Ezekiel 37 Valley of Dry Bones

How to turn a Canadian Maritimer into a Jewish Prophet ...

Ezekiel 37

1 The hand of the LORD was upon 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, "O 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 from the four winds, O breath, 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 whole house 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: O 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.' "

The pattern that resulted took many days of drawing and a stack of paper to complete. The corners needed to be filled and the various symbols had to find their proper spots.

The bones were a particular challenge, especially to achieve a sense of distance as they spread over the valley. The portrait and the bones are separated by a wavy graphic feature representing the “breath of God” being breathed into the dry bones as the nation of Israel is revived.

Upper left: the Hebrew letters for the name of God - Yahweh - the self-existent one.

Upper right: the Hebrew letters for “ruach” - the Spirit of God, the breath of life.

Lower left: the Star of David, found on the flag of Israel.

Lower right: a dove - symbol of the Spirit of God.

The text surrounding the carving is from Ezekiel 37 -  which is a prophecy being fulfilled in our present day in the nation of Israel. God has gathered His people out of every nation on earth and brought them back into the land of the promise. Yet to come is the day when Israel the nation will petition the return of the Messiah - Jesus.

On the back of the carving is the inscription - “Ezekiel 37: 1-11, May 14, 1948, Israel is restored as a nation.

My neighbor, a retired military man, agreed to pose for the series of photos that led to the image used in this carving of Ezekiel. Danny - that’s his name - put on my old clerical robe and placed a towel on his head for these photos. He was most cooperative as I directed him to take a variety of poses. Danny is from Newfoundland, Canada... but that did not stop me from aging him a few years, adding a few details and turning him into a Jewish prophet.

The final portrait is a combination of two photos - one of his portrait and the other of his hands. Together they produced the mood that I was looking for in this carving - the sense of a prophet contemplating this strange vision and prophecy for his nation.