There is a common teaching that there are different ways of being saved during different eras of time with “works” of sacrifice in the Old Testament required for pre-Christian salvation and work-free gift of grace for Christians.
If we stick with a hermeneutical analysis of the Bible we see that there has always been just one way of being saved from sin and its consequences – put your faith in the word of YHVH Creator to the first generation of humans that he would provide a human Savior, the Seed of the Woman.
“the faith grounded and settled…the hope of the gospel, which…was preached to every creature which is under heaven…to fulfil the word of God:” (Colossians 1:22-25)
How could the gospel, which we currently understand as being the essence of Christianity, have been “preached to every creature which is under heaven,” even during the first century of Christianity?
And what about the clear statements in the New Testament, such as:
“by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:10-12)
Doesn’t that make Christianity an exclusive club?
Not if we understand and apply the etymology.
Yeshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus. It means “Yahweh is Salvation…” The Bible doesn’t give preeminence to one language (or translation) over another. We are not commanded to call upon the name of the Lord exclusively in Hebrew [or English]. Nor does it matter how we pronounce his name…
Acts 2:21 says, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (ESV).
The letter J wasn’t even added to the English alphabet until after the first publication of the King James Bible in 1611, replacing I or Y when it was used. Now, who would want to confuse the name of YHVH’s Savior?
Interesting that the name Isaiah, or יְשַׁעְ- יָה means Yah is Salvation. “A remarkable feature of the name Isaiah is that it consists of the same two elements as the name Joshua (יהו- שע) the Hebrew…name for Jesus”, just in reverse order.”
Jesus Christ himself and his disciples relied on Isaiah’s prophecies to validate him as the ultimate YHVH’s Savior. This should cause us to to understand that our faith rests on the manifestation of YHVH / Immortal Creator however he chooses, not on a religious creed.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power,” (Hebrews 1:1-3)
“Then they that feared the LORD / YHVH / Creator spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” (Malachi 3:16-18)
According to Malachi, people in other cultures around the world, separated by space-time from the New Testament, who never heard “the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth”, never heard that he was “crucified, whom God raised from the dead”, are saved.
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it…And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works…And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15
Of all the works found written in the books, the one that matters most is our faith in Creators God’s gift of life. A reality-based / right / right-eous relationship with God is based on faith – believing and acting in accordance with the evidence that he is the Creator and we are his creation who can only live through sustained connection with the source of life.
This will come as a shock to the “name it and claim it” Christians who think praying a prayer is all that it takes, then you can go about your business as it suits you.
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?…Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God…Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (James 2)
“Now faith is the substance / reality of things hoped for / expected in the future, the evidence of / proof, indisputable premise as used in geometry to deduce things not seen…
Through faith – evidence of designer and sustainer – we understand that the worlds were framed / formed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh…But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1-6)
This passage is not defining faith as blind belief. It is not the opposite of believing science’s or philosophy’s or religion’s claims of unproven “evidence”. It is true science – making a logical deduction about things we can’t see from what we can see. Faith in a Creator, therefore powerful, life-giving and sustaining God, is based on the evidence of intelligent design in creation, available to everyone whether they have read a word of the Bible or not. The existence of religion throughout all cultures and time as worship and dependence on spiritual beings more powerful than humans is evidence of humanity’s innate consciousness of right and wrong,
“The just shall live by faith…For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;” (Romans 1:17-20)
“the judgment of God is according to truth…Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil…For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of thelaw are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these…shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another😉 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men. (Romans 2:2-16)
The opposite of faith in God’s revelation of his power and desire to bless us is not science. It is schizophrenia – AKA insanity by laymen – demonstrably inaccurate conviction in one’s own perception of reality, which bottoms out to utter arrogant rebellion against all authoritative explanations of reality in both spiritual and physical domains.
Well then, Richard Dawkins, if the Bible is just fiction and the God of Abraham is just an invented character, why do you make it your life’s work to discredit him? Your capriciously malevolent biased tirades against the Abrahamic God who only demanded sacrifice of his own Son rather than other historical gods who demanded massive numbers of human sacrifices underscores how unqualified you are to give an opinion, let alone hold a chair in a university.
YHVH’s name forever, his permanent memorial establishing his identity, is that he is the Creator God / Source of Life of Adam and Eve, and that this is the basis for future generations to trust in his word.
Like any memorable story passed down for generations and millennia, their lives were legendary for overcoming insurmountable problems through the power of God.
And unlike the stories of Marduk and Horus, theirs were demonstrably true, as were those of their children – followers, nation – of Isr-El – the Prince of the God El – lived among their pagan neighbors. Their lives and histories were an open book. They were chosen by El, not to be pampered, but to suffer like their pagan neighbors suffered who were brutalized by their demon theocracies, in order to demonstrate the saving power of their uniquely merciful, loving and right-acting God. They were the People Chosen to be a beacon of light in a dark night, a lighthouse marking the path to safety in the storm.
And faith in action speaks so much louder than words, and reverberates throughout eternity. More on this in later posts, but this is absolutely key to understanding God’s identity so just hold that thought for now. Certainly God establishes this trail of thought.
- “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
- Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out (Mesopotamia, the glories of Babel/Babylon), they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
- By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
- Buy faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau [warring brothers] concerning things to come.
- By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. [after his entire family had been forced to emigrate from the promised land and were refugees in the World Empire claiming dominion over that neighboring territory.]” (Hebrews 11:11-21)
The Exodus is not just a fascinating story. It takes up four entire books for a reason. It is the seminal redemption event that drives all the rest of human history. More on this in a later post. For now, just focus that when God finally revealed his secret name to Israel’s children / descendants / tribe, the circumstances proved that
- invoking the name does establish a relationship,
- and that believing in the name does grant access to power over humanly insolvable problems and even death,
- which must be acted upon in faith to achieve salvation.
“Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh…I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them.
- And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
- And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.
- Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:” (Exodus 6:1-6)
“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:7-12)