Salvation

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

 


Was Moses saved?

How was Moses saved?

 

These two questions should prompt us to think a bit about the mechanics of the salvation process. I think that most folks would agree that Moses was saved. We gather he was saved because of what we see from the writer to the Bereans (Hebrews):

 

Bereans (Hebrews) 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Messiah greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

 

The writer to the Bereans is emphasizing the faithfulness of Moses by showing his deeds. With the firm conviction that Moses was saved, we come to our second question: How was he saved? This is a bit of a difficult question for most Christians because they see salvation as something that depends on the work that Yeshua did some 1500 years after the death of Moses. However, the Nazarean Codicil (New Testament) is quite clear as to the mechanics of how Moses was saved:

 

Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

Hakham Shaul (the Apostle Paul) writing to the Ephesians tells us that Moses was saved by grace through faith. This teaches us a very important lesson: Men are saved by grace through faith. From the first Adam to the last Adam, all are saved by grace through faith!

 

When I was discussing the faith of Moses, I mentioned that his faith was manifested through his deeds. In fact, the whole chapter of faith, found in Bereans, emphasizes the deeds of those with faith. The Hebrew word for faith is emunah. This word does not teach us about a thought, rather it teaches us about actions. A more accurate translation for emunah would be “faithful obedience”. So when we see the writer to the Bereans emphasizing the deeds of the great men of faith, we can see that these deeds show a pattern of faithful obedience.

 

Please remember that emunah, faithful obedience, requires actions and is not merely a thought process. Or, as Hakham Yaaqov (James) said:

 

Yaaqov (James) 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

 

Please remember that whenever you see the word faith, in the scriptures, you should always think “faithful obedience”.

 

Obedience

 

This leads us to another question: What are the deeds of faith? If we are to have faithful obedience, what do we obey?

 

There are two answers to this question, one for the Jew and one for the Gentile. For the Jew, the acts of faith consist of the 613 commands of the Torah. For the Gentile, the acts of faith are the obedience to the Noachide laws.

 

Christians usually sees themselves as Gentiles, so I am going to start this answer by showing that the laws of Noach are reiterated in the Nazarean Codicil.

 

A question arose in the diaspora: Do the Gentiles need to be circumcised to be saved? The question was so contentious and so profound that Hakham Shaul decided to put this question to the Bet Din Gadol (the Sanhedrin). He addressed it to the Rosh Bet Din (the head of the court, the chief justice) who just happens to be the brother of Yeshua. His name is Yaaqov. He is the writer of the book in the Nazarean Codicil which bears his name. The question is found in:

 

II Luqas (Acts) 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

 

The answer to this question is found in:

 

II Luqas (Acts) 15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.

 

Thus His Eminence, Hakham Yaaqov ben Yosef, decrees that circumcision is a natural result of the conversion process that takes place after a time of learning. He further decrees that those who are turning to God should obey the Noachide laws as a beginning point for their walk.

 

Maimonides, in his epic work Mishneh Torah, in the Laws of Kings 9:1, teaches us concerning the Laws of Noah:

 

"Six precepts were commanded to Adam:

 

1. The prohibition against worship of false gods.

2. The prohibition against cursing G-d.

3. The prohibition against murder.

4. The prohibition against forbidden sexual relations.

5. The prohibition against theft.

6. The command to establish laws and courts of justice.

 

To Noah, HaShem added the following:

 

7. The prohibition against eating the flesh from a living animal. Thus there are seven Mitzvot" (Commandments)"

 

Again quoting from the Law of Kings 8:10 he states:

 

"Our teacher Moshe (Moses) was commanded by G-d to compel all the peoples of the earth to accept upon themselves the laws given to the descendants of Noah."

 

Again quoting:

 

"This obligation, to teach all the peoples of the earth about the Laws of Noah, is incumbent upon every individual in every era. The Jews must serve as "a light to the nations"[1] teaching them (the Gentiles) the seven Mitzvot (laws) and instructing them in proper behavior...Similarly, the Chatam Sofer[2] writes that it is a mitzvah (commandment) to guide the Gentiles in the service of G-d."

 

Now that we understand that salvation depends on our faithful obedience to the commandments; I need to deal a bit with some common Christian concepts that will be confusing if we do not address them. We need to understand that the concept of eternal life is related to the concept of salvation. To understand this idea will require that we address a few concepts. The first concept that I need to address is:

 

Yeshua = Mashiach.

 

The Greek word “christos” (which is transliterated as Christ) is used to translate the Hebrew word Mashiach:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Yeshua, who is called Mashiach (Christ).

