- Adonai (First Mention)
- Adonai (Second Mention)
- The Al-Mighty One (Elohim)
- Compassionate (Rachum)
- Gracious (Channun)
- Longsuffering (Erekh Apayim)
- Abounding in Loving-kindness (Rav Chesed)
- Truth (Rav Emet)
- Keeps Alive Chesed for a Thousand…
- Forgives Iniquity (Nosei Avon)
- Forgives Transgression (Nosei Pesha)
- Forgives Sin (Nosei Chata’ah)
- Will Not Cancel Punishment (Nakkeh Lo YeNakkeh)
The Thirteen Attributes
During the Season of Teshuvah prayers and poems for mercy are recited before dawn, before the daily shacharit (שחרית-morning prayer) service (a Selichot prayer book can be obtained at any Jewish bookstore). The list of the Thirteen Attributes of the Shelosh-‘Esreh Midot HaRakhamim (שלש עשרה מידות הרחמים-The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy) are the main focus of these prayers.
Appealing to the Compassion of the Merciful One
וַיַּעֲבֹר יְהוָה עַל־פָּנָיו וַיִּקְרָא יְהוָה יְהוָה אֵל רַחוּם וְחַנּוּן אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב־חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶֽת׃ נֹצֵר חֶסֶד לָאֲלָפִים נֹשֵׂא עָוֹן וָפֶשַׁע וְחַטָּאָה וְנַקֵּה לֹא יְנַקֶּה פֹּקֵד עֲוֹן אָבֹות עַל־בָּנִים וְעַל־בְּנֵי בָנִים עַל־שִׁלֵּשִׁים וְעַל־רִבֵּעִֽים׃
Adonai, Adonai El (ה’ ה’ אֵל), 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.
1. *Adonai (First Mention-‘ה):
I Adonai am the compassionate source of all of life and the ground of all being; I am the breath of life for all of creation. Adonai is the Al-Mighty of all possible worlds and master of the universe. Everything exists as an expression of His love (ahavah) and kindness (chesed). The world is a manifestation of His loving-kindness. “The world is built with chesed” (Olam chesed yibaneh–Psalm 89:3 MT):
!עולם חסד יבנה
A world of kindness will be built!
The creation is a manifestation of the Creator’s infinite kindness. Likewise, we are the highest expression of His kindness and love: For we are His children.
ה’ הוא אחד משמותיו של אלוהים כפי שהוא מופיע במקרא והוא השם הקדוש ביותר של האלוהים. פ
*Adonai is one of the names of G-d as it appears in the Mikra (מקרא-Bible) and is the holiest name of G-d.
2. Adonai Adonai (Second Mention-‘ה‘ ה):
Adonai has remained the compassionate source of all life even after mankind sinned. Therefore, His Sacred Name (‘ה) is repeated a *second time (ה’ ה’ – אֵל) to reveal to us the boundless generosity of His loving manner.
*The Sacred Name (‘ה) is mentioned three times along with G-d (אֵל) one time in just the first seven words of Exodus 34:6.
After Adam sinned the Holy One (הקדוש) has continued to steadfastly pursue a right relationship with His intelligent, alienated, fallen creation. The Merciful One has remained compassionate to all who have sinned and forgiving to all who do Teshuvah. Therefore, out of the treasure of His mercy the Creator has given to us the good gift of Teshuvah (the free-will to turn back to Him in repentance) that we might receive from Him forgiveness and reconciliation.
Adonai our Father created humankind with the ability to do Teshuvah; that is the ability to return to Him when we depart from His Law (i.e. when we sin). The heavenly Father desires atonement with humankind even after we sin and therefore, in Holy Love He graciously continues to preserve and sustain our existence in the world. He generously makes His sun rise on both the evil and on the good, and sends His rain on the just and on the unjust. Moreover, as He acts as the Savior and the Redeemer (HaGo’el) of the world on our behalf (through M’shicho), He expresses His compassion, mercy, and kindness even to the wicked.
In holy love Adonai Avinu has overcome the toxic, deadly presence of evil that resides within us by means of His own sacrificial love.
In holy love our Righteous Father (אבינו הצדיק) sacrificed His own perfect, unblemished Lamb (העבד הסובל-the Suffering Servant; i.e. the Suffering Messiah) as an atonement for our sin. Since Teshuvah can only exist after the advent of sin, the Korban Pesach (קרבן פסח) is called the Seh HaElohim (שה האלהים-Lamb of Elohim) ‘slain from the foundation of the world’ (Isaiah 53).
