The ministry of resurrection.
VERSE 1. The LORD’s hand was on me, and he brought me out in the LORD’s Spirit, and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones.
NIV translation. The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.
BBE translation. The hand of the Lord had been on me, and he took me out in the spirit of the Lord and put me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones;
The hand of the Lord had been on me. This mystic experience was not Ezekiel’s own doing. Rather, it was the LORD God who initiated it.
he took me out. The LORD God temporarily brought Ezekiel “out” of his body and took him to another realm.
it was full of bones. This valley is a location that is marked by death.
In our own lives, there are locations that are marked by death.
Maybe it is a place where a literal death took place, such as the hospital bed or living room chair where a loved one passed away.
Maybe it is a place where a spiritual death took place, such as the church where one was sexually abused as a child.
Or maybe it is the place where a figurative death took place, such as the company where one was fired. These are all places of death in our lives.
If we interpret this verse in terms of ministry, we can see that there are people who are “dead.”
They do not need comforting. They need resurrection.
The need is to breath life into those who are “dead.”
This passage is about bringing people into direct contact with the Living God. It’s a ministry of resurrection.
VERSE 2. He caused me to pass by them all around; and behold, there were very many in the open valley, and behold, they were very dry.
NIV translation. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.
a great many bones. This valley is filled with death.
bones that were very dry. The death is ancient, not recent.
In our own lives, those places of death can seem to be filled with death. Think of a war veteran going back to the battlefield.
The place seems filled with death. And those memories of death are current, even though they are very ancient.
NIV translation. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
BBE translation. And he said to me, Son of man, is it possible for these bones to come to life? And I made answer, and said, It is for you to say, O Lord.
is it possible for these bones to come to life? The LORD God asks an important question. Can these bones live? Is life possible for them?
It is for you to say. Of his own accord, Ezekiel does not know.
However, he responds in faith. Ezekiel knows that for the Living God, all things are indeed possible. Nothing is impossible, with God.
We often forget that God is limitlessly powerful. We often ask such trivial things of him. But he delights when we ask great and mighty things. Read more »
In our own lives, the places of death can seem so permanent. It is as if they have an ultimate veto-power over our hope.
However, with God’s grace, it is possible for even the most deadly of memories to be be healed.
VERSE 4. Again he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and tell them, ‘You dry bones, hear the LORD’s word.
NIV translation. Then he said to me, “Prophecy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!’
BBE translation. And again he said to me, Be a prophet to these bones, and say to them, O you dry bones, give ear to the word of the Lord.
Be a prophet to these bones. The LORD God does not tell Ezekiel to complain about the dead bones. Nor is he to talk to other people about the dead bones. Rather, Ezekiel is to speak directly to the dead bones.
give ear to the word of the Lord. It is the Word of the Lord that will bring the dead bones back to life.
In our own lives, many of us avoid our places of death.
We might complain about them. Or we might talk about them with other people.
However, the victory lies in speaking to those places of death. We speak the Word of God to our places of death.
VERSE 5. The Lord GOD says to these bones: “Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you will live.
NIV translation. This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.
BBE translation. This is what the Lord has said to these bones: See, I will make breath come into you so that you may come to life;
This is what the Lord has said. When Ezekiel speaks to the bones, he is not to tell them his own opinions. Nor is he to tell the bones what other people say.
Rather, Ezekiel is to speak to the bones with the authentic words of God.
you may come to life. The LORD God doesn’t deal with death by sprucing things up a little bit. He doesn’t eradicate death by mending with a string or dabbing some glue here-and-there.
Nope, what is needed is a whole new existence. What is needed is resurrection!
When we realize that we are broken, what many of us do is run to other people. We place our premium on what our pastor or doctor or counselor or friends tells us about our situation.
They are important people and we should seek their counsel.
However, what counts the most is what the LORD God has to say. What does the Word of God have to say to us?
The project God is doing is not merely mending our brokenness or dabbing some glue on our wounds.
Rather, he is about is giving us a whole new existence. God is about the project of resurrection!
VERSE 6. I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you will live. Then you will know that I am the LORD.” ’ ”
NIV translation. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”
BBE translation. And I will put muscles on you and make flesh come on you, and put skin over you, and breath into you, so that you may have life; and you will be certain that I am the Lord.
muscles … flesh … skin … breath. This suggests a step-by-step process.
It reads as if the resurrection of these dead bones does not happen instantaneously. They must submit to a gradual process.
so that you may have life. This is where the process is headed: resurrection.
