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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Forgive - Part One; The Progression of Sin

…Forgive… Part One
The Progression of Sin[1]

Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB95)
aPray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
aYour kingdom come.
bYour will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
aGive us this day 1our daily bread.
‘And aforgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.‘And do not lead us into temptation, but adeliver us from 1bevil. 2[For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’ [2]

How many of us struggle with the concept of forgiveness? Maybe a better question to be asked is this: can forgiveness be taught, and if it can, how? How do we forgive? This leads to another question: who do I forgive? Myself? Everybody? God? The root of any healing, any reconciliation, any revival or resurrection of the spirit within us depends upon our understanding of this complex word, forgive. I know that I have veered off of my series on “Worship and Encountering the Divine” but that subject requires much study to get it right (so to speak). In the meantime, Father has directed me in to go another way, as there are those who need to look at these other issues. Bear with me I pray; I can only teach as the Lord leads – may He guide me today…

Maybe the answer to this is not as simple as defining a word. Using my favorite dictionary, Noah Webster’s “1828 Dictionary of American English”[3] we find:

“…FORGIVE, v.t. forgiv'. pret. forgave; pp. forgiven. [L. remitto. See Give.]
 1. To pardon; to remit, as an offense or debt; to overlook an offense, and treat the offender as not guilty. The original and proper phrase is to forgive the offense, to send it away, to reject it, that is, not to impute it, [put it to] the offender. But by an easy transition, we also use the phrase, to forgive the person offending.
 Forgive us our debts.
 If we forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you. Mat 6.
 As savages never forget a favor, so they never forgive an injury.
 It is to be noted that pardon, like forgive, may be followed by the name or person, and by the offense; but remit can be followed by the offense only. We forgive or pardon the man, but we do not remit him.
 2. To remit as a debt, fine or penalty… [4]

We can find in the definition words like “remit, overlook, pardon”. We find concepts like “send it away, not impute, to remit”. These are understandable concepts, but how do we put them into practice? What do they mean to us anyway? What does it really mean to forgive?

There is only one way to truly understand the concept of forgiveness; God’s way. How do we find God’s way? His Bible. Now comes the big question: what is the Bible – for in answering that question, we can begin to understand exactly what forgiveness is.

The normal response to the question of “What is the Bible?” usually falls into the category of answers that say “Why it is the word of God!”. While this is so very true, the Bible is so much more than this. Yahvey had a purpose and a plan in how the men and women He chose would have their stories told; He also had a reason for the way it was all structured.

Reverend J.A. Thompson gave a lecture on the similarities of the structure of the Old Testament (Tanach) and ancient Near East treaties in 1963. He said in his opening statements (emphasis added):

“…EXCAVATIONS in ancient Near Eastern sites have made available to scholars a wide range of literature from the ancient world. This has provided the Old Testament scholar in particular with important comparative material. To some extent, indeed, the prospect of discovering such literature has been the stimulus for archaeological work in Bible lands,[5] for the writers of the Old Testament were using the literary forms of their own age, and much can be learned by studying other examples of the same forms. Thus the structure and subject-matter of some of the Psalms can be paralleled in the literature of Ugarit;[6] the wisdom literature of the Old Testament has numerous parallels in the ancient Near East; [7]many of the laws of the Pentateuch have parallels in the Hammurabi Code and elsewhere;[8] the Old Testament story of the Flood has certain points of contact with the Babylonian flood stories;[9] indeed, examples could be multiplied.
In recent years, yet another point of contact between the Old Testament and the literature of the ancient Near East has been noticed, namely, that in many of the passages in the Old Testament
which describe the establishment or the renewal of the covenant between Yahweh and Israel, there is a literary pattern which closely follows that found in the treaties of the ancient Near East…[10]

What this means is that Yahvey used men right where they were, with the knowledge that they had, and crafted together a binding covenant agreement with a fledgling nation. Remember, Moshe (Moses) had been raised in Pharaoh’s house; he was educated, and he would have been familiar with the crafting of treaties and legal documents. The bible is crafted in the style of the Suzerain-vassal relationship typical of the ancient Near East. What is this relationship and what does it mean to us today?

Without an end to end discussion on this subject, a complete understanding is hard to reach. It is not the scope of this writing that the fullness of this subject can be had. I encourage everyone to go to Rico Cortez’s website, http://www.wisdomintorah.com, and take advantage of the wealth of material he has accumulated on the Ancient Near East. [11]That being said, let us rather quickly define the terms Suzerain and vassal.

Suzerain: for the purpose of our study, the Suzerain is the Sovereign head of state, or the King.
Vassal: is to be considered the subject or servant of the Sovereign.

