Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel, and more specifically, is found in the thirty-eighth chapter of the book. The thirty-eighth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel is one of the most iconic passages and chapters in all of Scripture. Speaking purely from a prophetic standpoint, the thirty-eighth chapter—together with the thirty-ninth chapter—form a descriptive text concerning events which would take place in the latter days. When considering this particular section of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, it’s actually quite remarkable to consider the placement of such prophetic words. I wrote concerning the place between the covenant and the conflict, and how between the covenant mentioned in the thirty-sixth chapter, and the conflict mentioned in chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine, we find a very specific place that was mentioned by the prophet Ezekiel. I wrote concerning that place which exists between the covenant and the conflict is not a mountain—it is not a mountain top experience—nor is it a hill, nor is it even a plateau. When you read the thirty-seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, you will discover that in between the place of the covenant and the place of conflict there is a valley. Moreover, it is within that valley that is found in between the covenant and conflict that we notice this valley is filled with bones which were very many and very dry. One of the greatest realities I absolutely love about the thirty-seventh chapter of this book is that although a valley existed between the covenant and the conflict, and although that valley was filled with bones which were very many and very dry, the Lord sent a prophet straight into the midst of it to prophesy the word of the Lord. As surely and as certainly as there was a valley in between the covenant and the conflict, there was also a prophet that was set down right in the middle and midst of it all. Despite the fact that a valley existed in that place between the covenant and the conflict, and despite the fact that that valley was filled with bones which were very many and which were very dry, the Lord sent a prophet straight into the heart of that valley to prophesy the word of the Lord. Ezekiel had absolutely no clue why he was in the midst of that valley, or even what possible purpose he could serve before the Lord his God.
Oh, I am convinced there are men and women right now who have been set down in the midst of a valley—much like the valley which Ezekiel was set down in—and they see nothing but bones before them which are very dry and very many. What do you do when you are set down in the midst of a valley that is filled with nothing but the remains of what once was? SET DOWN IN THE MIDST OF A VALLEY FILLED WITH THE REMAINS OF WHAT ONCE WAS! Ezekiel was set down in the midst of a valley that was filled with the bones of men and women which at one point were alive within and upon the earth. When Ezekiel was set down in the midst of the valley, he noticed that he was not only standing in the midst of, but was also surrounded by bones which were very many and very dry. I can hear Ezekiel whispering within his spirit, “Lord, what am I going to do with all these bones? What am I going to do in the midst of all these bones? Why have you brought me into a place that is filled with the remains of what once was? What possible purpose can a prophet serve in a valley that is filled with bones which are very many and very dry?” It would have been very easy for Ezekiel to look at that valley and see all the bones which were before and round about him, and get completely and utterly discouraged. It would have been very easy for Ezekiel to look at that valley and wonder what he could possibly accomplish in the midst of so many bones which were very dry. There are men and women who are finding, and have found themselves in this place right now, as they have been set down in the midst of a valley that is full of bones which are very many and very dry. These men and women see nothing but the ruins and remains of what once was, and are wondering what they can possibly accomplish in the midst of that valley. These men and women feel as though they have absolutely nothing to do in the midst of that valley, and as though they shouldn’t even be there. What is so incredible about this passage is that despite the fact that the valley was full of bones which were very many and very dry, the Lord brought a prophet unto it and set that prophet in the midst of it. WHEN THE LORD SETS A PROPHET IN THE MIDST OF RUIN AND REMAINS! WHEN THE LORD SENDS A PROPHET INTO DECAY AND DRYNESS! Little did Ezekiel know that he would be set down in the midst of the valley of dry bones because he was going to be instructed by the Lord to prophesy to those dry bones. I am convinced that the reason Ezekiel answered the Lord, saying, “Lord, surely you know,” when asked if these bones can live again is because he either didn’t know if they could live again, or didn’t believe they could live again.
