Ezekiel – A member of a priestly family, contemporary with Jeremiah, whose sayings and writings undoubtedly had great influence on him. And, although he offered much sharp criticism of the Jewish rulers, priests, Levites and false prophets, he did not offer the objectionable predictions that were the substance of Jeremiah’s teachings, and he also held out some future hope for the Jewish people. He probably reached manhood in Jerusalem in the environment of the Temple during Jeremiah’s ministry. He was taken captive from Judah eight years after Daniel’s deportation. Josephus says he was a youth at the time. He was not a child but under the age when Levites assumed their duties and were reckoned in the census as men. He lived with the Jewish exiles on the Chebar, a canal in Babylonia.
His prophetic ministry began in the fifth year of Jehoiachin’s captivity on the Chebar. He was then in his thirtieth year (Ezek. 1:1,2). Though an exile in a foreign country, Ezekiel had freedom to utter his prophecies, and his advice was sought by the elders of the people (Ezek. 8:1; 14:1; 20:1), although those elders did not follow his advice faithfully. He takes brief doctrinal remarks, suggestive allegories, or short speeches of Jeremiah, and often gives them a literary finish. His prophetic activity seems to have extended over a period of at least 22 years. The time and manner of his death are not recorded.
The Book of Ezekiel is regarded by analysts as more simple in its arrangement than any other of the great prophetical books; and probably was wrote late in the prophet’s life, not piecemeal, but issued all at once. The prophecies are pretty much in chronological order, but it is questionable whether any of his prophecies are recorded exactly as he spoke them – practical, designed to influence the minds of the people in general. Two great themes dominate: the destruction of the city and nation; and the reconstruction of the people, and their eternal peace – two equal divisions of 24 chapters each.
The first 24 chapters prophesy the destruction of the city and nation; and the second 24 chapters the restoration of the people and their eternal peace as people of the Lord. Over the years the Jews have greatly erred in applying this promise to people as they are today, and not the overall grand application to “all people” under the beneficent reign of the Christ in the eternal establishment of the Kingdom for which Jesus taught us to pray.
The book contains little that is historical, but rather is a summation of sound general principles. Thus, he somewhat resembles Isaiah, but lacks the breadth of sympathy and the grand glow of emotion that distinguishes the “gentle‑man” of the Old Testament. Chapter One tells of his vision of Jehovah, who calls and sends him. Then follows his mission to Israel and his inspiration by Jehovah. In subsequent chapters he tells of the restitution of the people, as Jehovah sanctifies them and dwells among them. This thought is given with much greater force and clarity by the Apostle John in Rev. 11:3: “I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will tabernacle with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them – their God.” This promise is not exclusively to the Jews, but “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Here we have quite a wide difference of fact from what is taught by the Jehovah’s Witnesses’
Presently, there are still people throughout the earth who have never heard Jehovah’s name nor seen His glory. The real “glory of God” is His marvelous character perfectly balanced with Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power; and of this sublime condition God has declared, “My glory will I not give to another.” (Isa. 42:8) While He is recorded as “the God of Israel,” yet it is through Israel that “all shall know me, from the least to the greatest,” (Jer. 31:34) As the far‑off nations come to and touch Israel, the Lord’s glory shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. History as Ezekiel conceives it, whether of Israel or of all nations, is Jehovah’s revelation of Himself to all mankind; every movement of it carries this sobering thought: “Ye shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezek. 6:7)
Ezekiel offers a very lustrous picture of the future for the Jews, probably not realizing himself that that day would come when God’s Kingdom is fully established in the earth, when there “shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pains, for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) And he summarizes his thoughts with these words: “I will hide my face from them no more; for I have poured out my spirit on the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.” (Ezek. 39:29) The people are all righteous, led by the spirit of the Lord, and knowing that Jehovah is their God. Ezekiel does not explain how salvation is to be attained, for the salvation is realized and enjoyed; it describes the state and life of the people that their redemption is come now. The fact that the prophet details the final blessedness of the people accounts for the supernatural features of the people’s condition are to be understood literally. The Temple, the services, etc., are meant in a real sense, just as the supernatural presence of Jehovah is meant in a literal sense. At that time the desert will be turned into a garden, along with the sweetening of the waters of the dead sea. (Isa. 25:1,2)
Perhaps it is in order here to describe the present condition of the Dead Sea. Its surface is about 1,300 feet below sea level; its waters are about 27% salt; and no creature is able to live in it. A human being cannot sink in that water. In view of all these extreme conditions, we may readily understand why the scoffers are loud in their ridicule of the Bible in general, and especially so concerning the predictions of Ezekiel.
