Osama Abdallah thinks that the Holy Bible contradicts or, more specifically, abrogates itself (*) concerning the manner of salvation. He writes that:
1-What saves the Bible followers?
Perhaps one of the worst and most serious contradictions that exist in the Bible is this one, because it is about Salvation!
What saves the Bible followers?
" "But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself. "Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, HE WILL SURELY LIVE because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself."(From the NIV Bible, Ezekiel 3:19-21)"
"that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.(From the NIV Bible, John 3:15-17)"
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.(From the NIV Bible, John 14:5-7)"
Had Osama bothered to read Ezekiel 3 carefully he would have noted the following:
"Again, when a righteous man TURNS from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself." Ezekiel 3:20-21
God clearly told Ezekiel that a person who turns away from doing what is right will die, a point repeated elsewhere in the book:
"Therefore, son of man, say to your countrymen, The righteousness of the righteous man will not save him when he disobeys, and the wickedness of the wicked man will not cause him to fall when he turns from it. The righteous man, if he sins, will not be allowed to live because of his former righteousness. If I tell the righteous man that he will surely live, but then he trusts in his righteousness and does evil, none of the righteous things he has done will be remembered; he will die for the evil he has done If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, he will die for it." Ezekiel 33:12-13, 18
The foregoing passages emphatically state that the righteousness of a person who turns away cannot sustain him, obviously because such a righteousness is limited in value. This means that a person must maintain his righteousness by always doing what is right, something which no person is able to do since all sin against God:
"When they sin against youfor there is no one who does not sinand you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to his own land, far away or near;" I Kings 8:46
"If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?" Psalm 130:3
"Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you." Psalm 143:2
"There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins." Ecclesiastes 7:20
"This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead." Ecclesiastes 9:3
This is why it is only the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, who is able to fully satisfy God and sustain believers for all eternity, a righteousness foretold by the Hebrew prophets:
"Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." Isaiah 53:10-12
"The days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness." Jeremiah 23:5-6
"But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference," Romans 3:21-22
"It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from Godthat is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." 1 Corinthians 1:30
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21
"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christthe righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead." Philippians 3:8-11
Here are some other aspects of Ezekiel 3 that Osama overlooked or simply ignored:
"At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, "You will surely die," and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not TURN from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself." Ezekiel 3:16-19
This is repeated more than once:
"But if a wicked man TURNS away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they TURN from their ways and live? But if a wicked man TURNS away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will save his life. Because he considers all the offenses he has committed and TURNS away from them, he will surely live; he will not die. Yet the house of Israel says, The way of the Lord is not just. Are my ways unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust? Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. REPENT! TURN AWAY from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. REPENT and live!" Ezekiel 18:21-23, 27-32
Ezekiel emphasizes the need for sinners to turn or repent from their wicked ways in order that they might live, which again agrees precisely with the message of the Lord Jesus and the NT writers:
"After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. The time has come, he said. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" Mark 1:14-15
"He told them, This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Luke 24:46-47
"When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, Brothers, what shall we do? Peter replied, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:37-38
"Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out," Acts 3:19 ESV
"When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways." Acts 3:26
"God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel." Acts 5:31
"When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life." Acts 11:18
"In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." Acts 17:30-31
"testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20:21 ESV
"And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will." 2 Timothy 2:24-26
Yet God has to have a basis in which to forgive and justify the wicked, since his justice and holiness must be satisfied. After all, didnt God tell Ezekiel that the person who sins shall die?
"For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the sonboth alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die. Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not just. Hear, O house of Israel: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin, he will die for it; because of the sin he has committed he will die." Ezekiel 18:4, 20, 24-26
And wouldnt this mean that God failed to carry out his justice if he simply forgives the wicked without demanding that they die as a consequence of their sin?
