In one of the best-known passages of an otherwise obscure book, Ezekiel described his vision of a valley of dry bones coming to life. Actually, it was more than a vision; he had to prophesy to the bones before anything happened.
Ezekiel recognized that the bones represented the whole lineage of Jacob. Both kingdoms that represented that lineage had been destroyed, their people exiled and scattered. In their shattered hope, the survivors felt as dead and dried up as the bones.
At Ezekiel’s first word of prophecy, the bones formed together as complete skeletons, and then the flesh returned. Now instead of a valley of dry bones, it was a valley of corpses.… Read the rest
In the Old Testament, Pentecost was the offering of first fruits, a memorial of the establishment of the Mosaic Covenant. Along with Passover and Tabernacles, it was one of three times during which the Law required Jewish men to present themselves at the Sanctuary.
By New Testament times, hardly anyone was able to get to Jerusalem for all three festivals. The largest number of foreigners came for Pentecost (Greek, by the way, for “fiftieth,” because it started fifty days from Passover).
The year of our Lord’s death and resurrection, Pentecost began ten days after the Ascension. The disciples had been waiting in Jerusalem for the promised empowerment of the Holy Spirit.… Read the rest