Ezekiel 37:1-14 is commonly known as the prophecy of the Valley of Dry Bones. The prophecy is shown in the following passage:

(1) The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, (2) And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. (3) And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. (4) Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. (5) Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: (6) And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. (7) So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. (8) And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. (9) 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. (10) So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. (11) Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. (12) Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (13) And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, (14) And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD. (Eze 37:1-14)

Some people believe that the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy relates to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. For instance, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested in a 2010 speech that the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy had been fulfilled.

Armed with the Jewish spirit, the justice of man, and the vision of the prophets, we sprouted new branches and grew deep roots. Dry bones became covered with flesh, a spirit filled them, and they lived and stood on their own feet, as Ezekiel prophesized…

I will examine whether the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy has been fulfilled through the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 (and if not, when it might be fulfilled) in this article.

Ezekiel 37:12-14

Ezekiel 37:12-14 merits special attention because it provides an overview of what will happen when the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy is ultimately fulfilled. The ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy will result in the house of Israel knowing that the Lord performed what He spoke (verse 14).

“(12) Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (13) And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, (14) And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD havespoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.” (Eze 37:12-14)

Ezekiel 37:12-14 mentions that the house of Israel shall know the Lord twice. Given that this is mentioned twice within three verses, it is a development worth focusing on. Again, verse 14 indicates that the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy will result in the house of Israel knowing that the Lord performed what He spoke and this will come after the house of Israel is placed in their own land. However, verse 14 alone does not tell us when that will transpire.

Let’s take a look at several other Bible prophecy passages to get a better idea of the timeframe and the circumstances surrounding when the house of Israel shall gain knowledge of the Lord.

To Know the Lord

Ezekiel 39 provides information about the timeframe when the house of Israel shall know the Lord in general. Ezekiel 39:21-22 indicates that the house of Israel shall know the Lord “from that day and forward” after the defeat of Gog’s forces.

(21) And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. (22) So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward. (Eze 39:21-22)

I currently believe the defeat of Gog referenced in Ezekiel 39 will take place when the Lord comes to defeat the nations that attack Jerusalem during the end time siege of Jerusalem (this is different than the defeat of Gog referenced in Ezekiel 38, which is likely to occur after the Millennium). Therefore, the earliest the house of Israel will know the Lord in general is at the time when the nations that attack Jerusalem are defeated. This alone suggests that the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy is not yet fulfilled and won’t be until the latter stages of the end times since the house of Israel has yet to gain a general knowledge of the Lord.

Ezekiel 39:25-28 references the circumstances surrounding when the whole house of Israel shall gain further knowledge of the Lord. The house of Israel shall know that the Lord caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen after they have been completely gathered (“I have left none of them any more there”) from the nations to the land of Israel.

(25) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; (26) After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. (27) When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; (28) Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. (Eze 39:25-28)

The knowledge of the Lord gained by the house of Israel after they are gathered from the nations is distinct from the knowledge of the Lord they will gain following the defeat of Gog. The house of Israel will gain a general knowledge that the Lord is God after the defeat of Gog while the house of Israel will gain the knowledge that the Lord caused them to be led into captivity after they arrive in the land of Israel.  Similarly, the house of Israel will gain the knowledge that the Lord performed what He spoke in the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy after they are gathered in the land of Israel.

The detail about how the Lord will leave none of the house of Israel in the nations any more is important. This detail suggests that this gathering is associated with the gathering just prior to the start of the Millennium described in various Bible prophecy verses like Isaiah 66:18-20 instead of with what’s taken place since 1948, which is a partial gathering.

(18) For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. (19) And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. (20) And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.” (Isa 66:18-20)

Consequently, Ezekiel 39 suggests that the house of Israel shall not know the Lord until the defeat of Gog in the latter stages of the end times and that the gathering of the house of Israel from the nations is associated with period surrounding the start of the Millennium.

We can further place the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37:12-14 in the latter portion of the end times by comparing Ezekiel 37:12-14 with Ezekiel 39:27-29. The following table shows the parallels between Ezekiel 37:12-14 and Ezekiel 39:27-29. The parallels between the two passages further suggest that the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37:12-14 will come following the defeat of Gog in the latter stages of the end times and the final gathering of the house of Israel from the nations.

