“THE SOUL WHO SINS SHALL DIE”
Our chapter 18 in Ezekiel is one that is often quoted in discussions with those who believe that we possess some sort of inner being, a soul, that lives on in some sense after their body dies: but this idea is nowhere to be found in God’s word. The word ‘nephesh’ in Hebrew, which here and in some places is translated as soul, first occurs in Genesis 1 v.20 – where it is translated as ‘creature.’ It does not mean some ‘spirit’ part of a person. In today’s chapter in Ezekiel we read that “The word of the LORD came to me …. 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.” [v. 1, 4]
It is made clear again to Ezekiel that the father or son who “has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live.”[v.19] It is only “the soul who sins shall die.” [v.20]. In the next verse we read “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.”
But this is not saying, eternally live! But those who remain wicked – will die eternally! We have said, many times, there is only the broad and wide way – and the narrow way! Paul expresses this bluntly as we read at the beginning of the month in 1 Cor. 15. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” [v.22] Nothing, “be made” – they do not naturally have a nature that is ‘eternally alive.’ Those before Christ came, who lived by genuine faith, as shown in Hebrews ch. 11, will “be made perfect” at the same time as those “in Christ.”
Finally, we bring to mind Paul’s declaration of faith as his mortal life was ending; “the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” [2 Tim. 4 v.6-8]. May “that day” soon come – there are increasing signs it is near.