Salvation Is a Journey, Not a One Time Event

Deuteronomy 2:31, Begin to possess [the Promised Land]. 

Possession of the Promised Land was a process—a journey, at times a difficult one. This concept is as true for us as much as it was for the children of Israel. The idea in mainstream Christianity that when you receive salvation at the beginning of your spiritual walk and that’s all there is to possessing or entering the kingdom of Elohim is a seriously incomplete one. It doesn’t fit the biblical models or the teachings of the apostolic writers about the need for the believer to persevere and overcome to the end to receive his ultimate eternal inheritance.

When this verse states that Israel“began to possess [the Promised Land],” what does this mean? Why didn’t YHVH give the Promised Land to Israel all at once? What did Israel have to do to “possess” the land? What do we have to do to possess our spiritual inheritance? Does YHVH just hand it to us, or do we have to persevere, overcome and fight for it? 

Leaving Egypt is a picture of a believer’s initial salvation, while entering the Promised Land is a picture of a believer’s ultimate salvation involving his glorification or the redemption of his physical body and being granted eternal inheritance at the resurrection. It’s also a picture of rewards for obedience. Between the time of leaving Egypt and entering the Promised Land, there was a 40 year-long journey, which is a picture of our time as physical humans on this earth with all of its ups and downs, trials, victories and so on.

Much more could be said on this subject as the apostolic writers show us. Suffice it so say, the idea that the mainstream church propagates that receiving salvation is a one time event like getting your ticket punched to a movie theatre, amusement park ride or train station falls woefully short of the biblical truth about walking out a righteous and sanctified life. The failure to understand this has led many people to become discouraged and to fall away spiritually. 

Yes, the initial steps in the process of salvation are relatively easy, but then there’s repenting of sin, learning how to live a sanctified life, becoming obedient to the commands and lordship of Yeshua, overcoming one’s sin nature, and using one’s  spiritual talents to help advance the kingdom of Elohim. All of these are aspects of the redeemed believer’s journey through the wilderness  of life en route the Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance, and how we do will help to determine the levels of one’s eternal rewards. All of these things are precursors and steps in the process to actually receiving eternal life and a resurrected glorified body.

The children of Israel’s exodus from Egypt and 40 years journey to the Promised Land is a picture of this process and all the steps in between.

The idea that the saint can have it all here and now is not a biblical one, but an ear-tickling message promoted by hireling gospel peddlers and corporate church merchandizers who have something to sell you. Beware of these false and misguided teachers who refuse to tell you the whole truth as presented in the Bible! Let the buyer beware.

 

The Prophetic Significance of the Cities of Refuge and YOU

Numbers 35:11, You shall appoint you cities.

All of the details in the Bible are there for a purpose and have different levels of meaning, application and fulfillment. On a literal or plain (Heb. peshat) level of meaning, the cities of refuge were an important aspect of Israel’s jurisprudence system. But on a symbolic and prophetic (Heb. drash) level, they point to something significant far beyond and above the literal meaning of the biblical text that relates to the salvation of the redeemed believer.

On the literal or peshat level meaning of the text, any person who had murdered someone unintentionally or accidentally could flee to a city of refuge and find a safe haven there until the wheels of justice could properly turn to determine the guilt or innocence of the murderer. The gates of these cities were perpetually open and were never closed to anyone for any reason. Anyone who was not guilty of intentional murder could find refuge there from vengeance by the victim’s family free of the fear of retribution for the duration of the high priest’s life. As long as the high priest was living, the murderer had refuge.

On a prophetic, metaphorical or drash level of understanding, the cross of Yeshua our Savior and Redeemer is that place of refuge for sinners where all can come in search of refuge and justice. At the foot of the cross, the Redeemer’s arms are always open wide to receive us, and the doors of salvation are never closed to anyone who desires it! The Scriptures speak of this.

Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, and I will praise YHVH. This is the gate of YHVH, Through which the righteous shall enter. (Ps 118:19–20)

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

Yeshua is our Great High Priest in heaven who intercedes for sinners in the courtroom of heaven at the right hand of Elohim against Satan who is the accuser of the brethren. As long as Yeshua is alive and on our side as our Heavenly Advocate or Attorney, the saint has nothing to fear regardless of one’s past sins (Heb 8:1; 1 John 2:1).

