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salvation

Scriptural Salvation

by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
(Ephesians 2:12)


And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest ." Exodus 33:14

"For thus says YHVH, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved ." Isaiah 30:15

"Lead me in your Truth and teach me, for you are the Elohim of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long." Psalm 25:5

What is "salvation"? What does it mean to "be saved"? Most think they know what these words mean because of what they have heard from someone they knew and trusted. But, how many of us have actually researched the words from the Hebraic perspective they were written in? Words mean things and, if we are to build our faith upon a firm foundation we need to know for ourselves what these words say and mean - not what traditional religion tells us they mean. If we are to truly understand what the authors of these words were trying to convey we need to constantly be reminded that ALL of the books contained in the Book were written by Hebrews out of a Hebrew mindset influenced by their Hebrew culture that contained a Hebrew perspective. These men were not writing thesis' to some future audience but were primarily addressing their contemporary Hebrew brethren. So, when we look at the words used for "saved", "salvation" or "deliverance" - they need to be approached from the same perspective as the men who wrote them and their perspective was influenced by the verses from above (among others) which say it is in the Presence of YHVH by which we find rest and are saved and that, besides YHVH, there is no other savior.

WHAT? I thought "being saved" meant having "eternal life" from being "born again"
by my acceptance of "Jesus Christ" as my personal Lord and Savior!!

While that is the proper mantra according to the popular Christian religious tradition - the words of scripture tell us something quite different. To begin with, there is no scripture telling people to accept "Jesus" as their personal savior so they can "go to heaven". Scripture does not designate "heaven" as a place but, rather, as a higher a state of being (click on highlighted words to view content). If you believe Yeshua came so that we would worship Him then you are following the tradition of men - not the words of scripture. All of these Hebrew authors of the Messianic Writings (NT) knew that there was only ONE Elohim (not three as one). Yeshua came as the Messiah, the Kinsman Redeemer of Israel - not another "god of mankind" to worship.

"...but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior ..." Titus 1:3

This text leads to a rather perplexing theological problem. Christians are taught that Paul was under the command of Yeshua the Messiah and that his authority came from the Anointed One. Therefore, the teaching goes that it is "Jesus" who saves. What can Paul possibly mean when he clearly says that our God (that is, YHVH) is the Savior? He certainly makes a distinction between "our God" and the Messiah in verse one. He does not say that the Messiah saves us or that the Messiah is our God. He uses the Greek theos, a word never attributed to Yeshua. In fact, there can be no doubt whatsoever that theos is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew El and Elohim, the One true God of Israel, used hundreds of times in the apostolic writings and the LXX. So, when Paul defines his authority with regard to the proclamation of the good news of the Kingdom and the role of the Messiah, he uses the phrase soteros theou. It is properly translated as two genitive nouns. The first is our Savior. The second, even though it is in the final position in the Greek sentence, is also a genitive (possessive) modifying the noun soteros. Therefore, it is "of God," and the whole phrase is "of God our Savior." The text clearly states that Paul's authority comes from a command (epitagen) of God our Savior.

the Words of Life
Now, if Paul's preaching is all about the news of the Messiah, if all he wishes to know is the power of the resurrection - wouldn't you expect him to claim that his authority rests on the sacrificial work of Yeshua? Then why would Paul, of all people, defer to an authority fully contained in the Tanakh (OT) - absolutely in concert with the one God proclaimed by Moses? If Paul was given his commission by Yeshua following his blindness on the Damascus road, then why would Paul suggest that it was YHVH who commanded him? And here is where it gets perplexing - some interpreters have drawn the conclusion that Yeshua must be YHVH and that's why Paul can use the two interchangeably. But, this is not the case found in the writings of the apostle. Paul never uses theos of Yeshua nor christos of YHVH - Paul does not interchange the Greek terms. But he certainly recognizes two different roles, doesn't he? How in the world can he do this if he really thinks that Yeshua and YHVH are the same being in essence and existence? Perhaps Paul is not aware of Christian Trinitarian theology because he clearly views his authority originating with the God of Israel. This means that we should find what we need to know about the God who saves in the Tanakh, the same scriptures Paul had. We should find what we need to know about Yeshua the Messiah in the same scriptures - that was the point of the conversation on the road to Emmaus.

