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That everyone who thirsteth for the truth may obtain it, these publications are, as a Christian service, provided without charge. They levy but one exaction: the soul's obligation to itself to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. The only strings attached to this free proffer are the golden strands of Eden and the crimson cords of Calvary - the ties that bind.
Personally Watching for Every
Ray of Light.
One who entrusts to another the investigation of a message from the Lord, is making flesh his arm, and thus is foolishly acting as without a mind of his own. And "the mind that depends upon the judgment of others is certain, sooner or later, to be misled." Education, p. 231.
Similarly, one who allows prejudice to bar him from a candid investigation of anything new, coming in the name of the Lord, is unwittingly an infidel.
Likewise he who is satisfied with his present attainments in the Word of God, says in effect: "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing."
All these, in variously acting out the part which provoked the condemnation written against the Laodiceans, thereby fulfilling the prophecy which they ought not fulfill, are preparing themselves to be spued out (Rev. 3:14-18). And if they continue in their self-satisfied attitude that they have all the truth, and so have need of nothing more, they will spurn every new claimant to truth and toss the message into the discard because it comes through an unexpected channel. Certainly, then, were this tract not the unfolding of prophecy, the fact is inevitable that when the unfoldment did come, they would treat it in like manner, and consequently toss away their salvation!
Throughout the ages, all who have put their trust in the so-called wise men, and foremost Christians of the day, all reputedly godly men, have by these very ones been bereft of the crown of eternal life, as were the Jewish laity in the days of Christ because of their failing to assume full responsibility for their own salvation. Presumptuously trusting in the wisdom of their so-called "great men," they declined to believe in Christ's words "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,...Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." Matt. 11:25 "Where is the wise? where is the scribe?...hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" 1 Cor 1:20.
"...if a message comes that you do not understand, take pains that you may hear the reasons the messenger may give, comparing scripture with scripture, that you may know whether or not it is sustained by the word of God." Testimonies on Sabbath School Work, p. 65.
Will you not, therefore, Brother, Sister, cease to copy the mistakes of others? Will you not profit by them? If you will, you are duty-bound to use your own mind in reaching for salvation, lest you fail to understand the saving truth in the momentous exposé.
The Dardanelles of the Bible.
The call of Ezekiel to the prophetic office is one of the most interesting experiences of the ancient seers, and the revelation of what he saw by the river Chebar is perhaps of greater importance to heaven and earth at this time than is any other vision on sacred record, because in a remarkable way it reveals That Which unites Heaven with Earth, even as the Dardanelles links two important seas. Thus this study of Ezekiel's vision which brings to light earth's being visited by the Majesty of the Universe, may be aptly termed, "The Dardanelles of the Bible."
The reader who would best comprehend this seemingly most confusing and complicated of Bible symbolisms, will follow the cover-page objectification, in conjunction with
The Prophet's Description of the Mysteries Herein Treated.
"And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
"Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went everyone straight forward.
"As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle....
"And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. his was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake." Ezek. 1:4-10, 27, 28.
"And it came to pass, that when He had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then he went in, and stood beside the wheels." Ezek. 10:6.
To this marvelous scene which Ezekiel saw on the river bank in the land of the Chaldeans, our undivided attention is now called. Being "the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord," obviously, then, it was
The Lord on One of His Thrones.
Besides this divine appearance which Ezekiel saw (Ezek. 1:28), the Bible describes God enthroned on three other occasions -- once as seen by Isaiah, and twice as seen by John the Revelator; to wit:
(1) "...I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried and the house was filled with smoke." Isa. 6:1-4.
(2) "And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne...And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold...and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind." Rev. 4:2, 4-6.
(3) "And he shewed me a pure river of
water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." Rev. 22:1.
Since the throne seen by Isaiah was a "train" (retinue), and since as it entered into the temple, "the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke" (Isa. 6:1, 4), it therefore is a traveling throne, whereas both the one of Revelation 4, having the "sea of glass" before it, and the one of Revelation 22, having the "river...of life" before it, are stationary thrones.
Though the one which Ezekiel saw, is similar to the one which Isaiah was shown, yet they are distinct and separate thrones, for each of the "seraphims" of Isaiah's vision has six wings, while each of the "cherubims" of Ezekiel's vision has but four. In the latter, moreover, the cherubims stood under the throne, whereas in the former, they stood above it. On record, therefore, are four thrones -- two stationary, and two traveling.
