The Seven Steps of Redemption

Exodus 6:1–9, YHVH redeems Israel.

The stage is set for Israel’s redemption in Exodus 5:22–23. Yet Moses’ first venture to Pharaoh was a disaster. The plight of the children of Israel had deteriorated instead of improved. Discouraged, Moses almost takes on an accusative tone toward YHVH (Exod 5:22–23). Graciously, YHVH doesn’t rebuke Moses, but as a loving Father encourages him to refocus on his word and the veracity and surety of his promises (Exod 6:2–5).

YHVH encouraged Moses upward and onward despite his discouraging first attempt at gaining the release of the ­children of Israel. Is it possible that YHVH allowed immediate success to elude Moses at his first encounter with Pharaoh to bring Moses “to the end of himself” with regard to any tendency he might have had to rely primarily on himself and on his own wisdom to accomplish Elohim’s plans? After all, Moses, as either Pharaoh’s adopted grandson or his nephew (depending on whether this was the Pharaoh of Moses’ childhood or his son), had an “in” with the monarch that could have been exploited for the benefit of securing the release of Israel. As YHVH wanted Moses to rely on him alone for Israel’s deliverance, even so YHVH wants us to rely on him alone to accomplish his purposes in our lives and not primarily on any human abilities that we may possess. We have to be totally emptied of ourselves before we’re ready for the Master’s use. This doesn’t mean he won’t use our natural abilities or what he have gained through life’s experiences, but we must learn to submit all that we have and are to his sovereign will. In this way, YHVH, not man, gets the glory when success occurs (Jer 9:22–23).

Additionally, YHVH reaffirmed his covenant promises to Moses using his covenant name, YHVH, three times (Exod 6:678). Here are some other examples of how Scripture usesYHVH’s covenant name along with modifying adjectives to describe his promise and ability to meet all our human needs:

  • YHVH Elohim (Gen 2:4–7)
  • YHVH El Elohim: YHVH El of gods (Josh 22:22)
  • YHVH Elohaykha: YHVH Your Elohim (Exod 20:2)
  • YHVH Elohay Avotaynu: YHVH Elohim of our fathers (Ezra 7:27)
  • YHVH Elohay HaShamaiyim: YHVH, Elohim of heaven (Gen 24:7)
  • YHVH Elohay Yisrael: YHVH Elohim of Israel (Josh 24:2)
  • YHVH Elohaynu: YHVH Our Elohim (Ps 99:5)
  • YHVH Elohi: YHVH My Elohim (Zech 14:5)
  • YHVH Asaynu: YHVH Our Maker (Ps 95:6)
  • YHVH Echad U-Shmo Echad: YHVH Is One and His Name Is One (Zech 14:9)
  • YHVH M’Kadishkhem: YHVH Who Sanctifies You (Exod 31:13)
  • YHVH Nisi: YHVH Is My Banner (Exod 17:15)
  • YHVH Ro-ee: YHVH Is My Shepherd (Ps 23:1)
  • YHVH Rophekha: YHVH Who Heals You (Exod 15:26)
  • YHVH Shamah: YHVH Is There (Ezek 48:35)
  • YHVH Tzidkenu: YHVH Is Our Righteousness (Jer 23:6)
  • YHVH Tzuree: YHVH My Rock (or Strength) (Ps 144:1)
  • YHVH Tzvaot: YHVH of Hosts/Armies (Isa 6:3)
  • YHVH Yireh: YHVH Will Provide (Gen 22:14)

Next, YHVH reveals to Moses the seven steps of Israel’s redemption, which are actually promises of what YHVH will do for Israel.

Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, “I am YHVH, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem [Heb. ga’almeaning “to buy back, ransom for money”] you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments, and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you an Elohim, and you shall know that I am YHVH your Elohim, which brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am YHVH.” (Exod 6:6–8, emphasis added)

Here we find listed the seven steps of redemption YHVH lays out for Israel. YHVH uses his covenant name three times during the seven promises: at the beginning, middle and end. He wraps his covenant promises in his covenant name for emphasis.

Continue reading
 

Down to Egypt (or “Hell”) or Up to the Jerusalem (or “Heaven”)? Which path are you on?

Genesis 39:1, Down to Egypt…down there. 

There are more than twenty references in the Bible to “going down to Egypt,” coming “up from Egypt” or words to this gist. Egypt can be taken as a biblical metaphor for the secular world and all that is in it that is in opposition to YHVH’s paths of righteousness. Egypt represents the low spiritual way of following the world, flesh and the devil that is evil that leads to death and separation from Elohim, while the Promised land, and specifically Jerusalem, is a metaphor for the spiritual high place of truth, righteousness and godliness that leads to eternal life. This is why the Bible speaks of “going down to Egypt” and “going up to Jerusalem.” 

Each person has only two choices in life on how they will conduct their lives. They must make a choice—they will make a choice purposely or inadvertently. They can choose the proverbial downward path or the highway to hell or the upward path or the highway to heaven. Everyone chooses one path or another, even if they are not aware of the conscious decision to do so. To not make a choice is, by default, to choose the downward path. 

Most people are somewhere in the middle, which is a vast grey area. They neither choose one path or the other. They choose just enough of the upward path to alleviate their guilt, but not enough of it to radically change their lifestyles. They still want enough of the downward path to satiate the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and pride of life. 

So what did Yeshua have to say about those who choose this wide, well-traveled middle road?

I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Rev 3:15–16)

To those who find themselves on this path, Yeshua is standing outside of the door of their spiritual house and saying,

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev 3:20)

To those who respond positively to his invitation, he promises them a place in the Promised Land of his everlasting kingdom or the New Jerusalem, which is coming down from heaven.

For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (Heb 13:14)

For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is Elohim. (Heb 11:10)

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my Elohim, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my Elohim, and the name of the city of my Elohim, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my Elohim: and I will write upon him my new name. (Rev 3:12)

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Rev 3:21)

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from Elohim out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev 21:2)

With this lofty heavenly, spiritual goal and reward in mind for those who continue here below in faithful obedience and overcoming perseverance, what should be our demeanor? What wise admonitions must we keep in mind, so that we will be faithful to the end—until the object of our faith arrives (Heb 11:1)? 

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Yeshua the Messiah; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conduct; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here [on earth] in fear: forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in Elohim, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in Elohim. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of Elohim, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Pet 1:13–23, emphasis added)

 

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).

Continue reading
 

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. 

Continue reading
 

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

Continue reading