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Ezekiel 18:4

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

All souls are mine - Equally so; I am the Father of the spirits of all flesh, and shall deal impartially with the whole.

The soul that sinneth, it shall die - None shall die for another's crimes, none shall be saved by another's righteousness. Here is the general judgment relative to the righteousness and unrighteousness of men, and the influence of one man's state on that of another; particularly in respect to their moral conduct.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

All souls are mine - Man is not simply to ascribe his existence to earthly parents, but to acknowledge as his Father Him who created man in His own image, and who gave and gives him the spirit of life. The relation of father to son is merged in the common relation of all (father and son alike) as sons to their heavenly Father.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The soul that sinneth it shall die. As to eternity, every man was, is, and will be dealt with, as his conduct shows him to have been under the old covenant of works, or the new covenant of grace. Whatever outward sufferings come upon men through the sins of others, they deserve for their own sins all they suffer; and the Lord overrules every event for the eternal good of believers. All souls are in the hand of the great Creator: he will deal with them in justice or mercy; nor will any perish for the sins of another, who is not in some sense worthy of death for his own. We all have sinned, and our souls must be lost, if God deal with us according to his holy law; but we are invited to come to Christ. If a man who had shown his faith by his works, had a wicked son, whose character and conduct were the reverse of his parent's, could it be expected he should escape the Divine vengeance on account of his father's piety? Surely not. And should a wicked man have a son who walked before God as righteous, this man would not perish for his father's sins. If the son was not free from evils in this life, still he should be partaker of salvation. The question here is not about the meritorious ground of justification, but about the Lord's dealings with the righteous and the wicked.
Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 218

Satan commenced his deception in Eden. He said to Eve, “Ye shall not surely die.” This was Satan's first lesson upon the immortality of the soul, and he has carried on this deception from that time to the present, and will carry it on until the captivity of God's children shall be turned. I was pointed to Adam and Eve in Eden. They partook of the forbidden tree, and then the flaming sword was placed around the tree of life, and they were driven from the garden, lest they should partake of the tree of life, and be immortal sinners. The fruit of this tree was to perpetuate immortality. I heard an angel ask, “Who of the family of Adam have passed that flaming sword, and have partaken of the tree of life?” I heard another angel answer, “Not one of the family of Adam has passed that flaming sword, and partaken of that tree; therefore there is not an immortal sinner.” The soul that sinneth, it shall die an everlasting death—a death from which there will be no hope of resurrection; and then the wrath of God will be appeased. EW 218.1

It was a marvel to me that Satan could succeed so well in making men believe that the words of God, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die,” mean that the soul that sinneth it shall not die, but live eternally in misery. Said the angel, “Life is life, whether it is in pain or happiness. Death is without pain, without joy, without hatred.” EW 218.2

Satan told his angels to make a special effort to spread the lie first repeated to Eve in Eden, “Ye shall not surely die.” And as the error was received by the people, and they were led to believe that man was immortal, Satan led them on to believe that the sinner would live in eternal misery. Then the way was prepared for Satan to work through his representatives and hold up God before the people as a revengeful tyrant—one who plunges all those into hell who do not please Him, and causes them ever to feel His wrath; and while they suffer unutterable anguish, and writhe in the eternal flames, He is represented as looking down upon them with satisfaction. Satan knew that if this error should be received, God would be hated by many, instead of being loved and adored; and that many would be led to believe that the threatenings of God's Word would not be literally fulfilled, for it would be against His character of benevolence and love to plunge into eternal torments the beings whom He had created. EW 218.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 297

Giving his charge to Timothy, Paul says, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, the Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting” (1 Timothy 6:11-16). 1SM 297.1

Writing again, Paul says: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever” (1 Timothy 1:15-17). 1SM 297.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 39

One day I listened to a conversation between my mother and a sister, in reference to a discourse which they had recently heard, to the effect that the soul had not natural immortality. Some of the minister's proof texts were repeated. Among them I remember these impressed me very forcibly: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” “The living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything.” “Which in His times He shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of Lords; who only hath immortality.” “To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life.” “Why,” said my mother, after quoting the foregoing passage, “should they seek for what they already have?” 1T 39.1

I listened to these new ideas with an intense and painful interest. When alone with my mother, I inquired if she really believed that the soul was not immortal. Her reply was that she feared we had been in error on that subject as well as upon some others. 1T 39.2

“But, mother,” said I, “do you really believe that the soul sleeps in the grave until the resurrection? Do you think that the Christian, when he dies, does not go immediately to heaven, nor the sinner to hell?” 1T 39.3

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Ellen G. White
Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 48

Every leaf of this printed matter seemed precious in my eyes; for it was as a messenger of light to the world, bidding them prepare for the great event near at hand. The salvation of souls was the burden of my mind, and my heart ached for those who flattered themselves that they were living in security, while the message of warning was being given to the world. LS 48.1

One day I listened to a conversation between my mother and a sister, in reference to a discourse which they had recently heard, to the effect that the soul had not natural immortality. Some of the minister's proof texts were repeated. Among them I remember these impressed me very forcibly: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4. “The living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything.” Ecclesiastes 9:5. “Which in His times He shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality.” 1 Timothy 6:15, 16. “To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life.” Romans 2:7. LS 48.2

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 197

There are times when apostasy comes into the ranks, when piety is left out of the heart by those who should have kept step with their divine Leader. The people of God separate from the source of their strength, and pride, vanity, extravagance, and display follow. There are idols within and idols without; but God sends the Comforter as a reprover of sin, that His people may be warned of their apostasy and rebuked for their backsliding. When the more precious manifestations of His love shall be gratefully acknowledged and appreciated, the Lord will pour in the balm of comfort and the oil of joy. FE 197.1

When men are led to realize that their human calculations come far short, and are convinced that their wisdom is but foolishness, then it is that they turn to the Lord to seek Him with all the heart, that they may find Him. FE 197.2

It has been shown me that every church among us needs the deep movings of the Spirit of God. O we would point men to the cross of Calvary. We would bid them look upon Him whom their sins have pierced. We would bid them to behold the Redeemer of the world suffering the penalty of their transgression of the law of God. The verdict is that “the soul that sinneth it shall die.” But on the cross the sinner sees the only-begotten of the Father, dying in his stead, and giving the transgressor life. All the intelligences in earth and heaven are called upon to behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. Every sinner may look and live. Do not survey that scene of Calvary with careless, thoughtless mind. Can it be that angels shall look down upon us, the recipients of God's love, and see us cold, indifferent, unimpressible, when heaven in amazement beholds the stupendous work of redemption to save a fallen world, and desires to look into the mystery of Calvary's love and woe? Angels in wonder and amazement look upon those for whom so great salvation has been provided, and marvel that the love of God does not awaken them, and lead them to pour forth melodious strains of gratitude and adoration. But the result which all heaven looks to behold is not seen among those who profess to be followers of Christ. How readily do we speak in endearing words of our friends and relatives, and yet how slow we are to speak of Him whose love has no parallel, set forth in Christ crucified among you. FE 197.3

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