Where confusion has set in is over the use of the English phrase "the LORD" and "GOD" appearing in modern bibles that have replaced the name YaHoVeH which appears over 2500 times in scripture but not once does it show up in any of our modern translations. The scripture quoted from Isaiah 43:11 above is the actual reading of the Hebrew text without the English replacement phrase. Why would that be except there is a deliberate agenda at work to expunge the very Name by which we are to be saved? Replacement Theology is more insidious than simply "hating Jews". Replacement Theology is the attempt to purge the Roman religion called "Christianity" from the Hebraic nature of the scriptures in order to set up "Jesus Christ" as a new god to worship. However, any focus on the Son as the object of worship would have been immediately rejected by any Hebrew of the day - even Yeshua as we shall see. Except for Thomas' single declaration, we always find the Hebrew Messiah, Yeshua, pointing us to His Hebrew Father for everything - and that single errant declaration by a disciple does not override all other scripture stating otherwise. In fact, every book in the newer Messianic Writings all contain a distinction between the Father and the Son in their opening salutations. Yeshua never says to worship Him but, rather, to worship the Father, to pray to the Father, to ask the Father in His Name. His statements that the only good One is YHVH, the only One to serve is YHVH and that YHVH is greater than Yeshua resonate with His understanding of Who is Salvation - YaHoVeH. Yeshua is always positioned in scripture in relation to the Father, not the other way around. Yeshua never claims credit for Himself but follows the path of the obedient servant - not the victorious king. "If you have seen Me…" presupposes an understanding of the work and love of YHVH. What if, in following the pronoun usage, the all-too-familiar text should actually be translated, "YHVH as the Giver is the One we must believe"? The question put to the Family of YHVH during the Life of Yeshua was not, "do you believe Yeshua is a god?" but, rather, whether they would accept Yeshua as the promised Messiah of Israel sent to restore the Kingdom of YHVH to that family.

If we are not careful, we will find ourselves worshipping our own Nehushtan - the conduit of Life fashioned out of the tradition-think that has been handed down to us instead of Life Himself. Let us, instead, look simply at what the words of scripture unfold before us. Yeshua gave Himself as the Kinsman Redeemer to YHVH's family of Israel that the Father's Kingdom might be restored as it was in the beginning (Luke 4:43). Attempting to explain in purely "Christian" terms that have been separated from what these Hebrews (looking at their world from a Hebrew perspective) were referring to separates us from the Root of the family of Israel, causing us to lose our sense of bearing and end up elevating a mischaracterized Pauline Religion over the Words of the One we claim to follow. That religion, over the centuries, has become distorted and distant from what the words on the page actually tell us about the Essence, the Nature and Character of this One True Elohim of Israel. The fact that it is popular does not overrule the Truth of Who YHVH says He is. The testimony of the Life of Yeshua IS the spirit of prophecy (the spoken oracles of YHVH). Thus, His Words and Life are the benchmark by which we measure everything - including all other scripture (Revelation 19:10b, Arrows of Famine). What this means is that if what we think is Truth is not found in His Life or Words, at the very least it should be held highly suspect until the Father grants us understanding - and Yeshua said that His Words were not His but the Words of His Father. Understanding what constitutes the Nature of the Present Presence and then remaining in, residing or living in the Presence of YHVH becomes our Salvation. We come into His Presence both in Spirit and in Truth - not forsaking one for the other (1Samuel 15:22, John 10:27-29, John 4:24). Scripture is merely a validation that what we are hearing spoken by His Spirit is truly of Him. Scripture has been given as an instruction manual to teach us of the Essence of the Father that we might clearly understand who we are hearing and then conform ourselves in such a manner as to remain in His Presence and find rest unto our soul by learning of the Source of Life found in the demonstration of that Life exhibited by Yeshua. That is our salvation. So, in light of this understanding, let us see what the words actually say concerning these traditions we have been taught about - salvation, being saved and eternal life.

