Ez 19 Israel’s Mother


Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches, by reason of many waters.

And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bear rule; and she exalted her stature among the thick branches; and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches. But she was plucked up in fury; she was cut down to the ground; and the East wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered : the fire consumed them, And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground. And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod for a sceptre to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation. EZEKIEL xix. 10-14.

THE spiritual man is in the life of Divine truths; but, in the sensuous man, all Divine truths are perverted and rejected.


Literally and historically, the mother of the Israelitish and Jewish Church was the Ancient Church, which was a spiritual church, principled in a good life, in the light of rational and spiritual truths.

The Ancient Church was represented by a good and flourishing grape-vine; for the grape-vine represents the spiritual degree of human life, in which truth is the fundamental element. In the Scriptures the church is often represented by a vine, or a vineyard, and sometimes by other trees, or by a garden. In Isaiah v. 7, it is said, “The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant.”

“Thy mother is (or was) like a vine in thy blood,” refers, literally, to the time of birth, as in Chapter xvi., verses 4 and 6; ” And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born, … when I passed by thee, . . . I said unto thee, in thy blood, Live.” But, spiritually, blood represents the Divine Truth, which is the circulating life of the soul, as blood is the circulating life of the body. ‘The love of the Divine Truth was in the Spiritual Church; and it should have been inherited by Israel, as an inclination and predisposition, developed in the IsraeIitish Church.


The mother, the Spiritual Church, was planted by many waters; i.e., established in the abundance of truths, For water represents the truths in which we are instructed, and as they are received by our natural mind. Having an abundance of truths, the Spiritual Church could have lived according to these truths, in a good and righteous life. Then the church would have been” fruitful,” in practical goodness, “and full of branches,” in the growth and extension of thought, “by reason of many waters ;” i.e., because the abundance of knowledges of truth would afford great opportunities for excellent growth. For truth is the means by which good knows what to do, and how to do it; and thus how to grow, and to bear fruit.


“And she had many rods, for the sceptres of them that bear rule;” i.e., literally, the vine was strong and large, and it furnished many strong pieces, suitable to make rods, or staves, or sceptres. Originally, the king’s sceptre, or symbol of office was simply his staff, or walking stick, on which he leaned for support.

In ancient Greece, the judge carried such a staff, or rod, as a sceptre, which was known as a representative of his office. Gradually, the rulers changed the form of the sceptre, to a mere symbol of office; and they ornamented their sceptres, with precious metals and precious stones, as a display of splendor. And, even in these days, anlong prominent men, in savage nations, and even among civilized peoples, there is a habit of carving and otherwise ornamenting, their walking sticks; and of using symbolic and representative forms, in such carving.

All these facts display the great attention which is often paid to the staff, and especially to the sceptre of the ruler. The staff, because it supports the man, in his journey, represents power, on which men must depend for support and strength. And because it is a part of a tree, which represents the truth, growing in the mind, so the wooden. staff, or sceptre, represents the power of truth, on which the mind leans for support. And, in the case of the sceptre of the ruler, it is the symbol of his power and authority. And when, as in a theocracy, the ruler is chosen by the Lord, his sceptre represents the Divine power, in whose name and strength the human ruler holds his position.

And thus, the fact that the vine had many such rods, represents that the spiritual church was endowed with abundant power, in her knowledge of the Divine Truth, applicable to both the inward principles of the church,. and the outward rules for conduct. In this sense, the letter of the Scripture is man’s great staff for daily support, in the practical walk of life.


But this vine exalted her stature; i.e., the Spiritual Church grew, intellectually; but she exalted herself; i.e., her members grew into the love of their own intelligence, until they forgot that the Lord’s truth is the source of all human intelligence. And then they regarded intelligence as their own, and as originating in themselves, and from themselves. They lifted up themselves in the pride of their self-intelligence.

” The thick branches” mentioned in the text, are the twisted and interlaced branches, in which things become entangled. And this was the case with this vine, that “she appeared in her height, with the multitude of her branches.”

These thick, interlacing branches, forming a network, represent the multitude of extended ideas, in the natural mind, which form such a twisted mass of notions, that the mind becomes entangled in them, and thus confused, until it loses its clear intelligence; as is the case, for instance, with the self-exalting infidel, who regards his own intelligence as supreme, and as fully competent to settle any spiritual question, without the help of any Divine Word; and who finally becomes entangled, and spiritually strangled, in the multitude of his own false notions.

The spiritual man has a conscience, formed in his mind, gradually, from infancy, by the teachings of his parents and others, and by the doctrines of the church. But, being without a clear perception of the principles of truth, he needs to confirm the doctrines he knows, by knowledge of things obtained through his senses. But, if he has received natural ideas which are not true, and which are falsities, or fallacies of the senses, these branching and intertwining notions will form such a thick network, that they will entangle his mind, and destroy the truth within it. When he imagines that he is greatly exalting his mind, in intelligence, he will be entangled in the things which will destroy his intelligence.

This is the case with the degenerated Spiritual Church, and with the degenerate mind of any man, to-day, who is in similar mental conditions. Men whose minds are in good spiritual conditions, receive the Divine Truth, and apply it to their daily life. But the self-exalting man perverts and rejects the Divine Truth, because his self-derived notions do not agree with the Lord’s teachings. And then his further conditions are represented by the things which happened to the vine, in the text.


