Updated: Jul 29, 2021
A teaching lesson from Real Israel Talk Radio Episodes 82 and 83, Parts 18 and 19 of the 1 Corinthians 13 Defining Biblical Love series. This written post is part of a multipart teaching series to be made available in the very near future as an e-book and also as audio book. Stay tuned!
"Love does not rejoice in iniquity"
Based on 1 Corinthians 13:6, I am speaking about why Yehovah DOES NOT rejoice in “iniquity,” which is an old English term that is explained from the Biblical Hebrew word ahvon (Ayin Vav Nun). This term first shows up in Genesis 4:13 and it is presented to us based on the story context of Adam and Eve’s son Cain who takes the life of his brother Chavel in a field.
Anytime that I see the English term "iniquity," it is my practice to visualize the actions of the Nachash Serpent of Genesis 3:1 slithering over the ground with movements characterised as nothing more than bodily sinusoidal distortions to characterise a creature that is not only a bit scary but also a creature with a nature that moves around in stealth with lot of bending and twisting to meet whatever his needs might require.
Essentially, what we see in the English term iniquity, from the Hebrew word ahvon - עון, is essentially something that is perverted, corrupted, twisted, and bent. The metaphor follows what happened with the Garden of Eden Serpent in Genesis chapter three. This creature operates in stealth leading man-kind to pursue his own self-righteousness and self-justification by eating from the poison fruit which grows on his Tree of the Knowledge of Good but Evil. I believe this was Paul's understanding of what he called The Law of Sin and Death. Precisely, this is why Yeshua used one of many metaphors about that tree to warn us to beware of those who are in our midst, looking and acting convincingly holy and true but are in reality quite prepared to eat our lunch, or worse, to eat us for lunch or even dinner. A fine example of what these kinds of personalities do in our midst is seen in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; people who DO NOT and more-to-the-point, WILL NOT receive the Love of THE TRUTH so as to be saved, precisely as Paul wrote saying:
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom Yehovah will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason, Elohim will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Sadly, it is that these types of personalities pretend to accept Yehovah’s Love and pretend to act as loving Shepherds of Yehovah’s sheep. Therefore, read what THE WORD of Yehovah says to them from Ezekiel Chapter 34. Note that I have added some editorial opinions to the English translation of Ezekiel 34 in order to more accurately reflect what I think might be a better rendering and understanding from the original redacted Hebrew texts:
And The Word of Yehovah, the Son of Man, came to me saying: Prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, Thus says Yehovah Elohim to the shepherds; Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings. You do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened. You have not healed those who were sick. You have not bound up the broken. You have not brought back what was driven away. You have not sought what was lost. Indeed, with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So, they were scattered because of no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, my flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching. Therefore, you shepherds, hear THE WORD of Yehovah: I am Life, says Yehovah Elohim, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became food for every beast of the field, because of no shepherd, nor did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed my flock — therefore, shepherds, hear THE WORD of Yehovah! Thus, he says, Yehovah Elohim: Behold, to the shepherds, I have caused a salvation and I have searched out my flock from the hand of them. I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them...(vv. 29-31) I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore. Thus, they shall know that I am Yehovah Elohim with them, and they, the House of Israel, my people, says Yehovah Elohim.You are my flock, the flock of my pasture; you are man, and I, your Elohim, says Yehovah Elohim.
Let us now consider all of this in light of 1 Corinthians 13:6, that Yehovah does not rejoice in iniquity; that is, he does not rejoice in a living soul that chooses to walk in original sin -- bent, twisted, perverted and corrupted. Rather, Yehovah rejoices in THE TRUTH because this is who he is. Accordingly, without question, we can know that our Shepherd and Master of Heaven and the Highest of the Heavens NEVER rejoices in nor will he ever be happy with one who bends, twists, and/or corrupts Yehovah's path to his eternal kingdom of THE TRUTH. Furthermore, he can never rejoice in a living soul of iniquity (meaning one who chooses to remain unredeemed); one who chooses destruction and ultimately chooses the fires of the Second Death from Genesis 2:17. This is a concept that Yeshua spoke about in Matthew 13:30:
...And at the time of (the final) harvest I will say to the reapers, first gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them….
