When will Ezekiel 37:1-14, the Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones, occur?
Zachary Garris, an Ezekiel, Anthropologist explains the prophecy of Prophet Ezekiel. God made dead bones rise to life! There was a very strong rattling sound (3:12-13) that Ezekiel heard and saw. Bones came together, flesh and skin came on them (37:7-8). “But there was no breath in them” (37:8). Then, God declares, “Come from the four winds, O “breath,” and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” (37:9)
The meaning of Ezekiel 37
Ezekiel hints of two meanings in the word “breath.” Hebrew word ר֖וּחַ (ruakh) can mean God’s “breath” and “Spirit” unto the dead dry bones.
1. Resurrection as a Metaphor for Israel’s Return
The vision of the valley of dry bones was explained to be a metaphor for Israel’s return from captivity (37:11-14). God identified the bones as “the whole house of Israel.” And He knew Israel had lost hope—“Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off’” (37:11). But God promised to raise Israel from their graves (37:12-14).
First, the rest of Ezekiel 37 has the new covenant in mind, which explicitly teaches a future bodily resurrection.
Second, Ezekiel 37’s allusion to future bodily resurrection is consistent with how other Old Testament passages foretell a future bodily resurrection.
2. Future bodily resurrection
If Ezekiel 37:1-14 were taken in isolation, then it would be uncertain whether this passage foretells a future bodily resurrection. However, when understood in its Old Testament context, there is a strong case to be made that Ezekiel 37 foreshadows a future bodily resurrection. Here are two reasons.
- The rest of Ezekiel 37 has the new covenant in mind, which explicitly teaches a future bodily resurrection.
- Ezekiel 37’s allusion to future bodily resurrection is consistent with how other Old Testament passages foretell a future bodily resurrection.
Elijah raised a widow’s son (1 Kings 17:17-24), Elisha raised the Shunammite’s son (2 Kings 4:18-37), and a man who touched Elisha’s bones was revived (2 Kings 13:20-21). This practice was continued in the New Testament with Jesus’ raising of Lazarus (John 11:38-44).
Clearly, Ezekiel 37’s allusion to bodily resurrection is consistent with other passages in the Old Testament. It foreshadows a future bodily resurrection that will happen during the Apocalypse, God’s Divine Judgment.