John 5:24-29| Two Resurrections? #9 — A Look At Ezekiel 37
We have shown that Ezekiel 37 serves as one of the key Old Covenant sources for Jesus’ resurrection doctrine in John 5:24-29. Recognizing Ezekiel 37 as one of the foundational sources of John forces us to re-examine traditional views of John 5- and Ezekiel– since Ezekiel did not predict the raising of human corpses out of the ground at some proposed end of time. In fact, a proper understanding of Ezekiel forbids any view of resurrection focused on the raising of human corpses out of the dirt.
The resurrection promise of Ezekiel 37 spoke of living human beings being “dead” and in their graves. This was not a reference to physical death or physical graves, but, spiritual death, alienation from God due to sin (Just like the sin / death of Adam).
In our last installment, we shared an astute observation by former preterist, Sam Frost, when commenting on “the age to come” i.e. the resurrection age, and how Ezekiel describes the “age to come.” It is worthwhile to repeat Frost’s quote.
He takes not that Ezekiel 37 posits the continuance of life, of child bearing and earthly existence after this resurrection: ““In the new age Ezekiel pictures the restored Israel being brought back into the Land. God will dwell with them and they will dwell with him. He will ‘increase them with men like a flock’ (36.37). Again, ‘they will dwell there, even they, and their sons (ben), and their sons of sons forever…I will place them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forever’ (37.25,26). It is clear from this passage and numerous others that in the restored ‘age to come’ multiplication of children will continue.” Sam Frost, Essays on the Resurrection, (Ardmore, Ok. JaDon Management Inc., 2010)94. This book is available from my websites).
So, as Frost correctly notes, the OT prophecy of the resurrection that underlies and helps us determine the nature of the resurrection undeniably shows that after the resurrection life on earth continues! This is incredibly important, but normally overlooked by most Bible students.
Ezekiel 37, Resurrection and the Holy Spirit
But, I want to call attention now to the role of the Holy Spirit in the resurrection prophecy of Ezekiel 37. Notice that YHVH said the promised resurrection would raise Israel out of her graves! So, Spirit and the end time resurrection go hand in hand. They are synchronous, without the work of the Spirit, there would be no resurrection– and that means that until and unless the Spirit was poured out, the resurrection of John 5:24-29 (inclusive of verses 28-29) would not take place.
To put it in the simplest form:
The resurrection promise of John 5:24-29 is the resurrection promise of Ezekiel 37.
The resurrection of Ezekiel 37 would be accomplished when YHVH poured out His Spirit to raise Israel out of the “graves.”
That outpouring of the Spirit would be when Israel (it would be) the restoration of Israel, under Messiah and the New Covenant, when the Messianic Temple was raised, and the nations of the world would glorify YHVH (Ezekiel 37:21ff).
At this juncture, it is absolutely critical to grasp the significance of the outpouring of the Spirit that we see in Acts is, for our understanding of the resurrection. To help us understand this, in our next installment, I will share with how the Old Covenant foretold, and Israel understood and knew, that the YHVH had withdrawn His Spirit from her, but, in the last days, He would once again pour out His Spirit on Israel. The prophetic office would be restored for the last days eschatological function. Israel would be raised from the dead and the kingdom would be restored. We then come to John the Baptizer who said the Spirit was about to be poured out! This is a fascinating and important study, so, stay tuned.
See my book, Seal Up Vision and Prophecy, for an in-depth examination of Daniel 9 and the prediction of the end of the prophetic office, and its relationship to the resurrection. This is a very important study! We will see how critical it is to understand the role of the Spirit in resurrection as foretold in Ezekiel 37.