The Enlivening Moment
“Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live” (Ezekiel 37:9).
by Benjamin and Gabriella Stein
The prophecy to the wind is easily overlooked in the study of the Prophecy of the Valley of Dry Bones. In the progression of events surrounding verse 9, the bones have come together, and sinews, flesh, and skin have been added. However, the bodies have no breath in them. The logical next step would be for the breath of life to enter the bodies and they come to life and stand up.
However, there is instead a notable prophetic pause in the account which seems to address a very specific detail regarding the breath — that the breath is to come from the four winds.
The breath itself symbolizes the spiritual life-force of the Nation of Israel. The bodies coming to life represent the Nation of Israel as it finally recognizes God as their strength and as the source of their power, the Almighty and His authority over the whole world.
Israel’s recognition of their sovereign God will be a direct result of the event of the four winds.
Timeframe for the Four Winds
In order to understand the symbolism of the four winds, let us look at other scriptures that use the same phrase. These scriptures will help us more clearly understand the timing of the release of the four winds.
“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. And … another angel … saying, Hurt not the earth neither the sea, or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads” (Revelation 7:1-3, ESV). From
this we understand that the loosing of the four winds occurs at the end of the age, after the sealing of the saints is complete.1
(1) There are other scriptures which use the phrase “four winds” which do not seem to refer to the end times. This includes several scriptures which use the phrase “four winds of heaven.” It is possible that the “four winds of heaven” are separate from the “four winds,” or perhaps a different view altogether is more accurate and will be revealed to us beyond the veil.
Various Interpretations of the Meaning of the Four Winds
There are multiple interpretations of the meaning of the four winds. Here we consider two different views. The first is that the four winds represent the closing part of the Time of Trouble, or the Armageddon period of the
Time of Trouble.
In prophecy, “wind” often represents war. Having four winds could imply a complete or all-inclusive world war. Although the earth does not have four literal corners, we, as well as scriptures, refer to four cardinal directions.
War coming from all four corners perhaps indicate that this war will include nations from all parts of the earth. Though we have already experienced two world wars, the all-encompassing nature of this prophecy may show a future world war culminating in Armageddon.
An alternate view is that the four winds involve the fallen angels. Very little is recorded in scripture regarding the fallen angels. However, two texts, Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4, indicate that the fallen angels are in “chains for darkness reserved unto judgment.” This suggests that the fallen angels are being held back, but will eventually be fully loosed, just like the “four winds” from Revelation 7:1 quoted above.
Both of these views conclude that the time for the release of the four winds is during the final phase of the Time of Trouble, Armageddon. This harmonizes with the time period referred to in the Valley of Dry Bones, because it fits between Israel becoming a nation, and Israel recognizing God Almighty. From this we may conclude that Israel’s recognition of God will perhaps come as a result of Armageddon.
The breath of faith coming into Israel, in this vision of the Valley of Dry Bones, is from the final troubles of the Armageddon gathering of nations against Israel. This will come as a closing part of the present harvest of the Gospel Age.
How Will The Recognition Come?
How will these final troubles establish their faith in God? Note the following scriptures.
● “They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (Psalms 83:4).
● Israel will not be completely delivered from trouble as indicated by the prophet Zechariah. “I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight
against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle” (Zechariah 14:2,3). Allowing this seeming defeat will have a humbling effect on Israel. They will realize that their previous victories were not accomplished by their own military might, but by the hand of God. This realization of their desperate need for God will mark a great turning point for Israel as the Ancient Worthies will be raised and used by God to turn the tide of battle (Micah 5:5).
● “I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. In that day, saith
the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness” (Zechariah 12:2-4).
● “In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:8-9).
● “Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle” (Zechariah 14:3).
● “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).
● “Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished” (Jeremiah 30:11).
● “And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God” (Amos 9:15).
These prophesies show God’s promise to fight for Israel, but also His promise to give her prosperity and to restore her once close relationship with Him to become even closer.
In recent history, we have seen countless miracles in the powerful ways in which Israel has defeated her enemies. Israel now has one of the most advanced militaries in the world, despite being a new nation and despite
enduring constant attacks.
Those who watch world events (with the prophetic eye of understanding that our Lord is tearing down the kingdoms of this world in order to make room for God’s kingdom) can clearly see God already fighting for Israel. However, many of the Jewish people in Israel still do not recognize God, much less recognize Jesus as their Messiah. As the events in our world worsen, God’s miraculous fighting will increase proportionately to defend His people. God’s intervention will culminate in a great demonstration of His power through the realities of Armageddon.
The trouble ahead for Israel will be a remarkable array of powerful worldly forces against tiny Israel. It will induce the Jewish people to look upward and pray to Jehovah for rescue from their plight. Here is an account of
this by the Prophet Joel. “The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining … Therefore … turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing? Let … the ministers of Jehovah weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Jehovah, and give not thine heritage to reproach. … Then will Jehovah be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Yea, Jehovah will answer … I will remove far off from you
the northern army … be glad and rejoice: for Jehovah will do great things” (Joel 2:10-21).
The prophet Micah adds, “When the Assyrian [their invasion in Hezekiah’s day pictures Gog’s coming invasion] shall come into our land: and … tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men” (Micah 5:5). Responding to Israel’s prayer for deliverance, God will intervene through the Church in glory from above, and raise the Ancient Worthies here below. They will rescue Israel from danger and
show Israel that Jesus, is their Messiah, and that he is the agent
of their salvation.
Thus will come to pass Zechariah’s prophecy, “I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son” (Zechariah 12:10).
“Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers” (Jeremiah 16:14-15).
The miracle of Israel’s salvation will not only be in bringing them back into the land of Israel, but also in restoring them to God. The events will be remarkable and will be observed worldwide. “Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 38:23).
“They shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:17-20).
Though God is fighting for Israel already, it is apparent only to those whose eyes already are opened through faith in prophecy. The prophecy to the breath from four winds is yet future and will usher in the climax of the Time of Trouble. This event will set in motion the uniting of Israel back to the God of their fathers. Israel as a nation will finally recognize that their
strength is from God and that their Messiah is Jesus. Then they will resolutely follow Jesus and truly come to know God.