Ezekiel — Lesson 8

Ezekiel 12

1. Oracles About the Sins of Israel and Jerusalem

A. The book of Ezekiel has so far dealt mainly with the message that Jerusalem is doomed.

1. Ezekiel has proclaimed this message by symbolic action, in vision, and by spoken oracle.

2. He has given the justification for the fate of Jerusalem by describing the iniquities that brought the judgment about.

B. Chapter 12 starts with two more enacted messages, and then begins a series of actions and oracles dealing with objections raised by Ezekiel's listeners to the horrible news of Jerusalem's impending doom.

1. The people still hoped for any early return to Palestine from their exile. They viewed the continued preservation of Judah and Jerusalem as signs of security.

a) Although physically they lived far away from Jerusalem, their hearts still lived in that corrupt and doomed city.

2. In the next few chapters, God through Ezekiel will deal with some of the objections and arguments that are raised against Ezekiel's message.

a) First, what Ezekiel is predicting has not come to pass and thus will never come to pass. (Chapter 12)

b) Second, if judgment is to come, it will not be in our lifetime. (Chapter 12)

c) Third, Ezekiel is just one prophet. There are a lot of other prophets that are predicting just the opposite --- peace and prosperity and a swift return from exile. (Chapter 13)

d) Fourth, the leaders in Judah were the ones who were responsible. If their is going to be a judgment, it will be on them. (Chapter 14)

e) Fifth, if there is a danger of judgment, then all we need is a righteous person to intercede with God and He will then change his mind. (Chapter 14)

f) Sixth, how could Ezekiel possibly believe that God would judge his own chosen people? He would never do that. (Chapters 15-16)

g) Seventh, the real culprits here are our forefathers and it would not be fair for God to judge us for something they did. (Chapter 17)

h) Eighth, if judgment is really coming, there is nothing we can do to stop it. It doesn't matter whether we repent. (Chapter 18)

i) Ninth, Zedekiah can be trusted. He will triumph over Babylon. (Chapter 19)

3. They had plenty of excuses and objections! Do any of them sound familiar?

2. Enacted Message: Going Into Exile (12:1-16)

A. Ezekiel is always very careful to give specific dates for his visions and oracles, yet no date is given here.

1. From this we can assume that these messages were given very shortly after the events of Ezekiel 8-11.

B. Ezekiel is told to act out the exile for all to see.

1. The action consisted of two parts:

a) By day, Ezekiel collected the the bare essentials for the long journey into exile. The word "prepare" suggests that he was to make a "big deal" out of getting ready.

b) Then, as evening came, he dug through the wall of his house (as though making a secret getaway) and went out into the night carrying his bundle on his shoulders.

c) "From thy place to another place" indicates that the prophet had marked out a specific walk for himself.

d) He is to walk "as when men go forth into exile" -- with gloom, with a slow pace, with a defeated air, with slumped shoulders. Much different from how men walk when they are returning from exile!

e) Verse 6 tells us that he was to cover his eyes as he did all of this.

C. Again, we ask, why did Ezekiel act out these messages?

1. First, he was competing with false prophets.

a) The false prophets were unlikely to go to the extremes to which Ezekiel went.

b) These actions probably served to further distinguish Ezekiel from those who proclaimed messages of peace and safety.

2. Second, it was a very good way of spreading his message.

a) No doubt, his strange activities were becoming a real source of conversation among the exiles.

b) One commentator notes that Ezekiel "soon developed as good a system of communication as any in Tel Abib."

c) This is a lesson for us today. The best way to get the world's attention is to be different from the world. Christians are called to swim upstream.

3. Third, it shows the extent that God was willing to go to so that people would understand what was coming and why it was coming.

a) You don't understand what I told you? Okay, let me act it out for you...

D. Ezekiel 12:2-16

1. Verses 2-3 speaks of a rebellious house that has eyes to see but does not see and that has ears to hear but does not listen.

a) This may be an allusion to the messages that Ezekiel has already given the exiles, but which have not been heeded.

