Salvation from Genesis to Revelation Part 3

So far in this presentation on salvation, we have looked at the history of salvation in the Tanach (Old Testament) and watched it progress into the Brit Chadashah (New Testament).

We’ve seen that people were saved from their enemies and eventually from their own sin which was leading them on a path of destruction and death.

We saw that the work of salvation (referring to the original Passover and deliverance from Egypt) was a past event…. that allowed the mixed multitude to enter the covenant; if salvation hadn’t happened, they could not have entered into the covenant.

We also saw that the work of salvation is a future event when Yeshua will deal with His and Israel’s enemies.  Until that happens, we can’t enter the world to come (ha-olam habba)..

In this 3rd part of the presentation on salvation we are going to look at how to enter the covenant because…the original Passover Lamb was a type of the death of the Passover Lamb (Yeshua).

And just as the mixed multitude entered into the original covenant with YHVH, we must enter the new covenant.

In part 4, we will eventually look at several patterns that demonstrate the full plan of YHVH’s salvation.

Remember, God always operates in patterns.

Personally, I think patterns help us:

  • To see the consistency of the work of YHVH over time, even when opposition takes place;
  • To be confident that what has been passed down to us is reliable.
  • To see the purpose (significance) of certain obscure commandments, statutes, and judgments.

We need to bear in mind that when comparing and contrasting patterns:

  • They can show opposition (the opposite of what is expected happens) because of the personal choices of the participants.
  • They can have a corporate or individual midrash (application).

Let’s look at the pattern of the Passover:

Passover

Slavery in Egypt Slavery to Sin

Sin can refer to our 3 enemies: the world, our flesh, and Satan’s kingdom (Satan and his demons).

This can be referred to as spiritual Egypt.

Passover lamb or goat Yeshua, the Lamb of God
Delivered from Egypt with a mighty hand and outstretched arm. Delivered us from sin with a mighty hand and outstretched arm on the cross.
Mixed multitude came to Mount Sinai; cleansed and set-apart themselves; and entered the covenant. We must come to a point of decision; cleanse and set-apart ourselves; and enter the covenant.

 

Salvation exists in two stages:

  1. The first is defined as being saved (BEING TURNED AWAY) from your sins, being saved from your enemies, and/or being saved from destruction.
  2. The second is defined as being preserved for the kingdom of God; this is a by-product or result of trusting YHVH and obeying the law.

Salvation is therefore a blessing of abiding by the covenant; which is working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  Once the first stage takes place, we must enter YHVH’s covenant.  We must live a lifestyle of faith by obeying YHVH’s commandments.

As we think about salvation, we need to understand what Paul was saying in Romans 10.  Paul said:  “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved (sotarian).”  Paul is wanting and praying for the lost people of Israel to be preserved for God’s kingdom.”  According to verses 2-3, Israel had a zeal for God but they were attempting to establish their own righteousness instead of submitting to the righteousness of God.  I strongly believe this is referring to their oral traditions and/or living liked they pleased, and not living the written Torah.

For us today, everyone is doing what they consider to be acceptable in their own eyes; they are attempting to establish their own righteousness while ignoring how God defines his righteousness.

This is not an option for God’s people.

Paul continues his discourse in Romans 10 by quoting from Leviticus 18:5 and Deuteronomy 30:12-14.

Our English translations of a few Greek words in Romans 10:5-8 mislead us to believe Paul is talking about two different things but he’s not. He mentioned:

  • The Righteousness which is of the law (written by Moses);
  • The Righteousness which is of faith (which is described by Moses in Deuteronomy 30:12-14)

In Romans 10:4-8, I am making some substitutions for a couple of Greek words.

  • NKJ Romans 10:4-5 “For (gar) Christ is the end (fulfillment, goal) of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.  For (gar) Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, ‘The man who does those things shall live by them.’”
  • NKJ  Romans 10:6-7 But (de; Moreover,) the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”
    • Verse 6 begins with the Greek word de. Most English versions translate de as “but;” however, it can and should be translated “moreover” since he’s about to quote Moses.
  • NKJ Romans 10:8 But (alla; Moreover,) what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach)”:
    • Verse 8 begins with the Greek word alla. In this instance, alla is an ascensive transition and also should be translated as “moreover.”  Since our English translations use the word “but” in both instances we incorrectly assume the righteousness of the law is different from the righteousness of faith.

