This week’s selection from Holy Writ comes courtesy of our good friend, The Male Brain, from the Book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament. A lot of “Christians” seem to think that the vengeful, wrathful God of the Old Testament is somehow different from the Father that presents Himself to us, and searches for us, in the New Testament. This is an abominably stupid mistake. The two characters are one and the same – and anyone who tells you otherwise, hasn’t actually bothered to read the Old Testament and almost surely hasn’t bothered to read much of the New either.
The fact is that God’s character is consistent. He is both furiously angry at our sin, AND merciful toward us in ways that we cannot comprehend. All that has changed is the substitutionary atonement of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us on the Cross so that we would not have to die for our sins.
That is all that has changed – and that is EVERYTHING.
Note the change in tone between the Old Testament and the New. In Ezekiel 18, Yahweh – THE ONE WHO IS – charges fathers with the sins of their sons, and commands His people to walk righteously in the rules that He gave to Moses. God essentially gave His people a series of tests, because He knew and understood that Man is not capable of fixing his own Fallen character by himself. Man needs clear rules to guide him. God provided these, and gave us free will to follow them.
We failed. Repeatedly. Which is why the deuteronomic rules – and it’s worth understanding that “Deuteronomy” literally means “second law” – had to be laid out in precise and clear fashion.
Finally, take a look at the passages that I have highlighted, and compare them very carefully with the teachings of Our Lord in the Gospels. IT IS THE SAME TEACHING. If there is one thing that marks out Yahweh above all other supposed deities, it is His consistency. He TOLD us that souls which sinned would die in the Old Testament. His Son came along to tell us the same thing in the New. And in both cases, the Father and the Son, who are two parts of the Triune Godhead, explained EXACTLY how a man can save his own soul.
This isn’t hard to figure out – unless you’re a progressive “Christian”, obviously.
In an ever-changing world, the LORD is the one constant. He is Truth, and He has given you the ways in which you can seek it.
18 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “What do you[a] mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? 3 As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. 4 Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.
5 “If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— 6 if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, 7 does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 8 does not lend at interest or take any profit,[b] withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, 9 walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God.
10 “If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things 11 (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, 13 lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.
14 “Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: 15 he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, 16 does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 17 withholds his hand from iniquity,[c] takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. 18 As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.
19 “Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. 20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? 24 But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.
25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 26 When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. 27 Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. 28 Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?
30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin.[d] 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”— Ezekiel 18:1-32, English Standard Version