Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mitzvot and the Thirteen Attributes of God

…Mitzvot and the Thirteen Attributes of God…
Edited by David Robinson
 with thanks to Pastor Mark Biltz and Rabbi Ezra Bick

1.      To know that G-d is One, a complete Unity (Deut. 6:4) (A)
2.      To love G-d (Deut. 6:5) (A)
3.      To know that G-d exists (Ex. 20:2; Deut. 5:6) (A)
4.      To hallow G-d's name (Lev. 22:32) (A)
5.      Not to entertain the idea that there is any god but the Eternal (Ex. 20:3) (N)
6.      Not to profane G-d's name (Lev. 22:32) (N)
7.      Not to blaspheme (Ex. 22:27; in Christian texts, Ex. 22:28), the penalty for which is death (Lev. 24:16)  (N)
8.      To fear Him reverently (Deut. 6:13; 10:20) (A)
9.      Not to put the word of G-d to the test (Deut. 6:16) (N)
10.  To imitate His good and upright ways (Deut. 28:9) (A)

 Just as Pesach celebrates the first redemption of the Jews, Isaiah summons up a vision of the final redemption for all mankind.
Isa 11:1-9
And a rod hath come out from the stock of Jesse, And a branch from his roots is fruitful.  (2)  Rested on him hath the Spirit of Jehovah, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and might, The spirit of knowledge and fear of Jehovah.  (3)  To refresh him in the fear of Jehovah, And by the sight of his eyes he judgeth not, Nor by the hearing of his ears decideth.  (4)  And he hath judged in righteousness the poor, And decided in uprightness for the humble of earth, And hath smitten earth with the rod of his mouth, And with the breath of his lips he putteth the wicked to death.  (5)  And righteousness hath been the girdle of his loins, And faithfulness--the girdle of his reins.  (6)  And a wolf hath sojourned with a lamb, And a leopard with a kid doth lie down, And calf, and young lion, and fatling are together, And a little youth is leader over them.  (7)  And cow and bear do feed, Together lie down their young ones, And a lion as an ox eateth straw.  (8)  And played hath a suckling by the hole of an asp, And on the den of a cockatrice Hath the weaned one put his hand.  (9)  Evil they do not, nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For full hath been the earth with the knowledge of Jehovah, As the waters are covering the sea.

From the second night of Passover until the day before the holiday of Shavuot, the Jewish people engage in an unique mitzvah called sefirat ha'omer (counting of the omer); the counting leads up to the barley harvest. Counting in anticipation of an exciting event is quite understandable. At one time or another, we've all probably said something like, "Grandma's coming to visit in a week and a half," or "Only 17 more days until my birthday!" But there's one subtle difference: The usual method is to count down toward the big day, whereas in the case of the Omer, we count up -- from one to 50. Why the difference? The answer is that the Jews were not yet spiritually equipped to receive the Torah.

For over 200 years, they had been living in an Egyptian society known to be the world center for immorality and vice. The high-impact adventure of the Exodus -- 10 miraculous plagues and the splitting of the Red Sea -- launched the Jews into physical freedom. Any experience, as powerful as it is, does not permanently change anyone's character. That is only possible through practice and adjustment over time.

Why did God wait 50 days after the Jews left Egypt before giving the Torah? Why didn't He simply give it to them in Egypt, or immediately after their departure? It’s the same for them then as it is for us today:
“…You can take people out of Egypt, but you can't take Egypt out of the people…”

Think of wealthy people who steal. Or people who attend a seminar get all psyched up but the end result is that there is no permanent change in their life.  Hence the 50 days; God needed time to help them set their minds right, to change their way of thinking from slave to free men and women. Look at the parallel here in this place. There are mile-stones at 30 days, 90 days, 6 months, a year.  Just as the Hebrew people had to adjust to their new lives, so did you. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: 60 to 90 days of God under your belt helps you, but truthfully? You know just enough then to make yourself dangerous. 50 days didn’t make the Jewish people holy; it didn’t make them righteous. Only God can do that. It’s the same for you here. After 30, 60 or 90 days you know just enough to get you right back into trouble if you aren’t careful. Take what happened at Sinai as a warning, understand the message that God was giving:

Exo 19:3-14  And Moses went up to God, and God called to him out of the mountain and said to him, Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel,  (4)  You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you as though you were on eagles' wings and brought you to myself.  (5)  Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed and keep my covenant, then you shall be my beloved ones above all peoples, for all the earth is mine;  (6)  And you shall be to me a kingdom and priests and an holy people. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.  (7)  And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and said in their presence all these words which the LORD commanded him.  (8)  And all the people answered together and said, All that the LORD has spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people to the LORD.  (9)  And the LORD said to Moses, Lo, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you and also believe you for ever. And Moses told the words of the people before the LORD.  (10)  And the LORD said to Moses, Go to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes,  (11)  And be ready by the third day; for on the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.  (12)  And you shall publish a warning among the people, saying, Take heed to yourselves, neither go up into the mountain, nor draw near to the border of it; whoever draws near to the mountain shall be put to death:  (13)  No hand shall touch it, but he shall surely be stoned and hurled down; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live; when the trumpet is silent, then you are permitted to ascend the mountain.  (14)  And Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.

Moshe went back up into the mountain and into the presence of God to receive from Him the Torah; yet he was gone 40 days. We read in Exodus 32 what happened next:

Exo 32:1-10  WHEN the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, they gathered themselves together unto Aaron and said to him, Arise, make us gods that they may go before us; as for this man Moses who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.  (2)  And Aaron said to them, Remove the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them to me.  (3)  So all the people removed the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron.  (4)  And he received them, and drew a design, and made it a molten calf; and they said, This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.  (5)  And Aaron was afraid, and he built an altar before it; then Aaron made a proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.  (6)  And they rose up early on the morrow and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play and to quarrel.  (7)  And the LORD said to Moses, Go down, get away from here; for your people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves;  (8)  They have turned aside quickly from the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, This is your god, O Israel, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt.  (9)  And the LORD said to Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold it is a stiff-necked people;  (10)  Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may be kindled against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.

There is more to be said about this story, but this is the illustration I am trying to make: they knew just enough to make themselves dangerous. That day 3000 of them paid with their lives. Today we have people who are in the same mindset as the Hebrews: because Moshe delayed, they went and played the harlot to another god… Today, its been almost 2000 years since Messiah ascended into heaven; because He has delayed, the “church” has gone after other gods, substituting the things of man for the things of God and have introduced strange fire into the house of the Lord. How many will pay for this sin today? 

So you might be asking yourselves how this all ties in to the counting of the Omer and just what are the thirteen attributes of God?

Let’s take it one thing at a time…

Lev 25:8,9
And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound….

Beginning on the day that the first omer of barley was harvested and brought to the Temple, a countdown to the next Biblical Festival began. The Israelites were commanded to count off 49 days and then celebrate the festival of Shavuot (Pentecost) on the 50th day. Traditionally, the period of the Omer count is to be a time of spiritual introspection as the counters prepare themselves for Shavuot. This time period is for us to prepare ourselves for the giving of the Spirit, to set our hearts right, to refine us.

Because it begins during Passover and concludes at Shavuot, it is a remembrance of the journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai. This is a type of the remembrance of our journey from our life in the world to a life walking in the Spirit. It is an expectation of a coming harvest and asking God to prepare us for it! The Counting of the Omer is a count down to Shavuot (Pentecost), the time of the giving of the Holy Spirit. It is a journey which is begun with Passover, the symbol of our Salvation in Yeshua, and completed at Pentecost, the symbol of our completion through the Spirit. The distance of days between the two events should be a time of spiritual reflection, growth, purification and preparation. The Torah of God plays the pivotal role in all of this as it sets the high expectations of Yahvey for us that this time period leads us into. One other way to look at this is the way of the Jewish sages: they talked about how since the fall of man in Adam, there are 50 levels of spiritual decay that we can fall prey to. These 50 days of counting the Omer are a good way in which we can counter this descent by focusing our attention to the things of God.

