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Sunday School

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THE LESSON BACKGROUND. Ezekiel, whose name means “God will strengthen,” was a priest in Judah who was carried into Babylonian Captivity during the second deportation of Judah in 597 B.C. (see II Kings 24:11-16). As a captive in Babylon (see Ezekiel 1:1), God called Ezekiel to minister to the Jews who were also captives in Babylon (see Ezekiel 1:28; 2:1-3). So his ministry took place outside of Israel; but Ezekiel often wrote as if he was still in Jerusalem (see Ezekiel 8:3; 9:4). Like Daniel and the Apostle John, Ezekiel’s prophecy followed the method of symbols and visions. Ezekiel began to preach and demonstrate God’s truth, as he predicted the approaching siege and destruction of Jerusalem (see Ezekiel chapters 4-24). This devastation would be God’s judgment for the people’s idolatry. Ezekiel challenged them to turn from their wicked ways. In the next section, he spoke to the surrounding nations, prophesying that God would judge them for their sins as well (see chapters 25-32). The book concludes with a message of hope for Israel, as Ezekiel proclaimed the faithfulness of God and foretold the future blessings for His people (see chapters 33-48). Our lesson comes from chapter 37, the portion of the book that looks ahead to Israel’s future restoration.