A lone man stands gazing into the sky as the heavens grow ominously dark and the wind begins to blow tempestuously. A great storm is sweeping down from out of the north. But this is no ordinary atmospheric thunderstorm. As if concealing some other- worldly visitor, all around the foreboding, billowing, cloud mass there is emitted a strange and entrancing iridescent glow. No, this is no natural weather phenomenon at all, and the observer of this awesome spectacle is no ordinary man. He is the Hebrew prophet, Ezekiel, and the very hand of Jehovah has come down upon his prophet. Yes, Ezekiel is in the grip of a divinely inspired phantasma!
The enraptured prophet goes on to relate the vision as it unfolds: In the midst of the roiling clouds are quivering rivers of energetic fire. Suddenly there appear, hovering, four tremendous living creatures; each with four differing earthly faces and four wings and the hands of a man; their bodies glowing like super-heated coals. Something like flaming torches are conveyed from one living creature to the other and out of the brightness of the torches great charges of lightening flash – as if transmitting messages to one another by electrical means.
Beside each of the four living creatures are four sets of colossal wheels within wheels. The wheels have a luminosity like the precious stone chrysolite; each possessing human-like eyes all around their rims. The prophet is dwarfed by the sheer immensity of the extraterrestrial machinery.
The living creatures effortlessly control and steer the wheels to wherever the spirit inclines. The wheels may be levitated up above the earth or they may touch upon the earth as they revolve. When the cosmic chariot moves the beating wings of the supportive living creatures make a deafening and terrifying sound – “like the sound of the Almighty One.”
Towering high above the hovering wheel-like structure supported by the four living creatures, the prophet next describes a great expanse “like the sparkle of awesome ice,” which serves as the platform for a most glorious passenger. A voice emanates from above the sparkling expanse, where Ezekiel next envisions a throne – rivaling an enthralling deep blue sapphire in appearance. And there, seated upon the throne, the source of the voice and of the light breaching the dark cloud mass – a human-like figure, brilliant, shimmering like molten silvery-golden electrum and fire; emitting resplendent brightness all around, with a rainbow of exquisite beauty arching above him – It is the very glory of Almighty Jehovah!
Ezekiel is overcome by the awesome vision and falls upon his face in fearful reverence. Not knowing what to expect next, we can only imagine that Ezekiel was relieved to hear a friendly and reassuring voice from the throne inviting him to stand up in order that Jehovah might speak with him, person to person.
Indeed, there is a reason that Ezekiel has been symbolically invited into Jehovah’s presence in heaven: God has an assignment for him – a mission! The One seated on the throne speaks intelligibly to Ezekiel, saying: “Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to rebellious nations that have rebelled against me. They themselves and their forefathers have transgressed against me down to this selfsame day. And the sons insolent of face and hard of heart—I am sending you to them, and you must say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said.’ And as for them, whether they will hear or will refrain—for they are a rebellious house—they will certainly know also that a prophet himself happened to be in the midst of them.”
Ezekiel is given the weighty commission of announcing Jehovah’s coming judgments to his brothers, the sons of Israel. The command then comes down to Ezekiel from the chariot-throne to take and consume a scroll that is spread out before him with moanings and dirges written upon it, front and back. Ezekiel accepts his assignment and eats what becomes in his mouth sweet tasting. By symbolically ingesting the scroll it is as if Ezekiel has fully digested its prophetic contents, thereby establishing a pattern for any antitypical watchman to comprehendingly digest Ezekiel’s prophecy.
Since the prophecy of Ezekiel is ultimately earmarked for fulfillment “in the final part of the days”— when all peoples and nations will be compelled “to know that I am Jehovah” – it is reasonable to expect that an anointed Ezekiel-like watchman would be appointed in advance of the execution of Jehovah’s judgments in order that he might similarly sound the warning to the modern spiritual counterpart to the house of Israel – echoing and broadcasting the very judgments contained in Ezekiel.
Despite the fact that the essential distinguishing feature of the relationship of a watchman to the house of Israel is the singularity of one man sent to denounce a covenant-breaking nation and its institutions, the Watchtower Society claims that the entire congregation of now long-since departed anointed Christians was originally appointed to the post of watchman in 1919 – since then comprising a so-called Ezekiel class – with the diverse branches, denominations and various sects of Christendom making up a supposed apostate “house of Israel.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses do well to remember, though, that God set himself on judgment with Israel and Judah because they were actually in a marriage-like relationship with him and because they repeatedly and flagrantly broke their vows of faithfulness and obedience. For example, at Ezekiel 5:7 Jehovah stated: “This is Jerusalem. In the midst of the nations I have set her, with lands all around her. And she proceeded to behave rebelliously against my judicial decisions in wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the lands that are all around her, for my judicial decisions they rejected and, as for my statutes, they did not walk in them.”
