The American Wisdom Series

Pamphlet #8018 Ezekiel chapter 18

 "Do children pay for the sins of their parents, and vice versa?"

It is truly amazing how people will accept a proverbial saying or supposed axiom as being Biblical without ever investigating it on their own. It is a lot like the main stream media who will characterize, which often means "demonize", an innocent person and the majority of the population will believe that it is true. This they often do by taking something a person said and "clipping it" out of context and making it "appear" as if they said something they did not! Thus they manipulate public opinion which is a form of mind control, isn't it? Yes, the main stream media is a dangerous cult.

"We hold that religious freedom is an important, precious and constitutionally protected right in our country. However, when deception, mind control or fraud are present, a person's freedom of choice is undermined. Freedom to make "Real Choice" can only be exercised when one has access to all the information, and an understanding of the truth."
Here is an example:

Many "fundamentalist" Christians believe it is a sin to drink an alcoholic beverage, even wine. They are like the Women's Temperance Union years ago whose members marched around with signs quoting Proverbs 20:1 as their Biblical proof that you shouldn't drink wine or any other form of alcohol:

Proverbs 20:1
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging!

The problem is that they were guilty of using the same "device" as the main stream media in that they "clipped" the saying out of context and did not include the rest of the verse which reads:

: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
In other words, this verse does not say a person should not drink wine, for Christ himself turned about 120 gallons of water into fine wine at the wedding in Cana. What is does say is that if you allow it to influence you, as in becoming intoxicated whereby you are "deceived" into making bad decisions, then you are STUPID indeed! And yes, the scriptures will support that at that level it can become very sinful.

We could go on and on and cite numerous other verses of the Bible which are quoted out of context and made to support a "tradition of man", like 1 Thes. 4:17 . However, there is one verse in specific that relates to this 18th chapter of Ezekiel, and that is Deut. 5:9 which is also recorded in Exodus 20:5.

Many folks are under the impression that their children are punished for their sins, meaning the parent's sins, because of this verse which reads:

Exodus 20:5
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation...
Though they will actually read with their blind eyes the rest of this verse, this is as far as their mind will go because they have "seen" what they ALREADY believe it says, i.e. that the sins of the fathers are passed down even unto the 3rd and 4th generations.

Note: It is not a good thing to quote Almighty God out of context. He certainly does not appreciate it any more than anybody else does when he or she is misquoted. And it is written that it infuriates Him when those who claim to be His ministers and teachers do it! Woe unto them! We must always be careful to rightly divide the Word and learning to read what is written in its proper context is a good place to begin.

The remainder of Exodus 20:5 reads:

of them that hate me;
If you CONTINUE in the sins of your parents, and continue to hate our Father and His ways, then you will continue in the consequences of sin, just like your parents. BUT, as the very next verse shows, if you turn away from the sins of your parents then He will show mercy unto you and anyone else who follows suit.
Exodus 20:6
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Our Father is ALWAYS completely fair and He is no respecter of persons. Each and every child of His is ultimately responsible for his or her OWN actions and will be judged accordingly. This is the Great Message of Ezekiel chapter 18.  Just think, our Father gave an entire chapter in His letter to us to explain this in detail, so it must be important that we understand His equitable JUSTICE and complete FAIRNESS and never misquote Him or "buy in" to a false proverb perpetuated by fools!

We begin chapter 18 by understanding that the people, led by their iniquitous shepherds, were going around saying that they were paying the penalty for the sins of their fathers. In other words, they were saying that their father's sins caused the siege and the captivity and they were paying for it!

Ezekiel 18:1
The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,

[2] What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?

When you bite into a lemon does it pucker the lips of your children?
Of course not!
[3] As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.
God is going to put a stop to people saying He is unfair and unjust! How dare they! The very fact that they would say that proves them to be unfair and unjust! The prophet Jeremiah, a contemporary of Ezekiel, who would have also been familiar with this proverb going around, gives a second witness to the fact that God is going to abolish this stupid and ignorant saying:
Jeremiah 31:29-30
In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge.

[30] But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

When you bite into a lemon it is your own lips that pucker sucker!

You see, the reason they will have "none occasion" (an old 1611 English saying) to use this proverb anymore is because the whole world will soon know how unrighteous and wicked they are themselves. Everybody wants to blame everybody else, don't they? It is literally the oldest "cop out" in the BOOK. To wit, the first thing Adam said when God asked him about his own actions was, "You know the woman YOU MADE for me? She made me do it! It was her fault!" Wrong answer, Adam! Then Eve of course did the same thing and "passed the buck" to the serpent (Satan).

And so it continues to this very day. However, modern man has become increasingly more creative in shifting the blame from himself and he now accuses even inanimate objects, and their makers too, for his own evil actions. "Your honor, the gun was sold to me at a gun show without a proper background check and so I had no choice other than to take it and shoot someone. And it's really the gun maker's fault, because he made the gun in the first place. But my attorney says if you the government would have passed proper gun control legislation and rid society of these evil crime producing menaces, then I wouldn't have been able to commit the crime with the evil gun. Therefore, I the accused criminal, am really the victim here of a much greater social injustice and so I am suing the government for 25 Million Dollars (most of which my attorney will get) and when I win, the taxpayers will "fork over" the dough. I will then be released to perhaps become a victim once again to the unjust availability of inanimate objects that kill." (The Bible, including Ezekiel 18, is not allowed in our nation's courtrooms today.)