When the prophecy is fulfilled, the boundaries of the Holy Land will be changed considerably, with a new disposition of the twelve tribes within it. A life‑giving stream will issue from the Temple and the Temple is described in very dark and symbolic terms, with the gates of the Holy City occupying special attention.
MORE ABOUT EZEKIEL
Here we pause to offer further facts about the prophet himself. He was the son of Buzi, of whom nothing further is known. Like so many of the Old Testament prophets, Ezekiel had a very humble beginning, which would tend to keep him, along with others, in a keen understanding of the condition of the common people, with great sympathy for their problems. The name Ezekiel bears some resemblance to the work “to despise,” and a rabbinical fancy interprets it of Jeremiah, “the despised,” making Ezekiel the lineal descendant of this prophet, as he is his child in thought and faith. Ezekiel is styled the priest, and in all probability he was of the family of Zadak. At that time the priests had already attained great influence; they were the aristocracy, standing next to the royal family. It is not certain whether Ezekiel had actually been engaged in priestly duties before his captivity, though it is not unlikely, both from the name priest applied to him and from the minute acquaintance which he shows with the Temple, its dimensions and furniture, and with the sacerdotal rites. Much of the conclusion concerning the prophet is merely sound considered opinion, with absolute proof lacking. The age at which the priests undertook their duties is not clearly stated in the Law; but we have good assurance that Jesus began His ministry at the age of thirty; and it was Jewish custom then to consider the males as reaching manhood when they arrived at thirty years of age. According to Ezek. 24:18, he was married and had a home, to which the elders often came for consultation.
Ezekiel’s Youth ‑ The period at which the prophet’s youth was passed was rich in influences that must have powerfully affected him. Though too young to take part in the reform of Josiah – or perhaps to remember it – he grew up in the midst of the changes which it had introduced, and probably learned to estimate previous history from the point of view which it gave him. The tragic events which followed one another closely at this epoch, such as the death of Josiah, the exile of Jehoahaz to Egypt and of Johoiachin to Babylon, made a lasting impression on his mind. The last event formed the chief landmark of his life, and that not solely because his own history was so closely connected with it; and how deeply the fate of the two young princes touched him, and how well he could sympathize with the country’s sorrow over it, a sorrow recorded also by Jeremiah, is seen in his elegy on the princes of Israel. He has a fondness for historical study, and no history is to him without a moral; and silently the events of this time were writing principles upon his mind to which in after years he was to give forcible enough expression.
It was not, however, merely the silent teaching of events from which Ezekiel learned. He had a master interpreting events to him to whose influence every page of his prophecies bears witness. Jeremiah, indeed, may not have been Ezekiel’s only master; there were other prophets of the time like-minded with him, such as that Urijah whom Jehoiakim dragged from his hiding‑place in Egypt and slew with the sword. (Jer. Chap. 26) And perhaps others of whose names no record has been kept, for it is almost an accident, and only because his fate cast light on the history of Jeremiah in a moment of peril, that the name of Urijah has been preserved. There were also priests who cherished the same aspirations as these prophets, and pursued in their own province the same ends. It is not without significance that Jeremiah no less than Ezekiel was of a priestly family ‑ and that, too, a rural one ‑ for it was not in the capital alone that true religion had its representatives. Like Micah, Urijah was a prophet of the country, being of Kirjeth‑Jearim. And among Ezekiel’s predecessors in the priesthood, and also among his contemporaries, there were some who, if they had spoken to the world, would have spoken in the same manner as he did, for the favorable judgment which he passes on the Zadokite priests is not altogether due to mere caste prejudice.
Still the teaching and life of Jeremiah was probably the most powerful influence under which the young priest grew up. It would, no doubt, be a mistake to ascribe every idea in Ezekiel which coincides with Jeremiah’s teaching to the influence of that prophet. There is a common circle of thoughts and feelings which even the greatest minds share with those of their own age. Striking out some new conceptions, and opening up some lines of advancement which mark an epoch, the chief elements of their faith and life are common to them with others of their day, and have been inherited from the past. The surprise with which we read Jeremiah might be lessened if the means of comparing him with others were not so narrow as the paucity of writers in the century before the exile causes it to be. At any rate, his influence upon the language and thoughts of Ezekiel can be readily observed. It could hardly have been otherwise. For thirty years before Ezekiel’s captivity Jeremiah had been a prophet, speaking in the courts and chambers of the Temple and in the streets of Jerusalem, and having such a history as made him the most prominent figure of the day.
