Ezekiel: The Playbook for the Past Century

When We Run Ezekiel Playbook

Who would have guessed the ancient words of Ezekiel 37 would provide the playbook for the twentieth century? (Umm… students of Bible prophecy, that’s who!)

So, Ezekiel, with the children of Israel
BACK from the valley of dry bones, and—against all odds—
RESTORED “as an exceedingly great army” to their land… 

What next?
(Prepare for some chilling words!)


The Holocaust Predicted

More than 1400 years before Christ, Moses predicted that the Jews would be scattered among the nations. He also said they would ultimately return.

The Lord your God will… gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it… (Deut 30:3-5)

The Jewish Diaspora Moses predicted began when the Assyrians plundered Northern Israel in the eighth century B.C. It continued when the Babylonians conquered Judah in the sixth century B.C. From the banks of the River Chebar in Babylon, Ezekiel reiterated the promise that the people were not rejected forever, and would one day return to their land. The Lord gave him a vision of a valley of dry bones:

He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”… So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them.… So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. Ezek 37:2-3, 7-8, 10

Did you ever sing that old spiritual? “The knee bone connected to the thigh bone. Now hear the word of the Lord.” I was well into adulthood before I realized I’d been singing a version of Ezekiel’s vision.

The Lord goes on to explain what He’d just shown the prophet.

Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’” Ezek 37:11

Holocaust Survivors Liberated

Holocaust survivors liberated from the Mauthausen camp in Austria. I’m amazed the man in the back left can even stand.

Do those words not capture the wretched state of the typhus-ridden living skeletons the Allied forces encountered when they uncovered the Nazi death camps?

How could a loving God allow His people—or any people—to be led to such a slaughter?

Let’s be very clear about one thing. The God who cares about every sparrow and numbers each hair on our heads, the God who formed each of our inward parts in our mothers’ wombs, the God who sees… saw this too. He heard every muffled sob, every anguished cry.

If the war-soiled soldiers who liberated Dachau were so enraged they shot every Nazi guard they found, what kind of justice will a righteous God exact? How do you suppose God felt every moment the Nazi extermination machine ground on?

Were these prophecies fulfilled when the Jewish people returned from Babylonian exile? No, for three reasons.

  • Jews returned to the land after the Babylonian exile, but not in great numbers—the majority decided life was more comfortable in Babylon. (Hence the book of Esther.)
  • It would be hard to describe the returned remnant as “an exceedingly great army.” Israel suffered under foreign occupation again and again. It was centuries before they achieved self-determination once more under the Maccabees, but even the Maccabees were ultimately crushed by the Romans. Whereas, today, a nation the size of New Jersey is one of the world’s leading military powers.
  • The Lord goes on in the next verses to state that He will reunite the southern kingdom with the northern kingdom under a single government in the land. The northern tribes which went into exile under the Assyrians (the “ten lost tribes”) never have returned—except that the lost tribes may be starting to return today!

(I wrote more about the Holocaust here, if you’re interested: The Holocaust: The Most Crucial Prophetic Event of Our Day)


Masada Revisited

In 73 A.D., the Roman legions who had razed the Temple had another objective—Masada, the final holdout of the Jewish rebellion.

Masada

Herod’s imposing desert fortress of Masada. Source: Wikicommons.

The fortress occupies a high desert mesa surrounded by rugged cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea. The Romans laid siege to the fortress and piled thousands of tons of earth into a ramp against its western wall—you can still see the monstrous siege ramp and remnants of their camps. In the spring of 74 A.D, they wheeled a battering ram into place.

Once it became apparent that the Tenth Legion… would succeed in breaching Masada’s walls, Elazar ben Yair—the Zealots’ leader—decided that all the Jewish defenders should commit suicide…. The defenders – almost one thousand men, women and children… burnt down the fortress…. The Zealots cast lots to choose ten men to kill the remainder. They then chose among themselves the one man who would kill the survivors. That last Jew then killed himself.

Elazar’s final speech clearly was a masterful oration:

“Since we long ago resolved never to be servants to the Romans, nor to any other than to God Himself, Who alone is the true and just Lord of mankind, the time is now come that obliges us to make that resolution true in practice … I cannot but esteem it as a favor that God has granted us, that it is still in our power to die bravely, and in a state of freedom.”

Jewish Virtual Library

The site is so inaccessible that it lay untouched for a millenia and a half. The excavation was finally undertaken in the 1960s by a team of archeologists led by Yigael Yadin, a hero of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. Can you imagine their surprise when they discovered what the Zealots buried in storage containers beneath Masada’s synagogue floor?

Fragments of Ezekiel 37. The valley of dry bones.

Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.” Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord.’” (Ezek 37:11-14)

That fragment of Ezekiel’s prophecy predicting Israel’s return from the valley of dry bones to their own land lay in wait for nearly two millennia.

To be unearthed by a man who played no small role in the fulfillment of that very prophecy!

