At the time the following passage came to Ezekiel from the Lord, Ezekiel and others from the land of Judah and Jerusalem, the capitol of Judah, had already been carried into captivity to Babylon. With Jeremiah prophesying in Jerusalem and Ezekiel prophesying in Babylon that the final capture of Jerusalem was imminent, there were still many Jews who felt that Jerusalem was going to be spared and those already in captivity were going to be returned. Why did all these people have such “faith” that Jerusalem would be spared? Because the Jews were God’s chosen people, and the Lord’s Temple was in Jerusalem. These words came shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem’s wall and their famous Temple.
Ezekiel 12:21 The word of the LORD came to me: 22 Mortal, what is this proverb of yours about the land of Israel, which says, "The days are prolonged, and every vision comes to nothing"? 23 Tell them therefore, "Thus says the Lord GOD: I will put an end to this proverb, and they shall use it no more as a proverb in Israel." But say to them, The days are near, and the fulfillment of every vision. 24 For there shall no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 But I the LORD will speak the word that I speak, and it will be fulfilled. It will no longer be delayed; but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and fulfill it, says the Lord GOD.
26 The word of the LORD came to me: 27 Mortal, the house of Israel is saying, "The vision that he sees is for many years ahead; he prophesies for distant times." 28 Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: None of my words will be delayed any longer, but the word that I speak will be fulfilled, says the Lord GOD. (NRSV)
While these people felt that Jerusalem would be spared by the Lord, the Lord had shown Ezekiel (chapter 8) all the secret cults that worshipped false gods not just in Jerusalem, but in the Temple of Yahweh’s area as well. If they had so much “faith” in their Lord and Savior, then why did they follow these false cults? Did they feel that they would give them extra insurance against God’s wrath? Did they feel that these false gods would give them answers to their questions about life, and how they should live? Yet, had they studied God’s Word in the Torah, they would have seen that the God they felt would protect them because His Temple was there had told them that they were not to worship any other gods and that when they turned to other gods, then all these calamities that had befallen them would come upon them. Did not the Torah provide God’s people with His Light and Salvation? Yet these people had neglected the study of God’s Word and had fallen to their own ways, thinking that all Yahweh wanted was the ritualistic symbolism.
Other prophets had shown them that it was not a ritualistic following of the Torah that God sought, but a heart that was turned to Him and His ways. Did not God show His longsuffering and patient mercy during the times of the Judges when He continually delivered them when they fell to their enemies because they neglected His Word? Did He not even extend a showing of His mercy to the wicked King Ahab of Israel when Ahab had a change of heart (1st Kings 21: 27- 29)? Did not the Lord even show His mercy to people who were not even under the Torah (the widow of Zarephath in Sidon with Elijah; Naaman with Elisha; the Ninevites with Jonah)? Then with the wicked King Manasseh of Judah (2nd Chronicles 33: 9- 16). The Psalms and prophets echo the refrain that it is not the compulsion of ritual habit that the Lord desires, but and humble and contrite heart. Even when Jesus was confronted with the question of which is the greatest of God’s law, the Jews did not lift an argument that the love of the Lord was greatest and the neighbor second to that, and that all of God’s law and prophets are founded on the law of love.
Now apply this passage from those days to today. Most agree that the Bible teaches that Jesus will come again, but when He comes, it will be to bring judgment. Jesus said to watch the signs of the times and to keep alert. Many have said the end is near, and others have even given dates that proved to be inaccurate, and some have even looked for aliens in UFO’s to pick them up. Look back at verse 22 and consider how many say that we have time; all these ‘visions’ come to nothing. Do we say that we don’t have to worry, because when the time comes, I’ll read my horoscope and know it will not be a good day to go to the beach? Do we look for Jeremiah and Ezekiel to come back down and tell us, “Okay, people, it’s time! Get packed!” People didn’t listen to Jeremiah or Ezekiel the first time, but maybe if they came back people would listen up. How many will be shocked and in terror when that day comes? Is it any day now?
Ezekiel was shown that the Jews were calling out to many gods for their salvation. Do we look for salvation to come to planet earth from any sources? Perhaps we’re looking forward to a day when all humanity will evolve into love and peace. Do we look for Karma or God’s hand? Then, perhaps there’s enough ‘enlightened’ people on earth who could come together and get all the right politicians in every nation to make all the right decisions and form an alliance that will “SAVE” us earthlings. Then when misfits and trouble-makers don’t comply with their ‘right decisions’ then they could send in the military to destroy the towns and cities where these misfits are known to hang out.
The Bible tells us that Jerusalem turned to Egypt for help when God’s judgment from the Babylonians came upon them, but Egypt turned back on them. Who will earth turn to when God’s wrath comes on the earth to bring judgment? Aliens in UFO’s, maybe?
But, why should anyone listen to me? I’m certainly no Jeremiah or Ezekiel. I’m just another misfit trouble-maker saying the end is near. Just because Jesus said to watch the signs of the times, I mean, who really took Him seriously?