EZEKIEL 37:1 – 39:29 and REVELATION 5:1–14
This chapter is well known for the account of the valley of dry bones (vs 1-14). It is a continued theme of Restoration that is presented in another powerful way. The target of this particular vision is Israel as seen in verse 11. Ezekiel is given a vision of a valley filled with very dry bones that are scattered about. It is a picture of something that is dead with no visible sign of life. It is like Israel who is now being laid desolate by Babylon. It is also a future picture of Israel at the time of their dispersion under Roman rule in 70 AD. The prophet is then asked as to whether these bones can live. He responds in verse 3 that it is possible with God. The Lord then instructs him to speak or prophesy unto these bones with the instruction to say “Hear the Word of the Lord”.
There are many truths that can be brought out here but let’s focus on the subject of faith. How does faith come to us? It originates with God and it comes through the hearing of the Word of the Lord (Rom 10:17). How is faith activated? It comes as we confess that which the Lord is saying (Rom 10:8-10). Ezekiel was told to prophesy or speak the Word of the Lord to those dry bones which represents Israel. It was seen in the position of being dead, scattered and lifeless (Eze 37:1-2). It does not get any deader than a valley full of very dry bones. At the same time, there is nothing that is too hard for God. The Lord gives Ezekiel the privilege of speaking the Word of the Lord to these dry bones and immediately there was a coming together of bone to bone. It is similar to the act of creation seen in Genesis 1:2.
Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
The earth became renewed with life through the voice of the Lord. Everything was spoken into existence with the exception of man whom God formed from the dust of the earth. Ezekiel is now being given the opportunity to speak to very dry bones the creative Word of God; look at what happens afterwards. The dry bones begin to come together (vs 7). This is the first part of this prophesy and it can speak of the coming together of Israel as a nation as we have been seeing since 1948. In fact, it is taking on a renewed thrust in recent years. The 2nd portion of the prophesy is that he was to prophesy again that the breath of God would enter into them that they might live. After he did so, the bones that took on flesh became a great standing army. What a beautiful picture of Restoration for Israel. All seems lost and dismal for Israel at the time that Ezekiel is receiving this instruction. The picture of their future is exceedingly bright. This should give great encouragement to us as believers in whatever situation we may find ourselves in. There is nothing impossible for the Lord. This vision of the dry bones carries with it some very important lessons. We learn that faith originates with God. Ezekiel did not just presume to speak to those dry bones. Secondly, when Ezekiel prophesied and confessed what God instructed him to do there was an immediate effect upon the bones. It can be very much likened to what was seen at the time of the creation. The Word of God is creative within the mouth of an obedient believer. The Lord may well be asking us concerning our area of need as to whether our dry impossible bones can live. Perhaps we will be given instruction to speak unto our dry bones, our mountain and then see the grace of God released.
Zec 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
Zec 4:7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.
The balance of this chapter centers on the restoration of Israel at the time of the millennium. The tabernacle of the Lord shall be with the children of Israel as well as the gentiles (Rev 21:3). It also speaks of how David will be a beloved prince during the millennial reign of Christ. We must remember that it will be the king/priest ministry that will be functioning in the millennium which is typified by both David and the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev 20:5-6). This new temple in Jerusalem at the time of the millennium will be covered extensively in Ezek 40-48.
God’s wrath is going to be released in the last days upon a people from Gog and Magog. A historical search of these names would indicate the regions of Armenia, southern Russia, Turkey and Syria as being referenced in these prophesies. There will be a satanic stirring that will take place involving these nations in the last days and it will involve Israel. The nations referred to in verses 1-3 will be joined by Persia Ethiopia, and Libya that will come against Israel (vs 4-6). There is an additional reference from Daniel 11:43 to further confirm this last day event. These are Israel hating nations that will be drawn by the Lord in their move against Israel and God.
To gain further Biblical insight concerning Gog and Magog we can look at Rev 20:7-10. This is an event that will take place at the end of the 1000 year millennial period. It is interesting that Satan is mentioned in going to Gog and Magog in his final assault against God. It will be after this battle that he will be cast into the lake of fire for all of eternity. In verses 8-20 the period before the millennium is brought back into focus. There will be the joining of other forces like those from Arabia that will be brought to the valley of Jehoshaphat. The scene is already beginning to take shape before our eyes. There are a series of convulsive earthquakes taking place around the world that seems to coincide with the increasing Jewish hatred among nations. You also find heightened activity in Syria and other portions of the Middle East that has drawn the likes of Russia and China. The purpose of Armageddon is to bring these forces of the world together against Israel for the purpose of being judged. It is absolutely amazing to see how scripture that has been discussed for so many years is now beginning to materialize right before our eyes.
The sword of the Lord will be released upon these enemy nations and a great slaughter will take place (vs 21-23). A vivid picture of this event emerges in Rev 19:17-18 where the strong angel declares to the fowls of the air to come and devour the flesh of the fallen. Through it all God will be glorified as His judgements come upon the earth. It will not just be a judgement against the enemies of Israel but all of creation will be affected. The earth is in upheaval as sin has reached its climax. It is the time where the Lord will return to destroy the purveyors of sin while looking to establish His righteous rule in Jerusalem. It is there in one small area of the world (Jerusalem) where the fullness of sin will gather. It will be in that small part of the world where the righteous judge will establish His kingdom of peace and truth. The days to this event are drawing nigh!
