THE RESULTS OF GOD’S JUDGMENT
As a result of God’s judgment, the people of Israel first lost the good land. They were scattered, dispersed, and brought into captivity (12:15; 7:21). To lose the good land means to lose the enjoyment of Christ. They also lost the oneness. The situation in Christianity is exactly like this. Most of the Christians are deadened, scattered, and have no enjoyment of Christ.
Next, the glory of the Lord departed (9:3; 11:22-23). In the history of the people of Israel, the Lord’s glory came to them twice and filled them. The first time was at Mount Sinai, when the tabernacle was erected (Exo. 40:34). The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle from that time until the time of Eli. During the time of Eli, the people of Israel fought against the Philistines with the ark in a superstitious way and were defeated (1 Sam. 4:3-10). The ark was captured, and the Lord’s glory left the tabernacle. This means that the Lord gave up the tabernacle. When the temple was built at the time of Solomon, the Lord’s glory came back again to fill the temple. The Lord’s glory remained there until this very time when Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord departing. The glory left the temple, left the city, and rested on the Mount of Olives. Finally, the glory of the Lord went back into the heavens. The glory left. With today’s Christianity, there is no glory of the Lord. Rather, there is the scattering, the captivity, and the loss of the enjoyment of Christ. There is no need to argue concerning who is right and who is wrong. Simply check as to whether the glory of the Lord is there. If you have the glory of the Lord, you are right; if you do not have the glory of the Lord, you are wrong.
The third result of God’s judgment was that the temple was destroyed and the city burned. About 606 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem and captured Jehoiachin, taking him back to Babylon (2 Chron. 36:9-10). At that time Ezekiel was also captured. After five years he began to see the visions recorded in chapter one of Ezekiel. In the following years he continued to see visions concerning a later capture of Jerusalem. While he was in captivity, he was brought back in the Spirit to Jerusalem to see the coming events. After Nebuchadnezzar captured Jehoiachin, he established Jehoiachin’s uncle, Zedekiah, as the king over Israel (2 Chron. 36:10). But Zedekiah turned to Egypt for help and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. Then Nebuchadnezzar came back to Jerusalem, burned the city, destroyed the temple, and captured Zedekiah (2 Chron. 36:19; Jer. 52:11; Ezek. 33:21). Ezekiel saw these events in his visions before they actually happened. There were eleven years between these two captures. The city and the temple were not destroyed in the capture of Jehoiachin, but in the capture of Zedekiah. At the time of the capture of Zedekiah, the glory of the Lord left the holy city and the holy people. The temple and the city were both destroyed. That ended the history of Israel. Everything was gone. Apparently, this was the end.
Though apparently everything was lost due to God’s judgment, God yet showed His mercy. There was still the visitation of God’s mercy. In His judgment, God still exercised His mercy. This is marvelous! Likewise, though today’s Christianity is a pitiful, hopeless case, God’s mercy is still there. No matter how much today’s Christianity is under God’s judgment, His mercy still remains there. In the midst of His judgment, God was merciful to His people and provided a number of things for them.
First, God provided a watchman to warn the people (3:17). By reading these chapters in Ezekiel, we can see that the people of Israel were not happy with Ezekiel. Ezekiel did not seem to know how to say a pleasant word to them. In like manner, people today also condemn us, saying that we speak too many negative things about Christianity. But Ezekiel was worse. God told Ezekiel that He was sending him to a rebellious house, with hard foreheads, and stiff hearts. But He said that He would make Ezekiel’s forehead harder than theirs and his heart harder than theirs, as a diamond is harder than flint (3:8-9). Today, we are not afraid of criticism from Christianity. We do not care about their criticism; we still must sound the warning and blow the trumpet. The facts are the facts. Recently, when I illustrated how some people have spoken in false tongues, I received a long letter condemning me and saying that I was mocking people. I was not mocking, but speaking the truth. If someone feels that he is being mocked, it means that he is false. If he is real, he will never feel that he is being mocked. When the policeman comes, only the robber will run away. Those who did not rob have no need to run away. If you have never spoken in a false tongue, you will not feel that I am mocking you. If you have the feeling that you are being mocked, it indicates that your speaking in tongues is not genuine. You deserve to be mocked. Today, God has established some watchmen to warn His people.
(The Visions of Ezekiel, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)