Volume 17, Issue 1 _________________________________Bible Prophecy Ministry

Valley of Dry Bones

      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 very dry.

      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 Heaven:

      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.

Continued page 2. . .

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