YESHUA’S AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE SIN

 

Man with Palsy Lowered through the Roof onto Yeshua – James Tissot

Who has the authority to forgive sin?
If we want to answer this question in depth, we have to dissect it. In a general sense, all of us can forgive. Everyone has the authority to forgive their neighbour for any transgression committed against us. However, in a stricter sense, only the Eternal can forgive sins. 



In the Hebrew mindset, only יהוה, the Eternal of Yisra’el can forgive sin.

Luke 5:21 [Hebraic Roots Version - HRV]
...Who is able to forgive sins except *Eloah alone? 
 *A Hebrew term that generally refers to the Eternal in Judaism; singular form of Elohim; The God.                When Judaism is mentioned on this site it is referring to Biblical Judaism and not to Rabbinic Judaism, the official religion of the modern state of Israel

If so, why did Yeshua forgive sins that only the Eternal can forgive? Many believe that because Yeshua had the power to forgive sins, he is the Eternal or equal to Him, but this is not so. Yeshua was able to forgive sins not because he himself was the Supreme Authority but because he was given that authority; Yeshua is not Yahweh (For more information on this topic see YESHUA IS NOT YAHWEH).
Yeshua is the representative of the Eternal on earth, this why Yahweh puts everything under Yeshua’s feet. Yeshua must reign until all His enemies are placed under His feet.

1 Corinthians 15:25 [The Sciptures - TS]
For He has to reign until He has put all enemies under His feet {Psalms 8:26}

ALL AUTHORITY WAS GIVEN TO YESHUA
And with the authority given by the Eternal to Yeshua to reign over everything, even death, he could also forgive sins. Yeshua never said that he forgave sins by his own authority, and he never said that he was the Eternal or the Supreme Authority.
To have the whole context, let us look at what Yeshua said when he forgave sins;

Mark 2:1-12 [TS]
1  And some days later He again entered into Kephar Nahum, and it was heard that He was in the house. 
2  And so many gathered together, that there was no more room, not even at the door. And He spoke the Word to them. 
3  And they came to Him, bringing a paralytic, carried by four. 
4  And not being able to come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. And when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. 
5  And when יהושע saw their belief, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” 
6  Now some of the scribes were sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 
7  “Why does this One talk like this? He is blaspheming! Who is able to forgive sins but Elohim alone?” 
8  And immediately יהושע, knowing in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, “Why do you reason about all this in your hearts? 
9  “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 
10  “But in order for you to know that the Son of Adam possesses authority on earth to forgive sins... He said to the paralytic, 
11  “I say to you, rise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 
12  And he rose straightaway, and took up the bed, and went out before all, so that all were amazed and praised Elohim, saying, “We have never seen the like of it!”                     [Words of Yeshua in purple]

The Eternal gave the Messiah, His representative, the authority to forgive sins . The judgements that Yeshua pronounced were not his, they were the judgements of the Eternal. In the same manner, when the judges pronounced judgement over Yisra’el, they were the judgements of the Eternal:

2 Chronicles 19:6 [TS]
 and (Yehoshaphat) said to the judges, Watch what you are doing, for you do not judge for man, but for יהוה who is with you in the matter of right-ruling. 

In other words, a representative of the Eternal on earth like judges, priests, kings or the Messiah, have the authority given by the Eternal to be able to judge and pardon.
In Mark 2, Yeshua preached the Torah and that is the model to follow. All the aspects of the Nazarene Writings (Called New Testament by Christianity) are totally hidden to our understanding if we do not comprehend the mystery of the redemption of the two houses of the land of Yisra’el; the House of Yisra’el (the ten northern tribes in exile, also Ephraim, also Joseph) and the southern house that remained, the House of Judah. If we do not understand this, we will miss many key aspects of the Scriptures.

When Yeshua cured the paralytic in the crowded house at Kephar Nahum and said to the sick man, <…your sins are forgiven…>, what did some of the religious authorities present there think? How could they confirm that this was true, knowing that only the Eternal has the authority to forgive sin? Why, then, did Yeshua forgive sins? There were some Scribes sitting there that thought in their hearts <Why does this One talk like this? He is blaspheming! Who is able to forgive sins but Elohim{the Eternal} alone?>. That is to say, we can forgive those who sin against us, but we cannot forgive something others have done against the Eternal. To prove that the Eternal had given him authority he said <Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, Your sins are forgiven, or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk? ” He said to the paralytic<I say to you, rise, take up your bed, and go to your house>

