Let’s read Ezekiel 18:20, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. THE SON SHALL NOT BEAR THE INIQUITY OF THE FATHER, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”  We see clearly that each person is accountable before the Lord for their own sins, not the sins of another. 

What about Korah and Achan?  Were they punished for their fathers’ sins?

KORAH – There are four different men in the Old Testament who were named Korah.  Only one of them is spoken of at length.  He was the son of Izhar and brother to Nepheg and Zichri. (Exodus 6:21).  He was a Levite.  We read of Korah’s death in Numbers 16.  We read in verses 1-3, “Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?”  It was Korah who gathered a band of men to rebel against Moses and Aaron, saying that they took too much upon themselves.  They accused them of trying to elevate themselves above the Israelites.  Moses warned Korah that their rebellion was not against him or Aaron, but it was “against the Lord.” (Verse 11 – NASB). 

I encourage you to read this entire chapter, but for sake of time and space, we will skip down to verses 31-33 to learn the fate of Korah and his men. “And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.”  Korah and his men were killed because of their rebellion against the will of God.  Jude 11 is quite clear in telling us why Korah died.  That says they, “perished in the rebellion of Korah.”  Indeed, it was not for his father’s sins, but for his own rebellion.

ACHAN – Achan was a soldier who fought with Joshua in the battle of Jericho.  The soldiers were instructed to take nothing of Jericho with them.  Only Rahab the harlot was to be spared and there were to be no spoils taken.  Joshua 6:17-18  tells us, “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.”  To take any of the accursed possessions of Jericho would render the disobedient soldier accursed himself…and would endanger the entire nation of Israel.

Alas, Achan stole some of the possessions of Jericho and hid them in his tent.  What a serious act of disobedience and theft.  At this point no one knew who had stolen these items, but the Lord instructed Joshua, “And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.” (Joshua 7:15). I encourage you to read the remainder of this chapter for the details of what happened.  The end result is found in verse 25, “And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.”

We can clearly see that both Korah and Achan were killed because of their own sins and not the sins of their fathers.  Let me remind you of the first verse we considered in this devotional.  Ezekiel 18:20 tells us plainly, ““The soul that sinneth, it shall die…).  My friend, you have sinned, even as I have sinned.  As such, we are under the curse of death because of our sin.  Yet, there is hope.  Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Instead of giving you what you deserve (death), the Lord has a gift for you…eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  How do you receive this gift?  Simply by repenting of your sins and putting your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior and sin bearer.  Romans 10:9-10 promises us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  (CC)  (517.4)