Ezekiel began his prophetic ministry when 30. And it lasted for about 25 years.
He was 25 years when the first deportation to Babylon happened. So he is 5 years into captivity when he began his prophetic ministry.
First half are prophecies of judgment upon Israel. Second half are prophecies of restoration.
He is a contemporary of Jeremiah.
Ezekiel 37 is his third vision in the book.
Remember that Israel is scattered and in captivity at this time.
The context of Ezekiel 37 is the Lord promising to restore this scatted nation and to empower it with His Spirit once again.
Also, Ezekiels prophecies the themes for multiple N.T. authors- sheep, living water, indwelling Spirit, resurrection, Gog and Magog, Book of Revelation...
The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. 11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’” Dynamics of Prophetic Restoration Ministry
1. The whole vision is set in the context of a despairing statement that was spoken of by the scattered, exiled, out of position covenant people. 11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’
God meets us in the midst of our despair and makes it the platform and context for prophetically restoring our destiny!
2. Ezekiel is engaged with a "beyond possible" question to get his vision and faith moving. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
God has designed that kingdom restoration on earth will be accomplished by faith-filled partners with heavily vision.
He often stretches his ministers beyond the capacity of their souls so they will trust him.
3. The answer of Ezekiel is a faith answer that puts the emphasis for success back on the Lord.
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
The answer no is unbelief, yes is presumption, but “you alone know” Sovereign Lord is faith in the powerful word of the Lord.
4. The Lord reveals that prophesying His words will accomplish His will on earth. 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them….
The bringing forth of God’s heavenly will on earth is accomplished by the “words speaking” ministry of his prophetic people. (Prayer, preaching, singing, etc)
5. Order & Life are the full work of the prophetic ministry and must manifest together for the full will of God to be accomplished.
We need the rattling activity of order to combine with breath activity of Spirit manifestation to get the kingdom army that changes the earth.