24:3. And utter a parable unto the rebellious house, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God: Set on a pot, set it on, and also pour water into it. — Jerusalem is likened to a boiling caldron from which meat is taken; then it is set empty on the fire and the rust burned out. Ezekiel's wife dies; but he suppresses his feelings, and, after the ordinance for a priest, makes no mourning for the dead — a picture of the dumb sorrow of the Hebrews on the destruction of Jerusalem. The prophecy of this chapter was uttered on the same day that the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, "came, he and all his host, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about; and the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah." (2 Kings 25:1, 2.) Its antitype is that on or about November 1, 1916, the date of Pastor Russell's death, ecclesiasticism began to enter upon its life-and-death struggle, materially, with the forces of laborism and anarchy, and religiously with the consecrated children of God, whose work from then on was increasingly to bear witness to the apostasy and imminent destruction of churchianity. Ecclesiasticism, rebellious against her God, is as an organization, like a caldron of brass (copper), typing that many of its members believe the Word of God. It is set amid the fiery troubles of revolution and anarchy. There is water in it, symbolic of what Truth there is in ecclesiasticism. — Jer. 1:13.
24:4. Gather the pieces thereof into it, even every good piece, the thigh, and the shoulders: fill it with the choice bones. — In it are gathered the great and prominent (good pieces), and also the strong ones (bones) of her flock.
24:6. Wherefore thus saith the Lord God: Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum is therein, and whose scum is not gone out of it! bring it out piece by piece; let no lot fall upon it. — Woe to Christendom, ecclesiasticism, bloody in the blood of soldiers, peasants, workingmen, martyrs and saints, by the millions, and blood guilty for the spiritual hopes of millions, extinguished by her false doctrines. Her rust (R. V.) is in her. Bring out her leading members, one by one, indiscriminately, into captivity to the forces of revolution.
24:7. For her blood is in the midst of her; she set it upon the top of a rock; she poured it not upon the ground, to cover it with dust; — Her infamy of blood is in her very substance. She has not been able to conceal it, but it is exposed to full view in "the top of her rock," in the kings and the kaisers, her heads in church-state union.
24:8. That it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance; I have set her blood upon the top of a rock, that it should not be covered. — The fury of a revolted soldiery and populace will rise up against the heads of the governments, who are also heads of the churches, to take vengeance upon ecclesiasticism's sins.
24:9. Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Woe to the bloody city! I will even make the pile for fire great. — Innumerable will be the opponents of churchianity, and blazing hot their wrath.
24:10. Heap on the wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh, and spice it well, and let the bones be burned. — Heap up the fires of discontent and anarchy, consume the tares in Christendom, as tares. Thicken the broth (R. V.), boil it down until the very bones, the strong church members, cease to be such.
24:11. Then set it empty upon the coals thereof, that the brass of it may be hot, and may burn, and that the filthiness of it may be molten in it, that the scum of it may be consumed. — Then ecclesiasticism, the clergy class, with emptied pews, shall sit amid the fiery trouble and be consumed, that their corruption may be done away.
24:12. She hath wearied herself with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her: her scum shall be in the
24:13. In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused My fury to rest upon thee. — Her corruption was in her desire to become prominent and powerful through the power of earth's great ones. God purged her of these things to some extent through godly preachers and reformers; but she was not purged in heart and quickly reverted to the things Divinely proscribed. Since 1878 God has made no further attempt to reform ecclesiasticism; and she shall not be purged, but the fury of God's jealousy shall rest upon her.
24:14. I the Lord have spoken it; it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord God. — God Himself has spoken this and will do it. He will not go back, neither spare, nor change His Plan; but in just recompense for her doings shall the Socialists and anarchists condemn her.
PASTOR RUSSELL A SIGN24:15, 16. Also the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down. — God took away from Pastor Russell the desire of his eyes, her whom he loved, with a stroke, or "plague" of spiritual error, which completely separated them. By the Mosaic ordinance a priest on the death of father, mother, or wife, was to show no special sign of grief, hut was to remain in the Tabernacle, or Temple, and attend as usual to the service of God. Pastor Russell, as a member of the great High Priest and as Christ's representative in the world, the sole steward of the "meat in due season," suffered deeply, but shed no tears.
24:17. Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men. — Rather, he made no mourning for her that was to him as dead, but continued in the work of the sacrificing priesthood. He was sustained in his affliction, not by human aid, but by the consolations of his Father's Word.
24:19. And the people said unto me, Wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us, that thou doest so? — Why was Pastor Russell caused by his Father to endure the fiery trials and ecclesiastical falsehoods in connection with this incident of his life?
THE CHURCHES TO CEASE TO BE24:20, 21. Then I answered them, The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Speak unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will profane My Sanctuary, the excellency of your strength, the desire of your eyes, and that which your soul pitieth; and your sons and your daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword. — God gives the reason. It was as a picture or parable of what is to happen to Christendom. Until 1878 the nominal church had been in a sense God's sanctuary or Temple; but He was from then on, culminating shortly, to remove it with a stroke or plague of erroneous doctrines and deeds Divinely permitted. The Church was the strength of Christendom, that about which its life centered, and around which its institutions were built. It was the desire of the eyes of the people, that which all Christians loved. Nevertheless, God was to make manifest the profanation which ecclesiasticism had made of the Christian Church, and to cause the church organizations to become to Him as one dead, an unclean thing, not to be touched, or mourned. And the "children of the church" shall perish by the sword of war, revolution and anarchy, and by the Sword of the Spirit be made to see that they have lost their hope of life on the spirit plane — that "the door is shut."
24:22. And ye shall do as I have done: ye shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men. — So universal and dreadful will be the troubles that the dead will literally lie unburied and unwept. There can be no mourning for the dead in a period when the living are overwhelmed by troubles worse than death.
24:23. And your tires shall be upon your heads; and your shoes upon your feet: ye shall not mourn nor weep; but ye shall pine away for your iniquities, and mourn one toward another. — The mourning will be an inner sorrow of a people stupefied by terrible experiences, who pine
24:24. Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord God. — Thus the silent sorrow at Pastor Russell's heart was to be a sign to Christendom. The sorrowful experiences of Pastor Russell in this connection shall later on be those of all Christendom; "and when this cometh" they shall know that Jehovah God, is supreme, and back of all the judgments of the trouble time.
PASTOR RUSSELL DEAD, BUT SPEAKING AGAIN24:25, 26. Also, thou son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that whereupon they set their minds, their sons and their daughters. That he that escapeth in that day shall come unto thee, to cause thee to hear it with thine ears? — Also, in the year 1918, when God begins to destroy* the churches and the church members by millions, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of "Christianity."
24:27. In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the Lord. — Pastor Russell's voice has been stilled in death; and his voice is, comparatively speaking, dumb to what it will be. In the time of revolution and anarchy he shall speak, and be no more dumb to those that escape the destruction of that day. Pastor Russell shall "be a sign unto them," shall tell them the truth about the Divine appointment of the trouble, as they consult his books, scattered to the number of ten million throughout Christendom. His words shall be a sign of hope unto them, enabling them to see the bright side of the cloud and to look forward with anticipation to the glorious Kingdom of God to be established. Then "they shall know the Lord."