The Rising of Israel
July 21st, 1985 @ 10:50 AM
Ezekiel 37:1 – 24
THE RISING OF ISRAEL
Dr. W.A. Criswell
7-21-85 10:50 a.m.
In our preaching through the Book of Ezekiel, we have come to one of the tremendous visions and promises and dramatic scenes in all the Word of God; we have come to chapter 37. In this prophecy, beginning at chapter 36, all that the prophet says is in the future. He is speaking of the end times. It is yet to be fulfilled, or it is being fulfilled before our very eyes, but in his day all of it was hundreds and thousands of years in the future. The Book of Ezekiel is filled with unusual, and dramatic, and sometimes traumatic revelations, and the thirty-seventh chapter is one of the most unusual. It is absolutely unique in the annals of revelation.
The thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel is the vision of the valley of dry bones. The first ten verses describe the vision itself. From verses 11 through 14, God gives the interpretation of the vision, and the third and last part of the chapter, verses 15 to 28, is the promise of the reconstruction and the united Israel placed in their own land. I wish I had time to read the vision, but you know it and can follow it in your Bible, and if you will take the Bible and hold it in your hand, all through the message we will turn to passages in the Word of God. The title of the message is The Rising of Israel; the resurrection of the nation Israel; the reconstruction and reuniting of the people of God.
The vision itself is so well known to us: the hand of the Lord carries the prophet to a valley, and it is filled with bones. They were very many, and they are very dry. And Ezekiel is commanded by the Lord to prophesy. Prophesy in the Bible is to preach. It has overtones sometimes of fulfillment in the future, but the Bible meaning of prophecy is to preach, prophemi, to speak forth.
So he is commanded of the Lord to preach to these dry bones. There is no pastor in the world that does not know what that means, preaching to dry boneheads. He is commanded to preach to dry bones, and the Lord says, "Address the spirit of God, the breath of God." In the Bible, breath and wind and spirit are all the same word. He is commanded to speak to the breath of God that the bones come together, that they be covered with sinew and flesh, and then that the spirit of God come upon them.
And as he prophesies, he sees the whole valley come to life and they stand up, a great army for the Lord [Ezekiel 35:10]. Then, in verse 11, he gives the meaning of that vision. Those bones are the house of Israel, buried in the graves of the nations of the world, scattered throughout the earth. And the resurrection of that vast, disarrayed, scattered bones is a picture of the wonderful, glorious reconstruction and reuniting and resurrection of Israel, placed in their own land. This is the vision and God’s interpretation of it.
There are several things that press upon my mind as I read the revelation, and as I study the prophecy, and as I look at this dramatic vision. And the first, and overwhelming, and all-consuming conviction that comes to my heart as I read it is this: that what happens here is a presentation, an illustration, an avowal of the elective purpose and sovereign grace of God. It is God’s work. It is God’s doing. It is God’s elective choice and purpose.
Only God can raise the dead. Resurrection belongs to Him and to Him alone. There is no possibility of the power to raise the dead in us. That is a prerogative of the sovereign ableness and omnipotence of God alone, and it is only in the elective purpose and choice of God that Israel is raised from the graves of the nations of the world in which they are buried and scattered. It is the election, it is the sovereign choice of God Almighty who does it.
The whole account of the calling and continuing life of Israel is in the election of God. It is in His purpose of grace and His alone. It was the election of God that called Abraham [Genesis 12]. God called him and sent him out from his father’s house into a land which he should afterward receive for an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he went [Hebrews 11:8]. By faith, he obeyed the command of God and entered finally into the Land of Promise, and that land was promised to him and to his seed after him by the elective choice of God [Genesis 12:7]. God did it, and the covenant that God made with Abraham was unconditional. Its fulfillment lies in the elective purpose and choice of God and God alone. Man is not a party to that covenant. The covenant is unconditional on the part of God. God does it. God chose it. God is doing it.
