We are all familiar with dates and their significance, whether it is the exact date: day, month and year or a portion of it. The old grade school rhyme taught and number of American children: “In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” In my growing up years virtually ever American knew what July 4th was and why it was or was not important in American history. Some could and some could not come up with the year 1776, but the day and the concept were known and celebrated.
May 14, 1948 may not be a significant date to us, but it is the date of the modern nation of Israel’s Declaration to the world that Israel was again a nation.
Something easily overlooked that appeared off to the side and the bottom of the document were these words:
“Prophesy over these bones.”
Remembering what the Jubilee brings: Return and Restoration
Resurrection is the ultimate restoration and return.
The words on the document concerning prophesying over the bones come for
Ezekiel 37, one of a number of visions that God brought to the prophet Ezekiel.
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.
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.
3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”
4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’
5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life.
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.’”
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.
8 And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them.
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.”
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.
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 [e]completely cut off.’
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.
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.
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.’”
Deciphering this Scripture and what it means for Israel:
The question that needs answered is: Who and what was being resurrected?
For years, centuries even, the Church and Biblical Scholars have looked at this on the basis of God’s resurrection of individual believers. And while there is truth there, it is an incomplete truth. This was a vision not only of individual resurrection, but of Israel as a nation.
To understand this we must realize than nations follow the course of nature, meaning:
1. They are born
2. They grow
This means they become larger and more complex
3. They weaken
4. They die
What is a resurrection?
For nations (or people) to die is natural
A resurrection is the reversal of nature
A look at what happens after death:
Physically, the body deteriorates, first the soft tissue, flesh, muscles, sinews etc. This means the bones are no longer connected to each other. The bones separate from each other and depending on what happens can even be scattered
For a resurrection to happen the process must be reversed.
The body must come back together. To disintegrate is natural, to come back together again is not.
Looking at the resurrection of the nation of Israel according to Ezekiel 37:
First the scattered bones came together to form a skeleton
For the nation of Israel: The people who were scattered all over the earth began returning, mainly to escape persecution. Then the bones came together and a skeletal government and culture was formed.
Then the bones grew flesh and sinews
For the nation of Israel this meant that the pattern (the skeleton) was taking on a flesh and blood reality. Israel was becoming a fully formed nation.
Contrasting a birth and a resurrection:
Birth is natural
Resurrection is supernatural
In a birth what has not been is becoming a reality, development then takes place from childhood to maturity
In a resurrection what has been and has been fully formed is again becoming a reality. It is in a sense a reversal of order.
Looking at this reversal of order in Israel
Normally first comes the nation and then the national anthem
With Israel the anthem came first appearing when the nation was nothing more than a dream.
Normally a settlement becomes a town, then a city, then a nation and each is named along the way.
With Israel the cities were there and already named. Some were rebuilt on their ancient sites, fulfilling Jeremiah 30:18
“Thus says the Lord,
‘Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob
And have compassion on his dwelling places;
And the city will be rebuilt on its ruin,
Normally languages develop over time
With Israel It’s ancient language had been dead for ages
It was revived or resurrected by a young man named Eliezer Ben-Yehuda.
Normally the language gives birth to a dictionary
With Israel an ancient dictionary gave birth to the languages
Normally parents teach their children the language
With Israel the children (who typically picked up the language quicker) taught their parents. (Ben-Yehuda’s oldest son is thought to be the first person of the modern world who had ancient Hebrew as his native language.)
The land of Israel was resurrected.
Forests were planted and sprung up where ancient forests had once been.
Vineyards, olive groves and fields of grain had once flourished and died.
A resurrected land required tending so farming as an occupation was resurrected. For the first time Israeli farmers and vineyard keepers appeared in Israel and worked the land.
Israeli soldiers: The last died in battle against the Roman Empire
With the resurrection of the nation Israeli soldiers reappeared on the earth.
Closing quote from Jonathan Cahn:
Never has a nation been so completely destroyed and so come back to life . . or vanished from the world history fo thousands of years, only to reappear in modern times. And never have any people been so driven from their homeland, then gathered back together from every corner of the earth.
Nations exist, and then are spoken of. But the Israel that was to rise from death was spoken of, prophesied of, and dreamed about for thousands of years before it existed. Such things have no precedent. Nor has any such thing been foretold thousands of years before it happened. But from ancient times it was prophesied, ‘I will cause them to return to the land that I gave their fathers, and they shall possess it. (Jeremiah 30:3)’