This reference is to a place of burning and is referred to in Hebrew as Geyhinnom. It was ancient Jerusalem's valley for the burning of the Jewish infant sacrifices given over unto molech (see Jeremiah 2:23, 7:31 and Leviticus 20:3). Hades is the Greek term for Geyhinnom, this place of burning and from this, English derived the term “hell.” Yeshua was quite clear concerning this place that is called hell as it is further written about in Matthew 10:28 –
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Hebrew: Geyhinom, see Jeremiah 2:23, 7:31).
Overall, it is bad enough that there is so much suffering and pain in this world. But adding to this suffering is a global deluge of people who are bent on twisting THE TRUTH OF THE WORD (all capitalisation is intended), as it is recorded for us in Genesis 3:6. Clearly from scripture, we can see that there is a much worse destiny awaiting any who choose to remain in a spiritually unredeemed condition; that of being content with living in original sin; it is a life of being bent, twisted, and corrupted. In this, we learn that Yehovah is not one to rejoice in what the iniquitous soul chooses for an eternal destiny precisely as it is expressed in Ezekiel 18:32 and in John 3:17-19.
Ezekiel 18:32: For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, says Yehovah Elohim. Therefore, turn (turn around) and live!
John 3:17-19. For Elohim did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in The Name of the unique Son of HaElohim (God). And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than Light, because their actions were evil (derived from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good but Evil).
So, we might once again quote the statement as Paul posits it: Love DOES NOT rejoice in iniquity, derived from the Hebrew word עון ahvon meaning a nature that is, in fact, an expression of one who is bent, twisted, and corrupted. Furthermore, we are not to be content and to rejoice with one who chooses to live in this condition! But this does not mean to bully them into receiving THE TRUTH. Our words and actions must reflect wisdom and gentleness. This is for us to emulate as the character and nature of Yehovah even as Paul went on to say in the second half of his statement from 1 Corinthians 13:6 -
He (Yehovah) rejoices in THE TRUTH.
So then, we must ask, what is THE TRUTH? How are we supposed to define it? To begin, this is part of a dialogue that took place between Pilatus (Pilate) and Yeshua as if truth is supposed to be someone's personal philosophy:
John 18:37-38. Yeshua answered, You say that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to THE TRUTH. Everyone who is of THE TRUTH hears My Voice. Pilate said to Him, 'What is truth?'
We learn here from Yeshua that truth is not about some philosophy nor is it about some vague idea of right and wrong based on what is called cultural relativity; that is, someone’s modern definition of what is right and what is wrong derived from one's local culture. Rather, THE TRUTH is a living, breathing, eternal person -- Yehovah Messiah -- spoken about in Genesis 3:24 and in Zechariah 8:19.
Genesis 3:24. So he drove out the man; and he placed cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned in all directions, to guard THE WAY (The Path) -- the Tree of Life.
Zechariah 8:19 (my understanding from reading the text in Hebrew). וְהָאֱמֶ֥ת וְהַשָּׁל֖וֹם אֱהָֽבוּ׃ = Therefore, THE TRUTH and THE SHALOM - him you will love, all of you!
John 14.6. Yeshua said to him, I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 8:31-32. Then Yeshua said to those Jews who believed Him, If you abide in THE WORD (that is to me), you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know (experience) THE TRUTH, and THE TRUTH will make you free.
When Yehovah speaks of THE TRUTH, he is specifically talking about Messiah, his Son, who is called THE WORD and THE TRUTH and THE KING of the Kingdom of Heaven. This one is also called THE JUST ONE or THE RIGHTEOUS ONE who has all authority to declare one blameless, innocent, and guiltless based on Yehovah's Rules of Legal JUSTICE from above; laws that are found written about in scripture (see 2 Timothy 3:16).