You will not find a more beautiful or impressive presentation of that covenant of God than in the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Genesis. God takes Abraham out under the stars of the sky and says, "Count them," but Abraham finds them innumerable, and the Lord God says to him, "So shall thy seed be as the stars of the heaven. And Abraham believed God; and his faith was counted for righteousness" [Genesis 15:5-6]: one of the great verses of the Bible.
Then the Lord God does something dramatic. In that day, when two men made a blood covenant, they sacrificed an animal, shed its blood, divided it, and placed one part on this side and the other part on the other side, and both men walked through those severed and sacrificed and divided animals. That was a blood covenant. Now, God did that. God sacrificed a heifer and divided it in two; placed one part on this side, and one part on the other side. God sacrificed then a she-goat and divided it one part on one side and one on the other. God sacrificed then a ram-goat and placed one part here and one part there. And then God sacrificed turtledoves and pigeons and placed them on either side [Genesis 15:9-10].
Now, according to the blood covenant, Abraham and God should have walked through those sacrificed and severed animals side by side, the two of them. Not so. When those animals were sacrificed in a blood covenant, an unconditional and forever covenant, God put Abraham into a deep sleep [Genesis 15:12], and God Himself alone walked through those sacrificed and severed animals. God did it alone. In the King James Version, He is described as a smoking furnace and a burning torch, a burning lamp [Genesis 15:17]. God did it alone.
The promises and the covenants of God with Israel, with Abraham and with Isaac and Jacob and his seed, the covenants of God and the promises of God are unconditional. They are in the elective purpose and choice of the Almighty. God alone walks between those sacrificed animals; unconditional. It is God who makes the promise. It is God who makes the covenant, and it is God who will faithfully keep it.
Now, in the thirty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, the house of Israel says in hopelessness and helplessness and despair, "Our bones are dried, our hope is lost: we are completely cut off in all of our parts" [Ezekiel 37:11]. That became a proverb among the people of Israel. They lost their Holy City, they lost their temple, they lost their land, and they are scattered and taken away in slavery and in captivity. And they cry in dejection and despair, saying, "Our bones are dried, our hope is lost: we are completely cut off in all of our parts."
That is a great difference from Israel in the first part of the prophecy of [Ezekiel]. In those first chapters up until chapter 35, Israel is stubborn, and self-willed, and proud, and impenitent, self sufficient, leaving God out of their lives, and if they worship at all, they are worshipping idols. What a different way, and what a different story, and what a different condition, and what a different cry is Israel now. In dejection and in despair and in destruction, they say, "Our hope is lost. There is no future for us."
Now, Ezekiel does not minimize their sad and tragic loss and situation. As he looks upon that valley of dry bones, he says, "They are very many, and they are very dry [Ezekiel 37:2]. And the Lord God says to him, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘Lord God, Thou knowest’" [Ezekiel 37:3]. Had Ezekiel in his younger days been asked that question, "Can these bones live?" he would have answered with an absolute certain negated “No.” "And I base the universe upon it," he would say. "They cannot live. No, these dead dry bones buried, they cannot live." But Ezekiel has been a prophet now for many years, and he has learned that nothing is impossible with God. So the prophet answers reverently and humbly, "With all things, with Him all things are possible," and he humbly and reverently answers, "O Lord God, Thou knowest [Ezekiel 37:3]. It is in Your hands."
Presumption might have answered that question, "Can these bones live?" – presumption might have answered, "Yes," with an easy "Yes." Infidelity and unbelief would have answered, "No." But faith, humble, reverent, answers, "Lord God, Thou knowest." "All things are possible with God" [Matthew 19:26].
As I look at this vision and see the mighty revelation and omnipotent power of the Lord revealed in it, out of that valley of dry bones, God resurrects a great people. And the Lord says, "These are My people, Israel, buried in the graves of the nations of the world, and I will raise them up. I will reconstitute and resurrect the nation, and I will place them in their own land" [Ezekiel 37:14]. Beginning at verse 15, the people are to be united in the Lord. In verse 21: "I will bring them into their own land." Verse 22: "I will make them one nation in the land." Verse 25: "They shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell there, and even they, and their children, and their children’s children, forever, forever!" The elective choice and omnipotent purpose of Almighty God; forever will they have this land, dwell in it and be one people and one nation.
