© 2004 by Josprel (Joseph Perrello)
Historical Bible study.
Can These Bones Live?
“The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ So I answered, ‘O Lord God, You know.’
“Again He said unto me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say unto them, ‘O dry
bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord to these bones: ‘Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live . . .’
“‘So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone . . . Also He said to me . . . ‘say to the breath ‘Thus says the Lord God ‘come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.’ So I prophesied . . . and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said unto me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore, prophesy and say to them, ‘O my people, I will open your graves and cause you to come forth from your graves, and bring you to the land of Israel . . . I will put My Spirit in you and you shall live . . .’” (Ezekiel 37:1-14; New King James Bible).
We are living in an era of the fast fulfillment of biblical prophecy. I recall being told as a young child by my father - a steadfast Christian who knew the scriptures – that Israel one day would become a nation again. He said this during a time when such an event appeared impossible of fulfillment; yet in our era Israel already has been resurrected for decades.
Since the scattering of Israel during the time of Jeremiah (who predicted both the captivity and regathering of the nation) in approximately B.C 629, there has been no lack of skeptics who doubted the nation would be resurrected. Even Israel itself voiced doubts about it. Israel’s estimate of its return from oblivion may be found in Ezekiel 37:11: “Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: We are cut off for our parts.” In our vernacular this may be rendered: “It’s all over for us. We have been totally dismembered.”
Please note the condition of Israel’s bones as seen by Ezekiel:
1. They were completely open to the elements (verse 2).
2. They were long dead, very dry and beyond human hope of life (verse 2).
3. They were disassembled and in disarray. The Living Bible records that the bones were very old and dry. They were scattered everywhere across the ground (Read the entire account).
4. There were an enormous number of bones (verse 2).
Please note what God said the dry bones symbolized:
“Son of man these bones are the whole house of Israel” (verse 11).
Please note when the dry bones live again:
“‘Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!’ says the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: ‘You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold I will attend to you for the evils of your doing,’ says the Lord . . . I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their folds” [This already has been occuring in our era for several generations now (Jeremiah 23: 1-4; NKJ)].
Please note by whose authority the dry bones live again:
“‘But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed nor shall they be lacking,’ says the Lord” [The Lord Himself has been gathering Israel, and He continues to do so in our era (Jeremiah 23: 1-4; NKJ)].
Please note those who did not believe the dry bones could live again and their
“The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, ‘Son of man, prophecy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘Wail, ‘Woe to the day!’ For the day is near, Even the day of the Lord is near; It will be a day of clouds, the time of the gentiles. The sword will come upon Egypt, And great anguish shall be upon Ethiopia, When the slain fall in Egypt, And they take away her wealth, And her foundations are broken down. Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, all the mingled people. Chub, and the men of the lands who are allied, shall fall with them by the sword’” (Ezekiel 30: 1-5; NKJ).
Ethiopia did not believe the dry bones could live again: Rendered “Cush” in Hebrew, Ethiopia corresponds to what today is called the Sudan. The Sudanese are a people of dark skin tone, and Moses was severely criticized by his sister, Miriam, and his brother, Aaron, for his marriage to an Ethiopian woman (Numbers 12:1-16; NKJ).
Both Miriam and Aaron were envious of the leadership position of their brother
Moses. Miriam instigated an open rebellion against Moses and Aaron followed her lead. To justify the rebellion, they used the excuse that Moses had married an Ethiopian (Cushite) woman. Jehovah punished Miriam by striking her with leprosy; however, Moses pleaded with God, “Heal her now oh Lord, I beseech thee.”
God heard the prayer of Moses. He healed Miriam, though not without inflicting
profound humiliation upon her; she was ostracized from the people and shut outside the camp for seven days.
According to Psalm 68, verse 31, Ethiopia “will quickly stretch out her hands to
God,” and shall enter into the Millennium.
Libya (Also called “Phut” in the Bible): Libya did not believe the dry bones could live again: Writings of the 13th and 12th centuries B.C. describe Libya (also referred to as Lubim) as being a hostile, warlike people. During the 12th through the 8th centuries B.C., Libyans raided Egypt, enter as settlers, and served as soldiers in the Egyptian armies. West of Egypt, Libya still exists as a nation in our time. The Bible is silent regarding the future of Libya during the millennial age.
Lydia (Also called “Lud” and “Ludim” in some versions of the Bible): Lydia did not believe the dry bones could live again: During the time of Homer, the Pelasgic Meonians - akin to the Trojans - occupied Lydia. From what race the Lydians originated is unknown. The Greeks considered the Lydians and their language barbarous; nonetheless, the Lydians were a highly civilized people.
Assyria (Modern Iraq) did not believe the dry bones could live again: After of reign of Solomon, all the leaders of Israel approached his son, Rehoboam, who became king of Israel. “Your father made our yoke heavy:” they told him, referring to the endlessly soaring taxes and other burdens Solomon imposed to finance and facilitate his projects, “now, therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve thee.”
“Return in three days and I will give you my answer,” the king replied.