Here is a short, detailed explanation:

“…Brief Summary of Suzerain Treaties:
In the Ancient Near East, treaties between kings was common. These were treaties drawn up among equals and mostly outlined agreements to honor each other's boundaries, to maintain trade relations, and return run-away slaves. These treaties are preserved in the Mari Tablets and in the Amarna texts. Also preserved in these collections are treaties drafted between a superior and his inferior. If the relationship was familial or friendly, the parties are referred to as "father" and "son." If the relationship is bereft of kindness and intimacy, the parties are referred to as "lord" and "servant," or "king" and "vassal," or "greater king" and "lesser king." The greater king is the suzerain and the lesser king is a prince, or a lesser lord in the service of the greater king. The lesser lord is a representative of all the common people who are under the protection of the greater king. He enforces the treaty among the masses.
These Suzerain/Vassal treaties open with two sections: 1) The identification of the Suzerain by his name and titles; 2) The historical survey of the Suzerain's dealings with the vassal. The purpose is to illustrate to the vassal how much the Suzerain has done to protect and establish the vassal who therefore owes submission and allegiance to the Suzerain. These two sections are referred to as the "Preamble."
The next section of these treaties list the "stipulations." What the vassal is required to do is spelled out in principal and detail. This section is often concluded with the requirement that the vassal deposit his copy of the treaty in his temple, where he is to occasionally read and study it to refresh his memory concerning his duties.

The last section of these treaties contains the blessings and curses of the Suzerain. If the stipulations are met by the vassal, he will receive the Suzerain's blessings, which are listed. If the vassal fails to meet the stipulations, he will receive the Suzerain's curses, which are also listed.

The Suzerain would keep one copy of the treaty and the vassal would keep one copy of the treaty. A number of ratifying ceremonies were used depending upon the era and culture. But the most widely used rite was that of cutting the bodies of animals in halves and placing them in two rows with enough space between for the two parties of the treaty to walk side by side. As they walked between the pieces, they were vowing to each other, "May what has happened to these animals, happen to me if I break this covenant with you."

Covenant Documents of the Bible Patterned After Suzerain Treaties:

Exodus 20
  • (1-2)"Yahweh" is the Suzerain who delivered this Preamble to Moses, the vassal-lord who represents the people under the authority of the Suzerain.
  • names & titles = "I am the Lord, your God."
  • historical prologue = "Who brought you out of Egypt..."
  • (3-17) Stipulations with selected blessings and curses.
  • stipulations = the 10 commandments;
  • blessings and curses = (5b-6); (7b); (12b).
Deuteronomy
  • (This entire book of Moses is saturated with Suzerain Treaty language and structure. It is not properly the treaty document itself, but it is based upon such a treaty, making reference to it often. Below are some examples.)
  • (4:32-40) Historical Prologue language and structure;
  • (4:44 - 5:21) Stipulations;
  • (6:4-25) Blessings and Curses;
  • (8) Reflects all the sections of a suzerain treaty;
  • (11) " " "
  • (17:14-20) Reflects the relationship of a vassal king to the Suzerain;
  • (20) Reflects the language and structure of war-time arrangements between a Suzerain and his people;
  • (27-28) Curses and Blessings;
  • (29) Covenant Renewal;
  • (30:11-19) Classic presentation of Ancient Near East Treaties!
  • (A question along the lines of "what came first, the chicken or the egg?" Did God see fit to present his covenant to his people in a cultural form developed by Near Eastern empires, or did God's original pattern for his covenant in Eden inform and form the cultural pattern of the Ancient Near East?)…” [12] [13]

So what does this mean to us? It means that in the context of Scripture, not only is the Bible the inspired word of God, it is also a contract, a legally binding document, detailing all the rights and obligations of the Suzerain to the vassal and vise-versa.

If we understand that we now, as believers, come under the jurisdiction of a legally binding agreement, we can better understand the role of forgiveness in our lives. But we also need to see what it is that we are forgiven of: the sin, the disobedience to God that haunts our existences. This sin has many phases and it will do us well to explore them.

