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Book of Ezekiel
Chapter 18

The Parable of the Sour Grapes Reproved

Ezekiel, chapters 18-20
Ezekiel 20:31 For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you. (KJV)  

Many people pray to God: Please do this for me OR please do not allow this to happen to me, etc., etc.
Often in the past, the Lord GOD has refused to answer the prayers of His own people because their way of worship was offensive to Him (1 Sam.8:18; Job 35:13; Ps.66:18; Isa.1:15; 30:9; 59:2; Jer.6:19; 14:12; Eze.8:18). Consider the following Passages, for they respect the time of Ezekiel but also TODAY! People today refuse to hearken to and obey God’s Words or His Laws! They simply regard iniquity in their hearts and dear one, the Lord GOD will NOT hear them! You all know the sins to which I refer: abortion, blasphemy, alcoholism, covetousness or greed, drug abuse, homosexuality, same sex marriage, idolatry, irreverence, etc., etc. IF anyone commits any sin and thinks God will hear . . . they are wrong! The only prayer He will hear is that of utter remorse and repentance!   
Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (KJV)
Jeremiah 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it. (KJV)
Ezekiel 8:18 Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. (KJV)

The Jews were falling prostrate before idols of wood and stone and offering sacrifices to these ridiculous gods (20:28-31). By what they did, they totally rejected the laws that the Lord GOD had given them for their own benefit (20:13). The LORD refused to go along with their pretended worship of Him, and His total silence was the only answer their prayers received.
 
In today’s world, the Lord GOD still continues trying to teach us right from wrong for our own benefit. IF only people would pay attention and hearken to His commandments! Do people really think that God is some senile old man somewhere who is not paying attention to what is going on in this world? Dear one, only when people wise up and know and admit that there IS a GOD, and hearken to His commandments (Bible), can they ever have peace as a river, and righteousness as the waves of the sea (Isa.48:17-18). If we read, study and obey His Word, and act accordingly, and always pray in accordance with His will, we will be able to see how and when He answers our prayers (1 Jn.5:14-15).

This chapter is somewhat brief, expanded in length by the many repetitions of the points of identifying the difference between the wicked man and the righteous man. The Israelites to whom this chapter was addressed were using a false proverb in the false hope of justifying themselves, specifically: The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge (18:2; Jer.31:29).

The captivity generation, ignored the fact that they were worse than their fathers, and were now trying to lay the blame for their misery and woe on the sins of their fathers. The lesson of this chapter is that the Lord GOD judges every man upon the basis of his individual and personal conduct and according to his works. According to works:  (Ps.62:12; Pro.24:12,29; Isa.59:18; Jer.21:14; 25:14; 32:19; Lam.3:64; Eze.7:8-9; 18:30; Hos.12:2; Zec.1:6; Mat.16:27; Rom.2:6; 2 Tim.4:14; Rev.2:23; 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12). The LORD judges us ONLY on what WE think, do or say, NOT on anyone else! Judgment will be an EXTREMELY personal thing!

This is not the only Chapter in which Ezekiel deals with this same subject. He also does so in (3:16-21; 14:12-20; 33:1-20). But this subject is certainly NOT a new idea (Deut.24:16; 2 Kings 14:6).  And too, Chapter 18 enlarges upon: Jeremiah 31:29 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. (KJV)  . . . This fully states the doctrine of individual responsibility. We are responsible for our own actions!

Quick summary of this Chapter: God disallowed the parable of sour grapes (1-4). He shows His dealing with a just man (5-9), with the wicked son of a just father (10-13), and with the just son of a wicked father (14-18). He declares that the treatment of both son and father shall be according to their respective deserts (19-20); and that the wicked, IF he repent, shall live (21-23); but he that rebels against his righteousness shall die (21). He defended the equity of His dealings (25-30), and urges and warns to repentance (31-32).

Theme: Jerusalem is an example of the wages of sin is death (Rom.6:23), an expression of grief of the Lord GOD over the house of Israel.
Chapter 18 God will show that in His judgment, He deals specifically and individually with each person.

In Chapter 17, Ezekiel foretold of Messiah's happy reign in Jerusalem, but now he warns them that its blessings can be theirs only upon their individually turning to righteousness.

Again, it is clear that Ezekiel is not giving his own opinion. This is God's Word.

God Disallows the Parable of the Sour Grapes Reproved (1-4)

Ezekiel 18:1 The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, (KJV)

And the word of the LORD came unto me again, saying . . . the word of prophecy from the LORD, and its being mentioned as coming from the LORD is to give it weight and authority. This is a different sermon or prophecy from Chapter 17, and was sent and delivered out at another time. And the word of the LORD came unto me again, saying. . .  is found 46 times in Ezekiel and 9 times in Jeremiah.  

Ezekiel 18:2 What 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? (KJV)

What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel . . . this is spoken to the Jews in Babylon, who used the following proverb concerning the land of Israel; not the ten tribes, but the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, concerning the desolation of the land, and the hardships the Jews labored under, since the captivity of Jeconiah, and they became subject to the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar; this strong disapproval or disagreement with them suggests that they had no just cause, or right reason, to make use of the proverb; and that it was sinful, brazen, and rude, and daring and dangerous; and that they did not surely well consider what they said. The proverb follows: A proverb is a brief, sharp saying, stating a general truth or piece of advice.
Saying, the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? . . . this same proverb is found in Jer.31:29, and has the same meaning there and here. To boil it down, it simply refers to these questions: (1). How far can the moral evil of the parent be extended to his offspring? (2). Are the faults and evil tendencies of the parents, not only transferred to the children, but punished in them? (3). Is the evil nature of parents transferred to their children? (4). Are children punished for their parents’ offenses?

The Targum says, the fathers have sinned, and the children are smitten. This was in some sense true, for they were punished for their fathers' sins in the captivity, especially Manasseh's (2 Chron.Ch.33); for it was not unusual for God to visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, since they were a part of their parents, and especially since they were guilty of the same sins; because every sin is treachery against God.

But this was not how they were considering this proverb; they said that they themselves were innocent, and that they only suffered for their fathers' faults; which was false, because they were worse than their fathers ever were, and of which they would be convinced, and use the proverb no more, as charging God with injustice.

*****The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? This is a proverbial expression for, The children suffer for the offenses of their parents. This is explained in: Jer. 31:30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge. (KJV)  
This is a proverb that the children of Israel used, and it is mentioned twice by Jeremiah (Jer.31:29; Lam.5:7). It could be that the people had started this proverb upon a Passage back in Exodus: Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; (KJV) . . . The problem is that the reasoning they drew from this verse is incorrect. NO child will ever suffer eternal punishment for the sin of his father . . . UNLESS that person acts in the same way that his father did.  Dear one, Almighty GOD judges the individual, father or son, according to his conduct. Again I say: The lesson of this chapter is that the Lord GOD judges every man upon the basis of his individual and personal conduct and according to his works. According to works:  (Ps.62:12; Pro.24:12,29; Isa.59:18; Jer.21:14; 25:14; 32:19; Lam.3:64; Eze.7:8-9; 18:30; Hos.12:2; Zec.1:6; Mat.16:27; Rom.2:6; 2 Tim.4:14; Rev.2:23; 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12). The LORD judges us ONLY on what WE think, do or say, NOT on anyone else! Judgment is an EXTREMELY personal thing!