” But she was plucked up in fury; she was cast down to the ground; and the East wind dried up her fruit.” In the degenerated mind, the truth which has been planted there, is uprooted and cast down, in fury, i.e., in anger, by the opposition of the man’s self-love.

“And the East wind dried up her fruit.” In a good sense the blowing of the wind represents the active influence, or operation, of the truth. But, in a bad sense, the wind is the activity of false principles in the mind. In a good sense, the East, where the sun appears to rise, represents the Lord: but in the opposite sense, the East is the self-love, which takes the place of the Lord, in the unregenerate mind.

Thus in a bad sense, the East Wind is the falsity from evil, which scatters and destroys all that is good and true in the mind, and encourages all the lusts of evil. And, in this condition, all the strong rods of the mental vine are broken, and left to wither, because they are without life; i.e., the truths of the church are destroyed so that the mind is deprived of the power to resist th,e hells. And then the Infernal “fire ” consumes them, in the evils of self-love. Thus the Israelitish Church was destroyed, by and in its perversion and rejection of Divine truths.


Literally, the destruction of Israel and Judah came through their conquest by Nebuchadnezzar, and the removal of the people to Babylon. Historically, the Ancient Church was like a goodly vine, flourishing and fruitful, and filled with knowledge. The strong rods for sceptres were her many wise men, learned in the Divine law, who could rule wisely, in the Church and in the State. But, in the degenerate days of Israel and Judah, Nebuchadnezzar came upon them, like a whirlwind, and carried them away. Their career of glory was ended; and it has remained closed, even up to the present day, when the Jews are no longer a nation, but are scattered among the peoples of the earth; and their glorious Jerusalem is known chiefly for its ruins.


” And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground.” A wilderness is where there is no life. And this condition represents the mind in which there are no living principles, no goodness and truth from the Lord. And the church, or the mind, which degenerates into evil and falsity, thereby plants itself in a spiritual wilderness, where there is nothing to give it life.

And the fire of evil self-love will spread from its branches, its tangled mass of falsities, and will devour all the good fruit, all the regenerate love, wisdom, and usefulness which were in the mind, as beginnings of a new life, as matters of. knowledge; and which might have been developed into heavenly life.

And then this mental vine, in her degeneration, will have no more strong rods, to be sceptres for those who rule; i.e., there will be no more knowledge of the practical power of the Divine truths, on which men can lean, spiritually and naturally, in principle and in conduct, in the walk of life, and in the power of self-control, in the intelligence of the enlightened spirit, exercising a regenerate control over all the lower degrees of the human life.

And thus there will be nothing left in the mind, by which the Lord could rule the man, in “the self-evidencing reason of love,” which is clear to the man who is open to perceive its quality, and who loves to adopt it; but which loses its power, in the unregenerate mind, which has no recognition of the quality of love and of wisdom. The same Divine Truth, which, in its spirit and in its literal form, is a trusted staff to the good man, seems, to the evil man, to be of no practical use.


The text representatively pictures a mind which has ceased to cherish the Divine Truth; which has driven out of its domains all the spiritual good and the truth which flow from the Lord; and which mind thereby becomes utterly powerless, either to receive the things of the spiritual life, or to resist the things of spiritual death; a wretched nihilist, and irrational anarchist, a spiritually-insane destructionist, in the realm of mind; using what little it has of external influence, to undo all that the loving God of infinite goodness is seeking to pour into the hearts and lives of His human children. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. “And he is exerting his puny efforts to live in a universe in which there is no God; to drive God out of his universe; and to make human life, henceforth, a desolate sorrow, in the dead wilderness of an inward hell and an outward desert.


And it is not singular that the picture of such a wilderness is called a “lamentation,” a funeral-wail over the lost heaven which is possible to men, but which evil men deliberately and determinedly reject.

“The princes of Israel” have passed into obscurity. The royal line of David, established by Jehovah, with wonderful happenings, long ago came to an untimely end, through personal corruption, idolatry, and persistent sin. The downfall of the Kingdom of Judah was the downfall of the entire dynasty, never to be restored, literally; but to be finally restored representatively and spiritually, in the coming of Jesus Christ, the true King of Israel, of the lineage of David.

Thus does the inexhaustible and infinite love of our Lord come to men again and again, seeking always to give to them, collectively and individually, the blessings of spiritual and heavenly life.

And as we reflect upon the history of the ages of the past, let us carefully remember that all these things are narrated in the Sacred Scriptures, in order that, in them, we may have a mirror held before us, in which we can see the possible conditions of our own life clearly reflected. The spirit of ancient Israel, sensuous and proud, still walks the earth, in the hereditary tendencies of our own natural minds. Our troubles, our sorrows, our struggles, our sufferings, in all phases of our natural life on this earth, are but the inevitable results of our own natural tendencies, as the inducing causes. To-day, our Lord says to us, with as much force, and with as much love, as He said to Israel, ages ago, ” The Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, neither is His ear heavy, that it cannot hear, but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you. (Isaiah lix. 1, 2.)

But, O Lord, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.”

Author: Edward Craig Mitchell 1903