There is a progression of sin in our lives. We can see this in Exodus:

Exodus 34:6-8 (NASB95)
6     Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, acompassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and 1truth;
7     who akeeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin;
yet He bwill by no means leave the guilty unpunished, cvisiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”
8     Moses made haste 1ato bow low toward the earth and worship. [14]

There are three words here used for “sin”: iniquity; transgression and sin: but the three lead us to the  stages of sin’s progression:
1.      Sin: (H2403) - Original: חטּאת חטּאה
- Transliteration: Chatta'ah
- Phonetic: khat-taw-aw'
- Definition: [to miss the mark (figuratively and generally), hence to sin]
1. sin, sinful
2. sin, sin offering
a. sin
b. condition of sin, guilt of sin
c. punishment for sin
d. sin-offering
e. purification from sins of ceremonial uncleanness
- Origin: from H2398
- TWOT entry: 638e
- Part(s) of speech: Noun Feminine
- Strong's: From H2398; an offence (sometimes habitual sinfulness) and its penalty occasion sacrifice or expiation; also (concretely) an offender: - punishment (of sin) purifying (-fication for sin) sin (-ner offering). [15]
2.      Transgression: (H6588) - Original: פּשׁע
- Transliteration: Pesha`
- Phonetic: peh'-shah
- Definition: [a revolt, or to break away from a just authority]
1. transgression, rebellion
1. transgression (against individuals)
2. transgression (nation against nation)
3. transgression (against God) 1a
a. in general 1a
b. as recognized by sinner 1a
c. as God deals with it 1a
d. as God forgives
1. guilt of transgression
2. punishment for transgression
3. offering for transgression
- Origin: from H6586  
- TWOT entry: 1846a
- Part(s) of speech: Noun Masculine
- Strong's: From H6586; a revolt (national moral or religious): - rebellion; sin; transgression; trespassive [16]
3.      Iniquity: (H5771) Original: עוון עון
- Transliteration: `avon
- Phonetic: aw-vone'
- Definition: [perversity, to twist or distort]
1. perversity, depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity
a. iniquity
b. guilt of iniquity, guilt (as great), guilt (of condition)
c. consequence of or punishment for iniquity [17]

In Judaism, as well as in Messianic communities, you will find the congregations declaring the Shema, which follows Deuteronomy 6:4–9, 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37–41. Shema Yisrael (or Sh'ma Yisrael; Hebrew: שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל‎; "Hear, [O] Israel") are the first two words of a section of the Torah, and is the title (sometimes shortened to simply "Shema") of a prayer that serves as a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services. [18]

“Shema” has the broader understanding of “hear” but it also means “to obey”:

“…Sh’ma: - Original: שׁמע
- Transliteration: Shama`
- Phonetic: shaw-mah'
- Definition: v
1. to hear, listen to, obey
a. (Qal)
1. to hear (perceive by ear)
2. to hear of or concerning
3. to hear (have power to hear)
4. to hear with attention or interest, listen to
5. to understand (language)
6. to hear (of judicial cases)
7. to listen, give heed 1a
b. to consent, agree 1a
c. to grant request
1. to listen to, yield to
2. to obey, be obedient
d. (Niphal)
1. to be heard (of voice or sound)
2. to be heard of
3. to be regarded, be obeyed
e. (Piel) to cause to hear, call to hear, summon
f. (Hiphil)
1. to cause to hear, tell, proclaim, utter a sound
2. to sound aloud (musical term)
3. to make proclamation, summon
4. to cause to be heard n m
2. sound
- Origin: a primitive root
- TWOT entry: 2412, 2412a
- Part(s) of speech:
- Strong's: A primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention obedience etc.; causatively to tell etc.): - X attentively call (gather) together X carefully X certainly consent consider be content declare X diligently discern give ear (cause to let make to) hear (-ken tell) X indeed listen make (a) noise (be) obedient obey perceive (make a) proclaim (-ation) publish regard report shew (forth) (make a) sound X surely tell understand whosoever [heareth] witness…” [19]

Since “shema” means to hear and obey, to do the opposite is direct disobedience to God’s word, which is the next progression of sin..

We see this in Deuteronomy 28:45:
Deuteronomy 28:45 (NASB95)
45     “So all these curses shall come on you and pursue you and overtake you auntil you are destroyed, because you would not 1obey the Lord your God by keeping His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. [20]

The Hebrew words used here in Deut. 28:45 for “not obey” are the words “lo’ shama”:
4.                  “…Not (lo’): (H3808) - Original: לה לוא לא
- Transliteration: Lo'
- Phonetic: lo
- Definition:
1. not, no
a. not (with verb - absolute prohibition)
b. not (with modifier - negation)
c. nothing (subst)
d. without (with particle)
e. before (of time)
- Origin: a primitive particle
- TWOT entry: 1064
- Part(s) of speech: Adverb
- Strong's: lo; a primitive particle;
not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles: - X before + or else ere + except ig [-norant] much less nay neither never no ([-ne] -r [-thing]) (X as though . . .  [can-] for) not (out of) of nought otherwise out of + surely + as truly as + of a truth + verily for want + whether without. [21]