Among the shadows and shades of JUSTNESS and JUSTICE in this world, there is an evident bending, twisting, and corruption of much of THE TRUTH. And sadly, the Messianic redeemed among us will fall victim to this twisting and perversion of THE TRUTH resulting in gross criminal INJUSTICE.
Based on my personal understanding and opinion, we should not necessarily seek to obtain a legal remedy from the world’s so-called courts of justice simply because this would require all judges (and in some cases, those who sit as jurors); that they must be accountable to THE WORD OF THE TRUTH. But I honestly do not see how this is possible whilst man is living in an unredeemed state. I know from experience that the world’s definitions of JUSTICE and THE TRUTH are built on the foundation stones of a lower earthly wisdom, which is a wisdom that can trick us into believing that it is the wisdom from above. In reality, however, earthly wisdom is what it is. We must come to grips with the fact that what appears to be the wisdom of THE GOOD in this world is really nothing more than a cover for the wisdom that comes from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good but Evil. This is the Serpent's wisdom as it is recorded for us in Genesis 3:1. Thus, in seeking any legal remedy for wrongs that are committed against us in this world, we must be wary to NOT get dragged into a legal game of Russian roulette, hoping and praying that an unredeemed court judge will grant us the relief that we are looking for. It might happen but, then again, I would not necessarily be so optimistic given that this world is filled with the walking dead, I am sorry to say. Nonetheless, regardless of any reasonable outcome of truth, one thing that we can definitely expect is a blood-letting kind of tug-of-war between Light and Darkness. We know this because here is Yeshua’s statement about what the world's system is based on:
Matthew 7:22. If your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore, the Light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
It is obvious to me that this appears to be a pointed reference back to Genesis 3:6 -
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was lust to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Paul accurately picked up on this idea from his own knowledge of Genesis 3:6 and appears to echo the same basic principle that Yeshua taught but using a slightly different expression of it in 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 (includes some of own editorial opinions).
But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matters of which they boast (that of believing they are JUST or spiritually blameless and capable of judging with JUSTICE yet still attached to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good but Evil). For such are false sent ones, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into sent ones of Messiah. And no wonder! For satan himself transforms himself into an angel (messenger) of (יהוה) Light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers (servants) also transform themselves into ministers (servants) of JUSTNESS (which produces The Truth of Justice), whose end will be according to their works (because they choose to remain a slave to the Law of Sin and Death in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good but Evil ).
Once again, we learn that Yehovah DOES NOT give his stamp of approval if one chooses to play in the playground of the Nachash (Genesis 3:1) along with his fellowship minions who very well might trick you into appearing as representative Lights of Yehovah יהוה but in reality, these are all creatures of spiritual darkness. Consequently, all of us can expect to run into numerous corrupt politicians, judges, court clerks, attorneys, and in some cases, even the policing structure that serves to uphold this world's system of justice. Now, I am NOT saying that believers in Yeshua who hold working positions in the world’s justice system are corrupt; not at all. I am merely expressing that when we come up against or work in a system that is not based on the Messianic Redemption, we can expect a spiritual war between "us" and "them" if we so choose to walk in the Spirit of THE TRUTH whilst living in this world. For us who choose to walk in this path of divine Light, it will quite often draw us into a painful blood-letting battle between our embedded wisdom from above and their embedded wisdom from below. However, Paul rightly addressed this matter by giving us an alternative to establish THE TRUTH, as it is recorded for us in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in Elohim for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against THE KNOWLEDGE of HaElohim, bringing every thought into captivity to the Shem’a (obedience) of Messiah, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your Shem’a (obedience) is filled up to overflowing.
Nonetheless, we should remember this: all those who promote earthly JUSTNESS and corrupt earthly JUSTICE in this world; they will for sure one day answer to the Great Judge of Heaven. This is one-hundred percent guaranteed.