Have you sought refuge at the foot of the cross, in the arms of Yeshua? Have you repented of and turned from your sins (i.e. violation of the Torah, see 1 John 3:4)? Has Yeshua the Messiah (as prophetically prefigured by the anointed high priest in Num 35:25) upon his death become your Savior or Redeemer and Lord or Master? Does he through his word and by the guiding influence of his Set-Apart Spirit or Ruach HaKodesh guide every aspect of your life including all of your words, thoughts and deeds? Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev 21:27)? 

If you have surrendered to Yeshua and said, “yes” to your Savior, then how do you know that you have been saved from your sins? What are the fruits in your life that are evidence that your are set-apart or kadosh and consecrated unto YHVH, that you have passed from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, and that your heart, mind and life have been transformed? Yeshua said that by the fruits that our lives produce we will be known (Matt 7:15–20). The evidence of salvation are the fruit of the Spirit evidenced in a person’s life.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22–25)

 

Are YOU a spiritual mountain climber or a lowland camper-outer?

2 Corinthians 3:11, Passing away. This is not a reference to the Torah-law itself, but to the old or former covenant (i.e. the agreement or contract YHVH and Israel made with each other) as it phases into the new or renewed covenant. Yeshua initiated the new covenant at his last supper, but it will be finalized with the two houses of Israel (see Jer 31:31, 33 and Heb 8:8) at his second coming when the two sticks or houses of Israel are reunited (see Ezek 37:15–27) at which time he will finalize the new covenant with a reunited Israel (v. 26; see also Isa 54:10; 55:3; 59:21; Ezek 34:25; Jer 32:40; 50:5; Hos 2:18–23). We are presently in the intermediate phase between the two covenants. To view it differently, Yeshua betrothed himself to his spiritual bride (redeemed Israel, spiritual Israel or the Israel of Elohim, see Gal 6:16) at his last supper, but will marry her at his second coming. The saints who are now in Yeshua are under the new covenant as the betrothed bride of Yeshua, but all Israel will be brought into the new covenant at his second coming at which time he will finalize the covenant that he initiated with his disciples before his death.

Attaining Spiritual Maturity in the New Covenant—On Being a Spiritual Mountain Climber

This manna from heaven was revealed and downloaded to Natan in the back country of Alaska while sitting, Bible in hand, prayerfully, overlooking Little Port Walter on Baronov Island [75 miles SE of Sitka], and while on a boat in the Pacific Ocean in the Chatham Straights between Baronov and Admiralty islands.

On Being Spiritual Mountain Climbers

The beginning of the upward spiritual journey of YHVH’s people is memorialized in the counting of the omer, which starts on First Fruits Day occurring during the Feast of Unleavened Bread and culminates fifty days later with the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Heb. Shavuot; Lev 23:4–16). Each new step in this journey is a stepping stone or a launch pad to the next. For the Israelites, the journey started at sea level in the flat-land river delta of Egypt (a metaphor for this world, Satan and death) and then continues climbing higher and higher until it reaches heaven itself—the abode of Elohim.

From the time that YHVH revealed himself to the children of Israel while they were enslaved in Egypt, he has been calling his people to be spiritual mountain climbers. He first called the Israelites out of Egypt and up to Mount Sinai, and then up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem. He then called his people to come even higher yet to the upper room on the day of Pentecost, and he is now calling his people to come up even higher to the New Jerusalem that is above us and is the mother of us all. This highest mountain of YHVH is the ultimate source of our spiritual sustenance, the source of the river of life along which the trees of life are situated. From this spiritual wellspring comes all divine revelation and ultimately immortal life as children of the Most High.

The problem is that most people only climb so far in their spiritual journey and then stop, or they grow weary along the way or become comfortably complacent at the level they have thus far attained and never move past that spot. This is dangerous! 

Natan and his sons on the summit of Oregon’s Mount Hood on a recent climb.