(1) They had been listening and watching Ezekiel for over a year now, but they still did not believe that judgment was imminent.

(2) Ezekiel had been warned. Compare Ezekiel 2:5. (And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.)

(3) Jeremiah had the same problem. Compare Jeremiah 5:21. (Hear this now, O foolish people, Without understanding, Who have eyes and see not, And who have ears and hear not.)

(4) They were willfully blind and deaf to God's message. Yet God very graciously continued to try and get his message across.

b) God now speaks to Ezekiel and expresses the hope that perhaps the people will now understand. But even if they don't, God's plan will continue. In fact, sometimes it is part of God's plan that people who are already hardened NOT understand and heed his message (or at least not immediately).

(1) Compare Isaiah 6:9-10. (And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.)

(2) Jesus quoted this passage in Matthew 13:13-15 and said that it explains why he spoke in parables.

c) That your words may be ignored is never an excuse for not uttering the words.

d) Ezekiel, like Jeremiah, had to be reminded that it was always possible that some might understand.

e) Also, as one commentator noted, "even though the result may still be negative, the obligation to speak is still there, if only to justify the hearer's condemnation."

f) God tells us in 2 Timothy 4:2 to "Preach the Word!" Jesus said in John 12:32, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me." He said in John 6:44 that no man can come to him unless the Father draws him. The next verse tells us how God draws men --- through His word.

g) We preach the word and then He draws men through the proclamation of His word. When we start trying to draw men apart from the word, we are telling God that His word just isn't good enough anymore! We can do it all so much better! If the word doesn't work, then what we need is entertainment!

h) Many of our problems would go away if we just kept our respective roles straight! Ezekiel is a good example. Proclaim the word as God commands. His word will then have the effect that He desires.

2. The "wall" in verses 5-7 is the wall of a house. A different Hebrew word is used when referring the wall of a city. (The area in which the exiles lived was probably not surrounded by any city walls.)

a) This description gives us a glimpse of the life of the exiles. They must have now been living in typical Babylonian dwellings built of sun-dried bricks.

(1) Compare Ezekiel 8:1 (And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house) and Jeremiah 29:5 (Build ye houses, and dwell in them).

b) Archeologists tells us that these bricks could have been removed by hand (verse 7), but not without effort.

c) What does this message depict?

(1) It may depict the difficulties of escape from Jerusalem.

(2) More likely it depicts the attempt by Zedekiah to breach the walls and escape the besieged city.

(a) Compare 2 Kings 25:4 (And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.)

(b) Compare Jeremiah 39:4 (And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king’s garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain.)

3. Verses 8-16 provide the meaning of these symbolic actions.

a) Ezekiel received this explanation "in the morning" after he had performed the actions.

(1) This indicates that Ezekiel himself did not know the details of what he was doing while he was doing it.

(2) Do you wonder how God would have reacted if Ezekiel had just all on his own decided to improve on God's plan?

(a) "I know that God said to dig through a wall, but this would be much more dramatic if I climbed out of an upper window and went down a rope."

(b) We (like Ezekiel) must not tamper with God's plans and patterns. We are in no position to improve on God's plans. Our role is to follow the pattern, not to come up with our own pattern.

(c) Moses goes into elaborate detail about the tabernacle and its furnishings. Why was it so important that he follow God's pattern so exactly? We find out in Hebrews 8:5. Moses made everything "according to the pattern" because what he made was a "copy and shadow of the heavenly things."

b) Ezekiel's actions were a sign that additional exiles were going to be coming to Babylon.

(1) Since all of Ezekiel's listeners had participated in an exile themselves, they should have known exactly what Ezekiel was showing them.

(2) Yet verse 9 tells us they still asked him what it all meant. Why?

(a) They may have wondered whether Ezekiel meant that they would be sneaking out of Babylon and returning to the Palestine. That hope is soon shattered.

