- The Seventh Forgiveness Saying
- Temporal versus eternal unforgiveness
- Our pardon will be denied if we reject Adonai’s principal of absolute forgiveness
- Unforgiveness is not a forgivable sin
- The Model Prayer of the Prophet-King David and the Messiah Ben David
- In the Messianic Age we will all recite the Model Prayer of Messiah
- In the Messianic Age we will all know how to forgive one another from the Heart
- What does it mean to forgive others from the Heart?
- After we accept Adonai’s generous offer to redeem us…
- It is impossible for a true child of Adonai to possess an Unforgiving Spirit
- The heart problem of the unregenerate Jew and Gentile
- The regenerate person always forgives others from his or her Heart
- It takes a long time to mature from spiritual infancy to maturity
- A great struggle follows after one has received the Gift of the Father
- Our spiritual development is a lifelong process
- The sin-remainder (like a parasite) opposes our new nature (the Host)
- The overthrow of the rule of the enemy within
- The old false-self is like an invading parasite, bacterium, virus, or tumor
- Our circumcision is a reminder that the sin-remainder is not a permanent part of us
- We are to be the Master (and not the slave) of the enemy who resides within
- The narrative of Midianite Zipporah, the Wife of Moses, helps our understanding…
- The meaning of the four (five) names in the Zipporah circumcision narrative
- The circumcision of Zipporah represents the circumcision of our heart
- The Will of Adonai is to produce many sons who are filled with His Spirit
- The circumcision of the Spirit gives us a New Heart
The Seventh Forgiveness Saying:
וּבְהִתְפַּלֶּלְכֶם אַל־תְּפַטְפְּטוּ כַּגּוֹיִם הָאֹמְרִים בִּלְבָבָם בְּרֹב דְּבָרֵינוּ נִשָׁמֵעַ׃ וְאַתֶּם אַל־תִּדַּמּוּ לָהֶם כִּי יוֹדֵעַ אֲבִיכֶם כָּל־צָרְכְּכֶם בְּטֶרֶם תִּשְׁאֲלוּ מִמֶּנּוּ׃ לָכֵן כֹּה תִתְפַּלָּלוּ אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָׁמַיִם יִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֶךָ׃ תָּבֹּא מַלְכוּתֶךָ יֵעָשֶׂה רְצוֹנְךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר בַּשָׁמַיִם גַּם בָּאָרֶץ׃ אֶת־לֶחֶם חֻקֵּנוּ תֵּן־לָנוּ הַיּוֹם׃ וּמְחַל־לָנוּ עַל־חֹבוֹתֵינוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר מָחַלְנוּ גַּם־אֲנַחְנוּ לְחַיָּבֵינוּ׃ וְאַל־תְּבִיאֵנוּ לִידֵי נִסָּיוֹן כִּי אִם־תְּחַלְּצֵנוּ מִן־הָרָע כִּי לְךָ הַמַּמְלָכָה וְהַגְּבוּרָה וְהַתִּפְאֶרֶת לְעוֹלְמֵי עוֹלָמִים אָמֵן׃ כִּי אִם־תִּמְחֲלוּ לִבְנֵי־אָדָם עַל־חַטֹּאתָם יִמְחַל גַּם־לָכֶם אֲבִיכֶם שֶׁבַּשָׁמָיִם׃ וְאִם לֹא תִמְחֲלוּ לִבְנֵי אָדָם גַּם־אֲבִיכֶם לֹא־יִמְחַל לְחַטֹּאתֵיכֶם׃
עַל־כֵּן אֲנִי אֹמֵר לָכֶם כֹּל אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁאֲלוּ בִתְפִלַּתְכֶם הַאֲמִינוּ כִּי תִקָּחוּ וִיהִי לָכֶם׃ וְכִי תַעַמְדוּ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל תִּמְחֲלוּ לְכָל־אִישׁ אֵת אֲשֶׁר בִּלְבַבְכֶם עָלָיו לְמַעַן יִסְלַח אֲבִיכֶם שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם גַּם־הוּא לְפִשְׁעֵיכֶם׃ וְאַתֶּם אִם־לֹא תִמְחֲלוּ אַף־אֲבִיכֶם שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם לֹא־יִסְלַח לְפִשְׁעֵיכֶם׃
וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם כִּי תִתְפַּלֲלוּ אִמְרוּ אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם יִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֶךָ תָּבוֹא מַלְכוּתֶךָ יֵעָשֶׂה רְצוֹנְךָ כְּמוֹ בַשָּׁמַיִם כֵּן בָּאָרֶץ׃ אֶת־לֶחֶם חֻקֵּנוּ תֶּן־לָנוּ יוֹם יוֹם׃וּמְחַל־נָא עַל־חַטֹּאתֵנוּ כִּי מֹחְלִים גַּם־אֲנַחְנוּ לְכֹל הַחַיָּב לָנוּ וְאַל־תְּבִיאֵנוּ לִידֵי נִסָּיוֹן כִּי אִם־הַצִּילֵנוּ מִן־הָרָע׃
How to Pray:
And when you pray, do not babble like the Gentiles who say in their heart, “By the abundance of our words we will be heard.” But as for you, do not imitate them, because your Father knows all of your needs before you ask of Him. “Therefore, I say to you, all that you ask in your prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be so for you. When you pray, say:
“Avinu Shebashamayim, (אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָׁמַיִם)
May your Name be sanctified. (יִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֶךָ)
May your kingdom come. (תָּבֹּא מַלְכוּתֶךָ)
As your will is done in heaven, may it also be on earth. (יֵעָשֶׂה רְצוֹנְךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר בַּשָׁמַיִם גַּם בָּאָרֶץ)
Give us the bread that is our allotment today, (אֶת־לֶחֶם חֻקֵּנוּ תֵּן־לָנוּ הַיּוֹם)
And pardon (forgive) us our debts, (וּמְחַל־לָנוּ עַל־חֹבוֹתֵינוּ)
As we also have pardoned those who are indebted to us. (כַּאֲשֶׁר מָחַלְנוּ גַּם־אֲנַחְנוּ לְחַיָּבֵינוּ)
And do not bring us into the hands of testing (temptation), (וְאַל־תְּבִיאֵנוּ לִידֵי נִסָּיוֹן)
But rescue (deliver) us from what is evil (from the evil one). (כִּי אִם־תְּחַלְּצֵנוּ מִן־הָרָע)
For yours is the kingdom, (כִּי לְךָ הַמַּמְלָכָה)
And the power, (וְהַגְּבוּרָה)
And the majesty (glory) forever and ever. Amen.” (וְהַתִּפְאֶרֶת לְעוֹלְמֵי עוֹלָמִים אָמֵן)
“And when you stand to pray [especially on Yom Kippur], pardon everyone for what is in your heart against them, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive your transgressions. For if you pardon sons of men for their sins against you, your Father in heaven will also pardon you. But as for you, if you do not pardon, your Father will not pardon (forgive) your sins.”
Temporal versus eternal unforgiveness:
The Seventh Forgiveness Saying of the Messiah explains what is required of us for our sins to be forgiven.
Put another way: Messiah warns that if we do not forgive others from our hearts our Father in heaven will not forgive us. Some scholars believe that the non-forgiveness being applied here by Avinu Shebashamayim, the heavenly Father, is a temporal one and not eternal. One such scholar asserts that the context supports this contention because the persons doing the praying address Adonai as “our Father.” Since the Father will in no way fail to forgive His children their sins, due to their receiving a permanent and complete acquittal from the guilt and ultimate penalty of sin, this must mean that the prayer and its follow-on commentary are a warning of inevitable discipline for Israel and the gentile followers of Messiah who fail to forgive. The position taken here is: this is forgiveness that affects fellowship within the family of Adonai, not the forgiveness that leads to eternal salvation (redemption). Therefore, fellowship with Adonai is in view here, not salvation from sin (cf. Mattai 6:9-15; Markos 11:24-26; Lukas 11:2-4).
