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Chapter 37

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ch. 37:1-14    ch. 37:15-27

The Valley Of Dry Bones (ch. 37:1 - 14)     

 

Note the mention of the Holy Spirit in verse 1.  When anyone is used by the Lord in the gift of prophecy, whether in Old Testament times or New Testament times, the Spirit of God would come on the person.   You will know when the Holy Spirit comes on you. He will envelope you and He will use you to speak the Word of the Lord.  I do believe that the gift of prophecy, whether predictive or not predictive, is a gift for New Testament times.  I think 1 Corinthians 12 through 14 makes this clear.  That being said, whatever the prophetic word is, it must be in line with what the Bible says.  If not, if is not the Word of the Lord.

 

Verse 1 also states that the Spirit brought Ezekiel into a valley.  Whether the Spirit literally brought Ezekiel into a real valley is debatable.  The text does not say this was a vision, but it could well be one. 

 

In verse 3 the Lord asked Ezekiel if the bones he saw  throughout the valley could live.  The text states that these bones were very dry, as in very dead.  I would suggest that the first thing that would come into anyone's mind upon hearing this question is, "how can dead and dry old bones live?      

 

Ezekiel answered in a very safe way.  He said, "O Sovereign Lord, you alone know".  Clearly Ezekiel did not know how to answer this question.

 

I'm not sure how Ezekiel felt at this point, but God asked him to prophesy to the dry bones. God wanted Ezekiel to talk to a bunch of dead dry bones, as weird as that may sound to you and I.  God always has reasons for what He does, and His ways of doing things aren't always the way we would do things.  Ezekiel might have felt a bit strange.   

 

The words that Ezekiel is to speak to the bones is found in verses 4 through 6.  We see the words "I will" over and over again in the Bible when it comes to Israel at the end of this age, and again, we see these words here.  God will, all by Himself, cause life to come to these bones.  He will join them together, put skin on them  and make these bones into a living body.  This is the Word of the Lord. The point here is that God alone will do this.

 

Before going further I would like to point out something.  Back in the charismatic movement of the 1960's and 1970's, I often heard this passage of Scripture used to support that present day outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  This text was often used to say these dry bones were dry Christians, now being brought to life, but that's not really what this text is speaking of.  This text is speaking of Israel coming back to life, not Christians coming back to life.       

 

In verse 7 and 8, Ezekiel spoke the Word of thee Lord, The bones came together.  Note the text states that the bones came together but  as yet there was no life in them.  We know that this prophecy predicts the future of Israel.   

 

Israel will become a nation, as they are now, but they will still be  dead spiritually.  They will not have the life of God in them.  This is the case with Israel today.  The bones are coming together, but as yet, the breath of life, that is, spiritual life is still to come.  Again, I repeat what the apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:46.  He says, "first comes the natural and then the spiritual".  Israel must become a physical nation before she can be restored to her God.  They are that nation.  The next step is spiritual restoration.  

 

The second round of prophecy comes in verses 9 and 10. God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the breath, so breath can come into the body that has come together.  Once the breath of life comes into the body, the body of bones comes alive.  The breath is the Holy Spirit.  Ezekiel was to prophesy to the Holy Spirit, encouraging Him to enter the dry bones of Israel.  I believe God Himself will do that in His time. This is something we all should be praying for. In both Hebrew and Greek the words for breath is also the word for spirit.  

 

This makes me wonder.  Right now as I type these words, the bones have come together, but there is no life.  Israel is a nation, but they are dead spiritually.  If you read the book of Revelation, the two witnesses and the one hundred and forty four thousand Israelis preach the gospel to the Jews, and at that time they begin to come alive.  This prophecy might well be speaking of that day yet to come.

 

Verse 11 makes it clear what this prophecy is all about.  God says that these bones, this prophecy,  is about the "whole house of Israel".  I think the word "whole" is important here.  You will remember that Israel had been divided into two, north and south.  The time in which this prophecy is speaking to is a time when there will be no north and south.  There will be just one Israel.   All twelve tribes will be one nation as we see in the book of Revelation with the one hundred and forty four thousand preachers, twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes.

 

We also see Israel's response in verse 11.  Israel comes to its senses.  She says that they are a bunch of dry bones, their hope is gone, and they are cut off from the Lord.  To me, this suggests true repentance on the part of Israel.  We know from other prophecies that there will come a time when Israel repents of their sinfulness.  This will take place during the Great Tribulation.  This is one of the main reasons for the Great Tribulation, that is, to bring Israel to her knees.

