A Rebirth Through The Valley of Dry Bones – Part 1

an image of Charlotte NC at twilight as a storm rolls in

A Rebirth Through The Valley of Dry Bones

(Ezekiel 37:1-14)

An exegetical writing by: Christopher M. Flees

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………… Part 1

            ORIENTATION AND CONTEXT……………………………………. Part 1

                        SIGNIFICANCE OF TEXT…………………………………… Part 1

                        HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL SETTING……………………. Part 1

                        LITERARY CONTEXT………………………………………    Part 2

PRESENTATION OF TEXT………………………………………….. Part 3

                        SCRIPTURE PASSAGE……………………………………….  Part 3

                        OUTLINE OF PASSAGE………………………………………. Part 3

TEXT CRITICAL NOTES……………………………………  Part 4

THE VISION: THE VALLEY OF DRY BONES………………………………. Part 4

THE INTERPRETATION: THE VALLEY OF DRY BONES………………. Part 5

CONCLUSION……………………………………………………………………… Part 5

            SUMMATION……………………………………………………………. Part 5

            APPLICATION…………………………………………………………… Part 6

WORKS CITED……………………………………………………………………. Part 6

 

INTRODUCTION

ORIENTATION AND CONTEXT

SIGNIFICANCE OF TEXT

There have been many years since the nation of Israel has been captured by the Babylonians. Thru the Length of this punishment, the Israelites have lost their sense of identity as God’s chosen people. That which they had once enjoyed and God’s chosen appears to have left and abandoned them. The nation once again looks and feels like their ancestors who were in bondage in Egypt. All hope of restoration for the individuals, Jerusalem, and the nation being reunited seems nothing more that a dream, a wild desire in the hearts of many to regain what was lost and appears never to be found again. Will the God of the nation of Israel once again save them and restore them, as his chosen people?

While there are many prophets around this time Ezekiel is the only prophet whose prophecy is entirely encapsulated in the events around Babylon.  This paper will address one of the most profound apocalyptic prophecies within the book of Ezekiel, The Valley of Dry Bones.  While the prophetic dream of the valley of dry bones can be interpreted in many different directions the course of this paper will be conservative staying within standard orthodoxy while evaluating the prophecy itself and its interpretation for its represented meaning. Among the topics that will be evaluated is the significance of the valley, the dry bones, the new life from that which was dead and can the lessons that are taught through this apocalyptic writing be applied to our lives today? The biggest questions that will be addressed in this presentation is can God recreate that in which he has already created and if so how can that knowledge be applied to the Christian life of someone who is suffering and has lost their belief that they can come out of this valley transformed from dry bones to living, breathing flesh.

HISTORICAL and SOCIAL SETTING

Until the early 20th century the book of Ezekiel was assumed to be written by one author, that author being Ezekiel. The writings were looked on as a whole unit and complete work. The belief was that this writing was a sort of autobiography of the times and events within Ezekiel’s ministry. In the beginning of the 20th century, several theories emerged in the authorship of Ezekiel. Among the reasons given for the belief in multiple authors was “the written word varied from the oral tradition, the book contained inconsistencies in the form of doublets and parallelisms, and the author’s exchange between the first and third persons” (Gaebelein,739-40). There was also the consideration that the original author wrote in poetry and the second wrote in prose. By the 1950’s most contemporary bible scholars had reverted back to the belief of a solitary author for the book of Ezekiel citing that “that there are fewer difficulties viewing the text as a whole than in altering the text and subjectively devising stylistic, geographical, and historical objections with no real basis” (Gaebelein, 740).

The book of Ezekiel has quite a bit of chronological information in it. Ezekiel’s writings and ministry began in “June/July 593 BC and ended March/April 573” (Gaebelein, 741).   This paper will be focusing on the Valley of Dry Bones vision which as presented approximately 585-573 BC; near the end of Ezekiel’s ministry. Ezekiel ministered to “a group of his countrymen who were settled in an area known as Tel-Abib (the mound of ears of Grain)” (Pfeiffer,161). The exact location of Tel-Abib is unknown but is believed to be southeast of Babylon.

When the nation of Israel was created God gave the people the Mosaic Covenant to follow, this was their charter. Throughout the history of Israel God’s covenant, people were disobedient to this covenant. AS the generation passed on the nation of Israel became increasingly more corrupt and eventually abandoned their Mosaic Covenant with God. Ezekiel was a herald for the love of God. He also brought the message of God’s “judgment, cleansing, and ultimate blessing, so that through which all people may come to know that he is the one true God” (Gaebelein, 743).

Ezekiel’s ministry has an apocalyptic style which was common in the Mesopotamia in the 6th and 7th centuries BC.  This Literary form has two parts “the setting of the vision and the description of the vision. Daniel and Zachariah also used this type of style in their writings as well. Ezekiel had two such visions in his writings both contained a message of restoration and blessing, one being the Valley of Dry Bones.

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Click one of the links below to to read the other parts
of this article.

A Rebirth through the valley of dry bones – part 1
A Rebirth through the valley of dry bones – part 2
A Rebirth through the valley of dry bones – part 3
A Rebirth through the valley of dry bones – part 4
A Rebirth through the valley of dry bones – part 5
A Rebirth through the valley of dry bones – part 6

 

Author: Chris Flees

I am an artist, art promoter, and art marketing professional who specializes and blogs primarily about art topics and the “behind the scenes” of my subject and images. Occasionally I blog about Christian topics.

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