Hear (Shama): (H8055)- Original: שׁמע
- Transliteration: Shama`
- Phonetic: shaw-mah'
- Definition: v
1. to hear, listen to, obey
a. (Qal)
1. to hear (perceive by ear)
2. to hear of or concerning
3. to hear (have power to hear)
4. to hear with attention or interest, listen to
5. to understand (language)
6. to hear (of judicial cases)
7. to listen, give heed 1a
b. to consent, agree 1a
c. to grant request
1. to listen to, yield to
2. to obey, be obedient
d. (Niphal)
1. to be heard (of voice or sound)
2. to be heard of
3. to be regarded, be obeyed
e. (Piel) to cause to hear, call to hear, summon
f. (Hiphil)
1. to cause to hear, tell, proclaim, utter a sound
2. to sound aloud (musical term)
3. to make proclamation, summon
4. to cause to be heard n m
2. sound
- Origin: a primitive root
- TWOT entry: 2412, 2412a
- Part(s) of speech:
- Strong's: A primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention obedience etc.; causatively to tell etc.): - X attentively call (gather) together X carefully X certainly consent consider be content declare X diligently discern give ear (cause to let make to) hear (-ken tell) X indeed listen make (a) noise (be) obedient obey perceive (make a) proclaim (-ation) publish regard report shew (forth) (make a) sound X surely tell understand whosoever [heareth] witness…” [22]

Taken together, lo’ shama literally means to “not or to refuse to hear intelligently as pertaining to or with the implication of (paying) attention or obedience”.  

In the progression of sin, the next step is to refuse to serve God. We see the prohibition of serving others in Deut. 8:19:
Deuteronomy 8:19 (NKJV)
19 Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, xI testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. [23]

The Hebrew word for “serve” here defines the next progression of sin:
5.                   “…Serve: (H5647) - Original: עבד
- Transliteration: `abad
- Phonetic: aw-bad'
- Definition: as used here by implication to work (in any sense) for another; to serve, to enslave, to be kept in bondage to..
1. to work, serve
a. (Qal)
1. to labour, work, do work
2. to work for another, serve another by labour
3. to serve as subjects
4. to serve (God)
5. to serve (with Levitical service)
b. (Niphal)
1. to be worked, be tilled (of land)
2. to make oneself a servant
c. (Pual) to be worked
d. (Hiphil)
1. to compel to labour or work, cause to labour, cause to serve
2. to cause to serve as subjects
e. (Hophal) to be led or enticed to serve
- Origin: a primitive root
- TWOT entry: 1553
- Part(s) of speech: Verb
- Strong's: A primitive root; to work (in any sense); by implication to serve till (causatively) enslave etc.: - X be keep in bondage be bondmen bond-service compel do dress ear execute + husbandman keep labour (-ing man) bring to pass (cause to make to) serve (-ing self) (be become) servant (-s) do (use) service till (-er) transgress [from margin] (set a) work be wrought worshipper…” [24]

To serve another is to refuse to serve God..

The next is to act treacherously to God as related in a trespass..

In Numbers 31:16 we see this:
Numbers 31:16 (NASB95)
16     aBehold, these 1caused the sons of Israel, through the 2counsel of bBalaam, to 3trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the Lord. [25]
6.      “…Trespass: (H4604)- Original: מעל
- Transliteration: Ma`al
- Phonetic: mah'-al
- Definition: to act treacherously
1. unfaithful or treacherous act, trespass
a. against man
b. against God - Origin: from H4603
- TWOT entry: 1230a
- Part(s) of speech: Noun Masculine
- Strong's: From H4608; treachery that is sin: - falsehood grievously sore transgression trespass X very…”[26]

What happens next is outright rebellion…

Isaiah 1:18-20 (Tanakh)
18“Come, e-let us reach an understanding,-e
—says the Lord.
Be your sins like crimson,
They can turn snow-white;
Be they red as dyed wool,
They can become like fleece.”
19If, then, you agree and give heed,
You will eat the good things of the earth;
20But if you refuse and disobey,
f-You will be devoured [by] the sword.-f
For it was the Lord who spoke. [27]
7.      “…Disobey (or rebel in some versions): - Original: מרה
- Transliteration: Marah
- Phonetic: maw-raw'
- Definition: to make bitter, to rebel
1. to be contentious, be rebellious, be refractory, be disobedient towards, be rebellious against
a. (Qal) to be disobedient, be rebellious
1. towards father
2. towards God
b. (Hiphil) to show rebelliousness, show disobedience, disobey
- Origin: a primitive root
- TWOT entry: 1242
- Part(s) of speech: Verb
- Strong's: A primitive root; to be (causatively make) bitter (or unpleasant); (figuratively) to rebel (or resist; causatively to provoke): - bitter change be disobedient disobey grievously provocation provoke (-ing) (be) rebel (against -lious)…”[28]

Our rebellion then leads to making God bitter by our continued stubborn disobedience.

Sin progresses then into wickedness as seen in Isa 57:20:

Isaiah 57:20 (NABWRNT)
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea
which cannot be calmed,
And its waters cast up mud and filth. [29]
8.      Wicked: (H7563) -Original: רשׁע
- Transliteration: Rasha`
- Phonetic: raw-shaw'
- Definition: to be wicked with strong excitement
1. wicked, criminal
a. guilty one, one guilty of crime (subst)
b. wicked (hostile to God)
c. wicked, guilty of sin (against God or man) - Origin: from H7561
- TWOT entry: 2222b
- Part(s) of speech: Adjective
- Strong's: From H7561; morally wrong; concretely an (actively) bad person: - + condemned guilty ungodly wicked (man) that did wrong.

Our sin then leads us to the point where we begin to live worthlessly, in vain, “rude, crude and socially unsophisticated” you might say…

Micah 2:1 (NASB95)
     1     Woe to those who ascheme iniquity,
Who work out evil on their beds!
1bWhen morning comes, they do it,
For it is in the cpower of their hands. [30]

Here, there is a different word translated as “iniquity”:
9.      “…Iniquity (H205): - Original: און
- Transliteration: 'aven
- Phonetic: aw-ven'
- Definition: to live worthlessly or without any worthy purpose
1. trouble, wickedness, sorrow
a. trouble, sorrow
b. idolatry
c. trouble of iniquity, wickedness
- Origin: from an unused root perhaps meaning properly, to pant (hence, to exert oneself, usually in vain
- TWOT entry: 48a
- Part(s) of speech: Noun Masculine
- Strong's: From an unused root perhaps meaning properly to pant (hence to exert oneself usually in vain; to come to naught); strictly nothingness; also trouble vanity wickedness; specifically an idol: - affliction evil false idol iniquity mischief mourners (-ing) naught sorrow unjust unrighteous vain vanity wicked (-ness.) Compare H369…” [31]

Sin has a conclusion: somewhere within this progression all will find themselves; may it not be at the end of the progressive slide:
Evil.

Genesis 6:5 (NASB95)
5     Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that aevery intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. [32]
10.  Evil (H7451): - Original: רעה רע
- Transliteration: Ra`
- Phonetic: rah
- Definition: adj: (natural or moral) affliction, calamity, vicious, lawlessness
1. bad, evil
a. bad, disagreeable, malignant
b. bad, unpleasant, evil (giving pain, unhappiness, misery)
c. evil, displeasing
d. bad (of its kind - land, water, etc)
e. bad (of value)
f. worse than, worst (comparison)
g. sad, unhappy
h. evil (hurtful)
i. bad, unkind (vicious in disposition)
j. bad, evil, wicked (ethically)
1. in general, of persons, of thoughts
2. deeds, actions n m
2. evil, distress, misery, injury, calamity
a. evil, distress, adversity
b. evil, injury, wrong
c. evil (ethical) n f
3. evil, misery, distress, injury
a. evil, misery, distress
b. evil, injury, wrong
c. evil (ethical) - Origin: from H7489
- TWOT entry: 2191a,2191c
- Part(s) of speech:
- Strong's: From H7489; bad or (as noun) evil (naturally or morally). This includes the second (feminine) form; as adjective or noun: - adversity affliction bad calamity + displease (-ure) distress evil ([-favouredness] man thing) + exceedingly X great grief (-vous) harm heavy hurt (-ful) ill (favoured) + mark mischief (-vous) misery naught (-ty) noisome + not please sad (-ly) sore sorrow trouble vex wicked (-ly -ness one) worse (-st) wretchedness wrong. [Including feminine ra´ah; as adjective or noun.] [33]

Evil has as its aim the disruption and destruction of all the good, all the moral worth of creation that God intended from the beginning. It was the progression of sin in satan that caused the rebellion in heaven:
Ezekiel 28:13-17 (HCSB)
13 You were in Eden,n the garden of God.
Every kind of precious stone covered you:
carnelian, topaz, and diamond, o
beryl, onyx, and jasper,
sapphire, p turquoise q and emerald. r
Your mountings and settings were crafted in gold; s
they were prepared on the day you were created.
14 You were an anointed guardian cherub, t
for u I had appointed you.
You were on the holy mountain of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.
15 From the day you were created
you were blameless in your ways
until wickedness was found in you.
16 Through the abundance of your trade,
you were filled with violence, and you sinned.
So I expelled you in disgrace
from the mountain of God,
and banished you, guardian cherub, v
from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud because of your beauty; w
For the sake of your splendor
you corrupted your wisdom.
So I threw you down to the earth;
I made you a spectacle before kings. [34]