Well, that may work in a court of man's law, but read and understand the next verse from the Judge who will preside at the final trial, the trial for your life.

Ezekiel 18:4
Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
You and I and every person of every race, color, and creed BELONG to God. He is our Father who created all of our souls and we are His children. When we give account to Him there will be no preachers, ministers, or defense attorneys there to help "pass the buck" and circumvent the laws of God. We are responsible for our own actions and to claim otherwise is declare oneself to be Biblically ignorant. How so? Because chapter 18 of Ezekiel is very easy to read and understand even at an elementary grade level. Just wait until someone tries to use Adam and Eve's same lame-brain excuse at their judgment trial and God says, "Hold it right there! I had my servants Moses and Ezekiel and Jeremiah and My Son, all tell you thousands of years ago that YOU are responsible for YOUR OWN actions! Haven't you read Ezekiel chapter 18? Now let's try this again. Give account for your own actions!"

The following verses describe a just parent, not that there are any who perfectly match this description in the flesh for we all fall short, who begets a son who turns out to be a rotten egg. You see, you can have two children and raise them the same way in the same environment and one will become respectful and the other disrespectful.  The twins of Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, whom God loved, and his brother Esau, whom God loved less, document that fact. So don't get on a guilt trip for having done your best to raise your children.

Ezekiel 18:5
But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,

[6] And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour's wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman,

[7] And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment;

[8] He that hath not given forth upon usury*, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man,

[9] Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.

Even whenever a penalty is placed on the nation in connection with the sins of the fathers, those who individually repent shall escape. It is an individual matter between you and God.

* Did you know that usury is a forbidden practice among our people? If you are not familiar with its devastating consequences or if you do not understand what the "National Debt" is, then get a copy of the booklet, "The Hidden Dynasty of the Economy". You will find it at, or call them at 1-918-682-8341. 

Note: We found a copy on line. Log on and read it right here. 
Live Link to->>> "The Hidden Dynasty of the Economy"

So we have a good man and the following happens to him:

Ezekiel 18:10
If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things,

[11] And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife,

[12] Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination,

[13] Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.

The recompense of this man's sins will be upon HIS OWN head. His blood shall be upon him and he shall surely die. Is that not what God told Adam and Eve? YOU shall surely die! There will be no excuses and no shifting of the blame at judgment. There is only one escape from this penalty of death and that is to repent and believe in Jesus Christ who suffered and paid the price for our sins by dying in our stead, IF and ONLY IF we come to Him and ask for forgiveness.

The reason our Father gave us chapter 18 in the great Book of Ezekiel is so we have a simple, easy to understand, detailed explanation of our Father's fairness, which lays to rest once and for all the question, "are the iniquities of the fathers visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation?" In other words, "Do children pay for the sins of their parents, and vice versa?"

In this chapter He gives us an example of three generations and clears up any and all misunderstanding of His second commandment. So make a note in your Bible next to Ex. 20:5, Deut. 5:9, and Num. 14:18 that a detailed explanation is given in Ezekiel 18.

Earlier we saw a father (Generation 1) who was a goodly and righteous man who happened to beget a son (Generation 2) who was a no good thief and shedder of blood and who broke every law in the book. We learned that that son will pay ONLY for his OWN sins, period. This also means that just as a son does not bear the iniquity of the father, so too does the son not bear the righteousness of the father (see vs. 20). ALL souls belong to God (vs. 4) and all souls will be judged INDIVIDUALLY according to their OWN ways.It is just that if a person continues in the sins of the parents then he or she will continue to receive the punishment of the parents, not because the parents sinned, but because the child sinned by continuing in their ways.    

Next we have this no-good, low-down scoundrel (Generation 2) who finds some poor woman to bear him a child (Generation 3). 

But lo and behold, look what happens:

Ezekiel 18:14
Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father's sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like,
The son chose NOT to follow in the sinful footpaths of his father. So do you think he is still going to be judged for his father's iniquities?

Here is how the son of the sinner conducts his life:
[15] That hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbour's wife,

[16] Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment,

[17] That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.

So there we have it in plain English, translated from plain Hebrew, and it does not require a seminary graduate degree, a PhD in theology, nor even a high school education to read and understand. Here it is once again, "he shall NOT die for the iniquity [sins] of his father, he shall surely live."

What about his old sinful dad?

Ezekiel 18:18
As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.
He will pay the price HIMSELF. His kid isn't going to be judged for what his father did!
[19] Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.
Ok, God has now given us three generations: A goodly man (1) who begat a son who was a no-good rotten rascal (2), who begat a good and righteous son (3). And He has said as clearly as can be said that each person is judged individually, according to his own ways, NOT the ways of his parents.

