of the Father of Love. FM381

4 And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. He – Jesus at His second advent.

Son of man – Earthly representative of our Returned Lord to carry the message of Present Truth.

Get thee unto the house of Israel – Go to the leaders of the Nominal Church.

Speak with my words unto them – Thus Pastor Russell did not present something of his own invention to the religious leaders of his day. Instead he always presented the Truth from God's own Holy Word, the Bible.

It would seem this began to be directly fulfilled in 1878 when he called together the ministers of Pittsburgh and Allegheny, showed them the message of Present Truth and pledged his fortune to back them if they would take up and present this message to their congregations. When they turned him down they not only lost a great opportunity but helped to fulfill Rev. 18:2.
5 For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel; Thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language – These people did not need to first become familiar with the Bible and then try to hear the message of Present Truth. No. They knew their Bible and claimed to know what it taught. - Remember, this time period is less than forty years after the first stirring amongst the virgins (the "Miller Movement.")

To the house of Israel – Nominal Spiritual Israel. Remember that the literal house of Israel had their law read to them on a regular basis. So too with nominal Spiritual Israel. They heard the word of God quoted often each Sunday at their church services, even though it was mixed with human philosophy.

This parallels the situation in the harvest of the Jewish Age for our Lord was indeed a stone of stumbling to both the houses of Israel (both nominal fleshly and nominal spiritual) - Isa. 8:14.
6 Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. Not to many people – Not to the world of mankind in general. Pastor Russell's mission was not to convert the world.

Of a strange speech and an hard language – He was not sent to argue with this world's philosophers and mystics, nor to dispute with "science falsely so called" 1 Tim. 6:20

True, he did present the Truth in opposition to some of these, but he did not dwell on these. Instead he put his energy into the presentation of the Gospel of Christ.

Whose words thou canst not understand – Nor was he sent to the heathen. The people Pastor Russell was sent to were familiar with their bibles, and in that sense they "spoke the same language."

Had I sent thee to them – Unto the world of mankind.

They would have hearkened unto thee – Matt. 11:21,23

In other words, if God had sent Pastor Russell to convert the world of mankind, they would have listened to him instead of rejecting and persecuting him.
7 But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted. House of Israel – Nominal spiritual Israel.

Will not hearken – They have not a hearing ear for present truth.

Unto thee – The 7th messenger, Pastor Russell.

For – Because.

They will not hearken unto me – They are not receptive to the Word of God. Since the 7th messenger is presenting the Word of God to them and they have not previously hearkened unto God's word, why would they do so now that God has sent it to them by the hand of His special messenger?

All the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted – This is exactly like their counter-parts at the end of the Jewish Age. They are stubborn and like things as they are. They do not want to be told they are wrong. They think they have a one-way ticket to heaven and a fire insurance policy and do not want to be told differently.
8 Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. I have made thy face strong against their faces – While the nominal church leaders had determination, Pastor Russell's determination to do the Lord's will and present His Truth was greater than theirs.

Thy forehead strong against their foreheads – The forehead pictures the intellect. This is the Lord giving Brother Russell the intellectual understanding needed to stand against those who had the mark of the beast in their forehead. Many times they challenged his understanding but the Truth of God's Word always held sway. Consider the Russell-Eaton and Russell-White debates. All unbiased reports made it clear that Pastor Russell's presentations of the Truth carried the day.
9 As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. As an adamant harder than flint – Adamant (corundum) is a 9 on the Moh's hardness scale while flint is a 7. Adamant is 4 times harder than flint.

Examples of Flint

Examples of Adamant (corundum)

Have I made thy forehead – Since we commonly associate the number 4 with the attributes of God it seems appropriate that the seventh messenger would be described as having his forehead (intellect) 4 times as hard as those who opposed him.

Fear them not – For I the LORD God am thy protector. You are on a mission from Me to proclaim My Word. Keep in mind that "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." Isa. 55:11

Neither be dismayed at their looks – To dismay means "to break down the courage of completely, as by sudden danger or trouble." The Lord is here telling Pastor Russell not only not to fear, but also to expect sudden attacks from the enemies of the Truth. What was his reaction when such sudden attacks on his character came? Consider the following quote attributed to Pastor Russell. – "If you stop to kick at every dog that barks at you, you'll never get very far." This quote may be found in the book "Where Else but Pittsburgh!" by George Swetnam.

