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PHILLIP SIGMAN — Can these bones live again?

From Ezekiel 37:1-14

Yahweh carried him

Yahweh compelled Ezekiel into an open field full of dry bones. There was no choice given; “the hand of Yahweh was upon me and by the Spirit of Yahweh, He caused me to rest, settle in a valley full of dry bones, v. 1.”

  1. This condition has been the situation for a long time; they are dried up.
  2. There is absolutely nothing they can do for themselves; they are scattered all over the field.
  3. They have been exposed before man, animals, and God, naked before God and undone.

Ezekiel’s evaluation

Yahweh made him walk around the field of dry bones, v. 2.

  1. The bones were exceedingly many.
  2. The bones covered the valley.
  3. The bones were exceedingly dry.

The sheer volume or number was impressive, the extent was over it all, and they were exceedingly dry having been in the sun for a long time.

Yahweh’s question

The $10,000 question, “Can these dry bones live again?” v. 3. It seems overwhelmingly impossible; impossible that life could ever come to these dead, dry, scattered bones; there is no human solution.

Ezekiel’s answer

“My Lord, Yahweh, YOU know!” It is with the greatest respect that Ezekiel answers God, but he does not answer Him either with ‘yes’ or ‘no;’ but merely says emphatically, “YOU know!”

Yahweh’s response

Yahweh told him to prophesy to the dry bones and say to the dry bones, “Hear the Word of Yahweh!” v. 4.

From the human perspective, this seems absolutely ludicrous or ‘stupid,’ foolish, utterly ridiculous. Why speak to something that has neither eyes nor ears, no means of comprehending or responding. Isn’t it a complete waste of time? To man it is, but to God, nothing is impossible, Matthew 19:25-6. Hearing or speaking does not imply an ability to respond, compare Isaiah 6:9-10.

The message

“Thus saith ‘Adonai Yahweh to these bones, ‘Behold, I will restore the Spirit within you and you shall live,’” v. 5.

Jesus said unless you are born-again from above, you are not able to see or enter the kingdom of God. You must be born of Spirit and water, John 3. Regeneration from God is confirmed, having been announced in chapter 36 with the new heart, new life, and the Spirit of God; so here we have another analogy or metaphor in the vision with the dead, dried bones.

In verse 6, Yahweh will restore sinew. He will cause the bones to be covered with flesh or muscles and cover it all with skin. Finally, He will give this corpse the Spirit and the result is that it will live. Paul told Titus that we are born-again by the Spirit of God by the washing of regeneration, Titus 3:5-6.

The result is that these living souls will recognize that God accomplished it and not they themselves. They offered nothing; adding nothing; God gave and accomplished it alone by the preaching of the Word, the proclamation of the prophet. “Faith comes by hearing,” Romans 10:17.

Ezekiel’s response

In verse 7, Ezekiel prophesied just as he was commanded — “woe to me if I do not preach…” 1 Corinthians 9:16. “Preach the Word…” 2 Timothy 4:2. Preaching brings results that are only explained by Divine Providence and the Holy Spirit in regeneration; it is largely unseen to those around, the naked eye cannot see.

“As I was preaching, there was a sound, a noise. Behold, rattling or clamoring, the bones were coming together, one bone to another bone.”

“I saw, and behold, sinew was upon them; flesh came up and covered them with skin over them; but there was no Spirit within them,” v. 8.

This is opposite of the normal experience. Once dead, the body decays, loses its skin, muscle, and sinew. It eventually dries out. The inverse, no person could accomplish; it is an act of God; only God could accomplish it (without strain or difficulty)! No man gives himself spiritual life being dead; only God can give life, both physical and spiritual (cf. Ephesians 2:1-10, “You being dead…but God…made you alive together…).

Yahweh’s instructions

“He said unto me, ‘Prophesy unto the Spirit! Prophesy, son of man, and say unto the Spirit, thus saith ‘Adonai Yahweh, From the four winds, come O Spirit! Breathe upon these slain that they might live (or and they will live),’” v. 9. Regeneration is and has always been by the Sovereign Will of God. The Spirit, like the wind, moves where He wills, John 3. That being ‘born-again’ is the work of the Holy Spirit is certain.

Ezekiel’s response

“So I prophesied as I was commanded and the Spirit entered them and they lived and they stood upon their feet, and overwhelmingly exceedingly great army — militia Christi, v. 10. God’s arm is not short, but is mighty to save!

Yahweh’s instruction

“And He said unto me, son of man, these bones, all of them, are the House of Israel!” (cf. Romans 11:26), v. 11.

Israel’s perspective

“Saying, our bones are dried up, our hope is lost; they are cut off from us.”

“Therefore, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus saith ‘Adonai Yahweh, Behold, I (emphatic pronoun) am opening your graves and I am raising you up from your graves (comp. John 5:28-9), O My people, (cf. Ezekiel 36:28). And I will bring you into the land of Israel, v. 12. They shall know that I am Yahweh, when I open your graves and raise you up from your graves, O My people, v. 13. I will put My Spirit in you and you will live and I will put you upon your land; then you will know that I am Yahweh. I speak and I do, declares Yahweh,’” v. 14.

This is a Messianic grace, that the dead would raise from their graves at the voice of God—the Son of Man, Jesus Christ—and live. Only God can gives life to the dead; only God can give spiritual life, the new birth, and the Spirit. This is Sovereign Grace given at the will of God and for His glory.

Soli Deo Gloria

Pastor Phillip Sigman writes about faith for The Port Arthur News.