Our pardon will be denied if we reject Adonai’s principal of absolute forgiveness:
Others contend that the non-forgiveness of HaAv (the Father) in the passage is an eternal one. The unforgiving person is one who rejects Adonai’s kingdom of heaven principal of “absolute” pardon-forgiveness, as it pertains to self and others. It is believed, therefore, that such a person is not an authentic lover of Adonai and follower of the Messiah because whoever does not pardon-forgive his fellow man (the sons of men) has not repented of his own sin of “judging” others; a role that is the sole responsibility of Adonai Avinu alone. The judging one who refuses to forgive is considered (like the evil one) to have elevated his place to a higher station than the one assigned him by Adonai. Therefore, such a one cannot find forgiveness for himself. Such self- promotion is seen as an act of rebellion against the rule, authority, and power of the Holy One. Unfortunately, in this way, the unforgiving person has failed to meet the required conditions of entrance into the kingdom of Heaven and has thereby disqualified himself from being pardoned.
Unforgiveness is not a forgivable sin:
The problem is that those persons who take the position that unforgiveness, even when it is from the heart, is a forgivable offense are the very same scholars who normally (and rightfully so) follow the exegetical rule that “Adonai says what He means and means what He says.” Therefore, the words of the prophets and the Messiah should be taken concretely—-If one does not forgive others from “the heart,” then the Father in heaven will not forgive him or her. “If, then” is a familiar legal formula in the Torah. “If, then” clauses are always clear and precise and therefore, as a rule, are to be interpreted in a concrete manner (not subjectively or abstractly).
The Model Prayer of the Prophet-King David and the Messiah Ben David:
We believe Messiah’s model kingdom prayer to Avinu Shebashamayim applies first and foremost to the family of Israel (the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob); then second, it applies to the Gentiles as well (cf. our document, the “Messiah in Rosh Hashanah II and Chanukkah II“).
The prayer taught by the Master is remarkably like a prayer offered by His ancestor, King David.
When King David was at the close of His reign and Solomon his son was on the threshold of being crowned King of Israel for the “second time” (emphasis mine) King David prayed as follows: “Blessed are You, Adonai El-Yisra’el, our Father, forever and ever. Yours, O Adonai, is the greatness, the power, and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the Kingdom, O Adonai, and You are exalted as Head over all…You reign over All. “(1 Chronicles 29:10-12).
The wording and literary style of David’s kingdom prayer is incredibly similar to the Messiah Yeshua’s kingdom prayer; including David’s addressal of Adonai as being “our Father.” It should be noted that the amount of time that Adonai is Israel’s Father is “forever and ever.” Also, it is important to point out that King David was a prophet as well as a king. Therefore, his words are binding. This means his prayer (the prayer the Messiah based His model kingdom prayer on) is corporately “Israel’s prayer;” as well as his (David’s).
In the Messianic Age we will all recite the Model Prayer of Messiah:
The kingdom prayer of Messiah and King David is a model corporate prayer for all of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The Messiah taught this prayer to His talmadin all of whom were Yehudim. We firmly believe in the future kingdom of Adonai that Israel (Jews) and the Commonwealth of Israel (believing Gentiles) will stand together. We pray soon we will stand together in the courts of the millennial Temple praying this very same kingdom prayer of the Messiah and King David. This will happen at the conclusion of the first dedication of the Temple (in the month of Nisan). It is on that (yet future) most celebrated day (Nisan 8) when Messiah Yeshua Ben David will be proclaimed to be the Great High Priest and King over all of Israel and over all of the nations, peoples, and families of the world!
In the Messianic Age we will all know how to forgive one another from the Heart:
Meanwhile, how do we explain the remaining two troubling passages: “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” and “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses”? The answer is related to the advent of the Holy Spirit, sanctification, and glorification. First, Messiah Yeshua’s death on the accursed tree (configured in the ancient Sign of the Tav) cancelled out our sins. This sacrifice was the just means that our heavenly Father applied for our redemption. Second, due to Messiah’s atoning sacrifice we are cleansed of our sin so that we might receive a new Spirit, the Spirit of Grace (Ruach Ha-Chen). Third, this gift from the Father is the Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the One that enables us to meet the high standard of our Father in Heaven in forgiving all others—“from the heart.”
What does it mean to forgive others from the Heart?
Let us explain what it means to forgive from the heart: Since the Forgiving One is Adonai and He is our Lord any errant decision that we make to the contrary of His rule will be ‘overruled’ by Him. This means that after we are Indwelt by the Spirit our illegitimate, sinful, petty desire to not forgive others will never again have the ‘last say’ about whether we opt to forgive or not. The Spirit who is Lord of our body, mind, soul, and spirit will have the last say (final say, forever). Only the Forgiving One has the right to decide what is best for us. This is so because our freedom from the bondage of sin was purchased by Adonai. This means we have become His property. We are His servants. Our life now is one of service. Later, after the day of resurrection has come, we will reign with Messiah in glory; both in the Millennial age and in the eternal age to come, when our Lord “makes all things new.”