May I make two observations about that? Number one: the land of Palestine, the land of Israel, the land of Canaan belongs to them. It belongs to the children of Israel. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob whose name is Israel, the land belongs to them. In the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Genesis beginning at verse 14:
And the Lord said unto Abram,Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, southward, eastward, and westward:
For all the land which you see, that will I give you, and to thy seed forever.
I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can count the dust of the earth, so shall thy seed also be numbered.
Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and the breadth of it; for I will give it to thee.
The land belongs to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to Israel, and to their seed forever. I read one other. Psalm 105 beginning at verse 8:
He hath remembered, God hath remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations.
Which covenant He made with Abraham, And His oath unto Isaac;
And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, And to Israel for an everlasting covenant:
Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, The lot of your inheritance.
The land of Palestine, the land of Canaan, the land of Israel belongs to the children of Jacob, the seed of Israel, forever. That is the lot of their inheritance. The rest of the world is ours. The Arabs, the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Armenians, the Iranians, the Iraqi, the Turks, the Greeks, the Romans, the French, the English, the Americans, the Bolivians, the Peruvians, the Koreans, the whole world is ours; but that belongs to Israel forever and forever!
In the elective purpose and choice of God, the land of Palestine belongs to the people of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is an unconditional covenant that God has promised forever. And He says, "I will not break it." He alone walked through that sacrifice divided [Genesis 15:17]. God, in His purpose and grace, in His mercy and goodness, has given that land to Israel. That is why you are going to fight there forever, until the nations of the world recognize that this is the homeland of the chosen family and people of God. It belongs to Israel.
The second thing that arises out of this: in the elective purpose and choice of God, Israel will be a people forever., and they will be reunited and resurrected and sent back to the land that God has given them. The Jew is indestructible. He is here forever. All of those old generations and nations of the past are gone. As I have said so many times, you never saw anybody who ever heard of anybody who ever heard of anybody who ever saw anybody who ever looked at a Hittite, or an Amorite, or a Jebusite, or a Girgashite, or any other of those “ites.” They are gone forever. But the Jew is here, and he will be here until Jesus comes again. In Matthew 24, verse 34, Jesus said, "This genea," speaking of the Jewish people, "this genea will be here when I come again"; genea, genealogy.
In 1 Peter chapter 2, Peter refers to all of us Christians as a holy genea, genea, the whole gamut of the Christian religion and the Christian faith [1 Peter 2: 9-10]. That is the meaning of the word. In Matthew 24:34: "This genea, these Jews, this race, this tribe, this people will be here until I come again," and they are here. They will always be here. The Jew is with us forever, and I say it is the purpose of God to resurrect them as a nation and to restore them, united in their land.
Way back yonder in Leviticus 26, Leviticus 26 verse 44, God says:
For all that, I will not cast them away,
– talking about their sins and their derelictions –
For all that they have done,I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them to destroy them utterly, to break My covenant with them,
I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord."
The covenant that God has made, He will honor forever. In Jeremiah chapter 32, beginning at 37:
Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in Mine anger, and in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them again into this place, Palestine, Israel, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
They shall be My people, and I will be their God:
I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me forever:
I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them; but I will put My fear in their hearts that they shall not depart from Me.
Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, I will plant them in this land,
For thus saith the Lord; Like as I have brought all of this great evil upon them, so will I bring upon them all the good I have promised them.
That is God. I turn again, out of a multitude of verses – in Amos chapter 9, the last chapter, quoted by James the pastor of the church in Jerusalem in Acts 15:15:
I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel, they shall build the waste cities, inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards, and eat of them, they shall make gardens.
I will plant them upon their land, And they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, Saith the Lord God.