The Master's resurrection makes the counting of the Omer a season of special significance and joy. For his disciples, it is a time to remember the resurrected Yeshua. All of his post-resurrection appearances and ascension fell within the days of the Omer count.

On the first day of the Omer:
(John 20:18-19)

Then Mary of Magdala came and brought glad tidings to the disciples, that she had seen our Lord and that he had told her these things.  (19)  When it was evening on that first day of the week, and the doors were shut where the disciples were staying for fear of the Jews, Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, Peace be with you.
On the ninth day of the Omer:
(John 20:26)
Eight days later, the disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, when the doors were locked, and stood in the midst, and said to them, Peace be with you.

During the counting,
1 Cor 15:6a,7
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once;
After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

“…he appeared to seven of our number while they fished on the sea…” (see Jn 21:1-4)

On the 40th day of the Omer,
Acts 1:3,4
To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that  they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

Acts 1:9
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

They waited and counted the days. Forty-one, forty-two, forty-three, forty-four, forty-five, forty-six, forty-seven, forty-eight, forty-nine days of the Omer . . . “and when the day of Pentecost was fully come we were all together in one place.“

Let's work together this year as we keep the Counting the Omer. Let's express the resurrected life within us by spreading more joy.


We’ll talk more about Shav’ot later, but I just want to bring up a few scriptures that tie in with this festival because they also tie in with the attributes of God…

…The Mitzvot (Commandments)…

Ex 23:14-16
Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.

Deut 16:16
Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of (matzah) unleavened bread, and in the feast of (Shavuot) weeks, and in the feast of (Sukkot) tabernacles:

Le 23:17
Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.

Lev 23:20,21
And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be a holy “convocation” unto you:

Without being able to go into a lengthy discussion on Passover and the Feasts, there are a few things you might not fully understand, but in Leviticus 23:10 we see this:

Leviticus 23:10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:
11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

This sheaf was the Passover sheaf, or the Omer. This was reaped in public the evening before it was offered, and it was to be as witness’s to this ceremony that the crowd was gathered. The priests would go out into the field, tie the stalks of the barley together as they stood to form 10 bundles then they would cut them down. They then took the bundles up to the Mount of Olives, thrashed them with canes, sifted the kernels, then took one Omer, a bushel if you will, and then they raised this up before God and offered it as a sacrifice to be burnt upon the Altar located on the Mount, at a place called “the Place of the Skulls” or Golgotha. Yeshua was the first Passover sheaf. Exactly as this offering was done, so was it done unto Him so that our Messiah might fulfill it.

…The Giving…
Acts 2:1-3
And when the day of Pentecost(Shav’ot) was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

…The Result…
Acts 2:5
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

Acts 2:41
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Acts 4:4
Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

Acts 21:20
And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many (tens of) thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

Notice what is said in Acts 2:41, that “…added unto them about three thousand souls…” We saw as a result of the sin of the golden calf that 3000 paid with their lives. Yahvey is a God of balance, of even scales. The enemy took three thousand in their sin at Sinai; God got those 3000 back and more by the preaching of Messiah crucified and resurrected… Shav’ot is about the harvest; it is in this time frame that Messiah will harvest more… At the end, the Lord will once more come to work the fields, cutting down the sheaves, separating the wheat and the tares, the difference being the wheat knows its Maker, the tares deny and defy Him…
…Those that defy…
Isa 24:5,6
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the (torah), changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

Ps 119:53
Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.

Ps 119:126
It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.

…Those who know…
Ez 36:26,27
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Ruth 2:23
So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.

