Thursday, March 7, 2013

Four Seasons in Ezekiel’s Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones

Four Seasons in Ezekiel’s Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones

By Donna Diorio
March 7, 2013

Yesterday while writing the Priority Prayer Focus for my Weekly Summary of Prayer Requests for Israeli Ministries and the brief, Arrows from Zion, the Holy Spirit gave me a new way of looking at Ezekiel's vision of the Valley of Dry Bones.  I've picked out these four pictures to correspond with the seasonal concept I saw.

The first drawing is of Israel depicted as Ezekiel first saw them - the horrific sight of a valley piled high with the bones of dead Jews. We often think of the Holocaust but the Jewish people have suffered many purges, many deaths in their almost 2,000 years of exile from the land they were promised. 

In their spiritual exile from God, the Jews have been spiritually dead men walking, alienated from their own Messiah.  By the viewpoint of God, as the apostle Paul explains in Romans 9-11, this spiritual exile was a necessity to open salvation to the rest of the nations, but God's plan would culminate in all Israel being saved.

This could be viewed as the winter season when the foliage is stripped from the branches, the land is barren of fruit and the landscape mostly looks dead. In Ezekiel's vision, God asked the prophet if the bones could even live again.  What he was really asking is, ‘Do YOU believe that I can make these dry bones come to fully life for My purposes?’  Many have heard the LORD ask them the same question as He has called them out to stand with Israel as He is in the process of restoring them to the full life He has for them.

So God called the prophet to prophesy over that valley full of dead men's dry bones that God Himself was breathing life into them calling their bones to reassemble, and then tendons and ligaments uniting muscle to bone, then flesh to cover it all - but there was no breath, prophetically noting that just calling Jews back to Israel does not complete what God is going to do to give them the fullness of life.  There is no fullness of life without the spiritual breath.  In Him – in Yeshua - we live and move and have our being.

The second depiction is the newspaper headline declaring the Modern State of Israel being born in a day.  The long exile of the Jews from their promised land officially ended May 14, 1948.  In Ezekiel's vision this would correlate with the spring season where God stood the dry bones on their feet and began to cover their bones with muscle and flesh - a functioning State of Israel to re-gather the Jews from exile back to the place of their promise.

 Most of the Christians that God has called to stand in the place of Ezekiel prophesying to the Jewish people remain stalled in the first season and the second season. For Israel to truly become ‘Israel of God’ Christians will have to move into the summer and fall season where the seeds of the gospel are being harvested.

In different seasons there are different things to pray and prophesy, and there are different practical things to do in expressing our faith related to our prayers and prophecy. 

 In the winter and spring seasons of the raising up of the Dry Bones, Christians played essential roles in helping the Jewish people to accomplish the incredible and even the unprecedented re-birth of a state by a people in exile nearly 2,000.  Any Jewish history tells the stories of critical Christians who came to the side of the Jews to establish its statehood, its army, the declarations in the nations that paved the way for the birth of Israel.

Then at the re-capture of the Jerusalem, Israel entered into the summer season of Ezekiel's vision as depicted well in the third painting of a man beginning to rise up with flesh and blood, lifting his hand toward Heaven. 

June 7, 1967, the date Israel regained control over the capital city Jerusalem, is the official date that Ezekiel's vision entered into a new season.  Many Christians have not noted the season change and are still operate under the prophesy, the intercession and the practical functioning of aid that was called for in the spring season.

Any gardener will tell you that there are things to do year round, in all four seasons, in order to keep the land prepared - but the duties change from season to season.  This is also true spiritually.  The season changed when Jerusalem again came under the control of Israel - those dry bones that were standing reassembled with flesh and blood but no spiritual breath.

In 1967 the "kairos" time spoken of in Luke 21:24 came to pass marking a new season in the restoration of the Dry Bones God gave Ezekiel in a vision.  Elsewhere in the world, Jews began to receive the knowledge of the Son of God, discovering that Israel's Messiah was that man, Yeshua.  1967 is regarded as the year that the Messianic Jewish movement was birth - and it is no coincidence to the Luke 21:24 prophecy. 

God began breathing spiritual life into Jewish men and women who gathered together to the faith in Jesus retaining their Jewish identity.  This was controversial in the Church. Still is.  Even for those who dedicated themselves to standing by Israel, mostly they have been stuck in the spring season mode, planting when they should be harvesting.  Mostly the Israel-supporting Church has ignored that God has been breathing spiritual life into the Jews so that there are an estimated one million Messianic Jews in the world today.

In a garden, if you are stuck in thinking that spring is still the season you are in when it is actually the end of the summer you will have missed many of the things that make for a plentiful harvest in the fall.  In the last two seasons, our practical assistance, like our prophecy and intercession, is geared toward the moving of the Holy Spirit in Israel.