By doing what was difficult, Yeshua gave them proof that he had authority. He demonstrated that he had the power to forgive sin. And by saying, <…in order for you to know that the Son of Adam possesses authority on earth to forgive sins…>, he was clearly telling them that he was the ‘son of man’ and not the Eternal; that it was the Eternal who gave him that authority. Later on, he declared in Galilee:

Matthew 28:18 [TS]
...All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 

If he was given authority, it follows that the One who gave it to him is greater than he is. It was through that given authority that he was able to forgive the paralytic’s sin. The result of this miraculous act is that the people glorified the Eternal and not Yeshua. Because the miracle was done in a context of Jewish faith, of people knowledgeable in the Hebrew Scriptures, who knew that the only one who has the power perform miracles and to forgive sins is the Eternal, they gave the Eternal the glory. They did this knowing that the Eternal acts through man, in this case, through Yeshua. The people thanked and glorified the Elohim of Yisra’el. And we do not see Yeshua correcting the people because he knew, as did the people that the power given to him came from the Eternal.

PAGANS MISTOOK SHA’UL AND BARNABAH FOR ‘GODS’
Sha’ul and Barnabah (Barnabas) performed a similar miracle in a gentile (pagan) context in Lustra (Lystra), a Greek territory. The people there thought they were gods:

Acts 14:11 [TS]
And when the crowds saw what Sha’ul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lukaonian, “The mighty ones have become like men and come down to us!”

The people there, instructed in Greek mythology,  praised Sha’ul and Barnabah and wanted to sacrifice animals for them. Why was the reaction of the gentiles toward Sha’ul and Barnabah different from that of the Jews toward Yeshua when he performed the miracle?

THE HONOUR AND GLORY IS FOR YAHWEH ALONE
The Jews, including Yeshua, knew that the the Supreme Authority, Yahweh, is One. In the Hebrew context, the people and the disciples knew there is One Supreme Being (the Eternal) and one Mediator (Yeshua Messiah, also a man) between the Eternal and men.
Sh’aul writes

1 Timothy 2:5 [Word of Yahweh - WOY]
For there is one Yahweh, and one mediator between Yahweh and men, the man Messiah Yahshua;

The honour and the glory was for Yahweh, not Yeshua who taught that he had come to glorify the Father and not himself.
Yeshua said:

Luke 10:16  [TS]
...he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me

He says this because he knows that if he is rejected, the Father who sent him is rejected because the Spirit of the Father works in him and those who believe in him are honouring the Father’s anointing in him.
Another principle is that what Yeshua did is exactly what you and I are called to do. In a Hebrew context where people are beginning to learn the things of the Eternal of Yisra’el, very few people know that Yahweh is One. We must teach that He alone is entitled to receive all the glory. It is very sad to see that there are some that take advantage people’s ignorance, attract applause and glory to themselves, practically creating the worship of a person, a pastor,  a Roeh (teacher), a Pope among other terms. But only the Eternal deserves glory and not any man. To teach other doctrines or theologies is to take advantage of the people who have not read or learned that the the Eternal Yahweh does not share His glory with anybody. 

Isaiah 42:8 [TS]
 “I am יהוה, that is My Name, and My esteem I do not give to another, nor My praise to idols. 

To take God’s glory and apply it to a person is a transgression when what we are called to do is to give glory and honour to the Eternal alone. It is interesting how Yeshua related sins to sickness and forgiveness of sins to good health. The Torah teaches that Adam, the first human being, sinned and all of us have inherited the consequences, sickness and death. However, when the kingdom of the Eternal (the Messianic age) is established on earth, the Eternal through Yeshua will forgive the sins of all those who love and serve the Eternal. In the Messianic age all sicknesses and even death will forever disappear.

Romans 5:18-19 [HRB]
18 Therefore, as on account of the offence of one{Adam}, condemnation was to all men; so on account of the righteousness of one{Yeshua}, will the victory unto life be to all men.
19 For as on account of the disobedience of one man{Adam}, many became sinners; so also on account of the obedience of one{Yeshua}, many become righteous.