In this quote, Paul does not feel the need to point out the rest of Deuteronomy 30:14 which says “…that you may do it.”

Now let’s continue with verse 9:  “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Yeshua and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (sothasa; future, passive, indicative).”

This sounds simple enough.  We need to ask ourselves, “Is this all I need to do to enter the covenant?”  If we are interested in the truth, we need to take more into account than just a single verse.

We need to investigate this some more. Let’s compare this with what Rahab did to be sure.

 

 

Rahab

Jews & Gentiles

Blood of the Covenant Joshua 2:18

The scarlet cord in the window symbolized the blood of the Passover Lamb. (Remez = hint)

Matthew 26:28; John 19:34

The cup of wine symbolized the blood of Yeshua, the Passover Lamb; & the new covenant.

Hear, Believe, and Confess Joshua 2:11

H – Rahab heard…

B– YHVH has given you the land (believed the works of YHVH).

C– YHVH your God, He is God in heaven and on earth beneath.

Rom. 10:9, 17; Philip. 2:11; John 20:31

H– We must hear…

B– God raised Yeshua from the dead (believe the works of YHVH).

C– Adonai Yeshua; Yeshua is Adonai (Lord); He is Messiah, He is the Son of God.

 

The Blood of the Covenant is required for salvation to take place.

In Joshua 2:18 we see that Rahab placed a scarlet cord in her window.  Without her realizing it, this became the symbol of the blood of the Passover Lamb that had marked the homes of God’s people the night YHVH passed over them and killed the Egyptians.  Thematically, the scarlet cord and the blood of the Passover Lamb are used the same way.  This signal was used to identify the house that was to be passed over when the army came to destroy Jericho.

 

Hearing, believing, and confession are also required for salvation to take place.

WHAT WAS HEARD

Joshua 2:10-11 – Rahab told the spies:  For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you…”

BELIEF

Joshua 2:9 – She also said: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.”

CONFESSION

Joshua 2:11b – “for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”

 

For Jews and Gentiles alike, the cup of wine that the disciples drank at Yeshua’s last meal was the blood of the new covenant.  It symbolized the blood of Yeshua, the Passover Lamb.  We drink it in remembrance of what He did for us.

Just as Rahad heard bad news, we must HEAR good news; we now have opposition in the pattern.  This is why Paul says…

Romans 10:17 – “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Romans 10:14-15 – How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”

Just as Rahab confessed something, we must make a CONFESSION

Romans 10:9  — “that if you confess with your mouth Yeshua HaMashiach and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

[You should confess who He is: He’s Adonai Yeshua (the cornerstone; Lamb of God; Messiah; Son of God), and you should confess what He does:  He saves]

Romans 10:12-13 – For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever (whether Jew or Greek) calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Rahab obviously lived before Yeshua’s time on earth but the pattern for salvation is the same.

Now let’s see how people are justified and saved

Rahab

Jews & Gentiles

Justified (Declared Righteous) James 2:24-25

Rahab was justified by her works and faith.

James 2:21-24

You see then that a man [like Abraham] is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Was/Will Be Saved Joshua 6:17; Hebrews 11:31

Saved by faith, because she received the spies in peace and hid them (Faith demonstrated by ACTION).

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

 

Justified (Declared righteous)

James 2:25 — Rahab’s works were receiving the messengers and sending them out another way.

Rahab was not the only one justified by works and faith; Abraham was too when he offered Isaac on the altar (James 2:21).  James tells us Genesis 15:6 was fulfilled, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to his for righteousness.” This is a midrash.  Abraham believed God’s promise of a son that would come from his own body; this was Isaac.  What do we do? We believe in Yeshua, the son of God.  Like Abraham, we have to have action to go with our faith/belief.  We offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God; we obey God’s commandments, performs acts of chesed (loving kindness, covenant love, etc).

In Acts 15:11, Peter said:  “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach the Jews shall be saved in the same manner as the Gentiles.”

Everyone is saved and justified (declared righteous) by faith which is demonstrated by works.  The purpose of both is so we can experience the blessings and not the curses of the law.

Ephesians 2:8-9 seems to contradict being saved and justified by faith which is demonstrated by our works.  Don’t worry about this for now; we will see what this is really about shortly.

Let’s continue with Romans 10:10 –“For with the heart one believes unto (eis) righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto (eis) salvation (sotarian).”