The prophesy concerning Gog and Magog continues in chapter 39. A little bit of explanation is needed due to verse 2 making mention that one sixth of Gog will be left after the Lord’s judgements come to pass. It is implied in Eze 38 and Rev 20:7-11 that all of Gog is destroyed at the time of the 2nd coming. The account of the ravenous birds being summoned is spoken of in Rev 19:17-18. These ravenous birds will be feasting upon the flesh of the slain armies after the battle of Armageddon. It is clear that Gog is involved in two battles pertaining to the last days. There will be the nation’s consisting of Gog that will be destroyed in the lead-up to the 2nd coming and there will be a remnant of Gog that will rise up at the end of the millennium that Satan will turn to after being loosed from his prison. We saw this in the previous chapter as well. The Lord declares that His name will be profaned no more (vs 5-7). People today think nothing of taking the Lord’s name in vain; taking lightly His Laws or simply removing Him from all elements of life. Those days are coming to an end. The earth and all the heathen will soon know that there is a God who rules and reigns upon the throne. This will be clear during the millennium but it will also be known in Israel and throughout the world during the period of the 2nd coming. Today every attempt is being made to remove God from discourse from school or any public gathering. People are not offended when abominations are celebrated yet they employ every tactic possible to displace God. There are times when it seems like the cultural crusaders are winning but their day will come. It is imperative that we stand strong and resolute in the midst of all opposition. Things are only now beginning to heat up.
We get a picture of what the first 7 years of the millennium will look like from verses 8-10. There will be the continual burning of weapons of the enemies who came against Israel for a period of 7 years. It will be at the conclusion of the 7 years when the construction of the millennial temple will take place. In verses 11-22, we see a period of 7 months that will be devoted to the burying of Gog and Magog. What absolute carnage and destruction there will be in the aftermath of this climatic battle. Do we really have any idea what is coming in the days that are before us? We certainly look forward to a mighty move of God to come but we cannot turn a blind eye to the great battle that will ensue soon afterwards.
In verses 23-24, the heathen that remain will come to know the relationship that God has with Israel. They will come to understand why God brought Israel into Babylon, which was to be chastened for their sin and iniquity. The final restoration of Israel is depicted in verses 25-29. It goes on to declare God’s judgements upon the nations that come against Jerusalem. The Word of the Lord also speaks of the spirit of grace and supplications being poured out on the house of David. It is here where Israel will come to know of the one whose hands were pierced (Zech 12:9-10).
This will bring to a close the age of man which represents the 6000 years since the time of Adam. The remaining chapters of Ezekiel (40-48) will focus on the millennial temple that will be built and maintained during the 1000 year reign of Christ. It will be known as a time of Rest, a period that is depicted in the 7th day of creation (Gen 2:3). Do we realize how close we are to the commencement of this age? Let the prayer of Moses be our prayer as we seek to apply our hearts unto wisdom as the 6th day draws to a close. We want to be among those who enter into Hs Millennial Rest.
This chapter introduces us to the Book with the 7 seals. This is a follow-up to the heavenly scene that John was exposed to in chapter 4. His eyes are now directed towards the right hand of the majesty on high. It is the heavenly Father that is seated upon the throne and He has a scroll in his right hand with writings on both sides. This scroll is sealed with 7 seals. This will begin a series of 3 separate judgements that will be poured out in a sequence of 7. It begins with the 7 seals then the 7 trumpets and then the 7 bowl or vial judgements.
John then hears a loud cry responding throughout heaven as to who is worthy to open the seals? When he came to know that there was no one who was deemed worthy he began to weep. One can only speculate as to why John was so deeply moved that there was no one worthy. Remember, his eyes were drawn to the scroll in the right hand of the Father. There must have been the sense that these seals had to be released and it troubled him when no one was found worthy. The next scene shows one of the elders coming to John to comfort him in letting him know that the Lion of the tribe of Judah had prevailed to open the book. Only Jesus, of the lineage of David was worthy to overcome and defeat Satan which was accomplished at the Cross. Perhaps this heavenly scene is a glimpse of the fruit of the accomplished work of the Cross. It is clear from this scene that the cost involved in opening this book was an enormous one.
In verses 6-7 John sees the Passover Lamb standing in the midst of the elders and beside the Father. It was the Lion of the tribe of Judah that was deemed worthy to open the Book but it was also the Priestly Passover Lamb that ultimately gave Him the right to obtain the Book and loosen the seals. Once again, we must appreciate the truths concerning the power of the Lamb. In His first advent Jesus came as a lamb (John 1:29, 36). At the time of the 2nd coming He will come as a conquering king. In order for you and I to reign with Him as kings during His millennial reign we will have to know Him as the Passover Lamb. It is a work that goes beyond salvation.
Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
In verse 10 we have another example of the Lord being shown as both king and priest. The first account of a king priest is seen in the life of Melchizedec (Gen 14:18). The Apostle Paul frequently alludes to this man in the Book of Hebrews (Heb 3:1, Heb 7). What needs to emerge within the church in these last days is the priestly role of Christ. Our ability to reign with Christ will be linked to the extent that we know Him as the Lamb. I feel this is one of the prevailing truths that is part of the heavenly scene that John has been made privy too.
The Apostle Peter also picks up on the theme of being part of the chosen generation of royal priests (1 Pet 2:9). The angelic choir that consists of the 4 beasts the elders and multitudes of angels are now heard singing their song to the Lamb throughout heaven. They extol His virtues by speaking of Power, Riches, Wisdom, and Strength. He then hears every creature and upon earth joining in this anthem. It is a picture of what the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:10-11 where every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. What John is seeing playing out in heaven will soon be heard throughout all the earth when all men will stand before the Lamb. All will proclaim that He is Lord.