The Man Clothed in Linen - Ezek. 9 & 10
July 2019; Br. Rick Hill

In August 2018 we heard a dear brother gave a discourse on the Seven Last Plagues. He made a good observation about Ezekiel chapters 9 and 10. While this has been clear to us for over 40 years, it was nice to hear it coming from another.

The good observation is that, as Bible Students, we tend to put more stress upon "the writer's inkhorn" than we do on "The man clothed in linen." The fact that this man has "the writer's inkhorn" makes it much easier for the Lord's people to identify this individual as Pastor Russell. As a result we often hear the Brethren making reference to "The man with the writer's inkhorn."

The problem is that nowhere in the Bible can we find that phrase! It simply does NOT exist.

What we do find is: "The man clothed in linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side." (Eze. 9:3, 11)

Straining at a gnat?

Why draw attention to this seemingly small point? Is this "straining at a gnat?" We answer no, not at all. There is an important reason for following up on "The man clothed in linen." If we only keep focus on "the writer's inkhorn" it becomes extremely easy to miss the important work that "The man clothed in linen" does in chapter 10.

In chapter 10 we find the same individual, "the man clothed in linen," but there is no mention of "the writer's inkhorn." As we go through chapter 10 we see "the man clothed in linen" is given "coals of fire" which he scatters over the city (Jerusalem, picturing Christendom. Please read Ezekiel chapter 8 for verification that Jerusalem is Christendom.) These "coals of fire" represent the "seven last plagues."

As we continue in chapter 10 we discover that one of the four cherubim (picturing the 4 attributes of God) gives these coals of fire to "the man clothed in linen." This is exactly the same symbolic picture we find in Revelation chapter 15. There it is "one of the beasts" who gives the plagues to the 7 angels. Clearly the attribute that is active here is Justice.

A somewhat faulty assumption

The dear one who gave the discourse then proceeded to assume that the same vision continues chronologically from where chapter 9 leaves off. He then reasoned that since the "writer's inkhorn" was not mentioned in chapter 10, that indicates that "the man clothed in linen" no longer needed the inkhorn because he had now finished his earthly path and is now with the Lord "beyond the veil." So the pouring out of the plagues (coals of fire) takes place after Pastor Russell finished his earthly course.

At first glance this seems reasonable. However, when we look a little closer at these two chapters (and a little more) we shall see that instead of being chronologically sequential, these two chapters cover the same period of time and present two aspects of the work given to "the man clothed in linen."

The fact that "the writer's inkhorn" is not mentioned in chapter 10 does not mean that "the man clothed in linen" did not still have it. Remember, this chapter is simply showing another aspect of his work.

This is easily verified by comparing 9:3 with 10:4.

Eze. 9:3 – "And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house.."

Eze. 10:4 – "Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house.."

Even before we examine the meaning of these expressions it must be obvious that they are both describing the same thing. This is one of the reasons we believe chapters 9 and 10 are describing two aspects of the work of "the man clothed in linen." In chapter 9 he is setting a mark (or seal) in the foreheads (intellects) of the Lord's people in Christendom, while in chapter 10 he is pouring out the 7 last plagues upon Christendom. We should point out here that the viewpoints of Revelation and Ezekiel are different. In Ezekiel these works are attributed to "the man clothed in linen," whereas in Revelation they are attributed to the "seven angels."

Let us now examine the phrase used in 9:3 and 10:4. What does it mean?

First, for clarification, "the house" is the house of God, i.e., the temple.

"The Glory of the Lord" is the Truth, that which reveals His glory, His Character and Plan – Eze. 1:28. It is closely related to His Holy Spirit. The Truth is the Power of Sprit-Begettal – James 1:18.

"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."

To put this another way: The temple is the meeting place between God and man. The Lord has removed His Holy Spirit and Truth (the voice of the Bridegroom) out of the nominal temple and has placed it at the entrance to the temple. He has moved His Spirit and Truth to another place. He moved it to the seventh messenger. From this time foreward, the way to get to God is to obey the command to "come out of her my people."

One of the meanings of "Babylon" was "gateway to God." The entrance to the temple was on the east. This reminds us that God has done this before. Our first parents were driven out of paradise to the east of Eden where Churubims were placed to keep them from having access to the tree of life – Gen. 3:23-24. Prior to the removal of His Spirit, man could still have access to God by entering the temple (nominal church). Now that God has moved His glory (spirit and Truth) out of that system, the only way to God is to go where His Spirit and Truth have been placed, i.e., the channel of God's choosing, the seventh messenger.

To further show that "the man clothed in linen" explained important truths to the Lord's people while on this side the veil, even though the "writer's inkhorn" is not mentioned, all we need do is to turn to Daniel chapter 12. Here we have Daniel (picturing the Lord's people) being told about the running to and fro, the increase of knowledge and the time of trouble. When Daniel inquires about these things he receives a little more information. He is told about the 1260, 1290 and 1335 days. Clearly it was Pastor Russell, "the man clothed in linen" who told us about these things. – Still no "writer's inkhorn" in Daniel chapter 12.

When we look a little closer we discover that the one who explained to Daniel about the 1260, 1290 and 1335 days was "the man clothed in linen."

"And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? [7] And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished." Daniel 12:6-7