by Brad Scott
At least two times this week I have, directly or indirectly, been accused of playing at being Jewish. That is very interesting. That makes me feel like something Rush Limbaugh says often. "Have you ever listened to this show?" I am thinking that perhaps the first doctrinal issue we will tackle is the "Jewish" thing. But it is possible I will calm down by then.
We are continuing to discuss the concept of scriptural salvation, or at least how the word is used in the New Testament dictionary, the Tanakh (Old Testament). Salvation has traditionally been taught to be synonymous with the "new birth". This is not true. When traditional evangelicals ask you if you are saved, they mean are you born again. So, if one answers in the affirmative, that means that salvation has come to that person. This is a dreadfully disastrous mistake. The Scriptures do not teach this concept at all. The teaching of the new birth is better left to another time, but suffice it to say that the scriptural definition of salvation in no way implies an instantaneous one time event. As I stated before, the context of salvation begins with rescue, then the destroying of the enemy, and finally with dedication to the one who saved. Modern Christian thinking is content with being rescued, and is satisfied that the enemy was destroyed when the rescue took place, and that dedication to the Savior is found in occasionally thanking the rescuer. This kind of conclusion comes from the usual way new believers are brought into the fold. They are taught a backwards interpretation. New Testament concepts are taught first. Then we go to the Old Testament to find some stories that will illustrate the New Testament teaching. This leads to erroneous conclusions, for the New Testament can not validate itself. Historically, the followers of Yeshua‘ did not simply accept whatever new teaching they heard. They tested what they heard against what YHVH had already revealed to Israel and in the thousand years that followed (Acts 17:11). Logically, they could not have tested the established revelation, which they new to be true, by a new revelation which they did not know to be true. The Law, the Writings, and the Prophets were accepted, acknowledged, and established as God's Truth. Scripturally, YHVH had commanded, and Yeshua‘ affirmed, that a new teaching or claim of Messiahship be tested against what YHVH had already revealed. The new had to be measured by the Truth, not the other way around. Interpreting the Scriptures backwards produces a message, a teaching, that is backwards. This universal concept was established in the beginning: like kind produces like kind. So, let's go on to some more fundamental uses of this word salvation.
Shemu’el Bet (2 Samuel) 22:1-4, 15, 20-24And David spoke unto YHVH the words of this song in the day YHVH had delivered him out of the hand of Saul. And he said, YHVH is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer, The God of my Rock, in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Savior; thou savest me from violence. I will call on YHVH, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from mine enemies ... And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and routed them ... He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. YHVH rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of YHVH, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his ordinances were before me; and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.
I believe that David fully understood what YHVH had done. He rescued him, He destroyed his enemies, and David responded by looking upon YHVH with all that was in him.
Divre-Hayamim Alef (1 Chronicles) 16:23-24, 34-35Sing unto YHVH, all the earth; show forth from day to day his salvation. Declare His glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all peoples ... Oh, give thanks unto YHVH; for he is good; for his mercy endures forever. And say ye, save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in the praise.
Divre-Hayamim Alef 18:13And he put garrisons in Edom; and all the Edomites became David's servants. Thus YHVH preserved [yeshua'h] David wherever he went.
Mizemor (Psalm) 42:11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Mizemor 62:1-2Truly my soul waits upon God; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.
Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 12:2Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for YHVH, even YHVH, is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
Yesha’yahu 52:10-11YHVH hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Depart ye, depart, go out from there, touch no unclean thing; go out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of YHVH.
Yiremeyahu (Jeremiah)17:13-18O YHVH, the hope of Israel, all who forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they who depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken YHVH, the fountain of living waters. Heal me, O YHVH, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for thou art my praise. Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of YHVH? Let it come now. As for me I have not hastened from being a shepherd to follow thee, neither have I desired the woeful day, thou knowest; that which came out of my lips was right before thee. Be not a terror unto me; thou art my hope in the day of evil. Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded; let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed; bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.
This word and it's cognates are used over a hundred times in the Tanakh. In virtually every instance it involves a literal rescue from circumstances, a deliverance from enemies, a return to God's word, a desire to be clean and not to depart from YHVH's word, gratefulness, and praise, and finally a casting of ones eyes upon YHVH for their strength. Is it any coincidence that YHVH is rescuing His people from all the lands in which He scattered them, he will destroy their enemies, they will look upon Him who they have pierced and then all Israel will be saved?
There are thousands of Hebrew words that we could cover, but I have chosen words that have been given their own definitions by the "Greek" church. The word 'salvation' is not defined as a "Christian" mantra, to be chanted once and passed on to the next person. I believe salvation is a life entered into by trust in the One who vows to save you. I believe that the word is clearly defined in the Tanakh and understood by that meaning when it is used in the New Testament. Let's look at some of it's uses of this word.
