The Lord Did Not Take Away Our Sins by His Suffering on the Cross, but He Did Carry Them (Continued)

The state of the church in relation to the Word, as represented by the prophets, was the meaning of their “carrying the iniquities and sins of the people.” This we can see from what is said about the prophet Isaiah, that he went naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a wonder (Isaiah 20:3). It says of Ezekiel that he was to take out his belongings to go into exile and cover his face so that he could not see the ground, and that this was to be a sign to the house of Israel; and he was also to say, “I am a sign for you” (Ezekiel 12:6, 11).

It is abundantly clear from Ezekiel that this was carrying the people’s iniquities, when Ezekiel was commanded to lie on his left side for three hundred ninety days and on his right side for forty days against Jerusalem and to eat a cake of barley baked over cow dung. We read there,

Lie on your left side and place the iniquity of the house of Israel on it. According to the number of days that you lie on it you will carry their iniquity. I will give you years of their iniquity matching the number of days, three hundred ninety days, so that you carry the iniquity of the house of Israel. When you have finished them, you will lie a second time, but on your right side for forty days to carry the iniquity of the house of Judah. (Ezekiel 4:4, 5, 6)

By carrying the iniquities of the house of Israel and the house of Judah in this way, the prophet did not take them away and thus atone for them, but simply represented them and made them clear. This we can see from what follows:

Thus says Jehovah: “The children of Israel will eat their bread defiled among the nations where I am going to send them. Behold, I am breaking the staff of bread in Jerusalem so that they will lack bread and water. They will all become desolate and waste away because of their iniquity.” (Ezekiel 4:13, 16, 17)

Similarly, when Ezekiel appeared in public and said, “Behold, I am a sign for you,” he also said, “What I have done, [your leaders] will do” (Ezekiel 12:6, 11).

Much the same is meant, then, when it says of the Lord, “He bore our diseases and carried our sorrows. Jehovah made the iniquities of us all fall upon him. By means of his knowledge he justified many, because he himself carried their iniquities.” This is from Isaiah 53:[4, 6, 11], where the whole chapter is about the Lord’s suffering.

from The Lord, Section 16

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