drowning

...rescued from drowning
Unless you understand what that word "saved" actually means, the question, "Are you saved?" doesn't make much sense. Saved from what? To "be saved" or "to save" in the Greek is sozo and means to rescue, to save one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health. There is nothing in this definition concerning a place called "heaven". It is translated in John 12:47 as "save" and Romans 10:9 as "saved". We could all answer the question if it was, "Did someone rescue you from death?" That is a yes or no question. If you were drowning and someone pulled you out of the water, you would know right away that you had been saved. Once we see that the first meaning of the word sozo is to be rescued, we can conclude that sozo means to protect, to keep alive and to deliver. The Bible tells us that, if we are going to remain in Life, we need to be rescued from the consequences of sin - which is death. Anything that separates us from the Source of Life is death. It is from this Hebraic understanding that Sha'ul (the Hebrew apostle Paul) is able to say in Romans 8:2 that, "…the law of the Spirit of Life demonstrated in Yeshua haMashiach (the Messiah) has set you free from the law of sin and death" - and Yeshua says it is His Father's Words that allow us to remain in the Presence of YHVH where we find rest and are saved. Salvation is not an admission ticket to a place called "heaven". If Yeshua is going to save His people from their sins, He will have to rescue them out of the death of separation from their rightful inheritance and the misery that was bound to follow. Salvation has nothing to do with heaven. It is all about staying alive. If you thought you were saved in order to get a heavenly gate pass, you missed the point. To "be saved" means a rescue of people who are in deep, deep trouble. They are not just drowning but are already dead. Unless YHVH shows up with Life, they will remain dead. They need salvation because they need to live again. The purpose of Yeshua was to restore the relationship of YHVH's family as it was in the beginning.

Does this mean we must convert to the religion of Judaism in order to receive salvation? No. Sha'ul (the apostle Paul) makes this point clear in Galatians - but he is only repeating what was written in the Tanakh (OT) concerning any who would come to this Elohim of Israel (Isaiah 56:6-8). Whoever comes to Him, however, must receive Him for Who He says He Is - the Elhim of Israel - not the god of mankind. Yeshua was saying to the Gentile woman at the well that those seeking the Source of Salvation will find that it comes from a relationship, an intimacy and a connection with this particular Hebrew Elohim of Israel - the Source of Life (Romans 8:14-17, of the Ephesians 2:18-22). The Hebrew word for "life" comes from the root word chayah which means to live, have life, sustain life, live prosperously, be quickened, be alive, be restored to life or health (from where the Greek sozo explored earlier takes its meaning). But as far back as Numbers 31:15 that same Hebrew word, chayah, is also translated as "saved'. To "be saved" is to have life. Yeshua said to have Life is to keep the Words of the Father. The Greek word for "Salvation" in John 4:22 is soteria, meaning deliverance from molestation. "Deliverance" also is used in the Hebrew primarily as teshuw'ah which means salvation, deliverance. It is used in 1Chronicles 11:14 as "deliverance", and in 2Chronicles 6:41 and Psalm 37:39 as "salvation". Thus, we see that the definitions for both "salvation" and "deliverance" are interchangeable - in either language. To be delivered IS salvation. To "be saved" IS real deliverance that truly sets us free from physical bondages. When we are "saved" we can expect the robust Nature of Life to be evident within our physical bodies and the demons of darkness that have "bitten" us will be dispelled because of the Power found in the Presence of His Spirit. This is the Life Yeshua spoke of. So, why is it that real healing and deliverance are not evidently seen among the westernized religion of Christianity when a person is supposedly "saved"? Could it be that by separating themselves from the Words found in the Original Writings, they have become separated from the instructions contained in those Words that allow us to remain in the Presence of the Source of Life? Something tangibly manifested itself to those Hebrews assembled on Yom Shavu'ot (day of Pentecost) that caused 3,000 to immediately embrace what they were witnessing and a few days later, another 5000 (there were no Gentiles present during this occurance)? It wasn't solely because of Peter's preaching. Before their eyes, they witnessed an extraordinary manifestation of restoration in the physical lives of those 120 who had waited on Yeshua as He had instructed. As these few were being filled with the Presence of YHVH, so extraordinary was this occurrence in the physical that it created a desire in those watching to want some of that. If this salvation were to be manifest in our bodies as true healing, why would we find it necessary to embrace the "other" medical pole of snakes instead of the one Moshe (Moses) lifted up and Yeshua likened Himself to in John 3? Could it be that we have somehow separated ourselves from the Source of that Life by not knowing YHVH just for Who He says He Is and, thus, by the theological tradition men would have us adhere to, have negated, made void, brought to none effect the Power found in the Holy One of Israel? This is not theology being spoken of here - this is LIFE. And the Source of that Life, scripture tells us, is only found in One Place - YHVH, with Yeshua as the conduit for that Life (Genesis 2:7-8, 1John 5:6-12 - see what it means to be Born Again).

