"For Yahweh so Loved the World..."
The Promise of Salvation
Man has always sought safety and release from his problems in the world. He has looked for salvation from the elements, wild animals and the threat of other men since the dawn of time. The instinct for self-preservation is strong in the human being and men will fight for their lives when threatened.
Many give allegiance to certain men or groups with whom they are given the promise of safety and the essentials of life.
But even more, most of humanity expresses a belief in the unseen world, the supernatural aspects of events around him that he cannot explain. From earliest times, man has sensed the existence of a spirit world. Pagan religions abound with many concepts from the realm of the invisible.
Undoubtedly, hopes of overcoming his mortality led man to the idea of a continuation of life in some other form after death. One belief that emerged was the immortality of the soul. A variation of this notion was that the soul entered the life of another human and lived again. Others believe in a reincarnation where the soul, or life, enters an animal to continue living in that form.
Myths and ideas abound as man seeks assurance that somehow, someone will save him from a miserable existence or no existence after death. The Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and primitive peoples all had their "saviors." The savior idea that sprouted in various religions is rooted in the ancient Scriptures. The first book of the Old Testament prophesies a Savior to come on earth.
The Bible shows the end from the beginning. It tells of the existence of the Mighty One of the universe and His plan for mankind. He does not attempt to prove He exists, but simply puts forth His truth in His Word. From His Word we can prove the veracity of what He has said. Physical phenomena reveal the existence of a Supreme Being. We realize that the world has been running down since its creation; that life can only come from life; that kind begets kind; that design has a designer; that our physical laws had a lawgiver and that fulfilled prophecy and answered prayer show us some Being far greater than ourselves.
He also shows us that He is the true Creator of this world and the universe, as well the powerful Sustainer of all life. And He promises a life after death through the Savior that He has sent. This is the two-part lesson we will be studying: the Old Testament promise of salvation and its New Testament fulfillment in Yahshua the Messiah. Who was the true Savior of mankind? Why was He born on earth? When and why did He die? Most of all, we'll discover why He had to die and why His death and resurrection are central to the entire theme of the Bible.
Life can come only from Him who has the power of life. The very Name "Yahweh" means, "I will be what I will be," or "I will become whatever I wish to become," and can also mean, "I will bring into existence that which I will." His Name embodies the Hebrew verb of existence and also the causative form meaning the power to accomplish or create whatever He wishes.
Man's First Sin Prompts a Salvation Promise
Yahweh can take the worst of situations and turn it into an opportunity for His glory. In Genesis chapter one, the creation was finished and Yahweh saw that it was good. He completed a perfect creation during the first six days. On the sixth He made His masterpiece--Adam.
The creation is viewed from the vantage point of the universe in chapter one. In chapter two, the creation is viewed from man's standpoint. And it was good. Adam and Eve lived in a beautiful garden where everything was provided for them. Man was given great promises and could have lived forever in the physical state. He communed directly with his Maker. At first, no rivals or competitors interfered.
Even with all going his way, with none of the problems we face today, the human creation succumbed to the temptation presented by the Adversary in direct violation of the requirement of the Almighty Creator not to eat of the forbidden fruit. Just as today man thinks he can circumvent the plain teachings of Scripture and do whatever seems good to him, Adam and Eve were intent on doing their thing, violating the commands of authority.
In spite of the warning not to eat of the forbidden fruit, Eve was deceived into trying it. She told Adam and he went along with what she had done. Instead of admitting his guilt when confronted with his disobedience and rebellion, Adam pointed to his mate and said she was at fault. He was actually putting the blame on Yahweh for having given him Eve. Eve in turn blamed the serpent. Notice that all three were penalized for the part each played. The serpent had to go on his belly. Adam had to work the earth "by the sweat of his brow." Eve was to have painful childbirths. A curse was put on the earth because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Those born after that were also under a curse even though they had not of themselves disobeyed. We have all reaped the results of Adam's rebellion. Unconverted and carnal man is assured of destruction.
But through Eve would also come the Deliverer of mankind. This Deliverer or Savior was promised in Genesis 3:15. While man condemned himself by his actions, Yahweh also provided a way of salvation for those who would heed. The Book of Genesis shows that He selected a family called Shem (meaning "name") through which salvation would come. Salvation was promised, but only to those who would prove themselves worthy. Significantly, these promises were made on the basis of a name. Yahweh's Name provides salvation.
The patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob carried the covenant promise through their descendants.
The idea of eternal existence is found in ancient Egyptian artifacts. At left, Anubis, the jackal-headed deity of mummy wrapping, adjusts the mask of a bandaged mummy. Mummification was to protect and preserve the dead. At right, the scarab deity Khepri represented the rising sun, a symbol of life's renewal and eternal existence.
Pre-flood Wickedness in Today's World
At one point, out of the entire world, only Noah and his family remained faithful. Yet Noah was not afraid to act on the faith he knew was right. We, who are looking for the Redeemer, should be preparing just as Noah and his family.
We are closer to the Second Coming than any other generation has ever been. One of the statements Yahshua made concerning world conditions just prior to His return is often overlooked. He said that the world would be just like it was in Noah's day. Read His warning in Matthew 24:37-39, "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." The cycle is nearly complete: mankind continues to become increasingly corrupt both morally and spiritually until Yahweh is forced to destroy the earth once more.
The times today reflect the same mentality and pursuits common to Noah's day. Many are so taken up with the ways of this world, they have no compulsion to study to understand the plan of redemption found in Yahweh's Word. They delay the search of why they were born. They remain ignorant and unconcerned about the very purpose of their lives. Their most important objective is living for the present. The opportunity to prepare for the grandest time of their lives passes them by. Most Christians have no idea of the wonderful destiny that Yahweh has prepared for them that love Him, 1 Corinthians 2:9.
Did you realize that Christianity is the largest religion on earth? There are more individuals who claim to follow the Old and New Testaments than any other religion in the world. Being the largest doesn't make it right, however. It may make one feel comfortable that he is in the predominant group. He is offered a sense of security through sheer numbers.
Suppose you were living in the days of Noah. Being in the majority would have put you in a very unpleasant position. It would have indeed seemed incredible to the majority that one family was remarkably different, believing such strange tenets that would move them to build a monstrous ship so far from any body of water and with no way of getting it to one. Yet Noah believed Yahweh and acted on that belief. The result? He was saved!
Many sincere people are led to believe that it does not make any difference what you believe or whom you worship so long as you believe and worship something. Most try to fall within the mainstream of current religious beliefs. The concept seems to be that the majority is right and must be followed. And there is general acceptance in following the broad way of mainstream religion. Life is easier when going with the majority.
But Yahshua's disciples were certainly in the minority. He called His followers "a little flock" and prophesied that there would be few who would accept Him as their Savior and King. "Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:13-14.
The way of Yahweh has not been a popular movement and often has put the few dedicated believers at odds with the general population. The early assembly, though, turning the world upside down with their faith and their message, did not grow to huge numbers--thus fulfilling Yahshua's prophecy.
Just as the majority rejected Noah in his day, so will the majority reject the True Body of worshippers today and also the Savior when He comes.
Notice what the Bible says of the "beasts" that will control the world at the end of the age: "And he exercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast," Revelation 13:12. The whole earth, or the entire population (for all practical purposes, their number is so large) will be worshipping the beast system at the close of the age. Being in the majority just prior to the return of the true Savior will not be the place you want to be! The majority will follow a false Messiah as seen in Revelation 13:13-17. They are deceived by miracles and are duped into worshipping an image of a "beast." All the world will be under its domination.
Yahweh's Name and Salvation
The Savior said that He had come in His Father's Name, John 5:43. He warned that if another came in his own name he would be welcomed by the deceived ones. It is important, then, to know and call on the Name Yahweh. The majority will not be using or calling on the Name that means eternal life. They will be following another. The difference of whether you will have eternal life or not depends upon whether you trust in Him whose very Name means life or self-existence.
The Name Yahweh is a combination of the Hebrew verb of existence, "to be," in all tenses--past, present and future. Modern translators have rendered it "Eternal" or "Ever living." Few have retained the actual Name of Yahweh, thereby obscuring its identity.
