Scriptures

Ezekiel 37

Introduction

Resurrection of Israel and reunion as one nation.

Summary

The vision of the valley of dry bones. The sign of the joining of the two sticks. God brings a fascinating vision to Ezekiel in demonstration of the new life which Israel will have. The visual image, of dry bones.

‘The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said, ‘Sovereign LORD, you alone know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ So, I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ So, I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.’ Ezekiel 37:1-10

Vision of dry bones

The Dry Bones coming to life, must bring a smile to Ezekiel’s face as he now relates the vision. Here is where the spiritual comes from. About the only well-known part of Ezekiel, which is a great pity. We are again witnessing a vision situation. The prophet clearly indicates that this is happening.

Here the nation is given new life, for they are pictured as being dead, completely dead, you can’t get more dead than dry bones. The prophet is taken to a valley full of ‘very dry’ bones. He is asked to prophecy to the bones and to thereby make them come to life. A strange request perhaps, but by now this man would probably be ready to do anything.

Obeying the Lord’s command Ezekiel prophecies to the bones and things start happening.

1. The bones come together. Ezekiel 37:7.

2. The sinews and flesh came on the skeletons. Ezekiel 37:8.

3. They came to life. Ezekiel 37:10.

‘Then he said to me: ‘Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore, prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’ Ezekiel 37:11-14

The Explanation

The bones represent the people of Israel in Babylon. They are to be brought back to life by God. There is a clear likeness to a resurrection in this vision which indicates the state of the nation. They are said to be in the grave, the bones are very dry and dried up, as a nation they are beyond anything they can do for themselves. God must resurrect them, if they are to have any hope.

Their undignified position as dry bones scattered throughout the land of Babylon is coming to an end. The God of Israel will cause them to stand once more upright, in their own land, once again with dignity.

Another sign is to be shown to the people. Two sticks, one representing the Northern tribes and the other depicting the tribe of Judah, are to be held together to signify the reunification of the nation of Israel. This is followed by a messianic prophecy of the new kingdom to come.

‘The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’ Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand. ‘When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’ say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him and join it to Judah’s stick. I will make them into a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’ Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.’ Ezekiel 37:15-23

The sign of the two sticks

On two sticks the prophet writes the name of Judah on one and Joseph, or perhaps Ephraim, on the other stick. Numbers 17:1ff. Why these two names?

It would seem that these represent the two kingdoms. Judah and Ephraim being the strongest tribes in both kingdoms after the division.

It is also fair to say that most of the kings of the north came from Ephraim, and all in the south came from Judah. That the kings are in view here might be borne out by Ezekiel 37:24. The prophet is to take these two sticks and join them together making one. Perhaps here are two sticks which he had picked up and had been one but broken in two, so that they joined well together.

On the Hebrew word for ‘one’, Bullinger says, ‘echad’ is so used because it does not mean absolute unity, but a compound unity. Always one of others which make up the one. Its first occurrence is in

Genesis 1:5, ‘The first day’, of seven.

Genesis 2:11, ‘The name of the first is Pison’, i.e. one of four.

Genesis 2:21, ‘He took one of his ribs.’

Genesis 2:24, ‘They two shall be one flesh.’

Hence when it is used twice, the word being repeated, ‘one, one’, it is translated both one and the other, but it is always one where there are others. Hence sometimes each, as in Numbers 7:85.

Genesis 49:16, ‘as one of the (twelve) tribes of Israel’.

Numbers 13:23, ‘A branch with one cluster of (many) grapes.’

Even have the plural ‘echadim’, like Elohim, ones. In speaking of the two sticks representing the houses of Israel and Judah, it says, Ezekiel 37:19

‘they will become one in my hand’.

Psalm 34:20 ‘he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.’

In all these and other places echad is composite. It is one of others, and hence it is the word used in Deuteronomy 6:4. Jehovah (the Father), Elohim (the Son), and Jehovah (the Spirit) is echad. One Triune God.’ E. W. Bullinger, Number in Scripture.

Here is a picture or a sign of national unity.

‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’ Ezekiel 37:24-28

The explanation of the sign, the new kingdom

The explanation is not that the Bible and the book of Mormon will one day be used side by side. On that ludicrous interpretation we say no more. It clearly is said to refer to a united kingdom in Palestine again. This they had lost many years before and was the perfect picture of a restored kingdom. Not only dignified again, but also unified.

Only one king will suffice under these circumstances, David. Not Solomon, for he caused the kingdom to divide, but David under whom the nation would become glorious again.

Go To Ezekiel 38

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Philippians 4:6

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