By Jeff Pulse –
The Old Testament lesson for this Sunday, October 1, 2017, is from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel. The Text is Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32. The text could very well include the entirety of chapter 18 because the overall theme and focus is one. This theme is one of “justification” or “damnation” of the individual. At first blush, this may seem somewhat straight up and academic to us in our theological culture, but to the Hebrew/Jew of this era, it was far from it. They were more used to hearing and speaking in corporate or communal terms. This was not wrong; Israel/Church is one entity, one Bride, etc., and when one person suffers, the whole community suffers. When one person rejoices, all rejoice. However, Ezekiel is quite clear here that this does NOT mean that the sons suffer for the sins of the fathers. In other words, when the father does not believe, this does not condemn the son to perdition, and conversely, the faith of the father does not save the son. This false theology actually came from the pagan cultures around them.