Ezekiel was familiar with his history and had listened to his words from his infancy. Many of his prophecies had circulated in writing for a number of years previous to the captivity of Jehoiachin which Ezekiel shared, and the constant intercourse between Jerusalem and the exiles kept the prophet of the Chebar well informed regarding the course of events at home, and the views which prominent persons there took of them.
However, with all this conjecture, we stress again that “Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:21) Thus, the fundamental source of all Old Testament prophecy – as well as of the New Testament – was the Holy Spirit; so we should expect a very strong similarity in all that was written by inspiration of God.
It is clearly stated by Daniel that “I heard, but understood not ... the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Dan. 12:8,9) And in the New Testament some of the things written were not understood by those who wrote them; but this is more so in the Old Testament than in the New Testament. It is generally conceded that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible – all of which is identified by Jesus as “the Law.” But Moses lived more than 2500 years after Adam was created, so he could only give us the Genesis account through inspiration of God. There are seven clear divisions in the Bible: The Law, the Prophets and the Psalms in the Old Testament; and the gospels, the Acts, the epistles and Revelation in the New Testament. And Jesus stated of the Old Testament: “They (the Old Testament Scriptures) are they which testify of me.”(John 5:39)
FURTHER THOUGHTS ON EZEKIEL
When Nebuchadnessar took Jerusalem he carried into captivity the young king Jehoiachin, the flower of the population including many priests, Ezekiel among them, as well as a multitude of other citizens, particularly craftsmen. Ezekiel, with a community of other exiles, was settled at Tel‑Abib by the river Chebar ‑ not to be identified with the Chabor which falls into the Euphrates near Carshemish, but some stream or canal in Babylonia proper; and five years later he was called to occupy among them the place of a “watchman.” How large the community was is not known – nor what kind of place Tel‑Abib was – for the reference of the prophet to walls hardly justify the conclusion that it was a walled town.
The community appears to have been left, as was usually the case, to regulate its internal affairs and govern itself according to its own mind. The prophet repeatedly mentions the “elders”; and though he calls them elders of Judah, or Israel, he identifies them with the captivity, of which they must have been the heads and representatives. The lot of the exiles in some cases may have been hard, but there is no evidence that they were harshly treated by their conquerors or suffered want. When the prophet speaks of famine he refers to Canaan; and the phrase “made servants of them” has more a national than an individual reference, like such expressions as “prison houses” in the second part of Isaiah (42:22). The exiles possessed houses, and there is no illusion to persecution from their heathen neighbors.
The picture – if it may be called such – which the prophet gives of the life of the exiles and their circumstances is singularly colorless. His interests were exclusively religious, and any insight which he affords us is into the religious condition of his fellow‑captives, from whose mouth he occasionally quotes an expression very suggestive as to their state of mind. His own mind was occupied with the largest conceptions, and the exiles were to his eye representatives of a larger subject. When bidden go to “them of the captivity” he felt sent to the “house of Israel”; and while addressing his fellow exiles he fancies before him the people of Canaan or the nation scattered abroad throughout the world. This identification of the exiles with the people as a whole, and this occupation of the prophet’s mind with great national interests, makes it difficult to know how far is his apparent addresses to the exiles he is touching upon their actual practices. Nothing is more likely than that the captives continued the evil courses in which they had grown up at home, so far as this was possible in a foreign land. They certainly shared in the fanaticism or optimism of those left in the country, and heard with incredulity the prophet’s predictions of the speedy downfall of the city.
It is known from Jeremiah (Jer. 29:8) that there were false prophets among the exiles who confirmed them in their delusive hopes; and Ezekiel may be referring to these prophets in such passages as Chapters 13 & 14. But such language as “ye have not gone up into the breach” (13:5), “I sought for a man that should stand in the gap before me for the land” (22:30), shows that it is the circumstances of the nation as a whole and not those of the exiles that occupy the prophet’s attention. The same appears from such expressions as those in 14:7: “every one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that layeth his idols on his heart.” In one passage (20:32) the people are represented as resolving to adopt the religion of the nations. “We will be as the nations, to serve wood and stone”; and such a spirit might very naturally reveal itself among the exiles surrounded by heathen neighbors.