Long ago, superstitious worshippers mistakenly feared that the mispronunciation of the sacred Name Yahweh would incur His wrath. Yahweh, however, condemned their actions: "How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yes, they are the prophets of the deceit of their own heart; which think to cause My people to forget My name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten My name for Baal," Jeremiah 23:26-27.
Piety in Reasons for Disobedience
Yahweh's people have heard teachers contend that it is not important whether or not we use His Name. "Yahweh knows who it is we're referring to," they say. "He is not dull of hearing and He understands us and our shortcomings." This reasoning is no better than ancient Israel's, who said that so long as they knew Yahweh's Name and His Sabbaths they could do as they wished. They were His chosen people and could do no wrong, they thought.
After all, they reasoned, if they spent all their time trying to find out what it was He wanted of them, then they were "earning" His favor. Weren't the blessings to come on them not because they had earned them, but because of His promise to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? They would do things their way, and Yahweh would bless them in spite of what they did, or so they thought. They began to look upon His promises as ironclad guarantees of his goodness with nothing required of them.
Let us not fall into the same trap and think that we do not have to know and call on Yahweh's Name. We show our love by obeying Him in all things. Once we accept the Bible, never let us think our salvation is forever ensured.
Use of Name Crucial
Just how important is His Name? It is impossible to receive eternal life anywhere else. Yahweh, who is eternal, is the only source of eternal life. "For this says the high and lofty One That inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy; 'I dwell in the high and lofty place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones,'" Isaiah 57:15.
As the sole source of eternal life, Yahweh demands exclusive worship. He has given ample instruction concerning the use of His Name, not leaving it up to the imagination of men. This includes treating it holy, as seen in Isaiah 57:15. Having this proper respect for His name will lead you to a fuller knowledge of Him.
In Psalm 105:1-4, notice how you can come to know Yahweh: "O give thanks unto Yahweh; call upon His name: Make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him: Talk of all His wondrous works. Glory in His holy name: Let the heart of them rejoice that seek Yahweh. Seek Yahweh, and His strength: Seek His face evermore." How wonderful it is to know His glorious Name!
Have you wondered how you could call a friend if you did not use his name? Perhaps you have had the experience of dialing the wrong telephone number What happens? You ask for someone who is not there. That is one reason you need to use Yahweh's holy Name, so He will be there to help you.
Your redemption rests in the covenant you make with Yahweh. In Psalm 11:9 we are shown that redemption is connected to His Name. "He sent redemption unto His people: He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and reverend is His name." The Name of Yahweh is what He Himself is worthy of, that is, the holiness and worship we direct toward Him.
Read more of what Yahweh promises to those who use His Name: "Yahweh is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them. Yahweh preserves all them that love Him: But all the wicked will He destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of Yahweh: And let all flesh bless His holy name for ever and ever," Psalm 145:18-21. This passage reflects the best of reasons for using His holy Name: salvation.
Note how earnest Yahweh is that we use His Name: "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My salvation," Psalm 91:14-16. It is precisely because we know His Name, and use it, that He saves us with an everlasting salvation.
Yahweh will punish those who do not worship Him by His holy Name. Read Psalm 79:6, "Pour out your wrath upon the heathen that have not known You, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon Your name." Why would He do that? The answer can be found in Psalm 83:16-18: "Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek Your name, O Yahweh. Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; Yes, let them be put to shame, and perish: That men may know that You, whose name alone is YAHWEH, are the Most High over all the earth." The reason is to have everyone use His Name and become heirs of salvation. Psalm 79:9 reads, "Help us, O Elohim of our salvation, for the glory of Your name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for Your name's sake."
Punishment for neglecting Yahweh's Name is not limited to the heathen, for in Joel 2 Israel gets its share also. Take special note of verses 28-32. Quoted on the day of Pentecost at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit the message given was, "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahweh shall be delivered." It is clear then that Yahweh expects those that desire salvation to call upon His Name.
Throughout Scripture, Yahweh was the Savior and Redeemer of Israel. In Isaiah 49:26 and 60:16, as in many other places, Yahweh is called the Savior and Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. Hosea wrote, "Yet I am Yahweh thy Elohim from the land of Egypt, and you shall know no elohim but Me: for there is no savior beside Me," 13:4. And Jeremiah said, "Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in Yahweh our Elohim is the salvation of Israel," Jeremiah 3:23.
