Although in the vision they appeared as men, they were really holy angels of Jehovah to be used in executing His adverse judgments upon the city’s inhabitants. According to history, the armed forces of Babylon were used visibly in executing Jehovah’s judgments upon the rebellious city, but these were not the ones pictured in Ezekiel’s vision. These Babylonians were merely employed by the heavenly angels against Jerusalem.
14. How many armed men came at Jehovah’s call, and from what direction?
14 At Jehovah’s royal command, how many armed men put in appearance, and from what direction did they come? Ezekiel tells us, saying: “And, look! there were six men coming from the direction of the upper gate that faces to the north, each one with his weapon for smashing in his hand; and there was one man in among them clothed with linen, with a secretary’s inkhorn at his hips, and they proceeded to come in and stand beside the copper altar.”—Ezek. 9:2.
15. (a) Who really were those visionary “six men,” and what did the direction from which they came forebode? (b) How was triumph for Jehovah’s determination to “act in rage” over resistance shown?
15 There were six men with weapons for smashing in their hands. Not many, but, as they represented angels, they had superhuman powers that were more than a match for the thousands of inhabitants inside Jerusalem. So, their being six in number did not mean that there was anything imperfect about them or that they were inadequate for work as executioners. We notice that these six executioners come “from the direction of the upper gate that faces to the north.” This was a foreboding of the fact that the Babylonian armies would march against Jerusalem from the north, to serve as instruments on earth for Jehovah’s executional angels. From the south there came up the armies of Pharaoh of Egypt in response to the appeal of King Zedekiah of Jerusalem, but these allied forces were beaten back by the Babylonians. Jehovah’s determination to “act in rage” for the destruction of Jerusalem was not to be thwarted. The symbolic “six men” with weapons for smashing whom He had called to give “attention to the city” had divine support and were bound to triumph over all resistance.
16. In view of this circumstance, what are the nations really facing in the near future?
16 Let not the force of that prophetic circumstance be lost on us today. What this present worldwide system of things is facing up to in the near future is not mere human forces of destruction and demolition. What these radical, anarchistic, nihilistic, disorderly human elements may fail to break down and obliterate, Jehovah’s superhuman angelic armies for the executing of his “rage” against this wicked system of things will wipe out. Every vestige of this corrupt, polluted system of things must perish!
IDENTIFYING THE KING’S SECRETARY
19. How many men came from the north and stood beside the altar, and were they all armed?
19 Let us take note that there were not just “six men” that came from the north and entered the temple courtyard and stood beside the copper altar of sacrifice. There were seven. Also, the seventh man was not armed like the other six. Ezekiel says: “And there was one man in among them clothed with linen, with a secretary’s inkhorn at his hips.” (Ezek. 9:2) Who is he anyhow?
20. Who was that seventh man, and was he in the service of King Zedekiah of Jerusalem?
20 Why, that is the King’s secretary. His nonmilitary attire together with his inkhorn containing pen and ink identifies him as being a secretary. He too must give his attention to the city, and since he was summoned by the One seated enthroned upon the celestial chariot, he must be the secretary of Jehovah, whose earthly visible throne at Jerusalem was then occupied by King Zedekiah of the royal family of David. He is the secretary, not of rebellious King Zedekiah, but of the King of Eternity, Jehovah. Who was he back there in Ezekiel’s day, or who is he today?
21. What may be said as to whether the linen-clad man was an angel or not, and was an effect like that produced by him in the vision accomplished back in Ezekiel’s time?
21 Since he was in among the “six men” who represented angels of heaven for the execution of Jehovah’s judgments, does he also represent a heavenly angel or angelic band? If he were an unseen heavenly angel, how would you know whether he had called on you recently? But, according to the work that Jehovah assigns him to do, he apparently pictures something here visibly on earth used in a peaceful way. Well, then, he stands for a man, does he not? Well, looking back to Ezekiel’s time, we have no record in the Bible of any one man literally doing the work that this man “clothed with linen” was told to do. The prophet Jeremiah, who was back there in Jerusalem, did not do so. Ezekiel did not do so, for he got back to Jerusalem only in vision, by the spirit of inspiration from Jehovah. But though no literal man with a secretary’s inkhorn was then seen going through Jerusalem doing the work that Ezekiel saw in vision, the beneficial effect of such a secretary’s work showed up just as if a literal man had gone through the city and done the work assigned. So the man with the inkhorn was just a pictorial device to point to an accomplishment by God back there.
22. For whom or when was the primary fulfillment of this vision to be, and who, then, is the King’s secretary today?
22 How, though, about our day? It becomes clear that the vision of the man with the secretary’s inkhorn was meant to have application primarily for our day, for the benefit of us “upon whom the ends of the systems of things have arrived.” (1 Cor. 10:11) Back in Ezekiel’s day no single man was depicted, although an individual man could have done the job within ancient walled Jerusalem during the time that yet remained before the city was destroyed. But when we consider that the antitypical “city” of today is Christendom, with her worldwide dimensions, we can appreciate that it is no one man’s job. It must be the work of a group of men over years of time. Hence, for our day, the visionary man “clothed with linen, with a secretary’s inkhorn at his hips,” must picture a modern composite man, that is, a united group of men, all working together under one headship in the one same work, with the same one end in view, in the service of Jehovah, “the King of eternity.” Such is the King’s secretary of our day.
26. Who, then, is the King’s secretary, as became manifest in the year 1931 and thereafter?
26 It is that small body of dedicated, baptized Christians who, in the year 1931, recognized the impending destruction of Christendom and therefore the need for the work of the “man clothed with the linen” to be done in its modern application. On July 30, 1931, at the general convention of these anointed Christians in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A., at 3:00 p.m., the lecture “The Man with the Writer’s Inkhorn” began to be delivered and immediately after the close of this lecture the book Vindication explaining Ezekiel, chapters 1 through 24, was released to the thousands there gathered in convention. Just four days prior to this, or on Sunday, July 26, 1931, this convention of spirit-anointed Christians embraced as a distinguishing name for themselves as Christians the designation “Jehovah’s witnesses.” Not just the name, but the work carried out by them since then proves that this anointed remnant of Christian witnesses of the Most High God are unmistakably the twentieth-century fulfillment of the man “clothed with linen, with a secretary’s inkhorn.” So this is the modern “King’s secretary.”