Images in the Church

“Triumph of Orthodoxy” over iconoclasm under the Byzantine Empress Theodora and her son Michael III. Late 14th – early 15th-century icon.

The question of when the corruption of the church began has many answers. There is no one great corruption from which the church changed from being the virgin bride to being the whore of Babylon we see today.

One of the earliest fights was between the iconoclast i.e. those that destroy icons and those who cherished or venerate the icons, called the iconolaters by the iconoclasts.

Council of Hieria (754)

Held by Byzantine Emperor, Constantine V (741–775)

The synod – which proclaimed itself as the “Seventh Ecumenical Council.” The council condemned the teachings of Patriarch Germanus I and John the Damascene and condemned icon worship.

“Supported by the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers, we declare unanimously, in the name of the Holy Trinity, that there shall be rejected and removed and cursed one of the Christian Church every likeness which is made out of any material and color whatever by the evil art of painters”.

The bishops declared, “the unlawful art of painting living creatures blasphemed the fundamental doctrine of our salvation–namely, the Incarnation of Christ, and contradicted the six holy synods. . . If anyone shall endeavor to represent the forms of the Saints in lifeless pictures with material colors which are of no value (for this notion is vain and introduced by the devil), and does not rather represent their virtues as living images in himself, etc … let him be anathema.”‘

Similar pronouncements on the issue of religious images had been made in Synod of Elvira (c. 305) which stated, “Pictures are not to be placed in churches, so that they do not become objects of worship and adoration.”

However, in just 33 years the tables were turned and the images were encouraged.

Seventh General Council or The Second Council of Nicaea (787AD)

This council restored the use and veneration of icons, which had been suppressed by imperial edict inside the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Leo III (717–741) The son of Constantine V.

The Fifth Session (October 4, 787) — Claimed that the iconoclast heresy came originally from Jews, Saracens, and Manicheans.

The reasoning behind this is found in The Seven Ecumenical Councils by Philip Schaff . The argument goes that St. Gregory Nyssen could not pass by a painting of Abram sacrificing Isaac without crying, so if the ignorant and the simple were to have icons they too might also be moved to tears.

Extracts from the Acts. Session IV.

Extracts from the Acts. Session VI.

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Unequally Yoked

What accord has Christ with Belial?

11   Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide.  12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections.  13 In return — I speak as to children — widen your hearts also. 

14   Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?  15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?  16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  17 Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you,  18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 

7:1   Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God. 2Cor. 6:11-7:1

The RSV here uses “mismated” instead of the old English “unequally yoked.” The one verse is usually used to warn young people not to marry outside the faith. However the text is not addressing marriage. For the most part, marriages were arranged in the first century Roman Empire. It is addressing paganism within the congregation. The Greek word hererozugeo has more the idea of do not attempt to work together with unbelievers or do not become partners with unbelievers. They have not part in the work of the congregation, they cannot and should not try to make disciples.

There is great danger in working with those who interests and designs are the opposite of sound Bible teachings.

Iniquity

The average English Bible reader never asks what iniquity means. They just have a vague understanding that it has something to do with sin. The English word iniquity is the translation of the Greek word animos, means to be lawless. The post-modern church has when these lawless verse come up, taught that they are generally about civil law. The civil law at the time was Roman law, and other than paying taxes, Roman law held in distain.  The early church encouraged their people to break Roman law any time it conflicted with God’s law.  This leads us to the only conclusion that animos is one who breaks Torah or a Torah Breaker.

Torah roots from yara which means to throw or shoot. It is the instructions as to how to hit the mark we are supposed to me aiming for. You have heard that sin is missing the mark. Iniquity is saying there is no mark, or the mark in no longer valid, or here this is a way around the mark.

Belial

Belial seems to pop up out of nowhere in the English translations. In English Bibles it appears only this one time. However belial is a Hebrew word that is used of worthless people of the worse sort.