In many prophecies of the Old Testament, Yahweh promises that He will be the salvation of His people. Upon the deliverance of Israel from the Egyptians on the first day of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 15:2), Moses and the Israelites sang a song of Moses to Yahweh. Note that the Hebrew word is Yah, "my strength and my song and He is become my salvation." The short form Yah is used in becoming salvation. The short form is the same expression is also used in Psalm 118:14 and Isaiah 12:2.
Footsteps of Yahshua
The ruins of this second century synagogue
at Capernaum exist on the site
where Yahshua "entered into the
synagogue and taught," Mark 1:21.
The Perfect Sacrifice for Sinful Man
The penalty for sin is death, Romans 6:23. Since Adam and Eve, mankind has had to live with the temptation to sin. All men have failed through sin. Unless our sins are pardoned and washed away through sacrificial death, we are all condemned to eternal death. There would be no hope for salvation.
In the Old Testament, animal sacrifice was required for the sins of the people. Israel had to learn that for every sin a sacrifice was necessary. These animal sacrifices could not atone for their sins, however, but could only cover them temporarily, Hebrews 10:1-4. To annul sin requires a sacrifice far greater than a mere animal. It necessitates a sacrifice worth more than all human beings combined.
Yahweh is spirit and cannot die. Therefore, He had to provide for man the ultimate sacrifice that could die--one from the very Host of the heavens. That sacrifice was Yahshua the Messiah, who took on human flesh and blood to appear as a man. Had He been a mere man, though, He could not have expiated the sins of all men. He was the very Son of Yahweh and became the supreme, perfect and complete sacrifice that could atone for all sin, 1 John 3:5. See Hebrews 10:5-9 also.
Isaiah foretold of the coming of Yahweh's salvation in chapter 7, verse 14: "Therefore Yahweh Himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (also Isaiah 9:6-7). In the New Testament, Peter said that Yahshua was ordained to come even before the earth was created, 1 Peter 1:19-21. His coming was fulfilled in Matthew 1:21-23 and Luke 1:26-35.
Immanuel or Emmanuel is a title of the prophesied Messiah. The Wycliff Bible Encyclopedia says this title means "'El is with us,' which is probably taken from 'Immadiyahu, Yah(u) is with me,' or 'Immanuiah, Yah(weh) is with us.'" The name Yahshua perfectly describes the role the Savior played in making salvation possible.
Salvation Intrinsic in Messiah's Name
In Hebrew, Hoshea means salvation. The book immediately following that of Daniel, known as Hosea, should be pronounced Hoshea. But because there is no phonetic sound of "sh" in the Greek, it ended up as Hosea, instead of Hoshea. The King James Version renders it Osee in Romans 9:25, a transliteration from the Greek. In Numbers 13:16 Hoshea is changed by Moses to Joshua, the same who led the Israelites into the Promised Land.
Yahshua's Name is from the same root. With "Yah" prefixed it means the "salvation of Yah" or "Yahweh is salvation." Certain Bible translators were so intent on translating the Name Yahshua to Jesus in the New Testament that in two New Testament passages they used "Jesus" when "Joshua" of the Old Testament is meant! (See Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8, references to Numbers 13:16.)
Later, the Name Yahshua was altered to Yeshua (Ezra 2:2) because superstitious Jews thought the prefix "Yah" was too sacred (being part of Yahweh's Name).
The Companion Bible note on Deuteronomy 32:44 says Hoshea was "the old spelling of Joshua. Later it was 'Jeshua.' This was adopted by the Septuagint, and ultimately became 'Jesus.'" This happened because the Greek has no "sh" sound, and the Name was altered to Iesous, leading to Jesus. Early forms of the Savior's Name in English, however, can be found spelled "Iesua" and "Iesous."
The Companion Bible note on Numbers 13:16 says, "Jehoshua occurs over 250 times. Sometimes Jeshua (Neh. 8:17). Greek, Jesus (Matt. 1:21, Acts 7:45, Hebrews 4:8). In Deuteronomy 32:44 called Hoshea again: Hoshea--savior, or salvation. With Je [Yah] prefixed--he by whom Yahweh will save.'" Joel 2:32 prophesies, "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahweh shall be delivered."
