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THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET EZEKIEL





EXPLANATORY NOTE

This posthumous work of Pastor Russell (arranged for use as a textbook) is much condensed, including the extracts from the Pastor's pen, all of which are referred back to his works. The abbreviations used are:

A, B, C, D,E, FThe six preceding volumes of "STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES".
(Citations to E in italic figures refer to old editions, figures in ordinary type to later editions.)
B. S. M..........."THE BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY."
H....................."What Say the Scriptures ABOUT HELL?"
P-D................. "PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION" Scenario.
T....................."TABERNACLE SHADOWS."
S....................."SPIRITISM" Pamphlet.
Z......................"ZION'S WATCH TOWER," followed by year and page.

The citations to REVELATION and EZEKIEL refer to the comments herein, as well as to the Bible text.
Other abbreviations used are:

Barnes..........Barnes' "Revelation".
Brit................."Encyclopedia Britannica."
Buck..............Buck's "Theological Dictionary".
Coffin............Coffin's "Story of Liberty".
Cook.............Cook's "Revelation" ; a compendium of the presentations of seventy-two leading commentators on Revelation, in all languages and all ages of the Church.
Edgar............Edgar's "Pyramid Passages". Vol. II.
McC...............McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia.
Mosheim......Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History.
S. B. D...........Smith's Bible Dictionary.
Smith.............Smith's "Thoughts on Daniel and Revelation".
Weym............Weymouth's New Testament in Modern Speech.



EZEKIEL 18

451

"THE SOUL THAT SINNETH"

18:1, 2. The Word of the Lord came unto me again, saying, 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? — The Word of God came to be clearly understood by Pastor Russell as to the equity of Jehovah's dealings with man in condemning all to death. Both Jews and Christians have asked, "How is it just to visit the sins of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations?" "Why have the children's teeth been set on edge by the fathers' eating the sour grape of sin?" — H59; E334, 309.
18:3. As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. — The doubters queried, "Doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father?" (18:19.) They complained, "The way of the Lord is not equal" nor just. (18:25.) Pastor Russell, expounding the Word of God, demonstrated clearly that God's way is just (18:25); that man's ways are unequal, unjust (18:29); and that God takes no "pleasure at all that the wicked should die, but rather that he should turn from his ways and live." (18:23-32.) The time will soon be when the scornful proverb shall no longer possess any force. — H46.
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. — In the earthly phase of the thousand-year probationary Kingdom of God the equal justice of God will be manifest, father and son will be treated alike, no one dying for a parent's sin; but each soul that sinneth shall die for his own sin. — E354, 331; A128.
18:5-9. But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, 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, 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; he that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity,
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hath executed true judgment between man and man, hath walked in My statutes, and hath kept My judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God. — The Father of equal love will beseech each sinner to repent and turn from his transgression, that iniquity, wilful sin, be not his ruin. "Wherefore turn yourselves and live ye." (Ezek. 18:30, 32.) The days of death from Adamic and parental imperfection will be over; each one will be solely responsible for his own life or death. To clearly explain the changed situation the several cases are presented. If a righteous man continue in a righteous course he shall live eternally.
18:10-13. If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things, And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife, 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, 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. — If a man's son is a wilful sinner, "he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself."
18:14-18. 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, 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, 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, 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. 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. — If the wicked man have a good, upright son, the good son shall live; but the father shall die.
18:19-23. 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. 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
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him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. 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. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: In his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. 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? — The wicked man who turns to righteousness shall not have his former sins held against him; but he shall live.
18:24-30. 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. 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? 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. 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. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 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? 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. — The righteous man who turns to iniquity shall die.
18:31, 32. 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? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. — This will be true of individuals as soon as the last member of the spirit-begotten Body of Christ has died. And it is true now — and has been true since 1878 — of the institutions of "this present evil age," which have been in Divine judgment since 1878. If ecclesiasticism, "the house of Israel," would cast away all their transgressions, and gain a new heart and a new spirit, they would abide forever; but they will never change their evil ways; their destruction will be their own wilful act — "Why will ye die?"

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