This is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible for answering the denominations of the world for their false doctrines.
1The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, 2What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?
Ezekiel begins a new point here concerning the Jews. The Jews have been using a proverb which essentially means that the Jewish children are being held morally guilty for their ancestor’s sins without regard to their own moral choices, a warping of God’s statements in the second commandment (Ex. 20:5).
Please note that this is the same false doctrine used by those who teach “Original Sin” and Calvanism.
3As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. 4Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. 5But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, 6And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour's wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman, 7And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; 8He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, 9Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD. 10If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things, 11And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife, 12Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination, 13Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him. 14Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father's sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like, 15That hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbour's wife, 16Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment, 17That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. 18As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.
Jeremiah already has spoken to this (Jer. 31:29-30) in a succinct manner. God through Ezekiel provides a series of examples that explain the rule. God is not a respecter of individuals. He does not show partiality. God says that the individual is responsible for and will answer for his own sins. Those who do good, who act righteously, will live (spiritual life – Isaiah 59;1-2; Romans 6:23). If a sinful person has a child who sees their father’s sins and does not do them, he will not be held accountable for his father’s sins. The father, though, will die.
19Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. 20The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
Through this explanation God puts an end to their foolish proverb. Jeremiah says that only those who eat the sour grapes will have their teeth set on edge (be held responsible). Their children will not have their teeth set on edge when their father eats the sour grapes.
Ezekiel 18 is a must read for those who teach inherited sin. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” No man is judged for another’s sins, neither is a man saved by another’s righteousness.
21But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 22All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
23Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
God does not take pleasure in the punishment of the wicked, but would rather they repent.
24But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.
25Yet ye say, The way of the LORD is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?
The Jews claimed that God was not just, but their way was just. This is the way it is even today. Men claim that God is unfair or even does not exist because of the concept of eternal punishment. “How dare God punish people for doing evil? Everyone, including God, should just forgive automatically when something wrong is done.”
God here sets the record straight and shows His way to be just and theirs the unjust.
26When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. 27Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. 28Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
God lays it out plain and simple. If you turn from righteousness and walk in darkness (1 John 1:6) and die (physically) in that state you will be punished (die) eternally. If you are wicked and repent (turn) and do what is right, you will live eternally (1 John 1:7). Its really quite simple. Not only does this put an end to inherited sin doctrines, it also puts an end to “eternal security” or “once saved always saved”.
29Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the LORD is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? 30Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 32For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.
Because of Israel’s unjust representation of God’s Justice, God says that He will judge them. Every individual will be judged according to their own works (Romans 2:6; 1 Pet. 1:17). God calls the last of the Israelites to repent. There is no reason for them to die and God has no pleasure in it. Even here at the last, with only a few years remaining before the complete collapse of the Jewish nation and its captivity, God still desires for them to repent.
In Truth and Love.
- Ezekiel 1
- Ezekiel 2
- Ezekiel 3
- Ezekiel 4
- Ezekiel 5
- Ezekiel 6
- Ezekiel 7
- Ezekiel 8
- Ezekiel 9
- Ezekiel 10
- Ezekiel 11
- Ezekiel 12
- Ezekiel 13
- Ezekiel 14
- Ezekiel 15
- Ezekiel 16
- Ezekiel 17
- Ezekiel 18
- Ezekiel 19
- Ezekiel 20
- Ezekiel 21
- Ezekiel 22
- Ezekiel 23
- Ezekiel 24
- Ezekiel 25
- Ezekiel 26-28
- Ezekiel 29-32
- Ezekiel 33
- Ezekiel 34
- Ezekiel 35
- Ezekiel 36
- Ezekiel 37
- Ezekiel 38-39
- Ezekiel 40-48