The Savior told the Jews in John 5:43 that He came in His Father's Name. His name, "Yah-shua," means "Yahweh is salvation." "Jesus" has no such meaning, and therefore no salvation is in that name.
Joseph was told that the child that his wife Miriam (Mary) was to bring forth would be called Yahshua (incorrectly, "Jesus), Matthew 1:21. Joseph learns from an angel that this Savior would be born--from the line of David, a Jew. His Name was inspired in the Hebrew to be Yahshua, for the very meaning is, "He shall save His people from their sins." Surely His wouldn't be a Latinized Greek name "Jesus." Furthermore, there was no "J" or "J" sound in Hebrew.
Again in Luke 1:32, Gabriel announces to Miriam that the child she will bring forth is to be called Yahshua. She was a Hebrew maiden, being spoken to by the angelic messenger Gabriel. Every time the earth hears the voice of the Heavenly throng, it is to those who understand Hebrew. The Hebrew letters for the Messiah's Name are יהושצ , yothe he waw shin ain.
His appellative "Christ" is understood to mean anointed. It is from the Greek christos, which is translated from the Hebrew mashiach, meaning "the anointed" and more properly rendered Messiah. "Yahweh anointed Yahshua of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for Yahweh was with Him," Acts 10:38. Yahshua was anointed for a special task and set apart for a holy assignment. Certainly one born of the tribe of Judah (Heb. 7:14) from a Hebrew mother who was betrothed to a Hebrew man, would be called a Hebrew name--not a Latinized Grecian name. He was to save His Hebrew-speaking people Israel from their sins. They would understand the meaning of the Hebrew Name Yahshua.
Clearly, the English word "anointed" is more fitting for referring to the Redeemer of Israel than is a Greek form, christos. Many in "christendom" have no idea that the word Christ means "anointed, to rub oil upon--to be anointed for a special purpose."
Beginning of Sorrows
We today remain under the penalty of the first sin committed by Adam and Eve thousands of years ago. Only Yahshua's sacrificial death could free us from certain, everlasting death resulting from our sins.
The Supreme Price Paid for Sin
When Adam was placed in the garden (Gen. 2:15), his job was to dress and keep it. Adam then was told that he had access to every tree in the garden except for the one tree of knowledge of good and evil (vs. 16-17). In the third chapter of Genesis we find Eve's being tempted of the serpent and believing the lie. She was told that she would not die, that she had an immortal soul. Further, that she would become spirit like Elohim and then she would know good and evil, verses 4-5. Then she gave some to Adam who also ate. Besides tribulation, man from that point on faced death.
The penalty for breaking a command of Yahweh was pronounced upon all involved. These penalties continue with us today, even though we were not directly involved. The risk of death for the mother is still present with every birth. The weeds are still the scourge of the farmer. But beyond that, every human being is subject to death. "It is appointed unto man once to die, but after that the judgment," Hebrews 9:27.
The Old Testament is replete with many promises to Israel and Yahweh's people that he will ultimately be their deliverer. He promises a redemption from their physical problems. Israel looked for a Messiah that would restore the land of Palestine back to their rule. They looked for a Deliverer who would give them material and physical blessings beyond their fondest dreams. They looked for the establishment of a utopia on earth. That indeed is promised, but not in the way they anticipated.
First, Yahweh is going to make a New Covenant with His people. It will be on a higher plane, a spiritual level. It will be to change man from within, to change his attitude and goals.
As believers in the New Testament, we should look for the spiritual application of the lessons to be learned from ancient Israel, 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11. Yahweh teaches spiritual truth from physical lessons. To come to a better understanding of the spiritual truth, we must examine the physical. But first, we must realize that there is but one way in which we can approach the Heavenly Father. We cannot go to Him except in the way He has prescribed.
(In Section B of this lesson we will study how Yahweh has become our salvation through Yahshua Messiah. We will look at the Messiah's pre-human existence in the Old Testament, as well as what He did on earth and why. We'll understand further the meaning of His Name for the future and the Kingdom role we can play with the Messiah.)
Now, get a pencil or pen and prepare to dig into your own Bible to learn more about why Yahshua Messiah was sent to earth.