During that period, he consulted with the elders who had served his father, who
advised him to do as Israel’s leaders requested, but Rehoboam rejected the advice. Instead, he consulted with the young men with whom he grew up. They advised him to tell the leaders of Israel, “My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s waist . . . my father put a heavy yoke on you. I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges [literally: scourges with metal points or barbs] (1st Kings 12: 9-11; NKJ).”
When the leaders returned for the king’s answer, Rehoboam responded as
recommended by his friends. The results were disastrous. Ten of the nation’s tribes separated from the two that remained loyal to the king and formed their own nation. The king assembled an army of one hundred and eighty thousand warriors to do battle against the ten separated tribes, but was warned by Shemiah, a prophet sent to Rehoboam by God, not to battle the separating tribes. He obeyed. The ten tribes became known as the nation of Israel; the two remaining tribes – Judah and Benjamin – became known as Judah.
Over the centuries, Israel digressed into idolatry, intermixed with gentile races, and became known as the Samaritans [Recall the question asked Jesus by the woman at the well, when He requested a drink of water, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (John 4: 4).]
The verse adds this revealing comment by way of explanation for those unfamiliar with the centuries-long dispute between Judah and Israel (Samaria): “For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (NKJ).
Judah, on the other hand, remained relatively true – with some lapses - to the
worship of Jehovah. Ezekiel, chapter 23, symbolizes Samaria and Jerusalem (Judah) as two sisters. Both committed harlotry with other nations, Jehovah charged.
Of Samaria, the older sister, the Lord said, “I have delivered her [Samaria] into the hands of the Assyrians, For whom she lusted” (Ezekiel 23: 9).
Judah, the younger sister, typified by the city of Jerusalem, “became more corrupt in her lust then she [her sister Samaria] and in her harlotry more corrupt than her sister’s harlotry” (Ezekiel 23: 11).
“I will sir up . . . the Babylonians, All the Chaldeans [The Chaldeans were a
warlike and aggressive people from the mountains of Kurdistan who conquered and ruled the world of its time] Pekod [Pekod was a powerful Armaenan tribe near the mouth of the Tigris River. During the time of the Prophet Ezekiel, Pekod was within the Chaldean Empire] Shoa [The Shoa were a tribe of Semitic nomads who populated the Syrian desert during the 14th century B. C. They invaded the East Tigris region, migrated to the east of Baghdad and assimilated with the Armaenans. The Shoa never were conquered] Koa [Koa was located east of the Tigris River in the upper Adaim and Diyala rivers region] all the Assyrians . . . and they shall Judge you according to their judgment . . .”
Egypt did not believe the dry bones could live again:
Incredible as it may appear, during the Millennial reign of Christ Jesus, Iraq [ancient Assyria] Israel and Egypt shall join together in becoming a blessing: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria [Iraq], and the Assyrian [Iraq] will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria [Iraq], and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians [Iraq]. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria [Iraq] – a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria [ Iraq] the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance” (Isaiah 19: 23-25; NKJ).
Since this author is making this study during an era of bitter hostilities between Israel, Egypt and Iraq (Assyria) Isaiah’s prediction seems fantastic – impossible of fulfillment, if it were it not for the prophet’s assurance that Egypt “will cry to the Lord because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them. Then the Lord will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptian will know the Lord in that day and will make sacrifices and offerings; yes, they will make a vow to the Lord and perform it” (Isaiah 19: 20-21).
It shall require a series of calamities that God permits to fall upon Egypt to bring the Egyptians to the Lord [“And the Lord will strike Egypt, He will strike Egypt and heal it; they will return to the Lord, and He will be entreated by them and heal them” (Isaiah 19: 22)]. Once they do so, Egypt shall be one of the three nations - the other two being Israel and Iraq [Assyria] - especially blessed by God during the Millennium.
Many contemporary nations did not believe the dry bones could live again:
Many of today’s nations did not believe the dry bones could live again. Several of them, including the Palestinian nations, Hitler’s Germany and even Great Britain actively endeavored to prevent the rebirth of Israel. But it was God’s time for the re-gathering of His ancient people from the four corners of the Earth. From almost every nation under the sun they came. After His people had been cast into the world’s “valley of dry bones” for untold centuries, God opened the graves and drew together the dry bones, put flesh on them, breathed life into the nation, and Israel lives!
From approximately 446 BC until the United Nation’s recognition of the modern
State of Israel in our generation, Israel was under the control of Gentile world
powers. Sadly, as recorded by the Apostle Paul in Romans 11: 25, Israel still
rejects Jesus Christ as the Messiah; however, Paul added a joyful note, “. . .
blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles [the time of Gentile world dominance] has come in [has been completed]. And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins’” (Romans 11: 25-27; Paul’s partial quote is taken from Isaiah 59: 20-21).
According to Zechariah 12: 9-10, when the Gentile nations finally gather in a final attempt to destroy the nation of Israel, God will “seek to destroy all nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication: then they will look on Me whom they have pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” What a graphic prediction of the crucifixion of Jesus and Israel’s future recognition of Him as the true Messiah!
Yes, the bones live!
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