Updated: Jan 31
In this Lenten period, we are now at the 5th Sunday. We have reached the 33rd day of our 40-day soul searching, to find Christ within us. We seek to find the Holy Spirit of God making each of us more than just flesh and bones covered with skin.
The number 33 is a Master Number, according to Numerology. As such, it can be seen as a Trinity (3) times eleven (33). Thus, the 33rd day, or the 33rd year, is a most Spiritual time. It symbolically reflects a time for understanding and knowledge, of the highest order.
Taking that into account, it means the readings today are very important to understand. They are important because every week we have readings that are important to understand, and today’s readings symbolize just how little we do understand from week to week.
We come to church because we want to understand. We come because we have faith that understanding is possible. But, we come because we are responsible, loving, self-sacrificing, protective, sympathetic, compassionate and loyal, all the traits of the number six. Six is 33, when figured as 3+3, not as 3×11. We want to be elevated to that Master Number level of understanding.
I came to understand this through my work with the quatrains of Nostradamus, which I began to truly understand in late 2001. As my work with The Prophecies of Nostradamus evolved, and when I began to see the writings of the Holy Bible bearing greater meaning than I had ever seen before … often having greater meaning than most others I found had ever seen before … I was amazed by the reading today in Ezekiel.
The quatrains of Nostradamus are EXACTLY like the dried bones found in the middle of the valley that God set Ezekiel down in. Anyone who reads one of Nostradamus’ quatrains will not be able to understand it, because normal language is not present. As such, they are dead. The words of each quatrain are nothing but the parts of a dried bone. Collectively, each quatrain is one bone of 948 total bones, with all of them dried and lifeless. Thus, they are not seen as prophecy.
When I was led to see the meaning of The Prophecies of Nostradamus, it was as though God told me, “Make them prophesy.” I was enlightened with the voice telling me, “They are not random predictions of meaningless purpose and direction.” When I listened, the quatrains began to come together and form an epic story, told in poetic verse. Still, no one else could see the story, much less the meaning of the story.
Then God told me, “Breathe the meaning of prophecy into those joined bones,” not only by adding flesh to the words, but by adding the clarity that only the Spirit can bring to them. I am likewise inspired to make Scripture come to life.
The vision Ezekiel wrote about says the bones are the whole of the house of Israel. They said, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.” The people had died and would need to be raised from their graves, with the spirit of God put in them, so they could live again.
The Holy Bible is a collection of books just as meaningful and just as purposeful as is that Book of Nostradamus. They all come from prophets who spoke for the Lord, as the Lord willed them to speak. They all heard, they all believed, and they did as instructed, because they had true faith. They all lived in the Spirit.
But, how many of us here today see Ezekiel’s reference to the “whole of the house of Israel” as including us? Do we only see some old dried bones from long, long ago as being the meaning of this reading? Do we see the recreation of the State of Israel as life given back to the dried bones of the House of Israel? Do we have nothing to do with that house, the one Ezekiel prophesied they would know God had spoken and had acted?
Can we see how the life God gave to the Jews of Judea, through Jesus Christ, has spread around the world. Paul evangelized to Jews throughout what is now Turkey and Greece, as a Jew who was a citizen of Rome. Paul brought some of the first Gentiles into the religion we now know as Christianity; but Paul was writing to the Jews of Rome when he said, “To set the mind on the flesh is death.” That instruction applies to all human beings, including us.
By setting one’s mind on the flesh means one reads the history of long dead people, when their flesh once thrived, but then only sees those characters as having long ago passed away. Their flesh found death. They are dried bones.
A mind on the flesh needs hand-held devices to make it happy.
By setting one’s mind on the flesh means that life can only exist today, as we are alive in the flesh. We feel the aches and pains of skin on flesh and flesh on bones, in all that creaks and moans in the joints of sinew with bone. We feel young and alive in the flesh, until the flesh becomes older. That is when the feeling of mortality sets in. Thus, God said, “Mortal, can these bones live?”
“To set one’s mind on the flesh” is to overlook, ignore, or deny the eternity of a soul, and disregard the breath of God that keeps our bones from drying out, from having sinew and flesh and skin. It is to deny the power of God.
Ezekiel was a dedicated servant of the Lord. We know that because when he was asked by God, “Can it be?” He answered, “You know, because you are the Lord God.” If you even suggest it by asking, then I know it will be.
Ezekiel was a dedicated servant because when God said, “Write my prophecy for them to read” and “Breathe in my Spirit, take it within you so you can prophesy to the breath, so that others will know that the Holy Spirit returns life,” Ezekiel did as instructed.
