Sunday, January 22, 2017

Dry Bones

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 to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.”   Ezekiel 37:1-3  NKJV

Considering the times we as believers are living in, many would state unequivocally that the regathering of the Jews to their land, Israel, is the single most important sign of where the world is on God’s calendar.  As such, many have taught, and most of you are familiar with the prophecy by Ezekiel called the “dry bones” where he is shown by God the future of the nation of Israel.  

Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. “I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.” ’ ”   Ezekiel 37:4-6  NKJV

Before1948 Israel was, as a nation, as dead as this imagery illustrates.  The Jews were scattered throughout all the nations of the world, millions had died by the hands of the Nazis during WW2, and there was no homeland for them to return to.  Yet against all odds, the move to establish the nation of Israel in the land that had historically been theirs began and in May of 1948 Israel once again was a nation with a homeland to which all Jews around the world could return to and call their own.  Just as Ezekiel had been shown by God, the bones of Israel lived again.

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. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and 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 as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.   Ezekiel 37:7-10  NKJV

“An exceedingly great army” was exactly what was needed because as history tells us, Israel was immediately attacked by those nations who wished for their destruction.  Yet “miraculously”, as some have described it, Israel defended itself and defeated its enemies.  Not just once, however, but over and over again during the sixty-nine years which have passed since that day in 1948.  That this is, to some a miracle, should not be overlooked because Ezekiel tells us that there certainly is a divine reason for Israel’s continuing existence, and it is clear in this next portion of this passage.

Then He said to 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, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. “Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. “I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,” says the LORD.’ ”   Ezekiel 37:11-14  NKJV

If anyone wonders at the reason for Israel’s regathering in the land that God gave them, this portion of scripture makes it clear.  It is a miracle performed by God for the sole purpose of turning the nation of Israel back to Him, and acknowledging the Lord as their one true God.  God has a plan to turn Israel back to worshipping Him and it all starts with bringing them back into His land as one nation, and demonstrating to them in no uncertain terms that it is He who controls their destiny, and their safekeeping. 

Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself 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.’ “Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand. “And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Will you not show us what you mean by these?’—“say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.” ’ “And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; “and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. “They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.   Ezekiel 37:15-23  NKJV

If you know your history, you are aware that Israel had split into two kingdoms in Old Testament times over the problem of idolatry, the result being the northern kingdom, Ephraim, and the southern kingdom, Judah.  So the first step could be called the regathering into the land, and by this portion of scripture we see the second step was healing the rift between the two kingdoms.  God tells us here through Ezekiel that when He brings Israel back, it will be as one nation and not two kingdoms, and it will stay that way forever.

“David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. “Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. “My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.” ’ ”   Ezekiel 37:24-28  NKJV

This last portion of the chapter is still in Israel’s future, as Ezekiel points out in the next two chapters the troubles which Israel will have to endure before this time of peace arrives.  Yet without a doubt the sight of Israel back in its own land as this prophecy describes is the one sure sign of where we are on God’s calendar.  God is prepared to move ahead with His plans for the nation of Israel, but there is one precondition that affects all in the body of Christ who have chosen to believe in the gift given to us by His Son Jesus Christ.

We have to leave.

The rapture of the Church to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all eternity will occur before God begins the time of tribulation spelled out for the regathered nation of Israel.  Only those who have accepted His gift of eternal life will be spared.  Have you made that choice and accepted His free gift?  If not I urge you to do it right now.  The signs of the end are all around us and the Church could disappear at any time.  Simply pray this prayer or put it in your own words but tell God you believe He sent His Son to pay the price for your sin, and that you will turn control of your life to Him.

"Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. Amen."

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