..."saved" - rescued from drowning
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?" Yeshua answered him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. And THE WORD THAT YOU HEAR IS NOT MINE BUT THE FATHER'S who sent me." John 14:21-24
How many books do you read where you start at the back, at the ending, and read backwards to the front? Probably not too many. You might skip to the back to quickly see the ending, but not to gain comprehension of what the author is trying to convey - and, yet, that is exactly the way most are taught to begin with the bible. Most start with the apostle Sha'ul (the Hebrew apostle Paul - or worse, the Book of Revelation), using his words to look back into scripture for an explanation of Yeshua and, subsequently, the Father; instead of starting at the beginning of the Book with the Initiator, the Father, to see how His Words culminated in Yeshua, the Son, who ONLY SPOKE HIS FATHER'S WORDS and, who only after His Resurrection, revealed Himself to Sha'ul, the disciple, who, because of his training in the words of the Father, was able to recognize Yeshua as the Son of the Father. There is much to be learned from Sha'ul's writings - but his words did not replace the words of Yeshua any more than Yeshua's words replaced the words of the Father. If we clear away the centuries of men's traditions piled upon Sha'ul's words and look at them simply for what those words say and mean, we will find that he is presenting an argument upholding the words of the Father - not repudiating them (Romans 2:13). If we look at scripture from the beginning of the Book to the end, instead of starting at the end and going backwards to the front, everything Sha'ul says is in complete harmony with everything anyone has written in the Book before him - and, from which, he frequently draws upon to substantiate what he is presenting. To start at the beginning of the Book - what a novel concept! (read about Perspective).
For instance, 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 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.
Should we balance all scripture? Absolutely, but the fulcrum of balance should be the apex of Truth. Yeshua is the fulfillment of the Truth of the Father in the flesh (John 14:6). Since He is the embodiment of Truth, the Life of Yeshua should be the benchmark by which everything is measured - including other scripture (Revelation 19:10b - see also Arrows of Famine). What Christianity has done for centuries is to draw conclusions from what is read in the epistles through a "Greek-think" filter by starting at back of the Book and then projecting those conclusions upon the words of the Tenakh (OT) - thereby changing their meaning. To approach those words, stripped of their Hebrew perspective, as though they were written for an audience 2000 years in the future is disingenuous. That is called eisegisis (reading into the text) - the opposite of exegisis (reading out of the text). Words mean things. Let the words speak for themselves and draw your conclusions from what they actually say and mean. Enthroning the words of the Hebrew Paul above and to the exclusion of the very words recorded of what Yeshua said and the Father spoke is how we have come to worship this "New Pauline Religion" called "Christianity" authored by the "greatest of all the apostles" (of which scripture does not refer to him). Instead of simply heeding the words given to us by the Creator to reveal the difference between "us" and Him, we have embraced a tradition that essentially neuters Who He says He is by portraying Him as something apart from His Character and then we wonder why we can find no Power in those words or the actions of those who claim adherence to those words - why so many professing believers "suddenly" just fall into an abyss (2Timothy 3:5). They fall away because they have no bearing, no compass, no standard by which to navigate this thing called "life". Religious tradition, in any of its various forms, does not produce LIFE.
|"For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has Himself given me a commandment - what to say and what to speak. And I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me ." John 12:49-50|
So, then - what is LIFE? Yeshua says in John 17:3 says that eternal life is in knowing the Father and the One Whom He sent. There are those who say that you cannot separate the two - that the Father IS the Son. I disagree because Yeshua did. Are they One? Yeshua said they were - but, yet, He was speaking to Someone Else further along in John 17:6-12 when He prayed that they (the twelve) be One in Whoever He was speaking to JUST AS He (Yeshua) was One in Him - that means in like manner. Well, there goes the "Catholic Trinity Godhead" theology (this is true - a little historical research will reveal its origin) because now we have not One in Three - but One in Fourteen. And He didn't stop there. He went on to pray to "Whomever" that not only they (the twelve) be One in the Father just as, in like manner, He is One in the Father; but, also, that all those who would believe on their words also be One in the Father just as, in like manner, He is One in the Father. Now we have One in "Innumerable" (John 17:20-23). Every epistle in the New Testament begins with a phrase extending some sort of a greeting "from YHVH, our Father, AND the Son, Yeshua haMashiach (the Messiah)". These guys knew there was a distinguishable difference between the two. Maybe our concept of what "One" means needs a little "tweaking."
