Skull and Bones
Prophet for 20 plus years in the 6th century BC, Ezekiel came after Isaiah (8th-740 BC) and Jeremiah (7th-625 BC). His name means “God strengthens.” He prophesied to the people of Judah living in Babylon. They were confused and disheartened. Since they worshipped in the Temple, they didn’t know if they could reach God anymore. Ezekiel preached that they were in exile because of disobedience, and could return to Judah once they repented and returned to God. Because of the way he wrote and historical records, they are some very accurate estimates of when he made the prophesies recorded. Ezekiel refers to the Torah quite often (e.g., Ezek. 27; 28:13; 31:8; 36:11, 34; 47:13, etc.) is familiar with the writings of Hosea (Ezek. 37:22), Isaiah (Ezek. 8:12; 29:6), and especially Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 24:7, 9; 48:37).”
|dimitrij @ Flickr|
1) Is that a vision or did it happen? Why do you think so?
2) Why is the creation of the bodies and the instilling of spirit in two separate stages? What other details do you wonder about here?
3) What is the message here for the Jews? Why is this message important to them?
Read John 5: 16-30
4) What do we learn about Jesus’ relationship with his Father in this passage? What does it have to do with the ‘work on the Sabbath issue’?
5) What does Jesus reveal about resurrection here? Why the connection with hearing him?
6) What does his relationship with the Father have to do with resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-26
7) Why would people have been telling the Corinthians there was no resurrection? Is there a parallel in our time?
8) What is Paul’s argument that there is a resurrection?
9) What does this passage have to say about when and how the resurrection of the body takes place?
10) Does the resurrection of the body matter to you? How does it affect your faith or your living of it?
11) What connections do you see between these other passages and our texts for the study?
(Ps 104: 29-32) When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth. May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works- he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
(2 Kings 13: 21) Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.
|zoomar @ Flickr|
(1 Thes 4:16-17) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
(Rev 20:4-6) I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
I love Nadia Bolz-Weber's sermon on this. Please go read it in its entirety. Here's a snippet to get you motivated:
Sarcastic Lutheran – Sermon Excerpt; Texts: Ezekiel 47:1-14
Just when this Lenten desert seems too much to bear, today we walk through a graveyard. And what awaits us but a little Easter. A foretaste of the feast to come surrounded by corpses and a boneyard. Here amidst the dusty remnant of a wasted humanity we see God’s spirit breath life into a valley of dry bones and raise the dead. Ezekiel had prophesied to Israel for some time, but still the temple lay in ruin like bones bleached white in the unmerciful brightness of humiliation, conquest and exile. At the beginning of the book Ezekiel is told by God to eat the scroll and after eating it he was THEN told to go speak God’s word to them because God’s word does what it says. We too get to delve so deeply into this word that we practically are EATING it. God’s word made flesh. God’s word proclaimed. God’s word in holy text. The word of God that raises the dead. Maybe it looks like tasteless paper, simple wafers and wine, a boring preachers but , as Ezekiel tells us in chapter 2, the Word is as sweet as honey.
God did not insist that Ezekiel agree with God’s word or that he even understand God’s word. He was simply told to eat the word, then proclaim the word. DO not pass go do not collect. Just eat it and preach it. And when he did, death was made to become valley dancing life.