Ezekiel 37:13-14, The Spirit’s Arrival and the End of Time

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, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live.

//Ezekiel, here, didn’t appear to be talking about a literal resurrection. His vision of the resurrection of dry bones relates to restoring the people of Israel back to their homeland. However, this verse in time began to play a role in eschatological dreams (For Jews, that means expectations about the coming age of their promised Messiah–some would say, the end of the world and the beginning of a new world.)

Ezekiel’s promise of a life-giving spirit became an expectation of a gift from God in the messianic age. In that day, God would rule justly, and the world would be set right. We see this hope not only in Christian writings, but other Jewish writings as well, such as in the Dead Sea Scrolls. In Jubilees 1:23, God promises “I shall create for them a holy spirit, and I shall purify them so that they will not turn away from following me from that day and forever.” Today, Christians call this gift the Holy Spirit (the third part of the Trinity) and believe the delivery of the Spirit happened 40 days after Jesus resurrected, on Pentecost.

This is a little confusing to many, because if the Spirit’s arrival is meant to signal the beginning of the age of God’s rule, wouldn’t that mean the millennium has begun? Are we, or are we not, living in the messianic age?  Where are all the resurrected people?

Paul seemed confused as well. In too many verses for me to quote, Paul indicates that we are a new creation, infused with the promised Spirit, and thus the age has begun. Paul seemed to live his life in fervent desperation, carrying the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth, knowing that any minute, the resurrection would occur. How could it not, if the Spirit has arrived? Read again today’s verse in Ezekiel.

So where did Paul err? Was Paul wrong that there would be a resurrection, or was he wrong when he claimed the Spirit had arrived, or was he wrong to tie the two events together?

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