by Alexander Zephyr.

Part Four.

Continued from Part Three.

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by Alexander Zephyr.

Part 4.


          There are those who interpret Ezekiel 37:1-14 as a future resurrection of 'the whole house of Israel' which will occur at the end of one thousand years after the Messianic Age.
          Do we accept this interpretation of Ezekiel 37:1-14? No, we do not. And here is why:
          In the previous chapter leading up to this one, Ezekiel 36:16-23, God rebukes Israel for their wrongdoing and disobeying Him.
          'I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doing I judged them' (36:19).
          God said that He will have pity on Israel and will take them out from the lands of their exile to the Promised Land, clean them with His spirit and give them a new heart. All of this God will do in order to 'sanctify my great name.'
          'For I will take you from among the heathen and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land' (36:24). God is reassuring His people that they are not forgotten by Him, that the time will come when He will fulfill all the Good Words He spoke in Scripture concerning His People Israel.
          'Then I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean. A new heart also will I give you. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments, and do them' (Ezekiel 36:20-28).
          In the conclusion of chapter 36:28-38 the prophet Ezekiel continues to inform the readers that Israel will again become 'My people' and the Almighty will be their God (Verse 28). Israel will reject all their iniquities and abominations (Verse 31). The Land of Israel will blossom in beauty and productivity. 'And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. This land is become like the garden of Eden' (Verses 34, 35). God will multiply people of Israel, their life stock, rebuild the waste cities.
           'I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it' (Verses 36-38).
Both Ezekiel 36:16-38 as a prophecy of resurrection and Ezekiel 37:1-14 are connected, very much so, but not as prophecies of resurrection in the real, physical sense. Both chapters have the same theme which is the revival and renewal of the whole house of Israel with a new heart and new spirit. It is also renewal of the Land, a new bond between Israelites and the Holy Land. Throughout the all his book Ezekiel taught and prophesied to the exiled house of Israel God's message of hope and love, encouraged their faith and comforted them. The Israelites were contaminated with their sins and punished by God for their transgressions by dispersion to the lands of their enemies. Being in exile for long centuries and exposed to harsh conditions of prosecution and unspeakable sufferings, they lost their Israelite identity; their faith in God's Covenant had utterly gone; the light of the Torah had not shined, and they became spiritually dead. That is why these people (in metaphorical form of the dry bones) are crying:
          'Our bones are dry, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts' (Ezekiel37:11). They are cut off from God, Torah, the Land of Israel, Jerusalem, and from the Judaic faith. They have no spiritual strength, no physical ability to deliver themselves from their graves to which they were forcefully (by the sword) confined in the exiles. The Jewish people considered the lands of their exile as the lands of their captivity, as being like prisons, and graves. The restorations from the lands of their enemies was regarded as 'like from the death.'
     It is interesting to note that at the beginning of the vision of Ezekiel the 'dry bones' were displayed in the open field, representing those Israelites for whom exile was not actual captivity (Ezekiel 37:1-2); whereas in Ezekiel 37:12-13 the 'dry bones' are placed in the graves of actual physical captivity of the Jews in exile. Nevertheless, in both cases the 'dry bones' are metaphoric expression of the spiritual national death of the whole house of Israel.
The task of the prophet was to bring good news to his people, to revive their hope and faith that the house of Israel is still God's people, that the God of Israel has not broken His Covenant with them, that He still loves them, and the time will come when He take proper care of them.
          'Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the Land of Israel' (Ezekiel 37:12).
          This is not a separate and distinct prophecy of real physical resurrection which supposedly  occurs after a thousand years of the Messianic Age. The 'open graves' events, the restoration of the most hopeless sinners of the whole house of Israel, must happen prior to the Messianic Age and the wars of Gog and Magog. The Spiritual death of the children of Israel will not last for ever. No matter how harsh, hopeless and seemingly endless exile was, no matter how much the bones may be dried out, the spirit of God has the power to restore the hope and faith of His people and ultimately redeem them. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God's spirit will awaken the Tribes of Israel to acknowledge their God and their Divine Destiny in the World to come. By opening their graves God ensured that the time of the exile is over. It is time to get out of the lands of their enemies and establish their own politically independent State in the Holy Land. This first stage of the redemption was successfully accomplished by the Jewish people in 1948.  The Zionists, great patriots and heroes of the Jewish nation, were the ones who built the state of Israel and made a  2000 years long dream become beautiful reality.
          'Who hath heard such a thing' Who hath seen such a things' Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day' Or shall a nation be born at once' For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children' (Isaiah 66:8).
Rabbi Yehudah in the Sanhedrin 92b confirmed exactly what we are saying. In his opinion, the entire episode of the 'dry bones' is a parable, a metaphor. Ezekiel did not mean actual physical resurrection (as, for instance, Isaiah 26:19; 66:14; Daniel 12:2; or Hosea13:14).
          Rambam [Maimonides] in Moreh Nevuchim [Guide to the Perplexed] 2:46 believes that the 'open graves' in Ezekiel prophecy does not mean physical resurrection of the dead, but rather is in line with other symbolic prophetic visions used by Ezekiel throughout his book.
          The 'dry bones' prophecy of Ezekiel is not real physical resurrection. This prophecy is a continuation of the previous passages speaking of the same theme.
This may be seen from many verses in Ezekiel. Just compare the following wordings:
          THE 'DRY BONES' VERSES OF EZEKIEL 37:1-14.
         'These bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, our bones are dry, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. I will open your graves, and bring you, My people, into the land of Israel. I shall put My spirit in you. Then shall you know that I the Lord have spoken it and performed it.'
                 Ezekiel 37:11-14)