It is time for the Church to awaken to fact that God is not standing still in His vision for the valley of Dry Bones.  It is time for the Church to lift up their eyes and see the season has shifted from primarily speaking prophetically to the flesh and bones issues of Israel, into speaking spiritual life to enter the walking dead.

For many Christians, the spiritual reality that Israel is spiritually dead has been glossed over. In the desire to raise Christian help for Israel's fight to survive in the politics of the international community, many have over-emphasized flesh and blood issues over spiritual life issues.  Most Christians are hungry only for analysis of the politics of opposition that Israel faces - the flesh and blood issues – while the spiritual life issues are low priority and back burner. 

There are too many ministries willing to speak only to the flesh and blood issues and never to the spiritual life issues of Israel.  Not only is that not what people want to hear, but it is also not was Israel wants these high profile Israel supporters speaking of!   Should we obey God or man?

If this lack of interest continues in what God is doing to infuse Jews with the spiritual life of Yeshua, then many who believe they are fully supportive of Israel will not even have a part in the harvest season as God commanded the prophet Ezekiel.  In verse 11 God tells the prophet, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 

The answer to that hopelessness does not lie in political support, but in spiritual birth.
Recently I read that during the last elections Israelis voted primarily based on economic considerations because they knew that no Prime Minister, no matter who he was, could do anything to move the needle on peace negotiations or national security.  Israelis have lost hope for resolution with their Arab neighbors and the terror groups that masquerade as Palestinian governments.

The answer God gives the prophet Ezekiel is this (37:9): Prophesy to the Ruach (Spirit), prophesy, son of man, and say to the Ruach, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O Ruach, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

That is not just the normal air we breathe, it is the life-giving Spirit of God that comes into us as we enter into the faith of Yeshua.  God says that in the summer season, we are to be prophesying in the Holy Spirit for the Holy Spirit to enter into the walking dead, the Jews who are standing on their re-assembled dry bones, covered with muscle and flesh, but lacking the life-giving Holy Spirit of Messiah. 

Surely there are some Christians who have entered into the season change and are prophesying in keeping with the summer season and doing the accompanying practical aid necessary to bring in an abundant harvest in the fall - but the majority are still operating in the spring season, oblivious to the spiritual need or how God is answering the spiritual need among the Jewish people.  Awake, thou that sleepest!

In Matthew 16:2-3, Yeshua rebuked the crowd of Jews saying, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.' 

This is the same thing happening today, only it is the Church that is failing to discern the season of Israel's harvest.

In the final picture you see the raised hands of young Messianic Jews and Israeli Arabs worshiping the LORD together in Tel Aviv at one of the several annual conferences for young believers in Israel.  The Holy Spirit of God is breathing spiritual life into the dry and hopeless bones of Jews throughout Israel and in all the places they are in the world.

Will we recognize the shift of God's season in dealing with Israel's salvation?  Will we move from the intercessions and practical aid, and prophesying of the spring season of Israel onto the season that is now taking place in Israel?  It is time to adjust our priorities from strengthening the flesh and blood issues of Israel to prioritizing the spiritual life issues.

The season has changed, but many Christians have not even noticed.

If you want to hold up Israel for the outpouring of God's best, then you must recognize the change of season and enter into prophesying life to the walking, but spiritually dead. 

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Friday, March 1, 2013

What is God's Highest Purpose for us in Supporting Israel?

Christian Support of Israel does not mean
 there is an understanding of the holy Remnant in Israel.
If we aren't teaching this, how will they grasp the significance?
What is God's Highest Purpose for us in Supporting Israel?

Jewish and Arab leaders praying together in northern Israel
at an annual gathering for believers

After being a Christian connected to the Messianic Jews for about 22 years, I have found that the greatest issue is not that half the Church does not think Israel is significant to God at all, but rather that the half of the Church that does recognize the significance of Israel still fail to recognize the significance of the existence of a growing Body of Messiah in Israel. 

When we don't recognize that the believers being raised up in Israel by the Holy Spirit are the KEY to the salvation of all Israel - and to a parallel release of revival throughout the nations - then we ignore them as insignificant. 

This sadly has been what I have observed in the Church that is gung-ho to support Israel - just not God's purposes in the LORD's Body in Israel. 

You can get millions of Christians interested in praying for Israel's safety from their enemies - the terrorists and the international politics, but it takes a revelation from the Holy Spirit for those Christians to understand that as the Body of Messiah, the kingdom of Yeshua, increases in Israel, that it is the holy Remnant that actually increases Israel's safety. Selah.

A subscriber in Puerto Rico reminded me of this article I wrote in 2006,
"If Jesus came down for an encouragement visitation with His kinsmen in Israel, He wouldn't head straight for the Israelis that Christians seem to think of when we think about supporting Israel. Yeshua would meet with His disciples the same as He did after He was resurrected and appeared to them before ascending to the Father."  You might enjoy it too.