Is that not more than a little eerie?? Goosebumps…

Synagogue at Masada Where Ezekiel Fragments Were Unearthed

Synagogue at Masada where archeologists unearthed Ezekiel 37 fragments

Eerie finds… An ages-old witness… We live in a day when prophecies leap from the Bible’s pages. And Israel’s very dust cries out!
For more on the fascinating ways the archeologist’s spade in Israel is fulfilling ancient prophecies, check out my eBook:


Israel’s Rebirth Predicted—to the Day!

Many people look at the modern nation of Israel and conclude it’s some kind of fluke of history. Or worse—an actual counterfeit. Some seem to believe that modern Jews descended from European Khazars, not from Abraham. (This has been debunked by D.N.A testing, just so you know.)

Consider this.

“I am God, and there is none like me.
At the beginning I announce the end,
proclaim in advance things not yet done;
and I say that my plan will hold….” Is 46:10

How do we know God is in charge? By His mighty hand in fulfilling prophecy.

How do we know that Jesus was the Messiah? Because of the long list of prophecies He fulfilled.

How do we know the modern state of Israel represents God at work? Because…

Modern Israel Is a Dramatic Fulfillment of Scores of Prophecies

For a longer list and a more expansive explanation, go here, but I’ll cherry-pick a few fulfilled prophecies that impress me—many of them from Ezekiel! According to Dr. Ken Johnson:

This one deserves a special mention.

From the books of Daniel and Ezekiel, you can work out May 14, 1948 to the day. The ancient prophets predicted the exact date the nation of Israel was restored. (Daniel 4; Ezekiel 4:4-6; Go here for the full math.)

(I wrote more about the Israel’s rebirth here, if you’re interested: Israel’s Birth: Two Truths and a Lie)

Okay. Since we seem to be following your ancient playbook…


What Next, Ezekiel?

Ezekiel 38 leaves no mystery as to the next big prophetic development. And the prophet’s words are chilling.

And the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords; Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops—many peoples with you.” ‘ ” (Ezek 38:1-6)

The identity of the players in this splendid prophetic army may not jump off the page, but most of them are well understood.

  • Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and Beth-togarmah are all areas within modern-day Turkey.
  • Persia, of course, is modern-day Iran.
  • Put is Libya.
  • The word confusingly translated “Ethiopia” is כּוּשׁ, kûsh. As you can see from the map below, in the era in which Ezekiel wrote, the Kingdom of Kush encompassed the region of the Nile from what is now southern Egypt down through Sudan, ending south of the fork where modern Khartoum sits. So, modern Sudan.
Kingdom of Kush in 400 BC

Egypt and Kush in 400 B.C. Source: Wikicommons.

There is uncertainty about the identity of Rosh, Gog and Magog. Gog is a title, not a place. He is identified as “of the land of Magog” and as prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. Troops aligned with him will come from “the remote parts of the north.” Many scholars believe “Gog of the land of Magog” refers to a leader of modern-day Russia, while a minority view maintains it’s Turkey.

So what will this broad coalition be about?

“…in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste…. You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you…. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.” (Ezek 38:8-9, 16)

Ezekiel says these nations will mount a vicious attack against a peaceful Israel. But Gog and his well-armored hordes will be unwitting tools. In the end, the Lord in His “blazing wrath” will be glorified through their cataclysmic defeat.  (Ez 38:18-23)

Current Israeli Intel: “War at Any Moment”Israeli Intelligence: War at Any Time

We may be seeing the Ezekiel 38 lineup forming…

Many students of prophecy have flagged the significance of the fact that former foes Russia, Turkey and Iran seem to be aligning around overlapping interests in Syria.

On November 22, three of these five powers met: Iran, Russia and Turkey. That picture evolved further on November 23, when Sudanese President al-Bashir traveled to the southern Russian city of Sochi to meet with Putin to discuss “nuclear power cooperation.” Al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and war crimes in Darfur, requested “protection from the U.S. aggressive actions.” (Muslim logic, anyone? :-/ )

Have four of five pieces in the Ezekiel 38 prophetic puzzle just fallen into place? And is the inclusion of Syria in the picture a preliminary to the fulfillment of Isaiah 17:1, which says that Damascus will be reduced to “a ruinous heap?”

On 12/13, Erdogan called an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which he chairs. 57 nations attended, including Iran’s Rouhani and Sudan’s Al-Bashir.  Erdogan called on Muslim leaders to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and said Turkey will open an embassy to the Palestinians in East Jerusalem. As Reuters observes, “It was not clear how he would carry out the move, as Israel controls all of Jerusalem and calls the city its indivisible capital.”

On Monday 12/18, the U.S. vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that called for the withdrawal of Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. A few days later, the U.N. General Assembly approved a harsh resolution condemning the U.S. move. This wasn’t a surprise, but what was a surprise was the vote tallies: 14 to 1 and 128:9. On the Security Council, only the U.S. supported Israel and Jerusalem.

Members of the council can vote again and again — for a hundred more times. It won’t change the simple fact that Jerusalem is, has been, and always will be the capital of Israel. – Danny Dunn, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N.

Brothers and sisters, we live in a day when prophecies are leaping off the Bible’s pages and into the headlines…

“Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around…. It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.” (Zech 12:2-3)

Ezekiel also says a group of nations will express concern.

