Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ezekiel's Valley of Dry Bones and the Rebirth of Israel

Ezekiel Saw The Rebirth of Israel. There can be no doubt that the covenant promises given by Jehovah to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will hold true. Jesus said "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my Word shall never pass away." Some miss the point when they see today's nation of Israel and wonder how a secular nation can be the fulfillment of Ezekiel's famous prophecy in Chapter 37. Some have mistakenly attempted to place the Church into the position of fulfilling those covenants. Neither bits of reasoning work. God will restore Israel to a place of true faith and worship in Jehovah (Including a national receiving of Jesus (Yeshua) Messiah), but the first step was to bring his covenant people back to their land. Read how I portray that prophecy in my new book, "Distant Thunder" to be released in August 2009.

Book One of the Lightning Chronicles

568 B.C.

The old man kicked at a clump of drying grass, while he wiped away the sweat that was burning his eyes. Just standing in this heat weakened his spindly legs, and a scorching wind seared his lungs. It was the season when relentless summer winds sucked the life out of just about every living thing in this "heart of Babylon," greatest of all kingdoms, center of the universe. "Bah," spat Ezekiel, the crusty old prophet. "There is one King who will lay claim, and it is not Nebuchadnezzar!"

He wasn't concerned about his words falling on the ears of a stray Chaldean; he was already known by most as a lunatic. In reality, only a handful of his own people actually listened to him. Mostly, he was mocked as a babbling fool, and that only sharpened his frustration.

He was meandering along the eastern bank of the Chebar Canal, alone with his tortured thoughts and nagging regrets. So many hopes and dreams had been piled up like refuse on a trash heap, sometimes he wondered if there was any point in continuing what seemed to be a fruitless ministry. Worse, Ezekiel knew he was nearing his last breath.

The reality that he would not see his beloved Jerusalem again weighed heavily upon him. Stolen away from his homeland by the King of Babylon some thirty years earlier, the prophet had nearly forgotten the beauty and blessing of Judah. Only images remained. Some were pleasant ponderings; others were memories of shattered possibilities. But most glaring were the remembrances of a greater invasion of wickedness that had consumed his people. He'd cried out fervently while still in Israel, trying to awaken the people to the abomination of it all. Few listened. Wretchedness had been unleashed upon the people, and it came from the iniquities of the people themselves. No matter how passionately he'd challenged the depravity, there seemed to be no power behind his words. None of his pronouncements carried the necessary weight to bring about change. His desire to call upon the conscience of his people was simply not enough. So, with a heaviness that accompanies a sense of failure, Ezekiel had left prophetic utterance to the few who claimed to have the power.

It wasn’t until he’d settled in the hovel called Tel-abib, situated beside this dirty river, that he first began to feel an odd stirring in his belly. Strangely, it signaled the arrival of a power that would energize his words. It was also when his dreams began to turn dark. He was shown things he, to this day, could not comprehend. His visions were so horrifyingly real that he’d developed a tremor in his hands and a slight twitch had become noticeable under his eye. Whenever he shared the dreams and visions, the quaking and twitching became so prominent that people would either discount him as sick or denounce him as a fool. With a wave of a hand he was dismissed. But the inner stirring only intensified until it became a raging storm.

He lifted his head and looked toward a setting sun smeared by distant dust-filled winds. Slowly, his thoughts turned to his once lovely Jerusalem, and it made him mourn. Worse, his wild visions concerned that once great city. Over the last few weeks his waking dreams had disturbed him so much that he’d hardly been able to stomach his food.

Whenever the trance fell, a huge valley would be stretched before him, a valley filled with nothing but dust, dry bones and armor. It was a place of defeat and death, where all flesh had been picked clean by vultures and jackals. Some great battle had been waged and an army had met complete annihilation. With each repetition of the vision, the prophet would end up puzzled and confused. But the last few times, some-thing different had happened. What seemed to have been a messenger from the Almighty had appeared beside him. The figure was beyond comprehension, yet exuding a sorrowful compassion for this lost people lying before him.

“What do you see, son of man? Describe it to me,” the bronze-hued, light shrouded being commanded. Ezekiel’s knees were banging together like drums being played at a wedding feast.

“I see bones, nothing but bones. Bones separated from one another and piled high. Swords, helms, bucklers, and shields,” Ezekiel answered weakly.

“Can these bones live again?” the being asked. “Can there be life in place of death?” Ezekiel strained his eyes out over the valley looking for any sign of a survivor, any life at all. Not even a bird remained to pick at the bones. Everything was desolate. With a shrug and a sigh, he let the question stand for a moment. How does one give answer to such a riddle-speaking majestic being, when words fall short of holiness and are shrouded in trepidation? “You know, my Lord, you know,” was the prophet’s feeble reply.

“I tell you, son of man, these bones will live again.”

Suddenly, a swirling wind blew outward from the messenger and passed down the entire length of the valley. It was accompanied by bursts of lightning as it rolled forward in raw, creative power. A clicking sound could be heard, something far beyond Ezekiel’s knocking knees. It was the sickly pop of bone reconnecting with bone.

He looked toward the nearest pile of death and gasped as a soldier was swiftly reassembled, then another. He witnessed a torrent of bones flying as if they were looking for the correct skeleton to connect to. Then, sinew and tendon began to form in joints and spread rapidly over each body. Flesh appeared. It was followed by clothing. Armor flew into place on one lone soldier nearby. The new man took his place among the hundreds of companies that were being formed across the entire valley. Then, silence. The army was standing, living, breathing, and ready to march to war. Fear-generated sweat poured down Ezekiel’s face as he turned to the messenger.

“I tell you, that which was dead will come to life. My wayward people were crushed under my discipline, but they shall be restored. Jacob shall live again, and my servant David shall be king. I will make a covenant of peace with them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the whole world will see my sanctuary standing in their company forever.” Then the man was gone.

It was the same nearly every night for the last moon cycle. Ezekiel grunted as he thought of how he was getting to the point where he could repeat the words with each night’s visitation. “Must be careful to not offend the Great Light,” he said to no one in particular. At least thinking through these manifestations seemed to help lessen the distance he had to cover between settlements as he faithfully conveyed God’s message to his people. However, this last part of the vision needed a bit more consideration before he shared it. The people were already raising their eyebrows, no need to confirm his lunacy just yet.

Suddenly, the prophet felt himself driven to his knees by the weight of a massive hand. He was pushed mercilessly downward until his sunburned forehead touched the parched earth he’d been kicking moments before. Then a voice said, “Son of man, set your face to the north, to Gog of the land of Magog, to the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him…”

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