But probable as this is, the chapter is a review of the nation’s history, and the language may be little more than the prophet’s interpretations of the spirit shown by the people all through its history. It is only on rare occasions that Ezekiel draws any distinction between the exiles and those remaining in the land, When he does so he shares the feeling of Jeremiah (chaps. 24,29) that the flower of the people had been carried into captivity with Jehoiachin, and that the hope of the nation lay in them (11: 14‑21) But usually the exiles are regarded as the representatives of the house of Israel; the “elders” are the elders of Judah or Israel; and, when addressing them, the prophet desires to speak in the ears of all his countrymen – just as it is the fate of Jerusalem, the history of the nation, and its future destinies, that form the theme of his discourse. The idea that Ezekiel’s office was limited to the exiles, among whom he was a sort of pastor, with a cure of souls, is supported by nothing in the Book.
It would be a mistake, however, to press this general bearing of his mission, and his preoccupation with the destinies of the house of Israel as a whole, so far as to infer from it that he had no actual prophetic ministry among the exiles; that he was a writer simply, unused to the life of men ‑ a solitary theorist whose “stuff for removing” (12:4), if he had brought it forth, would have been little more than an “inkhorn”; and that the form of oral address which he gives his words is a mere literary artifice.
It may not be allowable to assume that his operations among the exiles were literally altogether such as he describes them; but, apart from his own representations, several things afford evidence indirectly that he did exercise a ministry of some kind, and of some duration. When commanded to prophecy of the great conflagration which the Lord would kindle in the field of the south, he exclaims, “Ah, Lord God’ they say of me, is he not a speaker of parables?” And in 33:30 he is represented as being the subject of conversation among the people: “The children of thy people talk of thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, saying, Come, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord.”
These incidental allusions imply that the prophet had a manner which the people had learned to recognize and to discount, and that they were in the habit of meeting to consult him. The frequent assembling of the elders before him implies the same thing. It is true that those elders were very subordinate figures; they are merely mentioned and then the discourse passes on to the “house of Israel,” or even to the strangers that sojourn in Israel. However, Promises of restitution are evidence that Ezekiel was merely writing what God had revealed to him. Also, the actual occurrence of what he had predicted; he had clearly foreseen the downfall of the state, so the Jews could not accuse him of just talking; he had spoken “in the name of the Lord.”
And he was then just as emphatic in his predictions of reconstitution of the Kingdom of God on a better basis. But it is well to keep in mind here that what he foresaw was not at all clear to him. His ideas of restitution of Israel were a far gap from what the actual restitution will be – a new arrangement “wherein dwelleth righteousness,” with no evil or physical affliction as is promised by the Apostle John in Revelation. His public reproof of the nation in the earlier parts of his book are to be taken literally as applying to that time; but the elevating promises of the future are of much grander viewpoint than Ezekiel himself recognized at that time. Because of the severe opposition of his predictions about the fall of Jerusalem, he had been comparatively silent; but when the city fell he could then speak with the authority and voice of a true prophet. And he frequently warns Israel that “ye shall know that I am Jehovah.” (Psa. 83:18)
It is the opinion of some writers that the Apostle John was motivated in much of his style by what Ezekiel had written, although the Apostle has improved on what he learned from Ezekiel. Ezekiel had a wide knowledge of designing and architecture, and an excellent familiarity with foreign lands and their natural and industrial products. Although the ten tribes of Israel had been “lost” for more than a hundred years before Ezekiel’s time, yet he forecast the reunion of the twelve tribes in the distant future (37:15‑17); and we know this will be an accomplished fact in the near future. Then will be fulfilled the vision of “the dry bones” (Ezek. 37:1‑8 and their resurrection, along with a new Temple, partially, if not totally, “made without hands.”
The following observation of two Old Testament prophets is made by one capable writer: “The difference between Isaiah’s knowledge of God and that of Ezekiel, and consequently the greater detail of the latter in chapter one compared with Isaiah six, is very prettily expressed by Abarbanel, who says that Ezekiel was a villager who saw the divine Majesty but rarely and therefore minutely described it, while Isaiah dwelt in the capital and was familiar with the great King.”
Foregoing we stressed that both those prophets spoke by inspiration of God; but God always allowed His mouthpieces to be “themselves” while speaking the Truth. This is also true of the New Testament, where St. Paul’s superior education and mentality overshadow some of his fellow Apostles who were “ignorant and unlearned men.” (Acts 4:13)
Nothing is known of Ezekiel after 570 BC; but tradition asserts that he met his death in Babylonia at the hands of a prince of his people whom he had upbraided for his idolatrous practices.
