Ez 9 Slaughter Jerusalem


He cried also in mine ears, with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city, to draw near, even every man with his destroying-weapon in his hand. ” And behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the North, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s ink-horn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brazen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon He was, to the threshold of the house. And He called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s ink-horn by his side. And Jehovah said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry, for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others He said, in “mine hearing, Go ye after him, through the city, and smite : let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly, old and young, both maids and little children, and women.: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. … And behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the ink-horn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as Thou hast commanded me. Then I looked, and behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared over them, as it were a sapphire-stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne. And He spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city…. And he went in, in my sight. . . . And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubim, unto the fire that was between the cherubim, and took thereof, and put into the hands of him that was clothed with linen; who took it, and went out.-EZEKIEL ix. 1-6; x. 1, 2, 7.

THE truths of the Divine Word examine into the spiritual character of those who are in the church and who possess the holy Word in its letter. And this searching reveals the quality of a man’s reception of the Divine Word; and it brings a spiritual judgment, in which the evil man is seen to destroy himself, spiritually, by and In hIs own fixed quality of character; because there is nothing of goodness, or of truth, left in him, which is not profaned and destroyed by his own evils. But a church is formed in the hearts of those who sincerely receive the Divine Truth, in and through the holy Word of God in its letter and in its spirit.


We must remember that our text does not report literal history, but that it is a symbolic and representative vision of a spiritual judgment, a judgment such as is continually going on, in the minds of men.


The instructions were given to those who had charge over the city. A city, as a systematic collection of houses, etc., for men, represents a system of doctrine, for the use of the mind.

And, as Jerusalem represented the church so as a city, it represented the doctrine of the hurch. And, in this case, it represented the doctrine of the church as it had become in the minds of unregenerate men sinking further into evils.


Spiritually, those who had charge of the city, were the Divine truths of the Word, which dwell in the doctrine of the church, and by which the states of men’s minds, as to truth, were to be examined and judged, by means of keen applications of truth to the heart’s life, as well as to the outward conduct.

There were six men, because, in this sense, six represents a state of combat, in which the truth strikes against falsity and evil. There were six days of creation, to represent the successive states of combat, in the mind, between good and evil, on one side, and truth and falsity, on the other side, which combat must be passed through, in the regenerating mind, before the holy seventh day, or regenerate condition, can be reached. And so a Hebrew servant served six years, and was set free in the seventh year. And so the Israelites sowed their land for six successive years, but allowed it to lie fallow, unused, in the seventh year.

These six men came from the North gate of the city, to represent that the combatting phase of the Divine Truth is in the letter of the holy Word. For the North, as the coldest quarter, represents the external, or natural side of things.


One of these men, who was the leader in the slaughter, is especially described as being “clothed with linen,” and having” a writer’s ink-horn by his side.” Linen, white and clean, represents a pure and clean life, a state of righteousness, which means being right in our life, according to the Lord’s rules of life. And so, in the Apocalypse, it is said of the church, “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Revelation xix. 8.) And here, the man clothed with linen was the leader in the judgment, because, in the judgment upon the man of the church the leading test of character is the quality of his practical life, as to righteousness.


That he had a writer’s ink-horn by his side, as a scribe, or recorder, represents that practical righteousness is what forms the actual record of a man’s life, and writes and records his character, in the doings of his daily life. “By their fruits ye shall know. them.” “Behold, I come quickly: and My reward is with Me; to give to every man according as his work shall be.” “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

That “the glory of God,” which was a halo representing the Divine presence, went up from the cherubim, and went to the threshold of the house, represents that, in the judgment, the Lord, in His bright truth, is especially present in the externals of the church; i.e., in the practical conduct of the members of the church, to demonstrate the quality of men’s characters by the good or evil of their daily life.


In the judgment, the distinction is made between good men and evil men. For, spiritually, a judgment is not a vindictive punishment of evil men, and a reward of good men; but it is a separation of the good from the evil, by the full development of the character of each man, in which each person comes into the results of his own quality of character.

It is said that a mark was set upon those who sighed and cried over the abominations that were going on in Jerusalem. These were such as did not agree with such abominations, but grieved over them, as evil things, contrary to spiritual life. We sigh over the things which are contrary to our thoughts; and we cry over, or cry out against, the things which offend our affections.

The forehead signifies our interior love, which is the highest part of our character, as the forehead is the highest part of the face. To mark anything is to distinguish it from others. And the mark set on the forehead of these better men, represented the fact that the Divine Truth, in judging men, i.e., in separating the good and the evil, judges by the inward character, the real quality of the man; thus, by his motives, and not merely by his acts. The Hebrew word (tav) used in the text, to mean a mark, means, especially, a mark of a cross. And, as a cross represents the trials of temptation, so the men who were marked with a cross, were those who had passed through the struggles of temptation, and who had been regenerated.