Still, if you are victimised by the corrupt justice system that is in this world, I encourage you to NOT give yourself permission to curse your enemies and perhaps even say to them,"I hope you rot in hell!" Remember, Yehovah sees all wrongdoing in this world and those who rejoice in twisting and in bending THE TRUTH. They will receive a JUST judgment for what they do. Cursing our enemies is NOT according to THE TRUTH of Yehovah’s desire nor is it his fault when people choose an unjust path for themselves. Like Yehovah, I think we should want one to come to repentance even as Yehovah wants the same and it makes no difference about whom we are speaking of; even if it should be about people who are out for blood and have done or do similar horrific actions such as those actions done by fallen human souls; people like Adolf Hitler and his many murderous henchmen of the Nazi Third Reich. Remember that Yehovah will always do according to what is written in his Law of THE TRUTH. All that he does is always according to his timing and not according to our timing. I believe that in this, we can let go of our cursing judgments because Yehovah says, Vengeance is mine. I will repay, as it is written in Deuteronomy 32:41-
If I whet my glittering sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to my enemies, and repay those who hate me.
What I am saying is that all iniquitous personalities from the past and those in our present and those who are yet to come in our future; they are all given the same freedom that we have been given; that is, to make a choice either to live for THE GOOD in the Tree of Life (which requires a Messianic redemption) or Sin and Death which is the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good but evil.
Nonetheless, remember that there is coming a Day of Judgment for the whole world but not for us who are redeemed through Yeshua. Why? Because we have already been judged in and through Yeshua who took us with himself, and descended down into the courtroom of divine judgment of the lower world, a courtroom that is called in Hebrew She'ol, which means inquiry or questioning (see Luke 16:19-31). Through our Messianic redemption in Yeshua, know this: we have already been transferred from the spiritual darkness of this world into the spiritual Light of Yehovah in the Tree of Life and into the Love of THE TRUTH so as to be saved. Sadly and unfortunately, an unredeemed soul cannot benefit from a Messianic redemption in Yeshua IF one so chooses the iniquitous path that is inherited from original sin in Genesis 3:6 and Genesis 3:22. Sadly, one who chooses in this life to remain attached to the Law of Sin and Death in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good but Evil, there is one destiny waiting. This is what the Book of Proverbs tells us:
Proverbs 14:12. There is a way that seems JUST to a man, but his end is the Way of Death (the Second Death of Genesis 2:17).
IF one chooses to remain attached to the Law of Sin and Death in this life, remember that it is a personal choice and NOT Yehovah’s choice. Choosing the path of the Law of Sin and Death guarantees that soul to a promised bench trial in the lower world courtroom of She'ol. Later, sentencing will follow with a subsequent transfer to Geyhinom or what is called "hell" at the final Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Last Day resurrection. This is written into Yehovah's Law, if I understand my reading of scripture correctly, and he cannot change what he has decreed, period. But he is filled with great mercy, compassion, and grace and has freely given all the world's inhabitants a way of escape from their decreed destiny through the actions of THE WORD OF THE TRUTH. This is precisely what Yeshua said:
John 3:18. He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the unique Son of Elohim.
As we learn from this, condemnation or contempt is NOT Yehovah’s end goal program for anyone! Rather, his desire is to draw all men unto himself and to give every living soul an opportunity to accept his gift of unmerited grace, faith, compassion, mercy, and a no condemnation decree of clemency, as Paul rightly understood it from Romans 8:1-2:
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Messiah Yeshua, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua has made me free from the law of Sin and Death.
