feast: God of Our Salvation
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 10-Oct-09; Sermon #FT09-11; 65 minutes
Richard Ritenbaugh, suggesting that many people go to their graves with their spiritual problems unresolved, suggests that they carelessly follow the dictates of their own hearts. Even just men fall into sin. Many people have lived their whole lives not aware of their sin, unaware of the law that defines sin. The Great White Throne Judgment is not a special judgment, but a general judgment or resurrection to mortal life, allowing the vast majority of those who have ever lived opportunity for salvation. Jesus Christ is the source for the Holy Spirit, the way to Eternal Life, where we can with joy draw water from the wells of salvation. At the time of the Great White Throne Judgment, there will be a Utopian environment with abundance, a time when the majority of the world will experience God"s way for the first time. The etymology of Jesus Christ"s name is inextricably connected to Yeshua or "salvation," the Savior of Israel and a light to lighten the Gentiles. Salvation is all about Jesus Christ.
You know, we humans have a problem. Actually it is a major problem among many. Unfortunately, though, it seems that most of the world has no idea that this problem even exists. Most people simply live their lives in ignorance of their need. In fact, they go to their deaths—old age, disease, accident, war, famine, or whatever—perhaps never ever giving their need a single thought, much less sought a way to solve this problem.
The problem we all have is a religious one (otherwise, I would not be speaking to you about it). Throughout human history, many have been religious people. But, I dare say, that despite times of religious fervor, and despite societies that were especially pious, a good majority of the people at the time actually lived secular lives.
This is a result of human nature. And human nature is "wonderful" at giving lip service to religion. But in actual practice (and ingrained character) we human beings, whenever faced with the choice between doing what religion dictates and what we want to do, almost invariably choose what we want to do. This is the way that our human nature is.
"We are fine just so long as the religion we are following goes along with what we think."
So, what we have, then, is a full history of secular people. Therefore, most of them—the vast majority of them—believe various religions that have no resemblance to the truth of God. Most of this world's present and historical population has gone its own way in following the dictates of their own heart's desires and imaginations.
It is very easy to look in history, as well as our own age today, and see that billions of people are going their own way, and their way has not produced utopia—not by a long shot. We live in a vile, evil world. Human history is a story of mankind's wars, thefts, idolatries, deceptions, degradations, and destructions. These are the results of mankind's problem.
Psalm 53:1-3 The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. Every one of them has turned aside; they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one.
Now Ecclesiastes 7. Here, Solomon says,
Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.
So, David and Solomon identify the problem for us. The problem is sin. None—no, not one—does good. Not even just men are good. Just men sin. Every human being has turned aside. Every human being has gone off the right path. All are corrupt. Jesus Christ said that we are evil. He simply said flat out, "You are evil, even though you can do good once in a while."
How many people have lived their whole lives hardly aware of their sin? Certainly most people who have ever lived have lived their lives not knowing what God considers sin to be. They may have their own ideas of what sin is, but God's idea has not been given to most people. Paul tells us in Romans 7:7 that we cannot know except through the law. And the law has not been revealed except to a very few human beings throughout history. So, many have died without the benefit of God's law. And, therefore without the understanding of what sin is.
What we have here is man's problem compounded! It is not just sin, but we see here in Romans 2:12,
Romans 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law. . .
Romans 2:14-16 . . . (for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
Like I said, this is man's problem—sin compounded. Not only are all humans both past and present wayward, corrupt, and evil sinners, but they also face God's judgment in the person of Jesus Christ. If they sin, they come under judgment.
Without a standard, sin would be indeterminable. It would be undefinable. Yet, there is a standard, and that is God's law as seen in the person of Jesus Christ—His example.
Further, without penalties for infractions of the law, the law would be powerless. Romans 6:23 tells us that the penalty for breaking God's law is death. "For the wages of sin is death." So, we have the standard of the law, and sin is the breaking of that law. And if they do break that standard, then they die. That is how it works.
Yet, even so, without a Judge to enforce the law, man could simply say, "Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" (I Corinthians 15:32).
Many people actually live this way today. They are out there living it up while they can, because they believe in nothing after death. They are willing to say, "Fine. I'll live my life. I'm not going to worry about some penalty of some law because there's nothing after this. I'll just die. So be it. Let's party!"
