The Valley of Dry Bones, a Picture for the Children of God


“37 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,  And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.

And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.

Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.

12 Therefore prophesy and say unto 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.  13 And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.”  (Ez. 37:1-14)

Was this a literal event?  Did the bones in the valley actually stand up, and come together at their joints?  Were they literally recovered with flesh and sinew, and did the wind literally breathe life into the bodies again?

No!  Verse 11 stated the metaphor, that the bones represented the whole house of Israel.  This was a prophetic vision which God gave unto Ezekiel during the captivity of the Israelites.  It was a figurative and metaphorical picture.  God gave Ezekiel a picture, because we seem to understand pictures much easier than words on a piece of paper.

We must understand prophesy to be God’s figurative picture language.  His prophesies are metaphorical, and poetical visions.  They pictured judgments He brought upon wicked and evil people, and events in their future that He caused to happen.  Prophesy is a picture book for the children of God!

God had scattered the Israelites throughout the heathen nations because of their sins.  All of Ezekiel chap. 36 explained how God would repopulate and resurrect the land of Israel for His name’s sake.

Ez. 36:22, “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.”

Ez. 36:32,  Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.

Who was His name’s sake? God would re-establish the tribes of Joseph and Judah as one tribe, one nation for the purpose of bringing the Messiah, and sanctifying His name.  (Ez. 37:19-22)  He would bring the Messiah, the Christ, His servant David to be their King and their Prince. (Ez. 37:24-25)

26I  Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  28 And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.”  (Ez. 37:26-28)

This was the sum and purpose of the prophesy; that God would bring the tribes of Judah and Joseph out of captivity (Dan. 9:2); that the two tribes would become one tribe of Judah; that from them He would bring the Messiah (Dan. 9:25,26; John 4:25), that He would offer a covenant of peace with them, that is peace between God and man (Luke 2:14); that it would be an everlasting covenant (the new covenant, the new heavens and new earth (Is. 65:17, 66:22; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev. 21:1); that he would be their sanctuary, their temple for evermore (Rev. 21:22-23).

When did His servant David come?  When did God make this new covenant with His people?  Jesus told us!

The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” Luke 16:16  (“presseth”, present perfect tense, continuing action.)

When did John come?  He came in the first century A.D. (c. 30-33 A.D.) preparing the way before Christ, and preaching that the Kingdom was at hand… in the first century A.D.  (Matt. 3:1-2)

Therefore, the law and the prophets were until the first century A.D., when Christ told them that all things would be fulfilled in that generation (Matt. 23:36; Matt. 24:34); when Christ told His disciples that they would not finish going through the cities of Israel before He came in His kingdom (Matt. 10:23); when Christ told them that all of the righteous blood shed from Abel to Zacharias would be required of that wicked generation (Matt. 23:35); when Christ told Caiaphas that Caiaphas would see Him coming in the clouds of heaven (Matt 26:64).

Peter explained that the resurrection of Christ, David their king, His name’s sake was that fulfillment of Ezekiel’s vision.  Acts 2:29-26,

 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.  30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;  31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.  32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.  33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.  34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,  35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Those days of the first century A.D. when Christ appeared in the flesh to that promised generation were the days in which He established His everlasting Kingdom.  Those days of the first century A.D. were the days which were the end of the age (world).  Those were the days in which the old heaven and old earth, the old covenant passed away. (Matt. 5:18, 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33; Heb 8:8-10, 13)

The phrase “heaven and earth” is another metaphor, another picture.  In the OT, at the exodus from Egypt, God asked the people if they would be His people, and obey His commandments.  They agreed that they would do so. (Ex. 19:3-8)  They made a promise to God.  So, the old covenant was established between God and Israel.  God and Israel…. heaven and earth… the promise, or the covenant  between the two.

Since that old covenant passed away, the old heaven and earth promise is replaced with a new promise, a new covenant, a new heaven and a new earth.  It was established by the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world, and His everlasting Kingdom which He established in the first century A.D.  Those who promise to be His people now, are pressing into that new covenant, the everlasting kingdom each day.  (Is. 2:2, Micah 4:1,2, Luke 16:16)

All of the books of the NT were written before the destruction of Jerusalem, before the destruction of that old sanctuary, the earthly temple in Jerusalem. (See Dating the New Testament)  The early Christians were being told to watch for its coming, to be ready as it was coming soon to them. It was still ahead of them, as it had not fully happened when the books were written.  But, for us, it is past; the New Testament is our history.