  • The Greek word “eis” can mean unto, but it also means for the purpose of or to denote a specific goal.

The purpose or goal of believing/trusting is righteousness and the purpose or goal of confessing is salvation (to turn us away from sin and to preserve us for the kingdom of God).  When we confess something, we are supposed to follow through with our actions.

There’s something else I want everyone to see as we continue with Romans 10:11 – For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” [G = kataisxuno; H = yebosh (spelled: yod-bet-vav-shin)].

  • MT Isaiah 28:16 “will not act hastily” (H = yachiysh; spelled: yod-chet-yod-shin)
  • LXE Isaiah 28:16 “shall by no means be ashamed (G = kataisxuntha).

Now why in the world does Paul say this?  As I looked at this verse, I ran into a few problems.

This quote is from Isaiah 28:16.  The MT says “will not act hastily.”  There’s a similarity in Hebrew spelling. Both begin with yod and end with shin; vav looks similar to yod.  This makes me think there’s a possible textual criticism issue here.

  • The LXE Isaiah 28:16 “shall by no means be ashamed (kataisxuntha).”
    • Aorist Passive Subjunctive 3rd person singular
  • Romans 10:11 “will not be put to shame” (kataisxuno)
    • Future Passive Indicative 3rd person singular

I believe Paul is using this quote to clue us in to a deeper teaching here.  If we don’t explore it, we’ll miss something very important.  Actually, we’ll be making several connections between several different passages so stay with me.

Since there may be a problem with the MT, let’s look at the LX-English for the verse Paul is quoting in Romans 10:11.

  • LXE Isaiah 28:16 “Therefore thus saith the Lord, even the Lord (Adonai YHVH), <1> Behold, I lay for the foundations of Sion (Tzion) a costly stone, a choice, a corner-stone, a precious stone, for its foundations; and he that believes on him shall by no means be ashamed.”

In Romans 10:11, Paul is connecting Adonai Yeshua to the cornerstone by quoting Isaiah 28:16b.

  • The word ashamed in Romans 10:11 is also connected to Zechariah 10:5 which also mentions the cornerstone. Let’s look at that to see what we can glean.
  • NKJ Zechariah 10:3-5 For the Lord of hosts (YHVH Tsevaot) will visit His flock, The house of Judah, And will make them as His royal horse in the battle.  4 From him comes the cornerstone, From him the tent peg (nail; stake), From him the battle bow, From him every ruler (oppressor) together. 5 They shall be like mighty men, Who tread down their enemies In the mire of the streets in the battle. They shall fight because the Lord (יְהוָה) is with them, And the riders on horses shall be put to shame.”

The enemies of the house of Judah are not going to be trusting or believing in YHVH Tsevaot or Yeshua to save them.  They will be put to shame.

The house of Judah will be trusting in the cornerstone and YHVH Tsevaot to save them; they will not be put to shame.

We still need to take a closer look at the cornerstone mentioned in these verses.  To do that, we need to look at a chiasm in Psalm 118:16-29.

As I just said, Psalm 118:16-29 is a chiasm.  Actually, this chiasm is the 2nd half of a larger one that includes Psalm 117-118.

The outer verses begin and end with praise; these point to:

  • the Way to Enter the Covenant
  • The Agent of Salvation
  • the Means of Salvation

 

The inclusio shares the theme of YHVH being exalted.  It says: 

Psalm 118:15-29

Praise 15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation Is in the tents of the righteous;

The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.

16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted;

The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.

Works of YHVH
The Way of

Salvation

Works of YHVH
Praise 28 You are my God, and I will praise You;

You are my God, I will exalt You.

29 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

 

The First Works of YHVH give us a subtle clue (or REMEZ) that YHVH has a plan to deal with death.

Psalm 118:15-29

Praise
Works of YHVH 17 I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the Lord.

18 The Lord has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death.

The Way of

Salvation

Works of YHVH
Praise

 

Now, how is YHVH going to make it possible for the psalmist to live and not die?

Let’s look at the corresponding verses to see if it gives us any more clues.

Psalm 118:15-29
Praise
Works of YHVH
The Way of

Salvation

Works of YHVH 23 This was YHVH‘s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.

24 This is the day YHVH has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save now, I pray, O YHVH;

O YHVH, I pray, send now prosperity.

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of YHVH!

We have blessed you from the house of YHVH.

27 God is YHVH, And He has given us light;

Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.

Praise

 

Here, in this section, we have another chiasm imbedded in the original.

Let’s begin with the central axis

Green:  26 “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.”

The first half of this verse is what the Jews cried out on the day of Yeshua’s final entry into Jerusalem.  Yeshua is the one this chiasm is about.  This is the central focus of this section of the chiasm.

 

Blue:  The psalmist’s plea:  

25b “O YHVH, I pray, send now prosperity.” [Give us Blessing and life instead of curses and death].

Recall that John 10:10 says:  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I (Yeshua) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

This verse helps us to understand that this chiasm is still pointing to Yeshua.

 

27 “God is YHVH, And He has given us light.” [He’s given us Light instead of darkness];

Recall that Matthew 4:16-17 says,   The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” 17 From that time Yeshua began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

As you can see, this chiasm is still pointing to Yeshua.

 

Purple:  This section shows us the provision of salvation.

23 This was YHVH’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.

24 This is the day YHVH has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save now, I pray, O YHVH

How is YHVH going to “save now” on this particular day?  The answer is in the 2nd half of verse 27.  It says:

27b “Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.” [This sacrifice is being made on this special day to make propitiation; and to make removing the curse possible]

Yeshua was slain from the foundation of the world in the heavenly realm; yet this verse contains a hint (remez) of what would be done to Yeshua in the future in the earthly realm.

Recall that John 1:29-30 says, “The next day John saw Yeshua coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

AND 1 John 2:2 says, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

1 John 4:10-11  re-emphasizes the same thing:  “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Gal 3:13-14 tells us more:  Messiah has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Messiah Yeshua, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

In other words, Yeshua’s sacrifice reversed the curse of death so we could have life.

If anyone doesn’t realize that the Tanach tells us about Yeshua’s death or that it was a work of YHVH, it is right here.  It’s also in Isaiah 53:3-7.

  • We could say Ephesians 2:8-10 this way: “For by grace you have been saved (sesosmenoi; perfect passive participle) through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of [your own] works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua) for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

YHVH’s works accomplished salvation, not man’s works.  The good works we were created to do was walk in His commandments and other acts of chesed.

Paul told us that the law was not made void because of faith.  He upheld the authority of the law in Romans 3:31.  Paul told us in Romans 2:13 that the doers of the law will be justified; in other words we are justified by our actions.

Now we aren’t done with this chiasm.  Here’s the central axis:

Psalm 118:15-29

Praise
Works of YHVH
The Way of

Salvation

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them,

And I will praise YHVH.

 20 This is the gate of YHVH, Through which the righteous shall enter.

 21 I will praise You,

For You have answered me,

And have become my [agent of] salvation.

 22 The stone which the builders rejected

Has become the chief cornerstone.

Works of YHVH
Praise

 

The central axis of the chiasm is comprised of 2 pairs of parallels (one for the gate, and one for the cornerstone).  Both hint of Yeshua.

1st PARALLEL

Yeshua said:

John 14:6  …I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 10:9  I am the door (gate).  If anyone enters by Me [ENTER THE COVENANT], he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” 

2ND PARALLEL

Acts 4:10-12  “let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Yeshua HaMashiach of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’  12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

1 Peter 2:4-10  “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua HaMashiach. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”

  • Isaiah 53:3-6 also describes the rejection and sacrifice of the Messiah/Cornerstone: 3 “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
  • This last verse typologically describes the person Yeshua as a grain offering, sin and guilt offering, and a peace offering.

Here’s the summary of the chiasm:

Psalm 118:15-29

Praise The right hand of YHVH is exalted and does valiantly.
Works of YHVH We do not have to be given over to death.
The Way of

Salvation

Yeshua is the GATE/DOOR of Righteousness through which the righteous will come to the Father.  Yeshua is the Agent of YHVH’s Salvation; He is the CORNERSTONE which the CHIEF PRIESTS AND ELDERS OF THE PEOPLE rejected.
Works of YHVH Instead we are given the means to have life through the SACRIFICE [OF YESHUA].
Praise You are my God.  I will praise and exalt You.  Give thanks to YHVH, for He is good!  His mercy endures forever.

 

Be sure to come back for part 4 of Salvation from Genesis to Revelation.