Most assuredly, the Jews did not merely claim to be in a covenant with Jehovah. Their ancestors actually entered into a binding agreement with God that obligated all their offspring to abide by its terms or else forfeit the Land of the covenant.
Contrary to that simple fact of scripture, the Watchtower Society claims that Jehovah actually recognizes Christendom as being in a legitimate covenant with him merely because of her pretensions. But Ezekiel’s prophecy clearly indicates that Jehovah’s purpose is not merely to destroy a derelict nation but to correct and ultimately bless it. However, the Watchtower’s interpretation is backwards. According to the Society, God first restores and blesses spiritual Israel, which supposedly took place in 1919, and then afterwards he destroys apostate Israel (Christendom). Such an interpretation is self-serving and unscriptural.
On the other hand, it is recognized that all anointed Christians are in a binding covenant with God through Christ and are therefore accountable according to the terms of the covenant. That being the case, it is reasonable to conclude that Jehovah’s purpose to sanctify his holy name is in relation to those in covenant with him who have profaned the name he has given them. (See 20th chapter of Ezekiel) Accordingly, the ancient pattern establishes that it is God’s intention to humble his people by concealing his judgments from them while revealing his confidential prophetic matters to an individual – a watchman – so that ultimately “they will certainly know also that a prophet himself happened to be in the midst of them.”It is by that means that they will ultimately know he is Jehovah.
Suddenly, the celestial chariot begins to roll again with a great rushing sound. Ezekiel is caught up and borne along in the bitterness and rage of his spirit.
A week later as the prophet was sitting, still stunned from his previous visionary encounter with the supernatural chariot and its awesome Rider, Jehovah again speaks to Ezekiel and explains to him the duties and responsibilities of being a watchman, which is what God had made him. Jehovah reiterates that Ezekiel is to warn the house of Israel of Jehovah’s impending judgment against it: “Son of man, a watchman is what I have made you to the house of Israel, and you must hear from my mouth speech and you must warn them from me.” (Ezekiel 3:17)
Some unreasoning persons may insist that God ought to reveal his judgments directly, personally. However, the pattern repeated throughout the Scriptures indicates that Jehovah entrusts his message to specific individuals, who are then charged with relaying the messages and divine warnings entrusted to them.
In this instance Jehovah assures his prophet that although his fellow countrymen will not assent to his prophetic message and will hard-headedly resist his efforts to warn them, God will impart strength to Ezekiel in order to make his own head harder than rock – even as hard as diamond that cuts rock! Jehovah’s wayward organization will not prevail over his appointed watchman.
However, in order to portray the restraints that would be placed upon him by the hardheaded and hard-hearted Jews, Jehovah next tells his watchman: “Come, be shut up inside your house. And you, O son of man, look! they will certainly put cords upon you and bind you with them so that you cannot go forth into the midst of them. And your very tongue I will make stick to the roof of your mouth, and you will certainly become mute, and you will not become to them a man administering reproof, because they are a rebellious house.”
Cloistered in his own home for a time, it was as if Ezekiel was temporarily bound and gagged to illustrate the extent to which the Jews would go to prevent him from expressing the divinely inspired message entrusted to him. Nevertheless, Jehovah’s judgments cannot be muted or nullified by men. The watchman is charged with announcing the coming executional sword.
In modern times, the World Wide Web has provided the perfect medium for circumventing the Watchtower’s information monopoly over Jehovah’s Witnesses and has allowed a modern watchman to publicly announce Jehovah’s coming judgments.
As if to foreshadow this, Jehovah next commanded his prophet to make numerous public demonstrations portending the coming siege of Jerusalem and the holy temple. (See Ezekiel chapters 4-5)
JEHOVAH’S FOUR INJURIOUS ACTS OF JUDGMENT
The 5th, 6th and 7th chapters of Ezekiel reveal the means by which Jehovah’s judgments are to be executed: It is by means of the sword of war, famine, pestilence and wild beasts of the earth that God’s holy place and sanctuary will become a desolate object of astonishment. Only a remnant will escape.
“‘Therefore as I am alive,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘surely for the reason that it was my sanctuary that you defiled with all your disgusting things and with all your detestable things, I myself also am the One that will diminish you and my eye will not feel sorry and I myself also will not show compassion. A third of you—by the pestilence they will die, and by famine they will come to their end in the midst of you. And another third—by the sword they will fall all around you. And the last third I shall scatter even to every wind, and a sword is what I shall draw out after them.”
