by Brad Scott
We are going to spend the next few lessons discussing this last Hebrew word. We will then move on to some popular doctrinal concepts, where they came from, and how they got so screwed up. In the past few months I have chosen a handful of words that I thought were imperative to understand, scripturally, before we use them in any doctrinal studies. Salvation is certainly one of those terms. All my "Christian" life I have heard this term used. It is one of those English words that is used for more than just religious purposes, but none the less, conjures up religious thoughts when used. The scriptural meaning of this word has more in common with its "other worldly" use than it's modern application in the so-called church. I grew up in the Lutheran system, which rarely ever used the word. I spent part of the third decade of my life in the Baptist denomination. You can imagine how many times I heard it used there! Many times we would do our dutiful visitation and use that word a lot. "Are you saved?" That was quite popular. "Do you want to be saved?" This was the phrase that we longed to say all evening. It worked quite well, as a matter of fact. More than half the people we talked to certainly wanted to be saved. The majority of the people that we "led to the Lord" we never heard from again, but we left feeling good that they were "saved." I would imagine that if you asked most people who claimed to be Christians if they were saved, they would probably admit it. The problem with most Christians is you have to ask them!
Well enough sarcasm. What do you think Yeshua‘ meant when he said, "... salvation is of the Jews?" What did Sha’ul mean when he said, "... all Israel will be saved?" And finally, what did Mattityahu (Matthew) mean when he told us that we were to call Him Yeshua'; for He shall save His people from their sins. I can tell you what is the typical modern interpretation of this. To the modern Christian, salvation is proclaiming out loud that Jesus is the Christ, confessing that you are a sinner and wearing a WWJD band around your wrist. But true salvation is another concept that is assumed in the New Testament. The language frequently used in the New Testament is brought forth from its understood use in the Tanakh. When Mattityahu said that He would save us from our sins, the audience is not told what "save" means or what "sin" means. Why? Because there are 39 books, (or 24 books or 22 books, depending on which translation you are reading,) that have fully explained what these two words mean. So let us go back to the New Testament dictionary (i.e. Tanakh) to gain an understanding of the fullness of this very important word.
We are going to focus on two particular ways that this word saved is used. One is the root of the word salvation, which is the word 'save' or 'to save'. I have stated in a previous study that the word "Jesus" is an English translation of the Greek word `Iesou (Ίησοΰς). This Greek word is a transliteration of the Hebrew word Yeshua'. The word in Hebrew for salvation is yeshu`ah (ישוּעה), which is feminine. Yeshua' (ישוּע) is the masculine form. When writing this word, I, as many others do, simply write it as Yeshua'. I am not one of those organizations that quibble over pronouncing His name the correct way. My point here is not how to spell it but what this word means to YHVH's people. The root of the word salvation is yasha`, or save. As we have said before, nearly all Hebrew nouns have verbal roots which set the foundation for all the cognates. The words save, deliver, preserve, and help are how this word is usually translated. The word yasha` literally means to open, or to be wide. You will see the application of this as we go. One of the areas that I have not ventured into at this point is the divine deliverance of the letters of Torah. From the early patriarchs to the modern Jewish scholars, the individual letters of the Hebrew aleph-bet are considered to be divinely ordained and put in just the perfect order by YHVH. Each meaning behind each letter of a word forms a complete meaning of the word when put together. (I would recommend our CD series "AlephBet: the Building Blocks of Life" for some elementary introduction to this exciting study. For further study I would recommend Rabbi Michael Munks' "The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet".) The word yeshua' contains three consonants which form the word. These consonants are the yod (י), the shin (ש), and the ayin (ע). Each of these letters has a primitive form and a primitive meaning behind each one. The primitive forms are not in use today. They formed the basis for the early round script which eventually became the modern more "square" look. The early form of the yod looked like a hand, and it's meaning was a deed or action. The early form of the shin was teeth, and it's meaning was to consume or destroy. The early form of the ayin was an eye, and it's meaning was to cast your eyes or to look upon. To the Torah observant early Hebrews, this order of the letters helped to form their understanding of the meaning of the whole word. To be saved was to begin with an action or deed, a rescue followed by a destroying of the thing you were rescued from, ultimately concluded by a devotion, or casting your eyes upon, that which delivered you. I hope and pray that as we go you will see this order. I pray that you will see that in Hebrew thinking (Old Testament revelation), salvation always involved the whole person. The foundation of our trust never divided up the person into three parts. To the mind of the writers of scripture, the person is echad or one. I will elaborate on this later. So, let's go to the first occurrence of the word save.
Shemot (Exodus) 2:16-17Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. And the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.
Here is the first example of someone being saved. The daughters of the priest of Midian had come to water their flock, but shepherds had come to not only take their water, but to drive them away. Moshe takes action and rises up against them and drives them away. This is implied from the use of the word vayyaqam (קוּם) which means to rise up as in against. Moshe then gives the women what the thieves came to take. The result is that one of them is given to Moshe in marriage. Imagine a Hebrew man goes into the territory of the nations, drives off thieves (see Yochanan (John) 10:10), gives his future bride water from the well, and takes her as his own! He then has the chutzpah to go back to his own people with her to a life contrary to her nature, and takes her out on a date to a Passover Seder. Hmmmm.
Let's look at another use of this word.
Shemot 14:13-14, 27-31And Moses said unto the people, Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of YHVH which he will show to you today; for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. YHVH shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace ... And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and YHVH overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus YHVH saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel SAW the Egyptians dead upon the seashore. And Israel SAW that great work which YHVH did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared YHVH, and believed YHVH and his servant Moses.
Now, according to Shemot 3:17, YHVH told Moshe that He would deliver them out of Egypt and into a land flowing with milk and honey. We just learned that in between these two events He would destroy their enemy. This was concluded with Israel seeing or casting their eye on what YHVH had done.
We are just beginning to scratch the surface of this wonderful word. I pray that this particular study will profoundly change your view of what salvation really is. See you next time.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