12 “If you hear in one of your cities, which the LORD your God gives you to dwell there, 13 that certain base fellows have gone out among you and have drawn away the inhabitants of the city, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, 14 then you shall inquire and make search and ask diligently; and behold, if it be true and certain that such an abominable thing has been done among you, 15 you shall surely put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, destroying it utterly, all who are in it and its cattle, with the edge of the sword. Deut. 13:12-15

Take heed lest there be a base thought in your heart, and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye be hostile to your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the LORD against you, and it be sin in you. Deut. 15:9

As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, base fellows, beset the house round about, beating on the door; and they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” Judg. 19:22

Now therefore give up the men, the base fellows in Gibe-ah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel.” But the Benjaminites would not listen to the voice of their brethren, the people of Israel. Judg. 20:13

Do not regard your maidservant as a base woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 1Sam. 1:16

Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they had no regard for the LORD. 1Sam. 2:12; c.f. Psa. 41:8; Psa. 101:3; Prov. 6:12

These are the false believers that lead others astray.

Temple

The Bible clearly states that, “we are the temple of the living God.” There is no need for one of bricks and stone. The word here for temple is naos not hieron. The Greek word heiron is the brick and stone building and its surroundings. Naos is the room at the back or where the Holy of Holies was. The word heiron is only used in the Gospels and Acts except one verse 1Cor. 9:13. The rest of the epistles and The Revelation speak only of the naos. We are not the whole temple, just the naos. The room at the back were one meets God. We are the ark of the covenant. We are the seat of God. That is why the physical temple is not needed and the ark will never be found.

And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, says the LORD, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD.” It shall not come to mind, or be remembered, or missed; it shall not be made again. Jer. 3:16

Idols

The church has a long history of idolatry. They have rewritten the second commandment from “Thou shalt not make any graven images” except the Roman church can make all they want and at Christmas even the Protestants can have them.

Unclean

Touch nothing unclean, does not mean to causally touch something, hapto means to hold onto, seize in the hand, or light a fire.

And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?” Mark 5:30

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Matt. 5:15

The Greek work akatharton can mean ritually unacceptable or evil supernatural spirit.

When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. Mark 9:25

In other words we are not to bring into our naos the fire of evil spirits. These are to be removed from our lives. The holiday spirit is not the Holy Spirit.

There is so much belial in the post-modern church that few know what the truth really is. Few read their Bibles. Fewer still pay attention to the cultural, historical, grammatical context. In our Bibliography is a list of books necessary for sound Biblical studies. Most of these book are in the public domain and free to download.

The Adoption of Sons?

As an adopted person this particular passage has always intrigued me. But recently I have been even more reflective.

. . . to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Gal. 4:5

Last year just after my 59th birthday my biological family had the records open and made contact. I have three wonderful brothers who come with nieces and nephews not to mention cousins, it’s like being re-adopted. All this has made me think of what it means to be part of a family. There are some odd personal things; like I now have two brothers named David, my biological brothers and I all hate sweet potatoes and yellow squash, and my biological brothers and I can finish each others sentences, in spite of not having known each other.

Then there are traditions and customs that bind the family together. In my biological family I have little in common, no common history, no common stories. My guidelines, principles and rules come from the parents that raised me. Which brings me to my point, what does adoption of sons mean?

There is this teaching in theology called Justification. (See Also: Chapter 11 of our doctrinal statement on Justification) It is the explanation on how we have come to be adopted into God’s family and how one is given the grace to be considered justified before God.

And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. Rom. 5:16

The problem is in the dispensational teachings that that we are under grace and that the Law has passed away, which is now taught in this post modern church have gone too far, and has lead the people into believing that they have no responsibilities to God.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? Rom. 6:1

I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose. Gal. 2:21

You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.” Mark 7:8

They misunderstand what it means to be adopted.

Israel’s Adoption

We don’t think about it much because the Old Testament does not use the word adoption but God chose Israel to be His son.

And you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my first-born son, Ex. 4:22

“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth. Deut. 7:6 (c.f. Hos. 11:1; Rom. 9:4)

It is an act of grace on God’s part that He sovereignly chooses His own. This adoption symbolizes our new relationship as a justified member of our new spiritual family. [John 17:23; Rom. 5:5-8; 2 Pet. 1:4; John 1:13]

We become children of the living God. [1 Pet. 1:14; 2 John 4; Rom. 8:15-21; Gal. 5:1; Heb. 2:15]

What makes Hebrew Roots or Messianic different is that we then ask, How then are we to live?