They be a rebellious house – See Additional Comments Chapter 2 vs 6.
10 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. Son of man – See Additional Comments Eze. 2:1.

All my words that I shall speak unto thee – Acts 20:27.

Receive in thine heart – "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63

Hear with thine ears – While we all are to have "hearing ears" (consider the messages to the churches - "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Rev. 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22) it was especially so with the one who was to give to the Laodicean church the message of Present Truth.

This is in direct contrast with that "rebellious house" which refused to hear the message of Divine Truth. Eze. 12:2.
11 And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. To them of the captivity – The Lord's people held captive in Mystic Babylon, Christendom.

Unto the children of thy people – As in contrast with Babylon's children. Thus the main thrust of Pastor Russell's message throughout his ministry was to those of the Lord's people who, at that time, may still be in Babylon.

Speak unto them – Not to the Tare class of Babylon, but to the Lord's people who were still among them. Please see the Pastor's comment supportive of this from September 15, 1911.
  See also Saints in Babylon

And tell them – Give this message to them. Compare this with Eze. 9:4.

Thus saith the Lord God – Tell my people that this message is from ME! "Make it plain upon tables.." Hab. 2:2.

Whether they will hear – And in hearing will obey the command to "Come out of her my people." Rev. 18:4; Isa. 52:11.

Or whether they will forbear – Or whether they will ignore the call to come out.

12 Then the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of the LORD from his place. The spirit took me up – Everything about this verse is about the Holy Spirit. Here the spirit lifts up Pastor Russell so that he has a higher view of God and His plan than any other.

I heard behind me a voice – Compare Rev. 1:10.

Of a great rushing – This is the voice of Present Truth, filled with the Holy Spirit (the power of spirit-begettal). The great rushing is exactly what is described on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:1, 2

The Glory of the LORD – The Truth and its Spirit. See Additional Comments 1:28

From his place – From his place in time, i.e., from the time of our Lord's Second Presence in 1874 and (as we are about to see) especially from 1881 (as we shall see in just a few verses.)
13 I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing. The noise of the wings – The sound of the Old and New Testaments along with the Letter and Spirit of the Truth.

Of the living creatures – The four attributes of God: Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power.

That touched one another – As in chapter one where we see that God's attributes always work in harmony one with another.

The noise of the wheels – The sound or message of the various Ages of God's Plan (as seen on the Chart of the Ages.)

Over against them – Against, i.e., touching the wings of the living creatures. This is another way of describing the harmony of the Divine Plan both in word and in spirit.

And a noise of a great rushing – Just as it was on the day of Pentecost when the saints received the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:2.
14 So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me. The spirit lifted me up – The Holy Spirit lifted up the 7th Messenger to see the situation from a higher standpoint, that of the outworking of the Divine Plan. This seems somewhat like the experience described by Paul in 2 Cor. 12:2 when he "knew a man in Christ .. caught up to the third heaven."

Took me away –
The Spirit took Pastor Russell away from earthly aims and raised him up to the plane of sacrificing priesthood. He turned from commercial pursuits to devote his life to the Heavenly Message. FM385

I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit – Seeing the false teachings of Christendom and their rejection of the Truth then being revealed it caused both bitterness of experience and a righteous indignation to come over him. Consider the March 14 Manna:
"WHILE anger, in the nature of hatred, malice, strife, envy, should be put away by all who are seeking to be copies of God's dear Son, anger in the sense of righteous indignation against wrongdoing, sin in its various forms, is proper; and although it should be used with great moderation, backed by love, there are circumstances in which it would be wrong not to have righteous anger and use it." R2068

The hand of the LORD was strong upon me – The laying on of hands is used for healing (Mark 5:23; Luke 4:40; 13:13; Acts 28:8) or to signify approval (F285:1.) This was also how the Holy Spirit was given, i.e., by the laying on of the hands of the Apostles. Acts 8:14-24.

Pastor Russell was both healed from the false teachings and had the approval of God.

The hand also indicates strength, power. Here we are told that he had this power of God "strong upon him." This strength was needed for the accomplishment of all the LORD had in store for him to do.

We also remember that Pastor Russell was one of the seven stars of Revelation. Jesus said He held the seven stars in His right hand, i.e., He kept and guided them by His Divine Power. Rev. 1:16, 20

In Lev. 8:14 Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bullock, indicating that from that point onward that bullock represented the flesh of the new creation. So too here the precious thought is that Pastor Russell represented the Lord (the one laying His hand upon him.) T41:3.
15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. Then I – Ezekiel, Son of man, Pastor Russell. Please see Son of Man

Came to them of the captivity – To those who were still, to some degree, held captive by the false teachings of mystic Babylon, handed down from the dark ages.

Tel-abib – Literally, "a mound of green growth." This is another way of indicating the year 1874 as being the beginning of the Times of Restitution. Earthly restitution is pictured by the color green (symbolic of the green plants of the earth yielding its increase.) It does not mean "a Mountain of green growth" because it is not the earthly phase of the Kingdom in its fullness but only the beginning of restitution times, thus "a mound of green growth." - This tends to support the thought that the book of Ezekiel is taken from the standpoint of man watching the events of the Day of the Lord unfold, rather than from the divine standpoint (which standpoint is more the one found in the book of Revelation.)

In connection with the above it is interesting to note that Pastor Russell symbolized his consecration to the Lord in the year 1874.

That dwell by the river of Chebar – This is where he was when he received the vision in chapter 1. - Please see Additional Comments for Eze. 1:3.


As can be seen from the above map the river Chebar is a tributary to the Euphrates River.

I sat where they sat – I (Pastor Russell) was in the same condition that they were in, i.e., I was still, in a measure, unclear about the teachings in God's Holy Word.

Remained there astonished among them – Likely his astonishment, amazement was two-fold.
  1. He was amazed at the magnificence of the Truth being opened up before him.
  2. He was astonished that this clear revealment of God's character and plan was not being accepted by those who claimed to be Christian.
Future historians will record, as most remarkable, the mental, moral and spiritual bondage in which professing Christians were held during the Gospel Age, through the machinations of priest-craft, under the king of the age, Satan himself. Pastor Russell came with his message, in a day of supposed enlightenment, to a people FM386 bound hand and foot. Tel-abib in Hebrew is "Hill of Grass" (from "Tel," hill, and " Abib," sprouting, budding). Abib was another name for Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew sacred year, corresponding to April. In type or symbol a place represents a condition, or a stage in historic development. The "hill of budding," the beginning of the sacred year, symbolizes the dawn of the Times of Restitution, the "Millennial Dawn." The Millennium (Rev. 20:8, 4, 7) began in 1874, with the Return of Christ. It was at about that time that Pastor Russell came to his fellow-Christians with the beginning of a better understanding of the Bible, "the vision of God." It was, as it were, the budding-time of the good promises of God for the blessing of all peoples. The Christian people lived on and by the stream of commercial, social and economic intercourse that feeds and supports Christendom, Babylon.

Seven days – Seven years from 1874 to 1881.

16 And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, It came to pass – This phrase always indicates the passage of time.

At the end of seven days – The 7 days (years) were from 1874 to 1881. It was in 1881 that ...

The word of the LORD – The word of Jehovah God, which word He gave to His Son. Rev. 1:1

Came unto me – Came to Pastor Russell.
17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
We note that while the principle of being a "watchman" applies to all of spiritual Israel, these verses (17-21) have specific application to Pastor Russell. The encouragement and the warning given in these verses are of a similar nature to those found in Matt. 24:45-51.
Son of man – Jesus working through Pastor Russell. Please see Son of Man.

I have made thee – Pastor Russell.

A watchman – "I will stand upon the tower and will watch.." Hab. 2:2. This appeared on all of Zion's Watch Tower magazines and is clearly identified with its editor Pastor Russell.

It is interesting to note that it is after seven days, i.e., when 1881 is reached that he is made a watchman. This is when both Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices and the precursor to the first volume, Food for Thinking Christians were published.

Please see Pastor Russell's account of how the Lord opened the eyes of his understanding on the subject of the Tabernacle. R5909

Unto the house of Israel – To the nominal spiritual house of Israel, i.e., Christendom and its supporters.

Hear – Understand.

