To further understand what the prevailing condition during the Ezekiel 4 siege is, let us define some words from verses 16 and 17:
“Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment: That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.”
In Strong’s Concordance, the word “astonied” means ‘to stun or intransitively grow numb, that is, devastate or (figuratively) stupefy (both usually in a passive sense): – make amazed, be astonied, be desolate, bring into desolation, make desolate, be destitute, destroy self, make waste, wonder.’
While for the word “consume away”: it comes from “a primitive root; to melt; figuratively to flow, dwindle, vanish: – be corrupt, dissolve, pine away.”
This is the same as prophesied in Ezekiel 24:
“And ye shall do as I have done: ye shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men. And your tires shall be upon your heads, and your shoes upon your feet: ye shall not mourn nor weep; but ye shall pine away for your iniquities, and mourn one toward another.” (vv. 22-23)
God has allowed the people in His Church to do as what Mr. Gerald Flurry has done when his wife died – i.e., to appear normal in the sight of all men while still doing God’s work. During this Ezekiel 4 siege, the people in God’s Church would become emotionless – they grow numb – “ye shall not mourn nor weep” as what That Prophet has done. And the effect? God’s people could have experienced one of the following:
- become devastated, (meaning: overwhelmed or overpowered)
- in order to survive, they bring each other into desolation, (through betrayal to gain favor in the eyes of the ministers)
- some become destitute, (in the dictionary it means: completely wanting or lacking; poor enough to need help from others)
- others become corrupt spiritually,
- some people destroy themselves spiritually which is comparable to a physical suicide.
- eventually, all of the people are astonished as to what really is happening
And if the people do mourn, they just do it among themselves and they don’t show it to the ministry. This is the reason why the PCG membership around the world dwindles and some Church areas were either utterly dissolved or consumed away because of that siege and some has fallen by the sword. Read the letter below of an anonymous sender about such a story:
May 20, 2013
My friend let me know that PCG is going to be opening a new congregation in Alabama, but what is really going on is that their membership in that area has dwindled and they can no longer afford to pay a lot of money each month for a conference room. They are looking at about half what they have been paying because according to my friend’s calculation they only have about 25-30 people!!
I believe what has happened is that for years they have had at least 100 or more people so paying a pretty hefty amount per month was not a stretch. I would guess they have lost members and that those who are left live in the north to mid-section of the state. Hence the effort to find a meeting place in the Birmingham or surrounding area. – Anonymous
Have you noticed that the PCG members around the world seem to have become so afraid of what shall happen to them should they try to speak out and reason with the ministry, they would rather resort to voicing out their concerns with what is happening inside the PCG through anonymous posting of comments in ESN (Exit Support Network) and other COG sites. To better understand why this is so, let us again define what a SIEGE is:
A siege is a military blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by attrition or assault. …Sieges involve surrounding the target and blocking the reinforcement or escape of troops or provision of supplies, typically coupled with attempts to reduce the fortifications by means of siege engines, artillery bombardment, mining, or the use of deception or treachery to bypass defences.
Again as for the definition of a SIEGE, it is a military blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by ATTRITION or assault. Now let us consider the meaning of the word “attrition” in the dictionary:
1. A gradual diminution in number or strength because of constant stress.
2. A gradual, natural reduction in membership or personnel, as through retirement, resignation, or death.
3. Repentance for sin motivated by fear of punishment rather than by love of God.
4. Sorrow for sin arising from fear of damnation, especially as contrasted with contrition, which arises purely from love of God
Looking at the definitions of attrition, we may ask: Has the people in the Philadelphia Church of God not experienced “a gradual diminution in number or strength because of constant stress”? Has the Church not experienced a gradual, natural reduction in membership or personnel, as through retirement, resignation, or death? Has the people’s repentance for sin inside the Philadelphia Church of God, motivated by fear of punishment rather than the love of God? Is the prevailing attitude of the people inside the PCG already became such as a sorrow for sin arising from fear of damnation, which is contrasted with contrition, that arises purely from the love of God?
It seems that the answers in all four questions are a resounding YES, to which any PCG member who became victims of that spiritual siege could easily identify with!
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