Adopter or adoptee?

The post modern church gives lip service to the teaching of Adoption but practices it in reverse as if believers are the adopter and not the adoptee. They insist that God must conform to their culture and traditions and refuse to adopt His culture and traditions, preferring to call His teaching “Jewish” instead of “Biblical.”

The regular churches have decided to take their old pagan traditions and change the names to Biblical ones. The Messianic Hebrew Roots movement sees this as a departure from the true teachings of the Bible. We have decided that if we are adopted sons of Abraham we should learn the traditions and customs of our new family. We no longer wish to be partners  with those old traditions handed down by our pagan ancestors. These ancient traditions came from the worship of demons. We no longer want to commune with demons through maintaining the customs and traditions of our former families.

No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.   1Cor. 10:20 -21

. . . but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits, whose slaves you want to be once more? Gal. 4:9

See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. Col. 2:8 

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, Col. 2:20 

Testing Spirits

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1John 4:1 

Human traditions can have spiritual deception in them. The Messianic /Hebrew Roots community seeks to identified and removed these deceptions or spirits from our lives.

The source of all things must be determined. If they source from the Word of God, one can be fairly certain that they are of God. If they source from the Babylonian Mystery Religions they are suspect.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. 1Cor. 6:12 

If it is not helpful why indulge in it? We seek to walk with Messiah not some long forgotten pagan god renamed and mix into our dogma.

So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham. Gal. 3:7

Hezekiah’s Revival

This four-tiered cult stand found at Tanaach is thought to represent Yahweh and Asherah, with each deity being depicted on alternating tiers. Note that on tier two, which is dedicated to Asherah, is the image of a living tree, often thought to be how the asherim as a cult symbol was expressed. Photo: © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem/Israel Antiquities Authority (photograph by Avraham Hay).

This four-tiered cult stand found at Tanaach is thought to represent Yahweh and Asherah, with each deity being depicted on alternating tiers. Note that on tier two, which is dedicated to Asherah, is the image of a living tree, often thought to be how the asherim as a cult symbol was expressed. Photo: © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem/Israel Antiquities Authority (photograph by Avraham Hay).

In 2 Chronicles 30 there is a report of a great revival under the leadership of Hezekiah the king of Judah.

Prior to Hezekiah’s reign the temple rituals had been neglected for many years, to the point where the temple and its utensils were all in disrepair. [2 Chron. 29] In order to repair all the damage Passover was delayed for one month, according to the Law. [Num. 9:9-11]

When the cleaning was accomplished Hezekiah invited both Israel i.e. the Northern Kingdom and Judah the Southern kingdom that he ruled, to come to the Passover.

1   Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover to the LORD the God of Israel.  2 For the king and his princes and all the assembly in Jerusalem had taken counsel to keep the passover in the second month —  3 for they could not keep it in its time because the priests had not sanctified themselves in sufficient number, nor had the people assembled in Jerusalem —  2Chr. 30:1-3

These couriers were not well received by those that had completely turned to paganism.

10   So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun; but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them.  11 Only a few men of Asher, of Manasseh, and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.  12 The hand of God was also upon Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD. 2Chr. 30:10-12

Only a few came from the Northern Tribes. But of those that came, were truly humble. However they were so far from any sound teachings that they came unprepared for they were unclean.

 18 For a multitude of the people, many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the passover otherwise than as prescribed. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “The good LORD pardon every one 19 who sets his heart to seek God, the LORD the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.”  2Chr. 30:18-19

hezekiah_in_temple_22-138Hezekiah prayed that YHWH would pardon their physical condition and accept them on the basis of their hearts desire to follow God.

This is the way we all feel when we come to the Hebrew roots of our faith. Our temples are filthy with all manner of unBiblical practices, which we have never considered before. Although we have been taught that we are clean because of Messiah’s sacrifice, we suddenly don’t FEEL that can be true, considering the extent of the filth that comes from all the false teachings we have received from the inherited church.

Our desire has now turned to walk with Messiah in an unadulterated faith. To find a spiritual cleanness, unpolluted with the traditions of men. This puts us at odds with those who profit from the traditions, as well as those who are emotionally addicted to the pomp and circumstance of all the tinsel and ceremonies. To them, what they are doing IS Christianity. To those who study pagan mythology it all stinks of paganism.

