The Bible teaches us that there are two different types of resurrection. One type is personal resurrection for every human being. An example of this is found in Daniel 12:2 “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” The other resurrection is national — the resurrection of a nation. There is only one nation for which the Bible promises such an event: Israel.
We see this in Ezekiel 37:1-14, about the valley of dry bones. This is a prophetic picture of what is happening now. Whereas personal resurrection will happen in the “twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52), the national resurrection of Israel is happening over several generations.
In the Ezekiel passage, Israel’s resurrection takes place amidst desolation and destruction. This was the result of Israel’s dispersion among the nations, the many atrocities and pogroms against the Jewish people all culminating in the most terrible of them all, the Holocaust.
The years 1939-1945 could be particularly summed up for the Jewish people as the valley of death and destruction. But the prophet Hosea promised that the valley of trouble would become a door of hope (Hosea 2:15).
So from this valley of desolation we see a remarkable miracle take place: the bones come together, sinews attach muscles to the bones, flesh comes upon the bones, skin covers them, and finally the breath (ruach = spirit, wind, breath) brings life and animation to these reassembled people.
This is the process for the modern resurrection of Israel as pictured in Ezekiel’s prophecy:
- The bones of regathering: Leading the process in the resurrection of Israel is the coming together of the bones. These are the bones of aliyah, as the Jewish people come together from their dispersion and desolation of the centuries and unite themselves to the house and state of Israel.
- The sinews of strength: Happening concurrently with this is the strengthening of the regathered bones so that as many Israeli leaders have said regarding the Holocaust, ‘Never again!’ If there is one lesson the Jewish people have learned from the Holocaust it is that “we cannot trust the international community for our salvation and security.” The prophets agree:
- “I will make the lame a remnant, those driven away a strong nation.” Micah 4:7
- “Never again will an oppressor overrun my people.” Zechariah 9:8
- “Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed.” Micah 5:9
These are the sinews of strength, attaching muscle to the bones, resulting in a strong nation.
- The flesh of growth and development: With hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees and exiles coming in at a time, it required a massive building programme to cater for the new arrivals. Israel managed to house, feed, transport and employ huge numbers over a very short period.
- “‘I will watch over them to build and to plant,’ declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 31:28
- “I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before.” Jeremiah 33:7
- The skin of recognition: Skin is that unique covering that marks the individual out for identification and recognition. One of the last stages in Israel’s resurrection is beginning to happen now. It is the recognition of who these people are in the sight of the God of Israel. Christian recognition of Israel happening and increasing. World recognition is coming:
- “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'” Zechariah 8:23
The third and most exciting type of the recognition will be self-recognition — the entire people of Israel fully appreciating who they are in God and what their role is among the nations.
- The breath of God: All the above is evidence that this one is coming — the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the people of Israel that the world has ever seen. The entire people of Israel are going to come alive to the God of Israel when He breathes His breath and Spirit upon them. This will consummate the modern resurrection of Israel. The first step that continues to this day to direct Israel toward that great consummation is the bones of regathering: aliyah. Let us continue to support it.