Fellowship at Cross Creek
The Story of Sin…
Two Paths Greatly Diverging on the Meaning of the Messiah’s Deliverance from Sin.
By Joseph M. Cross
Introduction: A Line Drawn in the Sand…
So beginning with one of his very early miracles, Yah-Saves draws an unmistakable line in the sand: I am not just here to make a man walk again! That’s easy! I am here to do something vitally much more Spiritually and universally significant. As my name, Yah-Saves, states, I am here to save humans from their flawed natures! I AM Daniel 7:13’s “one like the son of man,” or the “one like a man,” whom the Ancient of Days (or God the Creator in his heaven’s eternal now) has given all authority over all things for all time. I AM THE SON OF MAN! I AM GOD IN THE FLESH! I have the divine right, authority and power to release a man, or a people, from their spiritual offenses…their sins against…their Creator and Redeemer, as well as, as a result of their sins, flaws or mistakes, their corresponding guilt, legal-righteous condemnation, eternal shame and endless judgment! I can make it ALL…ALL… go away! I can SAVE! I can save a man from SIN! I AM GOD! I AM ETERNAL GOD!
Now, do the religious leaders whom Yah-Saves directs his comments towards really get what Yah-Saves is saying–that he is declaring himself God? God in the flesh? God “like a man”?–I am not sure. They get something. Something is up because beginning here, and only escalating as his prophetic ministry continues, their reactions to him, his message and his miracles only intensifies…until the point that they seek his death and by any means possible! (John 5:16-18).
But why is Yah-Saves such a threat to his contemporaries? Why the disconnect? After all, if Yah-Saves is offering deliverance from man’s imperfection, why are they, or for that matter, all of mankind, NOT at least considering what Yah-Saves has to offer with an open mind? Is it that Yah-Saves claims to be God, which, if NOT true, would obviously be enough to raise concerns or cause problems? But if miracles really are occurring…if blind people are being given sight, the lame made to walk, the deaf to hear, the dead raised to life, the sick made well, the hungry fed, storms stilled and demons cast out…then why not listen to what Yah-Saves has to say, or at least open-mindedly investigate his miracles to begin with? And if they prove to be true, then listen to what he has to say? Check it out with the Scriptures? Does it match up? Could he be telling the truth? Bottom line: Seek the truth! Or is there something else also going on here? The answer is both. And in the end, both are crucial to our understanding of how the Story of Sin is still impacting billions more two thousand years later.
The Cause of the Great Disconnect…
To understand the immense disconnect between the incredible truth or deliverance from sin that first Yah-Saves’ Elijah–John the Baptist–and now Yah-Saves himself were both laying the groundwork for and the deliverance that the religious leaders, as well as, the people themselves perhaps, had in mind and were expecting, we must attempt to go back in time and recreate what was being taught and promulgated within the ancient Jewish synagogues during Yah-Saves’ day. For even if the religious leaders, or Rabbis (religious teachers) were willing to consider Yah-Saves’ claims to be Messiah, what does this mean to them? In other words, WHAT were they looking for in God’s promised Messiah (anointed one or Christ) and WHAT did they think that his deliverance (from Man’s sin) would look like?
The answer is, from the very beginning, what the religious leaders where looking for in a Messiah and the Messiah’s deliverance was NOT what they were necessarily getting in Yah-Saves. In fact, when one attempts to reconstruct what the Jewish people were taught at that time, the role of Yah-Saves’ Elijah or Isaiah 40’s Comforter, John the Baptist, becomes CRYSTAL clear! John’s role as 1) Isaiah 40’s Comforter, 2) Malachi 3’s Messenger and 3) Malachi’s 4’s Elijah was to reprogram, or rather deprogram, the people, as well as, the religious establishment of hundreds of years of flawed prophetical misunderstanding and misapplication concerning Yahweh God’s soon-to-come offer of forgiveness and deliverance from sin or imperfection. What had started out as truth…OT scriptural prophecy…by John and Yah-Saves’ Day…had become a massive entangled knot of confusing and contradictory interpretations concerning Yahweh God’s ultimate deliverance of God’s people.
