You would have to feel some sympathy for Ezekiel. This prophet was asked a leading question by God. Remember he was a prisoner in the kingdom of Babylon for his nation had been conquered and scattered. The promises to Abraham and David had not yet been fulfilled. It looked like such promises would rot amongst the dry bones.
Ezekiel was granted a vision of a valley filled with dry bones. He understood it referred to the Nation of Israel. God’s question in Ezekiel 37:3 ‘Can these bones live?’ put him on the spot. I think the prophet knew God could do it, but would He? Like many Ezekiel remained neutral, uncommitted, afraid of being wrong.
There were unnumbered bones, dried, scattered. Being unburied was a sign of shame as well as defeat. Now the prophet was told to speak to this pile of bleached bones, how depressing. Sometimes we may feel we speak to disinterested audience, how must he have felt. What was the Lord God’s aim? Ezekiel 37:6 ‘You shall know that I am the Lord.’ Verses 13and 14 repeat this concept. In fact throughout this book that theme runs like a golden thread, a promise of events near to Ezekiel’s time and others in the far distant future.
Of course history records the return of the scattered remnant of Israel. The Gospels highlight the promised One the Old Testament spoke about. However those bones which came alive for the coming of the Christ once more experienced a warrior’s death under the military might of Rome in A.D. 70 and 135. The nation’s carcase was once again portrayed by Ezekiel’s vision. Through the pages of the Bible God again asked the question: ‘Can these bones live?’ Few believed they could or even should. However on May 14th 1948 the Nation of Israel came together from the scattered ‘bones’ of a persecuted, shattered, despised people.
Has this nation felt again the living breath from Heaven? It is apparent that the bones have come rattling back into a coherent form. The testimony of their continued existence against the fury and fighting forces of surrounding nations says something about God’s oversight. Unfortunately their spiritual ‘breath’ has not yet been blown into them. When will that happen? At a time known only to the Lord God! This we do know, it will happen. On what authority do we claim that? The Scriptures of both the Old and New covenants, and also the words of the Lord Jesus. This will take place after a most terrible time (Matthew 24. Revelation 6-20. These refer to the Nation of Israel, not the Church)
In this 21st century the question isn’t ‘Can these bones live?’ They have come together into a most impressive nation. I think should God speak to any of us today His question would be; ‘Can this nation of assembled bones survive?’ The Islamic world and their Western allies say ‘No! Not if we can help it’. Many a sympathetic supporter of Israel might squeeze out ‘I hope so’. The Word of God says unequivocally that the Lord returns to rule from Jerusalem, be worshipped in the Temple and to fulfil the promises made to Israel through the prophets.
There are many difficult times ahead for this nation. However there are greater and more severe times ahead for those who seek to make God’s promises to this Nation a lie. If you are interested look up the following references as you ask yourself ‘can this nation of assembled bones survive?’
Isaiah 54:17. No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper.