"The Man with the Writers Inkhorn", Part 1

Ezekiel Chapter 9 Verses 1-11 and Chapter 10 Verses 1-7

In this study we will be following along primarily with Brother Frank Shallieu’s commentary as found
in (
The Book of Ezekiel, Pages 54-61), along with that of a talk given by Brother Ric Cunningham
on the subject at the 1996 Bible Students International Convention entitled “
A Man Clothed in Linen
with the intention of arriving at some logical conclusion based upon the thoughts given by each. It has
always been our belief that the Lord has never given complete knowledge, complete understanding to
any one brother, but rather has spread it amongst the brethren (that is to those who apply themselves
to it) so that in turn we might develop a dependence upon one another, that “
the whole body might
be joined and knitted together
by that which every joint supplies, according to the effective
working (of the holy spirit, the spirit of truth),
by which every member contributes its share
Eph 4:16. Thus it is our hope that through a comparison of the studies of these two fine brethren
(along with any other information provided by the Lord’s consecrated) we hope to find the truth for
which we seek. Understand our goal here is not to find fault with the thoughts of any, but rather to find
the harmony, the truth which exists between us. As usual any thoughts here of my own will appear in
italics.
  

Then He called out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, “Let (or “cause) those who have
charge over the city
draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. And suddenly six men
came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his battle-ax in his
hand. One man among them was clothed with linen and had a writer’s inkhorn at his side. They
went in and stood beside the bronze altar.
Ezek 9:1, 2

Let us compare the thoughts of our two friends on these opening verses; there are several points of
interest here
.

Brother Shallieu: “In what way did these six men with slaughter weapons have a “charge” over
Jerusalem?
They had the responsibility of a message then due. Each of the six had a particular
responsibility, a particular charge to fulfill.
Somehow Ezekiel was to cause the six men to discharge
the message(s)
. The “six men came from the way of the higher gate,” which was toward the
north
. Since judges sat in the gate, we know this scene will be related to judgment. The six were
proceeding from the north
into the city, into the Temple arrangement; that is, they came from the
north where God resides, from the seat of judgment. Hence the six men with slaughter weapons were of
divine appointment and divine judgment is indicated.
A seventh man among them was clothed with
linen and had a writer’s inkhorn by his side
. Notice, there is no mention of a slaughter weapon in this
man’s hand. Presumably he had a quill or pen to dip into the inkhorn as he performed the priestly (white
linen) duties of a scribe. Once again Ezekiel was seeing a moving vision, a vision with motion.
The six
men plus the one man came in the north gate and went to the Brazen Altar in the Court.


Brother Cunningham:Verse 2 says six men came from the way of the higher gate, "they that have
charge over the city
."The "charge over the city" denotes authority. Six had destroying weapons
and one was clothed in linen. These
seven men are those who had authority over Christendom in the
sense that they came from the way of the higher gate, from the way of higher learning. They were
teachers in Christendom.
The Hebrew says they faced toward the north. Jehovah is pictured as
residing in the north. They looked northward as they came into the court area and gathered around the
brazen altar.
We think this means that Jehovah, at the appointed time, allowed seven to be
gathered together who would have authority over Christendom as teachers and who would
come forth to spread their teachings.
These teachings would either slay the one class, or would mark
or spare the other.”

It is Brother Frank’s thought that the Prophet Ezekiel here in the Apocalypse of the Old Testament
typically represents the Lord’s people at the end of the age, more specifically
those of the Lord’s
people who were (and are) associates of the man with the writer’s inkhorn
”, with this particular
thought in mine we are inclined to agree as even was true with respects to the Apostle John in the
Apocalypse of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation.

Now Brother Frank suggest that
God told Ezekiel to cause the six men …to draw near…to cause
the six men to discharge the message(s)
”, this particular thought is a bit puzzling to us because we
simply don’t see how he arrived at this conclusion, let’s take another look at the text one more time.

Then he called out in (or within) my hearing 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.
We
see nothing here which would imply that God was speaking directly to Ezekiel in this instance that he
wished for the Prophet himself to cause these men to draw near. To us it was simply a command to
some unknown influence, power or agency (the Angel of the Lord) to accomplish his will in this matter,
and Ezekiel just happened to be within ear-shot of this command.

Now the other problem I see with the foregoing is in Brother Shallieu’s perspective of where and from
which direction the men came and went. Brother Shallieu states,
“six men came from the way of the
higher gate,”
which was toward the north.”, then proceeds to say that the six men were
proceeding from the north
, this is incorrect, they did not proceed FROM the north, they were in
fact heading
TOWARD the north.

The words “
which was toward the northdenotes the direction in which this gate was facing, in
other words six men came through the
"higher" or "upper"gate which was located on the south side
of the “
upper pavement” leading into the "inner court", and proceeded north TOWARD the brazen
altar. In this instance Brother Cunningham’s view is the correct one.

We will take a closer look at our texts beginning in our next segment.


                                                         INDEX  NEXT PAGE