…The Result…
Rev 14:6-20
And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having an everlasting gospel to proclaim to those dwelling on the earth, even to every nation and tribe and tongue and people,  (7)  saying in a great voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him, because the hour of His judgment has come; also, Worship "Him who has made the heaven, and the earth, and the sea," and the springs of waters. Ex. 20:11  (8)  And another angel followed, saying, The great city, Babylon, has fallen, has fallen because of the wine of the anger of her fornication she made all nations to drink.  (9)  And a third angel followed them, saying in a great voice, If anyone worships the beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead, or in his hand,  (10)  he also shall drink of the wine of the anger of God having been mixed undiluted in the cup of His wrath. And he will be tormented by fire and brimstone before the holy angels and before the Lamb.  (11)  And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. And those worshiping the beast and its image have no rest night and day, even if anyone receives the mark of its name.

(12)  Here is the patience of the saints; here are the ones
keeping the commands of God,  and the faith of Jesus.

(13)  And I heard a voice out of Heaven saying to me, Write: Blessed are the dead, the ones dying in the Lord from now. Yes, says the Spirit, they shall rest from their labors, and their works follow with them.  (14)  And I saw; and behold, a white cloud and on the cloud One sitting like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.  (15)  And another angel went forth out of the temple, crying in a great voice to the One sitting on the cloud, Send Your sickle and reap, because Your hour to reap came, because the harvest of the earth was dried.  (16)  And the One sitting on the cloud thrust His sickle onto the earth, and the earth was reaped.  (17)  And another angel went forth out of the temple in Heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.  (18)  And another angel went forth from the altar having authority over the fire. And he spoke with a great cry to the one having the sharp sickle, saying, Send your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, because its grapes are ripened.  (19)  And the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw into the winepress of the great anger of God.  (20)  And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood went out of the winepress as far as the bridles of the horses, from a thousand six hundred stadia.

It is here, in the story of the Passover, of the Feasts of Unleavened Bread, in the Feast of Weeks (Shav’ot) that the story of the Machiach (Messiah) is brought to life.

Isaiah 11:1
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

Maimonides, considered by the Jews to be one of the foremost Torah scholars, went as far as to say: “one who does not believe in him, or does not anticipate his coming, not only denies the prophets, he denies the Torah itself”

Isaiah 11:4
But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins…

If a person believes that God has imbued us with the ability to reflect his righteousness, then the reality of the Masiciach is natural to him. If the Torah reflects the essence of the righteousness of man, then in this righteousness do we anticipate the Maschiach and his future return, and that the world is capable of responding to him.

Isaiah 12:2
Behold, God is my salvation (Yeshua); I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation (Yeshua).
3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation (Yeshua)

Yeshua’s name means “salvation” in the Hebrew. But let us be clear, we cannot understand this Messiah outside the covenant of Passover or without the feasts of God, without His house and His Torah – for if we are not a part of this house, the house of Israel, we are homeless, adrift on the sea of uncertainty, without God, without hope. All these point to being able to know Whom it is before we stand…


Exodus 34:5-8
And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.


The first and second attribute is the NAME!
When we recite the first name/attribute of God, YHVH, we should have in mind, I am calling in the name of God, who brings everything into existence, and I request kindness and mercy because I exist.
 I request kindness simply because I fulfill the will of God that the world exist and I am part of it!
When we cry out the second time His Name, YHVH,
for after we have sinned we are essentially saying:
“I have not fulfilled your will Nevertheless You allow this too because of the possibility of repentance.”
It is in the understanding that the very fact that we exist today is His mercy revealed. We exist because He exists.

We now come to the third attribute/name: El or God.

El stands for God’s power or might and strength. That He is a King of Justice.
He is the Judge of all the earth.
Forgiveness requires great strength! So to enable forgiveness we appeal to God’s strength to overpower the sin and our current condition to sustain us and allow us to continue to exist.
God’s strength isn’t in judgment; it is in His acts of mercy.
How many of us have the strength to forgive?

The 4th and 5th attributes: Racham- Merciful / Chanan Gracious

When a person declares God’s name Racham,
they say “ PLEASE look at the mitigating circumstances”.
These aren’t excuses for our actions; but sometimes things get beyond our ability to contain them; this is what we are asking God to remember, and to show us mercy in our mistakes.

