Ezekiel 33:7,8, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.”
Ezekiel was directly commissioned by God to be a prophet to the Jews in Babylonian exile. He was to deliver the Lord’s message predicting the fall of Jerusalem and warn them about the consequences of rebellion and lack of faith.
In this chapter, the Lord made Ezekiel responsible for bringing failures to the nation’s attention, one individual at a time. When the wickedness of their ways was pointed out, it was their responsibility to repent.
If they were warned and did not heed, resulting in death, they would be responsible for their own actions. However, if they heeded the warning, they would be delivered.
If the watchman failed to sound the warning, then Ezekiel would be accountable for the sins of the people (verse 5). The phrase “…If thou dost not speak” – placed Ezekiel in a position of “not compromising” on the truth. He was commissioned to present the Lord’s judgment without human philosophy. The Lord loved Israel and wanted to restore them to Him, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” (Eze. 33:11)
Does a similar commission from God apply to Christians today?
Does God give us the power and authority to tell people, if you don’t listen to my message, you will die in your sins? No.
What is our commission?
Isaiah 61:1-3 – "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek: He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the Day of Vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified."—
We, as the Lord’s stewards, are to spread the blessed news that our sins can be forgiven by believing in the precious blood of Jesus. However, during this present time period (before the resurrection of mankind), Satan has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. (2 Cor. 4:4) God is not presently trying to convert the world. Jesus, Himself, spoke in parables, “lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” Matt. 13:15
In 1 Timothy 2:4, the Apostle affirms that God wants”…all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth”; the truth of Jesus’ ransom for all mankind. We are reassured in Acts 3:19-21 -“Repent then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…” This time will soon come – “for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets”. How blessed to consider the gospel of 1 Corinthians 15, when the Apostle affirms, “As everyone dies because of Adam, so also everyone will be made alive because of Christ” (verse 22 God’s Word translation) and “The last enemy to be destroyed is death!” (verse 26)