09 February, 2017

William Young (1918-2015) on Ezekiel 33:11, 18:23, 32



Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezek. 33:11 KJV)


(I)


In Ezekiel 33:11 as in 18:23, 32, while the Hebrew verb may be translated by ‘desire,’ the rendering ‘have no pleasure’ gives the proper sense, i.e. the Lord is pleased when the wicked repents, and is not pleased when he does not. The text does not assert that the Lord is pleased that the wicked should repent even when he does not. If the latter is given the sense that repentance as such is always approved by God, this truth could imply that God is pleased that the devil should repent. But surely no sober Christian would want to say that God desires the salvation of Satan. The general remark that the non-literal anthropomorphic ascription of desire is unobjectionable in itself applies also to these passages. But the widespread representation of this desire as an intention aiming at the salvation of all renders the expression undesirable, especially when the desire is viewed as an irrational urge. These passages powerfully present the sinner's duty, while they do not treat of his ability to obey or of the Lord's secret counsels. Nor is there a valid reason for supposing a contradiction implied between the will of decree and what is pleasing to God.


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(II)

More to come! (DV)




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