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Links to the various sections can be found at the bottom of the page. However, links to the individual chapters of Ezekiel discussed in this chapter appear here.

Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35


VINDICATION

CHAPTER VII

RESPONSIBILITY

(EZEKIEL, CHAPTER 33)

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JEHOVAH is supreme and above all. He is over his organization, and of every one whom he saves and receives as a member of that organization he requires obedience. His word is law to all who love him, and his approval is given only to those who do obey his law. When he says in his Word that he requires of creatures to 'walk humbly before him' (Mic. 6:8), that means that the one who receives a knowledge of God is in duty bound to do what God commands. Man's responsibility before God is according to his knowledge of God's will. When Jehovah made a covenant with Israel he said: "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." (Ex. 19:5,6) That is a statement of the divine rule which determines who shall be in the kingdom of God. Because the Israelites failed to obey him God took away that privilege of his kingdom, and declared he would give it to those who do obey him. (Matt. 21:43) Only those who are diligent to obey the voice of God shall abide in his temple. (Zech. 6:15) One may be pursuing an unlawful way because of ignorance, but upon learning the truth the obligation is upon him to obey the truth. (1 Tim. 1:13;

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Eph. 4:17-21) Those who diligently seek a knowledge and understanding God will reward by having their understanding opened; and then their responsibility increases and they are under obligation to obey. "Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded. He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity. If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures: but if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword."  — Job 36:9-12.

The Prophet Ezekiel, being Jehovah's servant, pictures the "servant" class now on the earth, that is to say, those who have agreed to do the will of God and who have been enlightened and made to understand his purposes and who have been anointed to do his service. These are particularly responsible before God to obey his commandments and never to deviate therefrom because of any influence exercised by another. Ezekiel was again commanded by the Lord to speak to the Israelites, after the period of his dumbness toward Jerusalem was broken or ended. Nebuchadnezzar having assaulted the city of Jerusalem and destroyed it, the responsibility upon Ezekiel as watchman toward Israel to warn them against danger would seem to have ended or expired. But now he is commanded to speak a prophecy after the city had fallen. Probably this prophecy (chap. 33:1-20) came to Ezekiel on the evening before the escaped messenger from Jerusalem reached Ezekiel on the morning following, but on the same day, since the day of the Jews began after six o'clock in the evening. The fact that the prophecy was given at that late day shows that Ezekiel's duty

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as watchman had not terminated and he was not discharged from such responsibility. He must continue as watchman toward the Israelites now going into captivity. This shows that God's faithful "servant" class now on earth is obligated at all times to watch and to give warning to others against dangers. (Luke 21:36; Rev. 16:15) Says the Prophet Ezekiel: "Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman." — 33:1, 2.

This shows that God's "servant" class must now proclaim the warning and serve notice upon the people and rulers before the sword of Armageddon smites Satan's organization. The Lord gives the instruction to Ezekiel first to use an illustration that relates to other lands round about Jerusalem, such as Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre and Zidon, Egypt and Ethiopia, upon which God had declared he would bring the sword of destruction. (Jer. 25:13-36) This illustration shows that the fulfilment or application of this prophecy of the thirty-third chapter of Ezekiel must take place before the battle of Armageddon. "The sword" represents God's judgment being executed, and which sword Jehovah brings down upon the enemy. "If the people of the land take a man of their coasts [from among them, R.V.]," it is his duty, the prophecy says, 'to give warning.' The people of "Christendom" have done that very thing. They have chosen the clergymen of the various denominational systems to scan the spiritual horizon and to read in the sky and to give them warning concerning

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their eternal welfare; but concerning this the clergymen have been unfaithful.

The clergymen cannot be relieved of responsibility because of being entirely ignorant. They profess to know the Word of God, and they have had the opportunity to know it, and they hold themselves forth as teachers of it. The World War was clearly a fulfilment of prophecy with which they should all have been familiar. Therefore says the prophet: "If, when he seeth the sword come upon the land he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning, his blood shall be upon him: but he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul." — 33: 3-5.

When the war was on, a company of preachers in London issued a manifesto which was blown like a big trumpet through Britain and America and a copy sent to each and every preacher. That manifesto called the attention to the words of the great Prophet Christ Jesus concerning the end of the world and the coming of the kingdom. But the clergymen throughout "Christendom", and the principal ones of their flock, failed to give any heed to the men which the people had chosen from amongst themselves and from their organization to be their watchmen, and all the clergymen failed to do their duty. The responsibility therefore rests upon those who spurned the words calling attention to fulfilment of prophecy.

The clergymen claimed to represent God, and Christ, and to be watchmen of their respective flocks.

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Therefore says the prophecy: "But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." (33:6) The clergymen have no excuse for not seeing what was coming and what the events of that day portended, and hence it is written of them that "they willingly are ignorant". (2 Pet. 3:5) Willingly going on in darkness does not at all relieve them of their responsibility. They should have known from the Lord's Word that the World War marked the beginning of the sorrows upon the nations, and was evidence of the end of the world, and the second coming of Christ (Matt. 24:3-8), and they should have thus warned the people, but they did not. Even the distinguished gentlemen of the cloth who signed the London manifesto above mentioned have gone back on that manifesto.

But there is another class that is even more reprehensible and therefore more responsible than the clergy of the denominations of "Christendom". Prior to the coming of the Lord to the temple of Jehovah there were a number who had made a covenant to do God's will and who were favored with the truth then due and had received a knowledge of the meaning of "the end of the world". They claimed to be looking for the kingdom and talked about its coming. In 1918, or about that time, they said, however, by their actions and therefore in their hearts: "My Lord delayeth his coming." They then began to oppose their brethren who were telling about the kingdom. They have made no further progress in the truth,

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but continue to oppose those who serve God, and therefore Christ Jesus our Lord designates such as the "evil servant". They scoff at the statement published that the parable of the "sheep and the goats" applies at the present time; they deny that the kingdom began in 1914; and they ignore the fact of the existence of Satan's organization, if they believe it, and they fail to warn the people of the sword of God's vengeance that shall come upon the nations and the people. The Lord will not hold the clergy of "Christendom" blameless, as the prophecy shows, and surely he will not pass the "evil servant" class by without requiring such to come under the terms of his judgment announced.

