grapes03I received the following question:

In Ezekiel 18:3-18 The Lords says in these verse that this proverb shall no longer be used in Israel, so does this make it not true during that time and still to this day until the Kingdom?  How then does that change the verses in this section like “the soul who sins shall die”?  It’s not like it becomes null or opposite, right?  

Ezekiel 18:1. The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, 2. “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying:
‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
And the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
3. “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “you shall no longer use this proverb 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.

I do think the Lord is talking ultimately about the kingdom of God. As we know, all men die, the righteous as well as the wicked. While sometimes it might seem that God might bring the wicked to their end sooner, like with many of the wicked kings of Israel who did not live very long, or might allow the righteous to live longer, like many of the righteous kings of Israel who enjoyed longer reigns, yet there are always exceptions to this. And ultimately it matters little, if death is the final ending either way. That is why I would say that the ultimate fulfillment of this is in the kingdom. Only then will the righteous truly live and the wicked truly die in a way that is significant and different.

Yet as you point out, that is not to say that things are the opposite today. It is not true that the righteous die and the wicked live. Instead, it is true that all die. Today, all of us die because time and chance happen to all men. In some cases, if the righteous are being hunted or persecuted, they might die faster than the wicked, and in some cases the wicked, because of their destructive, sinful actions, may die younger than expected. Yet ultimately the death spoken of is death during the eon (and perhaps beyond that in the lake of fire,) whereas life is life during that eon.

Also, I don’t think it’s true that this proverb is no longer used. We might not use it regarding sour grapes, but the idea that the sins of the fathers are passed down to their children is one that is still common and all too often is true in our day. It is when God is controlling everything in His kingdom that this will not be true. He will be able to protect the children from paying the price for the sins of their fathers, and this He will do. Praise God that this is so!