There must be a way for God to demand that sinners die as just penalty for their crimes and yet, at the same time, be willing to forgive them if they repent. Ezekiel shows how God is able to maintain both his perfect justice and his willingness to show mercy and love to repentant sinners, specifically through atonement. Note the instructions that God gave concerning the restoration of the Temple and priesthood, both of which center around the need of sacrificial offerings for the forgiveness of sin:
"These are the measurements of the altar in long cubits, that cubit being a cubit and a handbreadth: Its gutter is a cubit deep and a cubit wide, with a rim of one span around the edge. And this is the height of the altar: From the gutter on the ground up to the lower ledge it is two cubits high and a cubit wide, and from the smaller ledge up to the larger ledge it is four cubits high and a cubit wide. The altar hearth is four cubits high, and four horns project upward from the hearth. The altar hearth is square, twelve cubits long and twelve cubits wide. The upper ledge also is square, fourteen cubits long and fourteen cubits wide, with a rim of half a cubit and a gutter of a cubit all around. The steps of the altar face east. Then he said to me, Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: These will be the regulations for sacrificing burnt offerings and sprinkling blood upon the altar when it is built: You are to give a young bull as a sin offering to the priests, who are Levites, of the family of Zadok, who come near to minister before me, declares the Sovereign LORD. You are to take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar and on the four corners of the upper ledge and all around the rim, and so purify the altar and make atonement for it. You are to take the bull for the sin offering and burn it in the designated part of the temple area outside the sanctuary. On the second day you are to offer a male goat without defect for a sin offering, and the altar is to be purified as it was purified with the bull. When you have finished purifying it, you are to offer a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without defect. You are to offer them before the LORD, and the priests are to sprinkle salt on them and sacrifice them as a burnt offering to the LORD. For seven days you are to provide a male goat daily for a sin offering; you are also to provide a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without defect. For seven days they are to make atonement for the altar and cleanse it; thus they will dedicate it. At the end of these days, from the eighth day on, the priests are to present your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar. THEN I WILL ACCEPT YOU, declares the Sovereign LORD." Ezekiel 43:13-27
"But the priests, who are Levites and descendants of Zadok and who faithfully carried out the duties of my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign LORD. They alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table to minister before me and perform my service On the day he goes into the inner court of the sanctuary to minister in the sanctuary, he is to offer a sin offering for himself, declares the Sovereign LORD." Ezekiel 44:15-16, 27
"It will be the duty of the prince to provide the burnt offerings, grain offerings and drink offerings at the festivals, the New Moons and the Sabbathsat all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel. He will provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In the first month on the first day you are to take a young bull without defect and purify the sanctuary. The priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the temple, on the four corners of the upper ledge of the altar and on the gateposts of the inner court. You are to do the same on the seventh day of the month for anyone who sins unintentionally or through ignorance; so you are to make atonement for the temple. In the first month on the fourteenth day you are to observe the Passover, a feast lasting seven days, during which you shall eat bread made without yeast. On that day the prince is to provide a bull as a sin offering for himself and for all the people of the land. Every day during the seven days of the Feast he is to provide seven bulls and seven rams without defect as a burnt offering to the LORD, and a male goat for a sin offering. He is to provide as a grain offering an ephah for each bull and an ephah for each ram, along with a hin of oil for each ephah. During the seven days of the Feast, which begins in the seventh month on the fifteenth day, he is to make the same provision for sin offerings, burnt offerings, grain offerings and oil." Ezekiel 45:17-25
What the foregoing texts demonstrate is that God accepts the repentant sinner on the basis of blood atonement. God basically punishes the sins of the repentant by substitutionary sacrifice, by permitting an animal to die in the place of the guilty. In this way God is able to forgive sinners while upholding the just requirements of his own law which demands that the wicked die for their sin.
This, too, completely agrees with NT teaching, specifically that sinners who repent are forgiven on the basis of the blood sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God sent to take away the sin of the world:
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45
"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:28
"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29
"But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." John 6:50-51
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." Romans 3:23-26
"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all menthe testimony given in its proper time." 1 Timothy 2:5-6
"while we wait for the blessed hopethe glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." Titus 2:13-14
"When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritancenow that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant." Hebrews 9:11-15
"My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defenseJesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:1-2
"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:9-10
Moreover, this further demonstrates the thorough inadequacy of a persons righteousness, that such righteous acts werent sufficient to sustain an individual forever. After all, if such righteousness were adequate then there would be no need for sacrificial atonement. The fact that God prescribed sacrifices for sin conclusively shows that the righteous werent saved on the grounds of their personal righteousness since this couldnt satisfy Gods perfect justice. These individuals were saved on the basis of Gods gracious provision of atonement, which provided a means by which God could overlook the imperfections and sins of a person who sought to live in obedience to Gods Law. But even these sacrifices could only provide temporary satisfaction, a temporary covering of sin, which explains why they had to be offered over and over again.
The goal of such sacrifices was to point ultimately to Christs once and for all atoning sacrifice, whose righteousness and death provided infinite satisfaction, thereby procuring eternal salvation for all true believers.
As it stands there are no contradictions between the teachings of the prophet Ezekiel and the inspired NT authors. Rather, the contradiction lay primarily with Osamas gross misreading of these texts.
Unless stated otherwise, biblical quotations taken from the New International Version (NIV) of the Holy Bible.
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