WATCHMAN

Having given Ezekiel the foregoing illustration, then Jehovah points out the responsibility that is upon the watchman, whom the Lord has chosen. "So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me." (33: 7) Although Ezekiel was the watchman to only the house of Israel, yet the Lord used him to pronounce the judgment of doom upon the seven other nations mentioned in the preceding chapters. This shows that the watchman of the Lord for his own people must and will see and recognize the satanic organization and plainly point it out to the people. Let it be noted that the "watchman" of the seventh verse above quoted is Jehovah's watchman appointed by him, and not appointed by the people, as the clergymen are. Men

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have nothing to do with the appointment of God's watchman, even though they may think they have. The remnant class, being the feet members of Christ on earth, constitute the watchman unto their brethren, that is to say, for each other and others who will hear. (Rom. 12:1) The word "watchman" here used means one who leans forward and peers into the distance and observes, awaits developments, and makes known what appears. The watchman recognizes that he has a duty to perform, and performs it as unto the Lord.

The entire remnant collectively is designated "the watchman". Jehovah lets his servants know that God has appointed this watchman; and this "servant" or "remnant" class has a far greater responsibility than if appointed or chosen by the people. The "watchman" would be expected to see clearly, and to him the Lord would make known the meaning of his prophecies to the end that he might have a clear vision and then use it to the glory of the Lord. It would be expected that God would show the "watchman" what is his own organization, and his purposes in his organization, and would also disclose to the "watchman" the enemy organization; furthermore, that God would reveal to the "watchman" the great issue that must now be settled, and why the battle of Armageddon will be fought. That is exactly what the Lord God has given to the temple class during the past few years. Then the "servant" class is told by the Lord: "Thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me." It is not the "servant's" warning, but the Lord's message of warning, that must be given. The "servant" or "watchman" merely

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hears it and repeats it to others as commanded. There is no excuse for failure so to do.

Jehovah further emphasizes that the warning is his, and not that of some creature, when he directed Ezekiel to say: "When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand." (33:8) Therefore when Jehovah's witnesses go forth with the message they should always bear in mind that the message is the Lord's, and not man's, and that it is the privilege and duty of these witnesses to speak only as the Lord dictates. Obedience to organization directions must be observed, and Jehovah is the Head over all of his great organization. Christ Jesus, the executive of Jehovah, is directing the course of the organization. The Hebrew word that is here translated "wicked" is . rendered "lawless" by Rotherham; which means that one who has received a knowledge of the truth and light and then deliberately goes contrary thereto is lawless or wicked, and such is destroyed in the second death, from which there is no resurrection.

Those who constitute God's "watchman" must use the means God has provided for them with which to give the warning, and a failure so to do would mean death to the "watchman". Evidently this text applies to those who are pursuing a course of lawlessness that leads them into the "evil servant" class, or the "man of sin", "the son of perdition," but who have not yet reached the stage where "it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance". (Heb. 6: 6, R.V.) When one has reached that stage further warning is

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superfluous, and hence the "watchman" would then say: "I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me." (Ps. 39:1) Jehovah's "watchman" must give the warning, but it is unprofitable for Jehovah's witnesses to engage in a controversy with those who were once enlightened and who now openly oppose the proclamation of the kingdom message and the message against Satan's organization. To such opposers the words of Jehovah apply: "He which is filthy, let him be filthy still." When that stage is reached no further warning would be in order and the "watchman" is relieved of the responsibility for such. "Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Therefore, 0 thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel, Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?" (33: 9,10) This scripture shows that the lawless are beyond the point of recovery, but, if the warning has been given, then the "watchman" has shown faithfulness and is relieved of further responsibility.

Those who have covenanted to do the will of God and who are pursuing an unlawful course may and sometimes do resent the warning and retort substantially in these words: 'According to you, watchman, we are due to die because of a lawless course, so why bother us with your warning? Keep your counsel to yourself.' If there yet seems to be a hope of recovery of those who are warned, then the "servant" class is directed to speak thus: "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death

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of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, 0 house of Israel?" (33:11) In other words, God says to the ones pursuing a lawless course: 'This is no idle matter; take my words seriously that are spoken by my watchman. You are on the road to death, and that will bring me no pleasure. That is why I have directed my watchman to warn you, for your own welfare. Do not feel resentful toward my watchman for obeying my instructions.' Of course, this conclusion as to what Jehovah says is based upon the words of the prophet: "He that hath an ear [to hear], let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." — Rev. 3: 22.

The fact that one has been made a member of the temple class, and hence brought under the robe of righteousness, is no absolute guarantee that he is safe. He must continue to be faithful in obedience to God's commandment even unto death. Indifference and negligence will not be tolerated by the Lord. Hence the Lord directs his prophet to speak a message to those of his own organization: "Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth." (33:12) What righteousness one has done or the righteous position that he occupies today will not save him in the day that he sins. "When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and

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commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it." (33:13) The Lord does not tell any individual that now he is certain to win regardless of what he does; but the Lord does point out the conditions of righteousness to which such must conform themselves if they receive the life promised. When one examines himself by the standard of righteousness which God gives, and determines whether or not he is one of the righteous to whom God has promised life, and if he continues in the right way, he will receive life. But if he thinks he has developed a character that is finished, and that henceforth he can do no wrong, he is deceiving himself and is in great danger. 'If he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity' the righteousness that he previously possessed will avail him nothing. Such is in harmony with the warning: "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (1 Cor. 10:12) There is no obligation upon the Lord's part to excuse wrongdoing merely because one has once been righteous. No man can be righteous of himself; but his righteousness is by reason of what God does for him. If one then willfully sins against the light there is no forgiveness for such. — Matt. 12: 32.