Isaiah 14:12-17 (NASB95)
     12     “How you have afallen from heaven,
O 1bstar of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the earth,
You who have weakened the nations!
13     “But you said in your heart,
‘I will aascend to heaven;
I will braise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
14     ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
aI will make myself like the Most High.’
15     “Nevertheless you awill be thrust down to Sheol,
To the recesses of the pit.
16     “Those who see you will gaze at you,
They will 1ponder over you, saying,
‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,
17     Who made the world like a awilderness
And overthrew its cities,
Who bdid not 1allow his prisoners to go home?’ [35]

                YHVH destroyed the world of man in a flood because of the evil of their hearts. It had grieved God in His heart that He had even made man… Thus we see the result of the progression of our sin; the breaking of God’s heart. Who among us wants to bear that responsibility, of hurting the very One that sustains us, that gives us life? There have been many dark things that have happened in this world; while I believe in a Sovereign God, I also believe that in His wisdom He gives us enough rope to hang ourselves with. “Why?” might you ask. I dare say I cannot answer that question. If He didn’t, He would HAVE to destroy us, for it is what we deserve. Are we any wickeder than those of the days of Noach (Noah)? Are we any more righteous? No and No. We are just as wicked and we are no more righteous. Then why does God put up with us? It goes back to this verse:

Exodus 34:6-8 (NASB95)
6     “…Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;
7     who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin;
yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”
8     Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship…”

            The answer is found in this verse, where Yahvey reveals His name to Moshe. In the highlighted section above is the answer: God is “slow to anger”. Here is the beginning of understanding forgiveness; here is the beginning of understanding the power of the Suzerain. It will be here we pick up and finish our study next time.

May Yahvey richly bless you this day, my beloved, Amein.