(b) One commentator notes that the question "what doest thou?" in verse 9 may have been made in a mocking tone rather than as an honest question.

c) These verses confirm that Ezekiel's actions were prophetic of what was to happen to King Zedekiah, who is the "prince in Jerusalem" mentioned in verse 10.

(1) Note the use of the word "burden." This was a weighty oracle. God did not enjoy giving it. Ezekiel did not enjoy hearing it. Ezekiel did not enjoy proclaiming. But proclaim it he did.

(2) Note the use of the word "prince" rather than "king." Recall our discussion in Lesson 2 regarding Jehoiachin (the real king in exile) and Zedekiah (the puppet king in Jerusalem).

(3) These verses tell us that Zedekiah would flee the city in the dead of night.

(4) What is meant by the phrase "he shall cover his face" in verse 12?

(a) It may indicate that Zedekiah would wear a disguise as he fled. The Septuagint follows this view, translating the verse "he shall cover his face, so that he may not be seen by eye."

(b) It may instead refer to the blinding of Zedekiah by his captors at Riblah. (This event is very clearly referred to in verse 13 -- "yet he shall not see it.")

(c) Recall from Lesson 2 that Zedekiah's sons were killed before his eyes and then he was blinded and carried off back to Babylon, where he died. Ezekiel told the people about it before it ever happened.

(5) JOSEPHUS [Antiquities, 10.7] reports that Ezekiel sent a copy of this prophecy to Zedekiah. The prince, however, fancying a contradiction between Ezekiel 12:13; "he shall not see Babylon," and Jeremiah 24:8,9, declaring he should be carried to Babylon, believed neither.

4. Verse 13 tells us that Zedekiah had more than the armies of Nebuchadnezzar arrayed against him. He also had God against him.

a) The failure of his escape plan and his capture and blinding by the Babylonians were God's doings.

b) God is pictured here as a hunter. ("I will spread my net...he shall be caught in my snare.")

(1) Compare Hosea 7:12. (When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven.)

(2) Babylon was God's net!

5. Verse 14 tells us that all of the armies and helpers of the prince are scattered with the sword, and verse 15 tells us that their experiences would teach them what they otherwise might never have learned --- that "I am the Lord."

a) One commentator: "What men fail to appreciate in prosperity, they will occasionally learn through adversity."

6. Verse 16 tells us that God would allow a few to escape so that they could "declare all their abominations among the Gentiles wherever they go."

a) Their confession would show that Jerusalem had fallen as a punishment by God rather than because God was unable to save it from the Babylonians.

b) This latter notion was very common in the ancient Near East. Each nation had a patron deity. If a nation suffered defeat in battle or suffered from famine or disease, it meant that its god was incapable of protecting them.

c) To make it very clear that such was not the case here, this remnant is to declare the reason for the judgment to the surrounding nations.

d) Ezekiel was very concerned with God's reputation among the heathen nations. God here tells Ezekiel that those nations would know "I am the Lord."

3. Enacted Message: The Terror of Jerusalem (12:17-20)

A. The second enacted message is very brief. It simply involves how Ezekiel was to eat the rations that were allocated to him in 4:9-17.

1. Ezekiel is to quiver and tremble while he eats and drinks.

2. He is to put on a show of fearfulness and terror and then explain it as depicting the frightening violence and destruction that were to come.

3. The Hebrew word for "people" in verse 19 ("people of the land") refers to the peasant population in Judah as distinct from the ruling classes.

B. Verse 19 tells us that all of this would come about "on account of the violence of all those who dwell in the land."

1. The sufferings to come on the people are attributed directly to the sufferings that they had inflicted on others.

2. Violence breeds violence. We reap what we sow. Our society celebrates violence -- on TV, in the movies, in video games -- and we wonder why we live in such a violent society.

3. If you want to know God's views on violence, a good place to start is with the prophets. God tells Ezekiel here that this judgment is coming on account of the violence in the land. Both Israel and Judah had filled the land with violence:

a) God told Ezekiel in 8:17 that Judah had filled the land with violence.

b) Jeremiah 22:17 tells us about Judah and King Jehoiakim: "But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it."

c) Micah 2:1-2 tells us more about Judah: "Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand. 2 And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage."

d) Amos 3:10 tells us about Israel: "For they know not to do right, saith the LORD, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces."