           'And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you' (Ezekiel 11:19).

          'For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.
 And you shall be My people, and I will be your God. Then the nations shall know that I the Lord. I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.'  (Ezekiel 36:24-28, 36)
          The wordings and the purposes of these prophecies are amazingly the same. They contain the same prophetic Plan outline by God for the people of Israel which include rejection of   sin, turning to God, reunification of all the house of Israel, ingathering in the Holy Land, and the Final Redemption with advent of the Messiah, son of David.
          God will spiritually revive His people ('open graves') and bring the house of Israel to the Promised Land in the 'latter years', at the end of this Age, at the dawn of the Messianic Age, before the wars of Gog and Magog. In no way can one interpret fulfillment of this prophecy as the physical resurrection of the whole house of Israel at the end of the Messianic Age after one thousand years! The 'opening of the graves' rather means the End of the Exile and the beginning of the Redemption. In the same spirit of the 'open graves' speaks the prophet Jeremiah: 'For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob; at the same time will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My People'  (Jeremiah 31:1, 11).
To bring the whole house of Israel to the Holy Land after one thousand years of the Messianic Age, is simply absurd, because in Ezekiel 36:10 the prophet said: 'I will multiply the great number of people upon you, (the Land of Israel), even the whole house of Israel and the cities will be inhabited and the waste ruins will be rebuilt,' or ' You (Gog) turn your hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations' (Ezekiel 38:12).
       The timing of these events can not be after the Messianic Age because it is hard to imagine that millennia of the Golden Age of Humanity would bring destruction and waste to the inhabitants of the Earth, and particularly to the Land of God's people Israel.

          The prophecy of the 'dry bones' is also directly connected in time sequence and subject matter with the following prophecy of the 'two sticks' described in Ezekiel 37:15-28. These two prophecies are speaking of the same events which are supposed to happen in the future with 'the whole house of Israel' almost in the same time context of the 'latter years', just before or at the dawn of the millennial reign of the Messiah, son of Joseph.  Definitely, the 'dry bones' must precede events of the 'two sticks'. Without the spiritual revival of 'the dry bones,' there will be no reunification of Judah and Joseph of 'the two sticks.' Firstly, God will 'open graves' of the 'whole house of Israel' by means of 'a new heart and a new spirit' which in turn will help awaken them (i.e. the so called Ten 'Lost' Tribes of Israel) to their Israelite identity.  The 'opening of the graves' is a Divine Decree, issued by God Himself, and simply means End of the Exile and the beginning of the Redemption. Secondly, this spiritually reborn   'whole house of Israel' that rejects the sin and turns to God, will be ready for the 'two sticks' to join together. God will make them one Kingdom and one nation again: a nation of  priests, a light to the World. Still, it would not be the final Redemption of Israel but a preliminary one, a step or stage closer: the Final Redemption of the whole house of Israel will immediately follow the destruction of  the armies of Gog and Magog  and end of the war (Ezekiel 39:22-29).

List of Contents Concerning,
The Wars of Gog and Magog
by Alexander Zephyr.
See Also:
Questions and Answers about Gog and Magog.

Part Five.

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