This is just avoiding the problem, is it not? The Judge is there. That is just avoiding the problem. That is not a solution. The problem still remains. As Paul says very bluntly in Romans 7:24, "Who will deliver me from this body of death?"
In a nutshell, this problem that we find here is salvation. Who will deliver us from death—from the fatal eternal consequences of sin? Well, we in the churches of God are among the very fortunate ones who actually know the answer to this question that Paul poses—the solution to the problem of salvation.
Now we know that Paul answers his own question regarding deliverance with, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" God has been trumpeting the answer to this problem for millennia! And I really mean millennia! He has been saying that the solution to this problem and sin and salvation is through Jesus Christ our Lord. And, He will continue to proclaim it until every human being who has ever lived has had his day of salvation—every human. And, that is what this holy day (the Last Great Day is all about. This is truly a great day for humanity!
Now, Leviticus 23, in listing all the feasts of the Lord, actually does not say very much about this holy day. At first reading it seems to be just another holy day tacked onto the end of the Feast of Tabernacles, and God tells us there that we are supposed to have a holy convocation like we are doing right now, and we are supposed to give certain offerings. And, that is about all.
We must go into the New Testament to find a great deal more about it. We have to explain it from the New Testament. And even then, the explanation is fairly brief, and limited in detail, because this is a thing that is still far into the future. It is not something that we have to know a great deal about, because it does not pertain to us in a great big way.
Now, today—this age—is our time is our day of salvation. And of course, in the Millennium we are going to be kings and priests, and we will have a lot to do there. Of course, then, that job will continue on into the Great White Throne Judgment. But for what God wants us to know, the Great White Throne Judgment is not a big part of what we need right now.
But yet, He does give us some very tantalizing clues and hints. Please turn to Revelation 20 to the prophecy of the Great White Throne Judgment period. And just like in Leviticus 23 we see that the Great White Throne Judgment is a period tacked onto the end of the Millennium just like the Last Great Day appears tacked onto the Feast of Tabernacles.
Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
As I said, this time, this Great White Throne Judgment period, continues the civilization and the way of life that was built under Christ in the Millennium. But, this is yet a different time altogether. It is separate and distinct. It is a distinct era in its own right, because it deals with an entirely distinct group of people, with its entirely distinct judgment.
This is all very basic information. We all know it. We have gone over it every year on the Last Great Day. So, we know this. It is very basic.
Obviously the context informs us that within this period occurs the judgment of the risen dead—all the dead,no one is left out—small and great (probably a lot more small than great). This is not a special judgment. We are the special judgment in this world of sin with Satan still freely going about like a roaring lion. The judgment that occurs with the Great White Throne Judgment is a general judgment. It follows the general resurrection—the second resurrection—in which billions of people will be given physical life once again, and then allowed to understand God's way.
The goal of this period of time is both to offer salvation, and bring to salvation all who have ever lived on this earth. Peter says very specifically, "That God desires all to come to repentance!" (II Peter 3:9) He does not want to lose any one of them. And so He set aside this period of time where all these people will be able to have their first opportunity for salvation! They did not get a fair shake the first time through this life.
However, as we find out there will be some who will not be found in the Book of Life, and they will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Even though it is God's desire that all should be saved, some will refuse His offer, and the reward that they get for that is the second death—eternal death without any future resurrection—not eternal life like the rest of us, but eternal death.
These are the basics. You all know them.
In John 7 Jesus Christ Himself opens up this understanding of this day even further.
John 7:37-39 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
What John leaves out here is Christ's motivation for His reference to thirsting, and drinking these living waters. In a way, it just suddenly pops up, that Jesus just stands up and says this, and we do not have the whole context of why He said it. But, as many of you know, and I have given a sermon on the Last Great Day before regarding the Jews' Water Ceremony performed on the Last Great Day, in which a great procession—and I mean a great procession, all Jerusalem came out to see this spectacle—coming down from the Temple to the Pool of Siloam. I will not go into it a great deal. You can go back and listen to it again, or look up the transcript if you wish. But, I will say generally that they went down to the pool with pomp, and a hymn. This was a big thing—a big ceremony happening on this Last Great Day of the feast.
