Ezekiel Chapter 40
VERSE 1 “In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was captured, on the very same day the hand of the Lord was upon me; and He took me there.”
“Ezekiel was taken captive when King Jehoiachin was taken by Nebuchadnezzar, about 617-618 B.C. – 25 years from that date would be 592 B.C. The city, Jerusalem was smitten in 606 B.C. + 14 years would again be about 592 B.C. the selfsame day— a very definite point in time. As to just when its parallel date occurs, (if there even is one), we have yet to learn.”
Although the Prophet here was speaking literally in regards to the “city”, i.e. Jerusalem, which was struck or smitten in 606 B.C., symbolically we believe he was referring to the “great city” Babylon the Great, Christendom, which is soon to be smitten, (Rev 14:20; 17:18). In the Scriptures a “city” can signify a religious government” (D25 par.2)
“He took me there”, Where? Where did the Lord take Ezekiel? Obviously from the very next verse we see it is “the land of Israel”, but we must refer back to Chapter 39 verses 25-29 to determine precisely when this is, that is when this vision is to take place.
Ezekiel was taken to a time not soon after the Battle of the Great Day of God Almighty, which witnessed the demise of Gog and all those allied with him, and a humbling of the world of mankind, a time after which God would bring back the captives of Jacob and show mercy upon the whole house of Israel.
VERSE 2 “In the visions of God He took me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain; on it toward the south was something like the structure of a city.”
In visions Ezekiel was taken by the hand of God (by the power of God’s spirit, the Holy Spirit) to the future and set upon a very high mountain (the autocratic, very high, kingdom, i.e. the spiritual phase of the kingdom) residing to the north and from which vantage point he could look south (or below) toward the land of Israel and note the condition of the world as it will be under the kingdom, there he saw what appeared to be a “city”, recalling that a “city” is often times representative of a religious government we deduce that what Ezekiel saw was the establishment of the earthly phase of the kingdom.
VERSE 3 “He took me there, and behold; there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of copper (Hebrew nechosheth, mistranslated as bronze or brass). He had a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand, and he stood in the gateway.”
“There was a man” This “man” we believe to be the very same man whom we saw in our study on “The Man with the Writers Inkhorn” (Ezekiel Chapter 9), the man “clothed in lien having a writers inkhorn at his side,” none other than the Harvest Messenger, Pastor Russell. In this particular picture it is stated that his appearance was like the appearance of copper, that is his body or flesh appeared to Ezekiel’s eyes to resemble that of polished copper. Copper as you recall is a symbol of humanity, of justification whether reckoned or actual.
But still the question lingers how can we know for sure that this was a man and not an angel? There are in fact references to spirit beings whose bodies had this very same appearance of brass or copper as you say including the Lord himself, (See Rev 1:13-15 describing the appearance of our Lord; See Dan 10:5, 6 which describes the appearance of the angel Gabriel), this is very much true, however in this instance we believe his appearance being found like that of copper is meant to convey the thought of one who is justified in the sight of the Lord and is thus qualified to speak for him.
Keep in mind that this was simply a vision, not a reality, a picture, an illustration if you will, meant to help Ezekiel to comprehend to a certain extent the things shown. The true intent of this vision however, its symbolic significance was not for Ezekiel to understand, but for us. Many of the things which the prophets uttered were not for themselves but for us upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Cor. 10:11) R3650:5, 5055:4, 2820:2 “Not unto themselves but unto us did they minister.” (1 Pet 1:12) B23
Our best evidence in that this was a man and not an angel comes through a comparisons of the two apocalyptical books of the Holy Scriptures (Ezekiel and Revelation), and in their similarities. In both books an individual is found speaking first to Ezekiel and then to the Apostle John, both of whom represent the true church in the flesh, particularly the feet members here at the end of the age, and in both instances the individual is seen applying a measuring device or devices to measure the city (Compare Ezek 40:3,5; Rev 21: 15-17) in Ezekiel’s case he uses both a measuring rod and a line of flax to measure the earthly phase of the kingdom, in Revelation he uses a “gold reed” to measure the city, in this case the spiritual phase of the kingdom. That this was a man and not an angel in the Revelation account is attested to by his having been one of the seven angels *(messengers) to the seven stages of the church throughout its earthly history. (Compare Rev 21:9 with Rev 1:20). Furthermore after having shown John the New Jerusalem or spiritual phase of the kingdom, John fell at his feet to worship him, and was rebuked by this individual saying, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book, Worship God.” Rev 22:9
* The word angel is the translation of words meaning, “Messenger” or “agent” (Young’s); “messenger” (Strong’s). These may be spirit or human creatures or any inanimate object or thing used of the Lord to convey a message. In this case the angle or messenger was the Messenger to the Seventh Stage of the Church, the Laodicean messenger, Pastor Russell.