The question then becomes, OK, if knowing Them IS eternal LIFE - HOW do I come to know Them? What is it, practically, I must DO to KNOW Them? There is a difference between meeting someone, becoming introduced to someone, and relationally coming to know them. There are those Yeshua did not recognize because He said He did not KNOW them. When Yeshua was specifically asked HOW to obtain eternal life, He responded one way - to keep the commandments of the Father. He even repeated those commandments so there would not be any misunderstanding as to which ones He was speaking of (Matthew 19:16-22, Luke 10:25-28, also Mark 10:17-21, Luke 18:18-22). This is the kind of knowing He referred us to - having to do with our behavior. Even when He healed someone, His instruction was to follow the commandments set forth by Moses (Matthew 8:4). How can this be if His purpose was to "do away" with the commandments of the law - as has been traditionally drummed into us for so long (see what is the Curse of the Law)? Apparently, Yeshua thought there is something we must actually DO to conform ourselves to, in order to obtain, to lay hold of this 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? (see how Life=Light).
...listening to Yeshua's Words
So, what does it mean to know someone? If asked to describe how you know your best friend and you respond with phrases such as he/she is "honest" or "kind" or "generous" or "patient" or "they love me no matter what" among others, you are describing the result of watching their behavior. You are describing the "character" of that person. The dictionary describes character as "an attribute or a quality of behavior that defines a person". Other people's perception of your displayed character, your manner of behavior, is what goes into giving you a reputation - either positively or negatively. Abraham Lincoln said, "Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree." Our character is not just what we try to display for others to see - it is also who we are even when no one is watching. Our character is who we are. Good character is doing the right thing because it is right to do what is right. How are we supposed to know what is right? Does right-thinking just float down upon us or swell up from within us? If that were the case, then why is there so much evil perpetrated "in the name of Jesus" as the "right" thing to do? Even Hitler presented his behavior as "Christian". And who is the final authority on what is right? Most of what we have come to embrace as "right" has been taught to us by others. To look to the religious tradition of men for that answer only seems to uphold the verse in Proverbs 21:2 that says that without some standard to measure behavior by, "every way of a man is right in his own eyes".
The Ten Commandments (not the nine commandments) are the revealed Character of this Person of the Book. They are what define His Character. They tell us Who He Is when no one else is looking. They are Truth because they are unwavering in any and all circumstances - they never change just as He never changes. They are the definition of what sets Him apart from the rest of the world. The rest of the ordinances in the Book of the Covenant are merely applications of these 10 commandments to specific situations. What they all have in common is a demonstration in behavior of the Character of LIFE - which is a giving up of life in order to bring Life out of death. It is Love that seeks the benefit of another at cost to the one who loves. This is what Yeshua exemplified with His Life (Philippians 2:3-5). This is why Yeshua said that it is upon these two elements of YHVH's Character that all the rest of the law HANG (Matthew 22:37-40). He did not say they were "done away with" - He said they were "fulfilled" (Matthew 5:17-19 - see what it means to have something Fulfilled). The rest of the commandments draw from the core Essence of His Nature contained in these two. Yeshua KNEW the Essence of the Father because He embraced the defining elements of the Father's Character - He kept His Words, His Commandments as did Abraham (John 8:55, Genesis 26:4-5). IF (a big little word) we are in a true pursuit of His Presence - we will do the same. These commandments will not be grievous to us because, by our embrace of them, they bring forth LIFE - revealing in us Who He Is (1John 5:3). I keep His Commandments because I love Him. My manner of behavior is indicative of my love - just ask any wife if this is not so.
...the Ten Words of the Father
"You make known to me the path of Life; in Your Presence there is fullness of joy..."|
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.