This brings me to another point that must be carefully considered, for there are men and women who have been set down in the midst of a valley that is full of bones which are very many and very dry, and they have absolutely no hope that life can be found in that place. Essentially Ezekiel was set down in the midst of a graveyard that had the remains of men and women who once existed upon the earth. The Lord asked Ezekiel if life could come into that place of death, that place of decay, that place of dryness, and Ezekiel responded the only way he knew how—“Lord, surely you know.” Dear brother, dear sister—the Lord has set you in the midst of a graveyard, and has set you before a great many bones which are very dry. Moreover, the Lord has asked you whether or not those bones can indeed live again. You have found yourself growing discouraged, and perhaps even somewhat irritated and frustrated with God because prophets and servants of the Lord don’t minister in graveyards. What possible good could the prophet serve in the midst of a valley that is full of bones which are very many and very dry? The Lord set Ezekiel down in the midst of that valley and after asking him whether or not those bones could live again, the Lord instructed Ezekiel to prophesy according to the word of the Lord which would be released unto him. It would be the response of that prophetic word that would not only produce a noise, but also a shaking, as the bones came together, bone to his bone, and as sinews, flesh and skin were placed upon those bones. Much like Adam before the breath of life was breathed into his nostrils, that which was before Ezekiel was nothing more than lifeless corpses that had the appearance of men and women, but there was no life in them. This brings me to another reality, for there are men and women who are walking around right now and are nothing more than lifeless corpses merely existing in the earth. They are essentially—to borrow from a popular television series—“the walking dead.” There are men and women who right now are walking around, and they have the appearance of being one thing, but there is absolutely no life within them.] It’s worth noting that at first Ezekiel found himself set down in the midst of a great many bones which were very dry, and he quickly found himself set down in the midst of lifeless corpses. There was a period of transition and transformation that needed to take place in that valley, for the graveyard didn’t immediately become the battlefield, for there was a process that needed to take place in between. It was in that place between the graveyard and the battlefield that a noise and a shaking was heard, as the Lord had to first cause the bones to come and be joined together again, and then cause flesh, sinews and skin to form upon those bones. Isn’t it absolutely incredible that Ezekiel originally found himself standing in the midst of a graveyard, then essentially found himself standing in the midst of corpses, until he was finally in the midst of a great army. FROM THE GRAVEYARD TO THE BATTLEFIELD! These words essentially describe the wonderful and powerful transition the Hebrew and Jewish people experienced within history, for they have found themselves being transitioned from the graveyard to the battlefield, as scattered bones became a united army. WHEN SCATTERED BONES BECOME A UNITED ARMY!
It is absolutely imperative that we recognize and understand this, for if we miss this reality and point, we won’t truly understand what we read in the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel found himself being set down in the midst of a very many bones which were very dry, and what a difference the word of the Lord makes. Notice that the word of the Lord transitioned the prophet from a graveyard that was filled with bones scattered throughout and upon the valley floor, to a place where those bones were no longer scattered, and there was before him lifeless corpses. I am convinced there is something we must acknowledge here, for there are men and women who have found themselves having been set down in the midst of a valley that is full of bones which were very many and very dry, and they have experienced those scattered and dry bones coming together, bone to his bone, and flesh and sinews and skin coming upon those bones, yet they feel as though there is absolutely no progress that has been made. There are men and women who fail to discern the tremendous difference the word of the Lord can make when spoken in a graveyard and valley that is and has been filled with dry bones, for it was the word of the Lord that caused those bones to come together. It was the word of the Lord that caused sinews to be formed upon those bones. It was the word of the Lord that caused flesh and skin to come upon those bones and sinews. Sure what is before them may still appear to be nothing more than a lifeless corpse, and might even appear to be nothing more than “the walking dead,” but there was transformation that took place. TRANSFORMATION BEFORE RESURRECTION! There are men and women who expect resurrection to be instantaneous, yet fail to recognize and discern that sometimes, transformation needs to take place before resurrection can occur. BE FAITHFUL IN THE MIDST OF THE BONES, AND I WILL SET YOU IN THE MIDST OF CORPSES! BE FAITHFUL IN THE MIDST OF CORPSES, AND I WILL SET YOU IN THE MIDST OF AN ARMY! There are men and women among us today who are unable to see, witness and experience living and walking in that place of corpses because they have not been faithful in the place of bones. Until and unless you are willing to be faithful in the place of dry bones which are scattered and strewn across the valley floor, you cannot and will not be entrusted to stand in the place of corpses. As weird as this may seem and sound to you—learn to be faithful in the graveyard in the midst of the bones before you can experience the reality and presence of corpses. There are ministers and leaders right now who have witnessed scattered and dry bones coming together and flesh, and sinews and skin forming upon them, yet because life has yet to enter into them, they have grown discouraged.