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Yeshua’s Atonement

There is a danger of having no regard for Yeshua’s identity or for His atonement. The danger is eventually being cast into the lake of fire. Very few really want to go there.

To capture both of the concepts of regarding Yeshua’s identity and His atonement, let’s look at Colossians 1:13-23 while taking a few tangents along the way.

Colossians 1:13 says, “He (the Father) has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Yeshua), 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

What exactly is the power of darkness that the Father has delivered us from? Ephesians 2:2 indicates it’s this world; more specifically, it the prince of the power of the air which is a spirit that works in the children of disobedience. Acts 26:18 refers to it as the power of Satan. When we serve the power of the world, we have no regard for Yeshua; but, we can change our minds. As we start to have regard for (respectfully fear) who Yeshua is and what He has done for us, and begin to obey His commandments (repent), we are ushered into Yeshua’s kingdom.

This deliverance from bondage to sin was not possible without redemption; a price had to be paid for our iniquities. The Greek word for redemption is apolutrosis; it means liberation that was obtained by a paid ransom. In this case, the ransom was paid with Yeshua’s blood.

Yeshua was also a propitiation; that’s something that is used to make someone less angry with us when we’ve offended them. First John 2:2 says that the Messiah was the propitiation (hilasmos) for our sins and for the whole world. First John 4:10 says that God sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins because of His love for us. We need to be extremely grateful He was willing to do this for us. We need to love Him since He first loved us and we need to demonstrate that by obeying His commandments.

The Father has accepted Yeshua’s offering as a ransom for our redemption and as a propitiation for our sins. Once atonement (reconciliation) was made by Yeshua, God responded by forgiving our sins. We still need to make reparations when applicable because that’s our part of the atonement process. The Greek word for forgiveness is aphesis; it means to release or pardon.  That’s what we need to do when we forgive others; this is part of the reconciliation process.

Some people may wonder why Yeshua’s death was even necessary. We must understand Isaiah 59:2. It says, But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” Sin separates us from God; this is not a New Testament concept. Originally, this verse referred to God’s people in Isaiah’s day but it applies to us as well because according to Romans 3:23, no one is without sin. Our sins don’t go away just because we start obeying God’s commandments. We need to have those sins removed or at least covered in order for reconciliation to take place. The latter was what the Levitical offerings were for; they also pointed to Yeshua who would be the Passover Lamb that would continually take away (present participle) the sin of the world (John 1:29). It is probably true to say that the reason the Levitical offerings will be made during the millennial reign of Messiah is to look back in gratefulness for the atonement Messiah made for us.

During Messiah’s millennial reign, Satan will be a prisoner in the abyss; his final destruction will come much later. Unfortunately, the Levitical offerings did not stop the power of the devil which is still at work in this world today. Hebrews 2:14-18 explains: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He (Yeshua) Himself likewise shared in the same [by taking on human flesh], that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren [by taking on human flesh], that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” When propitiation was made, God’s anger was appeased. Yeshua’s death makes it possible for Satan to eventually be destroyed. We are still waiting for all of Yeshua’s enemies, including death, to be put under His feet. A spiritual battle is still being waged in the spiritual and physical realms; meanwhile, Yeshua is in heaven officiating as our High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

No ordinary man could pay the ransom for our redemption and be the propitiation for our iniquities; all mankind is sinful and is not qualified to do these things. Only Yeshua’s blood was suitable for atonement because He was without sin or blemish (Hebrews 4:15). He had to be without sin because all animal sacrifices had to be without blemish; offerings with blemishes were an abomination to God (Deuteronomy 17:1).

Isaiah 53:6-9 prophesied: “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord [Yehovah] has laid on Him [Yeshua] the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they made His grave with the wicked — But with the rich at His death.” This verse shows us that it was God’s plan for Yeshua to be a substitutionary sacrifice long before Yeshua was born. When the time came, He did not defend Himself. He was scourged, spit on, and mocked. A crown of thorns was forced down on his head. He was nailed to a tree; once He died, His body was thrust through with a spear so that blood and water poured to the ground at the base of the tree. He died with robbers, but was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.

Yeshua was slain from the foundation of the world in the heavenly realm. I believe atonement was accomplished there for all mankind.  Although His blood was not applied to the actual earthly altar when He died on the cross, the Levitical patterns He fulfilled in the earthly realm still have significance. We need time and insight to understand all of these things better.

