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The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and 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, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord.
This is the Alternate First Lesson for Pentecost Sunday, Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. This reading will be read aloud if the mandatory reading from Acts 2 is chosen to fill the New Testament position. This will then precede a selection from Psalm 104, which sings, “You hide your face, and they are terrified; you take away their breath, and they die and return to their dust.” That will precede the Acts reading, which states: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” All will be read before the Gospel selection from John, where Jesus said, “And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment.”
In 2018 I posted a commentary about this reading from Ezekiel. As the reading has not changed, what I wrote then still applies today. Please feel invited to read that posting by clicking this link. As with all divine Scripture, there is new insight that comes each time one pondered what is written through prayer and exploration led by divine guidance. Desiring to ponder Scripture comes from the love of God; whereas, love of self makes one easily bored and causes a soul to struggle with paying any attention to the Word of God.
This is a very powerful reading, one that fits well with the Acts reading’s quotations from Joel and David, told by Peter to the crowd of pilgrims. No doubt, that is why this reading has been chosen by the elders who were married to Yahweh and led to devise a system of readings [the lectionary]. However, I want to direct that power now towards the Easter theme that I have been shown, which makes it be a season of preparation for ministry.
Knowing one’s soul has married Yahweh and His Son Jesus now lives within, the Easter "weeks" reflect a time when it is necessary to let the resurrection of Jesus within [the Christ Mind] lead one to find understanding in Scripture, as his willing disciple. Jesus lives, resurrected in new flesh, teacher and student as one.
This is this same state of being that Ezekiel reported, when he wrote: “hā·yə·ṯāh ‘ā·lay yaḏ-Yah·weh way·yō·w·ṣi·’ê·nî ḇə·rū·aḥ Yah·weh.” This is one segment of words that the NRSV has broken in two and added to the following segment. That misleads, as it is not what was written. Each segment must be understood, separate from the following segment[s], before putting them together contextually. The Hebrew written literally translates to say, “became upon me hand-of-Yahweh and brought me out in the spirit of Yahweh.” That needs closer inspection.
The first word is rooted in the Hebrew word “hayah,” which means “to fall out, come to pass, become, be.” The past tense then says Ezekiel “fell out, came to pass, became,” or “existed” [as a statement of “being”]. One must not imagine a scene where Ezekiel was just sitting comfortably in a chair, when up “came” Yahweh. Ezekiel is saying – clearly – that he became the right hand of God. Yahweh did not reach out a physical “hand,” as if a ‘come with me little fella’ invitation was made. Ezekiel knew Yahweh possessed him [from the combination of “yaḏ-Yah·weh” – “hand of Yahweh”], which was a “spiritual” possession [from “ḇə·rū·aḥ” – “in the spirit”], as Ezekiel being married to Yahweh, as His wife.
Certainly, Ezekiel had a vision or a dream, just like Joel prophesied, which Peter explained to the Jewish pilgrims. Still, Ezekiel [like Joel, and all prophets filled with Yahweh’s Spirit, as His ‘right-hand men’] wrote his book from a lucid state of being, while at the same time writing his book as the “hand of Yahweh,” so every word was divinely chosen. That means Ezekiel [and Joel, et al] was just like Peter, the other eleven, and the rest of the one hundred twenty that chose Matthias to replace Judas. They all knew Yahweh was their Master, with them his servants [“hands of Yahweh”], with them all knowing they had been Anointed ones [Christs, just as Ezekiel and all the prophets had so been anointed by the Spirit], so they all knew they were reborn versions of Jesus [Christ was not his last name]. Peter was telling all the visitors in Jerusalem, “Just like Joel wrote, so too are we prophesying.”
Yahweh led Ezekiel to write [NRSV translation]: “He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” This states the Master-servant / Husband-wife / Teacher-student relationship that was established in Ezekiel, as there was no ‘equality’ present. A big problem allowed to manifest today is anyone and everyone are allowed to question authority, even when unprepared to run one’s own life successfully. When Yahweh asked a question, Ezekiel answered as one committed to being led, not one trying to play smart.
