- Pastor John Conover
Sticks and Bones
Ezekiel saw a vision in Ezekiel 37, which God used to teach him and Israel that He has a great plan for Israel. God then gave him an object lesson to use in his next sermon; two sticks to join together. First, Ezekiel saw of valley of dry bones (vs. 1-14). These represented Israel in their conditions as defeated in wars with her enemies, and as spiritually dead for refusing to follow their Messiah, Jehovah God. The sticks, which were wide enough to carve "Joseph" and "Judah" onto, represented Israel as a divided nation. Together, these pictures were used to teach that one day Israel, at least a majority of those alive at that time, would get saved, and then be restored to power as a united, one nation under Christ.
Ezekiel 37:4-5, 12, 14, 22, 24 and 26 has these words. "O, dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! Surely, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live (spiritually, physically, individually, and nationally). I will open up your graves, and cause you to come up from our graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. I will put my Spirit in you, and you shall live. I will make you one nation in the land. David, my servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd.. I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them.
Ezekiel 36:26-28 emphasizes the Holy Spirit indwelling Israeli people in such a mass regeneration that the results include Israel obeying God's Word, and dwelling in the land of her fathers as truly God's people again. This is yet future. This did not happen when Jesus came the first time. This did not happen when the Holy Spirit began His indwelling believers in Acts 2, baptizing them into the Church. This did not happen when Israel established their present nation in 1948. As of this writing, this national trouble, calling, deliverance, and regathering has not happened. These promises from God will begin in the Tribulation period and culminate at the second coming of Christ to set up His 1000-year reign on earth. Then Israel will enjoy the prophecies of her increased population, prosperity, and peace.
Let us sing the LORD'S songs because in His wrath He remembers mercy; in the Tribulation He will bring many salvations, and against the spirit of the anti-christ He will send His indwelling Holy Spirit to those who trust in Christ. We believers of the ages, who will be "taken up to be with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air," will likely be celebrating at the marriage supper of the Lamb during part of this time period. We will be singing the Lord's song then, so let's sing and rejoice now as well. His plans are as good as done because He promised. He is the covenant-keeping God.
How can we apply these future realities to our lives today?
1. Make promises to your people that are right, and keep them. God has, and will.
2. Keep working, even behind the scenes, to do what you are supposed to do. God is.
3. Read and trust God's Word today because this is vital preparation for "that day."
4. Stand up for what is right, but be patient and merciful. God is.
5. Pray for Israel and the Church. Jesus does.
6. Love all cultural groups, especially Jews. God does.
7. Share the gospel now. We can see the stage is set for "the day of the Lord."