It should be noted that while the Creator (היוצר-Hayotzer) has temporarily allowed evil to exist in the world (in the sense of allowing the free-will actions of the wicked to occur) He does not in any way desire or condone it. The Creator supports the existence of both the wicked and the righteous and loves both. For His sunshine and rain generously and indiscriminately nurture both the wicked and the righteous. However, it is only the behavior of the righteous that He personally desires and blesses (Psalm 1:6).
The heavenly Father loves every person, for He is the Hayotzer (Creator) of us all. This is true even though He hates our sin. In holy love the Avi HaRachamim (אבי הרחמים-Father of Mercies) has secured a righteous provision for our sin. Through His sacrifice of atonement our Father removes our sin. This He does so that our beloved souls can return to Him by our experiencing His salvation, love, and blessings.
Blessed be His Holy Name forever and ever. Adonai our Father loves us all even though He hates our sin. It is a true saying that without the manifestation of the sacrificial love of Avinu Shebashamayim (אבינו שבשמים) love and forgiveness could not exist in any form; therefore, without the constant and abiding parental assistance of our Father in heaven love could not exist anywhere.
3. The Al-Mighty One (El-אֵל):
I Adonai am “El,” the Al-Mighty One, the All-Powerful One (Omnipotent).
In reference to the Name El, Elohim, the prophet Micah does not refer to the One who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in it (Exodus 20:11), nor to the One “who counts the number of the stars and calls them all by name” (Psalm 147:4), etc., but rather Micah refers to the Merciful and Forgiving One (רחום וסלחני) who delights to restore what is broken by means of His mercy and love:
מִי־אֵל כָּמֹוךָ נֹשֵׂא עָוֹן וְעֹבֵר עַל־פֶּשַׁע לִשְׁאֵרִית נַחֲלָתֹו לֹא־הֶחֱזִיק לָעַד אַפֹּו כִּֽי־חָפֵץ חֶסֶד הֽוּא׃
Who is an Al-Mighty One (El-אֵל) like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because He delights in (steadfast) unchanging love. (Micah 7:18)
!עולם של חסד יבנה
A world of grace will be built!
Like the first redemption of Israel out of Egypt, where our Father Adonai was exalted above all so-called deities, in the future deliverance of the physical descendants of Israel the Merciful One will reveal His grace (loving-kindness) and compassion (mercy). Our Father in heaven will do this by re-declaring to this modern generation of Israel His besorah (בְּשׂוֹרָה-good news) of His Divine Redemption.
The Forgiving One, who delights to restore what is broken by means of His mercy and love, will not retain his anger against Israel any longer. Therefore, the second witness of the prophet Micah agrees with the first witness of the Thirteen Attributes of mercy given by Moses. This means ethnic Israel will soon come to fully understand the love and forgiveness of the Holy One after what has been for us a very long and difficult period of spiritual exile. With this hope of the restitution of all things in mind we further read from the prophet Micah:
יָשׁוּב יְרַֽחֲמֵנוּ יִכְבֹּשׁ עֲוֹֽנֹתֵינוּ וְתַשְׁלִיךְ בִּמְצֻלֹות יָם כָּל־חַטֹּאותָֽם׃ תִּתֵּן אֱמֶת לְיַֽעֲקֹב חֶסֶד לְאַבְרָהָם אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ מִימֵי קֶֽדֶם׃
He [Adonai] will again have compassion on us [Israel]; He will tread our iniquities underfoot. You [Adonai Elohim] will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness (lit. truth-אֱמֶת) to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old. (Micah 7:19-20)
4. Compassionate (Rachum-רַחוּם):
Adonai is compassionate, gracious, longsuffering steadfastly loving and kind, truthful, protective, and forgiving.
Together this heptad of Divine parental attributes constitutes a glorious coat of many colors for the sons and daughters of the heavenly Father to wear. The attributes of the Righteous Father (אבי הצדיק) are to be manifest both internally in the unseen inner domains of our cognitive, affective, and volitional lives, and externally in the visible domains of our moral and behavioral activities (i.e. our relational lives).