In determining the location of the throne of Revelation 4, and the one of Revelation 22, we note to begin with that the latter, the one from which the "river...of life" proceeds, is, says the Revelator, "the throne of God and of the Lamb" -- that upon which Christ sat at the right hand of God after His resurrection. The former, the one having the sea of glass before it, is (also according to John's view) in the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, for John saw before it "seven lamps of fire" (Rev. 4:5) -- a sanctuary fixture. "As in vision the apostle John was granted a view of the temple of God in heaven he beheld there 'seven lamps of fire burning before the throne.'" The Great Controversy, p. 414.
Then, concerning the Father and the Son's moving from the throne of God and of the Lamb -- the one where the river of life is -- to the throne where the sea of glass is, we read: "I saw the Father rise from the throne, and in a flaming chariot go into the holy of holies within the vail, and sit down. Then Jesus rose up from the throne,...then a cloudy chariot, with wheels like flaming fire, surrounded by angels, came to where Jesus was. He stepped into the chariot and was borne to the holiest, where the Father sat." Early Writings, p. 55.
Recording the same event as he saw it, Daniel says: "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, Whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened." Dan. 7:9, 10.
Our greatest interest, however, at this point, is to know the location and the mission of the throne which Ezekiel saw, and concerning which he says: "...I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north." Ezek. 1:4. The fact that the "whirlwind," enveloping the throne, "came," says Ezekiel, shows that this throne, just as with the one of Isaiah 6, is a moving one, and that it came to the banks of the river Chebar.
"This is the living creature," continues Ezekiel, "that I saw under the God of Israel [Who is "above the cherubims"], by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims." "And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight." Ezek. 10:20, 19.
As the chariot's mounting "up from the earth" shows that in this particular throne, God visits the earth and then, when His mission is accomplished, returns to heaven, naturally our uppermost desire is to know the answer to the question,
When Will This Prophetic Vision Be Fulfilled?
According to Ezekiel 2:3; 3:1, 4, 5, 7, the prophet was to bear his message to the whole "house of Israel" (the term "house of Israel," denoting either all twelve tribes or only the ten tribes as the case might be). Yet he did not understand the meaning of the vision. Had he, he would have explained it, rather than declaring: "I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days." Ezek. 3:15.
Since at the time of the vision, the house of Judah, the two-tribe kingdom, was in captivity in the land of the Chaldeans, and the house of Israel, the ten-tribe kingdom, was in dispersion among the nations whither it had been carried away and scattered some years before (2 Kings 17:6), there was no possibility of Ezekiel's delivering the message to them. And as it is to
both the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Ezek. 9:9), -- the twelve tribes, -- consequently it was prophetic in Ezekiel's time.
The Jewish nation, moreover, up to the time of Christ, had no light on this prophecy, and it appeared to them as too complicated to understand, and even unsafe for an ordinary mind to read. "All this chapter appeared so obscure and full of mysteries, to the ancient Hebrews, that, as we learn from St. Jerome (Ep. ad Paulin.,) they suffered none to read it before they were thirty years old." Douay Version, footnote to Ezekiel 1:5. And having seen no light in this scripture until the present time, the Christian church has made little or no attempt to explain it.
And finally as no slaughter such as the one described in Ezekiel 9 has ever occurred, its fulfillment is obviously yet future.
Plainly, therefore, the vision was prophetic in Ezekiel's time, and has been prophetic ever since. And if it is ever to be fulfilled, and not remain a useless and unprofitable writing, -- a thing which God never creates, -- then its mystery must, of course, now be unveiled, and its action executed in the near future.
In the clear light of these facts, chapter nine is seen to hold the climactic scene of the vision. Describing the awful work which the Lord is to do when, with the cherubim, He visits the earth, it shows the fearsome consequences to those who reject its message: its blessings missed, the kingdom lost! Tragic, frightful experience, it shall be the fate of all who refuse now to awake and to know about it, but who choose rather to remain in ignorance of its truth, and of
The Object of the Lord's Coming In His Throne.
As the prophet was looking toward the north, he saw a "great cloud" coming like a "whirlwind" to earth. Watching with intense interest its drawing nearer and nearer, finally he saw the "living creatures," the "wheels," and the rest, -- "the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." Whereupon, "I fell," he says, "upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake [unmistakably the Lord Himself come to give a message to Ezekiel].
"...And He said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against Me: they and their fathers have transgressed against Me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiff-hearted. I do send thee unto them: and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them. And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briars and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house." Ezek. 1:28; 2:3-6.
"And He said unto me," continues the prophet, "Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with My words unto them. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language,...whose words thou canst not understand." Ezek. 3:4-6.
