Questions From Readers
In what sense did Ezekiel become “speechless,” or “mute,” during the time of Jerusalem’s siege and destruction?
Basically, in the sense that he did not have anything to add to Jehovah’s prophetic message that he had already delivered.
The prophet Ezekiel started his service as a faithful watchman for the Israelite exiles in Babylon in “the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin,” that is, in 613 B.C.E. (Ezekiel 1:2, 3) On the tenth day of the tenth lunar month of 609 B.C.E., he was notified by divine inspiration of the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. (Ezekiel 24:1, 2) What would be the outcome of the siege? Would Jerusalem and its faithless inhabitants escape? As the watchman, Ezekiel had already delivered Jehovah’s unmistakable message of doom, and there was no need for Ezekiel to add anything, as if to make that message any more convincing. Ezekiel became speechless as regards anything further on the siege of Jerusalem.—Ezekiel 24:25-27.
Some six months after the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E., an escapee brought news of the desolation of the holy city to Ezekiel in Babylon. The evening before the escapee arrived, Jehovah “proceeded to open [Ezekiel’s] mouth . . . , and [he] proved to be speechless no longer.” (Ezekiel 33:22) That ended Ezekiel’s muteness.
Was Ezekiel literally mute during that time? Obviously not, for even after this “muteness” overtook him, he uttered prophecies directed mainly to the surrounding countries that rejoiced over the downfall of Jerusalem. (Ezekiel, chapters 25-32) Earlier in Ezekiel’s career as a prophet and watchman, Jehovah had told him: “Your very tongue I will make stick to the roof of your mouth, and you will certainly become mute, and you will not become to them a man administering reproof, because they are a rebellious house. And when I speak with you I shall open your mouth.” (Ezekiel 3:26, 27) When Jehovah had no message for Israel, Ezekiel was to remain speechless as regards that nation. Ezekiel was to speak what Jehovah wanted him to speak at the time Jehovah wanted him to do so. Ezekiel’s muteness implied that he was speechless as far as uttering words of prophetic significance to the Israelites was concerned.
The modern-day watchman class, anointed Christians, have been warning about the doom of Christendom, antitypical Jerusalem. When the “great tribulation” strikes and devastates “Babylon the Great,” the world empire of false religion, the anointed Ezekiel class will need to say nothing more about the demise of Christendom, which constitutes a major part of that empire.—Matthew 24:21; Revelation 17:1, 2, 5.
Yes, the day will come when the anointed remnant and their companions will become mute, not having anything further to convey to Christendom. That will be when “the ten horns” and “the wild beast” make Babylon the Great devastated and naked. (Revelation 17:16) Of course, this does not mean that Christians will be speechless in a literal sense. Even as they do now, they will praise Jehovah and make mention of him every day and “throughout all generations to come.”—Psalm 45:17; 145:2.