by Brad Scott
One of the most oft quoted New Testament passages I hear when I get caught obeying the commandments of God, is in Ephesians:
Ephesians 2:8-9For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
We often talk about grace in a very Pavlovian way, for it is easy when we see someone observing "Jewish feasts" to respond with "...we are not under the law, but under grace..." If we look up the abstract word grace in a typical Greek lexicon we generally get more abstract and emotional definitions like favor, benefit, acceptable, or gratitude. This Greek word is translated from the Hebrew chen (חן), which in our modern Hebrew lexicons means something very similar. Favor, mercy and pleasant come to mind. The ancient pictograhic and concrete meaning of this word however, paints a more recognizable hands on and germane meaning. The parent root of this word is chet and nun. This fundamental father root means to protect life. It’s concrete picture is found in it’s common use as a tent which is pitched in the wilderness.
Mizmor 34:7The angel of YHVH encampeth [chanah] round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
Divre-Hayamim Bet (2 Chronicles) 31:2And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents [chanah] of YHVH.
Yo’el (Joel) 2:11And YHVH shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp [chanah] is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of YHVH is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
Zekareyah (Zechariah) 12:7YHVH also shall save the tents [chanah] of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.
Our Father’s desire from the fall of Adam and Chavah is to restore His people to His tent, to His abode, to His house. His grace is to woo us out of our tents and back into His tent. I propose that from the beginning in the same way that there is really only one body, one spirit, one God and Father of all, there is also only one tent. When His people were divided and scattered in the days of Solomon, our Father’s heart was set to reunite His people into His camp. One fold with one Shepherd all walking in His ways. This is why the rest of Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:10 are so important.
Ephesians 2:10For we are his workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua’ unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