These mandatory words (of weighty significance to all) reveal that the message which the prophet received is only for God's people, and that therefore, by logical extension, the entire vision, of which it is a part, meets its fulfillment at a time in which the Lord sends forth the warning that because His church is at a very low ebb spiritually, -- "impudent and hard-hearted" and "a rebellious house," -- He will do within it a work of marking and slaying. And in all the Bible there is to be found in but one church a situation as to condition, cause, time, and result answering to that of the prophecy, and that is in
The Laodicean Church.
The condemnation of Rev. 3:14-18 against the Laodiceans, and the condemnation of Ezek. 2:1-7 and 3:4-7 against "the house of Israel," being the same, each therefore is the complement of the other: the one being the Revelation of that of which the other is the prophecy.
Both vindicate the Spirit of Prophecy's warning that no "greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right, when they are all wrong! The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception [instead of in an excellent condition], yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God. While those addressed are flattering themselves that they are in an exalted spiritual condition, the message of the True Witness breaks their security by the startling denunciation of their true condition of spiritual blindness, poverty,
and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake, for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct." Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, p. 252, 253.
Since the Lord says that "all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted" (Ezek. 3:7), then, certainly, will each one intent upon being saved, "determine to know the worst of" his "case" (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 163), and
The Time Of The Church's Low Ebb.
Were God's people to continue self-deceived, "impudent and hardhearted," and were the spirituality of the church to continue to dim away, then with such a church the Lord could never finish His work on earth, and probation must finally close upon a world in utter darkness, having no living saints to translate at the appearing of Christ.
"The Lord does not now work," says the Spirit of Prophecy, "to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church members who have never been converted, and those who were once converted but who have backslidden. What influence would these unconsecrated members have on new converts? Would they not make of no effect the God-given message which His people are to bear?" Id., Vol. 6, p. 371.
Having up till this time been holding back because of the unconverted and backslidden members in the church, what will He do now when, as He says, "all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted"? The very fact that He is holding back, is the most portentous evidence that He must do a special work for the church before it can finish His work upon earth.
Face to face with this solemn certainty, each one, therefore, who seeks "an inheritance on high," will maintain the strictest integrity and openness of mind as he studies concerning the special work involved, lest for his Laodicean affliction, he never find
"...While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven,...there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God's people upon earth....Then the church which our Lord at His coming is to receive to Himself will be 'a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.' Then she will look forth 'as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.'" "Clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict....she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer." The Great Controversy, p. 425; Prophets and Kings, p. 725.
Mark the italicized words: "not having spot," "her final conflict," "going forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer." These statements emphasize a pure and triumphant church, perfected by a "special work of purification" which must take place before the work of the gospel is finished in any part of the world.
Showing the church's then fitness for the great work that is committed to her, Inspiration continues: "Mighty miracles were wrought, the sick were healed, and signs and wonders followed the believers." Early Writings, p. 278.
As these mighty works are done in the time of the "Loud Cry of the Third Angel's Message," the purification, therefore, incontrovertibly takes place at the commencement of the "Loud Cry." And from this it follows as a logical necessity that Ezekiel's prophecy of marking and slaying must contain the announcement of the purification of the church.
Continuing to behold in vision the cherubim and the glory of God's throne, the prophet saw the Lord come to the threshold of the house (church), and as He gave charge to His angel who was "clothed with linen" and who "had the writer's inkhorn by his side," Ezekiel heard Him command the man: "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
"And to the others He said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. And He said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth and slew in the city.
"And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord God! Wilt Thou destroy all the
residue of Israel in Thy pouring out of Thy fury upon Jerusalem? Then said He unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not." Ezek. 9:3-9.
Revealing a complete separation of the wicked from among the just, these verses, therefore, prophetically forewarn of the imminent purification of the church -- her only salvation. And taking place in "the city," "Jerusalem," "Israel," and "Judah," -- terms by none of which the world can be called as they apply exclusively to the people of God the church, -- this work of separation is, accordingly, confined strictly to the church.
The fact, furthermore, that the wicked are taken from among the righteous, also shows that the separation cannot be in the world. Were it there, it would have to be done in the opposite way -- the righteous be taken from among the wicked.
Remember that the Lord said to Ezekiel: "Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against Me." "For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel" (Ezek. 2:3; 3:5) -- a mission which is to result in
The Sealing of the 144,000 -- The First Fruits.
"This mightiest of angels," says the Spirit of Prophecy, "has in his hand the seal of the living God, or of Him who alone can give life, who can inscribe upon the foreheads the mark...."
"This sealing of the servants of God is the same that was shown to Ezekiel in vision. John also had been a witness of this most startling revelation." Testimonies to Ministers, p. 444, 445.
