The Age of Grace
The Hebrew word חן is translated to English as grace. It is pronounced Khen. In the Mosaic Covenant, Khen was dispensed to individuals that pleased the Lord. In the New Covenant, it was dispensed liberally to anyone who professes to love and loves the Son of the Father. The New Covenant is indeed one of Khen, not of works. The only works done were all on Calvary. That is why the redeemed love Eashoa.
Old Covenant recipients were rare but we read about just every one of them, such as Dawid, who deserved death for murdering Uriah but got off free to live and still had his empire intact. His reproductive system remained in place. The next child that Dawid had with Bethshiva was called the “Beloved Of YHVH”, Jedidiah who we know to be Schlomoh (the king, Solomon).
2 Samuel 12 | 13
And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
2 Samuel 12 |24
And the Lord loved him25 and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah (YediydYAHU), because of the Lord.
Being forgiven of his murderous act, breaking the sixth commandment of the Mosaic Covenant, is out of the mercy (Chesed) of Adonai Elohim (the Lord God). But to not be stripped of his rulership as the second king of Israel, his kingdom that he must abdicate, was out of the Khen of God. Khen did not mean Dawid could do thence what he wanted. He was continually disciplined by having the domestic troubles among his children. His daughter was murdered in incest and his most popular son wanted to replace him on the throne, making a spectacle of his father’s concubines on the roof of his house for all of Israel to see. One Psalm (51) did not change Dawid’s heart once and for all.
Recall at the time of his crime against the married couple, Uriah and Bethshiva, the Syrian (Hittites) people who lived in his kingdom, Dawid was not the host that protected them while he was the head of state. Yet he was not above the Torah. He was dealt with in grace and forgiveness yet he had consequences for the rest of his life. Today if you committed the same crime as Dawid did, of homicide, and of the Peeping Tom crime, a class B misdemeanor, you will face the judge. Today, you would have both Elohim and the law of the land to answer to. If Adonai forgives you, you are still on the hook for paying back community for your offenses.
Case in point today. The family killer of Colorado, oil worker Chris Watts buried his pregnant wife Shannon and his two young kids in cold blood. He was captured by the long arm of justice and he was sentenced to a lifer. In prison, he allegedly found God. God may well give Watts His forgiveness. But he is not about to get released from prison any time soon. He will serve out his sentence in prison as a murderer. He may still be a saint if he develops his relationship with Eashoa. But there is hope for him. The guilt of killing his own children is a hard one to live with.
Moshe was another example of offense that did not end poorly for him. The “Waters of Strife” (Mei Meribah) is among the most famous and enigmatic stories in the Torah among the Bnei even to the students today among Jews. Having read their commentaries, none understands that the Rock that was mentioned in three locations in Exodus were prophetically pointing to the One who would come to them 1,340 years later, who will give the life giving water to all those who listen to His words, as instructed in the Torah. They missed Him.
Deuteronomy 18 KJV
18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
When Moshe was 80 years old, the convoy came to Massah and Meribah, and then shortly at Refidim. Moshe had had success with striking the rock, which provided gushings of water for the people. 40 years passed and the people were still going around in the wilderness being tarried for their rebellious ways.
Exodus 20 – And the sons of Israel come in, — all the company — to the wilderness of Zin, in the first month, and the people abide in Kadesh, and Miriam dieth there, and is buried there. And there hath been no water for the company, and they are assembled against Moses, and against Aaron, and the people strive with Moses, and speak, saying, `And oh that we had expired when our brethren expired before Yehovah!
There Moshe showboated to the Bnei Yisro’El (children of Israel) by using his staff to strike the Rock for water, to quench the thirst of the complaining Bnei in the wilderness. The instruction had been given to Moshe, he was to speak to the Rock and ask for a favor. The Talmud elaborated that Moshe lost the rock in a pile and he was flummoxed before a mocking mob.
“Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.”
But Moshe took off and did something that was not from Elohim’s command. Was the nearly 120 year-old Moshe having a senior moment? Is that serious? It was serious. Because Moshe was held by Elohim as a leader, a prophet and the role model for the Bnei, that his act was to be made viewable “before their eyes” as an example to them. Moshe was held accountable to a higher standard than the last Israelite standing at the end of the line from 2.5 million sojourners on the face of the Sinai peninsula. A detour here on the eve of entering the Promised Land was exactly the wrong time to do it.
9 And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded him. 10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. 12 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”
The charge against Moshe by the Word of Elohim can only be said to be grievous.
You did not believe MeShemot 20 |12
That is one. But there is a second charge right after it.
You did notShemot 20 | 12
uphold me as holy
The Rock is the prefigure of our Lord Moshiach, Eashoa. The lesson is, you cannot go back to crucify Him a second time. In Ib’rim 6, the writer of the sermon, thought to be Yosef bar Naba (Acts 4|36), clarifies the same concept as in Shemot 20.
4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
The New Covenant
This is the Hebraic viewpoint of a full believer who goes on to produce bad fruits (thorns and thistles) instead of edible fruits that are beneficial and charismatic to others. The expectation of a tree producing its fruit is present in both Covenant. In John 15, Eashoa reaffirmed that His Father is the husbandman of that Vineyard. Yet, in the New Covenant, there is the concept of season and growth, harvest and judgment. One may ask, does this passage mean if someone who is a believer, and he falls into sin and is called to backslide, he is finished? That is where the concept of season in the Age of Grace comes in. No one knows when one’s life is demanded of him. The day of the Lord is either at the end of life or upon the Appearing of the Blessed Hope. We all need to give an account of our thoughts and deeds to the Lord.
