Offense or Abhorrance


Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind. (Isaiah 66:24)

Something jumped out at me this morning that really got my attention. I have noticed previously that the chapter of Mark 9 where this verse is quoted has a lot to do with Jesus' teachings about offense. That subject itself has come to my attention in a very intense way over the past few months and I am now seeing that it is one of the central issues that all of us have to deal with on a regular basis. To find it showing up in close relation to these verses under consideration was in my mind rather significant. (See the book The Bait of Satan by John Bevere)

But as I came back to this verse again this morning I suddenly realized that this word abhorrence could seem to be very close to the idea of offense. However, given that offense as used at least in the New Testament is almost always referring to a trap of Satan that we can easily fall into, it clearly would not be the same thing as the concept of abhorrence. Therefore, I strongly suspect that offense may very well be Satan's counterfeit of a legitimate emotion of abhorrence, something that God feels and intends for us to experience as a means of preventing sin from ever coming back into existence again.

First let me note what this Hebrew word is and what it means according to Strong's definition.

d@ra'own - (meaning to repulse); an object of aversion:--abhorring, contempt. (Strong's 01860)

Now before I go any further I want to point out something interesting here. Many people when they read this verse might assume that it means that the righteous in the new earth are going to be able to go over and look into a fiery hell and see writhing souls suffering in eternal agony for the sins that they committed while they lived their previous lives in this world. And somehow this teaching is supposed to be a way of compelling people to want to serve and love God so as to avoid such a horrendous fate. Of course, at the same time this sort of scenario also would strongly imply that God along with His saved children will somehow find delight or pleasure or maybe even warning by watching these lost souls writhe in anguish. This is clearly out of harmony with God's own words in Eze. 33:11 where God says He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. What a terribly sick picture of God is all I can say about those kinds of teachings.

But then I found something else very interesting about this word. This Hebrew word translated abhorrence only appears two times in all of the Bible. The other time that it shows up is in the following verse.

Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:1-2)

These are the only two places in the entire Bible that this word is used. I find that extremely significant. I also noticed that both times this word is used it is pretty clear that it is in the context of the time of eternity after the history of this world is finished as we now know it. So whatever this emotion or feeling or belief is, it is something that will be felt by those who are saved after the final resurrections of both the righteous and the wicked. That puts it after the millenium during and after the final time of the great day of judgment when sin will finally be brought to an end.

On the other hand, the Hebrew words for offense and its variations show up a number of times. The most common use is from the following original word. The other Hebrew words and their references are listed below this one.

02398. ajx chata', khaw-taw'
a primitive root; properly, to miss; hence (figuratively and generally) to sin; by inference, to forfeit, lack, expiate, repent, (causatively) lead astray, condemn:--bear the blame, cleanse, commit (sin), by fault, harm he hath done, loss, miss, (make) offend(-er), offer for sin, purge, purify (self), make reconciliation, (cause, make) sin(-ful, -ness), trespass.

All of the times the word offense shows up in the King James version are taken from this Hebrew word except the following references which I have listed with the verses where they are found.

2 Chron. 28:13
0819. hmva 'ashmah, ash-maw'
feminine of 817; guiltiness, a fault, the presentation of a sin-offering:--offend, sin, (cause of) trespass(-ing, offering).

Job 34:31
02254. lbx chabal, khaw-bal'
a primitive root; to wind tightly (as a rope), i.e. to bind; specifically, by a pledge; figuratively, to pervert, destroy; also to writhe in pain (especially of parturition):--X at all, band, bring forth, (deal) corrupt(-ly), destroy, offend, lay &Š to (take a) pledge, spoil, travail, X very, withhold.

Ps 73:15
0898. dgb bagad, baw-gad'
a primitive root; to cover (with a garment); figuratively, to act covertly; by implication, to pillage:--deal deceitfully (treacherously, unfaithfully), offend, transgress(-or), (depart), treacherous (dealer, -ly, man), unfaithful(-ly, man), X very.

Pr 18:19
06586. evp pasha`, paw-shah'
a primitive root (identical with 6585 through the idea of expansion); to break away (from just authority), i.e. trespass, apostatize, quarrel:--offend, rebel, revolt, transgress(-ion, -or).

Jer 2:3, 50:7, Ezk 25:12, Hosea 4:15, 13:1, Habk 1:11
0816. Mva 'asham, aw-sham'
or mashem {aw-shame'}; a primitive root; to be guilty; by implication to be punished or perish:--X certainly, be(-come, made) desolate, destroy, X greatly, be(-come, found, hold) guilty, offend (acknowledge offense), trespass.

Ps 119:165
04383. lwvkm mikshowl, mik-shole'
or mikshol {mik-shole'}; masculine from 3782; a stumbling-block, literally or figuratively (obstacle, enticement (specifically an idol), scruple):--caused to fall, offense, X (no-)thing offered, ruin, stumbling-block.

This last word is the closest version to the kind of offense that is most often used in the New Testament. But what I noticed is that all of these words have something to do with sin or guilt in one way or another. Yet the word that is used for abhorrence is fundamentally different than those used for offense. Therefore, it may well be that abhorrence is the genuine attitude that is useful in a righteous way and that is counterfeited by Satan's use of the attitude of offense that causes us to fall into his traps.

Abhorrence is something that God wants us to have toward anything that is designed to draw our affections away from Him, our only source of life. In the Old Testament God talked about things that were an abhorrence to Him and it usually involved false gods that pulled them away from allegiance to the true God. God abhors evil and wants His people to do the same. But at the same time He never ceases to love sinners and only abhors the sins that keep them from trusting Him to save them from their sins. He wants us to reflect His attitudes towards sinners by not abhorring the people but the sins that keep them (and us) trapped in ignorance about the loving Father who desires to deliver them from their darkness and rebellion.

The trap of offense is Satan's way of counterfeiting the godly attribute of abhorrence of evil. I fear that too often we are easily offended by things that others do to us but excuse our offended feelings by claiming that we are just abhorring evil. But in reality we are really living under a deception that accompanies being caught in the trap of offense which also causes us to become angry and deceived as to our true condition. God wants to deliver us from the trap of offense and allows us to go through trials that cause us to be triggered and angered at times to alert us to the fact that we in fact in one of Satan's traps and we need to recognize our feelings of offense and seek God's deliverance from those traps.

God's true children may share His feelings of abhorrence and still remain free from all offense. I think it would be very helpful sometime to carefully explore further the subtle differences between these two, for a counterfeit is always designed to closely mimic the genuine and to fool the unsuspecting. God clearly wants His children to remain free of all offense but still be ready to abhor evil in all of its forms. That is only going to be possible as we really have our own hearts more closely aligned and bonded with the heart of God and begin to share His intense displeasure with everything that interferes with our close connection to Him.

Father, keep me free of all offense while at the same time sharing Your abhorrence for all forms of evil. Fill me with Your love for sinners while at the same time abhorring the things that cause them and me to misunderstand and turn away from Your love and care for us. Make my life an example of Your compassion and concern and use me as a channel of Your grace to attract others into a closer bond with Your heart.

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