Kretzmann On The Valley Of Dry Bones

Ezekiel’s Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones“While this passage is not a direct proof-text teaching the resurrection of the dead, it furnishes a very vivid picture of the method in which God will call all men back to life on the Last Day.”

I wanted to share this portion of a commentary to counteract the twisted uses of Ezekiel’s “The Valley of the Dry Bones” passage by preachers in our day.

They would say something (allegorize) to the affect, “God can bring back to life the dry bones of your finances, the dry bones of your relationships, the dry bones of your dreams / purpose,” etc.

It’s false teaching.

It’s foolishness.

That’s not what this passage means.

Popular Commentary


Further Evidences of Israel’s Restoration.

THE VISION OF THE RESURRECTION. — V. 1. The hand of the Lord was upon me and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, in a state of ecstasy in which the prophet was inwardly transported from the things around him, and set me down in the midst of the valley, which was full of bones, one representing a huge grave, in which, however, the corpses had not been covered, v. 2. and caused me to pass by them round about, so that Ezekiel received a very close view of them, observed them most carefully; and, behold, there were very many in the open valley, not in heaps, but scattered over the ground, and, lo, they were very dry, bleached by long exposure to the elements, without sap and vitality. V. 3. And He said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? Did it seem possible to human eyes that these dry bones would be restored to life again? And I answered, properly leaving the answer of the question to the Lord’s almighty power, O Lord God, Thou knowest. With God nothing is impossible, and therefore the believers trust in Him to perform His mighty deeds at His own time. V. 4. Again He said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, that is, over or concerning them, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord, which is the bearer of life, the mediator of the salvation of Jehovah. V. 5. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones, Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, His creative divine power, as in the beginning, and ye shall live; v. 6. and I will lay sinews upon you, literally, “binding matter,” for the tendons and sinews hold the bones together and serve as a foundation for the flesh, and will bring up flesh upon you, causing it to fill out the human forms, and cover you with skin and put breath in you, and ye shall live, cp. Is. 26, 19; and ye shall know that I am the Lord, by this proof of His almighty power. V. 7. So I prophesied as I was commanded, without consulting with flesh and blood, simply at the command of the Lord; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, a voice, or sound, and behold a shaking, a louder rustling from the field of bones, and the bones came together, bone to his bone, those of the individual skeletons being assembled in their proper relation. V. 8. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above, so that they were like corpses from which life had but recently fled; but there was no breath in them, there was no life in the members. V. 9. Then said He unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, announcing to it the command of the Lord, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God, the sovereign Ruler of the universe, Come from the four winds, O breath, the spirit or power of life, and breathe upon these slain, the victims of bloody warfare, that they may live. V. 10. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, just as in the beginning of creation, Gen. 2; and they lived and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. The vision, therefore, evidently does not concern the resurrection of the dead in general, but only a restoration of the Lord’s people in the ideal sense. The Jews who returned from the four winds of the earth, in so far as they were believers, again formed the nucleus of the Church of God, which later included the believers from all over the world. V. 11. Then He said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel, those who were properly included in the Lord’s people, the spiritual Israel. Behold, they say, on account of the tribulations of the exile, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are put off for our parts, they were undone. The condition of Israel was such that the believers in its midst felt that there was as little hope of restoration as there was a chance for marrowless bones to regain their vigor and to be surrounded once more with flesh and blood. V. 12. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, the countries in which they were, in a manner of speaking, buried, and cause you to come up out of your graves and bring you into the land of Israel, to the place where His people could once more enjoy the fullness of His spiritual blessings. V. 13. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, be established and strengthened in their conviction that Jehovah was truly the God of the covenant, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves, v. 14. and shall put My Spirit in you, the breath of life with the power of the Holy Ghost, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land, once more establishing them as His people; then shall ye know that I, the Lord, have spoken it, promised to do it, and performed it, saith the Lord. While this passage is not a direct proof-text teaching the resurrection of the dead, it furnishes a very vivid picture of the method in which God will call all men back to life on the Last Day.

(Ezekiel’s Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones via wikimedia)

(Kretzmann’s Popular Commentary is in the public domain.)


About Pastor Mike

Pastor Mike is making the most of web technologies to encourage disciples. A self-proclaimed “twitterholic,” one twitter follower describes him as the “jogging, blogging, tweeting Pastor.” Visits to Pastor Mike’s blog (A Heart For God) number in the hundreds of thousands. His video blogs have been viewed over a half a million times.