The order of events in Eze 37: (1) The graves where Israel is
buried are opened (v 12). (2) The skeletons are brought into the valley of
vision (in the land of Israel), and are left scattered there (vv 2,12). (3) They
say, 'Our bones are dried, our hope is lost' (v 11). (4) They confess their own
unworthiness (v 11). (5) Ezekiel prophesies upon them. (6) There is a noise like
thunder, and an earthquake. (7) The bones come together and re-form into
skeletons. (8) Flesh and sinews grow on them; they are now corpses. (9) The call
to the four winds (spirits) brings the breath (spirit) of life into them. (10)
They stand on their feet as a very great power.
"The parable is a prophecy of Israel being brought, in a
spiritually dead condition, from their Gentile dispersion back to the land of
their fathers. There they become disintegrated and helpless. It is a process
which takes place in the Land. This part of the prophecy has not yet happened.
It would seem to correspond to the prophecies in Zec 14:1,2; Eze 35:5; 36:13-15;
Joel 2; 3; Psa 83; and esp Ezekiel 20:34-37" (TofE).
The New Covenant is deeply rooted in history and land. The
promise to Abraham was unconditional and included in its benefits a geographical
inheritance -- indeed, not just any territory but specifically the land of
Canaan (Gen 12:1,7; 13:15-17; 15:18,19; 17:8). It is that land that is in view
throughout Ezekiel's prophecy, whether in immediate fulfillment or Last Days
fulfillment, for unless that land is the focus of God's covenant the ancient
promises to the patriarchs lose their intended significance.
DRY BONES, HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD!: A call to the
"dry bones" of Israel to hear God's Word and repent! Thus, the "dry bones" are,
literally, alive -- whilst being "dead" spiritually.
I WILL MAKE BREATH [OR SPIRIT] ENTER YOU, AND YOU WILL COME
TO LIFE: It is the Spirit of God believed, and that alone, which came bring
"life" back to the people of Israel (Eze 36:26). Cp Hosea's vision of a national
"resurrection" for Israel (Hos 6:1-3).
A RATTLING SOUND: Heb "ra'ash": a vibration, or
shaking: sometimes translated "earthquake": cp Eze 38:19 (sw); Zec 14:5 (sw);
SO I PROPHESIED AS HE COMMANDED ME, AND BREATH ENTERED
THEM; THEY CAME TO LIFE AND STOOD UP ON THEIR FEET -- A VAST ARMY: "When
Ezekiel prophesies to the four spirits of the heavens, the Spirit of God comes
into this corpse-like Israel so that the spiritually dead come to life and stand
up on their feet 'an exceeding great company' (the Heb here is very emphatic).
These four winds or spirits are the manifestation of divine power in the
fourfold cherubim chariot, with its fourfold symbol of Israel, which Ezekiel
saw: 'whither the spirit (wind) was to go, they went... the spirit of life was
in the wheels' (Eze 1:20; cp also Zec 6:1-8). Interpreted in this way, the
vision harmonizes very readily with the various other prophecies of Israel's
experiences in the Last Days" (TofE).
"There is no finer illustration of the life-changing power of
the preached word than what the prophet saw in his vision. It has the power to
transform those who are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1-22) and make them
new, living creatures in Christ (2Co 5:17)" (Cooper, cited in Const).
This verse is referred to in regard the two witnesses of Rev
11: "But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them,
and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them" (Rev
WE ARE CUT OFF: KJV has: "we are cut off for our parts"
-- ie, it is for our sins that we are being cut off. Here is a picture of
national repentance: "It is a noteworthy principle of Bible teaching that only
when a man honestly acknowledges his own unworthiness and sin before God can he
be forgiven. Concerning Israel this truth is enunciated over and over again:
'When thou art in tribulation, and all these things come upon thee, even in the
latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his
voice: (for the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee,
neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto
them': Deu 4:30,31 (cp also Psa 81:13,14; Jer 3:14-18; 4:1,2; Deu 30:1-3; Lev
26: 41; Zec 6:15; there are many others" (TofE).