To not move forward spiritually is to stagnate and to die. YHVH wants a people that are on the move, who will obediently follow him wherever he leads, and not stop and park along the way only to construct their religious monuments with their fossilized customs, rituals and traditions. Heaven is a long way above the earthly plane, and YHVH wants children who will seek him no matter what, who have a heart to follow him no matter where, and no matter the cost. Although eternal life is a free gift from heaven, it won’t be given easily. It costs nothing, but, at the same time, it costs everything! Man must be willing to sacrifice his all—to lose his earthly life—to gain eternal life. YHVH refuses to give out his priceless gift of eternal life willy-nilly to anyone and everyone! YHVH requires that his saints be determined, tough and gritty mountain climbers who refuse to give up until that summit is reached. He has no pleasure in those who turn back, or refuse to go on. Only those who doggedly overcome the world, the flesh and the devil remaining lovingly loyal and obedient to him will receive the highest reward he has to offer.

The Spirit Versus the a Letter of the Law—the Two Covenants

Let’s now explore what it is to climb the mountains that YHVH has placed before us to ascertain where we are at on the journey and how far we have to go to reach the ultimate summit.

In 2 Corinthians 3:1–18 we read,

1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? 2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of the Messiah, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living Elohim, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. 4 And we have such trust through the Messiah toward Elohim. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from Elohim, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away [brought to an end, ESV; Gr. katargeo], 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away [Gr. katargeo] was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. 12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech­ — 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away [Gr. katargeo]. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in the Messiah. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Let’s now explain this passage to understand better the transition between the “old” and “new” covenants and the differences between the two. 

  • Verse 7, Was passing away [NKJV]/brought to and end [ESV], This phrase is the Greek word katargeo meaning “to render idle or useless, to vanish, to abolish, to put away, to make of none effect.” What was brought to an end or rendered idle? Hold that question in your mind. We will answer it below.
  • Verse 5, Ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. What Paul is saying here that believers in Yeshua must mature from just a letter-of-the-law orientation in their spiritual walk, to both a letter- and spirit-of-the-law orientation. We know that the letter of the Torah has not been done away with or passed away because Yeshua says so in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5–7), where he teaches, for example, that not only murder (the letter of the law is forbidden), but also hatred for a person (the spirit of the law). He says the same about adultery and lust and so on. We know that this is what Paul believed and taught because he elsewhere instructed us to follow or imitate Yeshua as he did (1 Cor 11:1).
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Why does there need to be the shedding of blood for the atonement of sin?

Numbers 31:50, Make atonement. 

What is the big deal about the concept of vicarious atonement, that is, someone dying in another persons’s place to repair a wrong or an injury? Does the really need to be the shedding of blood for the antonement of sin? This is a concept shared only by Christianity and no other major religions in the world including Judaism. The Christians are always making a big deal about “the cross” and “Jesus dying for our sins,” or “Jesus paying for our sins.” Is this a biblical concept or some idea of man to put people under bondage to some ancient religious and irrational superstition? Knowing the answer to this question is a matter of life and death.

Exploring the Concept of Atonement
as It Relates to the Tabernacle and Salvation

In this verse we read, “We have therefore brought an oblation for YHVH, what every man has gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before YHVH.” In a similar passage in Exodus 30:15–16, we read, “The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto YHVH, to make an atonement for your souls. And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before YHVH, to make an atonement for your souls(emphasis added). The question before us is this: Do these passages in the Torah imply that YHVH grants man absolution based something other than the shedding of blood, and by logical extension, does this call into question our redemption from sin through our faith in Yeshua the Messiah’s blood atonement?

The concept of atonement can be a confusing one. Some in rabbinic Jewish circles teach that the Torah (i.e. the first five books of the Bible) does not require the shedding of blood for atonement of one’s sin to occur. According to the above scripture, this could appear to be the case. Before briefly discussing the subject of atonement, let us not forget the stern warnings of the Apostle Peter when he warned end-time saints against false teachers who would lure people away from the simple truth of the gospel:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not…. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; and shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceiving while they feast with you; having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children, which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Yeshua Messiah, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (2 Peter 2)

In the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament), there is no question that when the concept of atonement (i.e. to make ransom for or to cover over man’s sins) is presented it is related to the blood of Yeshua, the Lamb of YHVH, being shed for the remission of man’s sins, which is the means through which reconciliation between Elohim and man occurs. In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), however, the idea of atonement is somewhat broader and at times more generalized in scope. Herein lies the confusion and the misconceived disparity between the Former (Old) and Latter (New) Testaments or Covenants. Are they in opposition to one another, or is the latter the logical outgrowth of the former and compliments or ­elucidates the former?