GRACE IS A GIFT FROM YAHWEH
At this point, we ask, how were the people who died before Yeshua’s first coming forgiven? In other words, how were they eternally saved before the death and resurrection of Yeshua? How could a pardon that depends on the blood of the ‘Righteous One’ be applied when his blood had not yet been shed? The answer is simple, our Father, Yahweh, forgives us for as long as we perform a true and sincere repentance. But the justice that He created demands justice. The Eternal forgave Dawid, Moses and the people of Yisra’el (for the sin of the Golden Calf), however, the divine justice created by the Eternal Himself has to be satisfied. In other words, someone has to pay for the offences or disobedience of mankind because the Divine System of Justice demands judgement. The priestly Messiah, the Suffering Servant, was the Lamb which was made sin by the Father for all of us.
There have always been people who have been accepted by the Eternal. Adam and Eve were accepted when the  Eternal dressed them after their sin of disobedience. Abel’s offering was pleasing to the Eternal which implies that he was accepted. Abraham was justified before the Eternal as Genesis 15:5 indicates. The Eternal pardoned the sins of Dawid and he enjoyed the Eternal’s blessings.
Sha’ul of Tarsos expressed this same idea when he wrote:

Romans 4:6-8 [HRB]
6 Even as also David says of the blessedness of the man to whom YAHWEH counts righteousness apart from works:
7 "Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the man to whom YAHWEH will in no way charge sin." (Psalms 32:1)

To strengthen his point, Sha’ul cited Psalm 32

Psalm 32:1-2 [TS]
1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 
2 Blessed is the man to whom יהוה imputes no crookedness, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. 

The Torah and the Prophets affirm that the the repentant man obtains the Eternal’s pardon, not by works but by faith. No one at any moment has been saved by works, personal effort or by keeping the law of Moses. Works of righteousness cannot obtain the perfect standard of the Eternal.
Sha’ul of Tarso also explained that nobody can be justified by keeping the law.

Romans 3:19-20 [TS] 
19 But we know that whatever the *Torah says, it speaks to those within the Torah, so that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world be under judgement to YAHWEH. 
20 Because by works of the Torah not one of all flesh will be justified before Him, for through the Torah is the full knowledge of sin. (Psalm 143:2)
                                                                                                                                         * [Most translations render the word Torah as 'the law' but Torah can mean law, instruction, teaching, the first five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy) also known as the books of Moses.] 

Although the Torah has no power forgive sin, it points to the promise of a Redeemer, Yeshua through whom we obtain the salvation of the Father.

Galatians 3:19-24 [HRB]
19 Why then the (Levitical) Law? It was placed beside (The Torah) for the sake of transgressions, until the Seed{Yeshua} should come, to whom it had been promised, being given by promise in a mediator's hand.
20 Now a mediator does not represent one alone, but Elohim is one (echad).
21 Then is the (Levitical) Law against the promises of YAHWEH? Elohim forbid! For if a law had been given which had been able to make alive, indeed righteousness would have been out of Law.
22 But the Scripture locked up all under sin, that the promise by faith of Yahshua Messiah might be given to the ones believing.
23 But before the coming of faith, we were protected under Law, having been locked up to the faith being about to be revealed.
24 So that the (Levitical) Law has become a trainer of us until Messiah, that we might be justified by faith.

Sha’ul refers  to Abraham three times as the fulfilment of justification by grace through faith [Romans 4:3 and Galatians 3:6]. We can also see James’ perspective in relation to the justification of Abraham in James 2:23. Abraham was saved before his circumcision and before the Law was given, therefore, he could not have been saved by keeping those commandments. Obedience to the law and its system of sacrifices allowed for fellowship with the Eternal and was a picture of Yeshua’s necessary sacrifice.
The Mosaic sacrifices of animals were only temporary and were never sufficient for salvation.

Romans 3:21-25 [HRB]
21 But now a righteousness of YAHWEH has been revealed apart from the Torah, being witnessed by the Torah and the Prophets,
22 even the righteousness of YAHWEH through the faith of Yahshua Messiah toward everyone and upon all those believing; for there is no difference,
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of YAHWEH,
24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption in Messiah Yahshua,
25 whom YAHWEH set forth as a propitiation through faith in His blood, as a demonstration of His righteousness through the remission of our sins that are past, in the forbearance of YAHWEH,
Hebrews 10:1-4 [HRB]
1 For the (Levitical) Law had in it a shadow of the good things to come, but not the substance of those things themselves. Appearing year by year with the same sacrifices, which they offer continually, they never are able to perfect those who offered them.
2 Otherwise, if they had once been perfected they would have ceased to be offered? For from henceforth, their minds would not have driven them into the sins from which they had once been cleansed.
3 But in those sacrifices they remembered their sins year by year,
4 for it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away (the penalty of) sins.

