Bible Notes: Everlasting Punishment

Originally appeared on spirituality.com

Hebrew: KJV Micah 7:19  He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

This verse is the centerpiece of three verses that are radiant with faith in the LORD’s good judgment (Micah 7:18-20 ). The prophet used concepts from the divine attributes of the LORD in Ex. 34:6, 7 , which he did not merely quote, but thoughtfully recast. He melded God’s forgiveness of sin, iniquity, and transgression with the attributes of mercy and compassion to say that the LORD is not continually angry because he delights in lovingkindness. This is a new development over its Exodus predecessors, in which the sins of the fathers are visited on the children for generations (Ex. 34:7 and Ex. 20:5 ). The LORD subdues sin indeed, but also puts it entirely out of mind—”casting it into the depths of the sea”—giving instead truth with steadfast love. The pair, mercy and compassion, are often quoted in a pair: khesed (μesed) and racham (r’μam). These words have overlapping meanings. In this case, however, racham is used as the divine attribute ofbeing loving when there is a human need for forgiveness, and khesed is closer to thesteadfast and unfailing principle of love. From transcendent good comes the compassion needed in this historical moment.

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