Ezekiel 18:3 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. (KJV)

As I live, saith the Lord GOD . . . this phrase is found 16 times in Ezekiel, and is a form of an oath; the Lord GOD here swears by Himself, because He could swear by none greater (Heb.6:13). This clearly states just how displeased the LORD was with their proverb, and how much He resented it, as well as what follows was certain to take place.
Shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. . . (18:19-20, 30; 33:11-20; 36:31-32; Rom.3:19), indicating that he would no longer put off the execution of His judgments, but immediately bring them upon them; so that in the future there would be no need of the proverb; no reason to mention it in the next generation . . . for the LORD would make it so clear to them by His dealings with them, that it would be seen, known and admitted by all, that it was only for their own sins and wrongdoings that they were being corrected.
Ye shall not have occasion any more . . . for the Lord GOD would shortly vindicate His fair judgments from their complaints and offensive slanders . . . . NOT by words, but by blows. Any more seems to refer to future times, which has not yet come (Jer.31:29-30).

*****Some great advice is given to us by our Saviour and LORD, Jesus about our making oaths: Matthew 5:33-37 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34  But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35  Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36  Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37  But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. (KJV)

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, 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. (KJV)

Behold, all souls are mine . . . by Creation; they being the immediate product of His awesome power (Gen.1:3, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 29); therefore He is called the Father of spirits (Heb.12:9). He is the Father of the souls of all mankind, so He has a clear right to them; they are His property in which He has dominion over; and they are accountable to Him, and will be judged fairly by Him.
As the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine . . . just as the soul of a father is the LORD’S, so too is the soul of the son. BOTH are treated impartially . . . the LORD does NOT deal in favor of the one, and cruelly and unrighteously with the other! No respect of persons with GOD: (2 Chron.19:7; Rom.2:11; Col.3:25).
The soul that sinneth, it shall die . . . any soul that continues in sin, without repentance towards God, and faith in Christ, shall die the second death (Rev.2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8); meaning they shall be separated from the glorious Presence of God (2 Thes.1:8-9), and endure His wrath for all eternity (Rev.20:15). So, the meaning is that a person that is guilty of vile sins, and willingly continues in them, shall personally suffer. ALLshall be treated equally and without any respect of persons . . . a billionaire will NOT have ANY advantage over a homeless person. God will punish or reward according to the good or evil which every individual shall have done. The iniquity of the father shall in no way prejudice the righteousness of the son, and the righteousness of the son shall be no justification to the wickedness of the father. All souls: (Num.16:22; 27:16; Zec.12:1; Heb.12:9). The soul that sinneth: (18:20; Rom.6:23; Gal.3:10-13, 22).

*****All souls, all persons are often called souls, and so it is Eze.18:20 and Jer.31:30. The soul; the person, be it father or son, shall die, shall bear his OWN punishment, NO one else’s punishment! The soul that sins willfully, and yet pretends he is innocent, shall suffer for his own sin. No innocent person shall be prejudiced by the guilt of guilty ones. The truth is in direct contrast to their proverb, that everyone is personally responsible to God, the present generation and all former generations. Each individual shall bear the guilt of their own sin, which results in their death, not the guilt of someone else (3:18-21). Souls means lives (13:20), not disembodied spirits.
The story of Achan in Joshua 7:1-26 is a classic example of corporate responsibility. Achan sinned, but his whole family suffered for his sin. Such a passage is difficult to understand unless we see the biblical distinction between guilt and consequences. In Achan’s case he alone was the guilty party (Josh.7:21), but his family, who most likely shared guilt by remaining silent about his wrongdoing, shared at least the consequences of his guilt, which was death by stoning. This was the point made in (Ex. 20:5; 34:6-7). Each person is individually responsible for his or her own guilt of sin . . . BUT . . . we must always realize that the penalties of sin will always affect others who may be innocent of the guilt for that precise sin. Dear one, this is true even when the sin is forgiven. God promises to remove the guilt of sin, but nearly always the resulting penalties remain. David is a good example. Although he was forgiven of his sins of adultery and murder, he still suffered the devastating consequences (2 Sam.12:11-20). Sin’s penalties can be with a person for the rest of their life. BEWARE!

The Lord GOD’S dealing with a just man (18:5-9)

The differences between the righteous and the wicked are over and over again in this chapter, with very small variations. Some say that the sins numbered are moral rather than ceremonial offenses . . . but, the reference to the righteous man's keeping all my statutes (18:6, 9, 11, 17, 21) does not seem to agree with that. In Ezekiel 18:5-18, Ezekiel gives a firm example of the Truth stated in verse 4, above. Three generations are presented: (1) a just grandfather; (2) an ungodly son; and (3) a righteous grandson. The three kings of Judah, specifically, Hezekiah, Manasseh and Josiah fit the descriptions given here.

Ezekiel 18:5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, (KJV)

But if a man be just . . . not legally, as to be wholly free from sin, for there is no such man (Ecc.7:20; Isa.53:6; 64:6; Rom.3:10, 23; Jam.3:2), but spiritually, through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto him (Rom.5:1); and who has a belief of grace and holiness wrought in him; a man of a fair standard and good conscience; who is prepared by the grace of God to do that which is just and right; for this seems to refer to the inward frame of the mind, as different from actions, and the source of them.
And do that which is lawful and right. . . true judgment and justice, as the Targum; that which is just and right by the law of God, and is so between man and man.

*****If a man be just . . . at the opening and close of the statement in regard to the righteous man (18:5, 9), he is described in general and complete terms; while the middle verses different details of an upright life are specified as examples of the whole. These particulars have reference, (1). to religious duties (18:6 a), (2). to moral obligations, such as no adultery (18:6 b), and (3). And to duties bad and good towards one’s neighbor (18:7-8). The whole, including (18:5, 9), may be considered as a brief summary of the practical duty of man.

Ezekiel 18:6 And 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, (KJV)

And hath not eaten upon the mountains . . . where temples and altars were built for idols, and sacrifices offered to them; and where feasts were kept to the honor of them, and the sacrifices to them eaten (6:13). It was not unlawful to eat common food on mountains, as well as on other places; but here it means idolatrous practices; the Targum is, and hath not served idols on the mountains.
Neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel . . . a just man paid idols NO religious worship; nor trusted in them for anything, and has not made prayer nor supplication before them; but instead turned from them with disgust and scorn.
Neither hath defiled his neighbour's wife . . . been guilty of adultery, by lying with another man's wife; or by marrying one divorced, not having committed fornication; which divorces were common among the Jews, and marrying such so divorced (Mat.19:19). A just man had NO adulterous connection with any woman; to which idolatrous feasts and worship mainly led.
Neither hath come near to a menstruous woman . . . a woman in her monthly cycle, not even his own wife; who, according to the law, was set apart for her uncleanness for a certain term of time; during which she was not to be touched, nor anything she sat or lay upon; and all conjugal acts to be abstained from (Lev.15:19). It was believed that children conceived at such times were either leprous, monsters, or deformed mentally, or by the difference of their members.

Ezekiel 18:7 And 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; (KJV)

And hath not oppressed any . . . by fraud or force, mainly the poor, to the great grief and hurt of them;
But hath restored to the debtor his pledge . . . refers to the Pentateuch (Ex.22:21. Lev. 25:14; Deut.24:12, 17).
Hath spoiled none by violence . . . has not committed theft and robbery, nor done injury to any man's person and property, either by robbery or personal insult, because a man may be spoiled both ways.
Hath given his bread to the hungry . . . refers to the Pentateuch (Deut.15:7-8), which was his own; what he had labored for, and come by honestly, and being merciful, as well as just, eats not his morsel alone, but distributes it to the poor and hungry (Isa.58:7).  
And hath covered the naked with a garment . . . as Job did (Job 31:17), as well as the former, and for which Dorcas is commended (Acts 9:36-42). Had divided both his bread and his clothing with the needy. These are two branches from the same root.