Grace is the free gift of the Eternal’s undeserved provision. In Abraham’s case, grace came from the unconditional promise of future blessings that would come to the world through his descendants. And since this future deliverance is the Eternal’s promise, its fulfilment depends on the Eternal’s action, not Abraham’s. And as we saw earlier, Paul also cited king Dawid as one to whom the Eternal imputed his righteousness without works, that is to say by grace. King Dawid was saved by grace regardless of his abominable sin. Abraham and Dawid were saved on the basis of and in anticipation of the Eternal’s gracious gift, the Saviour (Yeshua) that was to come.
Yeshua’s twelve apostles knew they were eternally saved. How could they be saved if they did not know or believe that Yeshua was going to die and resurrect? They were saved because they believed that their salvation came through Yeshua because he was the promised Messiah, the Saviour. After his death and resurrection they understood that Yeshua was the Son of the Eternal the Anointed One that was sent to free us from the condemnation of sin. This is reflected in the book of John

John 5:24 [TS]
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me possesses everlasting life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

They heard Yeshua teach that salvation was a gift that was received through faith, not by works. They did not understand exactly how they would receive that gift. Yeshua spoke to them about the sacrifice, death and resurrection of the Messiah although, it could be argued that they must have subsequently relied on the testimony of the prophets in which different types or figures of the Messiah are presented: the Suffering Messiah and the Unconquered Messiah, the Messiah son of Joseph and the Messiah son of David. During the time the disciples were associated with Yeshua, the message was the nearness of the kingdom, and later it was the message of eternal salvation. Yeshua is the crucified and resurrected Saviour, Son of the Eternal. This was the message that Sha’ul of Tarsos confirmed later on

1 Corinthians 1:17-18 [HRB]
17 For Messiah did not send me to baptize, but to announce the good news, not in wisdom of words, lest the torture stake of Messiah be made of no effect.
18 For the Word of the torture stake is foolishness to those being lost, but to us being saved, it is the power of YAHWEH.

And

1 Corinthians 15:1-7 [HRB]
1 But, brothers, I reveal to you the good news which I preached to you, which you also received, in which you also stand,
2 by which you also are being kept safe, if you hold fast the Word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you in the first place what I also received, that Messiah died for our sins, according to the Scriptures,
4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures,
5 and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
6 Then He appeared to over five hundred brothers at once, of whom are still standing until now, but some also fell asleep.
7 Then He was seen by Jacob, then by all the apostles;

In other words, the message of the Torah and the whole Tanakh was not changed, it was only expanded. Therefore, it means that the suffering of the Suffering Messiah covers all those who formerly lived, those who lived in his time and all those after his time until the last person is born. According to the promise, it includes everyone.
So, how could the Eternal forgive Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David or Solomon if they did not have an atoning sacrifice for sin or as in King’s Dawid case who committed unforgivable sins according to Moses’ law? The prophet Isaiah partially reveals the answer

Isaiah 59:20 [HRB]
 And the Redeemer comes to Zion, and to those in Jacob who turn back from their rebellion, declares YAHWEH.

But there has to be repentance for this to happen. This is why Yeshua says

Luke 13:3 [TS]
...unless you repent you shall all perish in the same way.

Repentance is the basis of everything. If a person has a heart that is content and humble, if he has a heart that is not haughty before the Eternal and is humble before the Eternal, he will be forgiven. What happens then? All those who died before Yeshua were not able to enter Paradise. They all went to the bosom of Abraham but they could not enter because the Redeemer had not yet come to Sion. Once the Redeemer did what he had to do Sha’ul says quoting Psalm 68:18:

Ephesians 4:8 [TS]
...“When He went up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”

This makes the suffering and death of Yeshua the cornerstone of redemption. This is why, according to the Torah, the Eternal told Moses

Deuteronomy 18:18-19 [TS]
18  I shall raise up for them a Prophet like you out of the midst of their brothers. And I shall put My Words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 
19  And it shall be, the man who does not listen to My Words which He speaks in My Name, I require it of him. 

And now it can be better understood why these prophecies of the Messiah relating to the priesthood are so important. There are at least two reasons: first because they eliminate the only transgression that really prevents the entrance to the Kingdom and because 

Romans 3:10 [TS]
“There is none righteous, no, not one!

The Eternal did forgive Dawid, Mosheh, the people of Yisra’el and the world, but Divine Justice that the Eternal Himself established has to be met. In other words, someone has to pay for the world’s transgressions because the divine justice system requires it. And the priestly Messiah, the Suffering Servant, was the one whom the Eternal made into sin for us all.
Second: This first redemptive phase is critical to guarantee the next messianic phase, which is the monarchic phase. Because there is no point in anyone being able to enter it if what prevents entry has not been removed. In other words, if the problem of transgressions, which are unforgivable in the Law of Moses, and which prevent us from entering the world to come, is not solved first, why do we want a Messiah who will bring the Messianic age to this world if no one will be able to enter it? What good is it for us if a Messiah comes and establishes the messianic age among us if none of us can enter? This is why the priestly phase prophesied by the prophets precedes the monarchic phase, also foretold by the prophets. Therefore, we must always have in mind that, in Hebrew thought, salvation comes by grace through faith in a redeemer (goel), a Saviour as we can see in the Tanakh (known as the Old Covenant).
The essential content of the Gospel has not changed, rather it has been expanded, and we have more information on the progress of the revelation. In the Tanakh, people were saved because of their faith in a Redeemer that would come

Isaish 59:20
And the Redeemer comes to Zion, and to those in Jacob who turn back from their rebellion, declares YAHWEH.

