“The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls,” said Paul Simon in his famous hit song Sounds of Silence. The God of the Hebrews does “move in mysterious ways His wonders to perform,” and is on record as even being willing to raise up children of Abraham from roadside stones (see Luke 3:8).
One of the mightiest prophecies concerning Israel in the Last Days concerns a specific army – a spiritual Special Operations Force – that YHVH will raise up prior to the return of Messiah Yeshua. The prophet Ezekiel has been given the honor of describing that amazing army in chapter 37 of his scroll as the Army of the Dry Bones.
The context – prophets in the land of ISIS
Ezekiel, a prophetic Jewish believer of priestly lineage, began his ministry in Judah but was later imprisoned and exiled by the Babylonian superpower. During his lifetime that Gentile superpower occupied the Judean homeland and systematically removed the cream of Jerusalem’s leadership to central Iraq (Ezekiel 1:1-3). Ezekiel was commissioned to speak a prophetic message – both to Jews in Judea, and later to the Jewish exiles in Babylon – to a people who were mostly in a state of rebellion (2:3-7).
God granted him a fully blown vision of the glory of YHVH (3:12-14) which greatly encouraged him and strengthened his resolve. He was then given prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem (chapter 9), but also about the salvation and deliverance of a remnant of Jewish believers (6:9-10). At another time YHVH visited Ezekiel again, granting him a stupendous vision of the magnificent and glorious chariot-like Throne and throne-room of God (chapter 10). YHVH also promised the prophet that He would restore the Jewish people to Zion from their exile, and would pour out His Holy Spirit upon them (chapter 11). YHVH described His ardent love for His unfaithful people in passionate terms, promising a full purification and restoration for His wayward bride (chapter 16).
The God of Moses then prophesied to Ezekiel that a Last Days scenario would come upon Israel similar to the Exodus of Egypt. Those Jewish people who would humble themselves before YHVH would enter the Land of Promise, while those who were disobedient and rebellious would be purged out from entering into the promise (chapter 20).
Ezekiel was commanded to prophesy concerning the countries surrounding Israel and Judah – Ammon, Edom and Moab (today these regions are central and southern Jordan), Philistia (the present Gaza area), Tyre and Sidon (southern Lebanon), Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia – declaring Abrahamic Covenant curses on the nations who delighted in damaging and dispossessing the Jewish people (chapters 22-30).
False and true shepherds in Israel
God turns Ezekiel’s prophetic anointing to the leaders of Israel, pointing out that there were many who could be accurately labeled false shepherds. These leaders had lost compassion and a servant’s heart for their own people, and YHVH promised to judge and remove them. At the same time, He gave Ezekiel prophecies of a sweet return to the grazing lands of Israel, promising to resurrect King David and re-appoint him as vice-regent ruling the restored Jewish people under David’s Greater Son (34:23-24).
A Last Days Arab attempt to dispossess Israel
YHVH prophesies through Ezekiel that in the Last Days, a consortium of Arab nations coming out of southern Jordan will focus on wresting the Promised Land from the Jewish people who are its rightful possessors (chapters 35-36). God promises to blunt and destroy their military invasion (35:7-15; 36:7).
In these same chapters God promises to restore the Jewish people to their own land, to fill them with His Holy Spirit, and to overwhelmingly prosper them in the Land (36:24-30, 33-38).
- This is the context in which Ezekiel’s prophecy of the Dry Bones Army is given
Breathe on these slain
Ezekiel chapter 37 (the Dry Bones chapter) carries with it the perfume of a surreal fantasy. The prophet is lifted up by the Spirit of God and made to soar over a huge and broad valley filled with dry bones. Given the divine command, he speaks flesh and breath/spirit/life into the bones, which proceed to rattle and hum and fly through the air, forming millions of perfectly shaped inert bodies in the valley. Yet though the bones have been turned into human bodies, these are all dead bodies. YHVH tells Ezekiel to prophesy once again:
- Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, “Thus says YHVH God, Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.” 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.
The Hebrew phrase “an exceedingly great army” is literally “an army, big, much much” – in other words, a massive and awesome army. From this perspective of Jewish history, Jacob’s people did not only go into Exile; they experienced a national massacre of tragic proportions. YHVH in His mercy prophesies that He would bring Israel back to their own land, yet without spiritual life. There in the Land He breathes on them, they come alive in the spirit, and become an awesome army.
Fleshing out the Dry Bones Army
Other prophetic voices add their witness to Ezekiel’s vision of a mighty prophetic army. Two or three of these witnesses would include King David, who notes that this army will be typified by youth, volunteerism and holiness (Psalm 110:3). Isaiah adds the dimension that this army will be a divine tool of judgment to conquer, thresh and winnow the mountain-like nations and superpowers of the world (Isaiah 41:14-16). Zechariah adds that that the entire Jewish people will fight powerfully against the gathered superpowers, and the residents of Judah and Jerusalem will be noteworthy for their bravery and accuracy in warfare (Zechariah 12:1-9).
- The restoration of Israel has many facets. One of those, stressed by the prophets, involves defending the Jewish people successfully from the ravenous attacks of the wolf nations and triumphing over them in battle. Our Last Days vision needs to make room for this axial aspect of prophetic fulfillment!
Actualizing the army
God has already activated His prophetic plan by restoring the Jewish people to their homeland. The horses of the nations are impatiently pawing the ground, threatening embargos and sanctions against the Jewish state in order to force Israel to reverse God’s fledgling restoration process. Islamist powers from Sunni ISIS and al Qa’eda to Shi’ite Iran and Hezbollah are all prophesying Israel’s defeat and soon destruction. Anti-Semitic attacks and actions are spreading across post-Christian Europe. These are not times of peace but of war.
The God of Jacob encourages His people at this time in Psalm 46:
- God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride… God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved. God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered. He raised His voice, the earth melted. YHVH of armies is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Come, behold the works of YHVH, who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth. He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two. He burns the chariots with fire.
Putting a face on the army
For Ezekiel’s Last Days generation of Jewish believers to be equipped –
- They need to know their own history and their own prophetic and national calling.
- They need to know how to use the weapons of God, which include both the Word of God and the gifts and weapons of the Spirit (Psalm 7:13; Isaiah 30:32; Jeremiah 50:25; Ezekiel 39:9-10; 2 Corinthians 6:7; 10:4; Revelation 14:15-19).
- Jewish believers need to know how to live, move and have their being among their own people. They need to increase their own sensitivities and connections with their own people, and drink more water from their own cultural and spiritual wells (1 Corinthians 9:20; Romans 15:8)
- They need to know how to better communicate the message and presence of Messiah Yeshua, King of the Jews, to His own people (Romans 1:16)
These goals have been burning within our hearts for many years. The blending of Word and Spirit in the equipping process, the educating of a new generation of Jewish believers to better acquaint themselves with the roots of their own culture and people (and this without falling under Rabbinic influence and control) – these needs are more pressing and relevant than ever.
Would you pray with us about the formation of a training framework for these purposes? A school where these subjects can be taught and fleshed out in godly and biblical balance? And would you consider standing behind this challenge in prayer and financially, for these activities will require a significant increase in finances.
How shall we then pray?
- Pray with us that God would raise up a new sphere for activation of this prophetic army described by Ezekiel
- Pray that God will guide us in wisdom and discernment as we lay the foundations of strategy & curriculum
- Pray for the provision of finances and co-laborers that this endeavor will require
Your prayers and support really do hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do!
In Messiah Yeshua,
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