The destruction of that earthly sacrificial temple took away the old covenant of inadequate and profane animal sacrifices.  Those animal sacrifices became profane the moment that Christ died on the cross. The old law was cancelled, disannulled. (Heb 7:18)

Those that called themselves Jews, but were not, those that were of the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9, 3:9) were those that had rejected the Messiah, the savior promised from the foundation of the world; and were blaspheming against God by preferring to continue in animal sacrifices at that earthly temple in Jerusalem.  Christ’s perfect atoning blood was better than that of calves and goats. (Heb. 9:12-14).  God had to take away the old covenant with finality, to completely establish His new covenant.  All of the book of Hebrews speaks of the passing away of that old covenant and that old temple.

That was the end of the ages!  The passing away of the old covenant fully and completely brought in the new covenant in which we now live.  We have been living under this new covenant since Christ died on the cross.  His coming in judgment in A.D. 70 against that wicked generation (Matt. 12:45, 16:4) which crucified Him and persecuted His church, was His second appearance to those who had seen His first appearance. (Heb. 9:28)

We have never seen Christ with our own eyes, have never handled him in the flesh. (1 John 1:1-3)  We did not witness the miracles they saw him perform.  We did not see His death on the cross, nor His ascension into heaven.  How, if we have never seen His first appearance, could we or any future generation possibly have a second appearance of Him?  That promised second appearance was only for those who had witnessed his first appearance.

Just as the vision of the dry bones was a picture God painted for Ezekiel, Revelation was a series of pictures God painted for John and the Christians of that generation.  John was told to send it to the seven churches in Asia who were undergoing great persecution.  John was told in Rev.1:1 that it concerned things which “must shortly come to pass”.  John was told several times throughout the book that these were things that were at hand, or would shortly come to pass.  The angel told John three (3) times in Rev. 22 that Christ was coming quickly (vs. 7, 12, 20), once that the time was at hand (vs. 10) and once again “things which must shortly be done” (vs. 6).  He couldn’t have been more emphatic that the time was close at hand for them, that they were going to witness those events depicted!

God paints pictures for His children.  His prophesies were picture books.  All of the pictures God painted in Revelation were going to be witnessed by those who saw His first appearance in that generation.  He came back to them, just as He had promised He would to those of that generation.  He accomplished it all in that generation (Matt. 24:34), and that included everything between the first and last chapter of Revelation, even the judgment of those who had been waiting in Hades, and the coming of his new city, the new Jerusalem. (Rev. 3:12; 21:2).

Those of us who have put on Christ,  who have been baptized into Christ are in that spiritual city of the new Jerusalem.  Nothing of Revelation was ever speaking of a physical resurrection of a literal, national, earthly city of Jerusalem, nor of the end of the physical world.  God was very clear in speaking of the destruction and desolation of the earthly city of Jerusalem and of the fleshly temple.  The fleshly temple was replaced by the perfect spiritual temple of Christ, and everlasting spiritual city for his spiritual people of spiritual Israel in His everlasting kingdom. (Psa. 145:13; Dan. 4:3, 34; Dan. 7:14, 27; Rom 2:29; 2 Pet 1:11 Rev. 21:22,23)

If you want into that beautiful, beloved city of the new Jerusalem, you have to put on Christ to enter it. (Mark 16:16; Rom. 13:14; Gal 3:27; 2 Cor. 5:2; 2 Pet 1:10-11)

God’s prophesies are spiritual pictures!  They are very figurative and metaphorical. They must be interpreted by scripture, as scripture is the word of God, and only God interprets.  (Dan. 2:19-23; 2 Pet. 1:20)

I have presented other evidences in the posts at the right margin for the first century A.D. fulfillment of the everlasting Messianic kingdom, and ask that you study them carefully.  There is no end of the world. (Is. 45:17; Eph. 3:21)  If you are in Christ, there is no reason to be afraid. (Luke 12:4)  God is in control, and Christ reigns at His right hand now!  (Matt. 28:18, Acts 2:33, Rev. 11:15)

Source is the KJV.  All bold emphasis is mine.

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2 thoughts on “The Valley of Dry Bones, a Picture for the Children of God

  1. dennis cooper

    This is an excellent presentation and worthy of deep consideration. I do have questions though:

    What about those destroyed at the brightness of His coming? This would have taken place already…

    What of Abaddon and His releasing of scorpion like locusts? Has this taken place?

