Read: Ezekiel 12-14
Ezekiel is told to demonstrate what the exile will look like:
“Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious people. Ezekiel 12:3
Most will not understand, most are lost in their own world, but some are paying attention. It must be extremely difficult to go about your daily ministry knowing that most of those around you are not with you.
26 The word of the Lord came to me: 27 “Son of man, the Israelites are saying, ‘The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future.’ 28 “Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” Ezekiel 12:26-28
The people think that Ezekiel’s prophecy is for years to come, far in the future, but the Lord assure him that is not the case, then is now.
Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! Ezekiel 13:2-3
Every time I read about the false prophets, I have to wonder how the people discerned who was the Lord’s prophet and who was false. There are those in the Christian community that seem fake, self-serving, but who am I to judge? But if they are modern false prophets, should I be silent? The examples we are given here often take years to unfold, in other words, these false prophets go on and on for a long time before they are punished or broken.
Another metaphor is used to describe these false prophets, those who whitewash walls with words the placate the people. The Lord will not let this go unpunished.
So I will pour out my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, “The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign Lord.”’ Ezekiel 13:15-16
The penalty for these lies is severe:
By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live. Ezekiel 13:19
Some of these are elders, respected in the community:
“Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? Ezekiel 14:3
Have I put up idols in my heart? Have I been swallowed up in some sort of self-righteous rage?
How much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem my four dreadful judgments—sword and famine and wild beasts and plague—to kill its men and their animals! Yet there will be some survivors—sons and daughters who will be brought out of it. Ezekiel 14:21-22
Ultimately Ezekiel stands among the prophets as one of the major prophets because his calling was true. As for the others, “They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel.” (Ezekiel 13:9).