We just want to clean it all out with spiritual soap made from ashes of the red heifer.

Although we stand before the throne in all this filth, we ask our Lord to excuse our condition and teach us to walk with Him.

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:24

And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. 1John 5:7

Truth is all we seek. We may not have things perfectly in order. There may yet be things that must be cleaned out. As we throw out the paganism of the inherited church we may have stumbled into unacceptable things from Judaism. Yet we are working out our own salvation.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; Phil. 2:12 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Prov. 9:10

Faith is a struggle, there is no easy believism as the post-modern church teaches. There are no formulas, that the church so loves to put between God and man. There is only the pure faith of the Bible.

As James taught “faith without works is dead.” However 2000 years of church teachings have killed the Congregation of the Lord. They teach an easy salvation, one that has no works from the Bible, but rather new works that they have created. They have no fear, because they have no wisdom.

After Hezekiah’s revival there was a great cleansing of the land. If only the false teaching of the post-modern church would be so easily cleared.

1   Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke in pieces the pillars and hewed down the Asherim and broke down the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, and in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the people of Israel returned to their cities, every man to his possession. 2Chr. 31:1

Women are to Keep Silent

Flemish Magdalen Preaching

Flemish Magdalen Preaching

or Women Preaching

This passage has been used to brow beat women into the background of the Congregation of the Lord for two millennia. It’s cultural, historical context is over looked, by ignorant men wanting position of power and prestige that they are not qualified for.

8   I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;  9 also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire 10 but by good deeds, as befits women who profess religion.  11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness.  12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.  13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve;  14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.  15 Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty. 1 Tim. 2:8-15

We will take this one verse at a time.

“Lifting holy hands,” this does make one to stop to pause and wonder how we got folded hands and closed eyes. Quite simply this is crowd control especially for small children. If we can’t see what going on around, we wont respond to it. If our hands are folded, we will keep them to ourselves. However holy hands are those in whom there is no malice, no crime, no sin. They are hands that have been set aside for the Lords Work.

“Modesty,” This has definitely changed through the ages. Fashion and style are constantly in flux. The height of a woman skirt or the depth of the neck line, are as much climate and function as they are trend and custom. The point is, not dress in a provocative or sexually enticing manner.

FYI: I Remember when the Pentecostal women wore no makeup because only Jezebel in the Bible wore makeup. Then when TV preachers were on, there were all these Pentecostal women caked in bad makeup, teaching anyone who tuned in.

“Good deeds” this too can be a minefield of deception. It all comes down to the difference between what is legal and what is moral. Many things that are legal are not moral, and the reverse is just as true, many things that are moral are not legal. The quest for the believer is to always choose what is moral regardless of the consequences.

“Learn in silence with all submissiveness,” Peter Pan said it best, “girls talk too much,” and are often too busy with talking to their friends then they are interested in learning the things of God. This is something that only personal discipline will conquer.

12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.  

This is the only verse of instruction in the Bible that begins with “I” where the “I” is not God. The desire here is in the indicative, which is not a command but rather a personal preference of Paul. Yet this one personal opinion of Paul has stood through the ages as an excuse to exclude women from much of church life.

The culture of the time did not school girls. This does not mean that they did not know how to read and write, but that there was no formal schooling available to them. The education of girls did not become the norm until the Reformation and/or the Enlightenment. So for the most part females would have no great knowledge that would make them competent to teach, especially as one considers that this is a Gentile congregation. [1Tim. 2:7 ] To update this to a more modern principle of interpretation is that the ignorant should keep silent. Those that are uneducated in the original languages of the Bible can only read a translation, they are illiterate as far as the Bible in concerned and therefore ignorant of the depth of meaning contained in the Bible. A translation, which is just the opinion of others as to what the meaning is. They have no more ability to assertion what a verse means than those of the general congregation. Frankly is it better to submit the eternal state of ones soul to the teachings of a woman who is educated in Greek and Hebrew than to a man who is ignorant of what the Bible actually says.

