Does “I Change Not” Contradict “It Repented The Lord”?

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You have posed a very good question, and I hope and pray that the Lord will give you the answer according to the sum of His word. It does seem like a contradiction to have scriptures such as Malachi 3:6 and Numbers 23:19 which state the the Lord “changes not….[that He] is not a man….that he should repent”; and then be told that “it repented the Lord that he had made man,” or “for it repenteth me [God] that I have made them [man].” While this is indeed a contradiction to the carnal mind, the spiritual mind judges all things, compares spiritual with spiritual, and relies on the sum of God’s word to know what is true.

First, I’d like to share a brief examination of the word repent, where it stems from, and how it is used. The word repent is a translation of the Hebrew word nacham, H5162. Below is Strong’s definition of nacham.


A primitive root; properly to sigh, that is, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, that is, (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself): – comfort (self), ease [one’s self], repent (-er, -ing, self).

Nacham is found 109 times in the Old Testament; 67 times it is used as a variation of the word “comfort”, and 42 times as a variation of the word “repent”. It is very revealing that the first time we see the word nacham is in Genesis 5:29, where Lamech calls his son Noah, and explains why.

Gen 5:29 And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort [Hebrews: #H5162 nacham] us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.

The next two times we see the word namach is in the same book of Genesis 6:6, where we are told that God repents because he made man.

Gen 6:6 And it repented [Hebrew: #H5162 nacham] the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Gen 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth [Hebrew: #H5162 nacham] me that I have made them.
Gen 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

It is very revealing to see that the same word used to translate “repent” is also translated as “comfort”. Additionally, seeing the spirit behind the letter shows us that it is through the Lord’s “repentance”, grief with, or vengeance towards the old world (the shadow of our old carnal nature) that he delivers the comforter, Noah (the shadow of the new man, Christ in us). It is the double-edged sword of God’s word that both destroys the old man, and gives life to the new man.

Did the Lord repent because he finally figured out that man was evil? Of course not! Our Father shaped us in the marred, earthy, corruptible vessels that we are.

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Jer 18:4 And the vessel that he [The Lord] made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Unlike in the New Testament, where the word ‘repent’ refers to a change of mind, the spiritual significance of the Lord’s repentance towards man is what we read occurs in the ninth hour while Christ was on the cross; the time our flesh is being crucified, and we are being judged for our unrighteousness. The Lord forsakes, turns away from or takes vengeance on our humanity for the sake of giving life to the Christ that is, was and will be resurrecting in us.

Mat 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Which verse is a fulfillment of the scriptures in Psalms 22.

Psa 22:1 To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
Psa 22:2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

And a witness to these verses…

Isa 59:1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Jer 14:10 Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.
Jer 14:11 Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good.
Jer 14:12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.

I think Psalms 30:5 captures well the double-edged sword of God’s repentance towards the old man and his comfort toward the new man.

Psa 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night […for it repenteth me that I have made [man], but joy cometh in the morning […but Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD].

I hope you can see how the Lord’s repentance is nothing more than his turning away from our old carnal nature, which is, was and will be rebelling against Him. It is through this turning away that judgment is brought upon the flesh, and in due time, we are delivered and comforted; all by the will of our Father, who hardens and softens our hearts as he pleases.

You quoted Malachi 3:6, and reminded us that the Lord does not change. I added the preceding and following verses to help see how the Lord’s judgment has everything to do with whether He is with us or not.

Mal 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
Mal 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Mal 3:7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

Why does the Lord tell us “return unto me, and I will return unto you?” Simply put, the Lord does not change, and part of the Lord not changing is the fact that he will turn away from us if we are disobedient to him. Even more revealing is that during that time that he has turned away from us, or when He is “far” from us, He is actually near to us in judgment. Which fulfills both these scriptures…

Deu 31:8 And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Psa 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?…

When the flesh feels forsaken, it is because it is being judged. But the spiritual man within us knows that even during those times, we are not at all forsaken. Which brings me to the final point that God is not a liar, neither does he ever change his mind; which you brought up in quoting Numbers 23:19.

Num 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

The Lord’s mind never changes. Man has no influence on what God is, was or will be doing. It is us who must have our minds changed, and cleansed by the washing of the water of God’s word. The above scripture from Numbers 23 is a declaration that we will live by every word of God, and that all things come alike to all men, and that will hold true in every generation.

“Hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” is the context of God not lying, or repenting like a man. Here is another spiritual witness to the fact that God does not repent in the sense where he changes his mind.

Psa 102:25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
Psa 102:26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
Psa 102:27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.

“As a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed” is a prophecy of what repentance we will do after Christ has entered into our hearts. This is the difference between God’s repentance towards man, and man’s repentance towards God. God does not change his mind, but we will be conformed to the image of and have the mind of Christ.

The word ‘repent’, and its variations, appears 34 times in the New Testament, and they always refers to our change of mind towards God, and our own unrighteousness.

Act 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

I hope this answers your question. I look forward to hearing what others will add to this.


Ernesto Rivera

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