When all the social issues of today are raised, it is Yahweh asking, “Can these bones live?” The same question is valid, because it speaks to the death of eternal souls wasting away in mortal bodies of flesh. Every minute of every hour or every day of every year of every period of history, the 'socially correct' call is to sin. "After all, we're dead already, why not die a little more?" is the ignoramus question that asks everyone to join in the debauchery of a sinful world. Yahweh always asks those who serve Him the rhetorical question, "Can these morons of death save their souls?"
Rather than give the answer of commitment to Yahweh, as his “hand” on earth [as Ezekiel did], most everyone who leads a congregation in Christian churches today feel the need to play god [little-g], and say, “I think God would say …” or “I think Jesus would say …,” when the answer is right before them: “O Lord God, you know.” [“I know nothing but what you tell me to know.”]
If one does not speak what Yahweh says to speak, then Yahweh does not care what dead, dry bones think. Thinking for themselves [as little-g gods] is what turned them into dry bones. The question is [as always], "Can these bones live?"
Yahweh then led Ezekiel to write: “Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you.”’
That says, “prophesy” [“hin·nā·ḇê,” from “naba”], which means let Yahweh speak through His “hand.” It does not say, “orate an opinion, because like assholes everybody has one.” To even begin to "prophesy," one has to "hear the word of Yahweh." That means not thinking what one presumes God would say, but opening one's mouth and letting Yahweh speak. As His words come out, one "hears the word of Yahweh" at the same time others listening "hear the word of Yahweh." If anyone stands before a congregation of Christians and does not prophesy, from having heard the word of Yahweh, then that person is either a hired hand [who cares not for the sheep] or a false shepherd [who wants the sheep sacrificed to his or her will].
What Yahweh told Ezekiel then says “say to them: hear the word of Yahweh“ [the NRSV is too embarrassed to call Yahweh by His name, so they cower and whimper “the Lord”]. Every human body has a “lord,” which is its soul. That soul will lord over a body of flesh until the body of flesh takes control of the brain and makes the soul its servant. That makes the flesh become “lord” over a soul. Satan can be called a “lord” in that case. Therefore, one must know the truth that says, “the word of Yahweh” is “prophecy.”
The “prophecy” Ezekiel preached was this: “you shall live – you shall know that I Yahweh.” While that assumes "I am," the "I" is the ego of self, which is a soul. When one lives, then one's soul has earned eternal life … no longer the mortals made of dry bones. At that point, one's soul is married to Yahweh, becoming His possession. That transforms "I" into "I Am," which means knowing Yahweh. When Moses was told "I Am Who I Am," that says, "If you are Me, then I Am you." This marriage brings the promise of eternal life, which perks up the ears of all dry bones bound to die. By listening to “prophecy” they were given “breath,” which was an eternal “soul” that returned the essence of life to that still bound to die.
We then read that Ezekiel did as Yahweh told him and the bones began to develop bodies of flesh. This is where one needs to realize that dry bones reflect every mortal creature on earth. The bones symbolize that death one is born to experience, through mortality of flesh and bones. To use “prophecy” to those born dead – mortals just waiting until death turns them back into bones and dust – means to give the dead of the world the religion that was born of Moses, given to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Then Yahweh said to Ezekiel, where he wrote: “Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath: Thus says adonay Yahweh: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.”’
That says Yahweh told Ezekiel to speak not to bodies of flesh, but to the “breath” [“ruach”] within them. That became the “lord” of Ezekiel’s soul speaking – “Yahweh” [from “adonay Yahweh”] – so the “prophecy” spoken by Ezekiel reverberated spiritually to the souls of dry bones. When Yahweh told Ezekiel to write of the “four winds,” that matches the “sounds” of the “Spirit” that came “from heaven and filled all” who were together in the upper room with Peter. This “wind” times “four” [symbolic of a foundation] becomes receipt of the “Holy Spirit” upon a soul, so it is one with Yahweh – Yahweh is that soul’s “lord” [“adonay Yahweh”].
This is why Yahweh then led Ezekiel to write: “Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord.”