Remember that water was drawn from the pool in a golden pitcher, and the procession returned to the Temple, and the water was poured out on the altar in this great ceremony.
This ceremony inspired Jesus Christ to proclaim that the way to salvation was to believe in Him. He is the source of the Holy Spirit. And it is the Holy Spirit as Paul tells us later that if we have it in us, we are children of God. In John 14:6, Christ said it very simply, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." If you want eternal life and salvation, then you must go through Him.
Now, I want to focus on the song that they sang in the water ceremony. It is found in Isaiah 12:1-3. Actually not so much the song itself, but the chorus of the song found in verse 3.
Isaiah 12:1-3 And in that day you will say: "O LORD, I will praise You; though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; 'for YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.'" Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
Think of this in terms of all those people coming up in the Great White Throne Judgment.
This passage was the hymn that was sung by the Levites during this procession. And, chiefly verse three is the one that caught Christ's ear. "Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." The meaning of this verse moved Christ to stand up and to make Himself visible to this great throng watching this great procession, and to make Him cry out, saying, that if anybody wanted some of this water to drink, they should come to Him.
Now notice what this verse says. Notice the attitude, "Therefore with joy you will draw water." This joy is how I personally imagine Jesus Christ when He said this (John 7). He did not thunder this out with a scowl on His face. He was not angry. His face was radiating great exuberance, happiness, and joy. "Come to Me! I am the answer to the problem!" He probably had a huge smile on His face—a very welcoming expression.
Now we could assume in terms of this prophecy that the people who will rise up in that generation into the Great White Throne Judgment will react to God's offer with tremendous joy. They will be ecstatic, praising God up and down.
Why do I say this?
Throughout history, most of this world's people have not had a fair shake from the very beginning. Many lived lives of slavery, serfdom, or other forms of poverty, and had no hope whatsoever of advancement. Most of the people of this earth have been downtrodden. We forget this fact because we live in this country or in Northwestern Europe. We forget this because we are so rich. Even if we are born in the ghetto in this country, we have a chance to become a millionaire. In this country, you can be the President of the United States of America.
That is how it is here. But down through the ages of time, people did not have those types of choices. Normally there was a small group—the elite—who had all the power, and all the money with everybody else working for them. The elite did not care not one wit how those people lived, or if they lived at all. As long as they produced what the lords and ladies wanted them to produce, all was well. They were disposable.
Take for instance, China. If you know anything about life in China, it is grueling. I do not see how they make it out of infancy. And their rulers do not care. If somebody died in the traces, well, there was always another to come and fill his spot.
That is how life has been for a majority of the people of this earth for a majority of the time.
I have often imagined myself while reading a good book, "Wow! Wouldn't it have been great to live back then?" And then suddenly I remember, "No, I'd be a peasant in any time frame, so I think I'll skip on this thought."
All they could expect throughout life was just heavy, hard, grueling, torturous labor, followed by an early death. Is that not what God predicted in Genesis 3? He told Adam that he would earn his bread "by the sweat of your brow, and you are going to die out there in the field, because you will just work, work, work to get what you need."
That is all that could have been expected being cut off from God. And that is the result of being cut off from God. This whole world has been cut off from God. But in the future they will not be cut off from God. They are going to be coming up into "paradise." They will live in a time and place that is as close to heaven on earth as anyplace could ever be.
And even though there may be 40, 50, or 60 billion people all popping up at the same time, they will have great abundance, because we will be providing it for them. That is why we have a thousand years of preparation for this time.
They will come up and say, "I never had socks. I had to work all my life with bare feet in the cold."
And we can say, "You can have a whole dresser full of them, if you want," because this earth will produce whatever we will need it to produce because we are following God's way of life in everything.
"What? I don't have to get up at dawn, every day, with no breakfast, and go out and work six hours before my daily bread?"
"No, you get up out of this nice bed, take a shower, eat breakfast. . ."
We take a lot of these little things for granted. But they will not! They will remember how it was being cut off from God. And, with joy they will draw water from the wells of salvation. They will be so pleased—as pleased as punch (as they used to say) to be living during the Great White Throne Judgment.