The sealing (Revelation 7) being the same as the marking (Ezekiel 9), -- the "purification," -- we thus are given a twofold view of the "closing work for the church,...the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God....They feel most deeply the wrongs of God's professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet's illustration of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side." Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, p. 266.
Since the purification, or the sealing, came at the commencement of the "Loud Cry," as we have already seen, the 144,000 are therefore the "first-fruits" -- the first to be sealed; whereas those who are sealed after the purification of the church, are the second fruits, of whom John (after having seen the 144,000 sealed) says: "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands." Rev. 7:9.
The fact therefore that there is an ingathering of two fruits, shows that the marking or sealing is in two sections -- two periods -- and that there are
Two Sealing Reports.
"And behold," says Ezekiel, "the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter [while on earth] saying, I have done as Thou hast commanded me." Ezek. 9:11. Here is the first report, made at the completion of the sealing in the church -- the sealing of the firstfruits, the 144,000.
"I saw," says the servant of the Lord, "...an angel with a writer's inkhorn by his side returned from the earth, and reported to Jesus that his work was done, and the saints were numbered and sealed." Early Writings, p. 279. Here is his second report, made at the completion of the sealing in the world -- the sealing of the second fruits, the great multitude.
Comparing both reports, each is seen to be of a different event: At the first report, the Lord was on "the threshold of the house" on earth (Ezek. 9:3); at the second, He was in the heavenly sanctuary.
After the angel had made his first report, the Lord commanded him: "Go in between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the city. And he went in my sight." Ezek. 10:2.
But following his second report, "...all the angelic host laid off their crowns as Jesus made the solemn declaration, 'He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.'" Early Writings, p. 279, 280.
Were probation to close at the time of the first report (Ezek. 9:11), the Lord must, according to the foregoing statement, be in heaven, then descend to earth to receive His saints, instead of being already on earth, then mounting up in His throne, as He actually does, without His saints (Ezek. 10:19).
Again: the prophet's being left behind when the Lord went up, figuratively shows that at this particular descent and ascent, the saints are not to be taken to heaven, but only to be set free from sin and sinners -- fitted for the final work.
At the angel's second report, however, Jesus being in heaven, "moved out of the most holy place" (Early Writings, p. 280) to descend to earth.
This brief comparison brings into primary focus the twofold fact that at the time of the first report, Jesus went into the temple, whereas at the time of the second report, He went out.
Beyond the angel's reporting the matter of the marking and slaying in the church Ezekiel was not given to see. But Isaiah was. He saw
The Escaped Ones Go To All Nations.
"For by fire and by His sword," declares the gospel prophet, "will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many....And I will send those that escape of them unto the nations,...to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations...to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord,...in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord." Isa. 66:16, 19, 20.
Since "those that escape" the slaughter (the 144,000) shall "bring all your brethren [all those who shall be saved in the time of the 'Loud Cry']...into the house of the Lord," then it follows that those who escape are the ones who finish the work -- the reason they are called "the servants of God." Rev. 7:3.
The message, moreover, finding them in the church, not in the world, they are therefore "virgins;" that is, "not defiled with women" (Rev. 14:4) -- the churches of the world. And they are without guile in their mouths, having kept their tongues from
Criticizing and Faultfinding.
"...They will question and criticize everything" says the Spirit of Prophecy in forewarning of the purification, "that arises in the unfolding of truth, criticize the work and position of others, criticize every branch of the work in which they have not themselves a part. They will feed upon the errors and mistakes and faults of others, 'until,' said the angel, 'the Lord Jesus shall rise up from his mediatorial work in the heavenly sanctuary, and shall clothe himself with the garments of vengeance, and surprise them at their unholy feast; and they will find themselves unprepared for the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 690.
These solemn words, may each lay well to heart, and may none let the enemy beguile them "with good words and fair speeches" on this life-and-death matter. Fix in your mind the fact that Christ's rising "up from His mediatorial work" cannot be after probation has closed, for, note carefully, He is to "rise up" during "the unfolding of truth."
Let each take heed that he fall not to criticizing the message or messengers, but rather that he "sigh and cry," as the Lord bids, "for all the abominations that be done in the midst [the church]," lest he be found on the wrong side ranged with evildoers, and thus doomed to fall under the angels' slaughter weapons.
"Cry aloud, spare not," is the heartening order, "lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." Isa. 58:1. Take your stand, Brother, Sister, on the right side, and make sure, "having done all, to stand," for, no escaping the fact, the Lord has set His hand to separate "the wicked from among the just."
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