Two recent news stories bear a remarkable correspondence to the biblical prophecies concerning Isreael in Ezekiel 37 and 38. First, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking on the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, cited the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37. Netanyahu believes that the rise of the modern nation of Israel fulfills Ezekiel’s famous prophecy of the dry bones. He said,
“The Jewish people rose from ashes and destruction, from a terrible pain that can never be healed. Armed with the Jewish spirit, the justice of man, and the vision of the prophets, we sprouted new branches and grew deep roots. Dry bones became covered with flesh, a spirit filled them, and they lived and stood on their own feet, as Ezekiel prophesied: “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.”
While I agree with Netanyahu’s statement that Ezekiel 37 is being fulfilled in the regathering of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland, I don’t believe that prophecy has been completely fulfilled. Ezekiel 37 predicts a physical return of the people first to the land and then then a spiritual return of the people to the Lord (37:9-10). The Jewish people have returned to their land, but their spiritual return to the Lord is still future (Zech 12:10). Their regathering to the land, however, is the first phase, and we are seeing it fulfilled before our eyes.
The second recent headline is related to the first one. On a recent trip to Israel, Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconia, one of Israel’s stongest allies in Europe, made this startling statement. “My greatest desire, as long as I am a protagonist in politics, is to bring Israel into membership of the European Union.” This is the first I have heard of any desire for Israel to be part of the EU. Of course, no one knows if or when this will ever happen, but the Bible does predict a reuniting of the Roman Empire in the end times in Daniel 2 and 7, and the EU appears to foreshadow that revival. The Holy Land was part of the ancient Roman Empire and could be a part of its end time reconstitution. It would be natural for the reunited Roman Empire to include Israel. If this were to occur, one could easily see how Israel would be under the protection of the Antichrist (the leader of the final Roman Empire) and how he could make a covenant with Israel that brings peace as predicted in Daniel 9:27.
After the Jewish people are regathered to their land in Ezekiel 37, the next chapter predicts an all-out invasion of Israel by a horde of nations including Russia, Iran, Central Asia, Libya, Turkey and Sudan. This invasion occurs while Israel it at peace and living securely in her land (Ezek 38 8, 11). If Israel were to be admitted to the EU at some point in the future, the peace they will experience in the end times with the help of the Antichrist is easy to envision. It’s even possible that the signing of such a treaty could be part of Israel’s requirements for admisson to the EU. No one knows for sure, but we do know that the event that commences the final seven years of this age is a treaty or covenant between the leader of the reunited Roman Empire and Israel. Berlusconi’s desire could be an initial step in that direction.
These recent headlines that point toward the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37 and 38 are further striking examples of how the world stage is taking shape for the coming of Christ.