Part Three

The Lord God does not delight in the death of the wicked but rather that they turn their way and live (Ezekiel 33:11)[therefore, does not God love the wicked, not willing that any should perish?]

My Response: Man is responsible for his sin. He is equally responsible to hear the truth of the Gospel, whether written or preached, which declares man to be dead in his sins, having spurned the true God and His commandments. These sins require the just judgment of the sinner with appropriate penalty determined by the Judge of all the earth. That penalty is eternal death and suffering. The grace of God is seen in His sending mankind His Son as Savior, that man might avoid condemnation while receiving the gift of eternal life. The Scripture you cite does not negate the Gospel, nor does it negate the freedom of God in giving the eternal gift of saving grace to whom He wills, when He wills, where He wills and how He wills. This Scripture merely states the obvious:

(1) God is not maniacal, nor cruel.

(2) God is not at fault because of man's stubbornness, remaining in unbelief.

(3) Man is responsible to Repent, and believe the Gospel.

(4) Repentance is necessary unto salvation.

Nowhere does this verse reveal that repentance is the alone gift of God, without which man will never repent. That crucial doctrine is revealed in Acts 11: 18, for example.

Furthermore, we need understand a few foundational truths to correctly understand the verse in question.

(1) Israel, though the smallest of nations, was alone chosen of God above all others.

(2) In choosing Israel as the apple of His eye, the Lord passed by or 'reprobated' all the other nations on earth.

(3) Though Israel alone had the eternal benefits of knowing the true God through the giving of the Law, the ordinances, the priesthood, the feasts, and the Temple sacrifices, that of itself was not sufficient for the Jews to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

(4) Though the Gentiles had no such advantages, they still had knowledge of God and His Law imprinted on their heart. Yet with such knowledge they always sank downward toward worshipping the creature rather than the Creator.

Ezekiel was elected by God to warn Israel of His imminent judgment. Their God was plenty angry with them. The prophet was not sent to congratulate them on a job well done. Rather, his task was to rebuke them with several stern messages. By so doing, Ezekiel won no Humanitarian awards. Israel had gone awhoring after other gods. Unless they repented of their ways, they would pay the eternal consequences. The glory of the Lord departed from Israel, as seen in Ezekiel 10 & 11. It did not depart as a display of God's love. No. It departed as a visible display of God's loathing and hatred toward an apostate, unfaithful congregation. The permanent destruction of the Jewish Temple in A. D. 70, followed by the Diaspora was not evidence of God's love. No. It was evidence of God's hatred and just condemnation of those who killed the very One who had been sent as their Deliverer. Moses prophesied as much.

Thus, in retrospect, Ezekiel 33 was not a Scripture declaring God's unconditional love for all mankind, let alone Israel.

Let us now continue with your next verse used to prove your position:

"Jesus wept over the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying HOW OFTEN WOULD I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, AND YE WOULD NOT, (Matthew 23:37).  These scriptures clearly teach that God loves everyone, desires the salvation of everyone, that Jesus died for everyone, and that man's will co-operates with God's drawing in salvation."

My Response: Once again, we must look at a particular verse in context. Christ was daring to condemn the powerful religious elite with fire and brimstone. The entire sermon was one woe after another. Woes do not speak of God's love. Rather they speak to the imminent doom and destruction upon the heads of those to whom the woe is being directed. In verses 32-33, Christ demands they receive the same damnation as their forefathers who killed the prophets. They will not escape eternal Hellfire and torment. Their house of worship will be left desolate because it is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. With these great truths in mind, we now examine the verse in question.

Please note that Christ particularized those whom He would gather into His fold: the children of Jerusalem. He did not state that He willed to gather the fathers, the Pharisees, into His fold. They were declared sentenced to death and damnation. Therefore, on that distinction alone, your argument for God's universal desire to save all mankind is erroneous. Furthermore, this verse teaches the lack of free will to choose righteousness. The Pharisees, above all others, were experts in the knowledge of Scripture. They, of all people, should have embraced Christ as Messiah. Instead, they freely rejected and executed Him. This is uncooperative free will at its lowest. Rather than obey the will of God who WOULD, they opposed Him when they WOULD NOT.

Lastly, though the Pharisees WOULD NOT and executed Christ, our Lord clearly gives glory to God by declaring He lost not one of those given Him by the Father, (John 17). The omnipotent, omniscient God saved those elect children of Jerusalem whom He chose for salvation before the foundation of the world.

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