CAN THESE BONES LIVE?
Ezekiel 37:1 ¶ 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, 2 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. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. 4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
The key to understanding this passage of scripture is given to us in verse eleven. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. The Lord God had heard Israel complaining about being in captivity, separated from the temple and its worship, and from their homeland. Therefore he presents to Ezekiel a scene of just what the whole house of Israel proclaimed themselves to be – dried bones.
But how is this edifying to us in our day? The key to unlock its beneficial properties to us is found in the phrase the whole house of Israel. We must search the scriptures and find just what that phrase means to us.
The Lord Jesus spoke of another “flock” of sheep that would be enfolded with the Old Testament flock to make both into but one. John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. And the Apostle Paul writes that the Lord Christ has broken down the wall that separated the Gentiles from the Jewish believers, in order to make but one people. Ephesians 2:11 ¶ Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 ¶ For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
And again we read of the apostles writing to the Galatians concerning the same truth. Galatians 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Abraham was an uncircumcised Gentile! Therefore being a circumcised Jew, or being an uncircumcised Gentile was not the issue! The real issue was being a new creation, born again by the Holy Spirit. Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Those who are the true circumcised believers are those who have undergone the operation of the Spirit and no longer walk in the flesh! They now live in the spirit. Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
The Apostle Peter clearly instructs us the holy priesthood and the holy nation is now those who believe in Christ Jesus. They are those to whom he is precious. He is clearly referring to the true church. 1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Now with this understanding, we can see the benefit of this passage to those of us in this day. We can apply Ezekiel 37:7 with Ephesians 4:16, thereby recovering this Old Testament prophesy with our New Testament instruction. Ezekiel 37:7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Dear Reader the scripture cannot be broken! John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; And the uninterrupted flow of the entirety of the Scriptures is to be found in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ! John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
When we read of King David of Israel we must keep in mind not to seek for a history lesson; but an edifying revelation of Christ. For Christ is King of kings. He is both prophet, priest and king! Consider this revelation given to the Apostle Pater in the first public gospel message ever preached.
Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
And let us come now to the phrase “your graves” as we find in Ezekiel 37, verse twelve. And for this we have the very words of the Lord Himself. Knowing that the sinner is dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), we see that we are to understand that regeneration (being born again) is a resurrection! Knowing this, we have the words of our Lord opened up unto us as he teaches in John chapter five.
John 5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
I highlighted the words, “and now is” in verse twenty-five for you. For in this discourse our Lord speaks of the two phases of resurrection. In verses twenty-four and twenty-five of that passage he is speaking of the resurrection of regeneration, which he should begin at that present time. That is, of raising of the dead sinner to the regaining of spiritual life, which we lost in Adam’s fall. That, once dead sinner, although physically alive in activity and appetite, is now made a new, spiritual creation in Christ Jesus! 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
But then in verses twenty-eight and twenty-nine he does not say, “and now is!” But he does now mention “graves,” which he had not done when referring to the resurrection of regeneration! Therefore we understand that he is then speaking of the bodily resurrection of all human beings at the end of the age! In referring to both resurrections he uses the words “the hour is coming.” Yet only in his beginning to regenerate; to bring salvation; to give spiritual life to sinners; who are dead in trespasses and sins does he use the phrase “and now is!” And only in the bodily resurrection of all humans at the end of the age does he mention the word “graves!”
Therefore the resurrection of regeneration is the first resurrection of Revelation 20:5. For it is said to render one blessed and holy! THAT cannot be done by a physical resurrection of a physically dead body. THAT is only accomplished when the Lord Christ, by the Holy Spirit regenerates a lost soul by grace through the gift of faith! Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. – That is, throughout the church age.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
And when one has the wondrous benefit of that first resurrection, that is, salvation given by grace, he shall never be subject to the second death! Revelation 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
The first death is physical death. It occurs when the soul separates from the body. Because of sin, it is an appointment of all mankind! Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
But the second death occurs when both soul and body are cast into the lake of fire for an eternal damnation. Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Pastor Gene Breed
May 3, 2018