When they declare Chanan, they are crying out
“There is nothing to justify me, but please daddy it hurts.”

It is here though we must be careful: though we are asking for “racham” and “chanan”, these are not license to continue in our rebellious ways…

Jdg 10:13-14
Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.  (14)  Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.

All I can do is speak for myself; I have heard these words from God. If I continued in my rebellion, He was done with me and the hand that held me back from hell would be withdrawn. Don’t put yourself in that position. I know-I know that my running and gunnin’ days are over; there isn’t another chance for me. I walk now by His mercy and grace, may it be the same for you…

The 6th attribute/name: Erekh Apayim Longsuffering (delaying anger)

Apayim is plural Aph is singular - referring to God’s patience with both the righteous and with the wicked.

This brings us to the 7th attribute.
Rav Chesed Abundant in Goodness - Master of Kindness –

Micah 7:18-20
Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth asn iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue vbk our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

5375 asn no-seh' to lift
Lifts the iniquity side, making the merit side weigh more. It’s as if God puts his finger on the merit side of the scale.  We ask, how can God do this? Doesn’t the word speak of a different standard?

  • (Lev 19:36)  You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin. I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt;
  • (Deu 25:13)  You shall not have in your bag a stone and a stone weight, a great and a small.
  • (Pro 16:11)  A just scale and balances are to Jehovah, all the stones of the bag are His work.
  • (Pro 20:10)  A stone and a stone, an ephah and an ephah, both are hateful to Jehovah.
  • (Pro 20:23)  A stone and a stone are hateful to Jehovah; and a false balance is not good.
  • (Isa 40:4)  Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the knoll shall be a level place, and the rough places a plain.
  • (Mic 6:11)  Shall I declare wicked balances to be pure, or a bag of stones of fraud?

 Yes, these speak of uneven scales, but the scales were made uneven by man, not God. Yeshua touched on this theme in Matthew:
Mat 5:43-48  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  (44)  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  (45)  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  (46)  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  (47)  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?  (48)  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
He not only is One that abounds in loving kindness, but of justice and even scales also:

Ezekiel 18:27-32
Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Isaiah 45:7
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Here is one of the most powerful statements in the whole of Scripture. Thomas Scott wrote of this:
 “…Jehovah here declared both light and darkness, good and evil, to be his creatures; that is, there is no being in the universe independent of him; all are his creatures and instruments, either acting at his command or by his permission. He is positively the Author of all that is true, holy, good, or happy, in the universe; and evil, error, and misery, came into the world by his permission, through the willful apostasy of his creatures; but are so restrained and overruled by him as to subserve his wise and righteous purposes; and cannot possibly exceed the bounds that he assigns them, or defeat any of his plans, or create him any disquietude or disappointment…”

There are those who teach that God is not in control or responsible for the evils that happen in this world. While I tend to agree with this on its face, I cannot agree to it in total. Who can defy the will of God? We spend an extraordinary amount of time worrying and wondering if we are in the will of God, when I say to you, how can you ever be out of His will? Is he not the Sovereign Lord? Is He not the Elohim Adonai Tzva’ot, the Almighty Lord of Hosts? See what Jeremiah had to say:

Jer 13:13-15  Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness.  (14)  And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.  (15)  Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken.

Yet, here in Rav Chesed, we ask for mercy, and in His grace He grants it. This is power, true power, the power to forgive when it is His right to judge.

When we recite this Name/attribute of God it’s as if we are asking him to not judge us alone by our free will choices but through His abundant kindness would He please take some of the responsibility to help tilt the scales in our favor. In essence we are saying to Him “I was bad, Daddy; but please, no matter how bad I was, O God, you create evil… O please shoulder a part of this, my evil, for me… help me…”

The 8th attribute: Rav Emet – Abundant in Truth

Daniel 8:12
And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground;

Psalms 85:10,11
Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; (See Amos 3:3!)

