Atlanta Bible Students

The Book of Ezekiel

Chapter 18
Go To Verse 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32
Chapter Overview
"This eighteenth chapter of Ezekiel relates specially to the time when the Adamic transgression will be offset by the New Covenant as a result of the ransom, so that naught will remain against believers but their own misconduct. The same principle applies to some extent to those of this Gospel age who are justified by faith; and to the Israelites justified by the typical sacrifices." R2016 footnote

[1] The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, [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? [3] As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. [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.

Verse 1  Expanded Bible Comments

The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,
QuestionSuggested Answer
Who is "me?"
This refers to the prophet Ezekiel directly giving this message from God to the nation of Israel. It also appears to picture the same thing at the end of the Gospel Age except that here the reference is to Pastor Russell delivering the message to natural Israel.

Verse 2  Expanded Bible Comments

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?
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is indicated by saying "this proverb concerning the land of Israel?" Israel was the land promised them by God. Exo. 12:25; Deut. 6:3; 9:28; 19:8; 27:3
The exact question in this verse: What is meant by "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?"
The fathers (ancestors – especially Adam) have eaten the sour grape of sin and the children's (all of Adam's descendants) have their teeth set on edge, i.e., all die because of the sin of father Adam.

Verse 3  Expanded Bible Comments

As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.
QuestionSuggested Answer
This "proverb" was used in Israel. What about the rest of the world?
Weather or not they used that actual proverb, the results remain true for all the world, i.e., father Adam ate the sour grape of sin and thus lost his human perfection. The result of this is that all his children were under the same death-sentence as Adam. Psa. 51:5.
What is indicated by "ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel?"
It indicates that this arrangement of all dying because of inherited sin is going to change to the point where any who die will die because of their own sin and not the sin of their parents.
Is there a particular reason why this message says they would not "use this proverb in Israel?" We suggest that it is because this change will take place under the New Covenant, and the New Covenant is made not with the church or the world, but with Israel. Jer. 31:31

Verse 4  Expanded Bible Comments

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.
QuestionSuggested Answer
According to this verse, how many souls belong to God? "All souls are mine."
Why does this verse emphasize "the soul of the father?" Because the discussion is still about the proverb, i.e., that the son inherits the sinful deeds of his father.
Why does this verse emphasize "the soul of the son?" Same answer as the previous question, except this time the focus is on the son.
What is meant by "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." The emphasis is that there no one will die because of inherited sin.
How does this pose a problem for those who believe that each one has an immortal soul? This is very direct. It does not say that the man will die, but the soul (which they claim to be immortal, death-proof) dies.

[5] But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, [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, [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; [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, [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.

Verses 5-9. Thinking in terms of the Chart of the Ages, when do these verses appear to apply?

Verse 5  Expanded Bible Comments

But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,
QuestionSuggested Answer
How can an imperfect man "be just, and do that which is lawful and right?" Under normal circumstances he cannot. Yet we remember that "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness [justification]." Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23

Verse 6  Expanded Bible Comments

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,
QuestionSuggested Answer
What's wrong with "eating upon the mountains?" Mountains symbolize Kingdoms. This appears to apply to the Kingdoms of this world, not the Lord's Kingdom. The Lord's people need to get their food from God's Kingdom (mountain.)
We recently saw a report stating that the best diet in the world for health is found in Israel.
What were "the idols of the house of Israel" and what is the significance of "lifted up his eyes to the idols..?"
The idols of the house of Israel were those items of worship (false gods, images) brought in from contact with the Gentiles.
Men are supposed to look up to the heavens, but not to idols of worship.
What is pictured by "defiled his neighbour's wife?"
Since a woman generally pictures a church, the thought here may refer to the true church refusing to go along with the false teachings and practices of his neighbor's wife (i.e., the nominal church.)
What is pictured by "neither hath come near to a menstruous woman?" A menstruous woman is not furtile. Each of the loyal women of Israel had the hope of being mother to the messiah. Coming to a women in that state is not for the right purpose.

Begin Here May 28, 2019

Verse 7  Expanded Bible Comments

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;
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is pictured by "hath not oppressed any?" The true church does not oppress others. But that has indeed has been the practice of the nominal church.
"Hath restored to the debtor his pledge." Being honest, keeping our word in all things, this is one of the marks of the man of God.
What does it mean to "spoil" someone? It means to take a spoil, as in "the spoils of war." In this verse it adds "by violence," reminding us not to use violence, even when it might otherwise be considered acceptable.
"Hath given his bread to the hungry" Has helped those in need from that which he had. – It does not say "went into debt" to help them, but "hath given his bread to the hungry."
"Hath covered the naked with a garment." Not only applies to literal clothing, but for those who have a hearing ear, teach them about the robe of Christ's righteousness.
What parable does verse 7 sound like? The good Samaritan. Luke 10:30-37. See also Matt. 25:35-40

Verse 8  Expanded Bible Comments

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,
QuestionSuggested Answer
What does vs. 8 say about "usury?" Usury (monetary interest) should be used upon others. Lev. 25:35-37.
Why does it say "hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity?" Hands are symbolic of action, energy put forth, etc. The Adversary likes to set up situations to tempt the Lord's people into doing something sinful. These temptations must be met with the strength derived from the Lord's Word: "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God," and we may add: "nor His People." – "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matt. 25:40
"hath executed true judgment between man and man" No favoritism to tip the scales of justice.

Verse 9  Expanded Bible Comments

Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.
QuestionSuggested Answer
To what AGE of God's plan does verse 9 apply?

This above section (vss 5-9) sounds a great deal like the parable of the sheep and goats. Matt. 25:35-40.

[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, [11] And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife, [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, [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.

Verses 10-13 Paraphrased:
  If a man has a son who is:
  a robber
  a shedder of blood
  or any such thing
    AND
  ignores his responsibilities
  pursues his neighbor's wife
  oppresses the poor and needy
  takes spoils from others by violence
  commits abomination
  charges extra interest upon others

  shall he live? -- no way!

Verses 10-11  Expanded Bible Comments

If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things, [11] And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife,
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verses 12-13  Expanded Bible Comments

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, [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.
QuestionSuggested Answer

[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, [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, [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, [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. [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.

Verse 14  Expanded Bible Comments

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,
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 15  Expanded Bible Comments

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,
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Verse 16  Expanded Bible Comments

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,
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 17  Expanded Bible Comments

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.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 18  Expanded Bible Comments

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.
QuestionSuggested Answer

[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. [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.

Verse 19  Expanded Bible Comments

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.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 20  Expanded Bible Comments

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.
QuestionSuggested Answer

[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. [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. [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? [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.

Verse 21  Expanded Bible Comments

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.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 22  Expanded Bible Comments

All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 23  Expanded Bible Comments

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?
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 24  Expanded Bible Comments

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.
QuestionSuggested Answer

[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? [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. [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. [28] Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. [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? [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. [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? [32] For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Verse 25  Expanded Bible Comments

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?
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 26  Expanded Bible Comments

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.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 27  Expanded Bible Comments

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.
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Verse 28  Expanded Bible Comments

Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 29  Expanded Bible Comments

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?
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Verse 30  Expanded Bible Comments

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.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 31  Expanded Bible Comments

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?
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 32  Expanded Bible Comments

For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.
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Chapter 17   Chapter 19