The Abrahamic Covenant: Biblical Model for How to Be Saved

Psalm 50:5, Made/cut a covenant…by sacrifice. This refers to the method by which covenants were made in ancient times between two parties. This same ritual occurred when YHVH made (or cut) a covenant with Abraham in Genesis chapter 15 except that YHVH took all the responsibilities for fulfilling the covenant upon himself, for Abraham was asleep when this covenant was cut (Gen 15:9–10, 12).

What is the lesson in this for us? Simply this: this is the model for salvation. All Abraham had to do was to have faith in YHVH and all the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant would fall upon him (Gen 15:6). We know from Paul’s discussion in Romans chapter four that the Abrahamic Covenant is the original biblical model for how an individual can receive salvation from Elohim.

We also know that when YHVH made his covenant with Abraham, the vision Abraham had while he was asleep prophetically pointed to Yeshua’s death on the cross and his initiating the new/renewed covenant as prophesied in the Tanakh (e.g. Jer 31:31–33; also see my notes at Gen 15:12–21). 

Moreover, Yeshua at his last supper and subsequent crucifixion fulfilled this ancient prophecy as well as the spiritual types and shadows discussed in Psalm 50:7 and Genesis 15:9–21. At his last supper, Yeshua made a new covenant with his disciples through his body (the bread) and blood (the wine), which redeemed believers now commemorate when they take communion. 

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matt 26:26–28)

And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (1 Cor 11:24)

Prior to his death on the cross, Yeshua’s predictively explained the significance of his broken body and spilled blood as it relates to covenantal agreement between him and those who would place their faith in him (as Abraham did in Gen 15).

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YHVH’s Plan of Salvation in the Biblical Feasts

An Introduction to the Biblical Feasts

The seven biblical feasts are a chronological step-by-step template of YHVH’s plan of redemption or salvation for mankind. This process begins with Passover — a picture of a believer’s initial salvation, and concludes with the Eighth Day — a picture of eternal life for each bonafide and glorified member of the spiritual family of Elohim. The first step in this spiritual journey starts with one’s turning their back on spiritual Egypt, which is the realm of the world, the flesh and the devil, and embarking on a life-long spiritual journey that leads one progressively to higher planes with the ultimate goal being the paradise of the New Jerusalem — literally a heaven on earth.

Sadly, the church system has failed to reveal these essential truths to believers. It has robbed the saints of their biblical, Hebraic and Torah-based heritage including an understanding of the biblical feasts and has replaced it with many lies. This has left believers without a full understanding of both their spiritual heritage and destiny. For most believers caught up in the Babylonian church system, it’s merely a matter of getting saved, doing some good works along the way and going to church. Beyond that, one bides their time standing on the street corner waiting for death or the rapture bus — whichever comes first — to take them to heaven. But is this all there is to the believer’s life? What is supposed to happen from the point of one’s initial salvation until they “get to heaven”? Hmm?! Now there’s a good head-scratcher for most!

Thankfully, YHVH hasn’t abandoned his spiritual children to wander aimlessly through the wilderness of life. He has a plan for each of us. From start to finish, this plan is revealed in YHVH’s seven biblical feasts. The understanding of this can literally revitalize one’s spiritual life imbuing it with purpose and meaning. An otherwise one-dimensional, monochromatic and monophonic movie called life suddenly comes to life in full-3D, multi-dimensional, polyphonic surround-sound with high definition color. That’s the energizing power that comes with an understanding of the biblical feasts.

Once a follower of Yeshua understands the plan of salvation in the biblical feasts, these festivals become the focal point of the year. Plans and preparations are made well in advance to celebrate them as they serve as the rendezvous points of the spiritual body, family or community of believers.

All these feasts have Yeshua at the center, and so they bring us closer to him.

YHVH’s feasts act as a spiritual road map to show us where we’ve come on our spiritual journey, where we’re at, and where we’re going on to. Furthermore, they help us to understand what we need to be doing along the journey. They provide us with a sense of direction, and a hope for the future. 

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Is the “Once Saved Always Saved Doctrine” Biblical?

Hebrews 6:6, If they fall away, to renew. 

