1. What was Ezekiel told to prophesy upon the bones in the valley?
“(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. (3) And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. (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” (Ezekiel 37:1-6).
- The language of the hand of the Lord being upon Ezekiel is not new (Ezekiel 1:3, Ezekiel 3:14, Ezekiel 3:22, Ezekiel 8:1, Ezekiel 33:22, and Ezekiel 40:1) nor is that language unique to Ezekiel (Exodus 9:3, Exodus 16:3, Deuteronomy 2:15, Joshua 4:24, Joshua 22:31, Judges 2:15, Ruth 1:13, I Samuel 5:6, I Samuel 5:9, I Samuel 7:13, I Samuel 12:15, etc.).
- The spirit of the Lord carrying Ezekiel is not a first or only time event here for him (Ezekiel 3:14, Ezekiel 8:3, Ezekiel 11:1, Ezekiel 11:24, and Ezekiel 43:5).
- God had aforetime spoke of how Israel would have their bones scattered about their idols (Ezekiel 6:5). Though, the meaning here is not literally about bones.
- God could raise the dead if He so chose to do so (I Samuel 2:6 and John 5:21).
- God would give tendons, flesh, skin, and breath for life to these dried up bones (Deuteronomy 32:29).
- Why would this be an amazing thing (Acts 26:8)? God originally formed man from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7, Psalms 103:14, and Ecclesiastes 3:20) and woman from the rib of man (Genesis 2:21-23).
2. What happened after he prophesied to the bones before he prophesied to the wind?
“(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. (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” (Ezekiel 37:7-8).
- Ezekiel did was he was commanded to do as has been his pattern of behavior (Ezekiel 12:7 and Ezekiel 24:18).
- In this vision, physical resurrection occurs but there is not breath in these lifeless bodies. These are not living souls in this vision (Job 33:4).
3. What happened when Ezekiel prophesied unto the wind?
“(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. (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” (Ezekiel 37:9-10).
- What is the body without the spirit (Psalms 104:29 and James 2:26)?
- Now however, we are about to soon see this is more than bodies and souls, but this prophesy is much larger in scale than anyone in this time would have known to think of (I Peter 1:3-12; cf. Romans 16:25-26 and Ephesians 3:1-11).
- This prophesy about an army and such similar to the remaining context, however confusing that would have been to them, is elsewhere alluded to as well in connection with the coming of the New Law with the Spirit of God (Joel 2:11-32; cf. Acts 2:1-41).
4. What statement by the house of Israel caused these prophecies concerning the dried bones?
They felt they had no hope: “Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts” (Ezekiel 37:11).
- Now we see the purpose of this vision and the beginning of the meaning of the prophesy. They felt hopeless (Isaiah 49:14) for a reason (Jeremiah 2:25).
- However, as the context will further bear out, they are not without hope (Psalms 78:1-7 and Psalms 130:7).
5. What did the Lord speak that He said He would perform?
Bringing these dead people back to life in their land: “(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. (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” (Ezekiel 37:12-14).
- First, they would be restored physically to their land (Jeremiah 29:10-14).
- This happened (II Chronicles 36:21-23).
- That confirms who He is and that this message was from a true prophet (Zechariah 1:1-6).
- This next part is more in the future as the rest of this context will reveal. God said He was to put His Spirit in them (Zechariah 12:7-10; cf. again Acts 2:1-41).
6. What was God’s intention for the divided kingdom of Israel?
To unite them: “(15) The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, (16) Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: (17) And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. (18) And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?
(19) Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. (20) And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. (21) And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: (22) And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all” (Ezekiel 37:15-22).
- The unity of Israel never took place physically (Hosea 3:4-5). It never was intended to. What was to take place was the spiritual unity of them all in Christ (Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 11:1-12 [cf. Acts 13:22-23], Jeremiah 23:1-8, Jeremiah 33:14-17, Micah 4:1-7, and Luke 1:31-33).
- One nation, one kingdom, united in Christ (Colossians 1:12-23).
7. What was going to have to occur for them to be the people of God again?
They had to be made clean: “Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 37:23).
- Now cleansed, having chosen to be separate from all the garbage of the past (II Corinthians 6:14-7:1).
8. As this chapter concludes, what does the language of David being their king, a new covenant, and the promise of the Lord’s sanctuary being in their midst “evermore” mean?
The following statements clearly point towards the New Covenant of Christ, Jesus being their king, and the fully developed kingdom of Christ being established: “(24) And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. (25) And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. (26) Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. (27) My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (28) And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore” (Ezekiel 37:24-28).
- Cleansed under a new, everlasting covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8:1-10:22, and Hebrews 13:20).
- Words that would never pass away (Matthew 24:35-36).
- An everlasting kingdom (II Peter 1:11).
- The king of the seed of David that brings salvation to His people (Matthew 1:1; 1:18-25 and Luke 1:67-2:11).
- With all of this language, is it any wonder as to why the Jews were looking for an earthly kingdom (Acts 1:6) though such was not the case (Luke 17:20, John 18:36, and Hebrews 12:22-28).
- A tabernacle, a sanctuary not just in Jerusalem, not bound to a physical location (Luke 24:44-47, John 4:20-24, Acts 8:4, Acts 11:19, etc.).