The Berean Expositor
Volume 21 - Page 79 of 202
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Fundamentals of Dispensational Truth.
The new covenant anticipated (Exod. 34: and 35:).
pp. 23 - 29
In preparation for the proclamation of the Name of the Lord, and the partial revelation
of His glory to Moses, the Lord instructs Moses to hew two tables of stone like to the two
that had been broken, and to be ready in the morning to ascend the mount. Precautions
were to be taken that neither man nor beast should be near. This being accomplished, we
read: "And Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the
Lord commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone" (Exod. 34: 4).
The proclaiming of the name of the Lord immediately followed:--
"Then the Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah God, tenderly
compassionate and gracious, long-suffering and abounding in mercy and truth, reserving
mercy for thousands, bearing away iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no
means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the
children's children, unto the third and fourth generation" (Exod. 34: 6, 7).
There is by no means unanimity among Hebrew scholars as to the correct reading of
the phrase: "And that will by no means clear the guilty." We may see by the italic type
that "the guilty" are words added to complete the sense. The words "by no means" are
the rendering of an idiomatic use of the verb with which most students are familiar. For
example, "Thou shalt surely die" is a good English translation, yet literally the words are,
"Dying, thou shalt die". Here in Exod. 34: 7, "Clearing, He will not clear" represents
the order of the words. Spurrell translates the passage: "And justifying the unjustified;
yet visiting the iniquity of the father", etc. Dathe and Boothroyd, after De Dieu, render
the passage: "And do not altogether destroy the impious." Boothroyd, moreover, in his
"Bible" translates it: "Clearing him that is not clear."
There is no essential difference between "clearing the guilty" and "justifying the
ungodly". The introduction of the words, "That will by no means clear the guilty", in
some measure nullifies the gracious words that precede. There we read that the Lord
forgives or "bears away" the iniquity, transgression and sin which constitute a person
guilty. Surely, it is the blessed truth taught alike to Abraham, Moses and David, and
made abundantly plain by Paul in Rom. 3: and 4:, that He Who bears away our sin
does "clear him who is not clear".
The proclamation of the name Jehovah involves a two-fold attitude to sin: an attitude
of graciousness, mercy, long-suffering and faithfulness in bearing away sin, yet, by no
means condoning sin or compromising God's own Holiness. This shows that sin, though
it be forgiven, often leaves behind a crop of trouble that must be reaped. For example,
David was forgiven, yet as a result of his sin, even though forgiven, war never departed
from his house. Moses was forgiven, but he nevertheless never entered the promised
land. So here, sin will be forgiven, yet the iniquity of the fathers is visited upon the
children. The sins of a believer to-day are forgiven, but the effects of his sin go on.