Ezekiel’s Vision of Israel’s Restoration Part 2 -- By: Merrill Frederick Unger

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 106:424 (Oct 1949)
Article: Ezekiel’s Vision of Israel’s Restoration Part 2
Author: Merrill Frederick Unger

Ezekiel’s Vision of Israel’s Restoration
Part 2

Merrill F. Unger

(Continued from the July-September Number, 1949)

{Editor’s note: The footnote in the original printed edition was numbered 17, but in this electronic edition is numbered 1.}

The Vision Interpreted and Explained

The various erroneous views of Ezekiel’s prophecy of the dry bones have been noticed and discussed. There remains to be examined the true view. It has been demonstrated that the vision cannot picture physical resurrection of the dead in general, nor include physical resurrection in any sense, of Israel or others, nor yet be taken as the spiritual resurrection or conversion of a soul, nor yet spiritualized in any way and made applicable to the Christian church. That the true scope and meaning of the passage is the national and spiritual reinstatement of God’s chosen people will appear as the prophecy is further interpreted and explained. It is necessary, first, to examine

I. The Method of the Restoration of Israel

This is indicated to be by the divine power. The question Jehovah addresses to Ezekiel after showing him the valley of the dry bones: “Son of man, can these bones live [i.e., will these bones come to life]?” prepares the way for the miracle. The prophet-priest’s perplexed reply: “O Lord, Jehovah, Thou knowest” (Ezek 37:3) dramatically shows that from a human standpoint it was inconceivable that they could ever come to life again, and, in any case, nothing short of the omnipotence of God could ever effect this—so many they were and so dry were they.

The method of restoration is further revealed to be not

only by divine power, but also by the divine word. Ezekiel is told to prophesy over the bones and say unto them, “Hear ye the word of Jehovah. Thus saith Jehovah…. I will cause breath to enter into you…. I will lay sinews upon you, and bring flesh upon you, and put breath in you…. ye shall know that I am Jehovah” (vs. 4–6). It is the divine power which operates through the divine word, emphasizing the oft recurring thought in the apparent hopeless impossibility of the rehabilitation of such an effete nation, namely, that what Jehovah promises to fulfill He has the power to fulfill.

The idea of the divine power working through the divine word is also significantly and prominently linked with Israel’s national gathering in the key New Testament passages on the subject. Thus in Matthew 2...

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