Now this phrase, "you will draw water," is an image of what I said above, people going to the well of salvation on their own volition. They will willingly and eagerly go to the Source for their sustenance and refreshment. They will want to do it. For one thing, Satan will not be there to interfere, looking over their shoulder, giving them the bad advice he always transmits. In a way, you could say that access to this water is an offer that they will not be able to refuse, and not in the mobster sense either! They will say, "Thank you, God, that I am there, and I will be there as often as I can be."
And you know God, He will not just offer them a cup of water. But as Christ said to the woman at the well, in John 4:14, a drink of this water will allow them to never thirst again. What a changed world it will be when peoples' minds will be willing to accept the offer, and eagerly go to get it—willingly—because it is such a great offer, and they will realize that.
The word "wells" (Isaiah 12:3) should not be translated that way. We usually think of a well as a hole in the earth where water seeps up into the open space to be drawn up by hand, or pumped up by mechanical means. But the Hebrew word actually refers to a fountain or a spring where the water is coming up on its own, and has to be caught to be kept. This is what the Hebrews called "living water," because it was moving. It was not stagnant, but moving. So this water that He promises them is active, energetic, dynamic, and powerful. And on top of that, it is continuous and inexhaustible—a fountain that never stops flowing.
Again, this will be a great wonder to behold to people who never had enough, who could never rely on anything, or anyone. And here is living water—salvation, blessing after blessing after blessing—it never ends. It is something that they never had before.
Then, there is the word "salvation." This is the word that I have been working toward this whole sermon. We think that we know what this word means, and we probably do. We understand the theological definition or the dictionary definition.
Salvation means "deliverance from the power and penalty of sin"—it means "redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ," and being given eternal life in God's Kingdom.
These are all very correct definitions—aspects of this theological concept. We know it. We are pursuing it as eagerly as these people will be pursing it in the Great White Throne Judgment.
But to a Hebrew speaker, especially a Hebrew speaker who is a Christian, this word is explosive! It is momentous. It is beyond significance. It is absolutely astounding to a Christian Hebrew speaker! This word is translated from the Hebrew as yeshu'ah. This word is translated throughout the whole Old Testament as "salvation," "deliverance," "help," "victory," and "prosperity." But, the primary meaning is to rescue from distress or danger.
In this form, this word yeshu'ah is a common feminine noun, and in this instance above, it is the very focus of the sentence. In Hebrew, this is the emphatic element of the sentence. That is, salvation is the central emphasis and thought of this verse. The central emphasis is not wells, joy, or water, but rather salvation. That is the big thing right at the end of the verse that God wants us to key in on.
We can read it like this: [monotone] "Therefore, with joy will draw water from the wells of [very enthusiastic] SALVATION!"
Salvation, then, is the principle thing.
Hearing this word, yeshu'ah, it should sound extremely familiar. Turn to Matthew 1, the birth of Christ chapter, but also known as the genealogy of Christ chapter.
Matthew 1:18-21 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."
It is highly likely that the angel did not speak in Greek to Joseph. He was a Hebrew—a Jew of Galilee. Galileans were known as the backwoods type, the hicks of the Jewish world. And it was likely that Joseph knew Hebrew. He probably did since he was of the line of David. I am sure they taught it to him. But he definitely knew Aramaic, which was the "lingua franca" of the day for that region.
But, it does not matter whether it was Aramaic or Hebrew, because the same word appears in both languages. And so it says, "And you shall call His name Yeshuah, for He will save His people from their sins." Yeshuah is only a pause different from yeshu'ah—a different emphasis on the word—Yeshuah and yeshu'ah.
Greek, of course, uses Iesous (EE-ay-soos), which is the Greek way of saying Yeshuah—Iesous. Iesous is just the Greek transliteration of Yeshuah. And Yeshuah was a fairly common name at the time. It was probably like Michael, Scott, or Joshua. We expect boys to be called by such names. And in this time period, Yeshuah was one of theirs, and maybe I will tell you why in just a moment.
But we know that God is not like men when it comes to naming children. Today, people name their children for either of two reasons: 1) It sounds good. 2) Some family member might have had that same name. And so, they name their children after somebody else, or they think it sounds good with their last name.
