Ch. 7 speaks in detail about the coming doom. When God speaks of doom, the result must be truly horrifying. Doom, a singular disaster, the day of the Lord, panic on the mountains, abominations, wrath, anger, judgment, no pity, no compassion, punishment, and all due to the people’s ways, their rod of wickedness, their arrogance, lawlessness, abominations. I personally am not familiar with real doom. I’ve seen movies, read stories, that try to insight this feeling in the audience, but to experience it in my life is completely foreign to me. And I pray that I should not have to know this doom throughout my days, both me and all those with whom I travel this journey of life.
At our church service this morning Pastor Phil touched on some persecutions that people experience, persecutions based on sexual preference or religious bent or distinguishing physical characteristics. Many times people hear or read of these persecutions, such as the bombing of the gay nightclub in Florida some months back, and think, “Well, they got what they deserved.” On the other hand, didn’t Jesus call us not to judge, but to forgive? Haven’t we been charged to turn the other cheek, to forgive our enemy, to love our neighbor even though our neighbor may be a prostitute, a tax collector, or have some other “ungodly” behaviors? And if we do not forgive, if we think of them, “They got what they deserved,” are we not defying the teachings of the prayer Jesus gave us? Aren’t we, in fact, inviting God to give us what we deserve? And what do we deserve but the Day of the Lord, the Doom described here in Ezekiel’s prophecy?
Chapters 8 – 10 and onward (I haven’t yet read more than the first few verses of ch. 11) go on to speak of Ezekiel’s vision of the Temple in Jerusalem. We have to remember that this vision came while Ezekiel was in Babylonia, a live television broadcast (ok, monocast) via God’s network as it were. Besides the dramatic description of the chariot of God (though of course the word chariot is never used here), one notable detail is that the people who bemoan the sins of the nation will be not be slaughtered by the avenging angels. Still, at the point of the Day of the Lord, the day of doom, I wonder if being left alive might have been worse than death. This brings up the point of Ezekiel’s view on the afterlife: If he had a concept of heaven and hell, and if the evil went to eternal punishment while the lovers of God rose again to be at His side, wouldn’t mortal death have been preferable to remaining in the torturous world to come following the Day of God’s wrath?