Life-Giving Water of Ezekiel’s Vision
What are the waters?
Application for our day:
“There we begin to see an expanded vision of the things we have just considered from Revelation, chapter 22. Again we see a “river” of water of truth being channeled to the earth out from Jehovah’s spiritual temple. The waters begin to flow through the channel of the “slave” class from their restoration in 1919. Note the “river” here is described as going eastward, in the direction of greater light, apparently signifying that the Society’s publications of truth would be progressing in the light of truth as the years advanced after 1919. Ezekiel makes a periodic survey, every thousand cubits, of the increasing depths of this river, which first was ankle deep, then up to the knees, and further up to the loins, and finally the river was so deep that one had to swim if he wished to cross it.—Ezek. 47:1-5.
8 So in these latter days of fulfillment a periodic survey of every three years shows a steady increasing in the spiritual depth and clarity of the published waters of truth by the Watch Tower Society. The trickle published in 1919 was “ankle” deep, so to speak, by 1922, then an increased depth of spirituality and vision was had by 1925, followed by the great flood of new light published by 1928, to be capped by 1931 with the overwhelming flow of Biblical enlightenment. All who have been connected with the Watch Tower Society since 1931 can abundantly testify that since then the waters of truth have been published in such quantity and so fast through the Watchtower magazine and other Watch Tower publications that one has to figuratively “swim” to try to keep abreast. Furthermore, from 1931 to 1945 the Catholic Action-Fascist-Nazi forces found they could not check this strong “river” of truth. Yes, Jehovah’s witnesses had been so fortified with waters of truth that they could not be overcome by persecution or stopped publishing.—Rev. 12:15, 16.
9 Next we see that this “river,” too, has “trees” on both sides of this flowing stream. The “trees” bear new fruit each month, and their leaves are supplied for healing. This is identical with the Revelation scene already examined and applies to the individual treelike remnant who faithfully perform preaching services along with the channel organization to bring spiritual healing to the nations. (Ezek. 47:7, 12) But how is the modern miracle brought about?
10 Where would the divine will direct the formidable flow of this cleansing water of Kingdom truth with life-giving benefits? On our television screen of Bible prophecy we see that Jehovah God directs this river to flow eastward (from where Jerusalem’s temple area had been in ancient times) right into the Dead Sea. Now no fish have ever lived in the literal Dead Sea. But now note what happens to this antitypical Dead Sea! The Dead Sea here aptly pictures the deathlike circumstances that have prevented multitudes from seeing spiritual daylight during this time of the end. Satan has them securely bound as prisoners. He keeps them in great spiritual darkness through false religion. The Devil keeps them busy with materialism, deluded with propaganda and occupied with the menial things of a rat-race existence. In this way all mankind except the awake “faithful and discreet slave” class were held in deathlike spiritual sleep up to 1931.
11 Miracle of miracles, Jehovah now directs this flow of waters of truth to release the “great crowd” of men of good will from this Dead-Sea-like captivity. From 1931 onward The Watchtower gradually began to change its trumpetlike call to those not of the anointed group. Over the years prophecy after prophecy, now numbering over forty-two, had their fulfillments made clear, all confirming that Jehovah has opened the door to a vast multitude to come into this fully cleansed and prepared New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses. The waters of truth provided healing in that circumstances on the world scene and circumstances on the individual scene were changed by Jehovah’s maneuvering. Religious shackles became loose; light on world woes freed those thinking on Kingdom truths from previous traditional restraints. The circumstances became livable. And so, as Ezekiel indicates, “fish” in great numbers became alive. In the almost thirty years from when this modern miracle began there are now over 850,000 of these “fish made alive” ones active with the “slave” class. They have come out from a lifeless element, an old world dead in its sins, out from under the threat of destruction at Armageddon, and become alive to God.—Ezek. 47:8, 9.
