The Valley of Dry Bones
Israel is deeper into the Valley of Dry Bones than ever before. Within the last fortnight China, Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, plus Germany (P5+1) agreed a Nuclear Deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is strange that these countries are even making deals together. Has the world become so subjective in its morality that it cannot distinguish between ideologies?
Judeo-Christian societies are inherently different to Islamism, Communism, Totalitarianism and Secularism. The human mind knows this fact is true because we can see the evidence. But to agree with that would mean agreeing with the God of the Bible, and the sinful human mind will sometimes contort itself into madness, rather than submit to God.
Next, in a step that sounds like grounds for impeachment, the U.S. Administration sought to ratify the Nuclear Deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran through the United Nations Security Council, before it has been reviewed by its own Congress. The U.N. Security Council “approved the deal.” 29% of U.N. member states are members of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation. Again, this is a fact. So, not only is that “approval” not surprising but it is precisely the reason the U.S. Administration sought to leapfrog over its own Constitution, which is grounded in the Judeo-Christian rule of law.
It is clear other forces are at play.
Then, hours after the U.N.S.C. “approved” the deal, the European Union also “approved” the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is like watching a collapsing house of cards, as the nations gather together against Israel and the Jewish people. It's been a difficult week. I am shocked, even though the Word of God predicted this centuries ago:
“Here are your enemies, causing an uproar; those who hate you are raising their heads, craftily conspiring against your people, consulting together against those you treasure. They say, “Come, let’s wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Isra’el be remembered no more!” With one mind they plot their schemes; the covenant they have made is against you.” (Psalm 83.3-6)
The LORD does not want people to make the wrong choice. Either there is a period of increasing chastisement or, if that is ignored, there is a period of judgment. This is not my idea. The Bible, being all about a Holy God’s love for us, follows this pattern; repeatedly. God is particularly concerned at the obedience, grace, purity and understanding of His own people. If we profess to be Believers, then we are called to higher standards. Why? Because we are called, amazingly, to be His ambassadors in a world that does not recognise our King or the citizenship He gives us, which is above our national citizenship.
So, what does Israel have to do with recent events? Everything. She is the fulcrum point on the balancing scales for the nations. Here are the words of the prophet Zechariah, which means "God remembers":
“And there was the angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him, who said to him, “Run, speak to this young man, saying: ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. For I,’ says the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst. “Up, up! Flee from the land of the north,” says the LORD; “for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven,” says the LORD. “Up, Zion! Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon. For thus says the LORD of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me.” (Zechariah 2.3-9)
The reason for God’s judgment is to bring the nations, and individuals within those nations, to the realisation that He is the One True God. In addition, it is to lead His Christian and Jewish people in awe to a deeper relationship with Him, into more holiness and humility. His judgment returns His rightful order over things, if we decide to voluntarily refuse to live by His order in the first place.
So, regarding the events of the last few weeks, and as painful as it is, He is, in essence, collecting up the dry bones of Israel into the Valley of Decision, together with the nations. Here is the incredible vision of the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37.1-14:
With the hand of the LORD upon me, the LORD carried me out by his Spirit and set me down in the middle of the valley, and it was full of bones. He had me pass by all around them — there were so many bones lying in the valley, and they were so dry! He asked me, “Human being, can these bones live?” I answered, “LORD God! Only you know that!” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones! Say to them, ‘Dry bones! Hear what the LORD has to say! To these bones the LORD God says, “I will make breath enter you, and you will live. I will attach ligaments to you, make flesh grow on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you. You will live, and you will know that I am the LORD.” So I prophesied as ordered; and while I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound; it was the bones coming together, each bone in its proper place. As I watched, ligaments grew on them, flesh appeared and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Next he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath! Prophesy, human being! Say to the breath that the LORD God says, ‘Come from the four winds, breath; and breathe on these slain, so that they can live.’”
Firstly, like Zechariah's words above, this passage is also spectacularly supernatural. We are living in times when we have to believe in the LORD in all His Truth, including His supernatural ability to change our lives, to get us on the right course and side of history.
Secondly, this passage in Ezekiel is a hidden prophecy, within a prophecy. But this can only be seen in the Hebrew. Which day does Israel celebrate her re-birth in the physical world? Israeli Independence Day or Yom Ha’Atzmaut. The Modern Hebrew word for "independent" is: atzma’i. But, like most Modern Hebrew, it is lifted straight out of the Hebrew in the Bible and the simple English translation of “independence” doesn’t even begin to cover all this word means!
The Biblical root of "atzma'i" means: to be vast, powerful, numerous, strong, mighty, mightier, great, potent and abundant. This is exactly what is happening to Israel’s Defence Forces, her cyber technology, scientific breakthroughs and use of natural resources; much to the resentment of those who do not want to believe in the God of the Bible.