The word at my mouth – These thoughts are not those of Pastor Russell. They are the thoughts of the Almighty, it is His plan.

Give them warning from me – The warning likely the same as given by the Apostle Paul in 2 Tim. 4:3-4: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Verses 18-21 Tell us the responsibility of the Watchman. He delivers the Lord's message to those in the (nominal) spiritual house of Israel. Those individuals who were to receive the message are held accountable for their actions. However, the Watchman will also be held accountable for their sinful actions unless he gives them God's warning. If he faithfully gives them the warning from God, the Watchman is not held responsible for their sins. This applies to both the wicked and the righteous in (nominal) spiritual Israel.

Who are "the wicked?"
Our study left with a discussion (which is to be continued) about just who constitute the "wicked" described in this verse. This part of God's message is to them and they are the ones in danger of death. They are told "Thou shalt surely die," exactly the warning God gave to our first parents (Gen. 2:17.)

Does this mean the death that overtakes all men? If so, what is the point of giving such a warning?

Is this the death of the New Creature? If that is the case how is it that these spirit-begotten ones can be considered "the wicked" who need to be warned?

Remembering that the message being delivered is by the one who was just "made a watchman to the house of Israel," we know then that whoever "the wicked" are they are connected with the the house of nominal spiritual Israel?

Looking at the Chart of the Ages we remember the 4 classes in the church nominal, i.e.,
n little flock
m great company
p tentatively justified
q wolves in sheep's clothing.
To which of these classes does this classification of the "wicked" apply?

I – Jehovah (see vs. 16).

Say unto the wicked – Those who have taken His Word and defiled it by twisted human reasonings of their own. Consider Dan. 12:10

Thou shalt surely die – God says men shall die. Satan says "thou shalt not surely die." Who do we believe? Our friends in the nominal churches believe Satan as indicated by their doctrine of man having an immortal soul. We believe God. Gen. 2:17. - In the Hebrew, this is the exact phrase used in Gen. 2:17.

Thou givest him not warning – The responsibility of the watchman is to sound the warning.

Nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way – Not only did Pastor Russell give warning and point to the Truth but he also cautioned that the time had come for the Lord's people to "come out of her my people" Rev. 18:4 because it was time for the plagues to come upon that system.

To save his life – By coming out of Babylon. Those who stayed too long would be placing their spiritual lives in danger. Consider Rev. 16:15. This warning was given at the end of plague #6, or just before the last plague. In Egypt the last plague was the death of the firstborn. This would suggest that the firstborn, the new creation, were the ones who were in particular danger if they did not heed the call to "come out."

This may seem harsh but we believe this is speaking of those who had been spirit-begotten many years earlier (by the Truth - James 1:18) and therefore had plenty of time to prove their loyalty to the Lord by leaving that condemned system. The Lord would not place this test on any unless they had plenty of evidence upon which to base their faith as well as the time to act upon that faith.

The same wicked man shall die in his iniquity – That wicked man (who had been of the called company but proved himself unworthy -wicked- by ignoring the clear message to come out) shall die (the second death) in his iniquity.

His blood will I require at thy hand – Thus Pastor Russell took his role in the Divine Plan very seriously and did indeed give warning. The whole of the "Christian World" knew of his warnings concerning their condition and their destruction due in 1914.
19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. If thou warn the wicked – Explain the truth to those who should have known better because of their familiarity with the Word of God and their claim to be followers of the Lamb.

He turn not from his wickedness – Does not recover and purify his heart.

Nor from his wicked way – This phrase was likely added to suggest that those who were spirit begotten but were following the path of error were not only denying the Truth in their heart but also that this error was magnified by allowing the false doctrines to influence their way of life. These would be practicing error.

He shall die in his iniquity – This would seem to indicate the second death.

But thou hast delivered thy soul – The watchman, because he had faithfully sounded the alarm, had done all he could and was not responsible for the actions of those who did not heed his warning.

We have a similar responsibility. We are responsible for the spread of the Word of the Lord ("Woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel" - 1 Cor. 9:16.) We, however, are not responsible for the outcome. 1 Cor. 3:6-7
20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. A righteousness man – This seems to indicate one who is in a justified condition, one who has gone beyond tentative justification (the court condition) but one who has gone on to the spirit begotten condition (to the Holy.)