"You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know,
for salvation is of the Jews." John 4:22

"And this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true Elohim,
and Yeshua haMashiach whom You have sent." John 17:3

Did you notice in these two passages how Yeshua made a distinction between salvation and eternal life? Yeshua (which means salvation in Hebrew) made this distinction when He said that salvation comes from the family of YHVH. The Greek text reads ek ton 'Ioudaion, literally "out of the Judeans" (a common idiom for 'Jews'). As referenced earlier, the Greek word for salvation is soteria and means "deliverance from molestation". Yeshua is saying to the Samaritan woman at the well that deliverance (salvation) comes out of the Jews - that salvation has its source and its existence out of YHVH's relationship and involvement with His Hebrew family. It is to His People, His Hebrew family, that YHVH has revealed His Essence, His Nature and Character. To no one else on the face of the planet, ever, has He said, "These are My People." This is why Yeshua, being Hebrew and keenly understanding this dynamic, was constantly pointing people back to the Father of this family. Just as a child growing up in a family, we learn what the Father expects by being involved with the other members of the family. What He expects was handed to His Family in the form of the Ten Words contained in the Torah. To become a member of His Family means to keep His Words.
the Words of Life

...the Words of Life
Our "salvation" comes from being in the Presence of YHVH. When we remember that all of the books of the Book were written by Hebrews from a strictly Hebraic perspective influenced by Hebrew culture, we find there are only two categories of people contained in scripture - Hebrews and others. These others are called Gentiles - defined as those from other nations who worship gods other than the Holy One of Israel. The term "Gentile believer" is oxymoronic and does not exist in a Hebrew world view. When a Gentile or foreigner (someone from outside the family, from another nation) becomes adopted or grafted into YHVH's Hebrew family of Israel by observance of the standards set by the Father (keeping the Sabbath, etc., from the Ten Words), it has always been the case that he is to be treated no differently from those naturally born into the family. When "saved" from a Gentile background, we are brought into YHVH's family that maintains a higher standard of Life than the rest of the world with YHVH as the Father. So, when a Gentile abandons the multiple gods of any society and "comes to faith" in YHVH, the One True God of Israel, he is considered a Hebrew convert - and becomes "saved" through his relationship with YHVH. We are presented with the opportunity to become as He is and to grow, like a child in a family, in the knowledge of Who the Father is by "putting on" (wearing) the higher standard of the Life the elder brother (the Hebrew Messiah) presents to us (Romans 13:14, John 1:12-13). The Essence of YHVH's Presence is revealed in the instructions He has given to His family. He has appointed His Son to show us how those instructions are to be lived out. Being brought up and fashioned into His Likeness is not an consequence of some verbalization but necessitates time in His Presence to understand Who this Presence is. An impartation of His Life into ours is not an instant osmosis but is the result of a deliberate choice of action on our part to embrace Who He has revealed Himself to BE - not who we want Him to be.

Yeshua said to have eternal life IS to know, to be intimate in relationship with, the One Who is the Source of Life and lives, abides in eternity. When does eternity begin? Right NOW. To be in the Present Presence of Life right NOW IS eternal life. It is interesting to note that when asked the question, "…how do I obtain eternal life?" curiously, Yeshua pointed to the Ten Commandments contained in Torah. In the four places the gospels record His response to being asked directly how to obtain eternal life His response was the same - to keep the commandments given by Moses in the Torah. He even repeated them so there would be no misunderstanding as to which ones He was referring. How can that be if His purpose was to "do away" with the commandments of the law as has been drummed into us? Apparently, Yeshua thought there is something we must actually DO to conform ourselves to, in order to obtain, lay hold of this eternal life He spoke about. Could it be, could the correlation be made, that these things spoken of in the Ten Commandments are the things of Spirit - of Life? In other words, redemption means accepting the provision that the Elohim of Israel offers and joining His Kingdom - not dictating to Him who we think He ought to be. Salvation isn't going to be found anywhere else because salvation is out of the family of YHVH. Salvation is being able to access His Presence through the manner given to that family. If I become a member of YHVH's chosen people by adoptive naturalization, then I join a community that has been dealing with Him for thousands of years. My orientation toward life shifts toward the instructions YHVH gives for His family. My paradigm moves. I delight in the difference it affords me because it is the difference the Source of Life directs. Now the whole God becomes my God, the whole Bible becomes my book because I am part of the family. My life is altered by my manner of behavior in embracing the manner of Life He has shown to me. The Torah becomes a "born again" way of life. I am "saved" into the family of Israel's Righteous One - no longer a Gentile.

the Salvation Series
Part One: Scriptural Salvation
Part Two: Grafted In
Part Three: the Book Of Life

"Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?" And Yeshua said to him, if you would enter life, keep the commandments. The young man said to him, "Which ones?" And Yeshua said, "You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Matthew 19:16-19

???Questions???
Please feel free to email me at harold@hethathasanear.com. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.
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