    There are others but when Paul spoke of the elements being intensely hot melting, it was in context of the physical and not spiritual. I’d love a discussion in this regard. I have been studying much lately about your viewpoint in the fulfillment of Revelation having occurred. Any assistance is appreciated.

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    1. Dennis, thank you for commenting. The major perspective that must be kept in mind while reading the New Testament is the time period during which these things occurred – the first century A.D. This was the “chosen generation” – 1 Pet. 2:9. It was the chosen generation because that was when God chose to send His son to earth, to restore all things, and offer peace on earth between God and man. That was the generation in which Christ would accomplish, fulfill all things foretold by the prophets. Matt. 11:14; 16:28; 24:34.

      We have to overcome the bias we have all been taught these past 100 years – that the things of the NT are yet future. The words of the NT were spoken in the presence of the first century audience – first to Israel / the Jews; and then to the gentiles. Present tense verbs have to be understood in the contemporary setting of 27 – 68 A.D. Jesus and the apostles were speaking to people who lived in the past, and who were expecting something yet to come.

      So, the setting is against the backdrop of the Roman empire of old. Beginning with Caesar Augustus, each Caesar declared himself to be a god as soon as they were confirmed as emperor of Rome. At the time of the writing of II Thess. Claudius was ruling, and was restraining the one who would follow him – Nero. Nero was the wicked one who would persecute the saints most terribly. But, his true nature had not yet been revealed. Paul could not name him without calling undue attention down upon the Christians.

      We have to recognize that the Thessalonians knew who these men were by the very nature of the words of 2 Thess. 2:6 – “and now ye know what withholdeth…” They knew the rulers of Rome, and they knew who was withholding and restraining. “That he might be revealed in his time” refers to a man that was living at that time. As he was being restrained, he was already existing…. Nero.

      They were going to have to get through the tribulation of the persecution of Nero, the Roman war against Judea, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The relief of those days of tribulation was the coming of the Lord in judgment against the wicked one who claimed to be a god, and was an imposter posing as the true God, falsely claiming God’s authority from on high. See also Is. 14:13-14, and Ez. 28:2 for similar language about the Kings of Babylon and Tyre.

      The phrase “brightness of his coming”, similar to “coming of the Lord”, or “a day of the Lord” or a “day of God” were the language indicating a day of judgment. God would judge the wicked from on high. See the posts for Parts II, III and IV of It’s Not The End of The World series regarding the judgment language of God.

      All eyes were going to see that “coming” of the Lord in that they would see the result of it. It did not mean that all eyes would see the Lord, rather that all eyes would see the effect of his coming in judgment. The judgment day of God resulted in destruction of the wicked, and the eyes of those living in the first century that witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the Roman civil wars saw them. All of the people may not have understood that what they saw was from the Lord, but the Christians knew, and certain of the Jews did as well. The burning of the elements in 2 Peter was both figurative and literal; figurative as a prophesy foretold as “a day of God” for coming judgment, and literal at its coming in A.D. 70 at the actual burning of Jerusalem and the temple when Titus reigned fire down from heaven upon them. The burning of Jerusalem and the temple was the end of the old covenant, the end of the profane animal sacrifices, the end of the Jewish power over the people. Those were the elements that burned. All eyes saw it.

      Remember from Part V of It’s Not The End of The World that Revelation was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, approx. 66 – 68 A.D. The locust army released from the bottomless pit is figurative language of prophesy, and has to be set against the historical backdrop of the Roman empire. Luke 21 tells us that the abomination of desolation was the armies of Rome which would come against Jerusalem. Jesus pronounced 7 woes upon Jerusalem in Matt. 23. Remember also that angels are simply messengers, or those who carry out the will of God, and can be men. They are agents for God, and anyone who is doing God’s will, either consciously or not, is an angel for Him.

      To the Jews, the bottomless pit represented the gentile world, and specifically Rome, who ruled over them. The locust army was from the heathendom of Rome, which came over the land of Judea during the Judean wars in a swarm, or like a flood.

      Yes, these things have already happened. I recommend more reading at http://www.preteristcentral.com. Kurt Simmons has many more explanations of Revelation in great detail of the Roman wars against Judea during this time. Always remember to identify who is speaking to whom; when the book was written; any key events that you can know from secular history; and stick with the time period.

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