Is the “once saved always saved” doctrine of the Protestant reformer John Calvin biblically accurate? Apparently not everyone in Christendom since that time thought so. Jacobus Arminius didn’t. Neither did John Wesley and Charles Finney. Some notable biblical personalities didn’t subscribe to this doctrine either including Yeshua the Messiah, Paul and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

The Bible clearly indicates in several places that one can lose one’s salvation.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away [or apostatize], to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Heb 6:4–6)

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins… (Heb 10:26)

In the Parable of the Sower, Yeshua teaches that when the good seed of the Word of Elohim is sown onto the ground, three-fourths of the seed begins to germinate, but eventually dies. Only one-fourth of the seed actually falls onto good soil and produces fruit (Matt 13:1–9). He then goes on to explain that many people who receive the word of Elohim can and will eventually fall away due to a variety of factors (vv. 18–23). 

Paul specifically mentions two people who became believers, but whose faith become shipwrecked and they lost their salvation.

This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Tim 1:18–20)

The Book of Acts gives the account of Simon the Samaritan (who is well known in early Christian historical accounts as Simon the Sorcerer and who became an enemy of the gospel) who was saved and even received the Spirit of Elohim, but because of his evil heart, lost his salvation (Acts 8:14–23).

Paul even suggests that he could lose his own salvation.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified [or become a castaway, KJV]. 1 Cor 9:27)

Paul warns the saints that they could lose their salvation, and even includes himself in this warning.

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified [Greek, unapproved, rejected, reprobate]. ( 2 Cor 13:5–6)

New believers are especially vulnerable to losing their salvation, since they are like young and tender plants that are not deeply rooted spiritually. Once one has walked in the faith for a long time, had their faith tested, passed the tests, and has repeatedly overcome the pulls of the world, the flesh and the devil, assuredly they are less likely to lose their salvation. In fact, in several places the Bible talks about being sealed by the Spirit of Elohim (John 6:27; 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30; 2 Tim 2:19). This seems to indicate that at some point, one either can’t or is less likely to lose one’s salvation because they have established a proven track record of faithfulness to Elohim, and they would die before turning from their faith. 

However, Paul, the might apostle of Elohim, in humility, never assumed that about himself. He erred on the side of caution in assuming that he could lose his salvation. Maintaining such a mental disposition assured that he would always stay alert, keep up his defenses and his guard against anything that could imperil his salvation. The wise saint will follow Paul’s example.

 

What Is True Biblical Repentance?

It is time to start preparing for the fall biblical festivals of Trumpets (Yom Teruah), Atonement (Yom Kippur), the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) and the Eighth Day (Shemini Atzeret). These fall biblical festivals prophetically represent the events surrounding the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah and the establishment of his eternal kingdom on this earth. The feasts are the steps in the plan of redemption, salvation, sanctification and the glorification of man. When Yeshua returns, he will bring spiritual rewards with him including the reward of eternal life for his righteous saints. Are you ready to meet him?

As we head into the fall festival season, it is time to take serious stock of our lives and to eliminate the sin therein.

We are currently in the sixth month of the biblical year, which is the time to prepare for the seventh month when the fall feasts occur. Preparing involves repenting of sin. Repentance is not a popular subject, and therefore is not taught about much in the modern church. So what is true biblical repentance? The article below will answer this question.

There is no salvation without true repentance!

What would you hear if you were to ask the average Christian to summarize the basic gospel message in one sentence? You might hear something like “Jesus loves you and has wonderful plan for your life.” Or you might hear, “Jesus died for your sins, so that you might go to heaven.” Some of the more “modern and progressive” or so-called “seeker friendly” Christians might say, “Come to Jesus and he’ll improve your self-esteem,” or “If you want good health and lots of wealth, come to Jesus.” But how does the Bible summarize the gospel message? That’s a question that almost nobody asks and no one knows or preaches about, even though the answer should be obvious to anyone who has read the Gospels. The truth is shocking and radically different from what most modern Christians think!

Matthew in his Gospel after describing the circumstances around the birth of Yeshua the Messiah, opens up by introducing the ministry of John the Baptist, the anointed prophet from heaven who came to prepare the way for the Messiah. The Gospel writers summarizes the preaching of John as “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2). In the next chapter after his brief introduction to John’s ministry, Matthew then brings Yeshua the Messiah onto the scene. After Yeshua’s temptation in the wilderness, Matthew records, “From that time Yeshua began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matt 4:17). Mark in his gospel records the same event as follows: “Now after John was put in prison, Yeshua came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of Elohim, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of Elohim is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14–15). Finally, on the day of Pentecost after being pricked in their hearts byu Peter’s convicting sermon, the crowd asked the apostle what they should do next. His answer was, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Yeshua the Messiah for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). A central and recurring theme in all of these passages is the idea of repentance from sin—a biblical concept that is understood by few modern Christians, and a message that is seldom preached in modern pulpits anymore. All of this is in spite of the fact that the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews refers to “repentance from dead works” as “one of the [six] elementary principles of Messiah [or the gospel message]” (Heb 6:1-3).