Ezekiel 18:8 He 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, (KJV)

He that hath not given forth upon usury . . . money, foods, supplies or any other thing, which was forbidden by the Jews to take from their brethren, although they might take it from strangers. The law forbid the Jews to take interest (payment) from brethren but permitted them to do so from a foreigner (Ex.22:25; Deut.23:19-20).
Neither hath taken any increase . . . increase in other kinds of wealth; as usury refers to money (Lev.25:36).
That hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity . . . withdrawn his hand he keeps away from selfishness, not only that here mentioned, but all other sin; who having unintentionally engaged in something sinful, as soon as soon as he realized it, gets out of it, and stops it as soon as possible. He never associates with those who act contrary to justice and fairness; his hand or power is never found among evil workers.
Hath executed true judgment between man and man . . . whether in office as a judge, who sits on the bench for that purpose; or as a go-between chosen to decide matters in controversy between one man and another, that does everything fair and right between man and man, and is not swayed by prejudice, fear nor favor.

Ezekiel 18:9  Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD. (KJV)

Hath walked in my statutes . . . respecting the Lord GOD and the worship of Him, observing all laws and ordinances relating to this, referring to the Pentateuch (Lev.18:5. Deut.4:1; 5:1-2; 10:12-13; 11:1).
And hath kept my judgments to deal truly. . . in things moral and civil among men; regarding all such laws of God as pleasing to Him.  
He is just . . . . he is righteous, he has given to all their due, he has abstained from every appearance of evil, and he has done what was lawful and right in the eyes of God.
He shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD . . . spiritually and comfortably here, and with eternal life hereafter; neither shall he be anxious about famine, sword or plague, or go into captivity; but shall live in his own land, and eat the good things of it; and this shall be his case (Ps.34:11-15), even though his father had been ever so great a sinner; his teeth shall not be set on edge (Jer.31:29-30). Because he has lived for me, he shall live with me.

The Lord GOD’S dealing with wicked son of a just father (18:10-13)

If, as several scholars suggest, there is a reference in these verses to Hezekiah, Manasseh and Josiah, then the first murder in this list pertaining to Manasseh would be right; because that monarch is said to have filled Jerusalem with innocent blood (2 Ki.21:1-18).                      

Ezekiel 18:10 If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things, (KJV)

If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood . . . but IF a just man beget a son that is a thief and a murderer, which he may . . . because the grace of God is NOT hereditary, is NOT conveyed from father to son  as sin is (Ecc.7:20; Rom.3:10, 23) . . . so a good man often has bad children, even some that are guilty of the worst capital crimes . . . one that breaks through walls, and into houses, and breaks all the laws of God and man, caring not about shedding innocent blood in committing his thefts, robberies and murder, for these sins often go together.  
And that doeth the like to any one of these things . . . or that does any of these things, whether theft or murder, for one evil thing is brother to another, and it is things like these which destroy either the life or estates of our neighbor; for there are many ways and deceptions that violent people use.

Ezekiel 18:11 And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife, (KJV)

And that doeth not any of those duties . . . mentioned before in verses 8-9, which his father did, but the reverse of them. Some versions render it, and in the way of his righteous father does not walk; does not tread in his steps, and work righteousness as he did. These things and those duties are exactly the same word. This man has done the things the just man would NOT do (18:6-8), and has NOT done the things the just man would do (18:8-9). After this general statement the list of his crimes of commission begins.
But even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife . . . has been guilty of idolatry and adultery (18:6-8).

Ezekiel 18:12 Hath 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, (KJV)

Hath oppressed the poor and needy . . . the wicked oppress and persecute those who are weak, and have none to help them, none to stand by them. Opposite of (18:7).  
Hath spoiled by violence . . . ruined his neighbor’s goods; taken them away from him by force. Opposite of (18:7). 
Hath not restored the pledge . . . to the borrower before sunset, but kept it for his own use; taking the advantage of the poverty of him that borrowed of him. Opposite of (18:7). 
And hath lifted up his eyes to the idols . . . whether of the Gentiles, or of the house of Israel. Opposite of (18:7). 
Hath committed abomination . . . either idolatry, the sin just mentioned, which was an abomination to the LORD; or else approaching to an idol. Ezekiel 18:6 And 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. (KJV) Some understand it of the abominable and detestable sin of sodomy . . . BUT it could well mean any sin, for all sin is abominable in the eyes of God.

Ezekiel 18:13 Hath 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. (KJV)

Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase . . . doing so opposes the law of God (18:8).  
Shall he then live? . . . because his father was a righteous man, shall the father's holiness be imputed to him? NO! His father’s righteousness will NOT preserve the wicked son from the punishment his own sin deserves! God’s law threatened and it will be God’s justice that inflicts! He shall with other sinners be spoiled, besieged and die by the sword or famine, or suffer in a long captivity, and there die.  
He shall not live . . . he shall go into captivity, and be destitute of all the good things of life he has enjoyed; and because he will NOT repent, he shall never have eternal life. He shall not live . . . a definite answer to the former question!  
He hath done all these abominations . . . the wicked had committed theft, murder, idolatry, adultery, oppression of the poor, sodomy, usury, sins against both God and man. Abominations aregreat horrors to the Lord GOD, sins which should be detested and hated, and NEVER practiced and defended by shameless sinners. Abominations, things hateful to God: (Deut.7:25; 18:9-12, 22; 20:13; 25:13-16; 29:17; 1 Ki.14:24; 2 Ki.21:2; Pro.6:12-16; 11:20; 12:22; 21:27; 28;9; Jer.16:18; 44:4; Eze.7:9; 20:30; Hos.9:10; Lk.16:15; Rom.1:2-28; 1Cor.6;9-10; Jude 1:7; Rev.17:5, 21:27)  
He shall surely die . . . most certainly die under temporal judgments, and so by the first death fall under the second death (Rev.2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8) also. Dying he shall die the death of affliction, or undergo temporal punishment; and not only die physically, but eternally too. See different deaths on our web site:  http://www.hisservants.org/death_then_what_1.1.htm
His blood shall be upon him . . . the innocent blood the wicked one has shed, which he must answer for, of which he is guilty, for he shall NOT escape the righteous judgment of the LORD! The wicked one alone, is responsible for the destruction of himself; for he is the cause of his own ruin, thus bringing just punishment down on his own head. His blood shall be upon him in some versions blood is plural, bloods: both the blood of the innocent which he murdered, and his own blood, which he in that way forfeited, meaning the total blame of his misery in life on Earth and eternity, lies entirely on himself, who brought all those sorrows on himself by his own wickedness. Again: a great lesson for us today!

The Lord GOD’S dealing with the just son of a wicked father (18:14-18)

This is the third case . . . that of the righteous son of a wicked father. The general principle is the same, that being that each person shall be judged according to his own individual character . . . according to his own works! BUT . . . the son of the righteous man has advantages on his side (18:6), whereas the son of the wicked man has hindrances (18:14), standing in the way of righteousness which are not specified here, although elsewhere we are abundantly taught that responsibility is directly balanced to privilege (18:28; Hag.1:5, 7; Lk.15:17-19); but here the object is only to set forth in the clearest way, and apart from any other issues, the one and only fact of individual responsibility. In each and every case, the specific examples of sin are varied, to show that they are mentioned only as examples, in order to set forth more clearly the general idea.

Ezekiel 18:14 Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father's sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like, (KJV)

Now, lo, if he beget a son . . . if the wicked man begets a son who proves a good man, which sometimes is the case, as Hezekiah the son of Ahaz (2 Ki.18:1-3), and Josiah the son of Amon (2 Ki.21:24-26).  
That seeth all his father's sins which he hath done . . . not every specific action his father did, but the main of them; and the several kinds of sin he was addicted to, and which were done publicly in clear view; but the son  does NOT imitate them, as children are very likely to do.
And considereth . . . the evil nature and trend of the sins, and how abominable they are to God; how opposing any sin is to God’s Law; how shameful and disgusting in themselves, and how malicious and destructive in their effects and results.
And doeth not such like . . . this son fears God; and because the fear of God (reverence) is before his eyes, and in his heart . . . this reverence his father did NOT have . . . therefore the son cannot do the sinful things his father did; for fear of offending the Lord GOD, the fear of losing the LORD’S grace, and the fear of His righteous judgments . . . all of which have an influence to restrain him from sin.

