This past week we have been visiting Jerusalem and the mountains of Israel ( what the world calls the West Bank). And what we have seen here brings to mind the prophecy of Ezekiel chapter 36.
"Also thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say ye mountains of Israel, here the word of the Lord."
Speaking to you from Jerusaelm, Israel this week!
Verse 7 & 8 continues: "Therefore, thus saith the Lord God: I have lifted up mine hand, surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame. But ye O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit unto my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. For behold I am for you and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: and I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: And the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded and I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings. And ye shall know that I am the Lord (verse 11).
This what we see happening today! "The cities are being inhabited, and the wastes (or waste places) are being builded" and the men are being multiplied upon this Land.
So we visit this Land in a week that is preparing for an election and at a time when everyone is wondering what the future holds. Who will be Israel's next Prime Minister? and will he extend Israel's sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (the West Bank)?
During the last week I have spoken with several Israeli leaders and media men, but no one wants to predict the outcome, because Israel is very divided between right and left, between the religious segments of the population.
I spoke with the spokes person for the Benjamin Regional Council, with Doctor Mordechai Kedar from Bar Llan University, and with Baruch Gordon, Director of Development for Israel National News and several others.
The issue on people's minds is not so much as who will be Prime Minister but whether will be extended over Judea and Samaria (which includes the region of Benjamin). This is Israel's heartland and the territory of the future Kingdom of Israel under Christ.
But Ezekiel's prophecy not only speaks of the Land being replenished and of the Jewish people returning, it continues to speak of a spiritual development. Chapter 36 continues (verse 22-30):
"Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleanesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen."
So we must expect a religious reformation such as is described in Ezekiel chapter 37.
In fact chapter 37:7 speaks of an "earthquake" (see the AV margin).
"So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone."
This is without doubt a spiritual resurrection. Verse 14 says:
"And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord."
"My spirit" that is the spirit of truth (the spirit of the truth).
Ma'ale Amos in the hills of Judea
There are signs of this developing today. For example, when we visited Maale Amos we met there a young man, Ari Abramovitch, who sees his enterprise with Jeremy Gimpel as a step towards the redemption both of the Land and of the nation. He is awaiting the Moshiach - the Messiah - He sees beyond the Law.
So here on the mountains of Israel there is an incredible development taking place in harmony with Ezekiel's prophecy.
But Ezekiel's prophecy continues to tell us of a challenge that will come for these people on the mountains of Israel.
Speaking of Gog in Ezekiel chapter 38 we read:
"After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the MOUNTAINS of Israel which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations and they shall dwell safely all of them."
The invasion of the mountains of Israel by Gog (that is by the Russian Gog and his European company) will present a terrible challenge to these wonderful people dwelling on the mountains of Israel. This challenge will develop the faith of the people for God says through this prophecy:
"And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains saith the Lord God: every man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord."
Join us again next week, God willing for another edition of the Bible in the News.