This “Hebrew Word” is one that is very, very sobering and quite incomprehensible. Yet, how we really need to thank and praise God for it and live in the light of it.
AGMAS NEFESH – pronounce “agmas” with short “a’s.” Pronounce “nefesh” with short “e’s” and with the accent on the first syllable; AG-mas NE-fesh
AGMAS NEFESH – “Suffering of the spirit, soul” (“soul” as the principle of life). “Agmas nefesh” means mental suffering, suffering of the soul, suffering in the innermost being of a person. This is the worst kind of suffering!
How we are reminded at this time of year of the sufferings of the Mashiach (Messiah) for us! How He suffered for us physically, especially as He was mocked and beaten beyond recognition and then died a slow, shameful, painful death for us on the tree.
Even greater than the intense physical suffering He endured for us, though, was the agmas nefesh He went through for us – the mental, emotional suffering of the soul – as He endured the separation from His Father during that awful time when He bore our sins on the tree. We cannot really understand this suffering, and it is good that we cannot!
This terrible, incomprehensible separation was the only time and will be the only time that Yeshua was separated from His Father. He was constantly in loving communion with Him. John 11:41, 42 state, “And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, ‘Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always . . .'” Matthew 11:25 reads, “At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.'” In this verse Jesus was not answering one of His followers or another human being, but rather His Father, Who was constantly communing with His Beloved Son.
John 17:24 says, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; FOR THOU LOVEDST ME BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.” The glory of the Son is a result of the unfathomable love of His Father for Him! This love is so great that the Father and Son were, and are, and always will be in constant communion with each other. The only time that most intimate, incomprehensible fellowship, communion was broken was when He bore our sins on the tree for us – that communion was broken for us!
No wonder that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Yeshua prayed earnestly that if it were the will of His Father, that this cup of suffering be removed from Him. ” . . . Nevertheless not my will, but thine be done. (Luke 22:42). No wonder that Luke 22:44 states, “and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” No wonder that Matthew 26:38 reads, in the account of Yeshua in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.”
How the soul of Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Messiah, must have recoiled from the thought of this broken communion with His Father, the first and only time this constant, intimate communion would ever be broken! How His soul must have suffered even at the thought of His taking our sins on Himself, the pure, sinless One, and becoming sin for us! (II Corinthians 5:21). In the Tenach, or Old Testament, Chavakkuk (Habakkuk) 1:13 reads, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity . . .”
No wonder that Yeshua, on the tree, cried the following as He underwent this terrible agmas nefesh – this separation from His Father and also becoming sin for us: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). This cry was a Messianic prophecy from the Hebrew Scriptures, in Tehillah (Psalm) 22:1. No wonder that there was darkness over all the earth for three hours as the sinless Passover Lamb of God became sin for us and as the face of His beloved Father was, for the first and only time ever, turned away from Him! (Matthew 27:45). God, in His great mercy for us, permitted this darkness also so that the human eye could not see this terrible, indescribable suffering of Yeshua HaMashiach for us. No human eye could stand to see this!
How can we respond to all of this but to throw ourselves in complete surrender at the feet of Him who said, “I do always those things that please Him.” (John 8:29). Our prayer for you and for ourselves during this time of year is that we will see, like never before, by God’s Spirit, what Yeshua HaMashiach really went through for us – the agmas nefesh He endured so that we could have forgiveness of sins! How we need to see this and then, by His grace, live changed lives!
Could you supply some specific OT references where this word/phrase is used? Thanks.
This is in response to the above question concerning some references in the Tenach for “Agmas Nefesh.” I do not know of any such references – that is why I did not include any. “Agmas Nefesh” is a principle that Jeff and I came across when we were reading a book on the Chasidim (Ultra-Orthodox). I even looked in the Hebrew lexicon and “The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament” and did not find any references for these two words.