God made great promises to Israel through Ezekiel. How would His Word be fulfilled? The Lord showed two visions to His prophet that were full of meaning.
In the first of these revelations, Ezekiel was brought to a valley filled with “very dry bones.” The Lord of Hosts commanded His ambassador to “prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord.”
The Almighty would accomplish great miracles not only through the ministry of His representatives but also through the work of His Holy Spirit who would bring the dead to life. The Lord would certainly bring regeneration to those who were spiritually dead, yet the Lord had a far more extensive gift in view. “I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O My people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel.”
The God of Israel has provided multiple levels of fulfillment for this good promise over these many centuries, but New Testament believers look for a very literal completion of what God revealed to Ezekiel so long ago. As Paul wrote in Romans 8:11, “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
In light of the New Testament story, the Lord’s dramatic picture of dead bones coming back to life insists on a general resurrection from the dead at just the right time. Christ’s empty tomb was the crucial beginning of an entire new era of blessing for all those united to Jesus. His death has paid our debt, and His immortal life has secured our highest hopes.
The second vision given to Ezekiel, joining the “stick of Ephraim” and the “stick of Judah” into one stick with “one king over them all,” prepared the Old Testament faithful to look for the unity of the kingdom of God beyond the former divisions that separated the tribe of Judah from the rest of the people of Israel. There would be a future day when they would all be one nation under Jehovah, with one new “David” as their King and Shepherd. This togetherness would extend to a life of perfect holiness for all who would be a part of the “everlasting covenant” of the Almighty. “They shall walk in my rules.”
How could such a heaven on earth come to God’s family? Only by His power and grace. “I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel.”
Many hints of a glorious future were granted to God’s people in the ancient oracles spoken through Moses and the prophets. None surpassed these two great visions granted to Ezekiel during a devastating time in the history of the Jews. The Lord would overturn death by the miracle of everlasting life. Through the Word of God and the reign of a perfect “David,” a unity of faith and obedience would come to all who have faith in Jesus.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Great Lord and King, You have displayed to us the reality of our destiny in the vision of prophets, in the words of the Scriptures, and especially in Jesus Christ our Lord. Only You could create the world. Only You could bring spiritual life to souls that were dead in sin. Only You can bring physical resurrection to bodies that have been resting in the graves for centuries. Only You can bring immortal souls together again with new bodies that will live forever. This You have promised to do, and this You will do. In that day there will be one people of God. This community of redemption will be gathered together in Jesus Christ. We shall rejoice in Him in the new Jerusalem. We thank You for this best of all promises. Your Son will be King over us. We will be imitators of You in that holy place. We will be participants in an everlasting covenant of peace. Your sanctuary will be in our midst forevermore.