So what is repentance? How does Scripture define repentance? It is a Hebraic concept, so we must go back to the Hebrew Scriptures to discover the answer. 

Hebrew Word Definitions

There are two biblical Hebrew words that together present the complete picture of what true biblical-based repentance is. The first word is nacham meaning “to be sorry, console oneself, repent, regret, comfort, be comforted.” According to The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (The TWOT), the origin of the root of this word seems to reflect the idea of “breathing deeply,” hence the physical display of one’s feelings, usually sorrow, compassion, or comfort. The root occurs in the Ugaritic … and is found in Old Testament (OT or Tanakh) proper names such as Nehemiah, Nahum and Menehem. The Greek Septuagint (or lxx) translates the Hebrew word nacham by the two Greek words metanoeo and metamelomai. The Greek word metanoeo means “to change one’s mind, that is, to repent or to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins.” Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies says this of nacham

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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.

When this verse states that Israel“began to possess [the Promised Land],” what does this mean? Why didn’t YHVH give it 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

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 astray spiritually. Yes, the initial steps in the process of salvation are relatively easy, but then there’s repentance, the sanctified spiritual walk, obedience to the commands and lordship of Yeshua, overcoming one’s sin nature, and the use of  spiritual talents all of which determine the levels of 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.

 

Dear Natan: Is the “Once Saved Always Saved Doctrine” Biblical?

Question from Mark: What do you think about the “Once Saved Always Saved Doctrine”?

Natan’s answer: Is the “once saved always saved” doctrine of the Protestant reformer John Calvin biblically accurate? Apparently not everyone in Christendom since that time thought so. Jacobus Arminius didn’t. Neither did John Wesley and Charles Finney. Some notable biblical personalities didn’t subscribe to this doctrine either including Yeshua the Messiah, Paul and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

The Bible clearly indicates in several places that one can lose one’s salvation.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away [or apostatize], to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Heb 6:4–6)

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins… (Heb 10:26)

In the Parable of the Sower, Yeshua teaches that when the good seed of the Word of Elohim is sown onto the ground, three-fourths of the seed begins to germinate, but eventually dies. Only one-fourth of the seed actually falls onto good soil and produces fruit (Matt 13:1–9). He then goes on to explain that many people who receive the word of Elohim can and will eventually fall away due to a variety of factors (vv. 18–23). 

Paul specifically mentions two people who became believers, but whose faith become shipwrecked and they lost their salvation.

This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Tim 1:18–20)

The Book of Acts gives the account of Simon the Samaritan (who is well known in early Christian historical accounts as Simon the Sorcerer and who became an enemy of the gospel) who was saved and even received the Spirit of Elohim, but because of his evil heart, lost his salvation (Acts 8:14–23).

Paul even suggests that he could lose his own salvation.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified [or become a castaway, KJV]. 1 Cor 9:27)

Paul warns the saints that they could lose their salvation, and even includes himself in this warning.

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified [Greek, unapproved, rejected, reprobate]. ( 2 Cor 13:5–6)

New believers are especially vulnerable to losing their salvation, since they are like young and tender plants that are not deeply rooted spiritually. Once one has walked in the faith for a long time, had their faith tested, passed the tests, and has repeatedly overcome the pulls of the world, the flesh and the devil, assuredly they are less likely to lose their salvation. In fact, in several places the Bible talks about being sealed by the Spirit of Elohim (John 6:27; 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30; 2 Tim 2:19). This seems to indicate that at some point, one either can’t or is less likely to lose one’s salvation because they have established a proven track record of faithfulness to Elohim, and they would die before turning from their faith. 

However, Paul, the might apostle of Elohim, in humility, never assumed that about himself. He erred on the side of caution in assuming that he could lose his salvation. Maintaining such a mental disposition assured that he would always stay alert, keep up his defenses and his guard against anything that could imperil his salvation. The wise saint will follow Paul’s example.