Yeshua fulfilled the typology of the Levitical offerings which atone and/or cleanse those who trust in Him:

  • Passover Lamb
  • Sin Offering
  • Guilt Offering
  • Burnt Offering
  • Peace Offering
  • Grain Offering
  • Red Heifer
  • Birds of the Purification Ritual
  • Offerings of the Day of Atonements

Many people will say that Yehovah did not really delight in the sacrificial system that He had established. Their thinking is based on Isaiah 1:11. It says, “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats.” Their thinking is warped because they fail to see the context found in Isaiah 1:1-20. The sacrifices, incense, and sacred assemblies/feasts of God’s people troubled Him because of the peoples’ iniquities. Yehovah wanted to hide His eyes from them and not listen to them. He told them to cleanse themselves spiritually; He wanted them to stop doing evil; rebuke the oppressor; learn to do good; defend the fatherless; plead for the widow; and seek justice. These represent the weightier matters of Torah.

The Levitical offerings were part of God’s plan, but they had to be accompanied by repentance; and reparations were expected to accompany the guilt offerings. Today, we must repent (turn back to and obey God’s commandments), offer appropriate reparations for our trespasses, and trust in the atonement that Yeshua’s offering provided.

Some people may wonder if there is any other evidence in the Tanach that suggests the Messiah would provide atonement for His people. I believe so! Daniel 9:24 is known as the prophecy of the 70 weeks (shavuiym). It is a prophecy of the coming of Messiah the Prince. One of the things He was supposed to do was make reconciliation for iniquity; blood atonement is the only way to do that. Yeshua offered expiation (made atonement) by offering His lifeblood for us; His blood was shed on the Preparation Day of the Passover in a couple of ways:

  • John 19:1-2 – when Yeshua was scourged, and when a crown of thorns was put on His head.
  • John 19:34 – when blood and water flowed from Yeshua’s body when a soldier pierced His side with a spear.

Typologically speaking, the offering of Isaac by Abraham also pictured the substitutionary sacrifice of Yeshua. In addition, Elijah’s battle of the bulls on Mount Carmel was also a veiled indication of Yeshua’s death. Yeshua was represented by the bull which was killed by the priests of Baal, but whose flesh was not consumed. The bull which was killed, cut up by Elijah, and consumed by Yehovah’s fire, was a picture of the Beast of Revelation being killed and cast into the lake of fire. This dual action is typical of the typological significance of the various Levitical offerings.  The account of Phineas in Numbers 25 is also a shadow of the results of Yeshua’s stonement: the new covenant (covenant of peace), Yeshua’s everlasting priesthood, and being thrust through by spear in order to stop the power of death.

I can’t stress enough that blood atonement was the primary way to appease the Father because this was the method that Yehovah set forth from the beginning. Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” This is evident as early as in the Garden of Eden when God killed an animal and used the skins as a covering for Adam and Eve. After that, we see evidence in Scripture of using offerings before approaching God long before the book of Leviticus was written.

Yehovah accepted blood as an atonement for sin because of His grace (chesed). Proverbs 16:6 says, “In mercy (chesed) and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.” Once atonement/appeasement is made (kaphar), we must not use it as a license to continue to sin. We must have regard for Yeshua and do our best to be obedient to God’s commandments.

Now that we’ve looked at atonement, let’s go back to our passage in Colossians 1 to take a closer look at who Yeshua is. Verse 15 says, “He (Yeshua) is the image of the invisible God (the Father), the firstborn over all creation.” Here we see the pre-existence of Yeshua; He existed before His human birth.

Verse 16 says, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him (see also Philip. 2:13). 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Yeshua pre-existed creation; He had the authority to create everything including powers with various kinds of authority. Everything was created for His pleasure.

How would you feel if what you created did not bring you the pleasure you intended? To bring it closer to home, how do you feel when your rebellious teenagers are disrespectful and have no regard for you? You probably desire them to be more like they were when they were younger; they were probably more obedient then, and had love and respect for you.  Imagine how Yeshua feels about us.

Verse 18: And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence (proteuo = the first place). Considering what Yeshua has done for us, He deserves the preeminence! Love and respect should come with that!

