Ezekiel 18: Responsibility for Sin

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 170


In what ways are you like or unlike your parents? Why?It is true that sometimes the “innocent are compelled to suffer for the iniquities of the guilty” (Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 34). Some people, however, continue to blame their parents or others for things they have power to change. The children of Israel felt their punishments resulted from their fathers’ sins. They even had a common saying about suffering for their parents’ sins, which is found in Ezekiel 18:2. Their proverb (saying) was partially true. The fathers had not properly taught the children in the ways of the Lord nor had they created an environment where their children would be more likely to grow up faithful to the laws of God.In every generation, however, the Lord sends prophets to teach the truth and teach people ways they must repent. Each generation has the opportunity to choose whether to listen and obey the words of the prophets or to follow the tradition of their parents. The Lord clearly taught this element of the principle of agency in this chapter.

Understanding the Scriptures

Ezekiel 18

Teeth are set on edge (v. 2)Pucker 
Eaten upon the mountains (vv. 6, 11, 15)Participated in idol worship 
Defiled (vv. 6, 11, 15)Been immoral with 
Come near to (v. 6)Have sexual relations with 
Oppressed (vv. 7, 12, 16, 18)Been unfair to, placed burdens upon 
Pledge (vv. 7, 12, 16)Money someone owes 
Given forth upon usury (vv. 8, 13)Charged interest when giving loans 
Increase (v. 8)An unfair amount of money to charge 
Executed (vv. 8, 17)Performed 
Bear (vv. 19–20)Carry, be accountable for 
Equal (vv. 25, 29)Fair, just 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Ezekiel 18.

Activity A iconApply the Scriptures

How could you use Ezekiel 18:1–18 to help someone who lives in a home where he or she is not encouraged in righteous activities? You may want to cross-reference these verses to the second Article of Faith.

Activity B iconIdentify Important Principles

Read Ezekiel 18:19–32 and find what the Lord taught about sin, repentance, enduring to the end, and How he feels about those in sin. Write at least four one-sentence statements that summarize the principles taught in these verses.