“…the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder?…’ ” (Ezek 38:13)

While, again, there is not complete agreement on the modern identities of these nations, many scholars believe ancient Tarshish included southwest Britain, where tin has been mined since ancient times. If so, the young lions would be Britain’s colonial offshoots… E.g., the U.S.!

And all over the headlines today, 4/11/18…

Trump May Ezekiel Lineup

 

Exactly how the Ezekiel 38 war will align with other aspects of end-times prophecy (e.g., the Battle of Armageddon—Rev 16:16) is a matter of debate among scholars. We may well be on the brink of finding out.

“I am God, and there is none like me.
At the beginning I announce the end,
proclaim in advance things not yet done;
and I say that my plan will hold….” Is 46:10

 

If you’ve never opened God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus (Rom 3:23, 6:23), please please please be persuaded to do it now! It’s simple. Just tell God from your heart that you admit you’re a sinner that needs a Savior (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23) that you’re done running your own life, and that you’re ready to make Jesus Lord of your life.

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” (Rom 10:9-11)

The decision that saves you is that simple!

Simple… But no one said living it out will be easy. Especially now, in these last days.

 

A sincere thank you for the time and attention you’ve devoted to this post! Here are links to few other articles related to Israel that might interest you.

  1. The Holocaust: The Most Crucial Prophetic Event of Our Day
  2. Israel’s Birth: Two Truths and a Lie
  3. When Nations Rage
  4. Harvey, the Irma: When Storms Rage

 

16 Comments

  1. Cindie Haese says:

    Over 70 years ago a young woman from Scotland was searching the Scriptures after becoming a new Christian here in America. She was fascinated that the Book was filled with promises for Israel and the Jewish people. She also discovered the promise that in 1948 they would be restored back to their land!
    I know because she told me the story of her profound joy the day she saw the headlines in the newspaper announcing that Israel had been declared a nation on the very date she had found in those very Scripture passages by adding up the years!
    I have never seen any other reference to this possibility until reading your posts and reading it thrilled me so much I just had to share my story. Thank you!

  2. Bill Harper says:

    I just finished reading the Book of Ezekiel last week so your blog post here is a timely one for me, Linda. Thanks. Ezekiel 37 certainly applies to what we have seen in the rebirth of the modern state of Israel and as Jews around the world today continue to make aliyah. I also believe that Ezekiel’s ‘ Valley of Dry Bones ‘ prophecy is speaking literally of the yet future resurrection of the dead and that many of the Jews who have perished in the persecutions, pogroms and the Holocaust during the Diaspora down through the centuries will indeed live again and dwell in their ancient homeland in the messianic kingdom age. I think that is when the fulfillment of the prophecy will finally be complete though we are seeing the partial fulfillment right now. Here is another passage of Scripture that I would like to share with you and your readers, Linda, which I believe to be a prophecy which foretold the Holocaust:

    ” For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.”

    —Psalm 102:3-5 KJV

    • Thanks, Bill! I was actually looking for that scripture and couldn’t find it, so much appreciate you adding this note!
      I’m learning more and more about how the prophecies can have multiple fulfillments, each successively providing a greater realization of the same spiritual truth. Love the point you make about the yet future resurrection. Looking forward to rejoicing with God’s people there!!

  3. rose says:

    Again, another thought-provoking message, Linda. I’m always amazed how you put it all together.

  4. Thanks a lot for this clear and biblically based article! This confirms what I also believe and teach about here in Portugal.
    I also believe that time is running fast for Israel and the Church, and, as believers in Yeshua, we should support more and more the state of Israel in the coming days.
    May the Lord continue to inspire you as you write!

    • Thank you so much for the kind words, Normando,and it’s great to hear that the word of God is being put forth consistently around the world. 💖 God bless your ministry as well! Love in Christ, Linda

  5. Ma Victoria says:

    I’m so interested to know more about this prophecy since I’m following prophetic events even take hold of some books pertaining to it.I’m so glad to read & take hold of your precious writings to gain more insights & share it. Thank you for the priceless gift.God bless & more God’s power in your ministry.

  6. Rolando D. Custodio says:

    My comment is:

    Do not imitate the big nation that legalize divorce because such is not in accordance with the Words, Laws and Will of our Almighty Father in Heaven, our One and Only One God, and this was confirmed by our Lord Jesus Christ when He was sent by God in this world to teach mankind how to inherit what GOD HAS promised to those who will comply with HIS wWords, Laws and Will

  7. Lumlang Nongkhlaw says:

    It’s been a great learning for me reading some of the passage especially concerning the unfolding of God’s workds before our very eyes. For me to get these revelation from the sciptures is amazing.
    Thanks and looking for more

  8. Caethy Tuvalu says:

    Hallelujah for revelation!

  9. I’m so sorry… I didn’t see your second comment until now! It’s nothing to be afraid of as a believer. “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift u your heads, because your redemption is at hand.” Luke 21:28 But for the unbelieving world, that’s a different matter… 🙁

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