When Jehovah pronounces final judgment there is no change of it, because God does not change. "Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right." (33:14) This verse therefore must mean that the Lord's "watchman" is pointing out the course that has the Lord's approval, and that which God states he disapproves, and he gives warning to

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those who are pursuing an unlawful course that they will die if they continue in that unlawful way; hence God's "watchman" must 'Cry aloud and spare not', and do this in obedience to God's commandment. (Isa. 58:1) The "watchman" is the "faithful servant" class, composed of many but addressed collectively. This class is used as the channel or means which the Lord has provided to give such warning.  — See The Watchtower 1929, page 131.

If those who are pursuing an unlawful course give heed to the warning and turn about and do right, such shall profit thereby, as the Lord states: "If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed, shall be mentioned unto him; he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live." (33:15,16) "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee: the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward [rear guard]. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity." — Isa. 58:8,9; The Watchtower, 1929, pages 134, 135.

God's mercy is extended to those who acknowledge the wrong committed, confess it, and again pursue a lawful course. The Mosaic law provided that the sinner must acknowledge his sin and then offer some sacrifice to God through his priesthood as a basis for God's forgiveness. Likewise in the fulfilment of this

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prophecy (vs. 16), the wrongdoer must first acknowledge his sin and ask for the intervening of Christ Jesus in his behalf as his advocate before God forgives and restores the sinner. "We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1) Such is the rightful course and is pleasing to Jehovah. "And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray." (Matt. 18:13) All the heavenly creatures reflect this attitude. "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." (Luke 15:7,10) Those who return to the Lord with a pure heart and in his appointed way he will receive. "For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath ho removed our transgressions from us." — Ps. 103:11,12.

Some complain against the Lord and his way of extending mercy to the erring one who repents and returns, like the son who objected to the killing of the fatted calf at the return of the prodigal. Therefore says the prophet: "Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal; but as for them, their way is not equal." (33:17) This complaint may be made by those who think they have developed a perfect character, and hence they say that they only should receive the favors of the Lord. Their complaints are wrongfully made. The ways of the Lord are equal, equitable and impartial, for he is both

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'just, and the justifier of them that believe in Christ Jesus'. (Rom. 3: 26) God is no respecter of persons. Neither the righteousness of the righteous nor the wickedness of the wicked results in profit or loss to Jehovah God. It can therefore be easily seen that God could have no occasion to be otherwise than equal in his ways toward all creatures. — Job 35: 6-9.

God's law is just and right and his mercy endureth for ever. Therefore reads the prophecy: "When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby: but if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. 0 ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways." (33:18-20) Those who have sought to justify themselves rather than God will find that they do not judge themselves aright and equally according to God's standard. "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Rom. 14:12) "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." — 2 Cor. 5:10.

NO MORE DUMB

A certain man had escaped from the city of Jerusalem, and when it fell he hastened to notify Ezekiel that the city had fallen. "And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is

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smitten." (33:21) This was five days short of being three years after the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar's final siege of Jerusalem and of Ezekiel's dumbness. No part of the prophecy has been yet fulfilled which seems to correspond with the 'escaped one from Jerusalem' and his announcement that the city was smitten, and his coming to the Ezekiel class. The fulfilment of this seems to correspond to the fulfilment of Revelation 17:16,17. — See Light, Book Two, page 108.

Jehovah would vindicate his word by his prophet by proving that the prophecy uttered by Ezekiel was from God and was therefore true. "Now the hand of the Lord was [had been, R.V.; had come, Roth.] upon me in the evening, afore he that was escaped came, and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning, and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb." (33:22) The fall of Jerusalem proved that Ezekiel had spoken according to the will of God and proved that Ezekiel was a true prophet; hence he could now speak with boldness and authority as never before. His dumbness toward Jerusalem until then would well picture this: After Jehovah's witnesses have given their testimony as commanded by the Lord concerning "organized religion" they may leave their case with the Lord until the Lord chooses to confirm the word of his servants. When God confirms their testimony by the fulfilment of the prophecy, such would then be a time to speak with more boldness and authority than ever before. But the Lord does not require his servant to wait until the confirmation (pictured by the escaped one) fully arrives, to open the lips of his "servant" to be his witness, but when the prophecy is in fulfilment or is in

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course of fulfilment God opens the mouth of his "servant" and commands that speech be made. Ezekiel's mouth was opened before the messenger arrived, and that must have convinced Ezekiel that the messenger confirming his prophecy would arrive that day. He would be certain that the messenger was coming. Even so now, God has opened his prophecies to the class pictured by Ezekiel and thus opened the mouth of his "servant" to declare them, and this is an indicator that the confirmation of the prophecy by the fulfilment thereof is in the very near future.

Jehovah then directed Ezekiel to speak, and he speaks the words that a self-important class utter, to wit: "Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land; but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance." (33: 24) To be sure, the Lord knew that the land of Israel was "desolate without an inhabitant"; hence the prophecy must have referred back to the time when the inhabitants occupied the now waste places, as a subsequent part of the prophecy shows, and the prophecy is intended to apply to a self-reliant company of religionists of "Christendom" at the present time. These self-important and puffed-up ones, particularly the clergy amongst the Jews, had said in substance: 'Abraham was one, but we are many, and we are the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham; hence we are the seed that shall inherit the land and possess it for ever, and we don't believe the testimony of this so-called "prophet Ezekiel" that we shall be cast out.' They overlooked the conditions that attached to the inheriting of the land for ever.

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This self-important class corresponds to the ones whom Jesus addressed: "And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire." (Matt. 3: 9,10) "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham." (John 8:39,40) In "Christendom" there is that same self-important and self-relying class of religionists who claim to be the first ones entitled to God's favor and hence are cocksure of going to heaven because they have, as they say, such well-developed and perfect characters that God really needs them.

