There is a prophecy in Ezekiel chapter 8 wherein God showed him groups of top leading men in His own Church who betrayed Him.
“And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up” (Ezek. 8:11). In the Ezekiel booklet, Mr. Flurry explained these 70 men:
Anciently, 70 elders had meetings with God! The number 70 is God’s way of revealing that these end-time elders also had meetings with the true God! But then they betrayed Him and turned their backs on Him. God used this number 70 for a very special reason. HE IS TELLING US THESE ARE HIS OWN MINISTERS GOING ASTRAY! It is a revealing SIGN!…The greater abomination mentioned in Ezekiel 8:6 is referring to the MAJORITY of God’s own ministers in the end time leading God’s people astray. This is a very ugly abomination! Few horrors could surpass this one! Most of the top leaders in God’s own lukewarm Church are committing abominations in God’s Church—the very highest leadership council! (p. 51)
Take a careful notice that these 70 men are “of the house of Israel” while there is another group of 25 men, which is of the “house of Judah”:
“Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose.” (vv. 15-17)
Those 70 men are the top WCG ministers that led the rebellion against God. But, what of the 25 men? These could be a different group apart from the 70 men mentioned earlier since the 70 men refers to the house of Israel, while the 25 men refers to the house of Judah. Could the house of Israel be referring to the WCG while the house of Judah to the PCG? Considering that there was no inner and outer court during the Philadelphia era, and it was only during a Church split was there a distinction between the two – the Philadelphians in the inner court, the Laodiceans in the outer court (Rev. 11: 1-2).
In verse 16, notice that Ezekiel was brought “into the INNER COURT of the LORD’S house” and in verse 17, God specifically pointed him to the house of Judah. Do these 25 men refer to a group of ministers in the PCG? If so, then they have returned to provoke God to anger, and in so doing, it’s like they are cutting off their very breath of life. One cannot return to something if it has not been done so the first time (by the 70 men in the WCG). The 70 men surfaced when Mr. Armstrong was “taken out of the way” (2 Thes. 2:7). Will the 25 men gather together when “the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall”? (Isa. 22:25). Again as written in Matthew 24: “Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather”. (v. 28, RSV)
“And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.” (v. 16) According to Lange’s Commentary:
It takes place in the inner part of (God’s) house, – thereby placed in contrast with the publicity going before …with the actings of the elders in verse 7. …Accordingly there can be no doubt that the persons, the 25 men, – as most expositors …believe, the presidents of the 24 orders of the priests (1 Chronicles 24) with the high priest at their head, – represent the priesthood. …In this way the abomination to be described is greater than what has hitherto been related of the kind. But then, farther, the description of the posture assumed (compare 1 Kings 14:9; 2 Chr.29:6; the antithesis of their backs and their faces, the contrast of … ‘toward sunrise’) sets forth what is abominable in the highest degree. The sanctuary of the Eternal is a thing going down behind them; they turn to the new light.
First, let us enumerate the details that were given above:
- It takes place in the inner part of (God’s) house, – thereby placed in contrast with the publicity going before …with the actings of the elders in verse 7.
Ezekiel was brought to the inner court of God’s house and this was a different place and a different group of people is being mentioned here apart from the 70 elders in verse 7. And notice that the activities of those 70 elders were made public and there was even publicity involved. Apparently, verse 7 did refer to the court case battle between the WCG and PCG which was even publicized and advertized on newspapers and it was also documented through the Raising the Ruins book, while these 25 men in verse 16 were found inside God’s house and their activities are not made public – no publicity.
- Accordingly there can be no doubt that the persons, the 25 men, – as most expositors …believe, the presidents of the 24 orders of the priests (1 Chronicles 24) with the high priest at their head, – represent the priesthood.
Mr. Flurry wrote in the Ezekiel booklet,
“Verse 16 shows those 25 top ministers in the inner court …God is not addressing the false ministers of this world in these verses – He is discussing ministers who knew God …The expression ‘between the porch and the altar’ refers to where the ministers prayed to God in the temple (Joel 2:17)” (p. 57).
As Lange’s commented, these 25 men are high ranking ministers! Could these 25 men also refer to Joshua and his fellows in Zechariah 3:8? Notice that Joshua and his fellows’ folly seem to revolve around choosing another land more than Jerusalem in verse 3 (the Eternal has chosen Jerusalem).
- “…with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.”