Luke 1:68-79Blessed be YHVH ’Elohiym of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who have been since the ages began; that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he swore to our father, Avraham, that he would grant unto us that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest; for thou shalt go before the face of YHVH to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
I can tell you that there is more fundamental teaching in these verses than in any group of verses anywhere else in the scriptures. How anyone can read these twelve verses and not see that Yeshua‘ is YHVH ’Elohiym is beyond me. One thing that we will see over and over is that Yeshua‘ is not just the messenger of salvation, but he IS salvation - a title only reserved for YHVH ’Elohiym himself. But that is another study. I want you to take notice of what Luke is teaching us. In verse 68 he tells us that YHVH ’Elohiym of Israel (remember salvation is of the Jews) hath visited his people and redeemed them. In the Tanakh this is many times accomplished by his right arm. In verse 69 he raises up a horn of salvation to be accomplished through the seed or house of David. The deliverer of Israel was to redeem the people through sacrifice which could only be valid through man's kindred, i.e. another man. The goel (kinsman redeemer) had to be from among the brethren. In verse 71 there is salvation from their enemies, so that they might serve him without fear in verse 74, and in holiness and righteousness in verse 75. Finally, to give us light and to guide our feet in the way of peace in verse 79. Light and guidance can only be found by following His ways, which are in His Torah. Of course, if you are taught that Torah has been done away with by His sacrifice, then you have effectively removed your light and your guide. In verse 77 Luke tells us, as Sha’ul does so many times, that the sacrifice of Yeshua‘ removed sins, not Torah. Redemption is followed by destruction of enemies. Our ability to destroy our enemies is given to us by the power of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) as we live in obedience to His word.
Luke 2:27-31And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child, Yeshua', to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God and said, YHVH now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people, Israel.
Wow! Simeon has cast his eyes upon salvation, and now he can die in peace. Hmmm.
Another interesting use of this word is found in Yochanan (John) 4:22. I have heard or read several interpretations of what Yeshua‘ meant when he said this, but I believe that when you study the origins of salvation it becomes clear. "Ye worship ye know not what. We know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews." The background of this conversation makes it obvious. The Samaritans were a mixture of Hebrew and pagan background, and they denied Jerusalem as the center of worship, opting for Mount Gerazim. They were a mixture of the Northern Tribes which had intermarried with their captors. This produced a departure from Jerusalem as the center of worship. However, true worship and all that follows was understood through Jerusalem. So was all that was behind the concept of salvation. It was defined by Jerusalem, not Mt. Gerazim, or any other mountain or culture. We should understand salvation today through the Messiah Yeshua', a Hebrew, who fulfilled all that was right and set apart (holy). Salvation should not be taught through any departure from scripture. Ask the Bereans. New Testament salvation was verified by the way it was defined in the Old Testament. Salvation comes from the Savior. The Savior is the Word of God in the flesh.
Ephesians 5:22-27Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Master. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Messiah is the head of the church; and he is the Savior of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Messiah, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Messiah also loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Notice again that Yeshua‘ is the Savior of the body. In verse 25 He gives himself for her. In verse 26 He sanctifies and cleanses it by His word, and then presents it to himself. This is all properly understood when seen through a first century "Jewish" wedding. The idea of the destroying of the enemy is synonymous with obedience and being clean and set apart. The entire epistle of 1 Yochanan deals with this subject. In chapter 3, verses 7 through 9, it says, "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." This same Yochanan wrote in his gospel that "the thief comes not but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." The abundant life can only come through the daily trusting of YHVH's words, which not only gives abundant life, but destroys the one who is intent on destroying you.
We could look at every use of this word in the New Testament and see it's consistency, but I pray that this gives some foundation to start with. To say that salvation is a process is not exactly what I am saying. To speculate on what happens to a person who says the sinners prayer and stops there is not the point. I believe that, to anyone truly seeking God, this is an irrelevant thing to pursue. This is an important thing to understand about the parables as well. Do you seek the actions of the ones who fell away, or do you seek the actions of the ones who obeyed?
Next time we will leave Hebrew words and seek to understand some of the most frequently asked questions about our daily living out of the Word of God. Let me leave you with this final thought on salvation. In the book of Mattityahu (Matthew) it is written, "But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved." The focus of this verse should not be whether one can "lose" their salvation or "once saved, always saved". This comment means what it has always meant. Those who endured are those who trusted in YHVH's right arm to rescue them, saved them from their enemies and turned their eyes upon Yeshua'!
Shalom Alecheim! ◊