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Yah'shua (Jesus)




    Yahweh the Rescuer

    Sabbath Day Sermon: Saturday 12 July 2003

      "Is it possible to rescue victims from someone strong and cruel? But Yahweh has promised to fight on our side and to rescue our children from those strong and violent enemies. He will make those cruel people dine on their own flesh and get drunk from drinking their own blood. Then everyone will know that Yahweh is our Saviour (yasha); the powerful One of Jacob has saved His people" (Isa.49:24-25, variation of CEV).

    We take a break this week from our Bible study course of sermons to consider just Who it is that we worship and what He is capable of doing. There are times in our lives when we feel that we have our backs against a wall. It may be because of any number of different problems, from bad health to poor relationships, economic woes or just plain persecution. In the passage I have just read, the prophet Isaiah is reminded that Yahweh is our Rescuer. And that is what I want to talk about today.

    Now I wonder how many of you know what a cliché is? A cliché is a word or expression that has lost much of its force through overexposure, or it is simply an idea, action, or habit that has become trite (dull) from overuse. One of those clichés is, in my view, "Are you saved?" because I don't think many Christians really know what they mean when they ask that question, or otherwise declare: "I am saved!"

    The first thing I want you to note from today's passage is just who the 'Saviour' is. It is Yahweh, our Heavenly Father, the one and only true Eloah or God. Let me read this passage to you again: "Then everyone will know that Yahweh is our Saviour; the powerful one of Jacob has saved His people."

    Throughout the Old Testament Yahweh is described as our yasha or yah'shua. This word has multiple meanings: salvation, deliverance, rescue, defence, make safe, make free, get victory. Yahweh is our Saviour, our rescuer, our deliverer.

    As we all know, Yah'shua (Jesus) literally means 'Yahweh Rescues', 'Yahweh Delivers', or 'Yahweh Saves'. The Messiah is Yahweh's instrument of salvation in the New Covenant. Not only does Yahweh deliver His people from their enemies and from cruel oppressors as Isaiah wrote about, but He delivers them from their own evil dispositions within. He is a Liberator in the truest sense of the world - He makes people free.

    In order to understand this relationship between the Father and the Son we have only to look back to the Old Testament to the relationship between Moses and Joshua, because both of these were types of the Father and the Son. The English name 'Joshua' is, however, a little misleading. His Name was originally Hoshea but was renamed by Yahweh through Moses as 'Yah'shua'. This confused the King James Version (KJV) translators so much that in the following passage in Acts they wrote 'Jesus' instead of 'Joshua':

      "Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua (KJV Jesus) into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David, who found favour before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob" (Acts 7:44-46, NKJV).

    That's right. 'Joshua' and 'Jesus' are the same name but you wouldn't think so using the Greek 'Jesus' or our Anglicised 'Joshua'. Both were called 'Yah'shua', meaning 'The Salvation of Yahweh' or 'The Rescuer/Deliverer of Yahweh'.

    Joshua and Yah'shua were both saviours - they both brought salvation - but in different spheres. Joshua was the physical deliverer of Israel and Yah'shua is the spiritual deliverer of Israel. And Yahweh is the deliverer of both.

    When we talk of the salvation of Yahweh we are, properly speaking, talking about salvation in every sphere of life from the spiritual - deliverance from sin - to the physical - rescue from our enemies. So when you ask the question: "Are you saved?" pause and consider what you actually mean.

    Let me give you an illustration. Let us say that your house is being attacked by hooligans. You call the police and ask to be rescued. They come, arrest the hooligans, and you can relax again. You have been saved, delivered, or rescued from the hooligans. The evidence that you are saved is that you are no longer being attacked.

    Throughout the history of Israel we read of numerous accounts of how Yahweh saved His people. If I asked you how Yahweh saved the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, you could give me a list of all His saving acts. You could list the 10 plagues, describe the exodus out of the land, the parting of the Red Sea, the miracle of the manna, quails, and water from the rock, how Israel's enemies were swallowed into the ground, struck with leprosy, or delivered in battle. You could look at the later reigns of the monarchs of Israel and Judah and describe accurately how Yahweh delivered or saved them.

    People have this idea, though, that measuring spiritual salvation is either very difficult or impossible. If you ask a Christian how he knows he is saved he will probably give you a variety of answers. These can be very subjective things like "I feel good" to legalistic things like "I believe in the promises of the Bible so it must be so". Whilst I would be the last to try and invalidate the promises made in the Bible or to deny the wonderful sense of elation that comes with a supernatural encounter with Yah'shua (Jesus), I do insist on looking for more than these as evidence of salvation.

    What, then, are some practical evidences of the salvation of Yah'shua (Jesus)? What things can we look for in ourselves by which to measure ourselves in some concrete sort of way? I'd like to start by first of all looking at the spiritual deliverance that Yahweh gave anciently in the Old Testament by reading the next chapter of Isaiah which includes a Messianic prophecy of Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself:

      "Yahweh-Elohim gives me the right words to encourage the weary. Each morning He awakens me eager to learn his teaching; He made me willing to listen and not rebel or run away" (Isa.50:4-5, CEV).

    The first thing we notice about the salvation of Yahweh is that it leads us to imitate Yah'shua (Jesus) in "encouraging the weary". The salvation of Yahweh turns us from being 'me-centered' to 'other-centred'. We desire to bless others, in this case, to encourage those who are tired or worn out. And that, of course, means everyone, because we all get tired! The words of the apostle John echo down the centuries when he said, "if God so loved us, we ought to love one another" (1 Jn.4:11, NKJV), and also of Peter who said:

      "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Ruach (Spirit) in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible" (1 Peter 1:22-23, NKJV; see 3:8; 4:8).

    And Paul said:

      "Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another" (Heb.10:24-25, NKJV).

    I could cite you dozens of passages because this is the great fruit of the salvation of Yahweh - a desire to show consideration for others by assembling with them as often as possible. That initiative must be ours, the Sabbath gathering being the chief one. Over the years I have met many people who would walk great distances in order to gather with other believers. The salvation of Yahweh drove them - they didn't wait to be 'collected'. Those who are waiting to be 'collected' or 'invited' demonstrate that they have probably not received His salvation.

    This short passage in Isaiah is, in my view, quite remarkable, because it contains several vital elements of the salvation of Yahweh. We've seen that Yahweh speaks to us so that we can encourage others. And it follows, does it not, that we, in our turn, will receive words of encouragement from Yahweh from other true believers?

    "Each morning He awakens me eager to learn his teaching," Isaiah goes on to say (50:4b). If the salvation of Yahweh is in us, then we will wake up with it - it isn't something we will need to recultivate. The moment we are conscious, an enthusiasm will grip us to learn more about our Creator-Saviour! We will want to know more about His teaching - His doctrine - His Torah. So it follows that we won't need prodding to learn more - it will be natural. It will be 'there'. The divine imperative will literally bubble to the surface each morning. We will want more.

    Then he says: "He made me willing to listen and not rebel or run away" (v.5). A lot of people have problems listening to Yahweh's will because they are tuned to Him. Their instinct is to 'rebel' or 'run away' when anything to do with 'God' or 'Christ' comes up. Does this demonstrate the salvation of Yahweh? To rebel and run away from Yahweh demonstrate not salvation but the opposite.

    I would find it amusing, were it not a tragedy, how many people accuse those who love the Torah of being 'religious' as though they were not saved, when the opposite is true. And this is my whole point: for a good number of 'Christians', salvation is something they have done, namely, they have made a profession of faith, and then walked away. That is NOT salvation! Salvation is a transforming experience and reality. Salvation means you have received a new life - a new life that makes you eager to help others, eager to study the Bible every morning, and willing to listen to Yahweh's truth and not rebel or run away. This is salvation.

    Now I could have taken any number of passages from the Bible - Old or New Testament - to illustrate what I mean by the salvation of Yahweh. Notice how I have repeatedly called this the 'salvation of Yahweh', because this is what the word Yah'shua - Jesus - actually means - the same name given to the man we call 'Joshua'. Salvation leads to action, and who would deny that Joshua was a man of action? This man Joshua was one of two men out of all those Israelites who left Egypt who made it to the Promised Land. And he did so because he had his eyes on Moses - Yahweh's prophet who was a type of Yahweh Himself - the whole time. He demonstrated loyalty, courage, love, enthusiasm, and faithfulness. When Yahweh spoke through His prophet, He obeyed - unquestioningly and joyfully. The love of Yahweh's Torah was firmly burned into his heart.

    And so it was with Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). His eyes were on His Father, Yahweh, at all times. He obeyed Him at all times. He loved His commandments and taught them faithfully. He said to His disciples that He never did anything save what His Father had told Him to do. He had what is called 'singleness of purpose'. His goal was constantly there.

    We in our turn are to have our eyes on the Salvation of Yahweh, namely, Yah'shua (Jesus). This means that we have our eye on Yahweh all the time. It is not the salvation of Yah'shua (Jesus) that we have our eye on but the salvation of Yahweh. That is why the Messiah was called 'Yah'shua' and not something else - and that is why the name 'Jesus' is somewhat misleading because it does not emphasise that point. The name 'Jesus' doesn't actually mean anything at all in the Greek language.

    Whenever I see the salvation of Yahweh in the Old Testament I see Yah'shua (Jesus). And whenever I see Yah'shua (Jesus) in the New Testament I see the salvation of Yahweh - I see the salvation of my Heavenly Father. This is what is meant by the echad or oneness principle of the Godhead.

    Which is why a few verses on we read in this same chapter of Isaiah:

      "None of you respect Yahweh or obey His servant. You walk in the dark instead of the light; you don't trust the Name of Yahweh your Elohim" (Isa.50:10, CEV).

    What is that Name? It is Yahweh. Yahweh is the Name people don't trust ... not just the sound but what it means. It means "the Ultimate Reality". What do we mean, then, by the 'salvation of Yahweh'? We mean, quite simply, the salvation of the Ultimate Reality.

    When Peter, filled with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), addressed the Sanhedrin in the Acts of the Apostles, he said:

      "Only Yah'shua (Jesus) has the power to save! His Name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone" (Ac.4:12, CEV).

    I repeat, it is His Name which is "the only one in all the world that can save anyone". What this does not mean is that you only have to say 'Jesus' a few times to be saved, or declare with your mouth that He is the Son of Yahweh. What it means is that "the salvation of Yahweh is the only thing that can save anyone".

    Moses set Joshua apart as the man the Israelites were to obey and follow into the land of Canaan to conquer it. Yahweh has set Yah'shua (Jesus) apart as the One whom we are to trust and obey in order to be saved from sin. When we are genuinely doing that we will connect to the Ultimate Reality and Power, the Creator, Yahweh-Elohim, without the need of the blood of animals. When this connection is made, a change of behaviour follows, some of the symptoms of which I have already described.

    Moses and the Israelites declared after they had crossed the Red Sea: "Yah ... has become my salvation" (Ex.15:2, NIV) because he was delivered. This was a saving act - an act of deliverance - a divine rescue. Everyone could plainly see that, even the most carnal amongst them. King David echoed the prophet in these same words: "Yah ... has become my salvation" (Ps.118:14, NIV) when his enemies were defeated. And Isaiah predicts the day when Israel will declare, after being rescued: "Yah ... is my salvation" (Is.12:2a, NIV).

    When people say they are 'saved' but do not bring forth the fruits of salvation they demonstrate that they are not.

    Paul twice says: "Whoever calls upon the Name of Yahweh shall be saved" (Ac.2:21; Rom.10:13). Most Christians believe that it is 'Jesus' that is being spoken of here but if you look carefully you will see that Paul is quoting the prophet Joel (2:32) who is speaking of Yahweh.

    My purpose today is to get you to realise two things: Firstly, whenever you are calling upon Yah'shua (Jesus) you are calling upon the salvation that belongs to Yahweh, our Heavenly Father; and Secondly, when someone is saved they are literally delivered, rescued, or freed ... not from something theoretical or symbolical, but for real and tangible which others can see. Salvation means not only release from bondage within but also a new life that leads to a complete change in behaviour. If someone who says they possess Christ does not change in behaviour they have not encountered the salvation of the Ultimate Reality. If you are the same way you were before you claimed the Name of Christ, then you have not met Yahweh. You have merely vocalised a Name and performed some rituals. And if your works are dead, then your spirit is dead and unsaved too.

    We will never probably fully understand the relationship between the Father and the Son because we are not God. But one thing that we can - and must - know is that salvation is of Yahweh and that His sole instrument is Yah'shua (Jesus). The only way back to Yahweh is through Yah'shua (Jesus) because He became the Salvation of Yahweh, just as Joshua did when his name was changed from Hoshea to Yah'shua. Joshua delivered the salvation he was entrusted with in the Promised Land as Yah'shua (Jesus) did on the Cross. Joshua was commissioned while Moses was still alive just as Yah'shua (Jesus) was in the River Jordan when the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) descended upon Him in the form of a dove.

    Joshua, however, was a fallible mortal. He was tricked by the Gibeonites and entered into a forbidden covenant with them (Josh.9). Yah'shua (Jesus), by contrast, never broke His covenant with Yahweh and never sinned. He was perfect in every respect. He did what no human being had ever done before. He lived Torah without once breaking a commandment. This qualified Him to become the spotless sin-offering at Calvary which He accomplished and was then glorified by Yahweh! He did what we could not do on our own. Empowered by His resurrection power - which is Yahweh's resurrection power (Gal.1:1; Eph.1:20; Col.2:12; 1 Pet.1:21; Ac.13:13, etc.) - and not our own, we too are able to become perfect and be overcomers. We can become like Him (1 Jn.3:2). "And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:2-3, NKJV). And what is the standard by which we know what is pure and what is not pure? Torah. When we match what Torah demands - not in our own strength but in the power of Messiah - then we have attained purity.

    Now those who do not want to purify themselves obviously do not have hope in the salvation of Yahweh but in something else. And those who do not have hope in Yah'shua (Jesus) - the real Yah'shua (Jesus), that is, not in a symbolic or mythical one - what happens to them? What are we able to see? How are they able to measure themselves?

      "Yahweh-Elohim gives me the right words to encourage the weary. Each morning He awakens me eager to learn his teaching; He made me willing to listen and not rebel or run away" (Isa.50:4-5, CEV).

    This page was created on 14 August 2003
    Last updated on 14 August 2003

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