Recently, we have found ourselves discussing generational sin – which we have discovered is a topic of great concern for most of our believers. Let’s take a look:
Bemidbar (Numbers) 14:18
YAHUAH is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
There are several words we need to discuss here to gain yet a better understanding.
First, we find this phrase arek aphiym (ארך אפים), which is given here as longsuffering, but is also well understood as slow to anger.
Next we find the phrase u’rab checed (ורב־חסד), which is given as and of great mercy, but can also be understood as abundant in mercy.
The next word tends to upset the community, because so many have been told that the word nasa (as in NASA) means fake or phony. But the word here that is translated as forgiving is the word nâśâ' (נָשָׂא), which means at least in one part, cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt (self), extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, high, hold up, etc.
Okay, those are the preliminaries. Now let’s look at two critical words in this passage; namely, iniquity and transgression.
In the Ivriyt (Hebrew), the word for iniquity is avon (עָוֹן); yes, like Avon calling. This word means primarily perversity, that is, moral evil: - fault, iniquity, mischief, and is a form of sin. As I have explained many times to our group, all paths other than the divine way.
In Tehilliym (Psalm) 119:1 we have the passage (transliterated here) that reads as follows:
Esheri tamiymi-derek h’halakiym b’torah YAHUAH.
אשׁרי תמימי־דרך ההלכים בתורת יהוה׃
One understanding of this passage is more like: Your happiness (or blessedness) is the way of integrity in your walkings in the Torah of YAHAUH.
First, we see the possessive suffix yod on the word Esher – therefore, your happiness.
Next, we see the words tamiymi and derek joined with a Maqqef, therefore indicating a united concept. Again, the word tamiym is marked with a possessive yod suffix, and this word is generally construed to mean entire (literally, figuratively or morally); also (as noun) integrity, truth: - without blemish, complete, full, perfect, sincerely (-ity), sound, without spot, undefiled, upright (-ly), whole.
The word derek, although used in the secular vernacular of modern Hebrew to mean road, is better construed as the trodden road, or the beaten path – literally, the Way, and figuratively as a course of life or mode of action.
Blessed is he who walks with integrity in the way of the Torah of YAHUAH.
For the sake of our discussion here, let it be said that every other way, path, road, or derek, is perverse (avon) as a matter of scriptural edict.
Those who lips utter the phrase: “that’s not what it means to me . . .” are walking a path of avon.
Consider the phrase that is found often in Scripture: Workers of iniquity. This phrase is used twenty-one times in the abridged version of Scripture (66 books), only once of which is found in the New Testament. Iyov (Job) 31:3; 34:8; 34:22; Tehilliym (Psalms) 5:5; 6:8; 14:4; 28:3; 36:12; 37:1; 53:4; 59:2; 64:2; 92:7; 92:9; 94:4; 94:16;125:5; Mishlei (Proverbs) 10:29; 21:15; and Luqas (Luke) 13:27.
In the Ivriyt (Hebrew) this phrase is pa’ali aven (פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן׃). Pa’al – worker, aven – iniquity.
Next, in our passage which is the topic of this discussion, we find the word transgression. In the Ivriyt (Hebrew) our word here is pesha (פֶּשַׁע) (pesha’oth in the plural). This word means to revolt; it is construed as rebellion, sin, or transgression. We see here that this form of sin is different than avon, is it not?
While we are here, let’s take a moment to look at two other kinds of sin. First, we have the sin khate (חֵטְא). This is a word which is all-encompassing. Here is an example:
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 19:17
You shall not hate את eth-your brother in your heart: you shall in any wise rebuke את eth-your neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
Lastly, we have the sin of being just plain evil. This is the word ra (רַע). This word is found 623 times in the collection of abridged Scriptures.
Shemoth (Exodus) 23:2
You shall not follow a multitude to do evil (ra); neither shall you speak in a cause to decline after many to pervert judgment:
As we look again to our verse here in respect of generational sin, consider that pesha is forgiven, but avon has a different treatment:
Bemidbar (Numbers) 14:18
YAHUAH is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity (avon) and transgression (pesha), and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers (avon) upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
The perversity of the father is then passed through to the third or fourth generation! This is what we call generational sin, and can be understood in several ways. First, it is the perversity of the father that passes to the son (and daughter), his son, and his son. Whether this be alcoholism, domestic violence, abuse, thievery, narcissism, covetousness, boasting, pride, blaspheming, disobedience to parents, unthankfulfulness, unholiness, trucebreaking, falsely accusing, incontinence, fierceness, treasonous, conceited, vain, highmindedness, hedonism, . . . and the list goes on and on.
But second, judgment also comes to either the son, his son, or his son. This calls to mind a particular story.
Divrei Hayamiym Sheniy (2 Chronicles) 33:1-10
MENASHSHEH was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Yerushalayim: 2 But did that which was evil in the sight of YAHUAH, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom YAHUAH had cast out before the children of Yashar’el.
3 For he built again את eth-the high places which Yechizqiyahu his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Ba`aliym, and made Asherah poles, and worshipped all the host of heaven (Astrology) and served them. 4 Also he built altars in the house of YAHUAH, whereof YAHUAH had said, In Yerushalayim shall my name be forever. 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of YAHUAH.
The Basilica of the Dormition Abbey in Yerushalayim
6 And he caused את eth-his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he practiced sorcery, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of YAHUAH, to provoke him to anger. 7 And he set את eth-a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of ELOHIYM, of which ELOHIYM had said to El-Daviyd and to El-Shalomah his son, In this house, and in Yerushalayim, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Yashar’el, will I put את eth-my name forever: 8 Neither will I anymore remove את eth-the foot of Yashar’el from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do את eth all that I have commanded them, according to the whole Torah and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Mosheh. 9 So Menashsheh made את eth-Yahudah and the inhabitants of Yerushalayim to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom YAHUAH had destroyed before the children of Yashar’el. 10 And YAHUAH spoke to Menashsheh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.
But judgment would come to be rendered – yes, first in the lifetime of Menashsheh, but then again not in the lifetime of his son Amon, nor the son of his son Yo’shiyahu, but upon the son, of the son, of the son – the fourth generation.
Divrei Hayamiym Sheniy (2 Chronicles) 34:24-28
Thus says YAHUAH, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, את eth even all the curses that are written in the cepher which they have read before the king of Yahudah: 25 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other elohiym, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched. 26 And as for the king of Yahudah, who sent you to inquire of YAHUAH, so shall ye say unto him, Thus says YAHUAH ELOHAI of Yashar’el concerning the words which you have heard; 27 Because your heart was tender, and you did humble yourself before ELOHIYM, when you heard את eth-his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbled yourself before me, and did rend את eth-your clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard you also, says YAHUAH. 28 Behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, neither shall your eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same.
And so judgment came upon Yahud (Judea) – a lasting and permanent judgment which can only be redeemed by the hand of YAHUSHA in his return.
Ivriym (Hebrews) 10:30-31
For we know him that has said:
Vengeance belongs unto me, I will recompense, says YAHUAH.
And again, YAHUAH shall judge his people.
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living YAH.