But what is a ‘redeemer’? According to the Torah, what are the characteristicsa of a redeemer?
This brings the story of Boaz and Ruth to mind. 

Ruth 4:1-4 

Boaz could not redeem because the former’s blood affiliation was closer to the deceased than Boaz’s was to the latter. Finally, when the man decided not to redeem, Boaz then said that he would redeem. To be a redeemer, Boaz first had to belong to the same family, a genetic connection had to exist.
When the Eternal through Isaiah declared

Isaiah 59:20 [TS]
And the Redeemer shall come to Tsiyon, and to those turning from transgression in Ya‛aqob{Jacob}, declares יהוה.

He was announcing a redemption plan that would come through Judah. Sins categorised as ‘sins of death’, which have no atoning offerings in the law of Moses, because they had capital punishment (death), would be satisfied according to divine justice.
Therefore, if the Eternal forgave Dawid a thousand years before Yeshua’s birth, why is it required for the Messiah to be martyred? Did the Eternal really forgive Dawid or not? What really happened there? Is not repentance sufficient to free us from guilt?

YAHWEH MADE A COVENANT WITH HIS CHILDREN (PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE)
Let us see what the Torah says

Deuteronomy 29:10-15 [TS]
10  “All of you are standing today before יהוה your Elohim: your leaders, your tribes, your elders and your officers, all the men of Yisra’el, 
11  your little ones, your wives, and your sojourner who is in the midst of your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water, 
12  so that you should enter into covenant with יהוה your Elohim, and into His oath, which יהוה your Elohim makes with you today, 
13  in order to establish you today as a people for Himself, and He Himself be your Elohim, as He has spoken to you, and as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, to Yitshaq, and to Ya‛aqob. 
14  “And not with you alone I am making this covenant and this oath, 
15  but with him who stands here with us today before יהוה our Elohim, as well as with him who is not here with us today. 

This covenant that the Eternal made with the Yisra’elites  affects those who were present then and those who were not present there. It affects those who were already dead and those who were not born yet, the House if Yisra’el.


This site uses the word Yisra’el to refer to the children of the Eternal (those who obey His word) past, present and future and not the modern nation of Israel – NAZARENE NOTES


However, the Eternal promised to revise and renew this covenant. This is why the prophet said

Jeremiah 31:31 [TS]
 “See, the days are coming,” declares יהוה, “when I shall make a renewed covenant with the house of Yisra’el{Ten Northern Tribes} and with the house of Yehudah{Judah}

Therefore, wherever we see a confirmation of this covenant, we must remember it includes those were present and those who were not.
And, what did Yeshua do? Sha’ul says in Romans 15:8 that Yeshua came to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs. That is, why did Yeshua come among other tings? He came to affirm the promises made to the fathers not to destroy them

Romans 15:8-13
8  And I say that יהושע Messiah has become a servant of the circumcised for the truth of Elohim, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, 
9  and for the nations to praise Elohim for His compassion, as it has been written, “Because of this I shall confess to You among the nations, and I shall sing to Your Name.” (2 Samuel 22:50, Psalm 18:49). 
10  And again it says, “Rejoice, O nations, with His people!” (Deuteronomy 32:43) 
11  And again, “Praise יהוה, all you nations! Praise Him, all you peoples!” (Psalm 117:1) 
12  And again, Yeshayahu{Isaiah} says, “There shall be a root of Yishai{Jesse}, and He who shall rise to reign over the nations, on Him the nations shall set their expectation.” (Isaiah 11:10). 
13  And the Elohim of expectation fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you overflow with expectation by the power of the Set-apart Spirit. 

The Eternal, the Almighty, forgives us because he loves us. Love is the essence of the Eternal and should be our essence as well because only love is capable of forgiving. Only those who love their brothers are able to forgive. All of us are called to love because all of us need to love and be loved. Therefore, all of us are called to forgive.

 

Sources:
Arístides Moreno: Daniel Hernandez; Alonso Gutierrez

NAZARENE NOTES