Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Is “looking the other way” biblical?

A STERN WORD for those who choose to "look the other way" and admonish others to do so, when they see evil being perpetrated:

You're going against Scripture, which commands us to DO something about those types of people! If we don't, then we will be held responsible! Take a look:

Ezekiel 3:16 After seven days the word of Adonai came to me: 17 “Human being, I have appointed you to be a watchman for the house of Isra’el. When you hear a word from my mouth, you are to warn them for me.

18 If I say to a wicked person, ‘You will certainly die’; and you fail to warn him, to speak and warn the wicked person to leave his wicked way and save his life; then that wicked person will die guilty; and I will hold you responsible for his death.

19 On the other hand, if you warn the wicked person, and he doesn’t turn from his wickedness or his wicked way, then he will still die guilty; but you will have saved your own life.

20 Similarly, when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness, I will place a stumblingblock before him — he will die; because you failed to warn him, he will die in his sin; his righteous acts which he did will not be remembered; and I will hold you responsible for his death.

21 But if you warn the righteous person that a righteous person should not sin, and he doesn’t sin; then he will certainly live, because he took the warning; and you too will have saved your life.” (CJB)

A READER ASKED:

I have always thought these scriptures were in reference to the prophet Ezekiel. A better understanding might help me be more bold in doing the right thing. Do you have an article on this?

OUR RESPONSE:

We have referred to Ezekiel 3 (and Ezekiel 33) in several articles, yet have not addressed whether or not the words to Ezekiel apply to us as you seem to be questioning. This message came to Ezekiel twice - first in Ezekiel 3:17-21 and the second in Ezekiel 33:2-9. The revelation in Ezekiel 33, (the verses mentioned above), begin in verse 2 where we learn that we all are the "watchmen" over Israel, so the vision did not apply only to Ezekiel. The watchman is responsible to warn citizens. The citizen is responsible for heeding the warning.

Note that Ezekiel is called "ben a'dam" - son of man. The sages interpret it to denote mankind generally, that is, not a deity. So Ezekiel is called a "son of man", not so much being addressed only to him, or that he is something special above the rest of us, rather, because he is a righteous human in the position to speak for YHWH - because he was righteous.

The sages say the the time of prophecy is past. That means that there are no more "Ezekiels" for our time. And if that is true, then who is to fulfill Ezekiel's role to warn those who are sinning against YHWH if not us?

Further, Ezekiel (as are we supposed to be), was living righteously because he obeyed Torah. Torah commands us all to rebuke our brothers so we don't carry sin because of them. (Leviticus 19:17). This command is the origin of YHWH's pronouncement to Ezekiel to warn those who were sinning. The only difference in Ezekiel is that in Ezekiel's case, YHWH is talking about people who are about to lose their eternal lives due to their behavior and that is so serious that if WE know they are heading down that path, and WE don't warn them, then YHWH's message is that their blood is on our hands!

So yes, the words spoken to Ezekiel to warn those who are sinning and teaching falsely most certainly applies to us.

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