“Adonai, Adonai the Al-Mighty One, compassionate” – As indicated previously the Hebrew word for Al-Mighty One is “El,” “Elohim.” Adonai is the all-powerful Creator. He is the One who created the heavens and the earth. He is the Supreme Ruler over all the force (el) and forces (elohim) of both the natural and spiritual realms. He is the Omnipotent One (ה‘ הוא הבורא הכל יכול). Yet, to our great blessing He is also revealed to be the G-d of all Compassion (האלוהים של כל חמלה). Adonai Eloheinu is the Compassionate One (Rachum-רַחוּם).
The Hebrew word rachamim (רחמים) means “mercy” and rechem (רחם) means “womb.” The words rachum, rachamim, and rechem are very much affectionate terms. Blessed be His Name forever and ever! The Creator’s generous care for humankind is one that cherishes and attends to us with much affection and tenderness.
Rachum refers to a strong love that is rooted in a natural bond. Small infants evoke this feeling. The Creator is compassionate toward everyone. With His adopted people, the children of Israel, the Holy Father (אבי הקדוש) affectionately looks upon us as a watchful mother caring for her children (1, 2).
In the Tanakh we learn that our Creator is even compassionate to His enemies (1, 2). The use of the term rachum in the Exodus 34:6-7 passage clearly reveals that our heavenly Father possesses a nurturing and affectionate nature. Abba Avinu (אבא אבינו) wonderfully and powerfully communicates to us that He is more compassionate and tenderhearted toward His children than any other concerned parent (father or mother). Therefore, just as a caring mother tenderly expresses love “for the child she has born” so does our Compassionate Father yearn to tenderly care for each and every one of us to whom He has given His breath of life (נשימת החיים).
5. Gracious (Channun-חַנּוּן):
Adonai, Adonai the Mighty One, compassionate and gracious.
The word channun (gracious-חַנּוּן) is an adjective derived from the root word chanan (חָנַן). Thankfully, the Almighty One is gracious. He pours out His favor freely to all of creation. Chen (חֵן) is the word for “grace.” He is the Gracious One. He is the Merciful One.
Adonai’s natural relational stance is firmly anchored in His grace and mercy. He is determined to transform our dysfunctional human race from a crooked and perverse lifestyle to one that is lovely and wholesome.
The term channun indicates the heavenly Father is a strong party who is helping a weak party (fallen, imperfect humanity).
What is implied by the Hebrew word for gracious is that the Sovereign One exerts a significant degree of force upon humanity. The Hagevurah (הגבורה-Powerful One) exerts force upon us not to harm us but to help us. He does not consider it too lowly a task for Him to stoop down to our level to help us. This stooping down is an act of humility. Therefore, G-d declares to us through the Messiah (His Voice):
קְחוּ עֲלֵיכֶם אֶת עֻלִּי וְלִמְדוּ מִמֶּנִּי, כִּי עָנָו אֲנִי וּנְמוּךְ רוּחַ; תִּמְצְאוּ מַרְגּוֹעַ לְנַפְשׁוֹתֵיכֶם, כִּי עֻלִּי נָעִים וְקַל מַשָׂאִי.פ
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Adonai’s self-disclosure in Exodus 34 is interpreted to be one where the LORD our G-d declares (Rabbi Hertz, 1937, p. 364):
“I am the Merciful One before a man commits a sin, and I am the same Merciful One and Forgiving One after a man has sinned. Whatever change has to be wrought must be in the heart of the sinner; not in the nature of the Deity. He is the same after a man has sinned, as He was before a man has sinned.”
The Almighty One’s chanan (חָנַן-favor, grace) actively seeks persons out to help them. This is true of the unrighteous as well as the righteous. However, the chanan of the heavenly Father is especially concerned about the poor, the weak, the downtrodden. Therefore, the word chanan is most often used in reference to Avinu Shebashamayim who is a powerful advocate for the needs of the poor and powerless.
מלוה ה’ חונן דל וגמלו ישלם־לו׃
מַלְוֵ֣ה ה’ ח֣וֹנֵֽן דָּ֑ל וּ֝גְמֻל֗וֹ יְשַׁלֶּם־לֽוֹ׃
“One who is gracious (ח֣וֹנֵֽן) to the poor lends to Adonai, and He will repay him for his good deed.”