*****Consider the following: Nine good Kings of Israel: (1). David (1 Ki.11:4, 33); (2). Asa 1 Ki.15:11). (3). Jehoshaphat (1 Ki.22:43). (4). Jehoash (2 Ki.12:2). (5). Amaziah (2 Ki.14:3). (6). Uzziah (2 Ki.15:3). (7). Jotham (Ki.15:34). (8). Hezekiah (2 Ki.18:3). (9). Josiah (2 Ki.22:2).
There was not one king in the 33 kings of the northern kingdom that was godly. Three reasons why judgment fell upon Solomon. (1). His heart was turned away from the LORD (1 Ki.11:1-4, 9). (2). He went after other gods (1 Ki.11:10). (3). He did not keep God's covenant and statutes (1 Ki.11:11).

Ezekiel 18:15 That 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, (KJV)

That 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 . . . see (18:6), where the same things are mentioned as here, and in the same order; with only the clause, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman, being here omitted.

Ezekiel 18:16 Neither 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, (KJV)

Neither hath oppressed any . . . see (18:7),  
Hath not withholden the pledge . . . the meaning is, not that he had not given a pledge, but had not taken one. So the Targum, the pledge he hath not taken. Or, if he did, he did not keep it beyond the time the law directs, but restored it to him whose it was.  
Neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment . . . the rest of the verse is the same as verse 18:7.

Ezekiel 18:17 That 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. (KJV)

That hath taken off his hand from the poor . . . withdrawn his hand from hurting or wronging the poor, although he had power and might to do it securely.
The different sense of the phrase in Ezekiel 16:49, in reference to relieving the poor, seems to have suggested the following: hath not turned his hand from. Eze.20:22 uses it in a similar way: to abstain from hurting.
That hath not received usury nor increase . . .  See (18:8-9), where this is explained.
Hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes . . . this good son of a wicked father not only did not do sinful things, but did that which was fair and right, both with respect to God and man. He paid attention to the true worship of God, and was fair and honest to all men.
He shall not die for the iniquity of his father . . . nor will he be punished for his father's sins with sword, famine, pestilence or captivity. He shall not die a physical death, and certainly not eternal death, because of anything that his father did.
He shall surely live . . . in his own land, enjoying the good things of life; for he has the grace of God and great reverence for Him instilled in him, causing him to act in a pleasing manner before the LORD. Because of his gracious values, he shall live eternally, even though he is the son of a wicked man.

Ezekiel 18:18 As 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. (KJV)

As for his father . . . it shall NOT be so with the wicked father.  
Because he cruelly oppressed . . . oppressed the poor, having no mercy on them, but used them in the most severe way.
Spoiled his brother by violence . . . all Hebrews were brothers (Lev.25). The word is used here could also be neighbor (18:6, 11). The wicked father took away the spoil of his brother; taking away his substance; did injury to his person and property . . . all the mischief lay in his power. It is sad indeed what the rich and powerful do to poor people! A wicked man is much like a wild beast or a cannibal, for he is truly a greedy monster.
And did that which is not good among his people . . . a wicked man does NO good to his neighbors, citizens nor countrymen. He does nothing that is good, nothing that he should have done; but did everything that was bad, which he should NOT have done (Rom.7:19; 12:9). It should be every man’s concern to in some way, serve the Lord GOD and be helpful to mankind.
Lo, even he shall die in his iniquity. . . or for his iniquity (8:22, 24), for it shall not be forgiven him; he shall be punished for it with death, with the death of affliction; and with physical death, as a punishment for sin; and with eternal death (Rev.14:10-11; 19:3; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8), dying in his sins (Jn.8:21, 24) and in a state of unrepentance (14:6; 18:30; Mat.3:2; 4:17).
See different deaths on our web site: . . . . . . . . . .   http://www.hisservants.org/death_then_what_1.1.htm

*****All the above instances, put different ways, clearly show the fairness and justice of God; the equality of His proceedings in providence; and how wrong the proverb in Ezekiel 18:2 was to them; and that those who sin, and willingly continue in their sin, shall die for their OWN iniquities, and NEVER for the sins of others. 
According to OUR works:  (Ps.62:12; Pro.24:12, 29; Isa.59:18; Jer.21:14; 25:14; 32:19; Lam.3:64; Eze.7:8-9; 18:30; Hos.12:2; Zec.1:6; Mat.16:27; Rom.2:6; 2 Tim.4:14; Rev.2:23; 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12).

Treatment of both son and father shall be according to their own deserts (19-20)

Ezekiel 18:19 Yet 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. (KJV)

Yet say ye, why? . .  . why do you state something that is not true, something that is a lie? Even after all that Ezekiel brought to them in verses 18:5-18, the people did not understand. They continue talking against the LORD. There is no talking to them; they will not sit down and listen to right reason (2 Thes.3:2). This is so much like it is in today’s world!
Doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father?. . . they keep arguing! Don’t we have proof of it every day we live? Aren’t our present circumstances full indication of it? It may be rendered, why does not the son bear the iniquity of the father? The Targum is, why is not the son punished for the sins of the father? Ezekiel answers them.
When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them . . . this is the reason why he shall NOT bear his father's sins, or be punished for them . . . indicating that they had NOT done these things that made the complaint, but had committed the same sins their fathers had, and so were punished, NOT for their fathers' sins, but their own sins, because the man that does what is just and right with the Lord GOD, and between man and man, kept all my statutes (Ps.119:44).
He shall surely live . . . see 18:17.

*****The way of the Lord GOD’S Divine justice, renders to each individual person his own work, and gives to each one the fruit of his own doings (deserts). The proud, arguing, self-justifying idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, murderers, usurers, oppressors, refuse to see their own sins, for which they are punished, but cry they are innocent, that their fathers sinned and they suffer.

Ezekiel 18:20 The 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. (KJV)

The soul that sinneth, it shall die . . . this is repeated from (18:4).
The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son . . . the Targum paraphrases it, the son shall not be punished for the sins of the father, nor shall the father be punished for the sins of the son. This is to be understood of adults and of actual sins; for it is only of such that the prophet speaks throughout the whole chapter, or of this life on Earth, not of eternal punishment.
The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him . . . he shall be rewarded with good things in this life, according to his righteousness; which, as the Targum says, shall remain upon him (Ps.112:9). He shall eat of the fruit of his own doings (Isa.3:10). This is true of a man that is righteous, or is so through the imputing or crediting of Christ's righteousness to him; which is upon him as a robe to clothe him (1 Cor.1:30; Rom.5:1) and will always remain on him, being an everlasting righteousness (Ps.103:17; 119:142, 144; Dan.9:24) , and will answer for him in a time to come: Righteousness of Christ: (Rom.3:22; 5:17; 8:10; 10:4, 6; 1 Cor.1:30; Gal.2:21; Phil.1:11; 3:9; 2 Pet.1:1)
And the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him . . . the wickedness of each single person shall be on himself alone, NEVER on another; the sin shall remain on the person who committed it, on him alone . . . all sin unatoned for, unexpiated, not paid for, not taken away, not forgiven; the punishment of it shall be on him alone, and abide upon him alone. The iniquity of the father, rests on the father alone (Deut.24:16; 2 Ki.14:5-6). Righteousness . . . wickedness there is a reward for righteousness and there is punishment for wickedness.
http://hisservants.org/hell_who_goes_there.htm
http://lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_hell_degrees_of_punishment.html
http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_hell_alt_degrees_in_hell.htm

*****The following speaks of the Lord GOD doing to the wicked after their way, and according to their deserts . . . according to what they deserve! Will YOU receive a reward? Or punishment?
Ezekiel 7:27 The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land shall be troubled: I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the LORD. (KJV) . . . In this verse the prophet confirms that GOD’S vengeance would be so common that it would descend equally upon the highest and the lowest. He begins with the king, his sons, then he descends to his counselors, then the whole people.
What can men plan or do for themselves when GOD has departed from them and appears against them? All people should be humbled to the point fear and weeping about GOD’S judgment, for when God comes to judge them according to their deserts, they shall then know that He is indeed the LORD, the One and Only GOD to whom vengeance belongs. May we all be wise enough to learn for these words.  