The Hebrew word for atonement is kapar. A verb, it means “to make an atonement, make reconciliation, purge. In its noun form, kapar means a ransom, gift, to secure favor”(see Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament [or TWOT], word 1023). Kapar also means “to cover over”and is the same Hebrew word meaning “to cover or smear with pitch”as in caulking the seams of a wooden ship so that it becomes waterproof (see Brown-Driver-Briggs H3722). Our English words cap (as well as the Hebrew kipah, which is a small hemispherical hat that many religious Jewish men wear)and cover are related etymologically to kapar (see The Word—The Dictionary That Reveals the Hebrew Source of Our English, by Isaac E. Mozeson). 

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The Resurrection of the Dead—The Believer’s Preeminent Hope

1 Corinthians 15:14, If Messiah is not risen.Yeshua the Messiah is at the center of the redeemed believer’s life and belief system. Prior to his incarnation, the entire Tanakh pointed to him; the Gospels are about his life; the rest of the New Testament (appropriately called the Testimony of Yeshua by John the apostle in the Book of Revelation) reveal him in his fullness. Since then, we all look back to him as the focal point of all history before and after him. Next to the humanly incomprehensible miracle of his incarnation, what rises in preeminence about him is his resurrection. This fact is perhaps the most unique aspect of Yeshua’s life that sets him apart from all the other religious figures that have come and gone over the course of human history. As Paul states in this verse, if Messiah didn’t rise, then the preaching of the gospel is a pointless dead end philosophy­—the redeemed believers faith is meaningless.

Why is the resurrection so vital to our faith? Besides the fact that the resurrection of Yeshua is unique in the religions of men, it proves that Yeshua knew what he was talking about when he spoke about life, death, eternal life. His life, death and resurrection makes him an expert on life, death and the afterlife. He has lived on both sides of reality. He went into the realm of death, defeated it, and then came back from the dead to show man how to procure immortality by defeating death. Unlike reincarnation, Yeshua came back as himself and testified to what he had experienced. No other religious leader offers this to his disciples.

What’s more, Yeshua’s resurrection defeated death, which is man’s ultimate enemy. The followers of Yeshua no longer need to fear death, which is the mother of all human fears. This reality is the believer’s ultimate source of hope and joy as Paul so superlatively writes later in verses 54 through 57 of this chapter. 

1 Corinthians 15:29, Baptized for the dead. For certain, Paul is not talking about proxy baptism for dead people in hopes of saving them spiritually as one modern church incorrectly teaches. If so, this would fly in the face of everything else he taught about the purpose and significance of the baptism ritual. If the dead know nothing, as the Scriptures teach (Eccl 9:5), then how can a dead person consciously identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua, which is the purpose of baptism?

Verse 29 is an awkward verse, to be sure. When we have such an enigmatic verse, it’s illogical to pull it out of context and make a doctrine out of it as the Mormon church does in baptizing living people for dead people. Instead, we must interpret this verse in the light of and against the contextual backdrop of other clear passages that relate to the same subject. In the context of 1 Cor 15, Paul is talking about a believer’s hope through Messiah, and how those who don’t have faith in Yeshua have no hope of eternal life. If we die with a faith in Yeshua, we have the hope of being resurrected from the dead as he was. If we die without that hope, then all we have is this physical life and then we die and that’s it. In verse 19 (in the context of the previous verses), Paul mentions the hope that we have in Messiah because of his bodily resurrection. So now when we come to verse 29 and we read the phrase “baptized for the dead,” it should be a logical conceptual progression to understand what Paul is talking about. He is saying that because baptism is a picture of death and resurrection, and if we go through that ritual and there is no hope of resurrection for the dead, then what’s the point of it all? Why get baptized if there is no hope and “if the dead do not rise at all” as he says in the latter part of the same verse? To clarify this verse, we could succinctly rewrite it as follows: “Otherwise, what will thy do who are baptized for [the hope of] the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the [hope of the] dead?” This verse has nothing whatsoever to do with getting baptized for your dead relatives. Such an interpretation of verse 29 is a sad twisting of this passage and has caused millions of people to waste a lot of time digging into their family genealogy and then getting “baptized” for all their dead relatives.