Every living soul is given a free-will opportunity to choose THE LIFE and THE GOOD (see Deuteronomy 30:19). Yehovah will never take away one's free will choices, period. What is more sad, however, is that many will choose to self-incriminate leading into a biblically defined destiny at the end of the Last Day Great Resurrection judgment (see Hebrews 9:27). I believe, however, that Yehovah will always make every effort to confront every living soul in this world with THE TRUTH in whatever way that they can grasp and understand. What one does with that divine confrontation is totally up to them; but again, never is condemnation and the destruction of a living soul the desire of Yehovah, never! Yehovah’s Law of THE LIFE and HIS LOVE is forever established in and through THE TRUTH as Yeshua said:
John 14:6. Yeshua said to him, I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Yehovah will never, ever be capable of turning a blind eye towards upholding His established Law which is freely given to us in and through THE WORD who IS the Son of Yah or if you wish, the Son of God. Yehovah’s Messianic Law through his WORD is what he is, period. This Truth is THE TRUTH of Yehovah and is established on one principle as it is expressed through Ezekiel 18:20-31 (with some of my added opinions):
Ezekiel 18:20-32. The soul who sins shall die (this is the “iniquity” of Genesis 3:6, 22). The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The JUSTNESS of the JUST shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. But if a wicked man turns (away) from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all my statutes, and does what is lawful and Just, he shall surely live; he shall not die (not die in the Second Death of Genesis 2:17). None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness (Justness) which he has done, he shall live. Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says Yehovah Elohim, and not that he should turn (away) from his ways and live? But when a just man turns away from HIS JUSTNESS (Messiah’s provided gift of Justness) and twists, bends, distorts, perverts, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the JUSTNESS which he has done shall not be remembered because of the unfaithfulness (Hebrew: pesha inherited from the Tree of the Knowlege of Good but Evil) of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed; because of them he shall die (in the Second Death of Genesis 2:17).
Yet you say, "The way of Yehovah is not fair." Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not my way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? When a JUST (Righteous) man turns away from HIS Righteousness (Yehovah's Righteousness or Justness), commits iniquity (continues in eating from the Law of Sin and Death in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good but Evil), and dies in him, it is because of the iniquity (bending and twisting of THE TRUTH) which he has done that he dies (the Second Death).
Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is Lawful and Right, he preserves himself alive (in the Last Day great pre-tribulation resurrection - see Isaiah 26:19-20) because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, in living (spiritually) he shall not die (spiritually). Yet the house of Israel says, "The Way of Yehovah is not fair." O house of Israel, is it not my ways which are fair (by giving his free gift of salvation through Messiah THE TRUTH to the world) and your ways which are not fair? (by trusting in personal man-made religious salvation efforts). Therefore, I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways (see Romans 2:12), says Yehovah Elohim. Repent, and turn (away) from all your transgressions (Hebrew: pesha - unfaithfulness), so that iniquity (from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good but Evil) will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions (Hebrew: pesha) which you have committed, and get yourselves a New Heart and a New Spirit (by receiving the Messianic redemption through faith).
So again, the question is asked:
For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death (spiritual Second Death) of one who dies (physical first death), says Yehovah Elohim. Therefore, turn and live!
Following up on this principle, let us once again revisit 1 Corinthians 13:6 -
"Love does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in THE TRUTH"
Yehovah is not content with the status quo, to merely accept the fact that we were born into this world with an inherited iniquity that we cannot shake loose; that is, our bending and twisting of THE VOICE OF THE TRUTH introduced to Eve by the Serpent of Genesis 3:1, resulting in the horrific actions of Adam and Eve as it is recorded for us in Genesis 3:6; actions that exchanged the Light of this world for a world of spiritual Darkness. But again, there is a Messianic Redemption remedy available to each living soul of this world, which is what Moses was careful to write about in Deuteronomy 30:19:
Deuteronomy 30:19. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against (in) you, that I have set before you, life (Last Day resurrection) and death (spiritual Second Death), blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (resurrect, see Revelation 20:11-15, Daniel 12:2, John 5:29).
This was and still remains for us today a written future hope of a promised Last Day Great Resurrection that Paul speaks about in 2 Thessalonians 4:13-18. For this you can also see Romans 3:20-26 and Matthew 6:34-35.
For a continuation into the second half of Paul's statement that divine Love rejoices in THE TRUTH, see my follow-up post - New Covenant Lovey-Dovey Stuff: Rejoicing in THE TRUTH.
Avi ben Mordechai