Then said he to me, Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus said the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds…
I. THE PRAYER. "Come from the four winds."
1. It is an expression of deep need. Prayer was something more than a cry of "self-relief," such as animals utter. The scene throughout the valley is weird and gruesome — a vast charnel house, a call for earnest supplication amid the stillness and motionless state of the unwakened dead — of supplication for the breath of life.
2. It was an expression, too, of hope. Despair is dumb. It might seem impossible to men, but the Divine command had gone forth, "Say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God, Come"; and the Divine command is not in vain.
3. It was the expression, too, of longing desire, and desire is the hand of the soul which reaches out after that which it thirsts for. It is a disposition for receiving Divine gifts, After the Ascension, ten days were allowed to elapse before the coming of the Spirit, thereby calling out and sharpening the desire of the apostles for the Divine afflatus.
II. TO WHOM ADDRESSED.
1. Not to the natural wind. Of what we used to call the "four elements" — fire, air, earth, water — three are symbols of the Holy Spirit. Earth alone is too material to represent Him. It is of the Spirit our Lord spoke (Luke 12:49). In the vision of "holy waters," Ezekiel depicts the outpouring of the Spirit. And in the conversation with Nicodemus, Christ compared the operations of the Spirit to the wind (John 3:8).
2. It is the Holy Spirit depicted by "breath" and "wind" in this vision. In relation to Christ He is the breath. Christ "breathed on" the apostles, "and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost" (John 20:22). And in regard to man; for God breathed into man's nostrils "the breath of life, and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7).
3. The prayer runs, "Come from the four winds, O breath." This betokens two things — first, the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit, to use the language of divinity, His immensity, the four winds representing all directions, all space; secondly, that, though omnipresent, He could "come," and be present in a new way.
4. Through the Son of Man, through the Incarnation, and all the mysteries of the Redeemer's life, culminating in His glorification and intercession at the Father's right hand, the breath of life was given to the race, which, through sin, had become like the dry, dead bones. There were the two "prophesyings," the two appeals to a world "dead in trespasses and sins," the outer one, of the visible Son of Man; the inward, of the invisible Spirit of God, the one preparing the way for the other, which was the result of it.
III. FOR WHAT OFFERED.
1. "Breathe upon these slain, that they may live." Observe the influence is calm. There are times of violence, as with the natural wind: "the sound from heaven as of a rushing, mighty wind" (Acts 2:2); or again, when "the place was shaken where they were assembled together" (Acts 4:31); but, as a rule, God works in stillness. There is always something unusual which accompanies "beginnings." So here. But, according to the ordinary laws of grace, the Spirit's operations are conducted with tranquillity.
2. But the influence is potent. It brought about a wondrous restoration and transformation. Where there had been death, stillness, insensibility, now there is life, movement, and consciousness. It does what nothing else has the power to do — raises a sinner from the death of sin.
3. The resurrection was(1) complete. They "lived and stood up." They did not remain as valetudinarians, in a recumbent posture, waiting for some further access of vitality. They stood up, ready for action.
(2) It was corporate. Whatever may be the individual operations of the Spirit in man and man, he is restored as a part of "a life larger than his own"; he is by the very fact of his restoration a member of a body, a member of a Divine society in which the Spirit of life dwells. He has around him, on all sides of him, others with the same thrill of life which has chased away the icy grasp in which death had bound him.
(3) It was aggressive. "An exceeding great army." The Church was to go forth and attack the strongholds of sin or false beliefs, and to conquer the world. Every member of it, if true to his calling, must be animated with a missionary spirit.
4. The vision, therefore, is a mystical picture of the work of the Church in the world, imparting life to the "dry bones" of corrupt nature, and to the nations who were before without God and without hope (Ephesians 2:12).
5. Further, it has ever been regarded as a representation of the general resurrection in the Last Day, when the Spirit's work as "the Giver of life" shall be extended to the body (Romans 8:11).
1. To pray with a sense of deep need, confident hope, earnest desire.
2. To pray to God the Holy Ghost. "Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire," etc.
3. To examine ourselves, whether our spiritual resurrection bears the marks above mentioned.
4. To believe in the eleventh article of the Creed, "the resurrection of the body," and to keep the body in temperance, soberness, and chastity, in view of that event.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.