That says the resurrection of Yahweh within one’s soul earns a soul the reward of eternal life, beyond the grave. It is the promise made to all who have regained possession of their souls, so their souls no longer serve Satan and lead a body of flesh to ruin. Being religious leaves one needing true “prophecy” spoken to those reincarnated “souls,” not political agendas that are as temporal as yesterday’s newspaper [speaking in the age of the Internet]. It says the only way for anyone religious [the “house of Israel” whose “hope is lost,” being “cut off completely” from both sin and salvation – “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”] to feel the joy of Salvation and the release of bondage to a world of sin is to marry Yahweh and become [like Ezekiel wrote Yahweh called him – “son of man”] Jesus reborn.
The escape from the tomb of death can only come after one has married Yahweh, so the tombstone that keeps one returning as dry bones, life after life [reincarnation], is to make Jesus the rounded stone that can be rolled away after one’s death. That exit allows the soul to return to be one with Yahweh, never again to be dry bones. That was the way Ezekiel knew the presence of Yahweh within him, as he was reborn in the name of Yahweh, earning the name that means “Yah[weh] Saves” [“Jesus”].
Likewise, all the one hundred twenty souls gathered together after the soul of Jesus had escaped the tomb of death. The soul of Jesus came and was “breathed” into them; and, they “received the Spirit.” As such, ALL stood as flesh and bones that were their souls joined with that of Jesus. ALL stood as Jesus resurrected. His wounds were in their flesh. They all knew their state of death had been released by that “lord Yahweh” within their souls.
As a reading selection that is possible to be heard read aloud on the fifth Sunday in Lent [Year A], this lesson might not be read aloud on Pentecost, if the Acts 2 reading is chosen over it. Still, the power held in this reading from Ezekiel fits perfectly into the preparation for ministry that one reborn as Jesus, another Christ of Yahweh, must enter. Ezekiel was married to Yahweh, so when Yahweh called upon His “hand,” His “hand” immediately responded. Ezekiel accepted the Will of Yahweh as his will, which he happily accepted as the wife of Yahweh [a submissive soul earning eternal life]. One cannot enter ministry unless one has become an equal to Ezekiel, an equal to Peter and the other one hundred nineteen. All are equal because their souls have merged with the soul that Saves – Jesus.
The parallel of the Pentecost reading from Acts 2 is Peter and the rest “prophesied to the breath,” which was the souls of the pilgrim Jews. They were the lost house of Israel, just as today the house of Jesus [Christianity] has become just as lost, with no hope, cut off from everything without being damned. Those souls are seeking redemption and are therefore looking for someone – anyone – who can share the truth of Scripture with them. Thus, Ezekiel was told by Yahweh to “prophesy to the word of Yahweh,” in the same way the “Spirit” of Yahweh landed upon His hands [120 of them], so they also “prophesied" [explaining Joel and David]. The seekers heard the truth and were redeemed [almost 3,000]. That is what ministry for Yahweh is all about.
It is important that one see how Jesus walked for three years in ministry, taking the “word of Yahweh” with him wherever he went. It was seekers that came to Jesus. It was always their faith that healed them. It was always their faith that made them whole. It was always their faith that transformed them into true Christians, after they encountered the truth of Jesus. All of those events should be seen as Jesus “prophesying to the word of Yahweh,” as a soul speaking to the soul of a seeker, where audible words were never spoken, like they were spoken by Peter and the others. Jesus spoke to them spiritually – soul to soul – so they were transformed spiritually [a perfect example is the Samaritan woman at the well].
Because the Day of Pentecost is the official graduation day, when the Easter season is left behind and ministry is to begin now and last forever, it is good to know that the practice of forty days with Jesus [him being one with one’s soul] is to spiritually communicate with Yahweh, Jesus, and others. Explaining Scripture can be moving, but as John wrote about the time the disciples spent learning to be Jesus reborn, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” The hope of ministry is to be there and to voice religion; but the truth of ministry is to let Jesus speak spiritually through one's acts, so the seekers can be filled. Sitting in a church office or sitting in a church pew does little towards making Jesus available for seekers.