“Woman was deceived,” this is true, the actual sin of that event is always pinned on Adam. The instructions where given to Adam before Eve was formed, and her understanding of those instructions were incomplete and inaccurate. Women in general are more influenced by their emotions then the cold hard facts. This is why when a woman teaches she should have her head covered, which is not a hat, but a position of submission.

Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty. 

No one knows what this means.

Verses that are about women in leadership in the New Testament

He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and expounded to him the way of God more accurately. Acts 18:26

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchre-ae, Rom. 16:1 

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you. 2Tim. 1:5 

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners; they are men of note among the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. Rom. 16:7

Ezekiel 18, Choose Life

Lets have a look at one of the most neglected passages in the Bible. It is one of those passages that make the whole congregation squirm with anxiety. No preacher wants his congregation squirming, so they never mention this one. A squirming congregation is not a generous congregation, nor is it growing in numbers.

Having said, that we have nothing to fear. We don’t make our living from this. So lets squirm together, shall we?

FYI: The death and life here is the eternal kind.

Sour-Grapes-CentralSour Grapes

Many don’t approve of God’s laws. They say they have passed away, that they are null and void. [Rom 3:31] They hate them while claiming to love God. Their teeth are on edge.

1   The word of the LORD came to me again:  2 “What do you 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, says 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 that sins shall die.

Basically God is saying that their current exile in Babylon is their own fault. They had agreed to God’s conditions and they had not lived up to their end of the bargain. [Ex. 19:8] He states that they all belong to Him and He will discipline them as He see fit.

5   “If a man is righteous and does what is lawful 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 impurity,  7 does not oppress any one, 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 increase, withholds his hand from iniquity, executes true justice between man and man,  9 walks in my statutes, and is careful to observe my ordinances — he is righteous, he shall surely live, says the Lord GOD. 

Now that nice and comforting, eternal life is given to the righteous. So why do the preachers skip this? Because there is no Messianic sacrifice, no salvation by grace. That is salvation by works, and we can’t have that. But there it is. (It’s in James too.)  James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. James 2:26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.

10   “If he begets a son who is a robber, a shedder of blood,  11 who does none of these duties, but 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 increase; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominable things; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself. 

The righteous cannot guarantee the salvation of their children. Remember there once was a perfect parent, with perfect children, in a perfect environment, with only one rule, DO NOT EAT OF THAT TREE. Good parenting in not enough, salvation is a work of God and no one else.

However the unrighteous can have righteous children.

14   “But if this man begets a son who sees all the sins which his father has done, and fears, and does not do likewise,  15 who 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 wrong any one, 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, takes no interest or increase, observes my ordinances, 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. 

Again righteousness by works.

19   “Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is lawful and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live.  20 The soul that 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. 

We are not responsible before God for another’s action. There are some that teach that this does away with the generational curse and the blessing.

. . . you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, Ex. 20:5

. . . keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Ex 34:7

However this curse and blessing is exactly what God confirmed to Ezekiel. The more of God’s law a person, a people, a nation, apply to their lives, the more blessed they are, and their descendants. The more a person, a people, or a nation rebel against God’s laws the more cursed they are, and their descendants. Individuals are alway free to step out of their circumstances and change sides.

Now it gets Scary

21   “But if a wicked man turns away from all his sins which he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.  22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness which he has done he shall live.  23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?  24 But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity and does the same abominable things that the wicked man does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds which he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, he shall die. 

Everything was fine till we get half way through, then the “once saved, always saved” people got a board upside the head. Just one sin, just one slip, just one temptation not dealt with, and your out. Is this unjust? The Lord says, “NO.”

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 man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die for it; for the iniquity which he has committed he shall die.  27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is lawful and right, he shall save his life.  28 Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions which 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?  

You can hear the inherited church people yelling at the top of their lungs, “But that’s just the OLD Testament.” However there is a whole book on the same subject in the NEW Testament, James.

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead. James 2:26

Repentance is a Choice

30   “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin.  31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed against me, and get 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 any one, says the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.” 

Everyone will be judged by his own deeds. Not your fathers and not your sons. We cannot inherit eternal life. It is a free gift that we must then live to keep.

I don’t know about you but I want more blessings, not curses. I want more of God’s law, and not stand in judgment saying that they are Jewish.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, Deut. 30:19