He that revolts from his righteousness shall die, but IF the wicked repent, he shall live (21-24)

The prophet Ezekiel now takes up the fourth and last case . . . that of a change in the individual character. This has two parts: (1) that of the wicked repenting and doing right (18:21-23, and 18:27-28), and (2) that of the righteous falling into wickedness (18:24-26). The second part, the righteous falling into wickedness, is briefly treated, because the purpose is to encourage hope in repentance. This case, in both its parts, is first treated in 18:21-24, and then, for the sake of importance, is repeated in reverse order in 18:26-28.

Ezekiel 18:21 But 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. (KJV)

But if the wicked . . . a wicked man, or any wicked man, even the most notorious sinner, so far is the LORD from punishing the sins of one man upon another, that He will not punish a man for his own sins: IF he
Will turn from all his sins that he hath committed . . . turn away from, repent, for ‘turn’ indicates repentance, and by the fruits of repentance which must follow.  Turn from all his sins . . . it must be a total rejecting of sin, for IF a person truly repents of sin, and completely forsakes them; it must NOT be one sin only, but for all sin! Every sin is to be hated and grieved over, and deep sorrow expressed for it. All sin must be forsaken; NOT one sin is to be cherished and retained, but ALL sin must be abandoned, otherwise the repentance and conversion could be rightly questioned as to whether they were sincere.
And keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right . . . just as the repentance and turning away from sin must be complete, so too must obedience to the commands of God be, for respect is to be had to all His ordinances, because all of them are to be honored as right and lawful, and to be kept . . . for only this brings forth fruits fit for repentance (Jn.4:26; 15:2; Rom.6:22; Heb.12:11; Jam.3:18).
He shall surely live, he shall not die . . . he shall live in his own land, and not go into captivity. One comments: he shall live in this world, and not die in the world to come. He shall be pardoned, escape punishments, and it shall be well with him. This is the nonstop method of God’s proceedings with His people; He calls them to Himself by Promises of pardon, He never scares them away from Him by threatening to punish us with the sins of others. If we truly forsake our own sin, we shall not suffer for them, and NEVER suffer for sins of others.

*****God does NOT punish the sins of guilty parents on their innocent children, as in 18:14-20. The Lord GOD does not punish the guilty for their own sins, of which they repent of and forsake. Our amazing God, who mercifully pardons the repentant ones all their own sins, will NEVER charge innocent ones with the sins that are not their own.
A man is not only free from the sins of his father, but he may also be free from his own sins, IF he so wishes; he can repent and turn away from them. This Passage regarding the possibility of a man becoming free from his own sins has been called, the most precious word in the whole Book of Ezekiel.
God's ultimate objective for human life is certainly NOT the destruction of the wicked. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (KJV)  . . . I believe that it is God’s will and God's pleasure that the wicked should turn from his evil way and live.

Ezekiel 18:22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. (KJV)

All his transgressions that he hath committed . . . all his transgressions NOT just one, but every personal, actual sin shall be forgiven even though great sins. That he hath committed . . . sins he did commit, BEFORE he repented, when he disobeyed the Lord GOD. 
They shall not be mentioned unto him . . . they shall not be charged to him, or brought against him in judgment. He shall NOT be rebuked with them, nor punished for them; but they shall be forgiven him. They shall not be mentioned, not remembered, not charged with, not punished. When God promises to pardon, He promises that He will NOT remember our sins.
In his righteousness that he hath done he shall live . . . in his righteousness he shall live, as the evidence of his being already in favor with God through the merit of Messiah, Who was to come. The Gospel of Jesus Christ clears up many Passages, which were dimly understood in Ezekiel’s time, even though they did have enough light for salvation. The fruit and result of his obedience and righteousness, means that he shall live and not die, according to the tone of the law (Lev.18:5).  
Remember their sin no more: (Ps.103:25; Isa.43:25; Jer.31:34; 33:8; 50:20; Mic.7:19; Heb.8:12; 10:17).
Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (KJV)  
Jeremiah 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (KJV)
Jeremiah 33:8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. (KJV)  
Micah 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (KJV)  
Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. (KJV)
Hebrews 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (KJV)
This Promise from the Lord GOD comes only when a person repents of their sin, and then obeys GOD!

Ezekiel 18:23 Have 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? (KJV)

Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD . . . does God have any pleasure in the death of the wicked? . . . Answered in (18:32), the answer being a definite NO! But they would perish by sword, famine or pestilence, or go into captivity because this, although the Lord's will and work, yet it is His strange work (Isa.28:21) . . . but . . . mercy is His delight. The LORD does take pleasure in these things, only because they fulfil His Holy Word, His Promise, and it secures the honor of His Truth and Holiness, and glorifies His justice, especially when it is the way of rescuing men from the evil of their ways.  
And not that he should return from his ways, and live? . . . this means it is so much more pleasing to God that a man should repent of his sins, forsake his wicked way of life, and enjoy good things, rather than to go on in his sins, and bring ruin on himself, both here in this life and in the hereafter.

*****Many who believed the prophecies of Ezekiel accepted them as final and irrevocable decrees of the Lord GOD (Lam.2:8-9, 17; 3:42-44). Many of them also believed that the destiny of evil was in result of the unfaithfulness of former generations (Eze.18:2). The prophet brings to these different classes of people three propositions which he powerfully states and illustrates: (1) Their afflictions are divine punishments for sin; (2) They are punishments for the sins of the people who are bearing or shall bear them; (3) They can be escaped by repentance and reformation.
God has no desire for, or pleasure in, the death of the wicked. He does NOT want any to be lost. But without doubt it, death must be so for they CHOOSE that way themselves. Their hearts and wills are turned against Him and they will NOT repent. The Lord GOD would much rather that they returned to Him and find mercy, so that He might give them life.
If we do NOT spare our sins, but slay them with the sword of the Spirit (Eph.6:17; Heb.4:12), God will spare us. But, IF we spare our sin, SIN will eventually slay the sinner. IF you raise up your sins, you sink yourself!  