Verse 19: “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood (atonement) of His cross.” Yeshua’s fleshly body was like a full body suit that the Father could inhabit and use to interact with creation. It was a way He could reach out and say, “Come now, and let us reason together…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow…if you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword (Isaiah 1:18-20).” Don’t you want to say this to your rebellious teenagers so they might choose to be reconciled to you? This is how God feels. He’s gone the extra mile to make reconciliation happen by providing atonement for sin.

Verse 21-23: “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled (atoned) 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight — 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”  Yeshua’s goal is for us to be reconciled with the Father so He can present us as an offering without blemish to the Father. The circumstances we face in our life are another means by which God is perfecting us; this is separate from salvation.

As we walk the path set before us, we need to yield to the will of the Father; be faithful; stand firm in the Word of God; and never commit apostasy. We need to always have regard for Yeshua, for who He was, is, and will be. We must not continue to sin in an effort to make grace abound; it’s not going to happen. Instead, we need to walk in newness of life so we can be made perfect.

Will you do that?

My blessing for you: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10-11)

Did The Lord Really Say He Didn’t Desire Sacrifices?

During the days of Uzziah (Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (kings of Judah), Isaiah the son of Amoz saw a vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  In order to understand this vision better, we need to know a little about these men.

According to 2 Chronicles 26:3-4, Uzziah was 16 years old when he began to reign in Jerusalem and he reigned for 52 years.  Uzziah did what was right in the Lord’s sight and sought God during the days of Zechariah.  Unfortunately, he became prideful and entered the temple in order to burn incense to the Lord on the golden altar .  He became furious when the priests prevented him from doing so.  The Lord struck him with tzara’at (leprosy), he was cut off from the house of the Lord, and dwelt in isolation until his death.

Azariah’s son, Jotham began to reign in his place when he was 25 years old.  Jotham reigned 16 years and did what was right in the Lord’s sight.  During that time, the people acted corruptly.  After Jotham died, his son, Ahaz reigned in his place. 

Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign as king of Judah in Jerusalem.  He reigned 16 years and was wicked like the kings of Israel.  Ahaz:

  • Made molded images of the Baals.
  • Burned incense in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom.
  • Burned his children in the fire.

Second Chronicles 28:4 says Ahaz sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.  Because of what Ahaz had done, the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria.  A great multitude of the Jews were carried away to Damascus at that time.  Ahaz also fought against Pekah, the king of Israel and was defeated.  One hundred twenty thousand people were killed in one day because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers and two hundred thousand women, sons, and daughters were captured and taken to Samaria.  In addition to that, the Israelites took a lot of spoil to Samaria.  Shortly after that, the Lord commanded Israel, through the prophet Oded, to return the captives of Judah.  Even so, the Lord continued to deal with Judah and King Ahaz because Ahaz encouraged moral decline in Judah and had been unfaithful to the Lord continually. 

With these first three men in mind, we can understand the first part of Isaiah’s vision in Isaiah chapter one.  Even though the Lord had brought the Jews up and nourished them, they rebelled against Him.  They didn’t know Him or think about Him as they should have.

Judah was a sinful nation at that time.  They were described as:

  • A people laden with iniquity.
  • A brood of evildoers.
  • Children who are corrupters.
  • Those who had forsaken the Lord.  In other words, they had committed apostasy by turning their backs on the Lord.

By their behavior, they had provoked the Lord and made the Holy One of Israel angry.

In Isaiah 1:5-6, the Lord says, “Why should you be stricken again?  You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints. 6 From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up, Or soothed with ointment.”

This sounds absolutely disgusting yet Judah had no idea that their true condition was almost like Sodom and Gomorrah.  The sins of the people of Judah were a major infection that had taken over the whole nation.  When someone is in that bad of condition, it would seem as if there is no hope for healing and that death would appear to be welcome relief.   

Judah was desolate and besieged.  Fortunately, the Lord of armies left a very small remnant because He desired to heal His people.  The Lord addressed them and told them to hear the law of God.  Right here are a few verses that are often taken out of context.  Isaiah 1:11-15 says, “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me? “Says the Lord.”I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats. 12 “When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies — I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.”

Now wait a minute.  Who had required sacrifices and incense from the people?  The Lord did. 

Is He saying He had never wanted sacrifices, incense, and His feasts to be celebrated?  No.  Again, the Lord commanded His people to do these things. 

If that’s the case, why was the Lord not pleased?  It was because these activities had become meaningless, false, useless, or vain.  

