The Valley of Dry Bones
Ezekiel 37; READ verses 1-14
The passage of Scripture before us is nothing less than profound. It is a beautiful picture of the physical resurrection from the dead. It is also a beautiful picture of the spiritual resurrection from spiritual death. We will see both of these this morning.
The bones in our text represent at least two things. First and foremost, they represent Israel. This is plainly revealed in verse 11 where we read. Secondly, in the spiritual sense they represent all the elect of God throughout all the earth, throughout all ages of time.
And then we read in verse 2 that the number of bones is very many. In verse 10 they made up an exceeding great army. Beloved, one day God is going raise up the nation of Israel, both spiritually and physically, and make of them a great nation upon the earth, such as this world has never known. Spiritually speaking, the number of God’s elect that He chose in Christ, are an exceeding great army. They are as the sands of the sea and the stars of heaven- innumerable for multitude. We get a glimpse of their great multitude in the Book of Revelation, where John is so privileged to see into Heaven itself.
Don’t think that because we believe and preach the doctrines of sovereign grace, and the doctrine of election, that the number of the elect is some small number. No beloved, there are an exceeding great number of the saved by grace included in the heavenly throng.
1. The condition of the bones?
1. They were very dry- end of verse 2.
I think of dry bones laying for years in the hot, dry desert. They become parched, and turn soft and weak, and finally they turn into powder. So Israel and lost sinners are both like dry bones. They are dry and parched from sin. They are weak and frail, and slowly they return back into dust.
Bones are the last part of the body to decompose, but dry bones are corrupted beyond all repair, however good they might look to the eyes. So lost sinners are like dry bones, lying out there in the wilderness of sin. They may even look OK, but spiritually they are just as corrupt as dry bones. Likewise Israel isn’t totally decomposed, but they are dead as can be unto their God.
2. They were disjointed and scattered- verse 7.
Israel certainly is a disjointed nation. They have no clue about God’s purpose for them as a nation. Like disjointed bones, they have no clue as to why they even exist in this world.
So also the elect of God are disjointed before we are saved. We have no inkling of God’s plan of grace in our lives. We have no idea that the Spirit of God is going to blow upon us and give us life. We are like disjointed bones lying out in open shame upon the wilderness of sin.
Israel, like a valley of dry bones, is scattered upon the earth. Persecutions and captivities have scattered them throughout the ends of the earth. Never has any people been so scattered as Israel has. This, beloved, is because of their rebellion, and their rejection of their Messiah.
The elect of God are also scattered over the whole earth. They are scattered among every people and nation of every generation of time.
Thus we see the spiritual dryness and deadness of Israel as a nation, and of all sinners, including elect sinners before we are saved. Beloved, we are all dead and beyond repair in our natural state total depravity. How perfectly this is illustrated by the dry bones.
2. Secondly, can these dry bones live? (verse 3).
What a wonderful and blessed question that the Lord asked Ezekiel! What would the answer of most people be? Lets notice some possibilities:
* The worldly scholar would say: “Certainly not. You would have to believe in an Almighty God to think those dry bones could live”.
* The atheists and the humanists would say: “Only if the ACLU, and Charles Darwin, and Assic Isomov all give their consent. But the problem is, these are all dead too, so they can’t give their consent!”
* The evolutionary scientists would say: “Yes, but it would take 3 billion years for them to evolve back together”.
* The Buddhists and the Hindus would say: “Yes, but they would have to be reincarnated 500 times before they would finally become a man again.
* The Jehovah false witnesses and the Mormons would say: “Certainly not!” Of course they don’t believe that Jesus’ bones came out of the grave either.
* The Sadducees would say “Certainly not”; and that is why their sad, you see!
* The Arminians would say “Yes indeed. All they need to do is get themselves back together, and then exercise their faith”.
* The Hardshells would say: “Yes indeed, for the Lord is an austere man, sowing and reaping where He does not plant”.
* The Catholic would say “Yes, provided Peter and Mary give their OK”.
* The Moslems would say “Certainly not, because they are Jewish Bones.”
But beloved, a knowledgeable Bible believing Baptist will say: “O Lord God, thou knowest!” You see, this passage in Ezekiel is speaking about both a spiritual resurrection and a physical resurrection.
So the question might be asked in three parts.
First, “Can these dry bones live spiritually?” To this question we must reply, “O Lord God, thou knowest.”
“Thou knowest if these are your elect, your chosen ones unto salvation and eternal life.” “Thou knowest if they were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.” “O Lord God, thou knowest if they are your sheep, who will here your voice and live.” “Lord, we don’t know who your elect are in the world, but thou knowest.”