Let us recall what Peter said of the writings of Paul, “as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (1 Pet 3:16). First Corinthians 15: 29 is another example of the difficult writings of Paul.

1 Corinthians 15:32, I have fought with beasts.Paul is comparing his experiences in Ephesus to a gladiatorial match against wild beasts. Likely, though, he means this metaphorically, since as a Roman citizen, it’s unlikely that he would have been subjected to such punishment (Manners and Customs, p. 297).

1 Corinthians 15:52, The last trumpet.In Jewish thought, the last trumpet refers to the final shofar blast of the series of blasts sounded on the Day of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) called the tekia gedolah. This is a clear indication that Yeshua will return from heaven to gather his elected — both the living and the dead — on the first day of the seventh month, which is Yom Teruah.

We shall be changed.This scripture passage along with others by Paul, James and John clearly indicates that the apostolic writers when writing these passages (i.e. prior to AD 70, the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple) viewed the second coming of Yeshua as imminent, and was not far off in the future. (See also 1 Cor 7:26, 29, 31; 1 Thess 4:14–15; Rom 13:11; 16:20; Phil 4:5; cp. Jas 5:7–9; 1 John 2:18.) The imminence of Yeshua’s second coming may have been based on a misunderstanding of Yeshua’s own words in his Olivet Discourse where he talks about the events announcing his second coming falling on “this generation” (Matt 24:34, 36). From this passage, it’s not readily understood to which generation he is referring—that one, or another off in the future, or both. It appears that the apostles applied his words to their generation. 

1 Corinthians 15:56, The sting of death.For the righteous, whose sins have been forgiven, death is not to be feared but welcomed, since it’s the doorway to eternal life. For those whose sins haven’t been forgiven, death is to be feared, since sin (the violation of YHVH’s Torah commandments) still has a legal hold on them and will result in eternal death.

 

A Chronological Analysis of Scriptures on the Resurrection of the Dead

1 Corinthians 15

The resurrection of the dead is a biblical truth that stretches like a line from the beginning to the end the Bible. It is this glorious hope to which the Bible believing saint in faith clings as he or she traverses the wilderness of this life. It is this promise from on high, the saint’s cherished inheritance, our spiritual reward and Promised Land to which each child of Elohim looks that draws us forward in our spiritual journey day-by-day. The following is a list of Scriptures from the Word of Elohim that proves the hope of the resurrection of the dead is not a vain or empty one, but a reality for those who believe in and trust the promises of the Bible.

Genesis 3:2–3, The question of what happens in the afterlife goes back to the very beginning of man’s tenure on this earth as we can see from Eve’s discussion with the serpent. Out of fear of death, Adam and Eve chose not to eat of the tree of knowledge until the serpent tricked them to disobey YHVH and eat of it. The serpent lied to them by telling them that they could have immortal life and still violate Elohim’s commandments. Most men have believed this lie to this day.

Job 14:12–15, Job is likely the oldest book in the Bible, and we see that from early times until now, man has had a perennial interest in the afterlife. Job wonders what his fate will be when he dies. Will he die and that’s all there is, or is there an afterlife?

Job 19:25–27, Job came to a place in his life where he obtained a faith about his fate in the afterlife. He knew that it hinged on his faith in his Redeemer. Biblically speaking, what was the mission of the Redeemer (i.e. Yeshua the Messiah)? It was to redeem man from the sting of death brought on by sin.

Psalm 16:9–10, Though this is usually viewed as a messianic prophecy, it isn’t confined to this interpretation. Who are YHVH’s holy, kadosh or set apart ones? The Messiah fits this category, of course, but so also do YHVH’s saints. As the apostolic writers teach us, as Yeshua died and rose again, so the saints who are in Yeshua will die and rise again.

Psalm 17:15, The term “awake” as in “awake from the sleep of death” is a Hebraism referring to the resurrection. David knew that YHVH created man in his own image for a purpose. If so, then why? It’s deductive reasoning. The creation of man wasn’t a pointless, dead-end endeavor on the Creator’s part. David knew the heart and character of YHVH well enough to know that Elohim had a higher purpose for man than just to live and then to die off. David also knew that man could have his perennial yearning for immortal life satisfied by the fact that man was created in YHVH’s image for a reason and that the reality of this fact would satisfy man’s deepest yearning for immortality.

