Thinking about Resurrection on Passover

For my Hebrew class I was reading Ezekiel 37 today – the passage about the valley of dry bones, where God resurrects the dead and fills them with his Spirit. It says:

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. (vs 4-5)

After that vision, the prophecy talks about how he will regather the resurrected from Israel and will fill them with his Spirit, and will make a permanent covenant of peace with them. And then it describes how the Messianic King “David” will rule over them forever:

My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees…25 They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. … 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.

This prophecy is of course a metaphor of the hope for God to come and redeem Israel again, and it is not read as literal. But my understanding is that was taken literally in the time of Jesus, and likely was the scriptural source for the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. There was quite a debate going on between Sadducees who didn’t believe in resurrection and the Pharisees who did, and of course Jesus defended the Pharisee’s position.

What I find fascinating is that its vision of the kingdom of the Messianic king is one of a resurrected people living in the presence of God forever, and this sounds like Paul talking about us dying with Christ and having new life forever with him.

Also, there is an obvious connection to make to Isaiah 53, which is about God’s suffering servant. He dies for the sins of his people, but then he is resurrected and given a great reward. In Ezekiel 37: 24 it talks about “my servant David” ruling over them. (“David” refers to the messianic “son of David” – this prophecy is much after the time that King David lived.) Doesn’t it make sense that the King of this eternal kingdom is the “servant” of Isaiah 53, who is the first to be resurrected among a people who will be resurrected?

Wow. There is the gospel, right there.

And then also, it talks about making an “everlasting covenant” with this people and I think of Jesus at the last supper declaring a “new covenant” in his blood.

Here’s one last neat thing – Ezekiel 37 is the reading for Shabbat during the week of Passover, because Passover is expected to be the time when God’s final redemption will appear. (Of course we know that this is Jesus’ death and resurrection.) So even today the Jewish people read about resurrection during Passover and pray for redemption to come. Hmmm.

Published in: on March 31, 2007 at 10:31 am  Comments (4)  


  1. Lois,

    Great to see that you are still writing and that God is using you in a slightly different yet similar context with Hebrew Biblical insights at the centre.

    Several things since you do not have an email access on the blog, yet!

    1. I would be most interested in seeing what you are learning about the topic of Living Water, because I too find this fascinating with its first discussion in Genesis and on through scripture.

    2. I think you will love Ken Bailey’s work since he brings a freshness to what we consider historic accounts outside of our time and culture. Ken’s insights give real dimension and life to the parable particularly Luke 15. Enjoy and comment!

    3. You mention in a sidebar that you use the JPS Commentaries. Would you mind giving me the info on these since I would love to have them. I use some of the JPS Torah books with incorporated commentary andn wonder if you are thinking of something different.

    4. Where do you find a good source of Messianic Judaic materials?

    Blessings in Christ

    David Sloss

  2. Glad to know you have a blog. Loved reading, and look forward to getting your new books. JENNIE

  3. Mah Shalom Kah, Dr Tverberg! (I don’t know if I pronounced that correctly, but it was easy to type!) I am taking part in a play this Thursday (“Maundy Thursday”) called the Living Last Supper. In it, the LORD and Disciples dip Parsley (“bitter herbs”) into vinegar. My KJV says “Sop” and my NIV says “bread” was what was dipped. Also, Jesus will drip 10 drops of wine onto the plate, and drink them in this play. Did Jesus partake in the wine? Were the Modern Traditions of the Passover meal established after the destruction of the Temple? Is the author of this play re-interpreting the Bible? These are the passages that concern these questions (perhaps not exhaustive): Matt 26:23, 29; Mark 14:20, 25; Luke 22:17b, 18; John 13:18,26; Psalm 41:9. I am interested in any comments you may have regarding this. Also, last Friday night, an F-1 Tornado went through our neighborhood, and 51 homes were severely damaged. Our side of the street was not affected (We thank the LORD, and begin to feel just a little more understanding for the idea of PASSOVER). On Saturday morning, the Power of the Lord was seen in those that helped in the clean-up, and in the consoling of Neighbors. Not one injury was reported. PRAISE THE LORD! I have heard since that such violent storms are sometimes attributed to the Adversary. Please, can you comment on the meaning of Ephesians 2:2?

  4. [[Sorry I meant to write “saltwater” above where I said “vinegar” — I may have been reading Ruth 2:14, instead of writing with all attention]]


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