Secondly, “Can these dry bones live physically?” To this we must answer, “yes Lord.”
They shall live physically, whether they were lost or saved when they died. They shall all be resurrected back to life again. The saved shall be resurrected to eternal glory with Jesus. The lost shall be resurrected to eternal damnation in the lake of fire with Satan.
Thirdly, to the question “Can Israel live again”, we must answer “yes, Lord”.
Spiritually, during the tribulation period Israel will be resurrected as a nation born again in a day.
Physically, all Jews shall be resurrected from their graves. Some will be raised to everlasting life with the Lord. Others will be raised to eternal damnation in the lake of fire, conditional upon their faith in Jesus when they left this world. Some have the mistaken notion that all Jews go to heaven, but I’ll assure that the rich man in hell was Jew.
Yes beloved, Israel can and shall live again as a nation.
3. The ordained means of giving life to dry bones (verses 4-6).
God told Ezekiel to “Prophecy to the bones.” Say to the bones “O ye dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord!”
The Arminian freewill says: “But preacher, that’s not enough. We have to put the bones together ourselves. Then we have to put the sinews, and the flesh, and skin upon them ourselves. After that we have give them CPR and use defribulaters on them, to get them started. Then, once their going, we’ll preach to them. And if they can outrun the devil, and hold out faithful to the end, then maybe they’ll get eternal life.”
Now, that sounds pretty silly I must admit, but that is what freewills are doing when they try to make spiritually dry bones live. They try to get them all put together with their own human wisdom and strength. Then they try to jump start them with the power of emotionalism, and signing cards, and praying their way through, and all manner of religious exercises and so-called good works.
Beloved, this is nothing more than men trying to make the dry bones live. How utterly foolish this would be in the natural realm! How much more foolish it is in the spiritual realm. One is every bit as dead as the other!
The God given means to make dry bones live is to “…prophecy upon these bones…”. Beloved, my duty, and your duty, is to prophecy upon the bones. “O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.” “O ye dead, dry bone sinners, hear the Gospel of Jesus.” “Hear how that He died, was buried, and rose again from the dead for you.” “Believe, O ye dead sinners, believe the Gospel of Jesus and live forever!”
It is not our place to make the bones live, but it is God’s place to give life. He honors His Word, and He uses His Word as it pleases Him, but He is the one who must give life to the dry bones.
4. Finally, these new lives shall know that God is the giver of life (verses 13-14).
Beloved, all resurrected people, especially the nation of Israel that we read about in these verses, will know that God raised them from the dead. They will know that the Lord put the spirit of life into them, and glorified them, and put them in their own land again during the millennial reign of Christ.
And beloved, I can’t help but believe, not only from the Scriptures, but also from my own personal experience, that when people are raised to spiritual life in Christ, they know it was the Lord who gave them new life.
How can any true believer think that they had any part in their spiritual life? Do we not all perceive that salvation is a miracle of miracles? We can not help God in salvation, anymore than those dry bones could help Him.
May the Lord cause all His people to see that “salvation is of the Lord,” and not of man. What glory and honor, and what praise is due His worthy Name! For God is our salvation, and we had nothing to do with His existence.
In conclusion, there are many things that could be said concerning this passage of Scripture that we don’t have time to bring out this morning. But lets briefly recap our message:
First, men by nature are like those dry bones. We all are dead in trespasses and in sins. We all are corrupting away in our sins, like dry bones in the wilderness in sin.
The good news is, these dry bones can live if it is God’s will. God can give a spiritual resurrection, through the preaching of the Gospel, and the work of the Holy Spirit. O sinner, can you hear the Gospel of Jesus? Believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again for you, and you will come forth to life everlasting! Believe and live this morning!
Thirdly, the means of giving life to dry bones is to “prophecy upon these bones.” That is all that we can do- nothing more, and nothing less. All the results of giving life to dry bones are with the Lord. But thank God this morning, that He does give life!
Finally, the bones that come to life, shall know that it was the Lord that gave them life. Do you know that your salvation is of the Lord this morning? I believe that every saved person sure aught to know who it was that saved them!
If you think that you had any part in your salvation, or you are not sure that it was the Lord that saved you, then you need to reexamine your salvation experience. Perhaps you have not truly repented and believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ for salvation.
Oh, beloved, it is He who made us, and saved us, and not we ourselves. “To God be the glory, great things He hath done.”