Did you know it’s okay to find yourself in the midst of a graveyard that is full of nothing but a very many bones which are very dry? Did you know that it is also okay to find yourself in the midst of a valley that is filled with nothing but lifeless corpses that have the appearance of men and women, yet there is no life within them? There are men and women who want to transition from the graveyard to the battlefield, yet they are unwilling to undergo, experience, and walk through the place where dry bones become corpses. There are ministers and leaders who right now need to recognize and understand that it is okay to find themselves within the corpse stage—even though there is no life present within those corpses. What was the fundamental difference that occurred within that valley on that fateful day? That valley was full of bones which were very many and very dry, yet the Lord not only set a prophet down in the midst of those dry bones, but the Lord also released the prophetic word in that place. What’s more, is that the word of the Lord was not only released within that place once, but twice, for the first time it was released, bones came together, sinews, flesh and skin came upon those bones. The second time the word of the Lord was released in that valley, the breath of life came from the four winds and breathed upon those slain, and not only did they live, but they stood up an exceeding great army. WAITING FOR THE BREATH! I believe the Spirit of the Lord is instructing and encouraging men and women right now to simply “WAIT FOR THE BREATH!” The Spirit of the Lord has set men and women in that place of dryness and decay, and has instructed and called them to prophesy. The Spirit of the Lord has watched as men and women have prophesied in the midst of the graveyard they have been placed, and has watched as bone came together, and as flesh, skin and sinews came upon those bones. JUST KEEP SPEAKING THE WORD OF THE LORD! JUST KEEP PROPHESYING! Please note and understand that I am not speaking of this “name it and claim it” mentality that has infiltrated Christendom today. Please note that I am not speaking about this so-called faith teaching that has swept through the church like a massive tidal wave. In fact, what I think I am speaking about more than anything else is faithfulness and stewardship in that place. If the Lord can’t trust you with bones, why on earth would he trust you with corpses? If the Lord can’t trust you with corpses, why on earth would he trust you with soldiers and/or an army? As you are waiting for the breath of life to come from the four winds and from the Spirit of God, do not attempt to move in your own strength, or do anything according to your own imagination. I would caution you to remain faithful, and to only move when instructed to do so, and only speak when instructed to do so. Learn to live, learn to move, learn to minister, learn to be faithful in the midst of bones, and the Lord will transition you into the place of corpses. Learn to live, learn to move, learn to minister, learn to be faithful in the place of corpses, and the Lord will set you in the midst of an army. Please don’t look at the corpses which are before you and grow discouraged or weary, for the only thing you are waiting on is the word of the Lord being spoken, and the breath of God being released. Lazarus was nothing more than a lifeless corpse in the midst of a dark tomb, yet all it took was the word(s) of Jesus to bring that lifeless corpse out of the grave and once more within and upon the land of the living.
In the thirty-sixth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel we find the Lord speaking of and entering into covenant with His people, for He promised to sprinkle clean water upon them, and they would be clean. It was in this chapter the Lord promised to cleanse them from all their filthiness, and from all their idols. The Lord promised to give them a new heart, and put a new spirit within them. The Lord would take away the strong heart out of their flesh, and would give them a heart of flesh. Moreover, the Lord would put His Spirit within them, and cause them to walk in His statutes, and keep His judgments, and do them. It would be from this place of covenant they would dwell in the land He gave to their fathers, and they would be His people, and He would be their God. Directly connected to this covenant was not only the promise of transformation that would include a new heart and a new spirit, but there was also the promise of being returned and restored to their land. This new covenant would cause the wastes to be builded, and the desolate land to be tilled. It would be this new covenant that would cause the ruined cities to become fenced, and once more inhabited. This new covenant would include with it the declaration, the promise and the work of the Lord that He would build the ruined placed, and plant that that was desolate. It is in the thirty-seventh chapter of the same prophetic book that we encounter the valley of dry bones, yet it wasn’t merely a valley of dry bones, as much as it was a valley of transformation, and a valley of resurrection. It would be in that valley—immediately following the promise of covenant—the Lord would turn a graveyard into a revival, and would cause those which were slain to live again. What’s more, is that not only do we find that which slain being resurrected and coming to life again, but we also find that which was divided being united. The thirty-seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel is not merely about that which was slain living again, but also about that which was divided coming together and being united once more. In that place between the covenant and the conflict we find that which was slain coming to life, and we find that which was divided united. How absolutely incredible is the reality we find within this passage of Scripture, for it sets the stage and scene for what we read in the thirty-eighth chapter. It is within the thirty-eighth chapter that we encounter the conflict the nation and people of Israel would experience, encounter and face—this after being resurrected and united.