Ezekiel 18:24 But 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. (KJV)

But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness . . . this speaks of apostates (those who turn away from the LORD, hypocrites) after showing how the wicked can live and not die, God now shows how a supposed righteous man could die and not live. When or if the righteous turn away from being righteous, could happen at any time. The truly righteous are those who properly had kept the commands of the law, and had NOT done the terrible things that the wicked do, but done only the good which the righteous do, and in the sight of man SEEMS to be righteous, and as good as any one; but their apostasy is proof of their hypocrisy. A TRUE child of God POSSESS Jesus in their heart, where a hypocrite simply PROFESS to be a Christian.
http://www.godcannotlie.org/true_children_of_god.htm
http://www.hisservants.org/Books_apostacy.html
http://judgmentcoming.org/j_c_apostasy.htm
http://worldlychaos.org/w_c_apostasy_in_the_last_days.1.htm
http://hisservants.org/a_1_hypocrisy_runs_wild.htm
http://hisservants.org/hard_mat.23.13-30_h_s.htm
http://www.godcannotlie.org/matthew_ch23.htm
http://worldlychaos.org/w_c_religion_or_christ.1.htm
Turneth away from his righteousness . . . a hypocrite can change his course into evil, sinful practices, like the wicked. His righteousness . . . there is only one TRUE righteousness, and it comes from faith it the only begotten Son of God (Jn.3:15-18, 1 Jn.5:10-13)andit comes only from God (Rom.4). There is a righteousness which is in a man’s own heart, which arises from a man’s own common sense, and is improved by the grace of God,  respected and revered by the fear of God (Ps.111:10; Pro.1:7; 9:10) . . . it is these flip-flop righteous ones that easily fall away, and it is of these that Ezekiel speaks.  
And committeth iniquity . . . makes sin his work and business, goes into a cruel course of life, and continues in it . . . which a truly righteous man, one that is born again (Jn.3:3-8), can NEVER do (1 Jn.3:8-10).  (Jn.8:33; 1 Jn.3:8-9).
And doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth . . . such as theft, murder, adultery, homosexuality, idolatry, oppression of the poor, and giving upon usury (18:10).  
Shall he live? . . . in his own land, in peace and prosperity, enjoying all manner of good things? NO, he shall not; much less shall he have an eternal life.  
All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned . . . all the good works which he has done will never be of any avail; as they deserve nothing, they will meet with no reward (1 Cor.3:14), they will not preserve him from present calamity, which his now sinful life exposes him to, nor will they secure him from eternal ruin; these good works may be mentioned and pleaded by himself, but to no purpose; God will not mention them, nor take any notice of them, neither shall the Great Judge on Judgment Day.
In his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die . . .  meaning his hypocrisy, his evasion, and the spiteful course of life he now lives in, a death of affliction shall come upon him; great calamities and distresses in this world; and if he dies in his trespasses and sins, he will also die the second death (Rev.2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8).
In his trespass that he hath trespassed . . . his trespass is simply complete apostasy, which reveals that this man’s heart was on his sin; and in his sin, he did wrong with full determination and willingness of mind. It was with great delight hypocrites do what they do, and even when warned, they continue on it their sin.        
And in his sin that he hath sinned . . . repeating the warning above in different words.
In them shall he die . . . in them, in these continued great, willful and multiplied sins.
Shall he die . . . every pigheaded, stubborn apostate shall be condemned and punished temporally in this life on Earth, and eternally in the everlasting fires of Hell (Isa.33:14; Mat.18:8; 25:41). Ezekiel warned the wicked Jews, but dear one . . . he is warning sinful Christians as well! BEWARE!!!
 
*****A dire warning is given to wicked people, to turn away from their wickedness. Assurance is here given us that, IF the wicked will turn, they shall surely live (18;21, 27). The sins they have sincerely repented of and forsaken shall NEVER rise up in judgment against them, nor shall they be so much as rebuked with them. All the wrongdoings that they had committed, although many and terrible, even though very provoking to the Lord GOD, and offending His honor and glory, yet they shall not be mentioned unto him (18:22), and not mentioned against them; not only shall they NOT be charged to him to ruin him, but in the great day they shall NOT be remembered against him to grieve or shame him. This indicates the broadness of God’s pardoning mercy; when sin is forgiven it is blotted out, it is remembered no more. Once a sin is forgiven by God, He remembers that sin no more: (Ps.103:25; Isa.43:25; Jer.31:34; 33:8; 50:20; Mic.7:19; Heb.8:12; 10:17).  


  The Lord GOD defends the fairness of His dealings (18:25-30)

Ezekiel 18:25 Yet 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? (KJV)

Yet ye say . . . the people kept persisting in their hard, unjust and ungodly opinions of inequality in the LORD’S ways, and are not afraid to speak as much. Although the clear examples in this Chapter show the equity and fairness of the Lord GOD in His proceedings, and uphold His justice in the rights of His wisdom; yet the blindness and stupidity of these people insisted the LORD’S way was not equal, because of their stubborn disrespect.
The way of the Lord is not equal . . . they insisted the Lord’s way was not just, not right, not even, according to the rules of justice and equity . . . and that they were not steady, not firm, and not consistent with Him and His will. This was a bold, brazen and blasphemous charge, and yet the Lord condescends to reason with them about it. Is not equal . . . this huge wicked proclamation they built on vast ignorance, and unbearable proud conceit of their own righteousness. We, they say, are righteous, not wicked, yet we are punished. Unheard-of pride, condemning the Lord GOD, with Whom there is NO iniquity, and clearing themselves, in whom is ALL iniquity!
Hear now, O house of Israel . . . the ten tribes that were now in captivity; or the Jews that were carried captive with Jeconiah, with those that were still in Jerusalem and Judea . . . it was to these that were called upon to hear the Lord, and hear what He had to say in vindication of Himself from this outrageous charge . . . for it was only just, right and reasonable that they should hear it!
Is not my way equal? . . . God asks them: Is not My way always plain and even, constant and uniform, and always is according to the clear rules of justice and truth? Can you give me an example that would be contrary? What do you have to support the charge against me? Show Me if you can!
Are not your ways unequal? . . . it is as plain as can be . . . it is YOUR actions, YOUR course of life, which are clear deviations from My Law, and from all the rules of righteousness and goodness. It is YOU that are in the wrong, and I am right.

*****The righteousness of the righteous is upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked is upon him. There is absolutely NO unfairness here! The ways they choose, keep, plead for, and stubbornly hold to are the crooked, unsteady and unjust ways. They will not be permitted to draw another breath that have breathed out such wicked blasphemy as this! That tongue shall never speak again anywhere but in Hell, that had once said, The ways of the Lord are not equal. Because this is the day of God's patience, He agrees to argue with them; but He requires them to own up to their words, for it is plain that they cannot deny their words of unfaithfulness to Him.
<><><>The equity of God’s ways are ALWAYS equal! Our wise God never lays upon anyone more than is right, both in the present punishments of sinners and the afflictions of His own people, and in the eternal damnation of the defiant, unrepentant ones . . . the ways of the LORD are ALWAYS right and equal.
<><><>God NEVER does ANYONE any wrong, whereas we have wronged ourselves. The utter foolishness of man distorts and perverts his way, and then his heart blames the LORD, as if the LORD’S ways were unequal. In all our arguments with God, and in all His disagreements with us, Judgment Day will reveal that God’s ways ARE equal, but ours are not, and that He is in the right and we are in the wrong. Proverbs 19:3 The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD. (KJV)

Ezekiel 18:26 When 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. (KJV)

When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness . . . the whole of this verse is explained in verse 24. It is repeated here to further confirm it, and to raise their attention to it; to make it more plain and manifest to them, and to fix it firmly in their minds.