[1] With thanks for the concept and examples by Pastor Mark Blitz of El Shaddai Ministries, Bonney Lake WA http://elshaddaiministries.us/
a  Matt 6:9–13: Luke 11:2–4
a  Matt 3:2; 4:17
b  Matt 26:42; Luke 22:42; Acts 21:14
a  Prov 30:8; Is 33:16; Luke 11:3
1  Or our bread for tomorrow
a  Ex 34:7; Ps 32:1; 130:4; Matt 9:2; 26:28; Eph 1:7; 1 John 1:7–9
a  John 17:15; 1 Cor 10:13; 2 Thess 3:3; 2 Tim 4:18; 2 Pet 2:9; 1 John 5:18
1  Or the evil one
b  Matt 5:37
2  This clause not found in early mss
[2]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[3] This is why I favor Webster’s 1828 dictionary: “…Noah Webster, the Father of American Christian education, wrote the first American dictionary and established a system of rules to govern spelling, grammar, and reading. This master linguist understood the power of words, their definitions, and the need for precise word usage in communication to maintain independence… No other dictionary compares with the Webster's 1828 dictionary. The English language has changed again and again and in many instances has become corrupt. The American Dictionary of the English Language is based upon God's written word, for Noah Webster used the Bible as the foundation for his definitions. This standard reference tool will greatly assist students of all ages in their studies. From American History to literature, from science to the Word of God, this dictionary is a necessity…” from ‘Module Properties’, theWord® software ©2003-2012 by Costas Stergiou.
[4] Webster, Noah. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of American English. Vol. Electronic edition, theWord® software, v.4.0.0.1342 by Costas Stergiou ©2003-2012 . Foundation for American Christian Education, 1828.
[5] “W. F. Albright, The Archaeology of Palestine, 1960, Cp. I, gives several examples. Note also the commission of the Palestine Exploration Fund founded in 1865 - A society for the accurate and systematic investigation of the archaeology, the topography, the geology, and physical geography, the manners and customs of the Holy Land for biblical illustration.” [citation from article, see footnote 9 (nine)]
[6] W. F. Albright, C.B.Q., VII, 1945, pp. 5-3I; H. L. Ginsberg, J.B.L., LXII, 1943, pp. I09-115; W. F. Albright, Studies in Old Testament Prophecy (Ed. H. H. RowIey), 1950, pp. 1-I8; H.U.C.A., XXIII, 1950/ 51, pp. I-39. [citation from article, see footnote 9 (nine)]
[7] M. Noth and D. Win ton Thomas (Eds.), Wisdom in Israel and in the Ancient Near East, essays presented to H. H. Rowley, V.T. Supp. Ill, 1955. [citation from article, see footnote 9 (nine)]
[8] H. Cazelles, Etudes sur le Code de l'AJliance, 1946; H. H. Rowley, B.J.R.L., 34, 1951, pp. 8I-1 18. [citation from article, see footnote 9 (nine)]
[9] A. HeideI. The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels, 1949 [citation from article, see footnote 9 (nine)]
[10] THE ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN TREATIES AND THE OLD TESTAMENT by The Rev. ]. A. THOMPSON, M.A., Ph.D. Lecturer. Baptist Theological College, Eastwood, New South Wales; ©The Tyndale Press First Published December. I964 THE TYNDALE LECTURE IN BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY, 1963. This lecture was delivered in Cambridge on 22 June, I963 at a meeting convened by the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical Research. [found at http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/tp/treaties_thompson.pdf; all citations listed have been renumbered by the author to fit this epistle]
[11]  Some additional resources:
Baltzer, K. The Covenant Formulary. Oxford, 1971.
Craigie, P. C. The book of Deuteronomy. Grand Rapids, 1976, 20-44.
Frankena, R. "The Vassal Treaties of Esarhaddon and the Dating of Deuteronomy.“ In OTS, 14, (1965), 122-54.
Kalluveettil, Paul. Declaration and Covenant. Rome, 1982.
Kitchen, Kenneth. Ancient Orient and Old Testament. Downers Grove, 1966, 90-102.
McCarthy, D. J. Old Testament Covenant. Atlanta, 1972. Treaty and Covenant. Rome, 1978.
Mendenhall, George. "Covenant Forms in Israelite Tradition" in Biblical Archaeologist Reader 3, Ed. E. F. Campbell and D. N. Freedman. New York, 1970, 25-53. de Vaux, Roland. The Early History of Israel. Philadelphia, 1978, 439ff.
Weinfeld, Moshe. "Covenant Terminology in the Ancient Near East and Its Influence on the West." JAOS 93 (1973): 190-99.
"Berith." In Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Vol. 2. Ed. G. J.
Botterweck and H. Ringgren. Grand Rapids, 1975, 253-79. Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School. Oxford, 1972, 59-157.
[12] "Suzerain Treaties & The Covenant Documents the Bible" Notes from lectures of Dr. Meredith Kline, presented at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California, Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, in Massachusetts [from http://www.wisdomintorah.com, ANE Studies.
[13] As to the answer to this question, God’s pattern that developed out of Eden is the source of all the mythologies and subsequent human endeavors that have come into being in history. Yahvey is the architect of all things; man just tried to copy what God had set into motion without being under His command; we can see where that type of thinking has gotten us, can’t we?
a  Num 14:18; Deut 4:31; Neh 9:17; Ps 86:15; 103:8; 108:4; 145:8; Joel 2:13; Rom 2:4
1  Or faithfulness
a  Ex 20:5, 6; Deut 5:10; 7:9; Ps 103:3; 130:3, 4; 1 John 1:9
b  Ex 23:7; Deut 7:10; Job 10:14; Nah 1:3
c  Deut 5:9
1  Lit and bowed...worshiped
a  Ex 4:31
[14]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[15] BTSCTVM +; The electronic edition of The BDB/Thayer/Strong Definitions + KJ Concordance + TVM All in One Dictionary 1.1; from http://www.biblesupport.com/e-sword-downloads/file/5866-bdbthayerstrong-definitions-kj-concordance-tvm-all-in-one-dictionary and used with e-Sword®, version 10.2.1, copyright ©2000-2013 by Rick Meyers.

[16] …Ibid…
[17] …Ibid…

[19] BTSCTVM +; The electronic edition of The BDB/Thayer/Strong Definitions + KJ Concordance + TVM All in One Dictionary 1.1; from http://www.biblesupport.com/e-sword-downloads/file/5866-bdbthayerstrong-definitions-kj-concordance-tvm-all-in-one-dictionary and used with e-Sword®, version 10.2.1, copyright ©2000-2013 by Rick Meyers.

a  Deut 4:25, 26
1  Lit listen to the voice of
[20]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[21] BTSCTVM +; The electronic edition of The BDB/Thayer/Strong Definitions + KJ Concordance + TVM All in One Dictionary 1.1; from http://www.biblesupport.com/e-sword-downloads/file/5866-bdbthayerstrong-definitions-kj-concordance-tvm-all-in-one-dictionary and used with e-Sword®, version 10.2.1, copyright ©2000-2013 by Rick Meyers.