There is coming a time when Israel will be placed back in the land, never again to be driven out of it. It will be their home forever. If I had hours and hours – I wished that I had it – I could follow this in the Bible. Just to summarize, number one: according to the Word of God, according to the Word of the Lord, Israel will be gathered back into the land of Palestine in unbelief, in unbelief. In the thirty-sixth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, the people are gathered back in their land, in their country, in unbelief. My impression as I visit Israel, and I have been there seven times, my impression is that outside of a little group of Hasidim, Orthodox Jews, they are all atheist, they are all agnostics; one of the most amazing, dumbfounding developments in human history. They are returning in unbelief. And according to the thirty-sixth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, Israel will finally be gathered back in unbelief.
Now second: while they are in the land, in unbelief, in the thirty-sixth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, the people are converted. They are converted in the land. Let me just take a moment here. In the thirty-sixth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel:
I will take you from among the nations, I will gather you out of the countries, I will bring you into your own land.
Then, then, after you are gathered in unbelief, then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean.
A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put in you: I will take away the stony heart, I will give you a new heart.
I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes,
After they have returned to the land in unbelief.
Could I make a little aside here? Priest – Ezekiel was a priest, and he preaches. He talks like a priest. He prophesies like a priest. He was a priest all of his life. He was a priest thirty years old when he was taken into Babylonian captivity. So when he speaks of the conversion of Israel in the land, he speaks of it in terms of a priest. They will all be gathered in the land in unbelief; then will I sprinkle clean water upon you. What he is referring to is the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Numbers. How are the unclean made clean in the sight of God? By sacrificing a red heifer, burning its ashes and mixing its ashes with running water, and then sprinkling that ashes and water of the heifer upon the one who is unclean. That is the picture that the priest Ezekiel uses in describing the conversion of the people of Israel. When they are gathered back in the land, they are going to be cleansed. They are going to be born again. They are going to be changed. They are going to be a new people with a new spirit. They are going to be converted in the land, in the gathering, the regathering of the nation in the land.
Now we are told that – and here again, I wish I had hours to speak of it – we are told how that is coming to pass. In Zechariah, in the book of Zechariah, toward the end of the Old Testament, in chapters 12 and 13 and 14, it is described for us the conversion of Israel, when the Lord appears to them. Well, you say, now, that is unusual, that He would appear to Israel; not at all. His brothers did not believe on Him. And when He was raised from the dead, He appeared to His brethren. He appeared to those who grew up with Him in the household of Mary and Joseph. He appeared to His brothers, and He won His brothers to the Lord. In the fifteenth chapter of the 1 Corinthian letter, Paul says, "I was born ektroma, as one born anew, I was born as of one born out of due time, that is, I was born before the time [1 Corinthians 15:8]. There is coming a time when the Lord Christ will appear to Israel. But He appeared to me before that time." That is what Paul says, "He appeared to me before the time when He appears to all my brethren and people. He will appear to Israel, and they will look upon Him whom they have pierced. And they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son [Zechariah 12:10], who has been taken away, maybe in death or tragedy. And there will be a fountain, in Israel, an open fountain, and there will the families and the tribes and the people of Israel be cleansed, be cleansed" [Zecheriah 13:1]. We have seen that.
There’s a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath the flood
Lose all their guilty stains:
["There is a Fountain," by William Cowper]
That is the fountain that will be open in Israel, and Israel will be saved. I do not say that, God says that. Brethren, I would not have you without knowledge of this musterion, a secret God has kept in His heart. Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the pleroma, until the pleroma of the Gentiles be come in. Pleroma the full number of the Gentiles, when the last Gentiles comes down this aisle and accepts Jesus as his Savior, the election of God, known to God, their names are already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, when the last Gentile comes down this aisle, the pleroma, the full number of the Gentiles be come in, then all Israel shall be saved [Romans 11:25-26]. I did not say that. God says that. In the election of God, in the sovereign purpose of God, when the last Gentile comes in and is saved, God is going to deal with Israel, His covenant people. He will appear to them in the land where they are there in unbelief, and they will be converted. They will be saved. They will accept their Messiah and King, the Son of David, and there they shall reign forever and ever.
