We ended chapter 11 with Ezekiel seeing a vision of Jerusalem. It wasn't a vision of the future, but it was a glimpse into what was happening there. Ezekiel was still in Babylon, but God showed him that even though the Babylonians came in to Jerusalem and took many of its citizens captive, the people were still hard-hearted and turned to other gods. This is important to remember, because God is going to have Ezekiel act out a few more scenarios; not for the Jews that had been captured and brought back to Babylon, but for the Jews that were still left in Jerusalem.
Chapter 12: God told Ezekiel to start packing some of his belongings. He wasn't to pack like he was going on vacation, or moving to a new place, but pack a few things like he was in a hurry to get away. He was to place these things out in his front yard for everyone to see. God knew that people passing by would start to wonder what was going on, and they did. Then God told Ezekiel to wait till evening came and bring your belongings in from the front yard. Then dig a hole through the front wall of your house and crawl through it carrying your belongings on your back. (these houses were made of clay and straw) So Ezekiel did just as the Lord had commanded, and the people came to see and try to figure out what Ezekiel was doing.
God said to Ezekiel, "When the people ask you what this means, tell them this is a sign that the remaining Jews in Jerusalem will be carried away in captivity, and the king will sneak out in the middle of the night by having a hole dug in in the wall and crawling through with his belongings. He will have guards and many of his men with him, but I will let the king be captured, and I will scatter his men. Many of them will die, but a few will survive so that they can come and bring to you the message that I have done exactly what I said I would do because I am the Lord."
In the next for chapters, God reminds the Jews, through Ezekiel, how they have turned their backs on Him. He mentions that they are following false prophets. These are the prophets that only tell them what they want to hear and not the truth about the coming judgement. God reminds them about how their leaders turned to false idols and led all in Judah to worship these idols as well. He reminded them of their unfaithful ness to Him and how, time and time again, they broke their promise to Him. God says that He has no choice, but to execute justice upon the Jews, and it will be soon.
Chapter 17: God told Ezekiel a riddle. It was the riddle of the 2 Eagles: A large eagle with strong wings and beautiful feathers broke the top branch off a cedar tree, then carried it to a nearby country and left it in one of their cities. The eagle also took a seed from Israel and planted it in a fertile field with plenty of water, like a willow tree beside a stream. The seed sprouted and grew into a grapevine that spread over the ground. It had lots of leaves and strong, deep roots, and its branches grew upward toward the eagle. There was another eagle with strong wings and thick feathers. The roots and branches of the grapevine soon turned toward this eagle, hoping it would bring water for the soil. But the vine was already growing in fertile soil, where there was plenty of water to produce healthy leaves and large grapes. Now tell me, Ezekiel, do you think this grapevine will live? As Ezekiel pondered the riddle, God told him to tell the people the answer. No! The grapevine will not live. Here is what the riddle symbolized. The king of Judah was captured by the Babylonians. So the Babylonians place a new king in charge of the rest of the people that were left in Judah. This was Zedekiah. They could have put one of their own in charge, but they elected to give them a Jewish king as long as he signed a treaty, or a promise, that Judah would remain loyal to Babylonia. Well after king Zedekiah signed the treaty, he went back on his word and sent ambassadors to Egypt and asked for horses and men. He broke his promise.
God is really big on keeping promises. Not only to Him, but to each other. Did you know that when you willfully break a promise that you made to someone, it is a sin. You either lied at the time of the promise, or you lied with your actions when you broke your promise. God says in Ecclesiastes 5:5-6 that it is better not to promise anything, than to promise and not do it. Don't let your words cause you to sin.
In Chapter 24 God has Ezekiel perform another sign. He tells Ezekiel to fill up a pot with water and the best meat he can find. Then empty the pot and scorch the pot over an open flame. This is another sign of Judgement on Jerusalem (the pot) and the captivity of the Jews (meat) that will be removed from "the pot" which will them be destroyed.
The next 8 chapters are God's judgement on the nations surrounding Israel. The nations mentioned by name are Edom, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Egypt and Tyre. Right in the middle of these nations being judged, God throws in 2 verses that don't seem to fit.
Chapter 28 verses 25-26 The Lord God said: Someday I will gather the people of Israel from the nations where they are now scattered, and every nation will see that I am holy. The Israelites will once again live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob. They will be safe and will build houses and plant vineyards. They will no longer be in danger, because I will punish their hateful neighbors. Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. (Cev version) In Chapter 33 we will see God's plan for restoring Israel, and the effect it will have on the rest of the world, including us.