In Ezek 12:17-28, Ezekiel gave the inhabitants of Jerusalem a sign of the coming desolation and the assurance that it was coming sooner than they expected.
The Coming Desolation
Seen in Ezekiel’s Eating and Drinking
In Ezek 12:18, the Lord told Ezekiel to eat his bread with quaking and to drink his water with trembling and carefulness. By doing this he was a sign to the inhabitants of Jerusalem of the way they would be eating and drinking. They would eat their bread with carefulness and drink their water with astonishment.
This is how people eat and drink when their city is under siege, Ezek 4:16. In a siege, things are terrible. Look how bad things were in Samaria when the Syrians laid siege to that city, 2 Ki 6:24-29. Likewise, the inhabitants were quaking, trembling, and eating and drinking with carefulness and astonishment when the Chaldeans laid siege to Jerusalem, 2 Ki 25:1-3.
In Ezek 12:19-20, God said that the land would be desolate and the cities would be laid waste. See Ezek 6:6. This is exactly what he said would happen in Lev 26:32-33. And this was their condition in Is 1:7-8.
The reason for the coming desolation was the violence of those that dwelt in Jerusalem. In Ps 107:34 the Lord turns a fruitful land into bareness for the wickedness therein. In Jer 22:17 Jeremiah wrote about the covetousness, innocent bloodshed, oppression, and violence in Jerusalem. Ezek 7:23 says that the city was full of violence. Violence is not only the exertion of physical force so as to injure (like murdering the innocents), it is also furious action or feeling and injury in the form of distortion and infringement. You can see this violence in Ecc 5:8, through the perverting of judgment. By definition, we have a lot of violence in our country.
Coming Sooner Than Envisioned
In Ezek 12:21-22, the Lord asked Ezekiel about a popular proverb in Jerusalem. The false prophets were saying that the prophecies of the coming desolation would fail and any judgment would be a long way off in the future. For example, in Ezek 11:3, they were telling people, it is not near; let us build houses. In Ezek 12:27 the false prophets were saying the times were far off. That’s how scoffers regard prophecies concerning the coming of the Lord in 2 Pet 3:4. In Amos 6:3, they were putting far away the evil day.
So, in Ezek 12:23, the Lord told Ezekiel to say that the days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. In other words, he told them that the desolation was coming sooner than they envisioned. The Lord said in Ezek 12:25 that the coming desolation would come to pass and be no more prolonged.
Additionally, the Lord said there would be no more vain vision nor flattering divination, Ezek 12:24. Lam 2:14 is a good example of vain visions. And Jer 28:1-4 and 1 Ki 22:6, 8, 13 are excellent examples of flattering divinations. With these, the false prophets just tell people what they want to hear.