Ezekiel 36–37. Israel Will Be Restored.
Dry Bones and Two Sticks.

Key Notes: Vision of a bone-yard coming to life. Resurrection or revitalization? North and South kingdoms will bond like two sticks. The end of ant-isemitism.

36:1 God addresses the mountains of Israel for blessing. He had previously addressed the mountains for severe judgment because they were used for idol worship. (Ezek.6:2–3). Moral pollution ruins the environment as well as the people.
36:9 Now He is for them, for Israel. Previously He had said "I am against you" twelve times. Now He turns back in blessing, blessings on people and animals.
36:15 There will be no more reproach.  Anti-semitism will cease.
36:22 Israel had profaned the name of God and was cast out of Canaan.
36:23.Israel then profaned the name of God among the nations. Rom.2:24
So God will act, not for their sake, but for His name's sake. He will vindicate His holiness before the eyes of the nations.
36:26 Israel will be washed clean of the idols. God will give them a a new heart, tender and responsive instead of obstinate.
36:27 They will be given a new spirit, so that they will walk in His law.
36:30 The land will bear fruit and they will not suffer the disgrace of famine any more.
36:35 "And they will say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden.'"

"The doctrine expressed in the phrase 'I had concern for my holy name', represents the utmost humiliation for the sinner. There is no consideration for him, no respect for his feelings, no love for him as a human being. He stands condemned because of his sins, and he forfeits all claim on God. He is simply a pawn on the chess-board of the world, in which God's prime concern is that all men and nations may know that He is the Lord. To put it like this in all its starkness may seem harsh and a contradiction of Christianity, but it is an aspect of the truth of God as revealed in the Old Testament. It is the aspect which is basic to Paul's statement in Rom 5:8, 'While we were yet sinners...' We had no claim on God, we were His enemies, we were helpless to anything to save ourselves; but God acted in salvation. In so doing He showed His love to us and to all the world. But the humiliation of Ezekiel's doctrine is needed first, in order that we may appreciate the amazing grace of Romans 5."  {Ezekiel. D.J. Wiseman; IVP,’63; p.230–1)

Note this interesting word:
36:37 "This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their men like a flock". How will this happen? It is the subject of the next chapter.

God not only commands prayer, but also specifies things we may ask for.

Chapter 37 is the famous vision of the coming to life of dry bones that fill a valley. Although a humorous song has been sung about the "neck bone connected to the shoulder bone...." the chapter has a most serious and hopeful message. What Ezekiel saw was not the reality but a dream-like transformation of a vast bone-yard into a great host of living human beings standing on their feet. Bones came together--then sinews, and flesh—muscle and skin on the sinews and then breath from the four winds was given to revive the slain.

We ask the perennial question-- is this new life of Israel a national restoration or physical resurrection? The answer appears to be in 37:11 "They say 'our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.'" It is living people who speak. And when 37:12 says "I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O My people, and I will bring you home into the land of Israel," He speaks of the restoration of Israel as a homeland after they  believed there was no longer hope of a viable nation.

But when he speaks of  “the slain” resurrection is also implied. He uses the word "graves" four times. So we believe that both physical restoration of the nation, and ultimate resurrection are in view. Since the resurrection is not frequently referred to in the OT, we must be cautious in our interpretation.[ See notes on Dan.12:2, Job’:25–27.]

37:15Ezekiel goes on to say that not only is the nation viable, but God will restore both Northern Kingdom (Ephraim) and Southern (Judah) into a united people (one stick glued up from two pieces). Zechariah 10:6–7 also speaks of the unification of Judah and Ephraim / Joseph. (See also "Judah and Ephraim" in Zech.9:13). Since Ephraim has not been traced since the Assyrian captivity, this is an interesting point. Some Gentiles ("British Israelites") have claimed to be the ten lost tribes. In God's view the ten lost northern tribes are not lost.

37:24 David will be king, their Prince forever. God will make a covenant of peace. God will bless them and multiply them. His sanctuary will be set in the midst of them. (See Ezek.40-) And the nations will know that God set Israel apart.

Comment: The promise of the Holy Spirit and the implementation of the New Covenant came first to Israel at Pentecost, but now extends everywhere in the world, where Gentiles of all nations, a great host, are responding to the Gospel. “Jesus is Lord” is the universal word, as well as son of David and Son of God. But if we should deny that Ezekiel is speaking first to his own people, we would ignore the plain meaning of the text.

For evidence that literal Israel is still important in the plan of God, Rom.11:11- compares God's treatment of us Gentiles with His treatment of the Jews and concludes "and so all Israel will be saved" (Rom.11:26). We may even have a part in fulfilling the prophecy.

Will God also revive the dry bones of the churches of our own Country?