Vv 16-22: "It has to be borne in mind that the political split
between Israel and Judah had become final and complete about 150 years before
the time of Ezekiel, in the days when Shalmanezer V destroyed Samaria and took
the northern people captive. Since that time Israel (as distinct from Judah)
ceased to be identifiable. It would seem, then, that with reference to the Last
Days one must look for a meaning of the joining of the two sticks into one other
than that of the re-uniting of the northern and southern kingdoms. [Various]
possibilities present themselves: (1) The uniting of Jewry into one community --
the Dispersion actively and wholeheartedly joining with the 'Yishuv', those who
have returned. Hos 1:11 supports this suggestion. (2) The union of the saints in
Christ with that section of the Jews who turn to God in faith in the time of
their calamity, thus themselves becoming saints in the higher sense of the term
(cp John 10:16). (3) The uniting of Israel to Christ (note the introduction of
the name Joseph, the great prototype). (4) The extension of the State of Israel
to include all the territory of the ancient kingdom.
The second and third of these are very close in idea, and for
this reason one of these is probably to be preferred. But there seems to be
little in the context which is decisive" (TofE).
WON'T YOU TELL US WHAT YOU MEAN BY THIS?: Cf Eze 4:1;
5:1; 12:9; 17:12; 20:49; 24:19.
The LORD would combine the two parts of Israel into one whole
nation (cf Isa 11:12,13; Jer 3:18; Hos 1:11). The two parts, in a modern
context, may sig (1) the Jews still in dispersion, and the Jews in the Land, or
(2) the whole of the territory of ancient Israel and Judah.
I WILL TAKE THE ISRAELITES OUT OF THE NATIONS WHERE THEY
HAVE GONE. I WILL GATHER THEM FROM ALL AROUND AND BRING THEM BACK INTO THEIR OWN
LAND: Most specifically, from the land of Babylon/Iraq and from the land of
Egypt (cp Isa 11:11-16; 27:12,13).
THE MOUNTAINS OF ISRAEL: Most esp identified with
Jerusalem (cp Isa 2:2-4).
I WILL CLEANSE THEM. THEY WILL BE MY PEOPLE, AND I WILL BE
THEIR GOD: These Jews would no longer defile themselves with idols, other
detestable things, or transgressions of the Lord's (Mosaic) covenant. The Lord
promised to deliver them from the many places where they had gone and sinned and
to cleanse them (cf Jer 31:31-34). Then they would enter into a proper
relationship with Him. In the present State of Israel only a very small
percentage of the population is actively religious, and Christ is more firmly
rejected there than almost anywhere else. (Cp Hos 2:23; Zec 13:9.)
MY SERVANT DAVID: God's servant David would rule over
them and be their king (Eze 34:24; 2Sa 7:13,16; Jer 30:9; Hos 3:5). They would
have only one king who would shepherd them so that they would follow the Lord
faithfully (cf Exo 19:5,6; Lev 26:12; Deu 7:6; 14:2,21; 26:18,19; 27:9; Jer
30:22; 31:33; 32:38). They would live in the Promised Land forever, and the
Lord's servant David would be their appointed ruler forever. In view of God's
promise to David in 2Sa 7:12,13, this must refer to the Son of David, Jesus the
Messiah. "David" sig "the Beloved" (cp Mat 3:17: God's words to his Son upon his
THEY WILL LIVE IN THE LAND I GAVE TO MY SERVANT JACOB, THE
LAND WHERE YOUR FATHERS LIVED: This land was promised to Jacob when he was
at Bethel (Gen 28:13-15).
I WILL MAKE A COVENANT OF PEACE WITH THEM: Cp Eze
16:62; 20:37; 34:25.
I WILL ESTABLISH THEM AND INCREASE THEIR NUMBERS: Cp
MY DWELLING PLACE WILL BE WITH THEM: He would also set
His sanctuary in their midst forever (cf Eze 20:40; 40:5--43:9; Zec 6:12,13),
not temporarily as He had done with the tabernacle and temple, but
THEN THE NATIONS WILL KNOW THAT I THE LORD MAKE ISRAEL
HOLY, WHEN MY SANCTUARY IS AMONG THEM FOREVER: His dwelling place would be
with them forever, and He would also establish an intimate relationship with
them. The people of the world would know that He is Yahweh who sets aside Israel
as sacred for His glory and special purpose in the earth when He would set up
His sanctuary in Israel's midst forever (cf Exo 19:5,6).