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Notes on 1 Corinthians 1 and 2

Corinthians 1

1 Corinthians 1:12, I am of Paul. Truly it is amazing how many scriptural admonitions and truths which many in the Christian church totally ignore and walk in direct opposition to. For example, note how many denominations are named after men (e.g. Lutheran, Wesleyan, Mennonite, Amish) and how many follow doctrines named after men (e.g. Calvanist, Arminian)—a practice that is exactly what Paul condemns in this passage. Similar to this is the use of ecclesiastical titles (e.g. father, teacher or rabbi), which Yeshua condemns in Matthew 23:8–10. What does this teach us when people engage in such practices that Scripture forbids? Simply this. Many if not most people don’t take the Word of Elohim that seriously. These people  view the commands and instructions of Scripture more as suggestions than as actual rules and boundaries by which to live. Such people lack a sufficient fear of Elohim and don’t tremble before his Word (Isa 66:2). They also lift up and glory in men and the doctrines and traditions of men, which Jeremiah admonishes us not to do (Jer 9:23), and which Paul alludes to in verse 30, and which Yeshua warns against in Mark 7:13.

1 Corinthians 1:18, The message of the cross is foolishness. Anyone who has preached the gospel to those who are spiritually lost will appreciate Paul’s statement in this verse that the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. Why is this? It is because of the mind of man and human pride, which convinces a person (a) that they don’t need saving from their sins because they really aren’t that bad of a person, or (b) because it is incredulous to think that Elohim become a man who died for the sins of the world. 

1 Corinthians 1:21, The wisdom of Elohim. In so many ways, the world has inverted the truth of Elohim. What Elohim calls truth, the world calls error. What Elohim calls riches and life, the world calls poverty and death. Similarly, what Elohim calls light and wisdom, the world calls darkness and foolishness. This teaches us that the carnal mind is in direct opposition to the wisdom, truth and laws of Elohim (Jer 17:9; Rom 8:7).

1 Corinthians 1:22, We preach Messiah crucified. This is the essence of the gospel. It is interesting to note that Paul didn’t say, “We preach the Torah-law” or something similar. This is because the Torah cannot save a person; only Messiah can save. In their zeal for restoring the truth of the Torah and their aversion to mainstream Christianity (or churchianity), sadly many Hebraic-minded individuals have forgotten this important truth.

1 Corinthians 2

1 Corinthians 2:1, 3–4, Excellence of speech…persuasive words. A preacher’s oratorical, persuasive or rhetorical skills are not prerequisite to bring a person to conviction of their sins and to faith in Yeshua the Messiah. Rather, it is the message of the gospel itself, the Word of Elohim, when preached that brings conviction, repentance and salvation. This is because the Word of Elohim doesn’t return void, but carries its own powerful anointing regardless of the weakness or inabilities of the human vessel doing the preaching. Elohim can use any willing vessel or “Balaam’s donkey” to preach the gospel. 

Spirit and power. The gospel is efficacious not because of one’s ability to preach, but because one is filled with the Spirit of Elohim and is preaching in the dynamic power thereof. Therefore, YHVH can use nearly anyone to preach the gospel, as long as they are full of his Spirit. As the saying goes, Elohim isn’t looking for ability in a person, but availability—a willing human vessel to “go ye therefore into all the world and to preach the gospel.”

1 Corinthians 2:16, Mind of Messiah. (See also Phil 2:5 cp. 1 Pet 4:1.) Mind is the Greek word nooce meaning “1) the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining, the intellectual faculty, the understanding, reason in the narrower sense, as the capacity for spiritual truth, the higher powers of the soul, the faculty of perceiving divine things, of recognizing goodness and of hating evil, the power of considering and judging soberly, calmly and impartially; a particular mode of thinking and judging, i.e thoughts, feelings, purposes, desires.” The implications of this truth, that the redeemed believer has the literal mind of Messiah is astounding. We must, by YHVH’s grace and by faith, appropriate (pray to receive) and then live out this reality.