*****A warning is given to supposed righteous people (apostates, hypocrites), NOT to turn from their righteousness (24-26). The character of an apostate is that he turns away from his supposed righteousness, but in truth, he never was sincere in being a righteous man, which seems quite clear by the apostle John. 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (KJV)  

An apostate leaves his first love (Rev.2:4), disowns and forsakes the Truth and ways of God (1 Ki.11:33; 21:22; Jer.2:13; 15:6; 24:20). An apostate turns away from being righteous, as one who is sick of it, and now reveals that he always had a secret dislike of being righteous and good; and having turned away from being righteous, he commits sin, grows immoral and profane, sensual, self-indulgent, unjust and in summary, does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does. So sad, for when the unclean spirit recovers his possession of the heart, he brings with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself and they enter in and dwell there.
Luke 11:26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. (KJV)
Many may SEEM to be righteous, and as good as any one; but their apostasy is proof of their hypocrisy. A TRUE child of God POSSESS Jesus in their heart, where a hypocrite simply PROFESS to be a Christian.
http://www.godcannotlie.org/true_children_of_god.htm
http://www.hisservants.org/Books_apostacy.html
http://judgmentcoming.org/j_c_apostasy.htm
http://worldlychaos.org/w_c_apostasy_in_the_last_days.1.htm
http://hisservants.org/a_1_hypocrisy_runs_wild.htm
http://hisservants.org/hard_mat.23.13-30_h_s.htm
http://www.godcannotlie.org/matthew_ch23.htm
http://worldlychaos.org/w_c_religion_or_christ.1.htm

Ezekiel 18:27 Again, 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. (KJV)

Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed . . . repents of his sins, and forsakes the vicious course of life he has lived. See Ezekiel 18:21-23 where this verse is interpreted.
And doeth that which is lawful and right . . . or does that which agrees to the Law and will of God, and is just and right between man and man.
He shall save his soul alive . . . from famine, pestilence, the sword or captivity; he shall be preserved, and not be involved in calamities and distress: or shall quicken his own soul which is only done by the Spirit and grace of God, NOT by man himself . . . neither is the pleasure of eternal life by the works of men, but only through the amazing grace of God, and righteousness of Christ (Rom.3:24; 5:1, 9; Eph.2:8-9; 1 Pet.1:18-19). Again, when the wicked man turneth away . . . this the prophet had said before in verses 21-23, but people needed to hear this wonderful Promise over and over again, because there is in the best people a natural doubt or denial to question pardon for sins, especially if the sins are great and grievous ones. I truly believe that once a person sincerely believes God (1 Jn.5:10-13), and accepts Jesus as their Saviour and Lord, they are saved FOREVER!
http://www.godcannotlie.org/true_children_of_god.htm . . . God’s TRUE children.
http://www.godcannotlie.org/saving_faith.htm . . . which faith do you claim?
http://www.hisservants.org/once_saved,_always_saved_h_s.htm . . . Once you are truly saved, you are forever saved!

Ezekiel 18:28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. (KJV)

Because he considereth . . . being come to himself (Lk.15:17-18) and in his right mind, he then considers the evil of his ways, and of what they lead to, that they deserve at the Hand of God. The prodigal came to himself first, then went home to his father. He now considers what he could expect, IF he were to continue in them (18:14). Consideration is the first step to repentance, because the wicked NEVER consider either God or themselves (Deut.32:29; Ps.119:59-60).
And turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed . . . not only repents of his sins, but STOPS them . . . and NOT just from from one or a few of them, but from ALL of them! Only when this is done, does it reveal that he is sincere about his repentance. There is always true sorrow for the wrongs done, there is always a change of mind, there is always a change of lifestyle, IF a person is sincere in repenting!  
He shall surely live, he shall not die . . . see verse 18:21.

Ezekiel 18:29 Yet 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? (KJV)

Yet saith the house of Israel, the way of the Lord is not equal . . . although the condition was put to them in so many ways, and was made very plain, by the instances given, the truth just could NOT reach them;
O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? . . . this is an appeal to their own sense of right and wrong, upon the evidence before given. Even though God's justice is made so clear, sinners still object to it because they do NOT want to see it (Mic.2:7; Mat.11:18-19).

Ezekiel 18:30 Therefore 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. (KJV)

Therefore will I judge you . . . I will determine, I will clear up and vindicate my justice, which you have made false, in your deserved destruction, unless you repent.
O house of Israel . . . this is who kept this opinion of God, these proud ones who held contempt for God, and justified themselves.
Everyone according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD . . . NOT according to the ways of their father, but according to their own ways. This seems to refer not to the last and general judgment, but to some agonizing temporal punishment, which God, as the Righteous Judge, would inflict upon them for their sins, according to the just desert of them; but even with all their wickedness, insolence, and blasphemy, the Lord wanted to show mercy to them, instead of proceeding to strict justice. Every one . . . none shall be overlooked or excused, EVERY one shall be judged, according to his ways. . . the LORD’S ways shall be the standard and measure; if your ways are good, you shall receive good; if your ways are evil, you shall suffer evil; and there shall be no reason to complain.
Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions . . . this seems to mean a national repentance for national sins, to prevent national judgments, since it was addressed to the whole house of Israel, but it also means let every man turn himself from his evil courses, and do all he can to turn his brother, or his neighbor from wickedness. The Targum is, turn you to my worship, and remove from you the worship of idols. Repent and turn yourselves . . . take hold of my strength that ye may make peace with me, and ye shall make peace with me (Isa.27:5).
So iniquity shall not be your ruin . . . meaning temporal ruin, as it deserved, and they were threatened with; and which could be prevented by repentance and restoration. Iniquity is ungodly practices, and unjust opinions of the Lord GOD and His ways. Iniquity is the cause of their temporal and eternal misery. Only when they or we, cease from sin, can the LORD pardon and save them or us.
*****We must repent; we must change our mind and change our ways; we must be sorry for what we have done wrong and truly be ashamed of it, and never do it again. We must turn ourselves far away from all transgressions, IF we want forgiveness from the LORD. Because He knows our thoughts, we cannot lie to Him. 

Urgings and warnings to repent (18:31-32)

The Gracious LORD will judge each of the Israelites according to his own ways. On this is grounded an urgent appeal to repent, and to make them a new heart and a new spirit. God does not command what cannot be done, but cautions us to do what is in our power, and to pray for what is not in our power. Ordinances and resources are allotted, directions and Promises are given, that those who want this change may seek it from the LORD.

Ezekiel 18:31 Cast 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? (KJV)

Cast away from you all your transgressions whereby ye have transgressed . . . cast far away with righteous violence, every transgression and attraction to it as dangerous and wicked . . . because evil rests within yourselves; and your only way to escape is to be reconciled to God (Eph.4:22-24).  
And make you a new heart and a new spirit . . . which the LORD says in other places (11:19-20; 36:26-27), and promises to give, and He does give to his own elect; see . . . . . . http://www.godcannotlie.org/book_of_ezekiel_ch11.htm
Make you a new heart . . . shows, NOT what men can do, but what they should do; what God requires us to do. Only God alone can make a new heart in us (11:19-20; 36:26-27). The command here, to do what men cannot do themselves, is intended to motivate them to feel their own helplessness, and to seek God’s Spirit to help them (Ps.51:9-12) . . . instead of laying the blame on God, as the Jews did. IF we call upon God for help, He will certainly give it: for as sure as you sincerely call on God through Christ to save you, you shall surely be saved (Jn.3:15-18, 36; 5:24; 6:40, 47; 8:51; 11:26; 12:44; 20:31; 1 Jn.5:10-13). John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (KJV) . . . The result will promptly follow!
http://www.godcannotlie.org/john_commentary_ch5.html . . . http://www.godcannotlie.org/first_john_ch5.htm
For why will ye die, O house of Israel? . . . this is not to be understood of eternal death; since the deaths here spoken of was now upon them, what they were complaining of, and from which they might be recovered (18:4), but temporal calamity and affliction (2 Cor.1:10). For why will ye die . . . why should you go to Hell when the Kingdom of Heaven is open to receive you? Why should you be the devil's slaves, when Christ can set you free (Jn.8:32-33, 36)! Why would anyone want to be separated from God and the glory of his power for ever? (2 Thes.1:8-10). Death = forfeiting all the purposes for which your immortal souls were made! Eternal death = to know what the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched! Why will ye die? See different deaths on our web site: . . . . .   http://www.hisservants.org/death_then_what_1.1.htm

Ezekiel 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. (KJV)

