If you warn someone wicked and he does not turn back from his wickedness and from his wicked course, he will die for his error, but you will certainly save your own life.
True Christians already enjoy a friendship with Jehovah and the hope of eternal life. Yet, we recognize that it is our responsibility to “warn the wicked one to turn from his wicked course so that he may stay alive.” Of course, we do not preach merely to avoid bloodguilt. We love Jehovah, and we love our neighbor. Jesus illustrated what love and mercy really mean in his parable of the neighborly Samaritan. We might ask ourselves, ‘Am I, like the Samaritan, “moved with pity” to give a witness?’ After all, we would never want to be like the priest and the Levite in the parable, excusing ourselves and going by “on the opposite side.” Faith in God’s promises and love for neighbor will motivate us to have a full share in the preaching work before time runs out.
The implication of today’s text is that the Watchtower is doing a work like that of the prophet Ezekiel. But is it? Expressed differently, do anointed witnesses comprise a so-called “Ezekiel class,” as the Watchtower claims?
Jehovah originally commissioned Ezekiel to serve as a watchman to the house of Israel. Since Assyria had already destroyed the northern 10 tribe kingdom at the time Ezekiel was appointed to speak for God the house of Israel consisted of basically two tribes — Judah and Benjamin. And of course, within Judah was the city of Jerusalem and the temple — the place where Jehovah caused his name to reside.
With the establishment of Christianity a new form of worship came into being. And Jehovah removed his name from the Jewish people and attached it to Christians —or what Paul referred to as the Israel of God. The apostles taught that Christ had become the cornerstone and high priest of a spiritual temple —a temple composed of anointed persons. And in the 15th chapter of Acts the apostles explained that even non-Jewish Christians had become part of this new arrangement —a people for God’s name.
But eventually Christianity became completely corrupt —just as Israel and Judah had before. The teachings and practices of the churches of Christendom bear no resemblance to the original. But with the appearance of the Watchtower Society in the latter part of the 19th century a renewed form of Christianity emerged. God had obviously begun anointing persons again —attaching his name to them. This became all the more apparent in 1931 when the International Bible Students became known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now Jehovah’s Witnesses are publishing the name of God in literally hundreds of languages throughout the world.
Since anointed Christians are part of a spiritual temple, it is this temple that must undergo an inspection. Just as Jesus inspected the Jewish temple and violently hurled out the moneychangers, as the messenger of the new covenant Jesus must inevitably make a surprise inspection of this spiritual temple. This is what is to occur with the coming of Christ.
That being the case, obviously all Christians are not called upon to be watchmen. Just as Ezekiel was an individual any modern counterpart of the watchman to the spiritual house of Israel must likewise be an individual.
Interestingly, in the 3rd chapter of Ezekiel, from where today’s verse was extracted, Jehovah commanded his appointed watchman: “Go, shut yourself inside your house. As for you, son of man, they will put ropes on you and tie you with them so that you cannot go out among them. And I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth, and you will become mute, unable to reprove them, because they are a rebellious house.”
Since my setting up what has come to be called The Watchman’s Post, I too have been figuratively shut up inside my house —restrained from associating with Jehovah’s Witnesses or speaking to them directly. Although I have conducted numerous mailing campaigns and have delivered dozens of copies of Jehovah Himself Has Become King to the Governing Body, various department heads and branch overseers, I have been made mute from the standpoint that none of the things I have written as regards the coming judgment have been heeded by the leadership of the organization. Although they continually announce their righteous standing —their friendship with God, as today’s text does —according to Jehovah they are a rebellious house.
As a priest himself Ezekiel remotely viewed Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem, even though he himself was among the exiles in Babylon. But Jehovah revealed to him the uncleanness and idolatry that was taking place there as the reason for his determination to destroy the temple and the entire city where he had once placed his name.
All of this, of course, has implications for the spiritual temple, in that, I have publicly made known the hypocrisy and double-dealing of the Watchtower. And I have announced to them that their whitewashed wall, described in the 13th chapter of Ezekiel, is going to fall and what they may expect in the near future when the figurative fiery chariot pulls up over the “city.”
But while Jehovah did indeed annihilate Jerusalem he also brought the Jews back from Babylon to rebuild the city and temple. Ezekiel was inspired to envision the new temple and its dimensions and features.
However, the temple Ezekiel envisioned was the spiritual temple. That is apparent from what he saw, as related in the 43rd chapter: “There I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters; and the earth was illuminated by his glory. What I saw was like the vision I had seen when I came to bring the city to ruin, and it appeared to be like what I had seen near the river Chebar; and I fell with my face to the ground. Then the glory of Jehovah entered the temple through the gate facing the east. A spirit then raised me up and brought me into the inner courtyard, and I saw that the temple had become full of the glory of Jehovah.”
The vision Ezekiel had by the river Chebar originally was of the magnificent heavenly chariot of fire. It was that celestial chariot that annihilated the city of Jerusalem, when a glorious cherub took fire from the wheel-work of the chariot and flung it down upon the city.
That fiery chariot with its glorious rider enthroned pictures Christ when he comes in the name and power of the Almighty in order to judge the temple. In keeping with the apostle’s statement that judgment begins first with “us” Jehovah confirmed to Ezekiel that this is the case when he said to the symbolic men with smashing weapons: “‘But do not go near to any man on whom there is the mark. You should start from my sanctuary.’ So they started with the elders who were in front of the house. Then he said to them: ‘Defile the house and fill the courtyards with the slain. Go!’”
Whether or not they listen does not matter. As an anointed watchman I have tried to be faithful to my calling in pointing forward to the coming judgment of the house of God and the coming of the fiery chariot – beginning the awesome parousia of Christ. And God willing, I will do so to an even fuller extent before time runs out.