The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel portrayed to
us a preview of the rebirth of the state of Israel in
a unique analogy that has become an epic twentieth
century miracle of enormous significance.
Ezekiel was given a foreglimpse of Israeli history
that has come full circle. God took Ezekiel down into
the midst of a valley, a valley that was completely filled
with dry, bleached, and old weathered bones.
Listen to Ezekiel 37:1-2: 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,
And caused me to pass by them round about: and; behold,
there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were
When I perceive of a valley, two distinct pictures readily
come into view. One is of a nice serene tranquil setting,
where all is slow-paced and peaceful; and another is
a parallel to the 23rd Psalm.
Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
Those are very comforting words that many people
have taken consolation in when confronted with the
impending approach of death. Death is often viewed
as a deep, dark valley that we must all pass through someday.
Albeit, the picture conveyed to Ezekiel here, is a
panoramic view of the historical nation of Israel. The long parade
of nation-states and empires in world history, has seen many fabled
kingdoms arise and diminish, and pass on into the
pages of the worlds history books.
Israel is unlike any other nation among that long
roll call of world states, because it entered into a
covenant arrangement with God almighty, a covenant
which incidentally carries the very reputation of God within it.
Deuteronomy 14:2 For thou art an holy people unto the
Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee ( Israel); to
be a peculiar people unto himself, above all nations that are
upon the earth.
Ezekiel was a contemporary of Daniels, and also was a
Prophet-priest during the exile of Israel in Babylon. His vision
of the valley of dry bones carried the hope of future
national restoration and spiritual renewal. He, as well
as Daniel probably expected Israel to be restored to
nationhood after the 70 year subjection to Babylon.
These Old Testament prophets knew that nations
experienced peaks and valleys in civilization, just as
human beings experience highpoints in life, as well
as the low points. The mountain top experiences are
all too fleeting, while the walk through the valley can
all too often seem like a very broad expanse.
But, Ezekiel, being permitted to look beyond many
mountaintops of Israel’s future, saw ahead into an expanse of a
valley that seemed all too final, and hopeless.
Being shown this valley, thus the Lord asked of him:
Ezekiel 37:3 And he said unto me, Son of Man, can these
bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest.
The very sight of these bones, being so many, and so
very, very dry indicates that the house of Israel would lose
many members of its peoples throughout the course of history, while the dryness,
reflects the utter lack of concern and sympathy Israel would receive
from the world.
Notice also, these dry bones haven't been afforded even the
courtesy of an appropriate resting place, or burial! They have simply
been left open to exposure from the elements.
What possible optimistic hope could this scene portray? For
myself, I don't think it is intended to do anything,
but to simply express to Israel that its only hope in this world rests with God's
commitment to "His" word.
Ezekiel's response to the Lord was "Thou knowest"; indicating
that only the Lord could bring forth fruit in this dark VALLEY.
The nation of Israel embarked upon the stage of
world history over 3000 years ago by entering into the land, for the purpose
of possessing that land which God promised unto Abraham.
Upon entry into the land, God instructed the Jews
that only blessings would follow them in their occupation of
the land, so long as they obeyed his commandments; and kept his statutes,
but on the other hand, a curse would overtake them should they
turn aside from his ways, and his laws, and follow after the Gods of their neighbors. In
Deuteronomy 11:8-12, God states that the blessing and
curse relationship would also applied to the very land itself.
Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I
command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and
possess the land, whither ye go to possess it;
And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the
Lord sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their
seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
Verse 11-12: But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a
land of hills and Valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of
A land which the Lord thy God careth for; the eyes of the
Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the
year even unto the end of the year.
The land itself was a dichotomy of the scene that
unfolded before Ezekiel. The valleys of Israel were
fertile, and rich with abundant springs, and nurtured from
season to season by the Lord himself.
But alas, history records that the land, like national Israel itself, fell
under the curses of Israel’s disobedience.
Deuteronomy 28:45-46 states: Moreover all these curses
shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake
thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto
the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep His commandments
and his statutes which he commanded thee:
And they shall be upon thee for a sign and a wonder, and
upon thy seed forever.
Indeed it has become a reality that the nation of Israel has been
a derision and a wonderment among all the nations. The
land and the people of Israel have for centuries now
been an astonishing paradox. Only Israel has been sifted out amongst
all the rest of the nations of the world, like grain being sifted out from
a basket into a field. The terminology of “Wandering Jew”
has become a byword to describe this world-wide sifting of Israel.
Deuteronomy 28:37: And thou shalt become an astonishment,
a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord
shall lead thee.
But, what does the reference to Israel being a sign, and a wonder imply? What portent does Israel carry that should be a signal, and to whom should it be signal?
Well, going back to Ezekiel's vision, we find that
he was compelled upon by the Lord to prophesy unto those dry
bones with this phrase: Oh dry bones, "Hear the word of the Lord".
Oh, if only Israel would hearken unto the Word
of the Lord . She could have been spared all these
curses, and enjoyed the blessings of their God all
these many years; but she unfortunately she would not. Fortunately for Israel, it
is not the character of God to not keep his word. Someday, Israel will be blessed!
Remember, it is God whose just and righteous reputation is tied
into Israel's ultimate destiny. He has faithfully promised to make of Israel
a great nation, and to cause a spiritual rebirth within that nation.
The Abrahamic Covenant was a contract between
two parties, but, unlike a typical human contract, a contract
with almighty God is irrevocable. Israel has twice been exiled
from her land, once by the Babylonians, ( Babylonian Captivity ) and then for a
second time by the Romans. ( The great Diaspora ) Israel received advanced
warnings by God in the Bible again and again that
these things would happen if she did not conform to
the covenant that she made with God. God also foreknew
that Israel would become devoured by the world, yet He
has supernaturally preserved a remnant of Israel all throughout history.
Deuteronomy 28:63-66 And it shall come to pass, that as
the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply
you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to
bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the
land whither thou goest to posses it.
And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the
one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou
shalt serve other Gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers
have known, even wood and stone.
As stated before, the term "wandering Jew" has become a universal
term during the long days of the dispersion since Israel was cut
from off its land by mighty Rome in 70AD. The Jews have
been spread out over the entire globe, with no homeland.
Verses 65 and 66 picture of Deuteronomy describe Israel’s plight while it was absent from its promised land.