12 Now that these “fish” have become alive under Jehovah’s miraculous hand, does he leave them to shift for themselves for food? No. Our video screen next shows that Jehovah establishes a “fishers” organization to administer food. This is directly opposite to general experience, as fish are caught to become food for man. But in this prophecy the fish are fished out to be fed and kept alive. “And it shall come to pass, that fishers shall stand by [the Dead Sea]: from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim shall be a place for the spreading of nets; their fish shall be . . . exceeding many.” (Ezek. 47:10, AS) This immediately reminds one of what Jesus once said to his disciples: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19) Truly the fishermen with their nets aptly picture today the anointed remnant along with their netlike organization still basically occupied in the same spiritual fishing business as their apostolic predecessors. By this organized means rescues are being effected in all parts of the earth. Prior to 1931 merely those of the heavenly “little flock” were being served, but now since 1931 rescue operations are on a vast global scale to save hundreds of thousands. These made-alive “fish” are the same as the “other sheep” of Christ Jesus. (John 10:16) Dependent upon the “fruit” and “leaves” of the treelike individual members of the remnant, these “other sheep” are being richly fed to be preserved alive through and beyond Armageddon’s storm.”
Application for the future:
“In behalf of gaining eternal life those on earth who survive the dastardly attack by Gog of Magog will drink of this water of life, accepting all the provisions for life that Jehovah affords through his once-sacrificed Messiah, Jesus the Lamb of God.”
“When the man went forth eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he also proceeded to measure a thousand in cubits and to make me pass through the water, water up to the ankles.”—Ezek. 47:3.
It is significant to note that the angel measured eastward in thousand-cubit distances, repeatedly reminding us that all the things pictured as accomplished by the stream take place during Christ’s thousand-year reign.
That the increments have a temporal future significance was a new point for me.
“As the dead are resurrected, there will be enough of life’s water to heal and restore them to fullness of life. This is assured as we see the stream increasing in depth: “And he [the angel] continued measuring a thousand [cubits] and then made me pass through the water, water up to the knees.”—Ezek. 47:4.
But here the stream did not stop deepening. From this we may assume that not all the thousands of millions of dead will be resurrected at once, which would cause the survivors of Har–Magedon to have a great population explosion on their hands. How, then, could the necessary material provisions be made for the resurrected ones, not to mention their teaching and training in Jehovah’s way of life?
The next measurement found the stream much greater in volume: “And he continued measuring a thousand [cubits] and now made me pass through—water up to the hips.” (Ezek. 47:4) As the thousand years progress, the numbers resurrected will increase, for there will be more loyal subjects of the Kingdom to take care of them. Some among the resurrected ones, however, will not appreciate Jehovah’s undeserved kindness and will not be obedient, as we shall see in the further development of the prophecy, to be discussed in a later issue of The Watchtower. But the obedient thousands of millions will become co-workers in paradise restoration and in assisting the later-resurrected ones to come to know Jehovah the Life-Giver and his Son, the King, receiving his life-restoring ministrations as God’s High Priest.
Finally, the angel “continued measuring a thousand [cubits]. It was a torrent that I was not able to pass through, for the water had got high, water permitting swimming, a torrent that could not be passed through.”—Ezek. 47:5.
Before the thousand years of Messiah’s reign are ended the common earthly grave of mankind (Ha′des) and the sea of watery graves for many humans must be emptied of those held in them in death. (Rev. 20:13, 14) The symbolic ‘water of life’ must be extended to the very last one of the ransomed dead of mankind. Nothing can prevent the torrent of the ‘water of life’ from coming to mankind to bring them life in abundance.”
Here I wouldn’t have thought of Ezekiel’s vision as a likely candidate for a scriptural reasoning basis as regards gradual resurrection during the chiliasm. But I learn.
A more sobering note:
Ezekiel 47:11 “There are its swampy places and its marshy places, and they will not be healed. To salt they will certainly be given.”
” Of course, not all respond favorably now to the message of life; nor will all those who are resurrected during the Millennial Reign of Christ do so. (Isaiah 65:20; Revelation 21:8) The angel declares that parts of the sea are not healed. These marshy, lifeless places are ‘given to salt.’ (Ezekiel 47:11) As to the people of our day, not all who are offered Jehovah’s life-giving water accept it. (Isaiah 6:10) At Armageddon, all of those who have chosen to remain in a spiritually lifeless and sick condition will be given to salt, that is, destroyed forever. (Revelation 19:11-21) However, those who have been faithfully drinking these waters can hope to survive and see the final fulfillment of this prophecy.”