When we realize that we are broken, many of us want to get well. Right now. We are not willing to go through a process.
But this passage suggests that there might be a process in store. The key is to keep in mind where the process is headed. It is headed toward the resurrection of our dead places!
VERSE 7. So I prophesied as I was commanded. As I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, there was an earthquake. Then the bones came together, bone to its bone.
NIV translation. So I prophesied as I was commanded …
BBE translation. So I gave the word as I was ordered: and at my words there was a shaking of the earth, and the bones came together, bone to bone.
So I gave the word as I was ordered. Ezekiel probably accepted whatever the LORD God said to him.
However, it was up to Ezekiel to say these things aloud. Until Ezekiel was wiling to say these things aloud, it would not happen.
at my words. After Ezekiel started saying these things aloud, that’s when the miracle began.
It isn’t that Ezekiel was the miracle-worker. The LORD God made it happen. But God acted when Ezekiel spoke.
the bones came together, bone to bone. Once again, we see that God is using a process. The bones did not instantaneously flash into living beings.
Many of us might be able to agree with these ideas, at least on some intellectual level.
However, God is not looking for intellectual assent. Rather, he calls us to speak. We are to speak his words aloud. We are to speak them aloud to the places of death in our life.
VERSE 8. I saw, and, behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh came up, and skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them.
BBE translation. And looking I saw that there were muscles on them and flesh came up, and they were covered with skin: but there was no breath in them.
there were muscles on them and flesh. Here we see more process.
there was no breath in them. Even after all this step-by-step process, they are still not resurrected.
The LORD God often choses to work in our lives by means of a process.
Many of us would rather see an instantaneous miracle. We feel disappointed with a healing process.
It is true that the LORD God can do anything he wants, on any timetable that he wants.
But for most of us, that means a process.
VERSE 9. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and tell the wind, ‘The Lord GOD says: “Come from the four winds, breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ”
VERSE 10. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
BBE translation. And he said to me, Be a prophet to the wind, be a prophet, son of man, and say to the wind, The Lord has said: Come from the four winds, O wind, breathing on these dead so that they may come to life.
Be a prophet to the wind. Ezekiel is required to prophecy again. This time his prophecy has a different target: the wind. The breath.
The Lord has said. Once again, the importance is on what God says, and not on what Ezekiel thinks.
Come from the four winds, O wind. It might seem unlikely that God would direct Ezekiel to speak to the wind. Yet that is what God tells Ezekiel to do.
Sometimes we speak to the dead places in our lives. We see some incremental growth. But then it seems to stall.
The Holy Spirit might inspire us to speak a different message to our dead places.
Sometimes God leads us to speak things that seem unlikely. Our further growth waits until we speak those things.
I gave the word at his orders. Ezekiel does not complain about having to prophecy a second time. Nor does he complain about having to speak to the wind.
Rather, Ezekiel does as God leads. He prophesies as commanded.
they came to life and got up on their feet, a very great army. This is one of the great moments of the entire Bible.
VERSE 11. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost. We are completely cut off.’
VERSE 12. Therefore prophesy, and tell them, ‘The Lord GOD says: “Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, my people; and I will bring you into Eretz-Israel.
NAB translation. O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them.
This is probably the resurrection of the dead.
VERSE 13. You will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, my people.
VERSE 14. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live. Then I will place you in your own land; and you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,” says the LORD.’ ”
VERSE 15. The LORD’s word came again to me, saying,
VERSE 16. “You, son of man, take one stick and write on it, ‘For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions.’ Then take another stick, and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions.’
VERSE 17. Then join them for yourself to one another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand.
VERSE 18. “When the children of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Won’t you show us what you mean by these?’
VERSE 19. tell them, ‘The Lord GOD says: “Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in my hand.
VERSE 20. The sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes.” ’
VERSE 21. Say to them, ‘The Lord GOD says: “Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land.
VERSE 22. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. One king will be king to them all. They will no longer be two nations. They won’t be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.
VERSE 23. They won’t 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 dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. So they will be my people, and I will be their God.
VERSE 24. “ ‘ “My servant David will be king over them. They all will have one shepherd. They will also walk in my ordinances and observe my statutes, and do them.
VERSE 25. They will dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, in which your fathers lived. They will dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children’s children, forever. David my servant will be their prince forever.
VERSE 26. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them. It will be an everlasting covenant with them. I will place them, multiply them, and will set my sanctuary among them forever more.
VERSE 27. My tent also will be with them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
VERSE 28. The nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is among them forever more.” ’ ”
CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.