 

Once Israel repents, you see the Lord's response in verses 12 to 14.  God will bring Israel back to the land and then He will put life back into them once in their land.  I see a two fold fulfillment of prophecy here.  First the Jews go back to the land, and then spiritual life is brought back to them.  They are now coming back to the land.  We await the day when spiritual life will return to Israel. 

 

We also should note here and understand that the land cannot be separated from the new life they will receive.  The land that was promised to Abraham is always important throughout the Bible.  You cannot separate land issues from Israel's spiritual restoration.  They will get their land, and they will be restored spiritually.  First comes the land, then comes the Spirit, or as the apostle Paul put it, first comes the natural, then the spiritual.  (1 Corinthians 15:46)

 

One Nation Under One King (ch. 37:15 - 27)

 

 

In verse 16 and 17 God told Ezekiel to take two sticks that he was to write on.  One stick was Judah and the Israelis who were associated with him.  That was the southern Kingdom Israel, known as Judah  

 

The other stick was for Ephraim "belonging to Joseph".  The reason for the way this is worded is because Ephraim was Joseph's son.  Ephraim was also known as Israel, that northern kingdom.

 

In verse 17 God asked Ezekiel to join the two sticks together in his hand.  This action is prophetic of the day when the northern and the southern kingdoms of Israel would be reunited back together in one as they were meant to be, as they are in the process of doing right now as I type these words.    

 

At this point in time, when Ezekiel was prophesying these things the northern kingdom was not really in existence.  It had been taken over by Assyria .   A good number of Israelis from the north at that time relocated to the southern kingdom. The rest were assimilated with the Assyrians.  The southern kingdom at the time of this writing was exiled to Babylon. Verses 18 to 21 confirms this.   

 

Verse 21 is important for us who are living today.  God said that He would gather Israelis from "the nations" in which they had been scattered to and bring them back into their own land.  The word "nations" is plural, and for that reason is very important in the understanding of this verse. 

 

In Ezekiel's day, Israelis weren't really scattered across the nations of the world.  They were just held captive for the most part, in one nation, and that was Babylon.  I say this because some people think this prophecy was fulfilled when the Jews were allowed back into their homeland after their 70 year captivity in Babylon.  That can't be true.  It was only in 70 A. D. when Jews were scattered throughout the nations of the world, and it was only in the 20th century when God began to bring them back, and only in 1948 did Israel have a homeland to return to.     

 

There's more to this prophecy in the following verses that confirms that God was not speaking of Israel's flight back from Babylon to Israel.  In verse 22 He said Israel would become one nation, not two. Verse 23 is the key verse here.  It states that God will save Israel from their sin, clean them up, and at that time He will be their God and they will be His people.  Many prophets speak of the day to come at the end of this age, as does the prophet Zechariah in the last few chapters of his book.  God alone will pour out a Spirit of repentance upon Israel when they have finally fallen to their knees and surrender to their God.  At that time this prophecy in Ezekiel will be fulfilled.  This prophetic word definitely was not fulfilled when the Jews returned  from Babylon to Israel, and it sure wasn't fulfilled in the Charismatic Movement of the 1960's and 1970's.        

 

Verse 24 says that God's servant David will be king of the Jews.  All Bible scholars say this servant is Jesus.  One of  the major trains of Messianic thought in the Bible is that Jesus is a king like king David.  He is in the lineage of David, and He will inherit the throne of David.  That throne was in Jerusalem, and it will be there once again when Jesus sits on it as king, not only of the Jews, but of the world.

 

You see the word "forever" in verse 25.  Forever means forever.  This prophecy could not have been fulfilled when Israel returned to their land from Babylon.  The prophecy clearly states that Israel will be in the land forever, and that Jesus their king will be their king forever.  Forever means beyond the thousand year rule of Christ.  Forever means eternity on the new earth as seen in the last few chapters of Revelation.  And just to let you know, if you read those chapters of Revelation, you will note that there will still be nations of the world on the new earth. 

 

The last three verses speak of a new covenant that God will make with Israel.  They will possess the land.  Jesus will be their king.  God's sanctuary, or dwelling place, will be among them, because Jesus will be among them in the thousand years of His rule.  This prophecy is ultimately fulfilled in the New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven at the end of the thousand years.    

 

Concerning this New Covenant, at the moment I see this as an extension of sorts with the covenant Jesus made on the cross, but this is directed specifically to Israel, and not to Gentile believers.  When Jesus returns to Israel at the end of this age, there will be a new covenant in place for  

Israel.  

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