If you studied all the wars of modern history, the ones which do not make sense, from a military perspective, are the wars into which Israel was dragged since her re-creation in 1948. Looking at those wars, the only winning military strategy is; depend on God! I once read that Israel's wars are not studied in military academies, because they don't make sense to the human mind and its strategies.
God challenges the world in this way, to try to make the unbeliever think, “Something is going on here, the LORD God of Israel must be the One True God.” This humble submission to the LORD then brings peace, blessing, effectiveness and God’s purposes in our lives. God is highly supernatural. Some of the ways He works are not supposed to make sense to our mind, precisely to show that He is acting on our lives, not us. The opposite of faith is aggressive self-sufficiency, because that is actually based on fear and lack of trust in God. (Having said that, the LORD is never the author of confusion and will never contradict His written Word in His speaking.)
So, as the nation of Israel grows in her independence and "aloneness" among the nations, she too grows in these supernatural blessings, ordained from the unchanging LORD of the Bible. At the same time, anti-Semitism grows too. In May 2015, I attended an international prayer conference while visiting Jerusalem. One of the many speakers spoke of a recent survey of Israelis. The question put to Israelis was: "Who do you trust to protect you from war?"
And this survey was taken before the P5+1 nations, the E.U. and the U.N.S.C. "approved" their Nuclear Deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Israel and the Jewish people are now being forced to depend upon God like never before. This is because, startlingly, the word for "independence" also shares its Hebrew root with the word for: “bones" - just as Ezekiel saw in the vision from the LORD centuries ago!
This makes perfect sense. Israel’s physical re-birth (independence) is the very same Hebrew root-word that represents her need for spiritual re-birth (bones). As she becomes more alone among the nations, she becomes closer to her spiritual re-birth. There is nowhere left to run except into God’s Arms. She will lie in the Valley of Dry Bones, unable to find the strength within herself, until God breathes the full spiritual life within her.
The person instructed by God to prophesy breath onto the dry bones was Ezekiel. In Hebrew his name means “The strength of God” while “Breath” represents the Holy Spirit; the very gift given to the church from the Messiah. The true church can give strength to the Jewish people. Holy Spirit inspired love-in-action will revive, strengthen, and, as times get tougher, literally save our mutual lives.
I have Jewish heritage. In a Greek thought-based church my spiritual heritage shows to the point of being too painful. Replacement Theology not only tries to deny my Jewishness but to say that I must become Greek to follow the Messiah. But the Messiah is clearly Jewish, so why doesn’t the mainstream church want to understand Him through His Jewishness?
Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you." (Ruth 1.16-17)
The church was always supposed to be like Ruth, in actually entreating the Jewish people, saying, “Let me help you, bless you, be loyal to you, die with you; let me keep you safe.” Again, amazingly, this two-way love between Christian and Jew is also hidden in this very same Hebrew word for "independence" and "bones", because it actually shares all these further meanings: framework of bones, limb, strength of the body, vigour, life and by extension the whole body.
"Christ is our peace, who hath made both Jews and Gentiles one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us." (Ephesians 2.14)
We know the accounts of the Righteous among the nations, who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust. We are part of the same body, the two chambers of His Heart, needing each other to find life and strength in the Messiah.
Lastly, the Hebrew word for “bones” shares its root with the verb: “to close the eyes, to tightly shut the eyes.” This is exactly what the LORD did among His Jewish people for a time, in order to spread salvation to the Gentile nations: “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11.25)
When the Rabbi says the Shema in the Synagogue, he will literally cover his eyes with his right hand, as if, unknowingly, to act out the LORD covering his ability to see that the Messiah and the LORD God are One (Deuteronomy/Devarim 6.4). There is only one reason such a loving God would blind His treasured people, and that is to share the blessing of salvation over the nations. So, how those nations then treat Israel in return has to be part of God's judgment. Our spiritual ability as Christians, to see the identity of the Messiah, is given precisely at the cost of the majority of Jewish people not then being able to recognise their own Jewish Messiah, at least for a time. It is, indeed, a mystery. This is the mystery of the gospel of which Paul spoke but of which the modern liberal church rarely speaks or understands. (Ephesians 3.1-6)
So, in conclusion, the celebration of Israel’s Independence, her spiritual re-birth through the blowing of the Holy Spirit upon her dry bones, and Jew and Gentile becoming One Body in Messiah, is all wrapped up in the same word in the Hebrew! I am out of my depth when I try to figure out everything that is rapidly developing in the world today. But I know one thing and that is that God is in control:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not rely on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him;
then He will level your paths.
Hebraic and Prophetic Teaching
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