Paul had also become a dedicated servant of the Lord, by the time he was writing his letters to those whom he had ministered. Paul had “prophesied to the breath” to Jews and Gentiles, who became Receivers of the truth that the man Jesus was their Messiah. Christ was how they knew God is the Lord, because the Apostles of Christ were likewise filled with the amazing talents, like those the Lord had given Jesus. Jesus had promised his believers that they would produce greater miracles than he. Jesus brought his disciples up from their graves, where the flesh was death. God had made true on His promise, through Ezekiel, and put His spirit among them, as Jesus Christ, so they may live AND so WE may also find life.
As David sang in Psalm 130, “Out of the depth have I called to you, O LORD. “My soul waits for the LORD.”
As believers, we are placed into that state of “Wait.”
Paul wrote, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” He said, “The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God.”
So, God tests our merit. Are we saying we believe, but hostile to God by being too anxious, too impatient, and too unwilling to break our addictions to sin? Can we prove we can wait out forty days, going without sin to prove our faith?
We must wait like Ezekiel, knowing we will receive the call. Forty days is nothing. Forty days is the beginning. Forty days is like dried bones in a valley, waiting for eternal life to be restored. We wait to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, so we can help others … not ourselves. Until that time, we wait. We are tested.
Lent is a period of testing of our faith, not a time to make another failed New Year’s resolution. It is not a test of will power, because will power answers a question like, “Can these bones live,” with, “No way, man.” Not, “Oh Lord God, you know.”
Now, we all love to tell others how much faith we have. It comforts us and to hear others tell us that we are people of good faith. We need reassuring like that. Together, we are like AA members, each sponsoring the other, with everyone admitting, “I am always a sinner. It has been X-number of days since my last sin.”
I once had a teacher of a Bible studies class ask those of us in attendance, “Can anyone here tell me what the voice of God sounds like? “ He asked because he said, “I have never heard it.”
That was a man “of faith,” one who devoted his time and money to the church and one who was “religious” in his study of all the dried bones who had written about the “voice of the Lord.” His “will power” was great, but his true faith was weak. He epitomized the saying, “The flesh is willing, but the spirit is weak.” We should want that to be the other way around.
But, that man is not alone.
In the Gospel reading from John we read of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
For close to three years, Jesus had traveled around Judea, Galilee, and Caesarea Philippi, with disciples and family, working miracles for all to witness.
His followers had faith in God. They believed Jesus when he said, “I am the Messiah, the Son of God.”
But, after Jesus had left Jerusalem, because the Pharisees were looking to stone him to death, his relative, Lazarus, fell sick and died.
Martha and her sister Mary sent a messenger to Jesus, telling him to return home quickly, so he could save Lazarus’ life.
When Jesus heard the message, he decided to stay two more days on the other side of the Jordan.
He told John and the disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.”
When Jesus came back to Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days. He had been wrapped in funeral cloths and placed in a cave, with a boulder rolled in front its entrance.
Martha, and then Mary, came to Jesus as he arrived, crying, “Oh woe is me, Jesus. If you had only been here in time, you could have saved Lazarus from death.”
He cried because after nearly three years of official ministry, his family, his disciples, those he healed and those who witnessed his healing, and those who heard him “prophesy to the dried bones,” they all said they were believers. They all said the right words … “We have faith” … but their faith was in the flesh, not God.
Jesus did not cry because everyone was sad for Lazarus having died. He cried because the whole world was dependent on Jesus to raise the whole of the House of Israel from the dead. All the followers of Jesus at that time had bones with sinew and skin, and all talked like they could memorize some things, but they were waiting for death, not the Lord’s Spirit and life.
Today, we are figuratively standing at the tomb of Lazarus, on the Fifth Sunday in Lent. There is no Jesus here in the flesh, only us. We have been told, “the flesh is death,” and the records of history are filled with the memories of dried bones. Many today question what the voice of the Lord sounds like, as though God only talked to those who have long ago died. We are Lazarus, in the tomb now for 33 days, with the rock rolled over the entrance to our cave. We stink of the flesh, waiting for death to end our misery.
However, IF WE HAVE FAITH AND BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF GOD TO GIVE LIFE …
Hear Jesus call upon you to, “COME OUT!”
Call upon the Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, to bring His Holy Spirit within you, so you are no longer death in the flesh. Ask God to bring you eternal life, renewed as flesh never again to follow the lure of sin. Ask God to reward your patience and determination with an instruction to take to others. Rise in the name of Christ, unwilling to disgrace that name.
Unbind yourself from all the wrappings of an earthly existence, and let yourself go, saying, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I know that you always hear me; and I have asked for life so I may serve you.”
We look forward to the Resurrection of Christ within us, in two weeks, on Easter Sunday. Wait for the LORD.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.