Concerning these that are impressed with their self-importance God then directs his prophet to say: "Wherefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall ye possess the land? Ye stand upon your sword [ye depend upon your sword, Leeser], ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour's wife: and shall ye possess the land?" (33:25,26) These are violators of their covenant; and no violator of his covenant with God need think that he can continue as an heir of God's promises and remain in God's organization. He must be faithful to the Lord in order to obtain the promises. Therefore says the Lord: "Say thou thus

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unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence. For I will lay the land most desolate [a desolation and an astonishment, R.V.], and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through. Then shall they know that I am the Lord, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed." (33:27-29) Because of their pride these do not learn by his Word or by experience that Jehovah is God, but by God's judgment executed upon them they do learn and experience that he is the Almighty.

Then the prophet, at the direction of the Lord, describes a class of religionists that hang on to the truth by their eyelashes, so to speak: "Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord. And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words [margin, they pretend outwardly to care for what the prophet tells them in God's name, Leeser], but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness." (33:30,31) God has favored some with the truth and begotten them as his children who continue to associate with his faithful people for a time at least

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because they believe that such is the best religion known to man and that the publications issued of and concerning the truth are the most beautiful, reasonable and harmonious explanations of the Bible. When there is a public meeting held and some well known person is to speak these notify others of their acquaintance to attend with them and hear, and while the speaker speaks they themselves pretend to hear, but when it comes to real service to the glory of the Lord they are not there. They leave that to others. Such are "churchgoers", and their love is divided between God and some creature or things, and they hold on to these things that prevent them from rendering a full obedience to God's commandments. "And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not." (33:32) Usually such are loud in their praises of the public speaker or teacher and of the message that has been delivered. They hear the words of the speech explaining the prophecy, and probably read something about it, but they do not give the matter serious consideration, thinking that those who are so zealous in making these prophecies known are somewhat extremists. They make no attempt to do what the Lord has commanded concerning his witnesses and the work that they must do. If there is a convention of God's people in the community they will be found there, often sitting in the front seats, looking wise, but when it comes to giving testimony to the people they are "too tired". They are not wise, and Jesus says concerning them: "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened

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unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." (Matt. 7: 26, 27) God's purpose is that these shall know that his prophecy has been uttered in their midst. "And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them." (33:33) They will not heed now, but they will wake up to the fact ere long that God has not left himself without a witness in the land and that they have failed to give heed to what was said.

FEEDERS

(EZEKIEL, CHAPTER 34)

Jehovah God by and through his organization has provided certain ones to be shepherds of his flock, among whom are those who feed themselves, and concerning whom the Lord directed Ezekiel to utter the prophecy as set forth in the thirty-fourth chapter. This prophecy is undated; hence it would appear that its application is at all times during the instruction of his covenant people and the giving of the testimony of Jesus Christ. "And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds, Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?" — 34:1, 2.

"Shepherd" in the Hebrew means literally "a tender, a pasturer or a feeder". He therefore stands as a leader amongst God's people and whose duty it is to care for God's Word, to feed the flock of God,

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not for personal gain, but willingly and of a ready mind. (1 Pet. 5:2) "Feed [them] with knowledge and understanding." (Jer. 3:15) Moses, David and Joshua were shepherds of God's people. (Ps. 77: 20; Isa. 63:11; Num. 27:17,18) The "shepherds" against whom this prophecy is leveled consist of the clergymen of "organized Christianity", who hold multitudes of God's children as prisoners, and also consist of elders of companies of God's people who have been too much impressed with their own importance and who seek to draw others as followers after them rather than to follow the Lord's commandment. Concerning this class the apostle wrote: "Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20: 30) The Lord is against this class of self-important ones, as the prophet wrote: "Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people, Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord." — Jer. 23:1, 2.

Such self-important ones are greedy and feed themselves: "For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things." (Phil. 3:18,19) They do not heed the admonition of God's Word to "feed the flock of God". (1 Pet. 5:2-4) They acquire a head knowledge of the Word of God but they do not appreciate Jehovah and his kingdom.

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They satisfy a personal ambition in assuming the office of an elder or teacher and they seek self-advantage but fail to feed God's flock upon the meat that he has provided for them. They prefer to serve up the food to the Lord's people in their own way for their own personal aggrandizement. They have no regard for organization directions, regarding such as less important than themselves. They fail to see that the Lord is at the head of his organization and that he gives the directions. To such the Lord says: "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?" — Isa. 58: 6, 7. See The Watchtower, 1929, page 133.

These selfish shepherds or feeders use God's flock for their own gain; hence says the Lord: "Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed; but ye feed not the flock." (34:3) Being selfish they hate those who do feed the flock of God, and have and manifest the spirit of murder toward them and do violence to those who feed at the Lord's table. (1 John 3:15) Companies of God's consecrated and spirit-begotten ones that merely hold meetings amongst themselves, and who fail and refuse to go about with the message of the Lord to others and pass it along to the diseased and needful ones, are feeding themselves and not feeding the people of God. There is a multitude of "prisoners" that need to be fed. The radio may awaken them, and then it is the priv-

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ilege of those who love the Lord to carry more food to such hungry and needy ones. An elder who, then, thinks he is too important to engage in such menial (?) work of feeding the hungry does not appreciate the kingdom of God and is not proving faithful to the Word of God and to the privileges that the Lord gives him.

Jehovah lays upon his anointed the obligation of 'preaching the gospel to the people, to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, and to preach the day of the vengeance of our God'. (Isa. 61:1-3) There are many that need help, and concerning the unfaithful feeders God by his prophet declares: "The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them." This prophecy concerning those that were driven away does not apply to the unfaithful whom the Lord by his angels gathers out of his kingdom. (Matt. 13: 41) It applies to those who have by reason of the false doctrines of men been driven away from the Lord and his Word and who have gone away from the systems of "organized Christianity" because they found no truth there. It includes those who have been held back from the truth by reason of the misrepresentations made by the clergy. Those who are elders in the companies of God's people and who oppose the house-to-house service work, and refuse to bring aid and comfort to such needy ones, the Lord also speaks against in this prophecy: "But with force

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and with cruelty [rigour, R.V.] have ye ruled them." Without a question of doubt these words of the prophet apply to the clergy of "Christendom" and also to the "evil servant" class. (Matt. 24:48,49) When an elder of the company of God's people hinders the efforts of the anointed to preach the gospel by engaging in the house-to-house service work he is guilty of the same offense as that committed by the clergy.