A person who cares for the poor, who provides for their needs from a sincere heart of compassion and love and not from any selfish motive; such a person’s gracious (chen, chanan) acts of service to the poor are declared in the Scriptures to be a loan to our Father in heaven. Such acts of grace are always taken note of by the Holy One and are “remembered” (1, 2, 3, 4); so that in this life and the life to come Adonai rewards our graciousness with His super abundance of grace that surpasses all understanding.
Forensically, Adonai’s graciousness is employed to extricate both materially and morally (physically and spiritually) impoverished persons from both economic disaster and moral judgment. This clearly indicates the Father of Mercies exercises a redemptive-compassionate role in His interactions with the unrighteous as well as righteous humanity.
The express will of our heavenly Father is that none should perish; rather it is His will that the unrighteous might be transformed by the power of His Divine Redemption and the Indwelling Presence of His Holy Spirit into righteous ones This means that it is not the Righteous Father’s preference to just thwart the wicked from doing wickedness, rather it is His desire that they also be converted to His cause. This is the miraculous gift of Teshuvah that the wickedness of the wicked might be brought to an end through their being led to a state of genuine repentance and true conversion. In this way our Redeemer and Divine Friend can move us by the grace of His Spirit from an entrenched position of sin to a new righteous state that conforms us to His moral perfection:
לָכֵן הֱיוּ שְׁלֵמִים, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאֲבִיכֶם שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם שָׁלֵם הוּא.פ
Therefore, you are to be perfect (shelamim), as your heavenly Father is perfect (shalem).
In this generous way we are able to see that the morally perfect, friendly, and peaceable Spirit of of the Holy One can and does sacrificially extend His “favor” to those who neither expect it or deserve it.
In summary: this means our Father Adonai’s redemptive powers are in no way dependent on fallen man but reside solely in His own Divine moral perfection (virtue). This leads us to two irrefutable facts: first, the Creator clearly wants to deliver humankind (Jew and Gentile) from our imprisonment to sin and our suffering at the hands of our age old enemy, death; and second, the All-Powerful One unilaterally possesses the ‘means’ to deliver us from these twin oppressors (of sin and death). All that is required of us is that we practice Teshuvah and believe in and practice the Besorah (Good News) of Adonai’s chesed and channun (חֶסֶד-lovingkindness and חַנּוּן-graciousness).
6. Longsuffering (Erekh Apayim-אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם):
Adonai, Adonai the Mighty One, compassionate and gracious, longsuffering [slow to anger].
Abba Avinu our All-Sufficient One (אל שדי-El Shaddai) possesses an emotional life, and one of the emotions that He must process is anger (anaph-אַף). The term apayim refers to the “nose.” The word erekh (אָרֵךְ) means “long.” It takes Adonai a long time before He will manifest visible signs of being upset. Therefore, the term ‘erekh apayim’ (אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם) conveys the meaning of long suffering and patience. This means that the anger of our Father Adonai (ה’ אבינו) will not be visibly evidenced for a long time after we have initially provoked Him. The symbolic (scriptural) meaning of the two entrance sites of our nose is very special. The nostrils are the “entrance” where the Creator breathed His breath of life into our father Adam and he became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).
Dilation of the nostrils is evidence of labored breathing, indicating the existence of an undesirable state, the troubling of one’s soul. Man is not the only one who has a soul. Our Creator has a soul. This includes His own unique emotional life. Our heavenly Father feels and wants. He exists as a vulnerable being. He can be hurt. When you love people as passionately as the Holy One does you are incredibly vulnerable. We can and do deeply hurt and provoke Adonai to anger (1, 2). Adonai gives to us all of His goodness and in return He is Jealous for our love.
Therefore, conversely when we love Him He is pleased beyond anything we could think or imagine. For He delights in our love of Him more than anything else (Isaiah 42:1). Anaph, therefore, is a negative term that describes the forceful, violent, breathing of air from the lungs to the nostrils and back. This violent movement of air is a visual depiction of an interpersonal and intrapersonal storm. Adonai has disclosed that He much more prefers to express Himself in compassion, grace and mercy than anger. By nature Adonai is quick to be gracious and slow to be angry.
7. Abounding in Loving-kindness (Rav Chesed-רַב־חֶסֶד):
Adonai, Adonai the Mighty One, compassionate and gracious, longsuffering [slow to anger] and abounding in loving-kindness.