In fact, Israel’s divergent understanding of the OT prophets’ message concerning Yahweh’s deliverance can be likened to two lines that start out close together, but because, even at the beginning their paths are just slightly askew from one another, as the lines continue to extend out further, the lines grow further and further apart. One has to remember, while yes, Jewish scholars in Yah-Saves’ day had what we have today–the Old Testament–which, both now and then, was and is an amazing, miraculous feat in and of itself, they also had hundreds of years of scholarly interpretation, commentary and Oral Tradition to go along with these divinely-inspired OT prophecies. According to later Jewish writings (including the Talmud), by Yah-Saves’ day, it becomes very apparent, that at least within the rabbinical school of thought and teaching, the two…both Scripture or the Law and its interpretation or Oral Tradition…had become a combined, eclectic, massive mix of tradition and truth, and where, on any given Sabbath, one could hear many different interpretations of the OT Scriptures, including the OT Prophets and their message of both God’s judgment for and deliverance from Man’s evil…that is the sin or evil originating from the mostly non-monotheistic, non-Law-observing PAGAN nations.
To even begin to undertake an exhaustive reconstruction of what was being taught in various synagogues concerning Israel’s promised Savior or Messiah, as well as, Elijah’s return, or God’s redemption of Israel from her enemies, as well as, his judgment of the nations, would be a daunting task. Imagine trying to reconstruct the same today–NOT just what the OT says, but what all the many denominations, seminaries, churches, pastors, cults, commentaries, theologies, as well as, radio and television evangelists are all out there advocating what the OT, as well as, the NT, says and means. It would be a massive undertaking.
Fortunately, the online Jewish Encyclopedia’s scholarly article on “Eschatology” (or the “study of last things” from the Greek word “eschata” or “things to come” or “end of days”), which takes the reader up to the closing of the Talmud (around 500 C. E.) gives us at least a glimpse of some of the Rabbinical teachings or doctrines concerning the Messiah and the Messianic Age that were being put forth during Yah-Saves’ day. (Note: the Talmud is the written version of the Jewish Oral Tradition. The Oral Tradition, according to the Rabbis, was passed down, along with the written Law, from Moses in order to better explain, via a topical format and with commentary, unlike the written Law itself, all the laws, even the obscure laws, contained within the Torah…the first five books of the Old Testament. After the Second Temple’s destruction by the Romans in 70 C.E., about a generation plus after Yah-Save’s death, resurrection and ascension, the Jewish rabbis, fearing Judaism’s possible extinction, began to collect, codified and record all the sacred Oral Traditions that had been rigorously memorized and passed down through the centuries. 1
How the Rabbis Interpreted the “Day of the LORD”…
The lens that the Jewish Encyclopedia’s article on “Eschatology” employs to explain the Jewish doctrines of the “end of days,” including the Messiah’s coming, is the OT’s prophesied “Day of the Yah” or “Day of the LORD.” Originally spoken of as the “Day” when Yahweh visits the earth with all His terrible powers of devastation, 2 the Day of the LORD was endowed by the OT prophets with a double meaning: 1) on the one hand, the Day of the LORD is the day when God directs all his punitive powers of justice against all that provokes His wrath, and 2) on the other hand, the Day of the LORD is also the ‘Day’ of vindication and salvation for the Righteous.” 3 Essentially, the Day of Yah, because of God’s timely intervention, results in a return to the angelic state of man before SIN” (Is. 11:1ff; 45:17ff). It is the “Day” when the Creator purges his dying Creation of ALL its sin and imperfection (Mal. 3:2ff; Is. 33:14ff). 4
The Day of the LORD, according to early Jewish eschatology, had three distinct phases: 1) a great Earthly Travail (or tribulation) leading up to: 2) the Coming of the Messiah and the Messianic Age, which includes its own three sub phases: a) (from the Book of Daniel) the Messiah’s initial defeat of Man’s last great world empire, as well as, later on, b) a hard-fought victory over a northern rebel alliance of heathen nations (Ezekiel’s Gog and Magog) and c) the resurrection of both the righteous and unrighteous, followed by 3) Yah’s final Great Judgment, which is based upon both men’s righteous and unrighteous deeds, and thus determines one’s final abode…either with God in his Paradise or without God in Gehenna (or Hell…and typically understood to be associated with a fiery furnace).5, 6
We should probably point out that anyone even remotely familiar with an overview of a biblical eschatology (an eschatology that includes what both the Old and New Testaments say about the Last Days) will immediately note the similarities between an OT-based-Oral-Tradition-Rabbinical “Day of the Lord,” as outlined above, with the more typical Old and New Testament model, including Yah-Save’s description of these “end times,” as he describes to his disciples in his Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25), as well as, the apostle John’s graphic and somewhat symbolic description in his Book of Revelation, i.e.: 1) a Great Tribulation followed by 2) the Kingdom of God (Rev. 19-20:1ff) 3) followed by the great Resurrection, Judgment, as well as, the Creation of the New Heavens and Earth (Rev. 20:11ff). At the same time, and as we are about to discover, there are some crucial differences as well. But first, why the similarities? Because obviously, even the Rabbinical interpretation of the end times or the Day of the LORD begins with the same source as the biblical interpretation of the end times or Day of the LORD…mainly, the OT prophets. So the theological outlines may be similar, but as the reader is about to discern, the sub points or contents of these seemingly similar prophetic outlines, will radically depart, thus becoming the source for the great divide between the rabbis’ teaching and Yah-Saves’–a divide that to some degree two thousand years later still radically divides the adherents of their faith traditions, both Judaism and Christianity.
