Proximity of Fulfillment in Ezekiel 12
One of the fascinating things about prophecy is determining when things are to be fulfilled. I come from the John Calvin school of things and say that all prophecy is tied up in Jesus Christ and has, more or less, been inaugurated in his incarnation and resurrection. That's not to say the church does also play a role but that it only does so as the "body of Christ." We are experiencing the bliss of prophetic fulfillment that has not yet reached its crowing moment at the final return of Jesus Christ.
I understand if people disagree with me. But what we should agree on is that we must consume the prophetic books on a case by case basis and ask serious questions about their fulfillment. This general topic comes up in a very specific way in the book of Ezekiel,
21 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb you people have concerning the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days are long and every vision fails’? 23 Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “I will make this proverb cease so that they will no longer use it as a proverb in Israel.” But tell them, “The days draw near as well as the fulfillment of every vision. 24 For there will no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 For I the Lord will speak, and whatever word I speak will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, for in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it,” declares the Lord God.’”
26 Furthermore, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 27 “Son of man, behold, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies of times far off.’ 28 Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “None of My words will be delayed any longer. Whatever word I speak will be performed,”’” declares the Lord God. - Ezekiel 12:21-28
There. You have it. God seeks to move soon in the prophecy contained in Ezekiel. This certainly was a frightening concept for the people of Israel. God was not going to push off their judgment to the generation of their grandchildren. This judgment was going to come directly against them. This is obviously the position concerning judgment. But is it also the case in reference to God's blessing? Do the promises of God in Ezekiel 11 also have a timeframe of fulfillment?
19 And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God. 21 But as for those whose hearts go after their detestable things and abominations, I will bring their conduct down on their heads,” declares the Lord God. - Ezekiel 11:19-21
This prophecy is relevant. The whole fabric of Old Testament prophecy revolves around the concept of God giving His people a new heart and Spirit. Evangelicals have taken this to the individualistic extreme. However, within the context of fulfillment the prophet Ezekiel communicates a much earlier fulfillment of God's judgment and blessing.