The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses
Ezekiel 37…Resurrection Promised
From the fall, sin and death have reigned.
Sin and death show up as an evil pair 50 times in 11 different passages.
Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…”
Romans 7:13 “Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.”
Isaiah 53 showed us how God addressed sin.
Ezekiel 37 will show us how God will address death.
NOTE: Too much of the commentary on this passage seeks to deny that Ezekiel could have had in mind the doctrine of resurrection.
They state that Ezekiel was pointing to God’s restoration of national Israel. This is true, but it’s only partially true.
Both themes are in play. God would restore Israel and remind the prophet that he can overcome death.
This is likely due to the habit of isolating the Old Testament from the metanarrative of the gospel and the reality that God intended to introduce resurrection from the beginning.
Hebrews 11:19 “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.”
This is he writer of Hebrew’s commentary on Abraham’s offering up of Isaac. So, its clear to the writer of Hebrews that resurrection was something image bearers were hoping for and believed in.
Elijah (1 Kings 17:8-24…the widow of Zarephath) and Elisha (2 Kings 4:18-37…the Shunamite’s son) are prototypes Jesus sent as forerunners of his work in raising people from the dead.
So, to say that Ezekiel could not have in mind resurrection from the dead is to ignore the rest of the bible.
The prophets can have a historical application and a gospel application.
The historical application to Ezekiel 37 is God fulfilling his promise to bring his exiled people back to the land. God does this beginning around 516 B.C. during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.
The gospel application of Ezekiel 37 is our focus for today.
Why? Jesus is the focal point of the entirety of Scripture, not Israel nationally.
Regarding God’s faithfulness to Israel…
Jesus, as the eternal Son of God, is the faithful Israel who the prophets looked forward to.
Exodus 4:22 calls Israel the “Son of God”.
Luke 3:22-28 records Jesus at his baptism being referred to as the “Son of God”.
Note Acts 13:32-33 (ESV) “And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’”
Jesus is the faithful Israel that the prophets looked forward to. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the prophetic word regarding Israel.
So, God has been faithful to his Israel.
Now Jesus is concerned with gathering his church made up of any Israeli, or Arab and whoever will repent and believe by faith alone in Christ alone from every nation by giving to them pardon from sin and resurrection to break the curse of death!
So, this passage finds its focus in Jesus.
So, what do we see? What does it mean? How do we obey?
Since Jesus is the faithful Israel, Ezekiel 37 is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus and made a reality for all of his people.
(NOTE: God did keep his word to national Israel and did restore them to the land in 516-513 B.C.)
- Romans 1:4; Revelation 1:5
Romans 1:1-4 (ESV) Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
How do we see the gospel in Ezekiel 37?
People and nations are dead in the curse. 37:1-2
God’s word is powerful and effective to raise dead people and dead nations. 37:3-10
– Read it.
– Pray it.
– Speak it over any and everything you encounter in prayer and hope.
– Receive the providential addressing it brings through disciplined reading and study at just the right time. (Spontaneity only grows in the closely cultivated garden of discipline.)
– Listen for it from the Spirit.
– Enjoy God’s gift of life in Christ.
– Engage the world with faith that Jesus is able to heal nations.
Revelation 22:1-2 (ESV) “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
God’s powerful word and action crushes unbelief. 37:11-14
“You shall know that I am the LORD.”
How do we obey?
Have hope without fear.
- Jesus can save the deadest. Take courage.
- Death is not the end, rather in Christ, death has become our slave to finish Jesus’ work in us to make us like him…to restore us to the pre-fall state in the full image himself.
Revelation 1:4-5 (ESV) John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.
Colossians 1:15-18 (ESV) “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”
Psalm 147:1 (ESV) “Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praise to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”