Here again is what Lange’s says regarding this:
In this way the abomination to be described is greater than what has hitherto been related of the kind. But then, farther, the description of the posture assumed (compare 1 Kings 14:9; 2 Chr.29:6; the antithesis of their backs and their faces, the contrast of … ‘toward sunrise’) sets forth what is abominable in the highest degree.
Notice that the abominable thing that has been committed by those 25 men revolve around the posture that they assumed – they have turned their backs on God! Mr. Flurry elaborates further,
The entrance to the temple was on the east side. The HOLY OF HOLIES—where God was located—WAS ON THE WEST SIDE! These ministers commit a wanton affront by turning their backs to God! This is the worst abomination of all! These have to be God’s own ministers who knew God intimately and then turned their backs to Him! They knew the great God ‘face to face’—and then turned away! This is the most abominable crime in the whole book of Ezekiel! (p. 57, ibid.)
Let us then consider and compare what Lange’s mentioned above like the one in 1 Kings 14:9: “But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back.”
While in 2 Chronicles 29:6 we can read, “For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and turned their backs”
Now notice again very carefully -the posture that has been assumed which is the turning of their faces from God’s temple and casting God behind their back is what makes it the worst abomination of all!
Since the PCG did have an archeological dig in Jerusalem where God’s house was built in the past and will be built in the immediate future, “because the Eternal has chosen Jerusalem”, then this could be the representation of God’s temple being discussed in Ezekiel 8:16. What then could make the 25 men to “turn away their faces from the Eternal God’s future habitation which is Jerusalem, and to cast Him behind their backs”?
To clearly see the big picture here, let’s define some words in the latter part of verse 16: “…with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.”
“Backs” in Strong’s Concordance refers to the hinder part; hence behind, backward; also (as facing north) the West: back part, without. Here is what Mr. Armstrong wrote about this WEST of Jerusalem:
After saying, “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?” the Eternal, speaking through Hosea, says: “[T]hen the children shall tremble from the west” (Hosea 11:8, 10)…
Referring to the house of Israel, not Judah (Isaiah 49:3, 6), God says: “Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim” (Isaiah 49:12). In the Hebrew, the language in which this was originally inspired, there is no word for “northwest,” but this term is designated by the phrase, “the north and the west.” It means, literally, the northwest! The Vulgate renders “Sinim” as “Australi,” or “Australia.” So we now have the location northwest of Jerusalem and even spreading around the world…
So, finally, today, as in Jeremiah’s day, the house of Israel is in the isles, which are “in the sea,” the chief of the nations, northwest of Jerusalem…
Take a map of Europe. Lay a line due northwest of Jerusalem across the continent of Europe, until you come to the sea, and then to the islands in the sea! This line takes you directly to the British Isles! (The United States and Britain in Prophecy, p. 98 – 99)
If you try to look on a map of Europe which is northwest of Jerusalem you can indeed find the British Isles in which Ireland is also located! Let us continue: In Ezekiel 8:16, the word “faces” in Strong’s could also mean “prospect.” And “prospect” in the dictionary means,
– A place that commands an extensive view: look out
– The act of looking forward: anticipation
– A mental picture of something to come: vision
– Something that is awaited or expected
According to Strong’s and Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew definition, the word “sun” could BOTH pertain to sun-rising which is east of direction, or sun-setting which is west of direction.
“Depress” in the dictionary means, “to press down, to cause to sink to a lower position, to lessen the activity or strength of”
And the word “reflexive” means, “characterized by, or being a relation that exists between an entity and itself.”
The word “worship” according to Strong’s means “to depress, i.e. to prostrate especially reflexive in homage to royalty or God”
While the decision to go to Ireland (northwest of direction), from the point of origin which is Jerusalem (on the east) would be considered a major step in God’s work, even considering it the 3rd phase (as announced in the 2012 Feast of Tabernacles).
And in the process, they JUSTIFY their decision to go to Ireland by telling everybody inside the PCG to still look out for Jerusalem and anticipate the return of Jesus Christ, with the vision of “new Jerusalem” in their mind, when on the other hand, having to find a relation that exist between themselves and the royal lineage of King David from Ireland. But what is God’s view about such a decision? Could it be considered then that these 25 men of Ezekiel 8 would rather want to reflect on the relation that exist between themselves and their royal lineage to that of King David in Ireland to the west, and choosing to lessen the strength of the relation that exist between themselves and their royal lineage to that of the Eternal God who has chosen Jerusalem to the east?
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