After we accept Adonai’s generous offer to redeem us…
Prior to when we accepted Adonai’s generous offer to redeem us we were slaves to sin. After we accepted His offer the Holy One took possession of us by taking up permanent residence in our spirits (hearts). For this to be possible Messiah had to have already made atonement for all our sins (past, present, and future). Because of the redemptive ministry of Messiah and the Holy Spirit we now belong one hundred per cent to Adonai (we have been bought and paid for in full). Therefore, before we were slaves to sin. Now we are free from the forensic rule of sin. However, we are not yet perfect because the infectious material of our old self-life still is present (wars) within us. And although we are free from the legal hold of sin we are still slaves. But we are happy slaves. For the Righteous Father has made us slaves in the service of His righteousness. He is the One who has purchased us, adopted us into His Family, and permanently sealed us with His own Holy Spirit.
It is impossible for a true child of Adonai to possess an Unforgiving Spirit:
In this Way (Ha-Derech) the Spirit knows of our temporary internal weaknesses that (at present) war against Him in our imperfect bodies and our imperfect brains. Thankfully, our LORD the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. He even overrules us when our consciousness deviates from His will. It is the Lordship of the Spirit who resides within us that enables us at all times to continuously forgive the sins of those who have trespassed against us.
The Spirit is our Sovereign. We are His footstool. The Head of the body decides. Not the footstool! The footstool should only be a place where the feet of Adonai rests. We are the property of the Holy One. Our temporary shortcomings do not cancel out His all-sufficiency.
In our false and invalid consciousness we may think the thought and have the disobedient feeling that we refuse to forgive. Nonetheless, when Adonai Eloheinu, who is the rightful Ruler of our spirit, soul, mind, brain and body overrules and says His “No.” Then His No stands! And if He says “Yes,” then His Yes stands!
Our final disposition is always defined by our gracious Father in heaven who is our Sovereign forever and ever.
Therefore, since Adonai says His “No” to all our unforgiveness and Yes (all the time) for us to forgive all those who trespass against us, and we are no different than any other true child of Adonai, then the saying is completely true: it is absolutely impossible for any true believer to possess an unloving, unforgiving spirit. For Adonai (the Forgiving One) “is” our Spirit!
The heart problem of the unregenerate Jew and Gentile:
Adonai, the Forgiving One, “is” our one Spirit!
Therefore, any person who possesses an unloving, unforgiving spirit is unregenerate and can never, so long as he remains possessed by an unforgiving spirit, receive forgiveness from the Father. Such a person lives a life of two lies: lie one, that they are without sin, and, therefore, do not need the Help of the Redeemer; and lie two, that they need not forgive (love) all those who sin against them.
The regenerate person always forgives others from his or her ‘Heart:’
All believers, whether consciously aware of it or not always forgive from our Heart.
This is so because without exception there is only One Spirit who resides in the hearts of believers, the Holy Spirit. We live a life of two great truths: truth one, we have repented of our sins and received the eternal, irreversible forgiveness that comes through faith in Messiah and truth two, because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit as LORD we always forgive (love) from our HEART all who have sinned against them. This is so because the Holy Spirit is our Unfailing HEART. Nothing is impossible for HIM. For now He helps us in our weaknesses. HE is gradually changing us from the Inside-out. Later HE will perfect us according to HIS will, on the day of resurrection.
It takes a long time to mature from spiritual infancy to maturity:
As for the observable inconsistencies that exist between a follower’s avowed intent to walk in the Spirit of Messiah and his or her ridiculous thought life and behavioral life, this is due to the long period of time it takes for a follower of Messiah to mature from spiritual infancy to adulthood. In our weakness we are social creatures. In our spiritual youth we succumb to the temptations of our host society. In our maturity we do not. We grow. We change. We learn to obey the Lord. Therefore, forgiveness is a developmental challenge. Once the Holy Spirit indwells a follower of Messiah he or she becomes a “new creation.” He or she receives Adonai’s perfect Divine nature, as his or her own new nature. Nevertheless it takes time for what is new to overthrow and replace what is old.