Lesson 3-A - Study Questions
The Reason Yahshua Came to Bethlehem
1. What does Yahweh say about the requirement He has established for the breaking of His law? Hebrews 9:22.
NOTE: To continue living, we as mortal beings depend upon the death of another living thing. It makes no difference whether it is animal or vegetable, we must get sustenance from something living. The breaking of Yahweh's law, however, demands the death of the transgressor--or there can be no future eternal life.
2. Who has sinned? Romans 3:23. Because every man has failed to live up to a righteous life, we are all condemned to death. The wages or penalty of sin is death, Romans 6:23.
3. What is the only way this death sentence imposed on each of us could be removed? Romans 5:8-10.
NOTE: Yahshua took your place in death. Through accepting His shed blood you are required of past sin. While the Old Testament sacrifices of ancient Israel could not atone for sin, the Savior's death did reconcile us to the Heavenly Father.
4. In comparing the Messiah to the High Priest, what does the writer of Hebrews say about the special sacrifice of the Messiah? Hebrews 9:26. What special offering did He give? Same verse.
5. Will another sacrifice be required again? Hebrews 10:10. The word sanctified means to set apart for a holy purpose. It carries the meaning of being reserved for Yahweh's special use. Those who are set apart through the shed blood of the Messiah and who accept His sacrifice are promised redemption. See also Hebrews 9:28, first part.
6. The high priest was required to offer up a sacrifice for his own sins and a sacrifice for the sins of the people. The sacrifice of Yahshua was more valuable. How many sacrifices was He expected to offer? Hebrews 7:27. If mankind rejects His sacrifice, will He have to die again? Same verse.
7. What did Isaiah prophesy of the life of the Messiah? Isaiah 53:9. This is also quoted in 1 Peter 2:22 by the one who was with Him and often allowed his impulses to make him say and do rash things. But when the Holy Spirit came, Peter was a changed man.
8. When put to death, what did one of the malefactors have to say about the Messiah's character? Luke 23:41.
9. Paul, a Pharisee and antagonist of the followers of Yahshua until his conversion on the Damascus road, commented on the life of Yahshua in 2 Corinthians 5:21. What was his assessment?
10. Was the Savior also tempted (tested) as we are today? Hebrews 4:15. What was the result? Same verse. What is man's record regarding sin?
NOTE: Yahweh had made a covenant with ancient Israel, beginning with Abraham, Genesis 12:1-2. If he and his offspring would be obedient, they could have Canaan (Palestine) as an everlasting possession, Genesis 17:8-9. The terms of this Old Covenant, which included obedience to the law, are found from Exodus 19:1 to 24:8. Israel promised Moses they would do everything Yahweh asked (Exodus 19:8). But Israel did not have Holy Spirit power to obey Yahweh's laws in their spiritual intent, let alone to attempt to obey in the letter. Because of their failure to obey, Yahweh added ritualistic laws to impress upon Israel their inability to obey, Leviticus 1:1-9. Part of that added law included animal sacrifices, which Yahweh said He took no pleasure in, but which served as a schoolmaster to teach Israel the wages of sin. See Hebrews 10:6 ad 8, and Galatians 3:24-25.
11. Jeremiah 31:31-33 leads us into the promise of a New Covenant. It speaks of the covenant very plainly in verse 33. What is Yahweh going to place in their inward parts and write upon their hearts? Will it be something entirely new, or will it be what He has already given? Same verse. The Old Covenant is mentioned in Exodus 34:28. Other references are Deuteronomy 9:9-11 and 15.
NOTE: The fault of the Old Covenant was with man, not with Yahweh or the covenant itself, Hebrews 8:8. Because of man's inability to obey, a New Covenant was ordained, Hebrews 8:9 and Chapter 9. Yahshua's death dissolved the Old Covenant and paved the way for the coming Holy Spirit, sent to enable man to obey the law--something man couldn't do without the Spirit. The law took on deeper meaning as the New Covenant abolished the added ritual of sacrifices and washings through the supreme sacrifice of the Messiah. From tablets of stone, the law is now written on the heart of man, who now is able to understand its spiritual intent and can obey more fully, Hebrews 8:10, 2 Corinthians 3:3, Jeremiah 31:33.
