221 – THE SOUL WHO SINS WILL DIE
Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die” (Ezek. 18:4). Jehovah, the god of Israel said these words to the prophet Ezekiel. What are the truths implicit in this verse?
- All souls belong to Jehovah, of both parents and children. Many times Jehovah has declared that.“The earth is Jehovah’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it” (Ps. 24:1).Good and bad belong to Jehovah, faithful and unfaithful, the monotheist, the polytheist, and the Atheist. “Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is Thou who dost possess all the nations” (Ps. 82:8). In the New Testament the concept is different. In order for someone to belong to God, the Father, it is necessary for him to be born again (John 3:3). Neither men nor women, born of the flesh alone, are children of God. John said, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). Since this world is in the hands of the devil (1 John 5:19), the kingdoms of this world belong to the devil(Luke 4:5-8). And all men are in the hands of the devil (Acts 26:18). The death of Jesus Christ on the cross was the price that the Father paid to rescue men from the hands of the devil and give start to the process of the new birth. “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body“ (1 Cor. 6:20). Jesus revealed that the children of this world are not the children of God.“And Jesus said to them, ‘The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection of the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; for neither can they die any more, for they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection’” (Luke 20:34-36).
- The second truth that Jehovah announced in Ezek 18:4 is that the soul that sins, dies. When he says that, Jehovah is declaring that there are souls without sin. For this reason, when they sin, they die. Death is the payment for the committed sin, or better, death is the punishment. Death is the final punishment for the committed sin. When the sinner died, he was free from a second condemnation, for he was already dead. We will prove this truth of the Old Testament and of Jehovah in the Bible. Judah, son of Jacob, had three sons of a Canaanite woman. The children grew up and Judah found a woman for his firstborn, named Er, whose name was Tamar. But the firstborn of Judah, Er, was evil, and Jehovah killed him (Gen. 38:6-7). It is proven, therefore, that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). We will tell a collective incident. When the sons of Israel were at the doors of Canaan, Moses sent twelve men to spy the land. When they returned, ten of them cowered saying that the inhabitants of the new earth were giants and powerful in war. Jehovah condemned them to death for this sin, for they affected the people with fear, and so they murmured against Jehovah (Num. 14:28-37; Heb. 3:17-19). There could not be eternal condemnation in the Old Testament, because there was not eternal life. Eternal life appeared with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul registered the following: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith also is in vain. Yes, we are found false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that he raised up Christ, whom he didn’t raise up, if it is so that the dead are not raised. For if the dead aren’t raised, neither has Christ been raised. ‘If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins.’ Then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (1 Cor. 15:14-18). In the times of Jehovah there was not eternal life, but there was eternal death, that is, the dead person was destroyed (Deut. 9:14). “Thou hast rebuked the nations, Thou hast destroyed the wicked; Thou hast blotted out their name forever and ever” (Ps. 9:5).
- In the New Testament, the soul that sins does not physically die. The way to treat man was changed by Jesus. Just as Christ brought eternal life to all, the criterion of judgment has changed:“Don’t marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice, ‘and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment’” (John 5:28-29). As the wicked will not be destroyed with death, and there will be judgment after resurrection; since man does not die at the time of his sin, Jesus grants him time to repent and have a change of life, something that Jehovah did not do.
- The highest point in the doctrine of the New Testament is that one does not die at the time of their sin, as Jehovah said in Ezek. 18:4. People are born already sinners and dead, that is, they are born prone to sin. Paul said, “Therefore, as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). Adam did not pass sin to his children, but death; death, passing from father to child, is proof that all are sinners. All have been born spiritually dead, even though physically alive. Adam was a sinner before he sinned, for Jesus declared that the good tree bears good fruit, and cannot bear bad fruit (Matt. 7:18). Since Adam produced bad fruit, he was a sinner before he ever sinned. It is by their fruit that a tree can be known (Matt. 7:17).
Summing it up, Paul states that all have been born dead, because all are born sinners (Rom. 5:12).Jehovah declares in Ezek. 18:4 that only someone who sins, dies, meaning that whoever does not sin, has life; so whoever does not sin, is saved by his own merit, therefore annulling the sacrifice of Christ. Paul declares, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). As all have already been born dead, spiritually, Jesus says this to a young man who wanted to follow him, but needed to bury his father who had died: “Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead” (Matt. 8:21-22). Jesus was teaching that one who was dead in trespasses and sins, but alive in the flesh, was burying another one, equally dead in trespasses and sins, but who was dead in the flesh—dead twice: in body and soul. Only Jesus Christ rescues man from the double death. Paul, once more, speaks by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him” (Eph. 2:5,6). This is why whoever believes in Jesus Christ passes from death to life (John 5:24).
by PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA