Exodus 33:12–13, Grace. The mainstream church places a great deal of emphasis on the message of grace. The biblical doctrine of grace finds its roots in this chapter in the Torah and not in the apostolic writings as the mainstream church teaches. The noun grace (Heb. chen) is found six times in chapters 33 and 34. The adjective gracious (Heb. chanan and channuwn)as an attribute YHVH’s character is found three times in chapters 33 and 34. Six is the number of man and three is the number of Elohim. That is to say, the grace of the entire Godhead covers man completely even when his children turn away from him and give into golden calf worship. His grace for his people rejoices or triumphs over his fiery and consuming judgments (Exod 33:4; Jas 2:13; Pss 85:10; 89:14; Mic 7:18; Eph 1:7; Rom 5:8) that they deserve for their stiff-neckness and sinful rebellion against his commands (Exod 33:3).
The Hebrew word for grace is chen/IJ meaning “favor, grace, charm, acceptance.” The Hebrew word chen (found 69 times in the Tanakh), which is translated as grace, in this verse is equivalent to the Greek word charis/cariV, which is found 156 times in the Testimony of Yeshua and is translated as grace 130 times in the KJV. The equivalency of these two words is confirmed by the translators of the Septuagint (the Greek Tanakh) who used charis in place of chen when translating the Hebrew Tanakh into Greek beginning in the third century b.c. According to The TWOT, in the vast majority of occurrences of chen in the Tanakh, the focus of attention is not on the giver, but on the recipient. The emphasis is on the relationship of the superior to an inferior (e.g. a king to his subjects). What this teaches us is that despite sin and rebellion against him, YHVH (the king) is gracious (to humans, his subjects). Contrary to what many in the church have been led to believe, the grace of Elohim is a very prominent theme in the Tanakh. Examples of this include Noah who found grace in YHVH’s eyes (Gen 6:8), or the children of Israel although dead in their sins in Egypt and deserving of YHVH’s wrath, they were saved by the blood of the lamb. There are a number of other references to the grace of Elohim in the Tanakh as well (Gen 18:3; Exod 3:21; 33:16,17; 34:9; Ps 84:11; Zech 12:10).
Exodus 34:6–7 lists various attributes of YHVH’s mercy. He is:
- abundant in kindness
- abundant in truth
- a preserver of kindness for thousands of generations
- a forgiver of iniquity, willful sin (transgression) and error (sin)
- cleanser of our sins
Merciful (verse 6) in Hebrew is the word rachuwm/ OUJR from the root word racham/ OJR meaning “to love, love deeply, have mercy, be compassionate, have tender affection, have compassion.” The TWOT explains that this word refers to a deep love (usually a superior individual for an inferior) rooted in some deep natural bond. It is used for the deep inward feeling we know as compassion, pity, or mercy. This word is found 47 times in the Tanakh, and frequently refers to the love of Elohim for his people (see Ps 103:13; Mic 7:17). Often Elohim’s mercy and grace are linked together (note Exod 33:19; 34:6; 2 Kgs 13:23; Pss 86:15; 111:4; 112:4; 145:8). His mercy and graciousness are at times unconditional upon those he chooses to favor (Exod 33:19), and is upon those who repent of their sins as well (Deut 13:17). The Tanakh elsewhere frequently exults in the attributes of YHVH’s mercy or compassion (see Deut 4:31; 2 Chron 3:9; Neh 9:17,31; Pss 78:38; 102:13; Joel 2:13; Jon 4:2.) Again, can there be any doubt that the “God of Old Testament” is just as loving and merciful as the “God of the New Testament?” It stands to reason that they are, for they are one in the same Divine Personage—and his character is unchangeable (review Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8)!
Numerous parallel passages in the Testimony of Yeshua can be found that are built on these foundational Torah principles of YHVH’s grace and mercy ( Heb 4:16; Rom 3:24; Eph 1:17; 2:4,8; Tit 1:4; 2:11; 3:5; 1 Pet 1:3; Jude 21).