The prophetic book of Ezekiel is widely known for one small and relatively (or arguably) minor passage about “dry bones”. Christians (myself included) love the imagery. YouTube has clips upon clips of sermon upon sermon on the passage. The trouble is that the dry bones section is ultimately a very brief part of a larger writing that is of a decidedly less hopeful tone.
The question for today, and I mean the question for April 21, 2020 during the pandemic, is, “Are we past the time of prophets?”
The question came to my mind because I watched a pair of rants by Bill Maher, and was encouraged to do so by a super-conservative blogger on a near-scary news website. Both rants by Mr. Maher were engaging, coherent, and, most importantly, timely. But I felt like a fool afterwards. Bill Maher is a joke. The words in and of Ezekiel have made it nearly 3000 years. Bill’s tone of voice will keep him going for 50+ years, but his words are ultimately empty. Take this assessment of mine together with the fact that I cannot find one commentator who I agree with, and the question came to mind, “Are we past the time of prophets?”
Ezekiel 2:7 has the LORD saying to the prophet, “But you shall speak my words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious.”
Naturally, there have been prophets before Ezekiel got his call. Again, that is not the question. Obviously, and despite the at times anachronistic ordering of the books of the Old Testament, there were prophets after Ezekiel died. That is not the question either. My question is, “Are we past the time of prophets?”
During the #Metoo movement of a bygone era, comedians found themselves defending their barbaric craft. I wonder if during this pandemic prophets should be defending theirs?
The LORD told Ezekiel, “…speak my words…whether they listen or not…” In so doing, one might say, the LORD gave a definition of a prophet. The prophet is going to speak. They don’t care what happens next. They may desire one outcome or another upon hearing, but they, the prophets, believe they are called to speak. The listeners’ response is always contingent on the LORD’s will. And my question is, “Are we past the time of prophets?”
Put another way, “It’s been 2000 years since the resurrection. Are we bound to support a segment of society who simply criticize, people who simply lament, people who simply know better, people who are smug, people who saw COVID coming, people who think the Bible saw COVID coming, people who think the situation is obvious? Are we bound to listen to people who would choose to hold the microphone over all other professions and at all cost? Are we bound to these people?”
I say, “No.”
I say, “Shut up.”
I say, “You’re no journalist. You’re no newsman. You’re no investigative reporter. You’re a prophet. And we are past the time of prophets.”