This is a part of the great tribulation described in the Book of the Revelation. And they are going to be the evangelists of the world, twelve thousand of them from each tribe of Israel [Revelation 7:1-8], and one Jew is worth about forty Gentiles when it comes to vigorously preaching the gospel of the Son of God and devoting his life to our Lord. Think of the whole world when it is preached to by one hundred forty-four thousand of those Jewish evangelists. It is going to be a great and a final and a marvelous day.
Now, let me say what I wanted to say. All of this is just to say this: the Lord God made His covenant and promise to Israel. And if the Lord God breaks that promise and covenant that He made to Israel, how do I know but that He also would break His covenant and His promise with me? If He breaks that covenant and promise that He makes to Israel, I do not have any assurance but that He would break it with me. My only hope of salvation lies that God will keep His promise and His covenant with me. He says to me, "If you will trust Me as your Savior and give your heart, and life, and soul in keeping to Me, I will save you in this life, I will stand by you in death, and I will open for you the gates of heaven." But if God does not keep His promise to Israel, how do I know but that I shall yet fall into the abyss and the depths of hell? My hope lies that God will keep His promise and will honor His covenants.
Now, the Lord goes out of His way to avow these things. For example, in Psalm 89 and verse 34, He says, "My covenant I will not break, nor alter the thing that has gone out of My lips." I can count on God. If God says it, if God promises it, I can base my soul and my life on it forever and forever!
Now I want to take a little leaf out of my life if I may. You who have been here a long time – I have been pastor of the church now soon forty-one years – you have been here a long time, back yonder in the beginning, after I had been here for one year, I began preaching through the Bible. Starting at Genesis and went clear through the Revelation. It took me eighteen years. Eighteen years I preached through the Bible. I never had any preconceptions or any pre-persuasions concerning it. I just started out just preaching through the Bible. Just page after page, chapter after chapter, book after book, I was just preaching through the Bible, preaching through the Bible.
Well, people coming to hear me preach said, "Why, that man is a premillennialist. Why, that man is a dispensationalist." I never had a premillennial teacher in my life. I never had a dispensational teacher in my life, nor had I ever read any premillennial literature, but they said, as I was preaching through the Bible, they said, "Why, that man is premillennialist, he is a premillennialist. He is preaching about the Jews. He is preaching about the land belonging to the Jews, and he is preaching about their return to the Holy Land, and he is talking about their conversion there in the land. He is preaching that." I never made it up. I was just preaching through the Bible. That was all I was doing.
Well, one of the ablest, most noted, and famous of all of the people in our communion, he visited with me, and the sum of a long, long conversation was this: "God is through with the Jew. He has cast him aside, and the Jew, in the sight and the presence of God, is no more than a Bolivian, or a Peruvian, or an Ecuadorian, or a Brazilian, or a Chilean, or a Korean, or a Japanese, or a Hottentot, or an aborigine. The Jew is no more in the sight of God than any other of the nations of the world and peoples of the earth. God has cast them aside. God is through with them. God has no more purpose or dealing or plan for the Jew. He is through. It is all over with the Jew." Well, that plunged me into a soul searching such as you can hardly know. You’d have to be a preacher up here preaching that Bible for eighteen years in order to enter into the depths of soul searching into which that plunged me. "God is through with the Jew. He has cast him out. He is no more in God’s sight than any other people or any other nation."
So as I turned it over, and thought about it, and prayed about it, and read God’s Book, there were several things that came to my heart, and briefly they are this. Number one: if God is through with the Jew, and there is no other purpose or plan or future for the Jew, these prophets of the Old Testament, all of them, these prophets were nothing more than patriots and dreamers, and they lived in a world of fantasy, but what they wrote was not the inspired Word of God, because prophet after prophet after prophet describes the glory of this world when God brings home His people and they are converted. Oh, world without end, world without end is that in the Word of God!