A great struggle follows after one has received the Gift of the Father:
Adonai’s DNA (zera’ Elohim-זֶרַע אֱלֹהִים) indwells all those who are sincere followers of the Messiah. From the point of our receiving the Seed of Adonai (His Spirit) into our hearts our new self-being needs time to develop and then successfully contend with (go to war with) and overcome our old worldly self (the flesh that is spiritually removed, as is symbolized in our ritual of physical circumcision).
The authentic internally forgiving person is required to contend with his old, inauthentic, false self-life.
This is the enemy that presently resides in the upper-room of our brain. Nnot our mind, soul, or spirit; which are thoroughly clean, pure, and holy. Among other things I call our false self-life, this enemy within, the sin remainder. This sin remainder is physically, neurologically (mentally) and behaviorally hard to conquer. Yes, even for a regenerate believer who is indwelt with the Holy Spirit. The developmental sojourn from immature to mature belief is, therefore, for a considerable amount of developmental time, “conflicted,” “difficult,” “tumultuous,” and even “”depressing.” However, for those who persevere the saying is true that “Those who go forth sowing their seed in tears will (at the change of the seasons) return bearing their sheaves with shouts of joy!”
Our spiritual development is a lifelong process:
Spiritual maturation is not easy and it takes a long time.
So what is being said here is: Spiritual maturation is not easy and it takes a long time. It is a lifetime project! The Forgiving One first resides in the believer’s spirit. Then, over time, the believer is empowered to get control of his or her thoughts, feelings, and volitional life (in his/her body). Then and only then are we sufficiently able to overcome the temptations within and without, so as to reveal behaviorally (externally) what has been in our nature spiritually all along (i.e. evidence that the Spirit indwells our spirit).
The sin-remainder (like a parasite) opposes our new nature (the Host):
Authentic true believers always forgive from their hearts.
It is the sin-remainder (unwanted false, socially conditioned self-life) residing in our bodies that is oppositional. “It” never forgives. ‘It’ wars against our new self-life that loves one’s neighbor as one’s self. The self-worshiping nature of the ‘It’ is committed to self-love alone. While ‘It’ resides in the believer’s body (brain), in the form of sinful memory, mood, and desires ‘It’ will never be successfully rehabilitated or reformed. This invalid thinking entity from within must be constantly cut off from our conscious life, our intellect, will, emotions, behavior, and relational life. The old, invalid self-life cannot be diminished in size. Only a constant, relentless, dedicated, abiding, growing life in the Lord is sufficient to overpower the (Goliath-like) influence of the enemy within (in Hebrew the yetzer ha-ra – יֵצֶר הַרַע). Therefore, only a warrior-like effort can lead to the permanent overthrow of the desires of the old false-self and its present headship (rule) over our conscious choosing, behavior, and relational life. Yes, perfection for the believer is guaranteed on the day of resurrection. However, this is not a valid reason for being lazy and (in a cowardly fashion) wasting this good life that the Lord has given to us.
The overthrow of the rule of the enemy within:
A relentless, abiding warrior-like effort will lead to the permanent overthrow of the enemy within.
When the victory is won, then the dominance of our false socially conditioned self-life will be permanently overthrown. Immediately, thereafter, the territorial rule over our thoughts, feelings, and memories that the flesh (sin-remainder; yetzer ha-ra) once enjoyed will be permanently dispossessed. Then the new creation (our real self within, given to us by the Spirit) will finally be able to rule over all of the mental, emotional, and behavioral landscape that for so long had been controlled by our old false-self that was in complete control over us prior to our first coming to faith in the Messiah. This developmental process is metaphorically and practically outlined in the Book of Joshua in the Tanakh and (thoroughly) explained in the “Letter to the Assembly at Ephesus” (אגרת שאול אל האפסים) located in the Brit HaChadashah.
The old false-self is like an invading parasite, bacterium, virus, or tumor:
The flesh (the power of the evil within us) is like an invading parasite, bacterium, virus, or tumor (all scriptural metaphors).