4. Two Popular Sayings Corrected (12:21-28)

A. What begins in verse 21 is a group of oracles that continue through 14:11 and relate to the problem of true and false prophets.

1. This was a problem for nearly all of the Old Testament prophets, and especially for men like Ezekiel and Jeremiah who were telling the people things the people did not want to hear.

a) Compare 2 Timothy 4:3 (For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.)

b) Compare Jeremiah 5:31 (The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?)

2. The struggle between Jeremiah and Hananiah in Jeremiah 28 is a perfect example.

a) The two men were proclaiming contradictory messages, each seemingly from God.

b) The listeners were unable to know who to listen to.

(1) We should give them credit at least for recognizing that both messages could not be true. In our modern society, we are raising an entire generation who have no problem with contradictory ideas bouncing around inside their heads. ("I know that baptism is essential for salvation, but I certainly don't think the unbaptized are lost." --- That statement was made to me by a preacher with a Masters degree in theology from ACU.)

(2) The tests in Deuteronomy 18:22 and 13:1-3 did not help.

(a) Deuteronomy 18:22 (When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.)

(b) Deuteronomy 13:1-3 (If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.)

(3) The first test could not yet be tested because the time of fulfillment was too far distant and the second test did not apply to the messages involved here.

c) Eventually Jeremiah announced a death prophecy against Hananiah in Jeremiah 28:16 that came to pass in verse 17, thus showing (very convincingly!) that Jeremiah's message was the true one.

B. Ezekiel, like Jeremiah, had a depressing message to deliver.

1. Ezekiel is an example for us today: No one is going to pay any attention to the good news, until they understand the bad news.

a) But Ezekiel was negative. Doesn't that mean he was unloving? No! The MOST UNLOVING thing that a person can do is to tell someone that he is all right with God when in fact the exact opposite is true. Nothing we can do is more unloving than that.

2. But don't preachers who deliver the bad news along with the good news sometimes get shown the door? Yes, and it doesn't just happen to the preachers!

a) A recent issue of World magazine included an article about a new "mega-church" in Los Angeles called the Agape Church. On one Sunday there were 1500 members singing "praise songs" led by a 160 member choir. And what is so strange about that? Well, the Agape church "makes no pretension of being Christian at all." Instead, as the "pastor" explained, they combine "new thought" with "ancient wisdom."

b) The author of the article wrote: "The New Age movement has discovered the church growth movement. Or perhaps religious entrepreneurs are realizing that Christ, as He said, is the ultimate stumbling block, an obstacle to growth in this new cultural climate."

c) Jesus said in John 14:6 that he was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one could come to the Father but by him. That does not go over very well in our modern society.

d) It used to be that when Jesus made people uncomfortable they would have to work to somehow explain away what he had said. (He didn't mean that, or he really never said that.) The Agape church came up with a new solution! Just show Jesus the door and carry on with your praise songs and your choir, but without all that negativity! If Jesus is an obstacle to church growth, then we will just have to get rid of him!

e) One of the most comforting verses to me in the Bible is Romans 3:4 -- "Let God be true, but every man a liar." Truth is not subjective! Jesus is lord of lords and king of kings regardless of what the world thinks. The world may think that truth is some subjective creation of man, but it is not. Man is like a howling dog that thinks it howls the sun up each day -- but that sun is going to come up regardless of what that dog does!

C. Ezekiel's listeners could ignore him in at least two ways:

1. They could point to Deut. 18:22 and say that what Ezekiel predicted had not yet happened, so he must be a false prophet.

2. Or, they could determine that the fulfillment was a long way off and thus his message had no relevance to their lives.

3. Ezekiel now deals with each of these attitudes.

D. In verse 22, Ezekiel confronts a clever slogan that was being used by the people: "Time passes, but no vision ever comes to anything."