During the World War not one clergyman of "organized Christianity", so called, sought to render aid to the faithful followers of Christ Jesus. "And they were scattered because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field when they were scattered." (34: 5) Because the clergy were not truly shepherds of God's flock, but were mere hirelings of the savage and warring governments, the faithful followers of Christ Jesus were scattered during the World War. When they were scattered Big Business and its allies took great delight in seeing that these faithful ones were humiliated and caused to suffer. Even now, because the clergy make no distinction between Jehovah's organization and the beastly political governments of this world, the "prisoner" class still lend themselves to be exploited by conscienceless rulers. These prisoners are still induced to believe that "the higher powers" are the beastly governments of the world and that they must be patriotic and therefore must be subject to such "higher powers". There are some elders amongst the company of God's people who still hold and teach that "the higher powers" mentioned by the apostle (Rom. 13:1-4) are the governments or ruling powers of this world. In so holding and teaching they likewise do violence to God's

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Word and to his people and they too scatter God's people and make them meat for the beastly governments of Satan's organization.

Today there is a great responsibility resting upon the shoulders of the clergy of "organized Christianity" by reason of the position they have put themselves in, but there is even a greater responsibility resting upon the shoulders of those who hold themselves forth as elders and teachers in companies of God's people to whom is committed the testimony of Jesus Christ. "My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them." (34: 6) Every servant of God should consider seriously the responsibility that rests upon him by reason of his position. In every nation and kingdom ("mountain" or "high hill") of "Christianity" the consecrated people of God who are not of the remnant are in a scattered or divided condition of mind and activity. The clergy of "Christendom" do not seek and heed the truth which is free and open to them, nor do they seek to give the truth to the consecrated of their congregations. On the contrary, they hold back and hinder their congregations from hearing the truth. In many places the clergy go about amongst the people that attend their congregations and deliberately and wickedly induce them to burn the books containing the message of God's kingdom with which the poor people have recently provided themselves. These clergymen are not trying to locate God's people and unite them, but they strive to swell their own congregations for their own personal gain. When they invite them

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to their buildings they do not tell them about the Scriptures, but talk about anything except the Scriptures. These clergymen are therefore reprehensible before God and must bear their responsibility. The elders in companies of God's covenant people who have separated themselves from "organized Christianity" and who then oppose or refuse to support and participate in the service work of carrying the gospel of the kingdom from house to house are chargeable with a like crime of not seeking after the scattered sheep of the Lord, and because of their favored position they are far more reprehensible and responsible before God than the clergymen.

Against these unfaithful feeders God pronounces his judgment, to wit: "Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; therefore, 0 ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more: for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them." (34:7-10) But now God has delivered his remnant from the influence of the wicked, and henceforth the rod of the wicked no longer rests upon their lot. This he has done that they might be entirely free to boldly declare the testimony of Jehovah in this day. Soon the "prisoner" class will be loosed and delivered by

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the hand of the Lord. (Ps. 146:7) The clergy and unfaithful elders will be compelled to settle their account with the Lord because of their unrighteous conduct toward his consecrated people. If they loved God they would keep his commandments; but they do not love him, and hence his judgment against them.  — Ps. 145:20.

GATHERING HIS SHEEP

Jehovah had caused his prophet to write, "Gather my saints together unto me" (Ps. 50: 5), and by Ezekiel he now says: "For thus saith the Lord God, Behold I [am here, Leeser], even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out." (34:11,12) This prophecy must be fulfilled in the day of Jehovah when he is present representatively at his temple. He does not leave to men the work of gathering together his sheep, but he sends his official Representative, his "Messenger of the covenant", to the temple for this very purpose. He causes his "Ruler" to come out of Bethlehem Ephratah to represent him in the search for his flock. (Mic. 5:2-4) It is the day when the shepherd is amongst his people; the 'day of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of our gathering unto him' who is the Head of Jehovah's organization. (2 Thess. 2:1) The prophet describes the time as "the cloudy and dark day". This day began in 1914 and reached a climax in 1918 at which latter date the Lord Jesus appeared at the temple of Jehovah, concerning which time the prophet of God wrote: "The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne."

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(Ps. 97:1, 2) It is the day described by the prophet when deliverance is come and "at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book". (Dan. 12:1) The Lord knows them that are his, and he finds them.

God's people were amongst the uncircumcised, that is, the unclean. "And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country." (34:13) The people of Satan's organization had God's flock in custody and the Lord gathered them out and brought them unto himself. His people did not there have the freedom of worship and service which is now to be found in God's organization. The Lord gathered his own to the temple and there he has fed them. The real Feeder or Shepherd, Christ Jesus, has fed them upon the best food. "I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be; there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel." — 34:14.

Christ Jesus is the Ruler that comes out of Bethlehem and he serves also in the capacity of Feeder of the people of Jehovah. "And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide; for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth." (Mic. 5:4) The faithful ones were watching for the Lord and they heard and obeyed his commandments. "Blessed are those servants, whom the lord, when he cometh, shall find watching; verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down

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to meat, and will come forth and serve them." (Luke 12: 37) These faithful ones the Lord forms into his "faithful and wise servant" class. — Matt. 24:45-47.