Rav Emet introduces the concept that even the condition of evil and guilt can be used for good. How often have you or I cast truth to the ground? It is in our sinful nature that we take the truth of God and stamp on it, thinking we are above its reproach, yet, it is this very act that God uses to bring us to our knees, as the more we sin against Him, the greater the realization becomes that we cannot do without Him. The weight of sin becomes unbearable, and from the dust of the earth we cry out for mercy; from out of the ground that we had trampled springs the very truth we tried to deny and the love of God kisses us…. O how undeserving we are of this holy kiss, yet how precious it is to a dying soul…  One more thing about truth or at least this particular aspect of it. This is one attribute of God that will not be completely fulfilled until the end of time when God puts all things under His feet. For you see, if we walk in truth alone, what is there but only a sense of annihilation, that we can’t every measure up to this standard and ought to get what we deserve. But here is the absolute truth – abundant truth –that even evil can be used for good…

Rom 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Truth, and the good that comes from abundant truth, can grow from a flawed state even better than from a state of perfection, for indeed, isn’t by our mistakes we learn?

The 9th attribute: Notzer
Hesed LaAlafim –Keeping(Preserves) Mercy for thousands [of generations]
Isaiah 54:10
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

Exo 20:2-6
I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  (3)  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  (4)  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:  (5)  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  (6)  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

What is a generation? In Moshe’s time a generation was about 50 years. So the judgments of God would last 150-200 years on those that hated Him, yet would stretch into the thousands for those that love Him. If it was only a thousand generations this equals to 50,000 years, yet Yahvey says it is to thousands of generations.  This is the promise, this is the covenant. It is all about the covenantal relationship that God established with Abraham (Gen. 15:7-21; Gen. 17:1-21) and this relationship extends to us today as the seed of Abraham. The Jewish people are the natural sons of Abraham, yet by Messiah, we are able to have a place in God’s house. Our generations to come will have this relationship if they continue with God; that is why we are to teach it diligently to our children so that they may be a part of the divine family also.

The 10th, 11th and 12th – Noseh: Avon, VaFesha, VeHata’a:

Forgiving (To bear):
Inquity (Rebellious sins)
Transgression (Intentional sins)
Sin (unintentional).

In calling upon these attributes we ask God to neutralize the harmful impact of our sins by transforming them into unintentional sins.

Luke 23:34
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Jeremiah 17:14
Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.

          One thing most believers hear is that “sin is sin”; well, yes, but no. There is a progression to sin; let us try to understand what this means…

There is a lot more to this than we can cover in this session, but a closer look at just these three will hopefully give you a deeper understanding. Below is the continuation of this progression; we’ll cover this in another session in more detail, but I think you can get the picture… 

The 13th attribute: VeNakeh –and cleanses but not entirely

Romans 2:4
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness/mercy of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Exodus 32:34,35
Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.

Malachi 3:7
Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.

Psalms 42:1,2
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

First thing to understand: repentance is not a pre-requisite for the application of God’s divine mercy.
Repentance IS THE GOAL of divine mercy
(See Rom. 2:4)

It is God’s intention, His KaVaNah, to draw us closer to Him so that He can cleanse us from our sins.

He does this with the weight of conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh. His point is to show us His divine mercy, His grace, by leading us to the cross of Machiach, where the ultimate act of mercy was performed. It was in this satisfaction of the divine justice of God that we are introduced to the greatest display of His mercy and grace, to the abundant truth of who He really is; a just, merciful God, but one in whom we should approach with awe and trepidation. He cleanses those who repent after this display of His mercy, but not those who refuse, hence what was said originally, who cleanses, but not entirely. To be included in this mercy, we need to join with the fathers, Abraham, Issac and Jacob. We need to be counted in the family of God and to continue the work of Abraham, which is to have faith – belief, trust and commitment to the unchanging Word of God – the Living Word – Yeshua HaMachiach, Jesus our Messiah.

Now you know the name of God.
Now you know Whom it is before you stand.
Sin – strangles us. God’s name cleanses us.

May you be blessed this day my beloved, Amein.

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