For example, Isaiah will say, "The people shall be righteous and inherit the land forever. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation" [Isaiah 60:21-22]. And in Jeremiah 31:35-37: "Thus saith the Lord, As long as there is a light in the sky by day and as long as the moon shines by night, just so long will the seed of Israel be a nation before Me forever." If that is not true, these prophets were nothing but dreamers, and they lived in a world of fantasy and false hope, and they were not inspired by the Word of God. That is the first thing. That is the first thing.
The second thing is: if God has cast away His people, then that is a direct contradiction of what Paul writes in Romans chapter 11. I read: "I say then, Hath God cast away His people? Me [genoito] God not, God forbid!" And then the second verse, "God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew." The election, the foreknowledge of God, the predestinating, predetermining purpose of God; God hath not cast away His people whom He foreknew. If God has cast them away, then that is a contradiction of what Paul avows in Romans 11:2.
And then the third thing: if God does not honor His covenants and if God does not honor His promises, then this is false when Paul writes in Romans 11:29: "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance, without change, without turning." God lied to us! He says this, then He denies it! He covenants this, and then He breaks His covenants. He promises this, and He doesn’t keep His promise. The gifts and the calling of God are with change, are with repentance; you can’t count on it. But Paul says the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance, without change, they do not turn. "He is the same yesterday, today, and forever" [Hebrews 13:8], and He honors His covenants forever, and ever, and ever, and eternally forever.
Now, let me close. The time is past; it is already twelve o’clock. We are told in the Bible, in the Word of God, in the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, we are told in the nineteenth chapter, when Jesus comes again, there is going to be a great marriage feast [Revelation 19:6-10]. And the bride is there, and blessed are they that are invited, the friends of the Bridegroom and the bride. Who is the bride? The bride of Christ is the church. That’s we. The place of single honor, and glory, and beauty, and happiness, and grace, and triumph, and victory, all of that is for Christ’s church. We are the bride of Christ. We are going to be there at the marriage supper of the Lamb. When the Lord comes, we are going to be there to receive Him and to welcome Him like a, like a bride does her loved, her groom. We are going to be the bride. But there at the Bridegroom’s wedding, there is also the friends of the Bridegroom. These are like John the Baptist. John the Baptist said, "I am a friend of the Bridegroom, and I rejoice to hear His voice" [John 3:29].
John the Baptist lived in the old dispensation. He lived before Jesus died and rose again. He belonged to the Old Testament. He was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, Jesus said. But he lived before the day of the church. We in the church will be the bride. But the friends of the Bridegroom will be there. John the Baptist will be there; Abraham and Isaac will be there; Jacob, Israel will be there; David will be, Isaiah will be, all the people of God who belong to the chosen family of the Lord, saved, they will be there.
And we will rejoice together: the bride and the friends of the Bridegroom, all of us praising and shouting the glory of God forever and ever, world without end, eternally without end! What a glorious promise God hath given to His people! This is in His elective purpose. This, God will work out. And we stand in amazement, looking at the marvelous grace and goodness of our saving Lord. He purposes something good for them.
He purposes something wonderful for us, and He purposes everlasting joy, salvation to us who look in faith and trust to Him. That’s the gospel, and that’s the promise of God who keeps His covenants forever, and that’s the gospel we bring to you this holy and heavenly and precious moment: to give your heart to the Lord, to follow Him, to open your home and your life and your soul to the Lord Jesus.
"Lord, what a privilege, what a privilege to welcome You into my house, and welcome You into my heart, and welcome You into my work, and welcome You into every dream and vision that I have for me, for my family, for my wife, for my loved ones, for my friends; O God, it is heaven just to be close to You!"
"Today, pastor, I want to take the Lord as my Savior and here I stand." "This day I want to put my life with the family and people of the Lord, and here I come." "God has spoken to my heart, and I am answering with my life, and I am answering right now." Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it; when we stand in this moment to sing, on the first note of the first stanza, take that first step. It will be the most meaningful step you have ever made in your life, and the very angels of heaven will attend you in the way as you come. God bless you and the Holy Spirit anoint you. Do it now, welcome now, while we stand and while we sing.