So are you still going to go around and say that the son bears the iniquity of the father? (One could easily get the impression that our Father is not too happy about being called unfair and unjust, especially when His righteous judgment is made so clear in His law which He gave to Moses. Thankfully He is very patient and longsuffering toward us, but He is not done hammering the ignorant and misguided proverb "when you eat sour grapes it sets the teeth of the children on edge" into invisible subatomic particles so that it disappears and is heard no more in the land.)

So, in case you STILL DON'T GET IT, NOW HEAR THIS, "Thus saith the Lord GOD...":

Ezekiel 18:20
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
It cannot be stated any simpler than that!
[21] But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
You see, it doesn't matter what his parents did or did not do!
[22]All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
It is a comforting thought to know that upon repentance, meaning to turn from one's sins and begin doing that which is right, and in asking for forgiveness for our transgressions, that God won't ever bring them up to us again.

Note: If a person is asking for forgiveness for the same thing OVER and OVER again, then he or she obviously does not believe God, nor does he believe Ezek. 18:22 and many other scriptures too numerous to begin mentioning. Furthermore, by doing so, he is angering Him and displeasing his Father. Is that what he wants to do? Probably not!

Here is an example:

Suppose your teenage daughter wrecked your nice new Thunderbird. Your child, who really felt remorseful, then came to you and apologized and asked for forgiveness, at which point you said, "I'm not angry (anymore) honey, and it's OK now, it's just a car. You will still have to pay the $375 to have it fixed, but I forgive you and I love you. Don't worry about it anymore."

However, the next day she comes to you again and says, "I'm really sorry about the car Dad. Will you forgive me?" You say, "I know you are sweetheart. Like I said yesterday, I forgive you, so go your way now and let it go and get on with life."

But every day she continues to come to you and says, "Woe is me, Dad! I'm really sorry about the car, Dad. Will you forgive me?" How will you soon feel about her asking for forgiveness over and over again for the same thing? Well then how do think our Father in heaven feels when we ask for forgiveness for the same thing over and over again?

Of course there are sins of weakness we might commit every day. Should we continue to ask for forgiveness? Certainly! But don't bring up old ones you have already asked forgiveness for. He doesn't want to hear about them anymore if you have repented of them. Even so, we should also be willing to forgive a brother 7 times 70 times, or 490 times a day if necessary:
Matthew 18:21
Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

[22] Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Now, do you think our Father derives any pleasure from the fact that some of His children are going to perish, even including Satan himself? That is a valid question which He asks on our behalf in the next verse and then after further instruction He gives the plain, straight-on, crystal clear answer in the first person in verse 33. Again, no interpreter or discerner of "hard sayings" is required for anyone's understanding of what He says or means! Here are the questions to be considered.

The Lord God is speaking:
Ezekiel 18:23
Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

[24] But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

Can a righteous man go bad and turn to iniquity? Yes, he can! And if he refuses to repent he's in big trouble, isn't he? God just said so.
[25] Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?
People accuse God of being unfair. God says if you want to see unfairness, then go take a look in the mirror!
Ezekiel 18:26
When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.
The individual soul that sins, he shall die for HIS OWN sins and nobody else's. How many times must we be told that? Apparently quite a few times because many still don't get it! When you bite the lemon it is your mouth that puckers and no one else's.
[27] Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
And if you become saved, it will be because YOU turned to Jesus and repented. None of the prophets, and neither Christ nor the apostles ever said, "Ask someone to repent of your sins for you and be baptized."
[28] Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

[29] Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?

One had better watch what he or she says concerning our Father's equitable judgment, because guess what's coming?
Ezekiel 18:30
Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
Better shape up because you will get what is coming to you based on YOUR OWN actions. That is completely fair and that is the way it is!
[31] Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

[32] For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Our Father loves each and everyone of His children, which includes ALL SOULS! "All souls are mine!", He said in verse 4. It is our loving Father's will that all of His children should turn to Him and love Him. He doesn't want anyone to perish and it deeply hurts Him to have to judge one of His kids to die! He has already said that He has NO pleasure in their death, and so He is patient and longsuffering toward us, being more than fair, so that all who will can come to His open arms.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
God has graciously given us an entire chapter with an example of 3 generations of fathers and sons, accompanied with detailed explanations, that we might clearly "see" that the sins of the fathers are not paid for by the children, nor are they saved by the righteousness of their fathers. Furthermore, each child makes up his or her own mind to sin or repent and will be judged according to his or her OWN actions.

Upon concluding this 18th chapter of Ezekiel we now leave you with the following paraphrase of an Anthony Robbins story, sent in by a fellow Bible Student. It goes like this:

"There was a man who was a pitiful excuse for a father. He had been married numerous times and beat his two sons, abused their mother, and committed crimes against society. He ultimately ended up in prison where he died. One of his sons turned out to be just like him, and also had a couple of wives and was abusive to his children, and engaged in criminal activities, and he likewise ended up in prison.  The other son, overcoming great obstacles, finished high school, went to college and got a degree, and started his own successful business. He married a wonderful woman and had children and he spent a lot of quality time with his family. At a certain time, the two men were interviewed, and were asked the same question and both gave the exact same answer. "Why do you think your life turned out the way it did?" And the answer they both gave was, "With a father like mine, how could I have done anything different?"

To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.

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