If it were a person (and it is not) this persona would always hate anyone who offended him or her, and he or she would always seek deadly vengeance. Its fierce combative nature has been “circumcised” from the hearts of those who have become disciples in Messiah’s Word; however, it remains a powerful oppositional resident in the believer’s body (brain) until we receives a new glorified body (on the day of our resurrection). This invalid (thought) entity needs to be identified in the disciple’s instruction for what it is: an illegitimate, deadly, unwanted foreign entity residing in the body of the Messiah (the true host organism). Since those of us who are followers of the Messiah are an extension of Him, we are truly members of His Self-life. Messiah is the Head of the Assembly (Rosh Ha’edah). It is the life of the Messiah—His intellect, will, emotion, and memory—that eternally defines us; and nothing else. Our temporal imperfection is hurtful and causes great suffering for us. However, these imperfections do not permanently define us. Our heavenly Father alone permanently defines us. He has already cleansed us of our sin and placed His own Righteous and Holy Spirit in us. However, our struggle with sin must continue until death. Then on the day of our resurrection will we be made perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect!
Our circumcision is a reminder that the sin-remainder is not a permanent part of us:
Followers of Messiah must, therefore, be aware of this sin-remainder that is co-located in our bodies.
We should understand why it is that we can experience constant conflict from within, even though we are new creations. We must understand that this combative sin-remainder, with its unforgiving self-life, may reside in our physical being (until death), but it is not a permanent part of us.
We are to be the Master (and not the slave) of the enemy who resides within:
Like the captain of an unruly crew at sea, it is not the captain’s intent that the crew that he has inherited be so. Nevertheless, it is his responsibility to control the unruly crew, perform his assigned mission, and get his ship safely to port. In this manner, the follower of Messiah accepts his or her assignment: to be the “master” of his own unruly body and brain and not the subject to it. Because of this great struggle, it is necessary that the followers of Messiah be patient with each other’s struggle with this enemy within; our false socially conditioned former self-life. As Messiah’s followers we need to provide mutual support to one another in the common endeavor. We must strive to imitate the kindness, tender-heartedness, and forgiveness of our heavenly Father. May we do so courageously and without fear or trembling (of any kind) in the face of overwhelming opposition from our enemy who resides within our own bodies (the sin-remainder).
The narrative of the Midianite Zipporah, the Wife of Moses, helps our understanding:
The narrative of Zipporah (צִפֹּרָה), the wife of Moses, helps our understanding regarding the requirement that we must forgive others from the heart or the Father “will not” forgive us. In Exodus 4:24- 26 we read:
וַיְהִי בַדֶּרֶךְ בַּמָּלֹון וַיִּפְגְּשֵׁהוּ יְהוָה וַיְבַקֵּשׁ הֲמִיתֹֽו׃ וַתִּקַּח צִפֹּרָה צֹר וַתִּכְרֹת אֶת־עָרְלַת בְּנָהּ וַתַּגַּע לְרַגְלָיו וַתֹּאמֶר כִּי חֲתַן־דָּמִים אַתָּה לִֽי׃ וַיִּרֶף מִמֶּנּוּ אָז אָֽמְרָה חֲתַן דָּמִים לַמּוּלֹֽת׃
Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that Adonai met him and sought to put him to death. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet, and she said, “You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me.” So He let him alone. At that time she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood—because of the circumcision.”
Meaning #1. Zipporah’s name in Hebrew means the “Little bird.” In the symbolic language of the Scriptures there are three types of creatures and there are three spheres of life. Each creature, therefore, is assigned its own unique domain according to its type. In order of importance and meaning these are:
A. Creatures of the air. Birds of the air are a symbol of our spirit.
B. Creatures of the sea. The fishes of the sea are a symbol of our soul.
C. Creatures of the land. The animals of the land are a symbol of our body (physical being).
Meaning #2. Together these three creatures and the domains they live in represent one Divinely appointed unified reality. Adam-Man exists, therefore, as an indivisible ‘unity’ of living spirit, soul, and body. Of these three parts the life of the spirit is of the utmost importance.
A. Domain of the Spirit. In the blueprint of the Temple the domain of the spirit is represented in the two chambers of the Holy of Holies (Spirit) and the Holy Place (Mind). These two chambers are most holy and serve as the Heart of the Temple complex.
B. Domain of the Soul. The realm of the soul is illustrated in the configuration of the treasure house with its many chambers that immediately adjoin the Holy of Holies and the Most Holy Place.
