The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Ezekiel 18

Eze 18:1

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.)

Eze 18:4

THE SOUL WHO SINS IS THE ONE WHO WILL DIE: But even the sinless "soul" (Christ) dies: Isa 53:12; 1Co 15:18.

Eze 18:19

Repetition of the basic principles of individual responsibility.

Eze 18:23

"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 People.

"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).

Eze 18:31

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).

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