Generalities – Ezekiel’s general doctrine of God does not differ materially from that of other prophets of the same age, such as Jeremiah and Isaiah, though the character of his mind causes him to bring some Divine attributes into more prominence than others; and his education as a priest leads him to a way of thinking or at least to the use of a kind of phraseology not observed in other prophets.
His conception of Jehovah appears in “the visions of God” which he describes. These visions were all alike, and they reveal his general impression of that which Jehovah is. The fourfold nature of the cherubim, of their faces and wings and of the wheels, all forming a chariot moving in every direction alike, and with the velocity suggested by the wings and wheels, symbolizes the omnipresence of Jehovah, while the eyes of which the whole was full are a token of His omniscience. The throne above the firmament on which He sat indicates that He is king in heaven, God over all, omnipotent. The Divine being Himself appeared as of human form, while His nature was light, of such brightness that fire fitly represented Him only from the loins downward; from the loins upwards the effulgence was something purer and more dazzling, and He was surrounded by a brightness like that of the rainbow in the day of rain. This “glory,” which contains Himself within it, is that which is manifested to men.
At the sight of His glory the prophet fell upon his face, but it is not Jehovah’s will that His servants should be overborne by His majesty (Job 9:32‑35; 13:21); and He says to the prophet “stand upon thy feet that I may speak with thee” (Ezek. 2:1). He is the living God – “a likeness as the appearance of a man” (1:26) – “a mighty hand and a stretched out arm.” These representations in Ezekiel mean neither more nor less than they do in other prophetical writings; all taken together they express the idea of a living personality possessing all the powers of personal being. The Lord brings Himself near and dwells by His spirit in men’s hearts – even tabernacling in a visible form among them forever, so that the name of the new Jerusalem to all generations is, “The Lord is there.” The prophet says he ate the roll which the Lord had given him, “and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.” (Ezek. 3:3) The same joy in God’s service – even amidst persecutions – was felt by Jeremiah: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; they were the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” (Jer. 15:16)
The prophet states that God is Lord over all; and the self‑exaltation of peoples or their rulers in any place is an offence against the majesty of Him who is alone exalted. The moral forces are also subject to Him, as well as the physical. Indeed, the prophet represents God as the Author of all that occurs, whether on the stage of history or in the minds of men. The laws given to the people were “good” – statutes of life; but the people neglected and disobeyed them. But, “I will make myself known in the eyes of many nations; and they shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezek. 38:23)
THE PEOPLE: The Book contains much condemnation of the people, but we shall offer just passing comment: He asserts that Jerusalem has outbidden Samaria in wickedness, and that both peoples have been more perverse than the heathen. The degeneracy had infected all classes and persons; and it was in vain to look for a “man” in the streets of Jerusalem. “I sought for a man among them to stand in the gap before me for the land, but I found none.” (Ezek. 22:30)
However, Ezekiel saw a future for Israel – especially in Ezek. 36:24‑38 – of which we shall quote brief exerps, but we first offer the opinion of one brilliant commentator as introduction: “This remarkable passage has no parallel in the Old Testament, and reads like a fragment of a Pauline epistle. The doctrine of the spirit of God receives fuller development in it than anywhere else in the Old Testament.” “I will take you from among the heathen, saith the Lord, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land ... A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit, and I will take away the stony heart, and I will give you an heart of flesh. ... And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers ... I will save you from all your uncleanness: and I will call for the corn, and increase it ... I will multiply the fruit of the tree ... Then ye shall remember your own evil ways ... and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities ... Then I will also cause you to dwell in the cities ... And the desolate land shall be tilled ... And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden ... the ruined cities are become fenced ... Then the heathen shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.” (Ez. 36:24‑38)
The above prophecy is now being fulfilled in this our own day; and believing Jew and Gentile alike may take strong assurance from those promises that the Jews are now in goodly Canaan land to stay there. No more will they be the “wandering Jew”; and all the uproar about them being pushed out of Palestine is nothing more than just loud talk; and time will eventually prove it so. It is with much pleasure and strong assurance of faith that we present this paper on the Prophet Ezekiel.
Sincerely your brother, John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
I’m returning the studies on Zionism, which I believe to be part of godless communism in the world today. I believe the Jewish religion to be the synagogue of Satan Rev. 2:9, 3:9. The Christian (sheep) nations in the world today are Israel. I would like you to read the two enclosed studies by a man of God, students of the Word. Truth ever increases unto the end of this age. In Christ’s name, ------- (NORTH CAROLINA)
Dear Brother---------: Grace and peace!