1. The Hebrew version consists of four words: "(They-lengthen) (the-days) (and-it-dies) (every-vision.)"

2. "A memorable slogan can wield tremendous influence, for good as well as for evil."

3. This same attitude had arisen before.

a) (Isaiah 5:19) "That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!"

b) (Zephaniah 1:12) And it shall come to pass at that time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled in complacency, who say in their heart, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil.’

4. Mockers may frequent appearances throughout the Scriptures. Yet, they never seem to have the last mock.

a) (Jeremiah 20:7) "I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me."

b) (Hebrews 11:36) "And others had trial of cruel mockings..."

c) (Jeremiah 17:15) Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now.

d) (Amos 5:18) "Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light."

e) My personal favorite is found in 2 Kings 2:23-25. (I will let you read that one for yourself, but with one word of warning: When you meet up with Elisha in Heaven, don't make any bald jokes!)

E. God's reply in verses 23-25 also comes in the form of a four word slogan: "(They-draw-near) (the-days) (and-the-word-of) (every-vision)."

1. God creates his own slogan! He tells the people that the days are near when every vision will be fulfilled.

2. The Hebrew term "word" in this verse is used in the sense of fulfillment.

3. This is the nature of God's word -- it does not return to him empty.

a) Compare Isaiah 55:11 (So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.)

b) Compare Hebrews 4:12 (For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.)

c) God's word is a living word that goes forth with all of the power and authority of the God who utters it.

4. The fulfillment of God's word would be the death of all the catchy slogans and the false prophecies that produced smooth or flattering messages.

a) The use of the term "divination" in verse 24 suggests that the false prophets may have used mechanical means (such as lots or augury) to obtain their oracles.

5. And when will all of this happen? "In your days, O rebellious house!" (verse 25)

a) It was only because of God's grace that He had not disciplined them earlier. He had waited so that Israel might change her mind and return to him. Instead, they strayed further away.

b) "In your days"means in your lifetime. Compare Matthew 24:34, which speaks of a later judgment against Jerusalem that would come to pass in the lifetime of those listening.

6. These verses remind me of the "famous last words" we often hear.

a) God will never punish us! God will never judge us!

b) "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist..." -- The last words of General John Sedgwick spoken while looking over the parapet at enemy lines during the Battle of Spotsylvania in 1864.

c) "Lady, God himself couldn't sink this ship!" -- A steward speaking to a boarding passenger on the Titanic.

F. Verse 26-28 deal with a second attitude.

1. Verse 27 -- The vision he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off.

2. This attitude is slightly different, but the answer is the same.

3. It is less skeptical than the first attitude in that it does not deny the truth of the prophecies, but relegates them to a far distant time.

4. God's answer is that the time for fulfillment is at hand. There will be no more delay.

5. These attitudes are still with us today. There are two broad schools of thought among those outside of Christ.

a) The first says that judgment is just a pipe-dream of religious fanatics. There will be no judgment.

b) The second says that judgment is so far off that there is no need to prepare for it now.

6. Compare:

a) (2 Peter 3:3-4) 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

7. The very long-suffering of God that ought to lead men to repentance is instead made an argument against His word.

a) (Ecclesiastes 8:11) "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."

b) (Amos 6:3) "Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near."

5. Conclusion -- Lessons for Today

A. We must continue to proclaim God's word even if we are ignored, mocked, or disbelieved.

B. If we sow violence, we will reap violence.

1. (Hosea 8:7) "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind."

2. (Galatians 6:7) "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

3. (Matthew 26:52) "All who take the sword will perish by the sword."

C. That judgment has not yet occurred does not mean it will never occur or that it is a long way off.

1. (Matthew 24:44) "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."

2. (2 Peter 3:9) "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

D. Beware of preachers who say only what their listeners want to hear -- who say peace, peace when there is no peace.

1. (Jeremiah 5:30-31) "An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?"

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)