[22] BTSCTVM +; The electronic edition of The BDB/Thayer/Strong Definitions + KJ Concordance + TVM All in One Dictionary 1.1; from http://www.biblesupport.com/e-sword-downloads/file/5866-bdbthayerstrong-definitions-kj-concordance-tvm-all-in-one-dictionary and used with e-Sword®, version 10.2.1, copyright ©2000-2013 by Rick Meyers.
Deut. 4:26; 30:18
[23]  The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[24] BTSCTVM +; The electronic edition of The BDB/Thayer/Strong Definitions + KJ Concordance + TVM All in One Dictionary 1.1; from http://www.biblesupport.com/e-sword-downloads/file/5866-bdbthayerstrong-definitions-kj-concordance-tvm-all-in-one-dictionary and used with e-Sword®, version 10.2.1, copyright ©2000-2013 by Rick Meyers.
a  Num 25:1–9
1  Lit were to
2  Lit word
Num 31:8
3  Possibly defect from the Lord
[25]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[26] BTSCTVM +; The electronic edition of The BDB/Thayer/Strong Definitions + KJ Concordance + TVM All in One Dictionary 1.1; from http://www.biblesupport.com/e-sword-downloads/file/5866-bdbthayerstrong-definitions-kj-concordance-tvm-all-in-one-dictionary and used with e-Sword®, version 10.2.1, copyright ©2000-2013 by Rick Meyers.
e-  Meaning of Heb. uncertain
-e  Meaning of Heb. uncertain
f-  Or “you will be fed the sword.”
-f  Or “you will be fed the sword.”
[27]  Jewish Publication Society. (1997, c1985). Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures : A new translation of the Holy Scriptures according to the traditional Hebrew text. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.

[28] BTSCTVM +; The electronic edition of The BDB/Thayer/Strong Definitions + KJ Concordance + TVM All in One Dictionary 1.1; from http://www.biblesupport.com/e-sword-downloads/file/5866-bdbthayerstrong-definitions-kj-concordance-tvm-all-in-one-dictionary and used with e-Sword®, version 10.2.1, copyright ©2000-2013 by Rick Meyers.
27 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Board of Trustees, Catholic Church. National Conference of Catholic Bishops, & United States Catholic Conference. Administrative Board. (1996, c1986). The New American Bible : Translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources and the revised New Testament. Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.
a  Ps 36:4; Is 32:7; Nah 1:11
1  Lit In the light of the morning
b  Hos 7:6, 7
c  Gen 31:29; Deut 28:32; Prov 3:27
[30]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[31] BTSCTVM +; The electronic edition of The BDB/Thayer/Strong Definitions + KJ Concordance + TVM All in One Dictionary 1.1; from http://www.biblesupport.com/e-sword-downloads/file/5866-bdbthayerstrong-definitions-kj-concordance-tvm-all-in-one-dictionary and used with e-Sword®, version 10.2.1, copyright ©2000-2013 by Rick Meyers.
a  Gen 8:21; Ps 14:1–3; Prov 6:18; Matt 15:19; Rom 1:28–32
[32]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[33]  BTSCTVM +; The electronic edition of The BDB/Thayer/Strong Definitions + KJ Concordance + TVM All in One Dictionary 1.1; from http://www.biblesupport.com/e-sword-downloads/file/5866-bdbthayerstrong-definitions-kj-concordance-tvm-all-in-one-dictionary and used with e-Sword®, version 10.2.1, copyright ©2000-2013 by Rick Meyers.
n  28:13 Gn 2:8; Ezk 31:9,16,18; 36:35
o  28:13 Hb obscure
p  28:13 Or lapis lazuli
q  28:13 Or malachite, or garnet
r  28:13 Or beryl
s  28:13 Ex 39:10–13
t  28:14 Ex 25:18–22
u  28:14 Or With an anointed guardian cherub
v  28:16 Or and the guardian cherub banished you
w  28:17 Ezk 28:2
[34]  The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2009. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
a  Is 34:4; Luke 10:18; Rev 8:10; 9:1
1  Heb Helel; i.e. shining one
b  2 Pet 1:19; Rev 2:28; 22:16
a  Ezek 28:2
b  Dan 5:22, 23; 8:10; 2 Thess 2:4
a  Is 47:8; 2 Thess 2:4
a  Ezek 28:8; Matt 11:23; Luke 10:15
1  Lit show themselves attentive to
a  Joel 2:3
b  Is 45:13
1  Lit open
[35]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.