Ezekiel’s Dry Bones Prophecy about Israel Coming Back to Life

“There was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them.

But there was no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.” (Ez 37:7-10)

The restoration of the people of Israel to their biblical homeland is one of the events most frequently prophesied about in the Bible. The reestablishment of Israel in 1948 was a fulfilment of prophecy, and not just one or two prophecies either. In his earnest studies of biblical prophecy back in the 1600s, Sir Isaac Newton wrote that it was foretold in “all ye prophets” [2]. Back in the seventeenth century, Newton even made calculated estimates of the dates of their return, based on numbers given in the book of Daniel, saying that the call to return and rebuild Jerusalem would go out in 1895 or 1896 (in fact it was 1897 at the Basel Congress) and that it would could come to pass in 1944 [3]. He was very close!

But as in Ezekiel’s vision, the physical resurrection precedes the spiritual.
Israel may be reestablished, the dry bones of the post-Holocaust people may have been restored, but the second stage of spiritual revival is not yet done.

“Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel… And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.” (Ez 37:11-14)

The story of Israel’s restoration is both physical and spiritual. Body and breath.

The foretold re-establishment of the Jewish state has risen out of the ashes of the Holocaust, and the promised spiritual revival is starting to take place. Just as the physical restoration of Israel has happened in stages (Balfour Declaration 1917, San Remo 1920, League of Nations 1922, UN Resolution 1947 and declaration of independence 1948 [4]), so we see spiritual life breathed back into the people due to several significant and observable developments.

Just as the inevitable moment came when the largest Jewish population in the world finally moved from the US to Israel, so the center of gravity for the Messianic world is shifting. The exponential growth of Messianic believers in Israel is no longer only by immigration, but now more than ever, homegrown Israelis are accepting Yeshua as the Messiah in unprecedented numbers. God is reviving the people of Israel.

Growth since 1948

  • In 1948, there were approximately ten million Jewish people around the world who had survived the Holocaust, and about 600,000 were living in Israel. Of those, only 23 of them believed in Yeshua as their Messiah. There were some churches led by denominations and missionaries in Israel, but there were no Messianic congregations at all.
  • In 1989 Israel’s Jewish population had grown to 3.5 million, and by this point, the estimated number of believers had reached 1,200. There were now 30 congregations.
  • By 1999 there were 4.8 million Jews living in Israel, 81 Messianic congregations, and an estimated 5,000 believers.
  • In 2017, 300 congregations were counted in a survey conducted by Israel College of the Bible, undertaken to get a clearer picture of the body of Messiah in Israel [5]. It has become increasingly difficult to accurately identify the number of Jewish believers in Israel, but a conservative estimate is now 30,000.

The growth has not been linear, but exponential.

Today, almost everyone we talk to has heard of this growing movement of Messianic Jews in Israel. Testimonies of Jewish believers and answers to common objections to faith can all be easily found as soon as someone starts searching for the Messiah. This has proved wildly successful. Of the 8.8 million Israelis, seven million are Jewish, yet our evangelistic videos in the Hebrew language have been viewed more than fourteen million times!

“Come from the four winds, O breath!”

Just as Ezekiel was told by God to command breath to come from the ‘four winds’ to breathe life back into the resurrected physical bodies of Israel, so the gospel has come from all corners of the earth, back to the place of its origin. The nations have had a part to play in restoring Israel both physically and spiritually, and as God promises, the nations will also be greatly blessed by Israel’s eventual restoration which is to come. As Paul writes in Romans 11:11,

“Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!”

Scholars back in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries could say with confidence that God’s promise to restore Israel would certainly come to pass, and similarly, we can know today that according to the Bible, God has not finished with Israel. Not one word of God’s will fall to the ground. We are in the very privileged position to witness so much of prophecy coming to pass in our days, including such exciting developments happening in the expanding Messianic Jewish body in Israel, but there is more to come. Much more.

“I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
“and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

…For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”


[1] At the end of 2017, the population of Israel reached 8.793 million according to Israel’s Central Bureau of statistics reports.
[2] S. Snobelen, The Mystery of This Restitution of All Things”: Isaac Newton on the Return of the Jews, p.99
[3] Newton, Observations, 113-4 as cited in Soblelen’s article (ibid), p.108
[4] There were several key stages to the legal reformation of the state of Israel:

a) The Balfour Declaration, 1917: the UK with support of four other nations declared a homeland for the Jews in Palestine after defeating the Turks
b) The San Remo Article 22, April 1920: Ratified the Balfour Declaration as internationally binding law
c) The League of Nations 1922: A legal document titled “Mandate for Palestine” was unanimously approved by all 51 states of the League, laying down the Jewish legal rights in Palestine: “Recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”
d) UN Resolution 181: UN member states voted to partition Palestine in 1947, although with a smaller share for the Jews. The original Mandate for Palestine had given the area east of the Jordan river to the Arabs and west to the Jews, but the UN resolution allotted 77% of that area as a Jewish homeland.
e) The 1948 invasion by the surrounding Arab nations and their surprising defeat led to Israel declaring independence in May of that year.

[5] “The Messianic Jewish Movement in Modern Israel” 2017

Photo by Thomas Serer on Unsplash

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