WHEN CONFLICT STRIKES AFTER RESURRECTION! WHEN CONFLICT STRIKES AFTER UNIFICATION! Perhaps one of the most incredible truths about the thirty-eighth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel is that this conflict is presented on the heels of the slain coming to life once more, and that which was divided being united. What we must also understand concerning this passage of Scripture is that there was an additional reality that surrounds the conflict the children of Israel would face as described by the Lord. Notice how the Lord describes that people and that land which Gog of Magog would come against with all his army—“after many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them” (Ezekiel 38:8). When you come to the eleventh verse of this same chapter, you will find an additional description of this reality—“And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gathers, to take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land” (Ezekiel 38:11-12). Please don’t miss what is stated within these few verses, for these verses describe the state and condition of Israel when the conflict of Gog and Magog occurs within and upon the land. The Lord speaks of Israel as being a land that was brought back from the sword, and a land which was gathered out of many people. The Lord speaks of Israel as being a land of unwalled villages, and of the children of Israel as being those which are at rest and which dwell in safety. What’s more, is the Lord spoke of the children of Israel living in the midst of a land without walls, and having neither bars nor gates. The enemy and adversary would rise up and come against that people which were gathered out of the nations, which have gotten for themselves cattle and goods, and which dwell in the midst of the land. It’s necessary that we recognize and pay careful attention to this, for when the conflict would arise within the land, it would not only come on the heels of that which was slain coming to life again, but also that which was divided being united. The conflict would come during a time when the house of Israel would live in and experience rest, safety, and perhaps even peace. The enemy and adversary would strike at a time when the house of Israel would perhaps be the most vulnerable and exposed, as they were in a place without walls, without bars, and without gates. Pause for a moment and consider what type of place that actually is, and how the enemy and adversary sought to exploit that reality in the midst of the land of the people of God.
What we read in this passage of Scripture is a prophetic word concerning the nation and house of Israel that has yet to be fulfilled. There have been specific times in history when the land of Israel has been invaded, and when the enemy and adversary has wrought devastation and destruction in the midst of the land. The Assyrians entered into and invaded the northern kingdom of Israel, and not only wrought devastation and destruction within the land, but also carried away captive the people of God. The Babylonians would enter into and invade the southern kingdom of Judah, and would not only destroy the Temple of the Lord, not only break down the walls and gates, but also carry away men and women captive into the land of the Chaldeans. In the year 70 A.D.—more than thirty years after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ—the Romans would enter into the land, would wreak havoc and destruction, and would burn the Temple and house of the Lord to the ground. For several centuries after this the Jewish people would be scattered within and throughout the nations of the earth. The Jewish people would not only remain scattered within, throughout and among the nations and countries of the earth until 1948, but they would also endure the Holocaust, which Adolf Hitler would impose upon all the Jews in Germany. It was during the Holocaust when merely six-million Jews would be killed and put to death in Hitler’s concentration camps, and via the gas chambers. There were different enemies and adversaries which rose up against the Jewish people throughout their history—with the most recent one having been Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust. What’s worth noting is that in the year 1948, the nation and state of Israel would be reborn within and upon the earth, and nineteen years later, it would reunite the city of Jerusalem under Israeli control and make it their capital city. Since Israel became a nation almost seventy years ago, they have witnessed a tremendous surge in technology, in military advancements, in science and medicine, and the like. What’s more, is that they have one of the single greatest leaders within and upon the earth in this generation. With that being said, however, their return to the land has not come without conflict, for they have been vehemently opposed by their enemies and adversaries round about. Since their rebirth as a nation, Israel has been opposed by Egypt, by Syria, by Lebanon, and by various other nations. What’s more, is that Israel has had to face threats and attacks from Hamas. Hezbollah, and various radical Islamic terrorist nations and groups round about them. What’s more, is that the nation of Iran has long sought to wipe the “filthy Jews” from the face of the earth—to destroy the little Satan, which is Israel, and the great Satan, which is America.