Our Father Adonai is abundant in love toward both the righteous and the wicked. The word abundance (rav-רַב) indicates anything that exists in a state of great measure. This word (rav-רַב) describes the greatness of the heavenly Father related to “quantity,” “size,” “age,” “number,” “rank,” and “quality.” By attaching this word to loving-kindness (chesed-חֶסֶד) Adonai is declaring to us that His capacity to love is incomparable to anyone else.
Our heavenly Father’s love is an everlasting love. He alone possesses a love that can deliver never-ending mercy and forgiveness. The term chesed (חֶסֶד) is closely related to the forgiveness of sins. Chesed addresses both the relational and attributive dimensions of the love of the Spirit of the Holy One. Relationally El-Elyon (אל-עליון-G-d-Most High) manifests His never-ending love in a covenantal form. The Holy One has pledged His irreversible and eternal fidelity (everlasting love) to our people, the people of Israel:
I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
Attributively Adonai is love. Loving-kindness derives its meaning from the root word chacad (חָסַד). This word means to show one’s self to be kind and merciful. It requires visible expression and is, therefore, behaviorally demonstrated. Loving-kindness is the antithesis of behaving in a reproachful or disgraceful manner towards others.
8. Truth (Rav Emet-רַב־אֱמֶֽת):
Adonai, Adonai the Mighty One, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger [long-suffering] and abounding in loving-kindness and truth…
Adonai’s unique possession of absolute truth (emet-אֱמֶֽת) is indicative of His “firmness,” “stability,” “fortitude,” “faithfulness,” and “sureness.” It is here that we learn through revelation imparted to us by Moses that Adonai is to be called Faithful and True (נאמן ואמיתי).
The Holy One is always faithful and truthful in carrying out all of His promises. This Hebrew noun emet (אֱמֶֽת) is derived from aman (אָמַן). Aman, in a transitive sense, is what makes one firm, supported and confirmed.
In an intransitive sense a person is aman when he is firm, enduring, trusting, and believing. In the Scriptures—-when relationally enduring, faithful, reliable, and trustworthy, an adoptive father (הָאֹמֵן) and nurse (לְאֹמֶֽנֶת) are said to be aman (1, 2).
Therefore, the truth here that the Kadosh (הקדוש-the Holy One) is revealing to us about Himself is not that He expresses Himself with intellectual accuracy. This is true. However, far more important than Adonai’s infallible communication is His personal-relational reliability and moral excellence. The Holy One always does what is right. He is True in the absolute sense. The Holy One not only exercises truth at all times. He is Truth.
A proper response to Adonai’s perfect faithfulness is illustrated in the life of father Abraham who believed in Adonai (Genesis 15:6). Father Abraham exercised full trust and confidence in the Holy One. It was not at the first primarily in the heavenly Father’s words that father Abraham believed but in the Creator Himself. It was on this sure foundation of the relational trustworthiness of Adonai that the father of our faith was able to arrive at an unshakable belief in the infallibility of the D’var HaShem (the Word of Adonai).
Father Abraham came first to believe in the absolute trustworthiness of the Holy One. Then he was able to exercise faith in all that the LORD (Adonai) promised. In relational and developmental terms this means that like father Abraham we must first personally experience for our own individual selves the loving-kindness of Avinu Shebashamayim before we can expect to exercise a sincere and authentic faith in His Word (the Tanakh and the HaBrit HaChadashah).
In support of this view that each person must first experience for his (or her) own individual self the love of Abba Avinu before being expected to grow in the corporate faith of trusting in the infallibility of His Word, Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz points out that in the declarative order of Divine attributes, loving-kindness (chesed) precedes truth (emet) because the imitation of Adonai requires people to (Rabbi Hertz, 1937, p. 365):
“Speak the truth by all means; but [first] be quite sure that you speak the truth ‘in love.’”
Quite naturally, therefore, before one can speak the truth in love one must experience the love of Adonai for one’s own self. We love the Holy One (and all others) only after we have personally experienced the Divine love of Abba Avinu (Our Father) for ourselves; or put another way we are inspired to love others only by our first experiencing His (Abba Avinu’s) love for us.
9. Keeps Alive Chesed for a Thousand… (Notzer Chesed La’alafim-נֹצֵר חֶסֶד לָאֲלָפִים):
Who keeps loving-kindness for a thousand [generations].