This is in answer to your letter of August 21. I have read Pastor Emry’s views some time back; but I read what you sent very carefully. I now enclose two articles ‑ Nos. 238 and 277, which I trust you will also read.
The Jews in Jerusalem crucified the Lord of Glory. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not’ Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matt. 23:37‑39) They(the Jews) will indeed recognize Him as their Messiah, and will then say, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” (Acts 3: 17) They did not recognize that they were crucifying their Messiah.
After their 1845 years of favor, which ended when they crucified Jesus, their 1845 years of disfavor began. The pinnacle of their favor was when Jesus offered Himself to them. However, the first Christians in Jerusalem were all Jews. All the Apostles were Jews, and all others who accepted Him were Jews until the door was opened to the Gentiles. (Acts 10:19‑48) It was “to the Jew first” when our Lord came to establish His spiritual house; and it will be “to the Jew first” when He makes up His fleshly house in His glorious Kingdom. In 1877 that Wise and Faithful Servant (Matt. 24:46,47) predicted that the Lord would begin to bless the Jews in 1878, which He did at the Berlin Congress of nations, when Lord Beaconsfield – a Jew, the first ever to be Prime Minister of England – took the leading part. There England assumed a general protectorate over the Asiatic provinces of Turkey, among which is Palestine. The condition of the Jews in Palestine was then alleviated, and the door was opened for others to locate there with the privilege of owning real estate. Previously, the Jew was cuffed, kicked and abused and was denied the most ordinary privileges of existence, in the land so sacred to him.
“Blindness in part happened to Israel.” (Rom. 11:25) If Israel is not the Jews, when did “blindness in part” happen to the Israel that Pastor Emry teaches? The Apostle Paul ‑ who was a Jew – said, “He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly.” That means that God does not consider the Jew according to the flesh – only those are Jews who faithfully try to keep the Mosaic Law. The others are considered no more than heathen. That Wise and Faithful Servant also predicted that Jews would return in great numbers after 1914, and we are witnesses to this truth. If Pastor Emry’s Israel is God’s chosen people, why are they not in Jerusalem to receive God’s favor “in due time”? And they mocked Him, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews.” And when Pilate asked Him if He was King of the Jews, He did not deny it: “Thou sayest it.” (Luke 23:3) Jesus Himself also said, “Salvation is of the Jews.” (John 4:22) The Adversary and his blinded dupes have sought to destroy the Bible, as well as the Jews; but they cannot do it, as God is their preserver.
We know “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ... should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:4), but we seize every opportunity to bear witness to the Truth; and “in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” (2 Tim. 2:25) However, I know full well that the world now lies in darkness, error and sin; but the majority will have their eyes opened in the Kingdom when “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. 11:9)
With this comes my good wishes for your good health, spiritual and physical. The Lord bless and guide you as you seek to serve Him in sincerity and in Truth.
Sincerely your brother and servant, John J. Hoefle
Dear John and Emily: Shalom!
Yes, beloved friends, the Israelis “simply beat them to the punch,” as you noted in your welcome communication of August 15, for which many thanks.
Indeed, the “real culprits are the leaders of Lebanon” who tolerated the PLO‑Russian inroad into their country. “They allowed those vermin into their country, gave them protection and encouragement.” How well you see the situation’
Moses routed Amalek and Joshua routed Israel’s enemies of his day, and Deborah in her day; Gideon in his time, etc. ... And YHVH was with them, and He is with Israel deserving or not – today’
The Everliving One has sworn with an oath that He would fulfill His word (Zechariah 12‑14;. Ezekiel 38‑39, etc.). Apparently, we are in the destined latter‑day period now.
Not a word of criticism of what you stated. I agree fully, and Jeane Kirkpatrick must be alerted. I am sure she must have read Morris B. Abram’s article as it appeared in today’s Times (copy enclosed).
Corresponding with a number of brethren who, like you, are fully familiar with the late Pastor Russell’s prophetic writing, I note that their views on the current situation in Lebanon are similar to yours. ....
Pastor Russell thus prepared the ground for the present generation by sowing seeds of Truth. In a sense, he “prepared a highway” for the “Day of the Lord”; removed the stumbling blocks. Yes, let us thank and praise Yah Yehovah for him and for having brought us into this path of Truth. There are but a few more steps to take, and we stand ready’
With love from both of us. Faithfully your brother, -------- (NEW YORK)
Please send to us your price list. We are ministering to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and would like to update our library. Yours truly, Rev. ------- (CANADA)