The God Who Gives Life To The Dead

Romans 4:17 NIV

[17] As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed---the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

Please remember the last part of this verse as we read from the book of Ezekiel chapter 37 verses 1-14. 


Valley of the Dry Bones

Ezekiel 37:1-14 NASBS

[1] The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 

Commentary: It seems like the prophet has been taken by God physically and transported to another location that is filled with bones. 


[2] He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. 

Commentary: These are dry bones which indicates that they have been there for some time. Most probably a long time. 


[3] He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord GOD, You know." 

Commentary: This is an amazing question and also a most foolish one! Now it's amazing in the sense that God is interested in knowing what the prophet thinks. As a matter of fact, God is interested in listening to you thou His foolishness is wiser than all of men's wisdom put together. Now if you say yes, then explain how. Instead the prophet answers you know Lord indicating his total confidence in God. 


[4] Again He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.' 

Commentary: Prophesy here indicates a future event; something that has not happened yet but is supposed to take place in the future. 


[5] Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, 'Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. 

Commentary: The word breath comes from the Hebrew word “ruah” which means wind or spirit. In this verse, we learn of a divine fact that is God can make the dead alive; He can cause what is dead to live again.



[6] I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.'"

Commentary: Here we discover two-step process that God will take. First, He will put flesh on the bones. Second, He will put breath into the dead body. This seems to resemble the same process that God used to create Adam, the first man. First, he formed Adam out of the dust of the ground and second, he breathed into him. 


 [7] So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 

Commentary: As Ezekiel follows God's instruction, something impossible is being made possible. 


[8] And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. 

Commentary: Here we learn that flesh has been formed on all the bones but there is no life. It is still dead physically. 


[9] Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life."'

Commentary: Here the Prophet is instructed to speak life into the dead bodies. In other words, turn an impossible situation into a miracle, a divine event that is beyond human capability. 


" [10] So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

Commentary: In this verse, God has brought together from the four corners of the world a people; an army of magnitude power and strength. This is something impossible. In other words, it's through divine intervention! 


[11] Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.' 

Commentary: This is fascinating. Here God is translating the prophesy for us. He tells Ezekiel that the dry bones represent the house of Israel. In other words, the nation of Israel. They have lost all hope and have given up all strength. Their condition is compared to a dead person whose body has totally rotten away and only the bones remain which have dried up due to a long period decomposition. 


[12] Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.

Commentary: The book of Ezekiel was written in around 590s-570s BC.  In 1948, the nation of Israel was formed. This prophesy of this nation being formed was impossible in human terms or logic. In AD 70, Jerusalem was destroyed. Thousands of Jews were killed. We even see Jesus prophesy this event before it happened. The Jews were scattered all over the world. During World War 2 between 1941 and 1945, six million European Jews were killed by Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany and their world war 2 collaborators. In 1948, the nation of Israel is formed in a day. Can you imagine that? This is totally impossible considering the massive killing, weakness and hopelessness of the Jewish people. 


 [13] Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. 

Commentary: In 1948, the Jews came from all the corners of the earth to the Land God had promised Abraham. An ancient prophecy was fulfilled. Something only God can cause to happen.



[14] I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it," declares the LORD.'"

Commentary: It is God who had prophesied this event through His Prophet Ezekiel and fulfilled it in 1948. This event is something way greater than just putting the breath of life into a dead person. We are talking about a nation being formed after six million Jews have been wiped off the face of the earth. It is not only a miracle, but a totally divine event rooted, forecasted and only made possible through the God of Israel. 


KJV Bible Study Notes

37:1–14. The resuscitation of the nation is compared here to dry bones coming to life. At this point the Israelites were like dry bones, nationally dead, and with no hope of restoration (v. 11). Yet God promises that just as the bones came to life in Ezekiel’s vision, so God says: I will . . . bring you into the land of Israel . . . and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live (vv. 12–14). Again, this is both a physical regathering to the land and a spiritual regathering to God Himself. The present-day existence of the state of Israel may be the initial fulfillment of this prophecy, but it can be completely fulfilled only when Christ returns to establish His kingdom (cf. Matt. 24:30, 31).