The word “keeps” (natsar-נָצַר) means Adonai “guards,” “protects,” “maintains,” “watches over,” and “preserves” His chesed-loving-kindness (חֶסֶד) in both its covenantal and attributive senses. Adonai therefore is Holy Love (1, 2) and as such facilitates His love in all His relationships.
The qualifying phrase that Adonai keeps chesed to a “thousand” [generations] (eleph-אֶלֶף) is a clear pronouncement that His capacity for expressing and instilling His steadfast faithfulness and love in relationships (individually and corporately) is inexhaustible. This means that Adonai has disclosed to us that He fully intends to initiate, nurture, and perpetually sustain all of His committed relationships that are grounded in His virtuous love; and that in fact He will make these relationships endure “forever.”
This emphatic joining, therefore, of natsar (protect) with chesed (steadfast loving-kindness) and eleph (elef, a thousand) communicates that Adonai is El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient Caregiver and Protector of persons; and that He never ceases to “sustain”, “nurture,” and “preserve” right relationships with those who put their trust in Him.
10. Forgives Iniquity (Nosei Avon-נֹשֵׂא עָוֹן):
Who forgives iniquity…
Adonai forgives iniquity (avon-עָוֹן). Avon is defined as lawless (i.e criminal, perverse) deeds committed with conscious premeditation. The root word for avon (עָוֹן) is avah (עָוָה). From this word we get the general meaning of to “turn upside down,” “bend,” “twist,” “distort,” or to be “bent,” “crooked,” “twisted,” “perverted.” The term avon indicates a “depraved” action (1, 2).
The complete meaning of the word avon includes the consequences of the depraved action. Therefore, acts of avon (iniquity) naturally will result in the offender experiencing “penalty,” “punishment” (Isaiah 5:18),”suffering” and “misery” (Psalm 31:10). Avon is a violation of the Holy One’s moral law. It results in alienation and separation from the Holy One (1, 2) and uncleanness (Psalm 51:2).
The Spirit of the Holy One lifts up and carries iniquity (avon) away from the person who is willing to (do Teshuvah) repent and be changed from the inside-out into what Adonai desires us to be.
The act of Teshuvah requires that we be aware of avon and “confess” it (1, 2, 3, 4). Change is required. Our lifestyle must change. Our change in attitude and behavior must be equal to our confession (1, 2, 3, 4).
In His provision for iniquity the Merciful One has provided us a substitute sacrifice for our punishment (1, 2, 3). It is the lifting up of this substitute sacrifice that makes it possible for our iniquities to be carried away. The Messiah is our Korban Pesach who was penalized, punished, sacrificed in our place. Therefore the Messiah in holy love said:
וּכְמוֹ שֶׁהִגְבִּיהַּ מֺשֶׁה אֶת הַנָּחָשׁ בַּמִּדְבָּר, כָּךְ צָרִיךְ שֶׁיּוּרַם בֶּן־הָאָדָם לְמַעַן יִהְיוּ חַיֵּי עוֹלָם לְכָל הַמַּאֲמִין בּוֹ; כִּי כֺּה אָהַב אֱלֹהִים אֶת הָעוֹלָם עַד כִּי נָתַן אֶת בְּנוֹ יְחִידוֹ לְמַעַן לֹא יֺאבַד כָּל הַמַּאֲמִין בּוֹ, אֶלָּא יִנְחַל חַיֵּי עוֹלָם.פ
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Ben HaAdam (בֶּן־הָאָדָם) be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For G-d (אֱלֹהִים) so loved (אָהַב) the world, that He gave His only begotten Son (נָתַן אֶת בְּנוֹ יְחִידוֹ), that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (יִנְחַל חַיֵּי עוֹלָם; i.e. he shall take as his inheritance eternal life).
The Hebrew word for “forgives” is nasa (נָשָׂא). Whether literally or figuratively, the basic meaning of nasa is “to lift up.” Adonai discloses that He is the Great One who can and will in compassion and mercy bear and lift up His sacrifice that can carry away even the most “perverse,” “bent,” “twisted” iniquities of His people (Israel).
11. Forgives Transgression (Nosei Pesha-נֹשֵׂא פֶשַׁע):
Who forgives iniquity, transgression….
Adonai forgives transgression (pesha-פֶּשַׁע). Transgressions are out wrongful deeds committed in a rebellious spirit. Adonai discloses that He is the One who will bear and lift up the transgressions of our people.
