Saturday, July 2, 2016

129 - Dem Bones; Dem Dry Bones

A Valley of Bones

The hand of Jehovah was on me, ... and made me rest in the midst of a valley.

We ask, "which valley" and end up with several answers: 

  1. The Jewish Targum in place of a valley has this valley.  This indicates the valley carved by the River Chebar because that is where Ezekiel was at that time. 
  2. Some say it was the "Valley of Dura" where Nebuchadnezzar's army killed many Israelites.
  3. I had always imagined it referred to the land of Israel; in Hebrew, "valley" is The same word as “plain”. Barnes, see Strong H1237.
  4. However, verse 11, and many other portions of scripture indicate that "valley" is a symbolic word for "the world".  Earlier we noticed this phrase, I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Do not keep back; bring My sons from far and My daughters from the ends of the earth. Isaiah 43:5.  
Souls, come from all parts where ye are scattered; and reanimate these bodies from which ye have been so long separated. The four winds signify all parts - in every direction. EBC

and it was full of bones (many Jews have died over the years) ... they were very dry. Ezekiel 37:1-2.  Seemingly, there was no chance, that they could ever come back to life.

We recall that Ezekiel drew a picture of Jerusalem on a tile for his object lesson.  He also compared his listeners to the useless wood of a vine and to the scum at the top of a boiling pot of meat.  Now he compares the deceased Israelites to a valley of bones.  We need not suppose that he actually saw the bones, he was just painting a verbal picture.

The captive Jews in Babylon then take up this dirge, Our bones are dried and our hope is lost; we are cut off by ourselves.  We are forever estranged from the country our God gave us.  Once we hoped for a coming Messiah, now that hope also is gone.  We were the last hope, of all the tribes of Israel, but now we are cut off by ourselves.  Even if the Messiah could come now He would have no country over which to reign.

A Great Ressurection

However, what seems like the absolute end is not the end - there was a noise. And behold, a shaking! And the bones came near, a bone to its bone.  And I watched. And behold! The sinews and the flesh came up on them, and the skin covered them above. 

But there was no breath in them. ... So says the Lord Jehovah: Come from the four winds (the four points of the compass). O Spirit, and breathe on these dead ones so that they may live. ... and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.  

Surely this is nothing less than a picture of the great resurrection at the return of Christ. When every knee shall bow to Me (Jehovah) and every tongue shall confess to God. Rom. 14:11.  Some against their wishes, but still, they will bow and recognize Jehovah as the supreme God!

And He said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. vv.7-11.  Ezekiel then makes an issue of the fact that not only will the dead Jews of Judah come back to life but that the Northern tribes of Israel will also be revived and that those that had been two separate people, geographically and religiously, will become one nation and their king will be David; not literally but someone from the lineage of David.

Together with the Israelites, Christians are also looking forward to that resurrection day. 

However, in the careless spiritual attitude of many Christians in our times it is hard to see that anticipation.  Many say they believe that Jesus died for them, that He rose from the tomb and will come back from heaven, but their lifestyle says the exact opposite.  They also will be face to face with Jehovah at His judgement bar.  On that resurrection day you shall know that I am Jehovah when I have opened your graves, O My people, and have brought you up out of your graves. 37:13.  

Things will be different then than they are now.  Nor shall they be defiled with their idols, even with their filthy idols, nor with all of their transgressions. But I will save them out of all their dwelling places, (foreign countries) ... where they sinned, and will cleanse them. And they shall be to Me for a people, and I will be to them for God. 37:23.  This is the tremendous hope also of the Christian Church.

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