Note: what follows is NOT a biblical or evangelical (Old and New Testament) recounting of “Day of the Lord,” but rather an outline of the many ELEMENTS within the ancient rabbinical tradition… including the Messiah’s arrival, deliverance from sin and ultimate reign. The critical difference between the rabbis and Yah-Saves’ “declared” deliverance from sin is HOW the rabbinical Messiah saves or delivers the world from sin or imperfection. This difference then becomes THE GREAT DIVIDE between Yah-Saves and the rabbis!
Source: “Eschatology”; Online Jewish Encyclopedia; 1906 ed.
I. The Travail of the Messianic Times…
A. “This world, due to the sin of the first man (Adam) or through the fall of the angels, has been laden with curses and is under the sway of the power of evil.” 7 The world’s physical and moral downfall deteriorates to the point that only God can redeem the world from its descent into evil, thus “the world’s end will accordingly be a combat of God with these powers of evil, either in the heavens above or on earth below. The whole world, then, exists in a state of rebellion before its downfall.” 8
B. The Travail is accompanied by:
1. Plagues, including distress, conflagration, pestilence, famine, earthquakes, wars, hail and frost, wild beasts, death, destruction, flight, noises and rumblings, as well as, false messiahs.
2. The age’s moral climate is characterized by a “spirit of evil (with a) seduction to sin.”
3. One Rabbinical description of these days includes this graphic description: “… the turning of the schoolhouse into a brothel, the desolation of Galilee…the going about of the scribes and saints as despised beggars, the insolence and lawlessness of the people, the disrespect of the younger generation toward the older, and the turning of the rulers to heresy.”9
Note: How does “turning the schoolhouse into a brothel” not capture one’s Spiritual imagination? At the same time, one might as well be describing the loose moral and social environment surrounding many of our high schools and universities even today, two thousand years later?
II. The Messianic Age, including the Davidic Messiah’s Defeat of the Barbarian Rebellion…
A. In the midst of this harsh “travail,” the OT prophet, Elijah, appears, sounds his trumpet and regathers the scattered former tribes of Israel.
B. Next, the first of two Messiahs, the first of which is NOT from the line of David (who descends from the original tribe of Judah), but instead from the line of Joseph (which the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh descend from), will bring about the defeat of the last world empire (naturally interpreted to be Rome in Yah-Saves’ Day).
C. The Second Messiah (who will have existed before Creation, but will have been kept hidden until he is born of a “strange seed” within a virgin) is from the line of David. He is (typically) free from sin, as well as, a desire for any wealth or power; he is imbued with the Spirit of God, and therefore, is the pure, wise and holy redeemer or king of Israel who will lead ALL (both Jew and non-Jew) to righteousness and holiness. The Messiah is the effective cause of the people seeking the Lord.
1. Elijah…along with Jeremiah, Isaiah, Moses and Ezra… will be one of nine
immortal companions” to assist the Messiah. (Note: doesn’t “immortal companions” sound just like the superhero stuff of today? But this is from a source over a hundred years ago. Amazing!)