Ezekiel 14:21-22 reiterates God’s purpose to use “four injurious acts of judgment”: “For this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, ‘So, too, it will be when there will be my four injurious acts of judgment—sword and famine and injurious wild beast and pestilence—that I shall actually send upon Jerusalem in order to cut off from it earthling man and domestic animal. But, look! there will certainly be left remaining in it an escaped company, those being brought forth. Sons and daughters, here they are! They are going forth to you people, and you will have to see their way and their dealings. And you will certainly be comforted over the calamity that I shall have brought upon Jerusalem, even all that I shall have brought upon her.’”
The parallel between Ezekiel’s prophecy and the opening of the seals of the Apocalypse are unmistakable. Inarguably, nation arising against nation, food shortages and pestilences are to serve, not only as the future sign of Christ’s presence, but the very means by which Jehovah sets himself on judgment with the Christian Israel of God in order to purge from it the unfaithful and discipline and gather the remnant of approved chosen ones – so that they may know that he is Jehovah.
Ironically, the self-proclaimed “Ezekiel class” of Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that the divine judgment of war, famine, pestilence and rapacious political wild beasts commenced in 1914; however, if that were true what evidence is there that any antitypical Jerusalem was brought low by those “four injurious acts of judgment”?
In the context of the judgment of the sword of war, famine, pestilence and devouring wild beasts of the earth, Ezekiel 7:19 added: “Into the streets they will throw their very silver, and an abhorrent thing their own gold will become. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Jehovah’s fury. Their souls they will not satisfy, and their intestines they will not fill, for it has become a stumbling block causing their error.”
Typically, during times of hardship and scarcity associated with war and social breakdown money becomes even more valuable because those possessing gold and silver may be able to buy their freedom or purchase scarce resources. That being the case, and since gold and silver never lose their intrinsic value, why would the besieged Jews voluntarily throw their valuables into the streets to be scooped up by the pillagers? It is only understandable in light of the modern phenomenon of paper and digital money, which, unlike gold and silver, have no intrinsic value and are hence, inevitably, subject to being de-valued to the point of becoming completely worthless.
Picking him up by a tuft of his hair, Jehovah next transports his watchman to Jerusalem, where Ezekiel again envisions the colossal chariot, this time as it hovers menacingly over the iniquitous city.
Far from symbolizing God’s organization as the Watchtower presently assumes, Jehovah’s chariot is a war chariot! It is wheeled into position for one reason only – war! Just as in ancient times when warring kings would station themselves in their royal chariots upon a promontory or elevation overlooking the battlefield in order to command the troops, it is an ominous development indeed for Jehovah’s war chariot to have taken up a position over Jerusalem. Since Jerusalem served as the capital of Jehovah’s earthly organization at the time, it is apparent that the drawing up of heaven’s chariot symbolizes the initiation of the judgment upon Jehovah’s earthly organization.
God next causes Ezekiel to see inside the temple entrances and courtyards. No doubt Ezekiel was shocked to envision all sorts of detestable forms of idolatry being carried on in secret by the older men. Particularly offensive to God was what was taking place in the inner courtyard of the house of Jehovah, where 25 of the principal men had their backs turned to the temple and were bowing down to the rising sun.
After causing his prophet to view the detestable things being done in the temple, Jehovah went on to say to Ezekiel: “Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it such a light thing to the house of Judah to do the detestable things that they have done here, that they have to fill the land with violence and that they should offend me again, and here they are thrusting out the shoot to my nose? And I myself also shall act in rage. My eye will not feel sorry, neither shall I feel compassion. And they will certainly call out in my ears with a loud voice, but I shall not hear them.”
Anything that supplants or dilutes the worship of Jehovah is idolatrous, no matter how innocuous it may appear. Following the ancient pattern of the temple idolaters, the leading men of Jehovah’s modern earthly organization are also guilty of practicing and promoting a form of idolatry – organizational idolatry – whereby, the organization is exalted and made to occupy the place of God in the hearts and minds of many.