We remember that, preceding the judgment in Egypt, at the time of the Exodus of Israel, when Jehovah was about to destroy the first-born children of the Egyptians, He commanded the Israelites to set blood-marks on their doors, to distinguish them from the Egyptians, so that Jehovah would” pass over” such houses, and not slay anyone therein.

This was the great event which was afterward celebrated in the “passover” festival.


That those who smote the people of Jerusalem should smite all, including men, women, and children, means that, in the judgment, evil men bring themselves to a self-destruction of all parts of their mind and character, their intelligence, their affection, and their innocence; because their ruling loves, which are evil, give character to all things of their mind and life. An evil man, out of the evil treasure of his heart, brings forth that which is evil.

The destroyers were told to have no pity, to represent that nothing remained in the evil man which could be saved and regenerated, but that a general vastation, or laying waste of character, must come to the evil man. And the destroyers were told to begin at the Lord’s sanctuary, the holy place; i.e., with the elders, who were busy in the sanctuary, worshipping idols in the holy place of Jehovah. These leading men represented the ruling loves in the minds of men, which, being the cause of the evil, were the first to feel its penalty. Leaders in evil, and leading principles of evil, in men, inevitably deceive themselves, while seeking, to deceive others. And their evils return upon themselves, in the destruction of their own character. These things are represented by the leader in the judgment reporting to the Lord that he had done as commanded.


After this, a throne, like a sapphire-stone, appeared over the cherubim. The sapphire-stone, being blue, represents the truth; in this case the Divine Truth, bringing the presence of the Lord, in His Truth, in His holy Word, which also reveals Him in His Divine Love. As the beautiful sapphire-stone, seen in the light of the sun, is lucid and luminous, so the letter of the Lord’s Word, when seen in the spiritual light which comes to the mind that loves the Lord, displays the Divine Love, in all its tender mercy, in the interior of man’s life, and also in all the externals of man’s life on earth. The throne of the Lord represents heaven, where the Lord is. And, in an interior sense, heaven is in the regenerate. mind of a good man, where the Lord dwells.


The man clothed with linen was thus commanded, “Go in between the wheels, under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubim; and scatter them over the city.

” Fire signifies love, either good or bad love, according to the circumstances. The cherubim represented the providence of the Lord, guarding the spiritual things of faith from profanation by the natural-minded man; as, for instance, the letter of the Divine Word protects the spiritual meaning, which otherwise would be violated by the falsities of evil, and by the fallacies of the senses.

In its origin, all love comes to men from heaven; and it is good in quality; but evil men, in receiving love, immerse it in their own evil affections and false thoughts; and thus they pervert its quality; and, in their own hearts, they change the Divine good into human evil.

In the providence of the Lord, when men are in evil, it is better that they should not have a clear and spiritual understanding of the mysteries of faith; i.e., of the interior things of regenerate life. For, with such knowledge, they would sink further into evil, by hating and profaning spiritual truths, and living in opposition to such truths. It is not the desire of the Lord to condemn evil men to the greatest possible extent, and thus to execute vengeance against sinners; but, on the contrary, it is the effort of the Divine Love to give to every man all the good which he is willing to receive, and all the truth which he will use for good. And when an evil man cannot be saved from his chosen evil, the Lord seeks to save him from further and worse evils. For this purpose, an evil man is permitted to remain in external conditions of mind, with little knowledge of spiritual things, because thus he will remain in milder conditions of infernal life.


In our text, the coals between the cherubim represent the love which is in spiritual minds. But, when those coals are taken away from their place, and scattered upon a city of evil men, such action represents the descent of love to its lower forms, in the natural mind, And, as the city represents a system of doctrine, and, in this case, a perverted and false doctrine, held by evil men, so the scattering of the coals over the city signified the Lord’s permission to such evil men to contaminate and pervert their natural affections, and to live in their wild lusts of the senses, rather than to allow them to see, and to profane, the higher things of spiritual love; because, being in the love of perverting the truth, and in the belief of false doctrines, they would surely make their own conditions more deplorable, if they could pervert the higher life.

Thus, in the judgment, after men are judged by the truth, and each is allowed to be that which he is determined to be, in character, the completion of the judgment comes in allowing such evil men to live in their chosen lusts of evil.

And then the glory of the Lord returned to the cherubim; i.e., the goodness and truth of the Lord were seen in the high and spiritual light, by those who were in condition of character to understand such truth. For the Divine Love and Wisdom are clear to him who has eyes to see.” O Lord, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.”

Author: Edward Craig Mitchell 1903