2. Elijah serves in several capacities:
a. as the high priest to anoint the Messiah;
b. by the sounding of his trumpet, a reunion of the scattered 12 tribes (including the reawakening of the lost 10 tribes of Israel) will occur;
c. he will help to bring about Israel’s repentance and,
d. later on, he will play a role in the original Tabernacle’s hidden vessels being revealed or discovered once again and being put back into ritualistic use;
e. after the conclusion of the Messianic Age, he will again sound his trumpet, awakening ALL dead for their final judgment before God.
3. (As opposed to a biblical [Old and New Testament], pre-millenial interpretation of Messiah’s one thousand year millennial reign…Rev. 20:1ff), the rabbis interpret Messiah’s reign, including that of his descendants (yes, I said descendants) as having varying descriptive time lengths (anywhere from 40 to 7,000 years).
a. Not being God, but only superhuman, both Messiahs will die, but both will be resurrected before the Great Judgment in which all souls, both good and bad, are resurrected.
b. One of Messiah’s duties is the cessation of Israel’ subjection by other powers. In fact, all nations will be bringing tributes to the Messiah (who rules at Jerusalem).
c. The Messiah,
1) with a spirit of wisdom and righteousness,
2) will also begin to win over many of the heathens, as many as a third of them, to a belief in monotheism and respect for the Law.
3) He will teach the nations the Noachian laws of humanity and make all men disciples of the Lord.
(Note: based on the commands God gave to Adam (Gen. 2) and Noah (Gen. 9) before the Mosaic Law was given to Israel, the rabbis’ 7 Noachian Laws apply to all humanity. They are: (1) not to worship idols; (2) not to blaspheme the name of God; (3) to establish courts of justice; (4) not to kill; (5) not to commit adultery; (6) not to rob and (7) not to eat the flesh cut from a living animal.10
d. What Moses, the first redeemer, did is typical of what the Messiah, the last redeemer will do. Interestingly enough, this redemption will occur in the month of Nissan on the same night of the original Passover. He will be Israel’s pillar of cloud by day. Manna will be sent from heaven, and with plagues, he will defeat Israel’s foes.
e. He redeems the entire creation by chastising evildoers and making the nations from all the ends of the earth see the glory of God.
f. Sacrificial, priestly laws will be carried out using the original Tabernacle vessels.
g. There will be a wondrous fertility and vigor experienced by both man and the earth.
1) Mothers will have children daily…a thousand… and painlessly.
2) Children will live to a be a thousand.
3) The Land will yield loaves of bread and garments of silk.
4) There will be no more strife, illness, plagues or trouble;
5) The Land will experience a great Spiritual regeneration–after a previous massive purging conflagration, all the beauty of the world which had vanished owing to Adam’s sin will be restored in the time of the Messiah; the sun and moon’s splendor will be restored, with the sun having healing powers; the fountains of Jerusalem will also flow;
6) (interestingly enough) desolate cities such as Sodom will arise from their ruins;
7) peace shall reign among the beasts and the people;
8) weeping and death shall cease; only joy will reign.
i. The Defeat of Gog and Magog…
1) At first the nations will bring tributes to Messiah, but then under some kind of misleading spirit of confusion and under the leadership of barbarian tribes from the north, known as Gog and Magog in Ezkiel 37, all the nations of the earth will rebel and launch a massive war against Messiah.
2) In the midst of the war, a second, but no less legitimate Messiah (Isaiah 53; Zech 12; Psalm 22) will be captured, imprisoned and tortured for seven years; he will die for his people…BUT NOT as an ATONEMENT for Man’s sin or anyone’s sins or imperfections of Spiritual flaws. In the resurrection, the patriarchs will pay homage to this Messiah’s greatness.
3) Eventually, the other or Davidic Messiah will defeat the rebellious heathen nation alliance just outside of Jerusalem–on the plain of Meggido or Armageddon–and slays its rebel leader.
j. With evil desire having NOW been slain by God, there will be NO more sin; in fact, the Lord will have shaken the land of Israel and cleansed it of all impurity.
k. There is NOW only one single band of mankind doing God’s will.
l. All dietary, purity and ceremonial laws will be done away with.
m. In fact, the Messiah will teach the peoples a New Law, and a New Covenant will NOW be in affect.
n. A New or upper Jerusalem will appear in splendor on top of all the mountains of the earth–(mountains) piled one upon the other–along with a new heavenly temple. Only select ones will be allowed to go up to the New Jerusalem (note: a toned-down view has the Messiah simply replacing the formerly polluted or defiled temple with a pure one).
o. And interestingly enough, there will be NO more guilt, NOR merit!