C. Domain of the Body. The physical realm of the body is symbolized in the areas that surround the Holy of Holies, the Most Holy Place, and the treasure house. These include the Temple courtyards, storage chambers, walls, and gates. The “gates” are where all the governance of the Temple complex is transacted. The walls separate and defend the entire sacred realm of the Temple from the outside secular world. The gates and walls represent the highest functions of our physical being, the governance and interface of both the life of the Temple and the life of our existence in the outside world (i.e. Spirit over mind; mind over brain; brain over body, etc.).
The meaning of the four (five) names in the Zipporah circumcision narrative:
There are four names that are principally involved in the circumcision narrative of Zipporah.
There are four names that are principally involved in the circumcision narrative of Zipporah (צִפֹּרָה), Moses (מֹשֶׁה), Gershom (גֵּרְשֹׁם), and Eliezer (אֱלִיעֶזֶר). The literal meanings of these four names are:
Proper Name #1. Zipporah’s very special name means “Little bird.” As just indicated above her name symbolizes the realm of the Spirit.
Proper Name #2. Moses’ name possesses an absolutely incredible messianic double meaning: in Hebrew Moses’ name means the “Drawn Out One” (from the Nile); and in Egyptian his name means the “Son” (i.e. the One who was “adopted” by the World). The name of Moses bears witness to the narrative of The Messiah. He is the Suffering Servant who has been “drawn out” of death unto life and who has (first) become the preeminent Prince, the ruling “Son” of the Gentile World. Moses’ name also bears witness (second) to the Promised Deliverer (yet unrecognized by His own people) who will soon reveal Himself, not as the Prince of the World, but as the Prince of Peace (Sar Shalom), the King of the Jews (Melekh HaiYehudim) and the King of Israel (Melekh Yisrael).
Like Moses, at a time of Adonai’s choosing (we believe in the near future), He (the Messiah) will publicly renounce His royal status in the Gentile World and profess Himself only to be The Deliverer, the Salvation of His People. At that near future time Messiah will gather all of His people together in eretz Israel. He will conquer Israel’s enemies. And He will rule all the nations and peoples of the world, not as the adopted Gentile Prince but solely as the King of Israel, the Promised One, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Proper Names #3 & #4. Moses and Zipporah had two sons Gershom and Eliezer. Taking into account who their father is and what their mother does, it can be said that these two sons are born both of the “Law” (Moses) and of the “Spirit” (Zipporah).
A. Gershom. Gershom is Moses’ firstborn son. His name means “Alien” or “Sojourner.” This suggests that Adonai’s people are sojourners here on earth. We are in the world but not of it. Those who follow the Teaching of Messiah need to know, especially young believers, that our hearts are pure (circumcised) because through the atonement sacrifice of Messiah the Holy Spirit has subtracted (asaph-אָסַף ) all sin from our heart (our reproach-חֶרְפָּה) and in its place added (yoseph- יוֹסֵף future of to “add,” to “increase”-יָסַף) His own Righteousness where sin used to be.
The Indwelling Presence of the Spirit ruling in our hearts (spirits) means that we are present in the world but we are no longer members of it. Due to the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit our citizenship is now in heaven. By the Spirit we have been born from above. We have received the New Heart that never fails. So we pray to our Father who dwells in heaven, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it (already) is in Heaven.”
B. Eliezer. Eliezer is Moses’ second born son. His name means the “Almighty is My Helper.” Like his older brother Gershom, Eliezer was born and raised in the Sinai desert. Later through his one son Rehabiah (רְחַבְיָה-“Adonai has Enlarged”) he was blessed with many sons (grandchildren).
וַיִּֽהְיוּ בְנֵי־אֱלִיעֶזֶר רְחַבְיָה הָרֹאשׁ וְלֹא־הָיָה לֶאֱלִיעֶזֶר בָּנִים אֲחֵרִים וּבְנֵי רְחַבְיָה רָבוּ לְמָֽעְלָה׃
The son of Eliezer was Rehabiah the chief; and Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very many.
Proper Name #5. The name of Eliezer’s son Rehabiah means “Adonai Enlarges” (makes an “Ample Space”). The root word that is used in the son’s name is rachav (רָחַב):
The personal name Rehabiah means to enlarge, elongate, grow, make spacious.