God's sheep are shielded and protected within the fold of Jehovah's organization which is symbolized by "the high mountains" where they are at complete rest in the Lord and where they are fed upon the best food, that is, food that is convenient and upbuilding for them. The Lord sets them on high from danger. (Ps. 91:14) "For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee. He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat." (Ps. 147:13,14) This is now the happy condition of God's remnant, the faithful flock of God who 'follow the good Shepherd [The Lamb] whithersoever he goeth'. As to the "great multitude", these are still scattered sheep and are prisoners, and upon the faithful the obligation rests to feed them. "They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted." (Isa. 49:10,11) This prophecy of Isaiah must yet be fulfilled toward the "great multitude", and the remnant must continue to carry the message to them.

The great Shepherd marks the unfaithful ones to whom has been given the privilege of feeding God's flock, and he now takes in his own hands the matter of feeding them: "I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that

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which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I [myself] will feed them with judgment." (34:15,16) This is positive proof that God's remnant people are no longer to be left in doubt as to the food that they are receiving, but they will know, and they do know, that it is coming from the hand of the Lord God. "For I am the Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged." (12:25) God's elect Servant, Christ Jesus, is bringing together and strengthening those who have been scattered and in need of food. The faithful remnant, being a part of "the servant" of Jehovah, now have a part in this work. The Lord Jesus, the great Judge at the temple, began his judgment work in 1918, and the latter part of the sixteenth verse shows that because of the condition existing in the house of God judgment was necessary. "The fat and the strong" means the self-satisfied feeders and the self-important ones who use their power to boss and crowd on the side and hold in restraint their weaker brethren. Now the Lord feeds them with the justice that is due them for their improper course. Those who do not respond to the Lord's chastisement or correction will be destroyed. It is certain from the Scriptures that God will not permit amongst his "servant" class any bosses or any who will lord it over his flock and maltreat them. The Lord will see that his people receive justice.

The Lord uses various dumb brutes to illustrate different kinds of people that get into his flock. "And as for you, 0 my flock, thus saith the Lord God, Be-

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hold, I judge between cattle and cattle [small cattle of lambs and kids, margin; between one kind of small cattle and another, Roth.], between the rams and the he goats." (34:17) The bossy and unkind leaders or feeders are likened unto "he goats". "Even all the chief ones [leaders, or, great goats, margin]." (Isa. 14:9) "There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: a lion, which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; a greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up." (Prov. 30:29-31) The he-goat has a dignified appearance, and walks with his head high and assumes a very superior air, and tries to appear 'stately in his going', and is self-conscious of his importance, and assumes this attitude to impress all others in the flock of God. To the Lord and to those having the spirit of the Lord these "he goats" among God's flock or company have an offensive or bad odor. They are usually such as cause trouble, because of their desire to shine and to appear to be very important. "Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the Lord of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle." (Zech. 10:3) The Lord makes a difference between "he goats" and the "rams", which according to Leeser are called "wethers". A wether is a male sheep that has lost his self-importance and arrogance by reason of a surgical operation. A man who is an elder may be like a butting, shoving buck or he-goat, but if he puts away or cuts away his selfishness and then unselfishly serves God's people because of his love for God and his people, he is then likened unto a

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"wether". Those who indulge in butting or horning others, the Lord will judge them accordingly.

Continuing to address the selfish "he goat" leaders the Lord says: "Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?" (34:18) These high-headed and odoriferous he-goats have waxed fat by eating up everything in sight, while those meek ones of the flock grow lean. They feed themselves upon the best, but, not being satisfied with that, they go further and because of their selfishness they spoil and make unfit the food that is left, so that others may not eat it with relish. This is the spirit of the clergymen who "have taken away the key of knowledge" and who have been brought in contact with the precious truth of God's Word and use such part of it as will satisfy their selfish desires and then spoil it so that others could not enjoy it. This spirit is manifested by those "highbrows" of the clergy who induce the people to burn books containing the message of God's kingdom. There are some who have been, and some who are yet, amongst the Lord's true people who have wanted to get all the good food possible from the Lord's table and munch it and mess it up and then dish it up in their own way and claim credit for all that is given to others to eat. Also, there are those who receive good food from the Lord's hands but who are unwilling or too lazy to pass it on or to bring it to other hungry ones, and they prevent some of God's sheep from getting the food, by opposing the witness work that the faithful ones of the Lord are

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doing. These selfish ones tread upon the food that the Lord provides and attempt to befoul it with their soiled feet and to prevent all efforts of the organized service to be carried on by God's faithful people and in his name. During the Elijah period of the church these selfish ones ate the best and drank of the flowing waters. During the Elisha period they tried to foul up the present-day pure waters of truth so that they appeared unsightly and uninviting to the flock of God. Their responsibility is to Jehovah, and against such his judgment is written.

Those of the "great multitude" are classed as God's flock or sheep; and the clergy in particular attempt to destroy the food, that these hungry ones may not get it. To such false leaders God says: "And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet." (34:19) The clergymen make claim before the people that they are teaching the Bible, but they are not. On the contrary, they soil and befoul it by their own false ideas and conclusions such as higher criticism, evolution and self-righteousness, and therefore the "prisoners" are without food unless God's faithful servants carry the food to them. The "billy goat" elders in the companies of God's true people cooperate with the clergy, and by their course of action prevent the "prisoner" class from being fed; and this they do by opposing the house-to-house testimony work. The faithful remnant have now turned themselves away from the "billy goats'" influence and ate going on in the work, giving the testimony as God has commanded it shall be given.

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When the Lord appeared at the temple for judgment the "fat" and the "lean" were in the same corral. "Therefore, thus saith the Lord God unto them, Behold I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle." (34:20) The Lord's judgment is a righteous judgment. This rule is announced by one who spoke by authority of the Ruler and in his name. "The Lord maketh poor [the fat cattle], and maketh rich [the lean cattle]: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he hath set the world upon them." (1 Sam. 2:7,8) "He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away." —Luke 1:51-53.

