An alleged discovery of freshwater pools along the shores of the Dead Sea – which borders Jordan, Israel and the West Bank – has some people claiming the fulfillment of biblical end times prophecy, while others – including Messianic Jews and Christian scholars – dispute the claim.
Breaking Israel News highlighted Samantha Siegel, a Jewish artisan baker from Jerusalem who frequently takes trips to the Dead Sea region, reportedly discovering freshwater pools. Although no official sources are linked in the article, the report asserts that the Dead Sea has been receding by 1 meter every year and that sinkholes around it have been filling up with fresh water and are teeming with fish, calling it "a prophecy appearing before her eyes that seemed to contradict the laws of nature."
The Dead Sea is more than 400 meters below sea level and is the lowest point on the planet. Because of its hyper-saline environment, it is a harsh place where life is not known to grow, hence its name.
In a YouTube video Siegel posted online, she calls these things "signs of the times" when the Dead Sea finally comes to life. The report suggests that such discoveries signal the start of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies about the Dead Sea in Zechariah 14:8 and Ezekiel 47:8-9.
The report further notes that in 2011, a team of researchers from Ben Gurion University in the Negev sent divers to the floor of the Dead Sea where they found fresh water flowing in from craters that were 15 meters across and 20 meters deep. These craters were "carpeted with mats of microorganisms, showing that the Dead Sea was not entirely dead."
"Scientific research has proved the existence of life at the bottom of the Dead sea, but due to a unique set of circumstances, signs of life have begun appearing on its very shores, precisely as it is written in the Book of Prophets," the report claims.
Zechariah 14:8 reads: "On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the Dead Sea and the other half to the Mediterranean Sea. This will happen for the summer as well as the winter."
Ezekiel 47: 8-9 reads: "He said to me, 'This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.
Thus the Breaking Israel News article argues, "The beginnings of the prophecy are in place, waiting to spring forth."
The Christian Post reached out to Susan Perlman, co-founder of Jews for Jesus, for her take on this claim of end times prophecy being fulfilled. "As far as fulfilling Ezekiel's prophecy, Ezek. 47:9 says 'Wherever the stream flows, there will be all kinds of animals and fish. The stream will make the water of the Dead Sea fresh, and wherever it flows, it will bring life.' So far, the Dead Sea is still dead though there may be some fresh water deposits," Perlman told CP.
"Therefore, we can't really say whether this fulfills prophecy —the future will tell," she concluded.
Given the variety of end times theological perspectives within Christianity, CP also asked Dr. Floyd Elmore, professor of Biblical Theology at Southern Evangelical Seminary, to weigh in.
The problem with this discovery of these pools as the beginning of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, says Elmore, is the place of the water's origin.
"The prophecies of Ezekiel 47 and Zechariah 14 are not being fulfilled as they are written if we think that the presence of fresh water under and around the Dead Sea now is the fulfillment of such prophecies," Elmore told CP Friday.
"The reason is that both passages state that the origination of the fresh water flowing to the Dead Sea is from Jerusalem and its temple," he continued, adding that it also depends on the view one takes of end times events.
Some might see "what is going on now in Israel as a precursor or inauguration of the process that will ultimately fulfill the two prophecies," Elmore added. But those who hold a more pre-millennial view would expect divine intervention to change conditions on the ground in the millennium.
"When Christ returns, we would expect to see that changing conditions regarding fresh water and fish in them described in the prophecies are the result of Christ the Lord being King in Jerusalem. His presence and command to make the waters flow from his seat of power will change and heal certain poor earth conditions that now exist. All these changes will emanate from Jerusalem and will be indicative of millennial blessings for planet earth," Elmore concluded.