Obedience is our love-language toward our heavenly Father. Lawlessness (disobedience) is our relational hate-language toward Him.
Our Creator created Adam (he/she-them) only to know (experience/subsist on) the fruit of His goodness, righteousness, and truth. Avinu Shebashamayim never wanted us to use our gift of free-will to do wrong deeds. Nor has He ever wanted (delighted in) the perpetual sacrifices that are required when we continuously indulge ourselves in unending sinful behavior.
Our heavenly Father is pleased only when we are living a life of obedience; a relational life that is in harmony with His own intellect, will, and emotions.
12. Forgives Sin (Nosei Chata’ah-נֹשֵׂא חַטָּאָה):
Who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin…
Adonai forgives “sin” (chatah-חָטָא). The chet, chata’ah, or chattat are those wrongful deeds that we commit inadvertently. Adonai discloses that He is the One who will bear and lift up the sins of His people (Israel).
Adonai is the Forgiving One (1, 2, 3). Nosei Chata’ah (נֹשֵׂא חַטָּאָה) signifies the taking away of sin (1, 2). Adonai reveals to Moses that He alone possesses the authority, power, and means to remove the horrible consequences of humankind’s depraved actions (aron), transgressions (pesha) and offenses (chattaah).
Iniquity, transgression, and sin are a direct result of Adam (Man) hearkening to the voice of the evil one (the false-rabbi).
This rebellious inappropriate act of free-will led to Adam fatally ingesting evil into His consciousness. Just as Adam was warned by the Avi Ha’Orot (אבי האורות-the Father of Lights) this act of foolish disobedience tragically led to the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit departing from inside Adam’s spirit. This immediately caused Adam’s spirit (spiritual heart) to die; although for an extended period of time he remained a living physical and psychological being (soul).
Fortunately our Merciful Father forgave Adam. The Merciful One promised Adam and his descendants a Savior. This promised one to come, the Salvation of Adonai (Yeshua), would be born through the “Seed of the Woman.” The promised one would at first temporarily appear to be struck down by the evil one. However, this apparent temporary defeat would ultimately result in a complete victory of good over evil.
The Divine purpose of this once-in-eternity sacrifice of the Anointed One (the Messiah) was to permanently put away our sin so that those who do Teshuvah might receive the gift of eternal life.
Our prophets promised us that if we would draw near to Adonai in our hearts that He would one day redeem us from the debt of our sins and thereafter permanently draw us to Himself by permanently “Indwelling” our spirits with His own Divine Presence.
Through Messiah’s atoning death the toxic, infectious consciousness that was originally injected into the spiritual bloodstream of Adam (and Adam’s race)—that has led to our experiencing spiritual and physical death—has been completely removed (cleansed) from us. Therefore, it must be understood that the key that unlocks the door to all the mysteries (sodim) of the Hebrew Scriptures is the Mystery (sod, singular) of the sacrifice of our Messiah.
Messiah is the promised Perfect Adam. He is the only Man who has ever come directly “out of eternity” into creation. And He is the only Man to resurrect from the dead and “return back into eternity.”
Messiah is the Firstborn of the Dead ( בכור מבין המתים). Therefore, Messiah is the conqueror of sin and death. The Anointed One pre-exists creation. He came to earth from heaven so that we might be reborn out of the earth (our temporary home) into the new creation of eternity (our permanent home).
Our Rabbi from heaven came to earth so that we might be reborn from above (אַל תִּתְמַהּ עַל שֶׁאוֹמֵר אֲנִי לְךָ כִּי עֲלֵיכֶם לְהִוָּלֵד מִלְמַעְלָה). This in turn has made the Jerusalem above—-our mother (אֲבָל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם שֶׁל מַעְלָה בַּת חוֹרִין הִיא, וְהִיא אֵם לָנ). Therefore, it is written:
רָנִי עֲקָרָה לֹא יָלָדָה, פִּצְחִי רִנָּה וְצַהֲלִי לֹא־חָלָה, כִּי־רַבִּים בְּנֵי־שׁוֹמֵמָה מִבְּנֵי בְעוּלָה.”פ”
“Rejoice, barren woman [Sarah] who does not bear; Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor; For more numerous are the children of the desolate [Sarah; supernatural birth] than of the one who has a husband [Hagar; natural birth].”
And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. For what does it emphatically say in the writing of the Torah of Moses?