III. The Resurrection and Final Judgment.
A. The Messiah who didn’t die during the war with Gog and Magog–the Davidic one, or the current reigning Messiah will die. (Note: some rabbis have the Messiah surviving until the end of the Messianic Age and then dying. Others have the Messiah, along with his successors or heirs, dying as well.) Once Messiah or the final Messiah dies, the earth will be silent for seven days, after which once again, Elijah will sound his trumpet and a renewed earth will give forth its dead. God will NOW judge the world…including every individual!
B. Satan, death, sorrow, the heathen nations, along with their fallen, guardian angels will all be cast into Gehenna (or hell).
C. With the books containing all sins, as well as, treasures of righteousness, being opened, all will be judged; the secrets of men will be brought to light. Within this judgment there will be no mercy, only rigid justice. One’s end will be either hell or Gehenna and everlasting punishment or Paradise with God and everlasting joy.
D. There will be no repentance, no second chances.
1. In case of a tie between one’s sins and righteousness, like an attorney, so to speak, Abraham or others will plead your case…in hopes that …
2. “‘He who is plenteous in mercy (now) inclines the scale of justice towards mercy’…It is here that Judaism (finally invokes) a divine mercy, (one) independent of Pauline faith.”11
3. A more sterner view has these souls, whose sin and righteousness is perfectly tied, to undergo a process of purgation by fire, or as one source put it: “They enter Gehenna, (but) swing themselves up again, and are healed.”12
E. The Law’s Oral Tradition does suggest seven levels of either suffering in Gehenna and joy in Paradise.
1. For those suffering in Gehenna their punishment endures for twelves months with respites on the Sabbath. But for those who led others into heresy or dealt treacherously against the Law, their punishment will never cease. It is an everlasting judgment.
2. But for the righteous, the Garden or Paradise of Eden now becomes the “Garden of Righteousness.”
a. It is no longer an earthly paradise.
b. But appears at the Judgment Day in all its glory.
c. Within it, there are streams flowing with milk, honey, oil and wine.
d. (More importantly), it has been prepared for the “righteous who suffered innocently, who do works of benevolence and (have) walked without blame before God.”13
e. The righteous now dwell in these heights where they enjoy the sight of the heavenly ‘hayyot’ (highest angelic beings) that carry God’s throne.
3. Paradise culminates in a great banquet in which seeing and being with God (supplied by the metaphors of the tree and river of life) becomes the food and drink of man.
An Analysis and Comparison of the Great Divide Between Yah-Saves’ and the Rabbis’ Interpretation of How the Messiah Will Save Man from His Sin.
So there you have it–the Day of the Lord or the “end of days,” as taught by Jewish rabbis, including: 1) the earth’s physical and moral travail that precedes 2) the coming or appearing of Elijah and two Messiahs–one that suffers and dies, but not as atonement for man’s sin, and one that conquers and purges the world of evil–ushering in a time in which the earth is reclaimed from sin’s destructive slavery into a wonderfully-productive Messianic age, at the conclusion of which occurs 3) the resurrection of the all dead and their final judgment based on both one’s righteous and unrighteous acts. If one’s righteous acts outweighs one’s unrighteous acts, then one enters into one of seven levels of Paradise with God, but if, on the other hand, one’s unrighteous acts outweighs one’s righteousness acts, then one is sentenced for at least a year to some level of hell or Gehenna.
Thus, on some level, what has just been presented here is merely the tip of the tip of a huge historical, theological and interpretive iceberg–a tip of a tip that attempts to reconstruct, for the purposes of historical and theological context, to some degree what the rabbis might have been teaching within Jewish synagogues as Yah-Saves, with what seems to be an entirely different approach and message to SAVING MANKIND from his sins and imperfections, first arrives upon the scene. It would seem that while the rabbis interpreted the OT to mean that God would only save his people from sin via from the outside in (or from others who were NOT righteous or considered righteous, so to speak), Yah-Saves is preaching (Matt. 24-25), through ME (or my death, which is an atonement for sin), God plans to offer every man salvation from his sin and imperfection, beginning from the inside out first (the heart)…and then later, in his Second Coming, from the outside–or the bad guys–in.