12. In Deuteronomy 5:29, Yahweh says, "O, that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear Me, and Keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!" He makes known that He will accomplish this in Isaiah 59:21. Notice how He promises to make His spiritual nature permanent. How will this be accomplished and to whom it is promised? Verse 20.
NOTE: For the House of Israel--those physically related to Abraham--the laws will be put in their minds first, then in their hearts. With the saints, He will put in their hearts first the desire to obey. They then will come to an understanding with their minds why He demands obedience. Once Israel understands the purpose and meaning of the law, they too will obey with their hearts. Read Hebrews 10:26-29. At present, the called-out ones (you and I!) are learning to obey Yahweh's laws from the heart. We keep them without truly understanding why. As we obey and put His laws in practice, we will eventually come to comprehend with our minds the blessings that result from obedience.
13. What did Yahshua's atoning blood do for gentiles so they, too, could partake of the New Covenant? Ephesians 2:11-15.
NOTE: With His death, Yahshua abolished the ancient sacrifice and offerings connected with law keeping. He did not abolish the law itself, Matthew 5:17. Obedience is still a requirement of the New Covenant, 1 John 10, 24.
14. Those who qualify in fulfilling the terms of the New Covenant are promised what?
NOTE: The message Yahshua as the Messiah preached while on earth was of the salvation possible for those who repent, believe, and obey, Mark 1:14-15. He came as a messenger of the New Covenant, Malachi 3:1.
15. Only through one person can we approach the Heavenly Father. Who is that? John 14:6.
16. As we have seen, the spiritual aspects of the sacrifices and offerings have not been done away. The very purpose of these sacrifices was to teach a spiritual law, but this was often overlooked and the physical became an end in itself. What does the Old Testament say about sacrifice? 1 Samuel 15:22. Were sacrifices the ultimate intention of Yahweh for His people or were there other lessons to be learned? Hosea 6:6.
17. Peter was aware that we are to offer up spiritual sacrifices to Yahweh, 1 Peter 2:5. He likens the body of Messiah to a spiritual house, made of living stones, Yahshua being the chief cornerstone, verse 6. We are to offer these spiritual sacrifices to Yahweh which will be acceptable to Him because they are offered through or by who? Same verse.
18. The writer of Hebrews also encourages us to offer up sacrifices of praise to Yahweh because of what Yahshua has done, Hebrews 13:15. The "calves of our lips" is an expression found in Hosea 14:2, and "fruit of our lips" is found in Isaiah 57:19. The writer cautions us to do something else in Hebrews 13:16. What is that? (The word "communicate" in the King James is koinonia--fellowship.)
19. To enter the temple, one was required to be circumcised, whether Israelite or stranger, Exodus 12:43-49, Ezekiel 44:9. Paul was accused of allowing Trophimus, an Ephesian, to enter the temple, Acts 21:28-29. But was physical circumcision really the important thing with Yahweh? Or did it stand for something else? 1 Corinthians 7:19.
20. Was circumcision mentioned in the Old Testament as being something more than just a physical rite? Were there spiritual lessons to be learned from the reason and purpose behind it? Deuteronomy 10:16.
21. In the New Testament, was circumcision still required of the people of Yahweh, or is there yet a better way? Colossians 2:11-3. Read again 1 Corinthians 7:19.
NOTE: Paul taught that there was a deeper meaning of circumcision. The religious leaders of his day believed that the physical rite was still important and should be done, thus relegating the death of Messiah to an inferior position.
22. Read Paul's summary of circumcision in Galatians 6:12-16 in a translation such as Moffatt's or the Modern English Bible. What does Paul say is the important aspect for us as far as circumcision is concerned? See Verse 15. Did he speak of a different attitude for the True Believer? Philippians 3:3. See Stephen's summary in Acts 7:51-52.
Yahshua the Messiah came to earth not only as an example of how we should live a righteous life, but through His life also showed the deeper meaning of the law that Israel had treated as so much ritual. He became the ultimate sacrificial offering, freeing us from the penalty of death for our sins if we obey. At the same time, He made animal sacrifices and other ritual connected with the law no longer necessary because these sacrifices anticipated His fulfillment.
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