For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth . . . this is not to be interpreted simply and unconditionally, and with respect to all persons afflicted and punished by Him . . . because He does take delight in exercising judgment and righteousness (Jer.9:24), and He does laugh at the calamity of wicked men (Ps.2:4; 37:13; 59:8; Pro.1:26). The wicked will then seek Him, but shall NOT find Him (Pro.1:28; Isa.1:11-15; 59:2; 66:3; Jer.11:11; 14:12; Lam.3:44; Eze.8:18; Hos.5:6; Am.5:21-23; Mic.3:4; Zec.7:13; Jn.7:34). The sense is, that the LORD takes no pleasure in the afflictions, calamities and captivity of men, which are here meant by death; but rather that they would repent and reform, and live in their own land, and enjoy the good things of it; which shows the mercy and compassion of God to sinners.  
Wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye . . .  although every man comes into the world with a fallen nature, with a soul infected with sin, yet NO man is condemned on that account . . . it is only the one who refuses the grace of God which pardons sin and heals that infected nature, who allows evil to break out into wrongdoing. Once sin starts and willingly continues, the person dies in his iniquity and sin, and will not come to Christ so that he may have life . . . he, and he alone, goes to perdition. The righteousness of a parent or relation will NOT help his sinful soul. No person can have more grace than is needed to save himself; and no one can have that grace, who does not receive it through Christ Jesus (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12). It is only the mercy of God the Father, in Christ Jesus His only begotten Son (Jn.3:16) which makes the salvation of any sinner possible; and it is that mercy alone which can heal the backslider. The atoning Blood of Jesus blots out all that is past; and it is the same precious Blood (1 Pet.1:18-19) that cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn.1:8-9). Whosoever believes this, can apply for this redemption! Whosoever should properly thank God for having provided such a Saviour?

*****CONSIDER: As we pause over this most solemn Chapter, and wonder about the contents of it, we should look up to the Lord GOD, with a humble heart of prayer, and that His Spirit may be our teacher. This Chapter teaches the certain end of sin. It also teaches us the righteousness and everlasting safety of the redeemed. Oh! That we can see just how precious the righteousness of our Precious Lord Jesus is to us!
 
To every truly awakened heart, reproved by the Holy Ghost of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (Jn.16:8). There is no righteousness but that of Jesus that can be depended on or trusted in. All our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isa.64:6). We all should cast away every imagined goodness of ours, lest we die in our iniquity, for in Thee alone, dear Lord Jesus is salvation found (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12). Dear Lord Jesus, help us all to honor and praise You, as You truly deserve, and give You the glory in all things.


Special Comments

Whoever would teach as the Bible does, and whoever would teach as Christ did, must be very careful to show BOTH sides of the picture beyond the grave. A teacher or preacher must tell of God’s wrath and judgment, as well as His love and mercy. If the wicked will not cast away all their transgressions and make them a new heart and a new spirit . . . they will most surely die . . . because there is no remedy for it.

True and full repentance is a greater work than many of us may have thought. It is in reality, two great works in one; the first is hating the evil, casting away all our transgressions; the other is loving the good, making us a new heart and a new spirit. The conversion and adjustment of sinners is in some mysterious way both God's work and their work; they work out their own salvation, because it is God that worketh in them both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Just hating our former sins is not enough, they must love Christ; for those whom Christ guides to true repentance are learning to love Him as well as hate their sins. They are learning to take great pleasure in His Presence and rejoice in the feeling that He always watches over them, to take pleasure in denying themselves for His sake, as a parent takes pleasure in what he does and endures for his child.

BEWARE! Iniquity could be your ruin.

The nature of our ruin. The death of the body is not meant here. That is inevitable. Natural death will be only the beginning of that most awful death to which our text alludes.
(1) This death is not the extinction of existence, thought, feeling, conscience.
(2) It is the death of pleasure, hope, and love.
(3) It involves exclusion from Heaven, from the society of good, honest, moral and right, from the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The author of our ruin proceeds mainly and effectively from man's will. The sinner destroys himself. The fact of the sinner's self-destruction is apparent from:
(1) The character of the Gospel;
(2) The character of man;
(3) The character of his future condition.
The reason of our ruin. Why will ye die? Because we love the pleasures of the world more than the joys of eternal life; because we desire the approval of man more than the inheritance of Heaven; because we have been addicted to the ways of sin, because we are not willing to stop evil habits; and because we have not been willing to repent of our sin and unbelief, and have no intention to change our course. The guilt, shame, stupidity and humiliation of eternal death belong to you.

When the Lord GOD forgives, He remembers their sin no more: (Ps.103:25; Isa.43:25; Jer.31:34; 33:8; 50:20; Mic.7:19; Heb.8:12; 10:17).   
Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (KJV)  
Jeremiah 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (KJV)
Jeremiah 33:8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. (KJV)  
Micah 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (KJV)  
Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. (KJV)
Hebrews 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (KJV)

This Promise from the Lord GOD comes only when a person repents of their sin, and then obeys GOD!
http://www.godcannotlie.org/micah_ch7.htm
http://www.godcannotlie.org/book_of_hebrews_ch8.htm
http://www.godcannotlie.org/book_of_hebrews_ch10.htm

ETERNAL DOCTRINE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

1. All souls will give account to God on the same basis (18:4).
2. If a man is just and does that which is lawful and right, he will live (18:5-9).
3. If a righteous father has a wicked son, the father’s righteousness will not save the son from death (18:10-13).
4. The wicked son will die for his own sin and be responsible for it (18:13).
5. A righteous son of a wicked father will live because of his own righteousness (18:14-17).
6. The wickedness of a father will not be passed upon a righteous son because of human relationship. He will not die for the sins of his father.
7. The wicked father will die only for his own sins (18:18).
8. The only time a son of a wicked man will bear the iniquity of his father is when he commits the same sins his father did (18:19).
9. The son will not bear the iniquity of the father, nor the father bear the iniquity of the son, unless they commit the same sins (18:20).
10. The righteousness of the righteous will be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon him.
11. The wicked will live by having the death penalty cancelled in the day that he ceases to sin and turns to God with a whole heart (18:21, 27-28).
12. All the sins of the wicked man will not be mentioned against him or condemn his soul in the day that he quits sin and commits righteousness (18:22).
13. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (18:23).
14. All the righteousness of the righteous will not deliver him from death in the day that he goes back into sin.
15. All the righteousness he has done will not be mentioned, for it cannot deliver him from death when he sins.
16. The ways of God are always equal and just (18:25, 29-30).
17. All men will be judged according to their own ways as to whether they have or have not obeyed the ways of God (18:30).
18. God wants all people: (a) To repent (18:30). (b) To turn from their transgressions so that sin will not condemn them. (c) To cast away all their sins, whereby they have sinned (18:31). (d) To make themselves a new heart and a new spirit by meeting God's terms of salvation and becoming new creatures in Christ (2 Cor.5:17). (e) To turn yourselves, and live (18:32).

*****Consider the following: Nine good Kings of Israel: (1). David (1 Ki.11:4, 33); (2). Asa 1 Ki.15:11). (3). Jehoshaphat (1 Ki.22:43). (4). Jehoash (2 Ki.12:2). (5). Amaziah (2 Ki.14:3). (6). Uzziah (2 Ki.15:3). (7). Jotham (Ki.15:34). (8). Hezekiah (2 Ki.18:3). (9). Josiah (2 Ki.22:2).
There was not one king in the 33 kings of the northern kingdom that was godly. Three reasons why judgment fell upon Solomon. (1). His heart was turned away from the LORD (1 Ki.11:1-4, 9). (2). He went after other gods (1 Ki.11:10). (3). He did not keep God's covenant and statutes (1 Ki.11:11).

Book of Ezekiel

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