Notice what is missing from Jewish eschatology:
First, there is no divine payment or atonement for sin. Good wins out over evil, but what about even the good’s evil? Sounds kind of paradoxical, right? How can “good” be evil? But what I mean is what about those are consider good, but not perfect? What about the good’s evil? How is it atoned for or taken care of? Do imperfect people make it into Paradise–imperfect people who have still committed lots of mistakes or sins? And isn’t being in Paradise with God determined by adding up one’s good and bad and then hoping one’s good outweighs one’s evil? Are you kidding me? When it seems that everything we do as fallen, imperfect humans is tainted to one degree or another by evil or imperfection, does anyone’s righteous deeds ever outweigh their unrighteous deeds? Seriously? It would seem by the rabbis’ own seemingly illogical standards, does anyone stand a chance of ever making it into Paradise? I seriously doubt it, and I have known a few good people, but no one EVER that good or perfect! In addition, if there is NO REAL atonement for sin, as even the Law required, is there any REAL justice? It would NOT seem so. By the rabbis’ definition of salvation, it would seem that imperfect people with unatoned for sin and mistakes are making it into Paradise? And why? Because their good outweighs their evil or imperfection? Are you kidding me? It would seem that only a lowered definition of sin or imperfection could possibly make such a ludicrous standard workable. What then qualifies for a sin? Anything? And yet imperfection, by everyone’s own admission taints everything we as humans do? Ever do something absolutely perfectly? If your answer is yes, then I would suggest that you are very naive concerning your definition of perfection. In the end, there must be an atonement or payment for a crime for TRUE justice to be upheld. The rabbis definitions of true righteousness, true justice, true sin and therefore true atonement leaves much to be desired.
Second, seemingly, the Rabbis answer Isaiah 53’s Suffering Servant or Sacrificed Lamb, by creating two Messiahs, not one. One Messiah who suffers and dies, but not as atonement for sin, but rather as inspiration, I suppose, and another Messiah who does end up conquering all, but still dies of natural causes in the end. Yah-Saves or Jesus ultimately resolves the question of how Messiah can both suffer and conquer by two comings instead of two human messiahs–his first coming must deal with sin or imperfection at its source–the metaphorical human heart. The individual MUST be saved from himself before he is saved from others, and this only makes sense, because just as I can and often do perceive others are the source of most of my struggles and woes, to others, I am the source of their woes. Salvation, to be effective and sustainable, has to begin at the source, the human heart, on almost a metaphorically cellular or DNA level.
Once salvation begins here, then saving the internally-saved from others’ outwards sins and imperfections takes on an entirely different perspective. For one, there is no longer as much evil to take care of. Why? Because when the individual is addressed, there is NOW much more good in the world (note: Yah-Saves seems to be making this veiled argument when he tells his disciples, beginning with the Beatitudes in Matt. 5:off. In the midst of your suffering for righteousness, you are the salt and light in a dark, tasteless world).
Secondly, the good that are mistreated are not near the emotional victims that they would have been without having been saved or delivered from sins to begin with from the inside out. They are no doubt victims to man’s evil, but because of their faith, they are also “overcomers,” and therefore, do NOT remain victims, but instead overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21ff). It’s a different ball game with respect to battling evil, when it’s rightfully dealt with at the source to begin with, and thus the purpose of Yah-Saves’ first coming.
Thus this first salvation from personal sin now sets the stage for Yah-Saves second coming…the coming in which he will triumph over, condemn, judge and destroy all evil!
Thus, minus passages such as Isaiah 52, this seems to become the “Coming” that seemingly becomes the entire rabbinical focus and why, instead of seeing one Messiah and two comings, they see two Messiahs–one suffering because of Man’s sin or evil and one eventually conquering Man’s sin or evil, but neither of which dies to atone for, or make just payment for, the sins of the eventual righteous.