Unfaithfulness on the part of feeders made it necessary for the Lord to take drastic action: "Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad." (34:21) During the World War the clergy without, and the unfaithful elders within the companies of God's people, resorted to violence and scattered the flock of God, and by reason thereof the "prisoners" still suffer at their hands from the same kind of ill treatment. The Lord preserves those that love him; hence he says: "Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle."

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(34:22) The Lord has saved and preserved his remnant. The troublous times that came upon God's people he really overruled for the deliverance of the faithful. The "great multitude" is yet to be delivered, and must be delivered, and before that is accomplished there must be some witness work done to them by Jehovah's witnesses. Appreciating this fact the faithful remnant is anxious to participate in this work.

ONE SHEPHERD

According to his promise God brings peace and joy to his faithful ones. "And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it." (34:23,24) There is now no "strange god" among the faithful remnant of the Lord's people. Christ Jesus is at his temple, and he is the feeder and leader of the people of God. To the faithful he has become "the head stone of the corner". These faithful ones are joined with Christ Jesus in his everlasting covenant, even the sure mercies of David. (Isa. 55: 3) To the faithful remnant the Lord God has fulfilled the prophecy, to wit: "And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and

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shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." —Jer. 23:3-6.

Jehovah establishes his faithful ones in his organization and gives peace. "And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods." (34: 25) This has no reference to the New Covenant. (Jer. 31:31-34) It refers to God's organization to which he says: "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord; and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord." (Isa. 54:10,13,17; see The Watchtower, 1931, page 329) "Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isa. 26: 2, 3) This does not mean that the faithful remnant is now free from all assaults of the enemy. On the contrary, the enemy continues to make war on the remnant because of their faithfulness in giving the testimony of Jesus Christ. The enemy will continue to assault the faithful, but those who remain true to the Lord and within his organization will be saved.

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God's faithful people "shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods". (See also 34: 28.) This shows that the Lord cleanses his organization of the vicious beastly ones and that no part of his organization shall be harmed by them, and no matter where they may be, as long as they are in God's organization, and faithful in doing their duty in obedience to the commandments of the Lord, they shall be safe from Satan's agents and his beastly organization. This security is only within God's organization, and is pictured by "the holy land". If any of the remnant get outside of God's organization they may no longer expect such security. 'The Lord preserves the faithful.' (Ps. 31: 23) The remnant have forsaken Satan's organization and are now in the "holy land", that is, the condition of righteousness and safety, and their continued safety depends upon their continued faithfulness to the Lord.

Jehovah now comforts his faithful people by the fulfilment to them of the promise, "And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season: there shall be showers of blessing." (34:26) Since the Lord has gathered together his people into the temple he has continued to shower them with his blessings. (Zech. 10:1; Joel 2: 23; Ps. 147: 8) "Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary [exhausted]." (Ps. 68:9) Jehovah has unfolded his Word and continues thus to do for the benefit of his people, and these precious things drop like dew upon the tender grass. "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain

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upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass." (Deut. 32:2) He has brought his faithful ones into the condition of peace and joy. "As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." — Ps. 133: 3.

Let those who love God know for a certainty that he is feeding his own people and that their food is certain and always satisfying and always will be: "And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them." (34: 27) No famine for spiritual food shall afflict the faithful remnant of God's organization; and their activities in God's work, as well as their faithful performance of that work, shall prosper and be fruitful. Let no one who is now of the remnant be induced to act foolishly by giving credit to any man or men for the message of truth that comes to the people of God. "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry [tillage, margin; God's farm, Roth.], ye are God's building." (1 Cor. 3:5-9; Hag. 2:18,19; see The Watchtower, 1931, page 70) God's

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people are "safe in their land", that is to say, their proper place or condition in God's organization, and not outside of it.

The promises that follow in this chapter are made to God's anointed people, the remnant. "And I will raise up for them a plant of renown [plantation for a name, Roth., margin], and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more." (34: 29) The "plant of renown" or "plantation" is Jehovah's anointed One. The period of waiting came to an end and God sent Christ Jesus forth to vindicate his name. "The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." (Ps. 110: 2) "And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious." (Isa. 11:10) The remnant has also by the grace of God come to see that they are the planting of the Lord, delivered from Satan's organization and brought unto God's organization for his renown or the fame of his name. God has planted his anointed people that his name may be glorified. "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." (Isa. 61:3) "Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting,

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the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one [remnant] shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time." — Isa. 60:20-22.

Satan and his agents continue to hurl reproaches upon the remnant, but no longer do these faithful ones suffer themselves to be shamed by the enemy or to appear in an apologetic manner before any of the enemy's representatives. On the contrary, they go on and have boldness in this day of judgment and they delight to bear the reproaches that the enemy casts upon them because of their faithfulness to God and to his kingdom. (1 John 4:17) The shame shall be upon the enemy. —Isa. 61: 6, 7; 45:16,17; Mic. 7: 9-11.

Jehovah now shows his faithful servants how he has been using them, and they know that the Lord God is with them and that they are on his side and under his protection. "Thus shall they know that I the Lord their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord God. And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God." (34:30,31) Jehovah has brought his faithful forth and given them a new name which his own mouth has named, and now they know for a certainty that they are Jehovah's witnesses. The precious promises of these last two verses apply to God's remnant now, while they are on the earth faithfully performing the service the Lord has given into their hands. These are members of the "son of man"; therefore they are the Lord's men and know that he is their God. (Ps. 95:7) The faithful do not harden their hearts, but

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joyfully and unselfishly press on publishing the name of Jehovah and his kingdom.

THE WICKED

(EZEKIEL, CHAPTER 35)

The wicked are those who have received light from the Lord God as revealed by his Word and who then disregard that favor and become opposers of God and his kingdom. Such as willfully and maliciously oppose those who are faithfully endeavoring to serve God by bearing witness to his name and his kingdom are the opposers of Jehovah. Mount Seir, or Edom, pictures such a class of the enemies of God. This class, once enlightened and claiming to be spiritual brothers of the Lord's faithful sons, thereafter prove themselves unfaithful to their covenant and barter away their inheritance in the kingdom, and this they do for a selfish reason. (See Ezekiel 25:12, and comments thereon.) All the evidence points to the fact that these join in the alliance or conspiracy with the Devil. This prophecy is written without reference to time, and God caused Ezekiel to utter it against these enemies. "Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it. And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, 0 mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate." — 35:1-3.