“He had a line of flax (linen), and a measuring rod in his hand…”
The “line of flax”, represents the standard or measure of divine righteousness which all must eventually obtain, perfection, “…You shall be perfect (complete) even as your Father in heaven is perfect,” (Matt 5:48) perfect in love, the fulfillment of the law. (Rom 13:10) This particular measuring device was used only in measuring the River of Life as we will see in Chapter 47 of Ezekiel.
The “measuring rod” (or reed) “represents the full measure of the Word of God. Brother Russell not only cited scripture for every truth he taught, but in his writings considered and harmonized every scripture pertaining to a truth before he proclaimed it as such, thus not simply using a measure of the Word of God (i.e. not establishing a doctrine base solely upon any one particular text concerning a matter), but rather considering the full measure of the Word of God (consulting the whole of the divine word, considering first every texts bearing upon a matter, comparing scripture with scripture before putting it forth as doctrine, recalling that, “the Lord is his own interpreter and he will make it plain”).”
“Thou hast put a new song into my mouth, even the loving kindness of our God.” The truth, the true Gospel, the plan of God is figuratively is called a “song“, the Pastor was one of the few who could accurately sing this song, the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb. (Rev 15:3) To be able to sing both of these songs is to be able harmoniously to declare the glad tidings of life and restitution to all mankind, taught by Moses in the Law, which was a shadow of good things to come, with that of the Gospel message, taught by our Lord and the Apostles, the good tidings of great joy which shall be for ALL the people. How few there are who can honestly sing these songs and fewer still who can harmonize them.
“The reed was used to measure the Altar, the Temple, the wall and the worshipers; that is, show the conditions which the Word of God as expressed in the New Covenant requires for those who would be admitted into the privilege of Restitution.”
Here we inject an IMPORTANT THOUGHT which is generally overlooked:
“It is worth noting here that no one else held the measuring reed also that when “the man” went inward into the most holy, passed beyond the second vail, (Oct. 31st, 1916 Ezek 41:3; 9:11), the measuring reed was NOT handed over to another. All necessary truth has been unfolded through Brother Russell who had charge of all the Heavenly Father’s goods (Luke 12:44), anyone else therefore who might endeavor to do any measuring (i.e. attempt to change the “times and the seasons”, that is to adjust or amend the true bible chronology, or to attempt to close the door before it’s time), who might try to publish new thoughts or thoughts contrary to that which we have learned, and proven for ourselves to be true (i.e. attempt to limit the efficiency of the ransom sacrifice or to change the necessary requirements to making ones calling and election sure), should be carefully avoided and recognized as workers of iniquity.” (Luke 13:27)
“He stood in the gate”
“Christ is the gate, the door and the way. (John 10:7; 14:6) T18. “Copper in scripture represents a justified human being, one who would have a standing in Christ. The gate represents Christ. So in symbolic language, it means a man that is justified, who would have a standing in Christ.” This man, Pastor Russell continually emphasized the importance of the “Ransom Sacrifice”, as the only way whereby any may enter into life.” (Acts 4:12; E472 par. 2)
Continued with next post.