We come to this passage in Scripture and we find God of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal coming against the nation and people of Israel during a time of rest, peace, safety and security. The war of Gog and Magog is a war which countless men and women believe is directly connected to the end times, and this is specifically connected to the fact that the Lord seems to Himself connect this to the last days. Notice that when speaking of these events, the Lord speaks of “after many days,” and “in the latter years,” thus signifying and suggesting that this particular invasion of the land of Israel is something that will take place during the end times. There has been much speculation concerning what the next major event is on the prophetic calendar and timetable. Just yesterday the nation of America experienced what was known as the “American Solar Eclipse,” for it was the first time a total solar eclipse passed over the entire nation touching fourteen states and multiple time zones. As recent as 2014-2015 we witnessed a tetrad of blood moons which all happened to take place on Jewish feast days. Furthermore, there has been a lot of talk concerning “the Revelation 12 sign,” which the apostle John wrote and spoke of. There has been much to do about the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon at her feet, and a crown of twelve stars upon her head. There are and there have been a number of prophetic signs that have been converging within the past four to five years, which include the moon turning into blood, the sun being darkened, and even the moon ceasing to give light. There are many who believe that the next great event that will take place on the prophetic calendar is the war of Gog and Magog, and there has been much speculation as to whether or not this event will take place prior to the return of Christ, or during the tribulation, or even at the very end. If I am being completely and totally honest right now, I believe that what we will witness upon the earth next will most certainly touch the nation and state of Israel, but will also touch the nation of America. In fact, there has been much discussion concerning America being the final western superpower to remain in existence upon the earth, and how America is Israel’s greatest ally within the earth. In all reality, it would make complete and total sense for America to be neutralized, and perhaps even rendered incapable of doing anything militarily to come to the aid of the nation of Israel. As surely as I am sitting here right now, I would dare say that what we might witness next is a dramatic event, or perhaps even a dramatic series of events that will absolutely devastate this nation, and effectively neutralize it. With all this talk of Russia and their meddling in our election and our politics, and with the conflict that seems to be ensuing between North Korea and the United States, I have to say that I believe something big is in the horizon.
When I read this passage in the thirty-eighth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, I can’t help but find America completely neutralized and being absolutely unable to do anything to come to Israel’s aid and rescue. There is a tremendous part of me that believes the next great event that deals with the nation and people of Israel is this particular war of Gog and Magog, and one of—if not the only thing(s) that stand in the way of this war is the United States of America. I do not believe it’s any coincidence that this solar eclipse took place the year before the nation of Israel prepares to celebrate seventy years since its rebirth. I do not believe it’s any coincidence that this year marks fifty years since the city of Jerusalem was reunited under Israeli control and placed as the capital of the nation of Israel. I am convinced that what we need to watch for is conflicts brewing within the earth between America and foreign nations, for as we will discover in the thirty-ninth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, the nation of Israel experienced and encountered the war and conflict of Gog and Magog completely and totally alone without any nation or any people to come to their rescue. This can only be accomplished if America experiences some catastrophic and cataclysmic event that will neutralize and even prevent it from intervening. Perhaps this is what is so significant in the latest strategy for Afghanistan, for if we have our hooks in other wars, and have spent countless billions of dollars to engage in these wars, we will have nothing left to use when Israel faces her own conflict. If we are too busy focusing on the conflict in Syria, and a conflict with Russia, and a conflict with North Korea, and wars we have already been engaged in with Afghanistan, how would we possibly be able to provide any help and/or assistance for the nation of Israel. What I believe lies ahead is the complete neutralization and/or removal of America from the world picture, and Israel being isolated and left alone to face the greatest threat she has ever faced. These two chapters are absolutely astounding, for these two chapters not only come on the heels of the slain coming to life, and that which was divided being united, but also prior to the rebuilding of the Temple. Let us this day seek the Spirit of Almighty God for discernment to know and understand the signs of the times, and to understand what is taking place in the earth during these last Days.