The New Covenant believer who does not believe Eashoa, is one whose belief stops at His existence and the words that He spoke, without the necessary following through. Eashoa differentiates in Matthew 7 toward the end of his sermon on the mount, those who will be recognized and those who will lose the reward.
Matthew 7 YLT
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, lord, have we not in thy name prophesied? and in thy name cast out demons? and in thy name done many mighty things?
23 and then I will acknowledge to them, that — I never knew you, depart from me ye who are working lawlessness.
24 `Therefore, every one who doth hear of me these words, and doth do them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house upon the rock;
25 and the rain did descend, and the streams came, and the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and it fell not, for it had been founded on the rock.
26 `And every one who is hearing of me these words, and is not doing them, shall be likened to a foolish man who built his house upon the sand;
27 and the rain did descend, and the streams came, and the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and it fell, and its fall was great.’
One who performs lip service only will count as a disbeliever , just as Moshe was admonished by the Word of YH. A disbeliever is not justified. The New Covenant believer shall also be examined if he holds the Lord as holy and no other idols. Moshe was restored in the end. It was the Khen of Elohim.
Moshe was basking in his people approval in his heart when he turned away from Elohim. He was still thinking of his laurel from the first time he obtained water from the Rock at Horeb.
Exodus 17 1 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.
In the New Covenant, there is an instruction. For the one who falls back into the world, the pardon that he originally received at the point of signing the covenant with Eashoa at His table, there is only one provision left for him. Repent and submit to the Holy Spirit for discipline.
1 John 1
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Sometimes you get off light sometimes you have a hefty consequence to deal with. It is all up to the pleasure of the Lord when He looks into your heart. If your heart is one made of a stone, then maybe the softening process needs to be stepped up some more to make it transform to one of flesh.
Ezekiel 36 | 26
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
The best strategy is still to have a change of heart and sin no more.
11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
– John 8:11
Although in the example of Moshe, he was an example of the first generation that signed the Old Covenant with Adonai Elohim, it was the pleasure of the Word to give Moshe grace, that he did not deserve. His action consequence as a leader led to his coming short of reaching the Promised Land in Canaan, not being chosen to be the leader to that destination, and giving up the opportunity of feeling victory in defeating the barbarians who occupied the land. Yet, in grace, he entered eternity with the approval of Elohim.
As for the New Covenant, the Word of YH determines a time of accountability. It applies still in the New Covenant upon the expiry of the Age. New Covenant believers are not immediately given the penalty of transgressions against His laws and His commands of the New Covenant are still extended this Khen until it is on demand. Here is an example of another grievous incident in the New Covenant.
After Eashoa was resurrected from the dead, He met with the Eleven during 40 days. There He disciplined Kefa (Peter) out of grace. Kefa denied Moshiach, whom he himself professed in his words was the Son of the Living God. At this narrative, the Apostle John included a detail. When Eashoa appeared on the shore, and the disciples were fishing on a boat all night, Kefa was in the boat but Kefa was not wearing clothes. The concept speaks to the fact that Kefa had denied in words his lord and yet he remained on the boat – he had not abandoned his faith in the Lord.
14 This [is] now a third time Jesus was manifested to his disciples, having been raised from the dead.
John 21 4 And morning being now come, Jesus stood at the shore, yet indeed the disciples did not know that it is Jesus;
5 Jesus, therefore, saith to them, `Lads, have ye any meat?’
6 they answered him, `No;’ and he said to them,
`Cast the net at the right side of the boat, and ye shall find;’
they cast, therefore, and no longer were they able to draw it, from the multitude of the fishes.
7 That disciple, therefore, whom Jesus was loving saith to Peter, `The Lord it is!’ Simon Peter, therefore, having heard that it is the Lord, did gird on the outer coat, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea;
8 and the other disciples came by the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but as it were about two hundred cubits (300 feet) off, dragging the net of the fishes
Yet, Kefa was holding back out of a heart of grief, shame and regret. After Eashoa was arrested, Kefa denied his lord three times. The Lord threw Kefa a lifeline on the spot out of grace. Kefa did not have to live in regret ten days after that day when the Ruwach came on the day of Shavuot (the Pentecost of Chrisitianity). He restored Kefa also three times by asking him to feed His lamb.
John 21 15 When they had finished breakfast, Yeshua said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love (agape) Me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love (like, philio) you.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs!” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love (agape) Me?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love (like, philio) You.”
He said to him, “Take care of My sheep!” 17 He said to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love (like, philio) Me?”
Peter was grieved because He said to him for a third time, “Do you love (philio) Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love (like, philio) You!”
Yeshua said to him, “Feed My sheep!”[b
18 “Amen, amen I tell you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 Now this He said to indicate by what kind of death Peter was going to glorify God. And after this, Yeshua said to him, “Follow Me!”
So Eashoa gave Kefa allowances. Even if Kefa likes the Lord without giving Him all his agape love, to love with no strings attached, unconditionally love, Kefa is still tasked with feeding the sheep of the Head Shepherd. Read the three Epistles of Kefa about the life of triumph that he lived after all of this. He preached his first sermon in Acts 2. 3,000 souls were added to the messianic Jews.
If we daily confess our transgressions and believe in His forgiveness, we also extend this forgiveness to our brothers and sisters in the family. Let our hands be free of guilt. Daily invite the Ruwach haQodesh to renew our minds and guide our steps walking in steps with the Moshiach.
27 “Son of man, behold, the house of Israel says, ‘The vision that he sees is for many days from now. He prophesies about times that are far off.’ 28 Therefore say to them, thus says Adonai Elohim, ‘None of My words will be delayed anymore, but the word that I speak will be fulfilled.’” It is a declaration of Adonai.
The offer is good until the end of the Age of Grace.