Comparing Ezekiel 37:12-14 & Ezekiel 39:27-29
Know the LordGathered to IsraelSpirit Poured
Ezek 37:12-14: (12) Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (13) And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, (14) And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
Ezek 39:27-29: (27) When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; (28) Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. (29) Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

In addition, the Lord says that the house of Israel shall gain knowledge about Him when He puts His spirit in them (Ezekiel 37:14) and when they are brought to the land of Israel (Ezekiel 39:28). This cannot relate to the state of Israel’s creation in 1948 because the Lord has yet to pour His spirit upon the house of Israel nor has a complete gathering taken place yet.

The following sections further demonstrate that the latter portion of Ezekiel 39 relates to the latter stages of the end times and thereby demonstrate that the fulfillment of the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy, including the gathering of the house of Israel to the land of Israel, wont occur until the latter stages of the end times given the parallels between Ezekiel 39:27-29 and Ezekiel 37:12-14.

Ezekiel 28:25-26

Ezekiel 28:25-26 is another instance in the Book of Ezekiel which provides us information about the circumstances surrounding when the house of Israel shall have knowledge of the Lord. Like the previous passages, Ezekiel 28:26 suggests that the house of Israel shall have knowledge of the Lord when they have gathered in the land of Israel.

(25) Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and’ shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. (26) And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God. (Eze 28:25-26)

The following table shows Ezekiel 28:25-26 and Ezekiel 39:25-28 and the similarities between Ezekiel 28:25-26 and Ezekiel 39:25-28 suggest that Ezekiel 28:25-26 is talking about the same general time period as Ezekiel 39:25-28.

Comparing Ezekiel 28:25-26 & Ezekiel 39:25-28
Know the LordGathered to IsraelDwelling Safely
Eze 28:25-26: (25) Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. (26) And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.
Eze 39:25-28: (25) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; (26) After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. (27) When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; (28) Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.

Ezekiel 28:25-26 must refer to the time period after the defeat of Gog given that Ezekiel 39:25-28 refers to the period after the defeat of Gog. Once again, the house of Israel shall have knowledge of the Lord following the defeat of Gog.

Ezekiel 34:27-28 & Ezekiel 36:38 Comparison

Ezekiel 34:27-28 and Ezekiel 36:38 both indicate that the house of Israel will have knowledge of the Lord when they are in the land of Israel.

Comparing Ezekiel 34:27-28 & Ezekiel 36:38
Eze 36:28, 37-38: (28) And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God…(37) Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. (38) As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Eze 34:27-28: (27) And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. (28) And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.

A close examination of these passages shows that they apply around the time of the Millennium. For instance, Ezekiel 34:28 mentions that Israel “shall no more be a prey to the heathen” while Ezekiel 36:38 mentions that the waste cities shall be filled with men.

Furthermore, recall the comparison between Ezekiel 28:25-26 and Ezekiel 39:25-28. The following table shows that Ezekiel 34:27-28 shares similarities with each of these passages.

Similarities between Ezekiel 34:27-28, 28:25-26, and 39:25-28
House of IsraelDwelling SafelyGathered
Ezek 39:25-28: (25) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; (26) After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. (27) When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; (28) Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.
Ezek 28:25-26: (25) Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. (26) And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.
Ezek 34:27-28: (27) And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. (28) And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.

Given these similarities, Ezekiel 34:27-28 must refer to the time period after Gog’s defeat as Ezekiel 39:25-28 refers to the time period after Gog’s defeat. Since Ezekiel 34:27-28 applies to around the time of the Millennium we can say that the house of Israel will have knowledge of the Lord when they are in the land of Israel following the defeat of Gog around the start of the Millennium.

Now let’s add Ezekiel 37:12-14 to the preceding table. The many similarities between all these passages again reaffirm that the fulfillment of the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy, including the gathering of the house of Israel from the nations to the land of Israel, wont occur until the latter stages of the end times.

Comparing Ezekiel 37:12-14 with Several Passages
Know the LordDwelling SafelyGathered to IsraelAdd Spirit
Ezek 37:12-14: (12) Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (13) And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, (14) And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
Ezek 39:27-29: (27) When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; (28) Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. (29) Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
Ezek 28:25-26: (25) Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. (26) And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.
Ezek 34:27-28: (27) And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. (28) And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.

Conclusion on the Valley of Dry Bones

In sum, the formation of the state of Israel in 1948 did not fulfill the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy since the house of Israel does not yet know the Lord and the actual return of the house of Israel to the land of Israel will not occur until after the defeat of Gog near the start of the Millennium. Therefore, the fulfillment of the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy will not occur until near the start of the Millennium.