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 16:20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Yeshua the Mashiach (Christ).

 

Now, most Christians understand this, never the less, the implications are profound. Mashiach means that His majesty was anointed as a King, as a Prophet, and as a Priest. Further, we can substitute the word Mashiach every time we encounter the word “Christ” or indeed even the word “Yeshua”:

 

Christ = Mashiach

Mashiach = Yeshua

 

Please remember to make this translation whenever you encounter the word Christ. In this way you will immediately gain understanding.

 

The next concept that we need to understand is that:

 

Yeshua = Mashiach = Torah.

 

Yochanan (John) 1:1 alludes to this:

 

Yochanan (John) 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

 

We understand that when someone is talking about the “Word of HaShem” that they are referring to the Torah. In this pasuk, Yochanan is clearly calling Yeshua The Word of HaShem, the Torah. Our Sages have taught us that HaShem used the Torah as the blueprint for creation. So when Yochanan tells us that The Word created everything, then clearly Torah and Yeshua are the same entity.

 

Let me spell this out: HaShem is The Speaker, Yeshua / Torah is The Word that HaShem spoke.

 

We see this same concept in:

 

Mishlei (Proverbs 3:13-19) Happy [is] the man [that] findeth wisdom, and the man [that] getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it [is] better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She [is] more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days [is] in her right hand; [and] in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways [are] ways of pleasantness, and all her paths [are] peace. She [is] a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy [is every one] that retaineth her. HaShem by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.

 

We know from the siddur that Wisdom is synonymous with Torah. We read in the siddur a paraphrase of Mishlei 3:

 

Torah is a tree of life to those who take hold of her …

 

We also know that “The Word” is synonymous with Torah. Therefore we can understand that anytime we see Torah we can substitute Yeshua or Mashiach.

 

This helps us to understand why Orthodox Jews build their entire lives around Torah:

 

Torah = Mashiach = Yeshua.

 

This also helps us to understand why many Christians are focused on Mashiach while Orthodox Jews have the same fervor towards Torah.

 

Before the coming of Yochanan, only the salvation of Jews was understood. If the Gentile wanted to turn to HaShem he had to convert. There was no other way. In Yochanan we begin to see this mystery being revealed:

 

Luqas (Luke) 3:4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

 

Thus we see that ALL FLESH will see the salvation of HaShem. This salvation for the Gentiles is going to be revealed through the Jews. Further the salvation of the Jews depends on the salvation of the Gentiles. Until the Gentiles are saved, the Jews cannot be saved. As we see in the Prophets, the Jews are to be a light to the nations, to the Gentiles:

 

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

 

Yeshua reaffirmed this concept in:

 

Yochanan (John) 4:21 Yeshua saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

 

Now I have a question: From what we have learned about salvation, what does this verse have to do with the Torah?

 

II Luqas (Acts) 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Yeshua Mashiach of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

 

Do we have to accept Yeshua to be saved?

 

Now that we have these foundational concepts under our hat, let’s begin to understand eternal life and it’s relationship to salvation. To understand this idea, let’s begin with a question:

 

What must I do to inherit eternal life?

 

The first answer to this question is found in:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 3:20-24 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. HaShem God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And HaShem God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So HaShem God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

 

So, in Bereshit (Genesis), HaShem says that men would live forever if they eat from the tree of life. This is the first reference to eternal life, in the scriptures. Let’s look again to see if there are any other ways to have eternal life:

 

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 4:39-40 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that HaShem is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep His decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land HaShem your God gives you for all time.

 

The above passage seems to be saying that you can live forever by keeping the commands and decrees of HaShem. Lest we have any doubt lets try to confirm this from another passage:

 

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 20:10-13 Therefore I led them out of Egypt and brought them into the desert. I gave them my decrees and made known to them my laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I HaShem made them holy. "'Yet the people of Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They did not follow my decrees but rejected my laws--although the man who obeys them will live by them--and they utterly desecrated my Sabbaths. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and destroy them in the desert.

 

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) never comes right out and calls it eternal life, but, it is obvious that the way to live is through the commands of God. This life is different than what the wicked do when they walk and breathe. The wicked do not live like the righteous. The only difference must be in how long they live. Let’s look at one more passage to make this point clear:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 19:15-17 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. Now a man came up to Yeshua and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Yeshua replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."