NKJV Bible Study Notes

37:1, 2 The wording recalls the past visionary experiences of Ezekiel (see 1:1, 3; 2:2; 3:12, 14; 8:1, 3, 7) although the word vision is not employed in these verses. bones: Not only do the bones speak of death, indeed of many deaths, but for bones to be left in the open was an indignity and indecency according to Jewish custom. To leave bodies unburied until the bones were exposed was unthinkable.


37:3 You know: The prophet placed his faith completely in the living God. Ordinarily, one would say “no” to the question God posed. But Ezekiel did not limit God; he knew the Almighty could make bones live.


37:4 Prophesy to these bones: Ezekiel’s prophecies had often been directed to people as deaf as these old, dry bones.


37:5 The word translated breath is translated in other places as wind or Spirit. The breath sent by God into the lifeless bodies symbolizes the Holy Spirit (see v. 14), who brings renewal, regeneration, and rebirth (see vv. 6, 9; John 3:5–8; 6:44; 7:37–39; 16:5–15; Rom. 8:9–11).


37:6 you shall live: This passage is not about resurrection from physical death, but rebirth from spiritual death brought about by divine power. Psalm 87 is another text in the Hebrew Scriptures that speaks of spiritual rebirth. The point of Jesus’ words to Nicodemus in John 3:1–16 was that he should have known and understood the concept of a second birth.


37:7, 8 The dramatic noise and then coming together of the bones with new flesh must have been chilling and thrilling to the prophet. This was a prophetic portrayal of the rebirth of Israel (see Rom. 9-11).


37:9 The Hebrew word translated breath is the same as the one translated winds. It can also be translated spirit.


37:10 an exceedingly great army: The dead bones in the valley (vv. 1, 2) must have looked like the aftermath of a horrible military defeat in which there were no survivors even to bury the dead. But now the army stood upon their feet.


37:11–14 The bones symbolize the whole house of Israel. This identification picks up on imagery already used: (1) those identified as dry or spiritually dead (see vv. 2–5); (2) those identified as despondent and dejected, with no apparent hope of being “resurrected” as the people of the living God; and (3) those described as disassembled and dispersed before being rejoined and rebuilt (see vv. 6–10). The major thrust of this passage is the coming spiritual rebirth of God’s chosen people through the agency of His Spirit (see vv. 15–28; 36:22–32). The spiritual rebirth would miraculously revive and restore human beings to what God had intended them to be in the beginning. The same body-breath sequence occurs in the creation of Adam (see Gen. 2:7).


Major Points of Sermon

There are two main points I would like to make about this passage of scripture: 

  1. This prophecy that God made about Israel is about 2500 years old. It recently got fulfilled in 1948. That's a long time of waiting. We learn something important about God nature and character here. God is truthful to His word. He cannot lie. Israel is still the apple of God's eyes. We should support Israel. We should pray for the nation of Israel. We should become a blessing to the Jews. In Genesis, God makes a powerful promise to Abraham and his descendants. He said, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” God's promises are everlasting just as He is. Let us be very careful in this matter. 
  2. This passage of scripture also applies to Christians today. When we face a dead situation, an impossible situation, an all hope gone situation, what is our response? How do we deal with it? Do we still trust God for the impossible? Or do we complain, murmur, cry and let the situation, the enemy, the problem and the circumstances bring the worst in us and on us. If God can resurrect a dead people; a dead nation; is our problem greater than that miracle? Is our God bigger than our problem? Do we continue to lean on Him for the answers? Do we continue in faith our journey of this Christian life and walk with God? Jesus said that men ought always to pray and never give up. Is this your attitude? Always remember, when you see the invisible, you can do the impossible. With God on your side, there should be no room for failure, no attitude to complain, no reason to back out. As Paul said, if God be for us, who can stand against us. Let this be your attitude.


I hope I could teach you something today that will help you in your walk with Christ. God bless you all. Thank you for reading. Have a blessed day everyone.