Eze 18: The parable of the sour grapes addresses the question
of individual responsibility. All apparent injustices will be righted when the
tender branch comes (Eze 17:22). (The false prophets of the time were teaching
that the nation was being punished for sins of the past.)
THE SOUL WHO SINS IS THE ONE WHO WILL DIE: But even the
sinless "soul" (Christ) dies: Isa 53:12; 1Co 15:18.
Repetition of the basic principles of individual
"This verse is frequently used to support the view that God
wants to save all men and it is only their refusal to turn to Him which prevents
this, for does not Peter say, 'The Lord is... not willing that any should
perish, but that all should come to repentance' (2Pe 3:9)?
"A moment's reflection is enough to cast doubts on this
conclusion. That God is merciful, gracious and a God of love, goes without
saying; but to argue that He is so to all men, meaning every individual,
contradicts the fundamental teaching of Scripture that God's purpose is being
worked out 'according to ELECTION' (Rom 9:11).
"The words of Jesus indicate a selection process: 'No man can
come to me, except the Father which hath sent me DRAW him' (John 6:44). It is
because of this that Paul writes to the Thessalonians: 'We give thanks to God...
knowing, brethren beloved, your ELECTION of God' (1Th 1:2,4)....
"God is all-powerful and able to do as He wills in His
universe. If He will indeed have all mankind to be saved, why is it that so many
never get to hear the gospel message? The words of the apostle in 1Ti 2:4 -- in
which he says that '[God] will have all men to be saved' -- cannot mean that it
is His desire to save every member of the human race. To interpret it thus would
contradict the fundamental principle that God's purpose is being worked out on
the basis of election. In these words the apostle, who had been divinely
appointed as a preacher to the Gentiles, is simply saying that it was no longer
the case that 'salvation is of the Jews'. God is now working with the Gentiles
(all mankind) and it was His will that salvation be offered to 'all men' (ie,
all nationalities) and not just to Jews.
"In 2Pe the apostle is writing to the brethren in the
Ecclesias of Asia Minor. It is to these, troubled by the Judaizers and in danger
of grave apostasy from the Truth, that he writes: 'The Lord... is longsuffering
to us-ward (RV, youward), not willing that any should perish, but that all
should come to repentance' (2Pe 3:9). These to whom Peter writes had been called
by the Father but were in danger of failing to 'make [their] calling and
election sure' (2Pe 1:10). The same applies to these verses from Ezekiel. They
are not addressed to the individuals of the pagan world but to the Covenant
"The vast majority of the Gentile world, then and now,
comprise that great crowd of mankind that 'is in honour, and understandeth not'
and who are, by God's appointment, 'like the beasts that perish' (Psa 49:20).
Being left by God to wander 'out of the way of understanding', they will by His
divine decree 'remain in the congregation of the dead' (Pro 21:16). That this
sad fact does not give God pleasure, we would agree. Let us not, however, go to
the extreme of emphasizing this to the point where we deny that God's purpose is
'according to election' " (AEz 186,187).
The first application: the return after 70 years captivity of
Zerubbabel, etc. Second application: the nation brought through fires and
purged, by individual choice (Eze 20:38).