גָּרֵשׁ הָאָמָה וְאֶת־בְּנָהּ, כִּי לֹא יִירַשׁ בֵּן־הָאָמָה עִם־בֵּן הַחָפְשִׁיָּה.”פ“
Cast out the bondwoman [the slave Hagar-הָגָר] and her son [Ishmael-יִשְׁמָעֵ֔אל], for the son of the bondwoman [Ishmael-born only in the natural way] shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman [Isaac (יִצְחָ֥ק)-born from above by the power of the Spirit of the Holy One; i.e. a miracle birth] (1, 2).
So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman [Hagar (הָגָר)-born only in the natural way], but of the free woman [Sarah (שָׂרָ֜ה)-born of the power of Elah Shemaiya (the G-d of Heaven)].
Those who are born from above are born out of creation into eternity.
The righteous works of the Mashiach from heaven is the just means by which we will one day be perfected and enter into the new heaven and the new earth (born out of creation into eternity). In this magnificent future dwelling of pure righteousness no one will even remember what sin was or that it ever existed at all.
In the eternal age we will forget sin and remember only the (doubly fruitful) goodness, righteousness, and truth of the heavenly Father (cf. articles “Messiah in Shemini Atzeret” and “Messiah in Simchat Torah”).
The false anti-torah of the evil one will then be completely removed from our lives. This is the evil one’s chametz (unholy leaven; sin). It is the “knowledge of evil” that the evil one created independently against the will of our Righteous Father; whose Voice is the Messiah—-who is now our one and only True Rabbi.
13. Will Not Cancel Punishment (Nakkeh Lo YeNakkeh-נַקֵּה לֹא יְנַקֶּה):
Yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations. (Exodus 34:7)
Immediately following Adonai’s disclosure of His positive attributes He makes a negative declaration (Exodus 34:7). “I, the Eternal One, will not cancel punishment” for the guilty and unrepentant. By logical inference, therefore, the Forgiving One will only clear the guilt of those who genuinely return to Him in Teshuvah. This declaration contrasts two distinct covenants: the Covenant of the Law and the Covenant of Grace (Chesed, Chen, Chanan).
The Covenant of the Law teaches us that we are all sinners (law breakers) in need of a Savior -Deliverer.
The knowledge and conviction of our iniquity, transgression, and sin leads us to Teshuvah. If we sincerely practice Teshuvah then the Righteous Father is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. The practice of Teshuvah presupposes both that we realize we have violated the Law of the Holy One and that if we sincerely return to our Father in repentance that He will graciously provide for us an atoning sacrifice of His own. This Sacrifice of the Father is the just means by which we are forgiven and cleansed of all our unrighteousness:
אם נתודה על חטאינו, נאמן הוא וצדיק לסלח לנו על חטאינו ולטהר אותנו מכל עולה. פ
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us for our sins and to purify us from all unrighteousness.
True Teshuvah in humility presupposes that Man’s self-justifying efforts to comply with all the Torah of the Holy One will never lead to a right relationship with our heavenly Father. This is so because the good and righteous Torah of Moses does not exist to justify man but to teach us that we all that we need a deliverer and a savior.
True Teshuvah, therefore, is an exercise in “humility.” It is an exercise of complete dependence on the Holy One who is our Strong One. Like father Abraham, our faith must solely be grounded in our belief in the loving-kindness and graciousness of our Merciful Father. True forgiveness then may only come from a thorough dependence on Adonai alone!
The Covenant of the Grace of Adonai assures for us the permanent existence of an unbreakable, eternal bond between ourselves and our Father Adonai. The Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of Chesed (רוח החסד) is our “guarantor” (הערבון) that we are caught up in an infallible process (חתם שהאלהים-sealed by G-d) that will culminate in the day of our resurrection.
Therefore, we are assured on the day of our resurrection that we will be perfected.
As the children of Adonai we shall on the day of our resurrection be transformed into a perfect likeness of our Righteous Father. This is the work of Abba our Father and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Saving-works of Adonai our Father allows Him to generously provide an eternally secure attachment base for His children. As stated to Moses, it is the chen (חֵן) of Adonai—His saving act of humbly stooping down to our lowly level to help us, to lift us up—that establishes us forever in a royal parent-child relationship of unfailing love, empathy, nurturance, patience, kindness, fidelity, protection, and forgiveness.