Since the central issue of the Zipporah narrative is the circumcision of the heart, then the Divine-initiative of The Helper (Adonai) involves a lot more than just the physical act of producing many sons. Specifically, it is The Helper’s will to produce sons whose hearts are enlarged, elongated, spacious, and blessed with ample (spiritual) “growth.”
The circumcision of Zipporah represents the ‘circumcision of our heart:’
From the narrative of Zipporah we learn that it is the will of the Holy One that His children of Israel, who are born of both the Law and the Spirit become a line of many sons who possess very Big Hearts. This Divine-imperative involves more than physical circumcision. For us to be circumcised in our spirit we must be reborn from above. We must undergo a procedure of separation from sin unto life that cannot be affected by physical hands. For no man can circumcise the heart-spirit of another. Only the Holy Spirit can circumcise our spirits and thereby make of our hearts a fit place for Him to dwell.
The Will of Adonai is to produce many sons who are filled with His Spirit:
This endeavor to facilitate spiritual maturity in the lives of Messiah’s followers is completely of Adonai’s grace and not of the Law.
It was not the law (Moses) that circumcised believers’ hearts (his son) but the Holy Spirit. Those persons who facilitate the spiritual growth and development of Messiah’s people (Am Israel) are following Zipporah’s example. In addition to undergoing the rite of physical circumcision, therefore, it is imperative that we also undergo the experience of the circumcision of the heart that is administered only by the Holy Spirit. Thereafter, after we have undergone the Divine rite of being circumcised in spirit, we need to support the Spirit’s purifying Presence transforming all the other domains of our being. In this way the Life of the Spirit that indwells our hearts must inevitably be expanded from the (invisible, unconscious) hidden depths of our spirits out into the visible conscious domain of our thoughts, feelings, and will so that we can fully see (perceive, understand) and obey the Spirit of Adonai who already resides in our hearts.
The circumcision of the Spirit gives us a New Heart:
Those who are of the true circumcision, who worship the Spirit of Adonai, are born of both the Law (Moses) and of the Spirit (Zipporah).
The Law causes us to return to the Holy One. The Law humbles us before the Lord. When we return to Adonai in humility and sincerely seek to do His will, the Spirit graciously reveals to us His besorah (gospel) of redemption. In this Way we can understand and recognize who the “Moses to come” really is. When we can accept the Son then the Father can accept us. When we are accepted in the Beloved then (and only then) does the Spirit of the Holy One effect by His own Hand the circumcision of the heart. Moses and the prophet Jeremiah speak of this this when they prophesy:
וּמַלְתֶּם אֵת עָרְלַת לְבַבְכֶם וְעָרְפְּכֶם לֹא תַקְשׁוּ עֹֽוד׃
Prophecy #1. “So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer” (Deuteronomy 10:16).
וּמָל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת־לְבָבְךָ וְאֶת־לְבַב זַרְעֶךָ לְאַהֲבָה אֶת־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ לְמַעַן חַיֶּֽיךָ׃
Prophecy #2. “Moreover Adonai Eloheinu will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Adonai your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live” (Deuteronomy 30:6).
הִמֹּלוּ לַיהֹוָה וְהָסִרוּ עָרְלֹות לְבַבְכֶם אִישׁ יְהוּדָה וְיֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם פֶּן־תֵּצֵא כָאֵשׁ חֲמָתִי וּבָעֲרָה וְאֵין מְכַבֶּה מִפְּנֵי רֹעַ מַעַלְלֵיכֶֽם׃
Prophecy #3. “Circumcise yourselves to the Adonai. And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will go forth like fire And burn with none to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds” (Jeremiah 4:4).
Therefore, The only way we can forgive one another from the heart is for us to receive the circumcision of our hearts. Only then can we forgive one another as the Forgiving One desires us to forgive. The outward circumcision of the flesh is not complete without the inward circumcision of the heart. The outward circumcision is made by the letter of the Law (Moses). But the letter of the Law is not sufficient: For only the Spirit can administer the circumcision which is of the heart; which fulfills the purpose of the mitzvah (מִצְוָה) of the circumcision of the flesh. This means that those of us who have undergone the circumcision made by human hands will not be complete until we have also received the circumcision of the Spirit. Then and only then will we and our children’s children be a Spiritual House (Temple) fit for the Spirit of the Holy One to live in.