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September 01, 2021



In the Apocalypse Chronicles television program which I host, we recently revisited the colorful subject of Ezekiel's Beard -- and in the process, the Spirit of the LORD once again opened up new vistas of understanding. For those unaware of the significance of the unusual prophecy found in Ezekiel 5, it is a premier example of how the language of prophetic metaphor serves to communicate depth and dimension in the context of doctrine. We also note that, as is the case with all important doctrine, metaphoric accounts in Scripture require a "second witness" elsewhere in the Word of God to validate their authenticity.

"At the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established" (Deuteronomy 19:15).

In the present instance, the doctrine of the Trinity is clearly taught throughout the New Testament, and the imagery seen in the story of Ezekiel's Beard provides yet another witness to the triune nature of all things.

However, the story of Ezekiel's Beard is also profoundly prophetic, for it also shows the ongoing nature of how the LORD works with His chosen. In the passage, we find the hair and beard of the prophet is to be cut and divided into thirds, as a way of documenting the tripartite nature of all creation, in what we call the Triuniverse:

"And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair.  Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, and when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them" (Ezekiel 5:1,2).

Here we see a very precise picture of the mystery of thirds, in which two thirds are destroyed, and the final third is scattered into the "wind" – yet another indicator this astonishing Word of the LORD is rich in detail, texture, and meaning. Of course, those who have zero Spiritual discernment, who have dismissed allegory and metaphor in favor of the sheer stupidity which asserts all prophecy is literal, will manifest yet another example of those who have eyes, but cannot see, or ears which cannot hear:

"Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand" (Matthew 13:13).

As the LORD also says through His prophets that by the mouth of two or three witnesses is a thing established, we hasten to point out this concept of the division of thirds is confirmed in Zechariah, as the LORD communicates precisely the same formula of two parts "cut off," and the third dispersed, purified, and redeemed:

"And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God" (Zechariah 13:8,9).

Back in Ezekiel, the first "third" is to be burned with fire, but the very same chapter in Ezekiel elaborates on just what that means, and provides us with crucial details:

"Surely because thou has defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity. A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them" (Ezekiel 5:11,12).

One of the first things we see is that the first third is destroyed through "pestilence" and "famine," whereas the earlier rendition of the same division simply said that first third was the third which the prophet was instructed to "burn with fire." This indicates the concept of burning with fire is somehow related to famine and pestilence.

This is proven by the fact that, in the second rendition of the same prophecy, the second third falls by the "sword," which is consistent with the second third, articulated earlier – which was symbolized by the portion of Ezekiel's Beard which he was told to "smite" with a "knife" (Ezekiel 5:2). The final third, in the second time the cycle is mentioned, is also said to be scattered "into all the winds," which is exactly what was described earlier, so there really is no doubt about the matter.

Actually there are multiple Scriptural accounts where the old English term "pestilence" is equated with a judgment that dissolves, or decomposes the object of the judgment. Indeed, the same verse says that through this process, this third is to be "consumed"

(Ezekiel 5:12). This is very important, because it plainly shows that when "fire" and "burning" (a process which consumes) are used to describe judgment, it is not at all inconsistent to associate that concept with "pestilence" and/or "famine," because that is precisely what the LORD does when we compare verses 2 and 12 in this crucial fifth chapter of Ezekiel. This opens up all sorts of avenues for deciphering adjacent passages where God decrees famine and pestilence, which consumes, just as fire consumes. And there is more.

As the Father introduces the redundancy used to describe these judgments the second time, He tells Israel this judgment is to be meted out without pity, because of the LORD's wrath over the fact that Israel has "defiled" His "sanctuary" with "detestable things" as well as a multitude of "abominations" -- a very harsh statement considering the alleged believer in JESUS CHRIST is a Spiritual Israelite, whose body is the temple (read sanctuary), suggesting certain "believers" are the current object of this frightening denunciation.

Of course, the overwhelming majority of those who profess themselves to be "Christians" have no idea this verse is predicting what is about to happen to them, as they have long rejected their true identity, and filled their collective temples with "detestable" doctrines; but the LORD is faithful to keep His promise, and preserve those who have truly placed their trust in Him.

There is another thread of thought which occurs in this same prophecy. Although the primary division is in thirds, the prophet is also told to take a very small portion of the hairs which are drawn from his beard.

"Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts. Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; [from there] shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel" (Ezekiel 5:3).

To summarize the pattern seen in this mysterious prophecy, the main division of Ezekiel's beard conforms to Zechariah's outline (as well as many other prophecies which address the Triuniverse), wherein two parts are "cut off" and a third is dispersed and refined. Zechariah tells us this last "third" is chosen by the LORD to be cleansed and purified, and as the LORD works in their midst, they will praise Him.

"They shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God" (Zechariah 13:9).

Notice how this third "part" is translated into a "they," once the Lord has refined and purified them as "gold is tried" and as "silver is refined" in Zechariah 13:9.

However, the imagery in Ezekiel's prophecy also has this additional group, which is far smaller, and it is set aside for a special function. The text tells us they are "a few in number," but it is through them that God will bring forth "a fire" which is to affect "all the house of Israel" (Ezekiel 5:3).

Since this is, after all, an Old Testament prophecy, it is relatively easy to associate the "few in number" with the Apostolic period, in which a dozen disciples were manifested as the "few" who were "chosen" to turn the world upside down.

"The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2).

Moreover, since the world population has soared, and many events seen in the early church routinely prefigure events occurring at the end of the age, it's difficult not to connect the relatively small group known as the 144,000 with the "few in number" who profoundly impact "all the house of Israel" in our time.

The book of Revelation tells us this group is distinct from the larger body of Christ, and it is self evident their presence significantly influences the much larger bride of the Lord of glory. 

"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands: And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9, 10).

Instead of seeking to interpret the various roles anticipated in the allegory of Ezekiel's Beard, let us now rejoice in fellowship with the heavenly host as we collectively praise the LORD of glory.

"Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever, Amen" (Revelation 7:12). 

--James Lloyd

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