Dry Bones


I.        Introduction

Ezekiel 37: 1- 14

1.       Ezekiel - the name signifies: The strength of God, or one strengthened of God.
2.      He was faithful and bold in reproving the Jews in Babylonian captivity
3.      The angry Jews (the tradition states) dragged him upon the stones till his brains were dashed out.
4.      An Arabic historian says that he was put to death and was buried in the sepulchre of Shem the son of Noah.

II.     The Scene

1.      The scene is laid in Babylon, when it was a house of bondage to the Israel of God
2.      There the prophecies of this book were preached, there they were written, when the prophet himself, and the people to whom he prophesied, were captives there.
3.      Ezekiel and Daniel are the only writing prophets of the Old Testament who lived and prophesied anywhere but in the land of Israel
4.      We add Jonah to the list, who was sent to Nineveh to prophesy.
5.      Ezekiel prophesied in the beginning of the captivity, Daniel in the latter end of it.
6.      It was an indication of God's good-will to them, and his gracious designs concerning them in their affliction, that he raised up prophets among them
7.      In the beginning of their troubles, they were secure and unhumbled, Ezekiel prophesized  
8.      Daniel prophesized to comfort them when, in the latter end of their troubles, they were dejected and discouraged.
9.      If the Lord had been pleased to kill them, he would not have used such apt and proper means to cure them.
10.  We have, in the former part of this book, the threatening of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem for their sins
11.  We have in the latter part of the book,t he promises of their restoration and deliverance for the glory of God
12.  God had assured them, in the foregoing chapter, that he would gather the house of Israel, even all of it, and would bring them out of their captivity, and return them to their own land

Ezekiel 36:24 - For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

13.  But there were certain things that rendered this very unlikely.

III.  The Valley

1.   The Jews in exile were aptly compared to a valley full of the dry bones of dead men, which should be brought together and raised to life.

Ezekiel 37: 1-2
1   The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
2   And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.

2.      Those bones were:

i.        Not piled up on a heap - but scattered upon the face of the ground
ii.      As if some bloody battle had been fought here
iii.    And the slain left unburied till all the flesh was devoured or putrefied
iv.    Nothing left but the bones
v.      Those disjointed from one another
vi.    And dispersed.
vii.  They were very dry, having been long exposed to the sun and wind.

3.      That they were:

i.        Dispersed among their enemies
ii.      Destitute of all helps and advantages which might favour or further their return
iii.    Dispirited likewise in their own minds
iv.    Unlikely ever to come together, to be so much as a skeleton
v.      Less likely to be formed into a body
vi.    And least of all to be a living body.

Ezekiel 37: 12 - Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

4.      The hope - they lay unburied in the open valley, which encouraged the hopes of their resurrection

IV.  A Shadow of the Gospel Age

1.      This is the union of the two nations of Israel and Judah
2.      Here is a type of the uniting of Jews and Gentiles, Jews and Samaritans, in Christ and his church.
3.      And so the prophet slides into a prediction of the kingdom of Christ, which should be set up in the world with God's tabernacle in it, and of the glories and graces of that kingdom, (Ezekiel 37:23-28)

V.     What Might Have Happened?
1.      They might have been warriors slain in a battle.
2.      They were so divided among themselves, too much of the old enmity between Judah and Ephraim remaining even in their captivity.
3.      They killed each other.

Ezekiel 37: 9 - Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain <harag>, that they may live. {wind: or, breath}

harag - (haw-rag) - a primitive root; to smite with deadly intent:--destroy, out of hand, kill, murder(-er), put to (death), make (slaughter), slay(-er)

VI.  Back to Life

Ezekiel 37: 3- And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

1.      Is it a thing likely?
2.      Cast thou devise how it should be done?
3.      Can your philosophy reach to put life into dry bones, or thy politics to restore a captive nation?"
4.      "No," says the prophet, "I know not how it should be done, but thou knowest."

VII.    Plan of Action

1.      Prophesy to the bones about a new life

i.     He had to say to them that God would infallibly raise them to life - You shall live
ii.   God will make you live
iii. He will clothe you with skin and flesh

Ezekiel 37: 4 - 8
4   Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
5   Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
6   And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
7   So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.

iv.       There was a voice – the slain church is coming together
v.         There will be noise of joy – songs and praises.
vi.       Bones came together bone to his bone
vii.     Though there is in man a multitude of bones, yet of all the bones of those numerous slain not one was missing, not one missed its way, not one missed its place, each knew and found its fellow.
viii.   Thus it was in the return of the Jews; those that were scattered in several parts of the province of Babylon came to their respective families
ix.       Thus it will be the gathering of His people.

Ezekiel 37: 8 - And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

1.      Sinews and flesh came upon these bones, and the skin covered them
2.      This was fulfilled when the captives got silver, and gold, and whatever they needed for their remove (Ezra1:4)

Ezra 1: 4 - And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.

2.      Prophesy to the wind

i.     There was no breath in them
ii.   They lacked the spirit and courage for such a difficult and hazardous enterprise

Ezekiel 37: 9- 10
9    Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. {wind: or, breath}
10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

iii.    He is not the God of the dead, but of the living
iv.    Therefore breathe upon them that they may live
v.      In answer to this request, the breath immediately came into them
vi.    The spirit of life is from God; he at first in the creation breathed into man the breath of life, and so he will again at His church.

3.      A mighty army came into being.

Ezekiel 37: 10 - So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

i.        The dispirited despairing captives were wonderfully animated with resolution to break through all the discouragements that lay in the way
ii.      And then they stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army
iii.    Not only living men, but effective men, fit for service in the wars and formidable to all that gave them any opposition.

VIII. Conclusion
Ezekiel 37: 13 - 14
13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

Professor Jacob Abraham
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