The final two verses of Ezekiel 28 fit the general scene in and around Israel so that we are inclined to apply it to the circumstances we have witnessed in the Middle East in recent years. Such is the nature of many prophecies that relate to the latter days, that we hesitate to be too dogmatic.

We read, “And for the house of Israel there shall be no more a brier to prick or a thorn to hurt them among all their neighbours who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord GOD. Thus says the Lord GOD: When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and manifest my holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they shall dwell in their own land that I gave to my servant Jacob. And they shall dwell securely in it, and they shall build houses and plant vineyards. They shall dwell securely, when I execute judgments upon all their neighbours who have treated them with contempt”.

And then the chapter ends with, “Then they will know that I am the LORD their God”. How close are we to that happening? It surely needs the return of Christ! How soon might that be? “No one knows the hour or the day” (Mark 13:32), says Jesus, who did not know the time (at least during his first coming).

Looking at verse 25, we see today how for over seventy years all Israel’s neighbouring countries have treated regathered Israel with contempt. In a sense judgments have been executed upon these neighbours, for all except Jordan have experienced civil wars, and to some extent, still do, within their borders. Even Jordan is perplexed by the avalanche of refugees from Syria and Iran and the endless existence of Palestinian Camps.

The song / prayer of Psalm 83 seems appropriate. May the day soon come when God acts to “fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name O LORD … that they may know that you alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth” (verses 16,18).

What of ourselves? We are not just spectators of the godless behaviour of the nations. May we all make Galatians 2:20 the focus of thought for the rest of our lives, for truly, we say with Paul, if we are committed to Christ, “It is no longer I who live …”