Shockingly, too, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses have manifestly turned their backs to Jehovah in recent years by making a secret pledge to promote the political agenda of the United Nations; even using the God-dedicated resources of the Watchtower Society in the service of the UN as an approved associate NGO and cunningly employing trusting Jehovah’s Witnesses as couriers of UN propaganda. Since their exposure the Watchtower and her apologists excuse such acts of treachery by making it seem like “such a light thing.” (See chapter: Strange Bedfellows)
Worse, Bethel also continues to deny the rights of sexually abused children of Jehovah’s Witnesses; their lawyers even maintaining that Watchtower-appointed elders bear no responsibility whatsoever to protect children from the thousands of known sexual predators lurking in the congregations. Through various means such as intimidation, threats of disfellowshipping and legal gag orders imposed upon payouts, the Watchtower Society’s legal apparatus has sought to muzzle the outcry of complaint on the part of the abused. Presumably under the guise of not bringing reproach upon the name of Jehovah, when in fact the wicked policies promoted by Bethel have done just the opposite.
Above all things, the public image and financial welfare of the Watchtower Society are the primary considerations of the leadership, and as a result, Jehovah has effectively been relegated to the secondary position of official heavenly consort of the Organization.
From God’s point of view such practices and attitudes are detestable and amount to idolatry and spiritual adultery. Of course, any of Jehovah’s Witnesses who may protest such evils are summarily disfellowshipped for disloyalty to the Organization and consequently cut off from their family and friends. By such means “they have to fill the land with violence.”
As a result of such detestable things being done in his sanctuary and city, Jehovah commands a divine messenger dressed in linen to pass through the city in advance of the destroyers in order to place a mark on the foreheads of those deemed worthy of survival. The execution of God’s judgment is to begin at the very house of Jehovah, within the sanctuary. So, as soon as the symbolic marking is accomplished the order is given to the man in linen to reach into the flaming wheel work of the judgment chariot and toss a handful of flaming hot coals over the city to commence God’s fiery purge of the faithless from among his people.
(A similar judgment upon God’s earthly organization is symbolized in Revelation the 8th chapter; where, after the marking of the saints takes place, an angel takes fire from a heavenly altar and flings it to the earth. See the chapter entitled Revelation in Jehovah Himself Has Become King.)
The 11th chapter of Ezekiel opens with Jehovah’s watchman being transported by the spirit to the eastern gate of the house of Jehovah, where 25 men, princes of the people, are sitting in counsel. Jehovah then says to Ezekiel: “Son of man, these are the men that are scheming hurtfulness and advising bad counsel against this city; that are saying, ‘Is not the building of houses close at hand? She is the widemouthed cooking pot, and we are the flesh.’”
The older men of Jerusalem stubbornly ignored the warnings given through Jehovah’s prophets. They felt secure in the knowledge that God had always protected Jerusalem and its temple, such as when God’s angel destroyed the encamped Assyrian army when it threatened to invade Judah. They assumed God would always do so. How wrong they were!
Similarly today, the leading men of Bethel have schemed to persuade Jehovah’s Witnesses to place their trust in the supposed righteousness and permanence of the Watchtower Society. For example, in spite of the prevalence of all sorts of evil within the congregations the leadership presumptuously boasts that the organization actually constitutes the prophetic spiritual paradise of God’s making. (See chapter: Spiritual Paradise)
In order to convince Jehovah’s Witnesses that the publishing organization has received God’s irreversible blessing numerous Bible prophecies are twisted in such a way so as to place the judgment upon the house of God in the distant past (1918), while applying all restoration prophecies to the modern Watchtower Society. For a fact, the Watchtower Society places great emphasis on its many building projects around the world and the assumption is that the growth of Jehovah’s so-called “visible organization” will continue. In fact, the Watchtower Society has a grand scheme to build a brand new headquarters facility in New York State and cash out of their valuable Brooklyn properties. (“Is not the building of houses near?”)
Jehovah’s Witnesses have thus been subtly seduced into believing that their spiritual welfare is secured through their relationship with the Watchtower Society. In that way the Society presents itself as the “widemouthed cooking pot”where the faithful might conceal themselves from calamity.
But alas, just as the city of Jerusalem did not prove to be a secure haven for the Jews in Ezekiel’s day, so too, the Watchtower Society will soon be exposed as a false haven. Jehovah’s Witnesses will have to know that Jehovah is a God of judgment and that he will not indefinitely tolerate the wicked schemes of faithless organization worshippers. God’s judicial decree is as follows:
“On the border of Israel I shall judge you people; and you will have to know that I am Jehovah. She herself will not prove to be for you a widemouthed cooking pot, and you yourselves will not prove to be flesh in the midst of her. On the border of Israel I shall judge you, and you will have to know that I am Jehovah.”
God next commands his watchman to denounce the stupid prophets that have come to reside in the intimate group of Jehovah’s people.