Doth turn from his righteousness – Much like the man who was found to have taken off his wedding garment. Matt. 22:11-13.

Commit iniquity – Sin.

I lay a stumblingblock before him – God places a stumbling block before His people to give them the opportunity to re-examine their course and either divert from a wrong path or use the stumbling block as a stepping stone and climb up to get back on the right path. He does this to prove them. Deut. 8:2

He shall die – The Lord does not forgive every sin. Sin against the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven. Matt. 12:31.

Because thou has not given him warning – This is here stated as though the watchman over nominal Spiritual Israel did not give them warning in order to show what would have been the result. The fact is clear that the watchman did give them warning and in the end was able to declare "I have done as thou hast commanded me." Eze. 9:11.

He shall die in his sin – Because in taking off the wedding garment, the robe of Christ's righteousness, he has no protection and his sin is not covered. The wages of sin is death. Rom. 6:23.

His righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered – Yet another reminder that ours is a race which must be run to the finish. Rev. 2:10; Phil. 3:13; Heb. 10:26

Compare this verse to Isa. 6:9-10.

His blood will I require at thine hand – This sounds very much like the warning given to "That servant" in Matt. 24:48-51.
21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul. If thou warn the righteous – Then, as the faithful watchman, you have done your job.

That the righteous sin not – So that those who are wearing the robe of Christ's righteousness become armed with the Truth and are able to see clearly enough to obey the command to "come out of her my people" - Rev. 18:4.

And he doth not sin – But instead obeys the command and comes out of Babylon.

He shall surely live – A reminder that this is not a request to come out but a command.

Because he is warned – Clearly indicating the importance of recognizing the change in Dispensation.

Thou hast delivered thy soul – By being a faithful watchman.

22 And the hand of the LORD was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee. The hand of the Lord – Hand = power, strength.

Was there upon me – When the hand is laid upon someone it signifies approval (Lay hands suddenly on no man..) The Holy Spirit was conferred by the laying on of the hands of the Apostles. Acts 8:18. Consider 1 Tim. 5:22 Expanded Bible Comments.

Arise go forth – This language is similar to both the parable of the wise and foolish virgins who all rose up to meet the bridegroom and the language used in the Lord's instruction to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:7-8.

Into the plain – Not in the mountain, hill or other high place but into the plain (valley.) – 1 Cor. 1:26-29 "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: [27] But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; [28] And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: [29] That no flesh should glory in his presence." This is the attitude Br. Russell needed to be in. While he was already well advanced in this area of humility, nevertheless it would seem that for the special position of being "the Watchman" to Zion he needed to demonstrate to the Lord fully that this was his attitude.

This was an important point. The scripture does not say "no wise men.. no mighty.. no noble are called." Certainly Charles Taze Russell was among the wise and noble of the world. Therefore it was important that he learn most fully not to rely on his own wisdom and understanding but on the Lord. This is the attitude he displays in R5909.

The Lord's people, the Hebrews, mingled with the Chaldeans, living in the plain – literally "vale" or "valley." Pastor Russell turned from ordinary avocations to all the people dwelling in the Valley of the Shadow of Death (Psa. 23:4); and in that condition God communed with His true Watchman. – FM389

I will there talk with thee – This is what the Lord does in several other places. If you want the Lord's blessing you need to go to the place where HE CHOOSES, not where you want to get it. Please see The Lord thy God Shall Choose.
23 Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face. I arose and went forth into the plain – In other words, he did as he was instructed to do in verse 22. He changed his location. As we remember from our Tabernacle study, place or location in symbol means condition. This implies that something about Pastor Russell's situation with the Lord changed in 1881. Again please refer to R5909.

The glory of the LORD – The Truth, that which reveals God's glory.

Stood there – In the place where the Lord had instructed him to go. There stood God's glory.

As the glory which I saw by the river Chebar – While this is the same general plan which the 7th messenger viewed (in chapter 1) yet there seems to be a difference here. It does not say "It was the glory which I saw .." but "As the glory .." Again referring the the article mentioned above (R5909 - Harvest Gatherings and Siftings") we can see that in 1881 the Lord tested Br. Russell and found his concern for the care of the Lord's flock to be completely genuine, even to the setting aside of all other things (a rather remarkable thing for a powerful business man.) As we read the Pastor's account of what took place we can see how it was indeed the same vision that he had earlier but now it was both clarified and made stronger.