 

and

 

Marqos (Mark) 10:17-23 As Yeshua started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Yeshua answered. "No one is good--except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." Yeshua looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Yeshua looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"

 

and

 

Luqas (Luke) 10:25-28 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Yeshua. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' ““You have answered correctly," Yeshua replied. “Do this and you will live."

 

The second way to live forever is to obey the commands of HaShem. By obeying Torah we inherit eternal life. Lets look, now, at a third way to live forever:

 

Yochanan (John) 6:43-51 "Stop grumbling among yourselves," Yeshua answered. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

 

The next way to live forever is to eat of the Bread from Heaven. Yeshua is obviously The Bread from Heaven. The second way to live forever is to eat of this Living bread.

 

The third way to live forever involves believing in the Son of God. This third way is described, repeatedly, throughout the scriptures, in various ways. They all boil down to faithful obedience to Torah:

 

Yochanan (John) 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

 

Yochanan (John) 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

 

Yochanan (John) 5:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

 

Yochanan (John) 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

Yochanan (John) 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

 

II Luqas (Acts) 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

 

Let's summarize the methods, used by HaShem and described in His scriptures, for obtaining eternal life:

 

1.         Eat from the Tree of Life.

2.         Obey the commands of HaShem.

3.         Believe in the Son of God.

  

Yeshua = Torah = Tree of Life

 

These three ways to live forever are all clearly spelled out in the Bible, yet there is a problem. Let’s look at the problem:

 

Yochanan (John) 14:6 Yeshua answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

Messiah seems to be saying that there is ONLY ONE way to life and that is through Yeshua. Yet, we have already seen that there are clearly three ways to live forever. How do we resolve this? Mishlei (Proverbs) puts all three of these together:

 

Mishlei (Proverbs) 3:13-20 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, For she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. By wisdom HaShem laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; By his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.

 

The above passage is read, in the synagogue, when the Torah scroll is returned to the ark. When we say this, we agree that the ultimate wisdom is Torah. This passage shows that whoever created the world is Torah and is the Tree of life. So, the Tree of Life, the Torah, and Yeshua are all the same entity. Yeshua must be the Tree of Life. Yeshua must be the Torah. Yeshua is THE way and THE truth and THE life!

 

The scriptures often compare two different things, to a third thing. For example: Torah is light and Yeshua is light:

 

Mishlei (Proverbs) 6:23 For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law (Torah) [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life:

 

Yochanan (John) 8:12 When Yeshua spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

  

This has profound implications for the believer today. It means that we must obey all of God's commands in the Torah or we will, in effect, be discarding a part of Yeshua. It means that if we make a distinction between the laws of God that we must obey and those that we don't have to obey, that we must somehow believe in part of Yeshua and not in all of Him. This does not work! Just as Yeshua is a single entity, so also is the Torah a single entity. We can not divide the commands of God anymore than we can divide the body of Messiah. We either obey all of the Torah or we have rejected Messiah.

 

Further evidence for this idea is demonstrated by the fact that the Sages divide the 613 commandments into 248 positive (corresponding to the 248 bodily organs) and 365 negative (corresponding to the 365 bodily sinews). After all, a wise individual understands that he must take care of his entire organism if he desires physical well-being. So too it borders on spiritual blindness to dramatize one mitzva while ignoring another. If Yeshua is the Living Torah, then these 613 mitzvot represent His body!

 

Thus we conclude our examination of the concept of salvation by clearly stating that we are to be saved from this mortal life by our faithful obedience to the Torah and it’s commands. By being faithfully obedient we will obtain eternal life and thereby will we be saved.

 

It is also worthwhile to examine who saves us. Many Christians believe that Yeshua saves them. Unfortunately, there are no scriptures to support this perspective. In fact, there are scriptures that teach, emphatically, that HaShem saves us.

 

The book of Romans gives us a big clue when he quotes from the Prophets:

 

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that HaShem hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

 

The author of Romans, in the above passage, is quoting the following verse from the Prophets:

 

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 45:17 Israel is saved by HaShem, a salvation for all times; they will not be shamed or disgraced forever and ever.

 

It is also noteworthy to realize that the psalmist also declares this same message.

 

Tehillim (Psalms) 3:8 Salvation belongeth unto HaShem: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.

 

If one reads the scriptures carefully, one can see that HaShem saves using multiple messengers and multiple servants to accomplish our salvation.

 

 

 

 


 

This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address: gkilli@aol.com

Web page: http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

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Send comments to Greg Killian at his email address: gkilli@aol.com

 



[1] Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 42:6

[2] Choshen Mishpat, Responsum 85