By saying these things, the Lord defined the disease that afflicted the Jews; the Jewish people were not bringing their offerings and incense in complete love and devotion to the Lord because their hearts were focused on lawlessness and not on Him.

Since the Lord truly wanted to heal His people, He told the Jews through the prophet Isaiah, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:16-17)  In other words, He was commanding His people to repent!

The Lord wanted His people to come to their senses.  He wanted to reason with them and cleanse them from their sins.  In Isaiah 1:19-20, the Lord reminded them of Deuteronomy 30 by giving them a choice between life and death, blessing and cursing:  “If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; 20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  By the time He said this, He should have had their attention!

What else did the Lord say?  How did He describe the city that had once been faithful? 

He said that had become a harlot!  Instead of justice and righteousness, murder was commonplace.  Their silver had become dross.  In other words, the people of Judah had become as mixed alloys or as mixed fibers of wool and linen; they had become common (unholy) by their association with wicked lawless people.  They had done what was forbidden and they weren’t pure anymore.  Their leaders were rebellious and friends of thieves.  They loved bribes and sought rewards.  They did not defend the orphan or take care of the widows.  At some point, they closed up the temple and stopped offering incense and offerings.

The cure for this horrible condition is found in the first chapter of Isaiah where the Lord revealed His plan for the future known as the last days.  This is the same plan that is hidden in the shadow of the Levitical offerings that had been vainly offered by His people. 

Isaiah 1:24-25 describes it like this:  “Therefore the Lord says, The Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, “Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries, And take vengeance on My enemies. 25 I will turn My hand against you, And thoroughly purge away your dross, And take away all your alloy.”  In other words, the Lord planned to cut out the worst part of the infection so He could heal the rest of the body.

It’s hard to say exactly when Isaiah spoke these words to God’s people but if you recall, there was one more man listed in Isaiah 1:1.  This man was Ahaz’ son, Hezekiah.  He was 25 years old when he began to reign and he reigned 29 years.  He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and carried out great reforms in Judah.  He commanded the Levites to sanctify themselves, sanctify the temple, and offer incense and sacrifices according to the commandments of the Lord.  Temple worship was restored, the feasts of the Lord were celebrated, and the people were encouraged to return to the Lord.  At one point Hezekiah became filled with pride and the Lord tested him to find out what was really in his heart.  Fortunately, Hezekiah humbled himself before the Lord and was honored at his death.

Prior to Hezekiah, the condition of Judah was the same as the harlot, Babylon the Great in Revelation 17.  In fact, the Lord said their sins were as scarlet.  The harlot, Babylon the Great, rode a scarlet beast and was dressed in purple and scarlet and glittered with gold, precious stones, and pearls.   Even though she seemed to possess great wealth, she was clothed in sin and associated with the beast.

The Lord is calling His people whose sins are as scarlet to come out of Babylon the Great today.  Those around us are deceived and are following leaders who are like King Ahaz who encouraged lawlessness.  Like Judah, we must forsake lawlessness and allow the Lord to cleanse us.  We must turn back to the commands of the Lord and choose life instead of death and blessing instead of cursing before the Day of the Lord, the day of Jesus’ return.  Just like Hezekiah encouraged Judah to return to the Lord, I am encouraging you to do the same.

After the Lord returns and destroys His enemies, do you know what He’s going to do?  The answer is found in Isaiah 1:26-28:  “I will restore your judges as at the first, And your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” 27 Zion shall be redeemed with justice, And her penitents with righteousness. 28 The destruction of transgressors and of sinners shall be together, And those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.”

This is similar to what the shadows of the Levitical offerings teach.  The righteous will be purified and made righteous in the refiner’s fire but the wicked will be burned in the lake of fire.

We must avoid such a fate.  We do not want to be like the terebinth (or oak) tree in verse 30 whose leaf fades as a garden that has no water.  We must desire to be like a tree planted by streams of water that bring forth fruit in its season.  This is similar to the Tree of Life.

Psalm 1:1-3 explains how to do that:  “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season.”

When we walk with the path of sinners, we become like mixed metals or like those clothed in a mixture of linen and wool.  We are no longer pure and holy.  We must reject and separate ourselves from the lawlessness that surrounds us, have the testimony of Christ, and offer ourselves as living sacrifices to the Lord by keeping the commandments of God. 

Remember, to choose life is to choose blessing and to choose death is to choose cursing.  Choose wisely.