Third, there is only one resurrection that precedes the final judgment. The rabbis’ suffering Messiah does NOT rise from the dead! In other words, the Messiah which does suffer and eventually die is NOT immediately raised from the dead, as will be the case with Yah-Saves or Jesus within the Gospels. The resurrections of the rabbis’ suffering Messiah, who does die, along with the Messiah who conquers and reigns, but dies as well, both occur just before the Final Judgment. Thus, if the Messiah is NOT raised by God immediately after his eternal sacrifice, then the Messiah is NOT DIVINE (as both Yah-Saves will claim and the Jewish religious leaders will condemn him to death for), and thus his death, once again, within a true heavenly justice system, does not atone or pays for anything…NOT ONE SIN…NOT ONE MISTAKE! His death…his sacrifice makes NO ONE righteous (what is so bizarre about all of this is how does anyone, who is even remotely familiar with the sacrificial system, NOT get it, because within the Law’s sacrificial system, the sin of the sinner is symbolically transferred to the sacrifice…which is then put to death in place of the sinner…and thus serves an atonement or payment for the sin…a sacrificial act, no doubt, and one that had been performed millions of times in the Temple’s long history… and something, no doubt, the rabbis had to be intimately familiar with.)
Fourth, for the Rabbis, the Messiah’s deliverance is only a physical deliverance that somehow either inspires or rewards righteousness. It would seem that this type or earned-salvation or deliverance must take on the characteristics of a very performance-based faith–if I am good enough or righteous enough, then perhaps my faithfulness will be rewarded by my ending up amongst the Messiah’s rescued ones when he comes to rescue us.
And no doubt, Christians have, what on the surface seems to be, a similar motivation to be righteous, but from both a standpoint of motivation and actual success, there is tremendous difference between fear of not having earned God’s love as opposed to the peace and freedom of responding to a love or loyalty that has already been bought and paid for by God himself through the giving of his own Son as a sacrifice or atonement for the world’s sin (John 3).
In a grace-through faith approach to forgiveness and deliverance from sin, Yah-Saves makes the first move. As the Apostle John wrote, “He loved us first” (1 John 4:9). We are NOW, by grace, the responders to his love…his action…his sacrificial deeds. We love because we were loved…we are loved. Therefore, whether or not we ARE loved is no longer our concern. That question, as is usually the case within a family, has already been settled. Our concern NOW becomes learning how to be loved by God and then, as John also wrote, “We love BECAUSE he loved us first” (1 John 4:9), giving away the love with which we have been loved with.
One approach is saturated with a fear, unless one’s righteousness is most assuredly as high as the sky, while the other, though not without its painful discipline or correction, by both God and man (Hebrews 12:1ff; James 1:2ff), is first grace-based and then Spiritually and developmentally protected while the “true son” or daughter of God, naturally and Spiritually grows up over time (John 8:35).
One fears the truth concerning one’s own imperfection and may even lead to denial and hypocrisy; the other, securely and courageously faces one’s imperfections and begins to grow up into one’s salvation…but never to earn it.
Thus while on the surface, because both Yah-Saves and the Rabbis’ prophetic outlines of the “Day of the LORD” –including the Great Travail, the Great Messianic Age, followed by the Resurrection of the Dead and God’s Final Judgment–may appear similar–both being contained or revealed within the OT–their specific contents, as well as, their very crucial implications regarding the saving of Man from his many imperfection, are radically different! Thus, the GREAT and acrimonious DIVIDE between Yah-Saves and the rabbis of his day. Though each uses some of the same language, both the method and execution of God’s deliverance varies incredibly.
Coming Soon…From the Gospels, what else does Yah-Save teach his disciples about sin’s crucial story, including how the cryptic clues of eating “living bread” (John 6) and drinking “living water” (John 4; 7) help God’s faithful in overcoming sin’s death grip on their lives, families and eternal destinies?
Joseph M. Cross
1 “Oral Torah,” Wikipedia article, quoting Howard Schwartz, The Tree of Souls; the Mythology of Judaism, Oxford University Press, 2004. p. lv.
2 Gen. 19:24; Ex. 4:23; 11:4; 12:12; Josh. 10:11.
3 Eschalatogy, Jewish Encyclopedia.
6 Gehenna, Jewish Encyclopedia.
7 Eschalatogy, Jewish Encyclopedia.
10 Noachian Laws, Jewish Encyclopedia.
11 Eschatology, Jewish Encyclopedia.