The faithful servants of God whom Ezekiel foreshadowed are to turn their attention against the enemies of God and count them as their own enemies. Whom God hates, his true sons likewise hate. "Do not I hate them, 0 Lord, that hate thee? and am not

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I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them mine enemies." (Ps. 139: 21, 22) The Edomites ("mount Seir") were descendants of Esau, and God hated Esau: "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." (Rom. 9:13) "And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness." (Mal. 1:3) The same Hebrew word used and translated "hate" in Psalm 139:21,22 is also used at Malachi 1:3, which latter text the Apostle Paul quotes. It means that the one hated is utterly odious and hateful and is a personal foe or enemy. These scriptures cannot be properly construed to mean that God loved Jacob and loved Esau some but less than he loved Jacob. God hated Esau because he followed after the Devil. All the evidence shows that the "mount Seir" or "Esau" class wind up in the Devil's organization and in league with him and against God's faithful people whom Jacob pictured. The favor that God bestowed upon Esau he spurned, and sold it to gratify his selfish desire; and this foreshadows a class that have received God's favor and who in order to gratify selfish desires sell their birthright and become the enemies of God and enemies of his faithful people. Such God hates.

It is against this hateful class that Ezekiel was told to prophesy: "And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, 0 mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate. I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return; and ye shall know that I am the Lord." (35:3,9) This scripture identifies the "mount Seir" or "Esau"

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class as the second-death class, which has no restitution hopes. For them the judgment of Jehovah is destruction, and he will make them to know they have committed their wrongs against him. Then Jehovah tells them the reason why they shall be destroyed. "Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end." (35:5) Becoming haters of their brethren, and persecutors of them, God designates them as murderers. "He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." (1 John 3:14,15) According to other translators Ezekiel 35:5, in part, reads: 'Because of enmity thou hast delivered up.' (Roth.) "Because thou hast had an undying hatred, and didst surrender the children of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity." (Leeser) This is in accord with the prophecy of Jesus concerning the World War time: "And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." (Matt. 24:10,12) The prophecy began to have its fulfilment about 1917, and in the year following a great calamity or misfortune came upon God's people. It was then that the Judas spirit began to be made manifest by some who willingly connived with the agents of Satan's organization to have their brethren punished. Had it been the blood of God's enemies that these sought to have shed there would have been much responsibility, but because it was the Lord's chosen people at whose downfall they connived the matter is far more serious. (Obad. 10-15) "Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord

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God, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee." (35: 6) There was, on the part of the Esau class, a complete absence of love for their brethren. The stress of the World War furnished no excuse or extenuating circumstances for their hateful conduct toward their brethren who were in the toils of the law at the hands of Satan's agents.

Because of the exhibition of this malicious hatred Jehovah caused his judgment against such enemies to be written, to wit: "Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out, and him that returneth. And I will fill his mountains with his slain men; in thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy rivers, shall they fall that are slain with the sword." (35: 7, 8) The fulfilment of this prophecy corresponds with the treading of the wine-press in Edom and its capital city Bozrah. "And their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment." (Isa. 63:1-4) "It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; . . . when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." (2 Thess. 1:6-9) "Shall I not in that day, saith the Lord, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? And thy mighty men, 0 Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. For thy violence

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against thy brother Jacob, shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever." — Obad. 8-10.

Making themselves the enemies of God and his organization, they determine to take possession regardless of his will. "Because thou hast said, These two nations, and these two countries, shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the Lord was there." (35:10) The two nations primarily refer to the northern kingdom of the ten tribes and to the southern kingdom of Judah and Benjamin and which seem to picture God's anointed ones, whom he has placed in his organization. The northern kingdom was later characterized by the "sin of Samaria", that is, the worship of leaders or heroes. (Amos 8:14) This shows the malicious covetousness of the class pictured by Mount Seir or Esau. This very spirit of hate or murder found its place in the heart of Esau: "And Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand, then will I slay my brother Jacob." (Gen. 27: 41, 42) Esau was thereby a "profane person ", whom the Lord hates; and so are those whom Esau foreshadowed. (Heb. 12:16) These therefore fight against God by lighting against his people, and of which he says: "He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye." — Zech. 2: 8.

Jehovah declares his purpose to administer just retribution upon those who have persecuted his anointed. "Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord God, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy, which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged thee." (35:11) In the fulfilment of this prophecy God permits the

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psalmist to write his judgment upon these enemies: "Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour; mine adversaries are all before thee. Reproach hath broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. Add iniquity unto their iniquity; and let them not come into thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. The humble shall see this, and be glad; and your heart shall live that seek God." (Ps. 69:19-28,32) The Apostle Peter records the partial fulfilment of this prophecy upon Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, and the greater fulfilment will be upon "the son of perdition" whom Judas foreshadowed.

Jehovah's purpose is that all shall know that he is the Almighty God. "And thou shalt know that I am the Lord, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume. Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against

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me: I have heard them." (35:12,13) "Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. Understand, ye brutish among the people; and, ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off." (Ps. 94:7-10,23) "And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the Most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches." (Ps. 73:11,12) "Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?" — Isa. 29:15.

Desolation shall be the portion of the Esau class, while all the peoples of earth who seek righteousness shall rejoice. "Thus saith the Lord God, When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate. As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee; thou shalt be desolate, 0 mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it; and they shall know that I am the Lord." (35:14,15) This rejoicing shall follow the battle of Armageddon. "All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name." (Ps. 66:4,5) These scriptures prove that there will be no restored antitypical Mount Seir or Edom class.

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