I fell on my face – This was also his reaction in Eze. 1:28. It is showing great reverence before God. For similar reactions please see Gen. 17:3; Lev. 9:24; Dan. 8:17; Acts 9:4; Rev. 1:17
24 Then the spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thine house. Then – After he obeyed the Lord and moved to the plain (valley - symbolic of this proper attitude of humility before the Lord.)

The spirit entered into me – This is not referring to spirit-begettal. The context is suggesting this takes place in 1881 (after 7 days.) This therefore must be referring to something else.

Note that Pastor Russell, in obeying the Lord and moving from the place (condition) he knew to a new place (condition,) was acting the same as the Father of the Faithful (Abraham) had done. In Abraham's case, he received the Promise (Gen. 12:3.) In the Pastor's case he received the special understanding which opened up more fully present Truth and enabled him to write Tabernacle Shadows and Food for Thinking Christians.

Set me upon my feet – Allowed me to have the strength to stand before this wonderful vision of God's Plan of the Ages and to view it face to face. (Remember, according to the previous verse, the Glory of the Lord is also "stood there.") - Note the similarity with this account and that of Dan. 8:17-18.

Spake unto me – And this is how the Lord speaks to all of us, i.e., through the understanding of His Divine Plan of the Ages, the Glory of God.

Go – Get away from Babylon and the influence of her false teachings. "My people, go ye out of the midst of her.." Jer. 51:45

Shut thyself within thine house – Do not look to the nominal church systems for help but stay within your own study group, your own house. - The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was founded in 1881.
25 But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them: Son of man – Pastor Russell. Please see Son of Man.

They shall put bands upon thee – Bands = restraints. The Lord is telling Pastor Russell that "they" (the nominal Christian house) are attempting to place restraints on Pastor Russell.

And shall bind thee with them – .. And they succeed in their goal of "binding" him, at least from their standpoint. We see the evidence of this in Aiii:2-3.

Thou shalt not go out among them – This is exactly the picture found in Lev. 8:33, the consecration of the priesthood.

See also 2 Cor. 6:17
26 And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house. I will – Jehovah God will do this.

Make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth – How did God make Pastor Russell's tongue cleave to the roof of his mouth? We suggest He did so by showing Him a better way than to deal with his opponents than that of the world under the influence of Satan. When he might have attacked with bitter words, he held his tongue.

Thou shalt be dumb – He was dumb (mute) in the sense of attacking the character of those who opposed him doctrinally. The following is from an article entitled: "WHERE ELSE BUT PITTSBURGH!" by the historian George Swetnam:
"For years Pastor Russell traveled constantly.. 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.'"

Shalt not be to them a reprover – This is the attitude that Pastor Russell seems to have taken. He could have been a constant reprover of nominal churches. Remember that this was, to some extent, his original approach. But he changed to that of simply pointing out the scriptural teachings, showing the strength of the Truth. Ai:3

They are a rebellious house – See Additional Comments Chapter 2 vs 6.

Br. Fisher had a different understanding of this verse:
It is impossible to witness spiritual things to the carnally-minded (1 Cor. 3:1; John 16:12). But Pastor Russell never refrained from speaking or publishing the Word of God. The Bible teaches that the service of God must be of a willing heart. It is a privilege which may be accepted or rejected, as the hearer desires. Yet to the worldly, Pastor Russell was as "dumb", for they would not hear. - FM390
27 But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house. I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth – Yet another reminder that the message given did not originate with Pastor Russell but with the Lord.

Thou shalt say unto them – Br. Russell gives to the nominal church systems the message he received from the Lord. Not that he received special "revelations, dreams, etc.," but that he received the understanding via the Holy Spirit in accordance with our Lord's promise. John 14:16-17

Thus saith the Lord GOD – The message delivered was NOT of any human imagination. It was from God.

He that heareth, let him hear – Rev. 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22

He that forbeareth, let him forbear – God is not going to forcibly change anyone's mind. If they are of an obstinate attitude then He will leave them to it.

They are a rebellious house – See Additional Comments Chapter 2 vs 6.
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