7.19 Ezekiel -- Death and Life
The fall of Jerusalem was the second expulsion of man from fellowship with God. It was a replay of the eviction from Eden. No, Jerusalem wasn't the earthly paradise, but at least God had made the city His footstool. Despite the ongoing political corruption and human sin, God and man could still meet at the Temple. This ended with the invasion of the Babylonians. Just as there was a sundering and upheaval in the relation of God and man (and man and woman) in Eden, so there was in Jerusalem -- it was a spiritual trauma. From God's standpoint, His second attempt to co-habitate with man had failed. And the Book of Ezekiel, as well as Jeremiah, reflects much of the anguish of the breaking of covenant ties. It is too easy to bandy theological doctrines about (such as the Fall, the meaning of Exile), and to miss the reality, the sense of utter hopelessness and finality contained in God's declaration through Ezekiel:
"The end is now upon you....Doom has come upon you (Eze 7:3, Eze 7:7).
And then contrast this pronouncement with the final verse in the book, following the description of the future Jerusalem:
"And the name of the city from that time on will be: 'The Lord is There'" (Eze 48:35).
The sad reality was that all his hearers knew only the experience of devastation and nothing more than the vaguest hope of restoration. And even when that restoration came -- to their children, not to themselves -- it was only a type of the ultimate Restoration that still lies before us.