I am sure that expecting parents—I know that we did it—think deeply about naming their children, especially if you are in the church, because you want to give them a name that means something. And this idea goes in spades with God the Father. When God chooses a name for a son or daughter, it means something to Him. I mean, He has named all the stars, and He knows everybody, and everything, but when He has somebody that He is wanting to pull out to be a significant part of His plan, He gives them a name that fits with what He is doing, or some other thing that He wants to get across.
Abraham = The Father of Many Nations.
Jacob/Israel = Prevailer with God.
Joseph = Adding (and boy did he know how to make money!)
Moses = Drawn Out (a type of the whole nation being drawn out of Egypt)
Joshua = Yahweh Saves! (and that is what he did, saving the whole nation, and brought them into the land)
David = Beloved (and we know how much God loved David, and his example to us of how much God loves us!)
Now, we could go through many other names in this same fashion. But, who is the most important Person who ever lives? Why, it was Jesus Christ, of course! And God made sure that He was named exactly what He wanted Him to personify. And so, God called Him, "Salvation!" "Yeshuah!" He will save people from their sins.
The Jewish New Testament Commentary has this to say about His name:
"eshuah. The Hebrew word for, "He will save," is Yohia', which has the same Hebrew root as the name Yeshuah. Thus, the Messiah's name is explained on the basis of what He will do.
That is what God wanted to get across to us. He wanted us to see every time we saw His name what He was there to do. He was going to bring salvation. He was the only way to salvation.
Etymologically, the name, Yeshuah, is a contraction of the Hebrew name Yehoshua, (which we know in English as Joshua), which means 'Yahweh saves.' It is also the masculine form of the Hebrew word, yeshu'ah, which means salvation.
So, if I can interpret what they are saying here, from a Jewish point of view, Yeshuah (the personal name) and yeshu'ah (the concept of salvation) are essentially the same idea. Their linguistic differences are negligible, and essentially meaningless. Whether one means "Yahweh Saves," while the other means "Salvation," it makes little difference, because real salvation can only come through Yahweh, who is Yeshuah, the Christ.
In Acts 4, Peter addresses the Sanhedrin, and he wraps up his comments with this verse,
Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
It is in the name! The whole plan of God is in the name, and the Person. That is the only way that salvation can be attained—through Jesus Christ.
Now this brings up an interesting biblical circumstance—a very little-realized prophetic reality. Many non-believers, and especially many Jews, criticize Christianity by saying something along these lines: "If Jesus Christ is the Messiah, and therefore the central figure in all of God's plan, then why does the Old Testament not mention Him and His name?"
Actually, this is a silly question. Yet, I think that this is really neat. It is terrible that we have to read the Old Testament in English, because there is so much meaning there in the original Hebrew that we cannot see, because we do not understand Hebrew. We have to have very intelligent people explain it to us, and most of the time those intelligent people are not converted, and so they do not know what is important. We have to find these things out through studying, and digging as deep and as carefully as we can. But, now that we understand the connection between Jesus' Hebrew name, Yeshuah, and the Hebrew word for salvation, yeshu'ah, His name is actually mentioned dozens of times in the Old Testament.
I want to show you a few of these, because just about every time the Old Testament uses the word salvation, it is the very same word or one of its derivations that the angel used in Matthew 1:21—the name we know as Jesus.
If you know your chapters, you know Genesis 49 is Jacob's prophecies for his sons in the latter days, as it says there in the context.
Genesis 49:1 And Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days. . ."
Notice the prophecy that Jacob gave to his son Dan:
Genesis 49:16-17 "Dan shall judge [Dan means judge, and today's context is the Great White Throne Judgment!] his people as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path that bites the horse's heels so that its rider shall fall backward."
That is not a nice thing to say about your son. Jacob called Dan a snake, sitting near the path, ready to cause mischief. You get the idea that Dan is not like the other tribes of Israel. Dan is different. Dan tends to be sneaky, one who will fight from ambush. Even though it says that he will judge his people (I guess they have some good qualities), you get the idea that Danites are not quite up to the level of the other Israelite tribes for some reason.
Now notice what Jacob says in response to this very bad prophecy:
Genesis 49:18 I have waited for your salvation, O LORD!
Do you know, or remember that Dan is the only tribe not mentioned or represented in the list of tribes of the 144,000 in Revelation 7? It mentions them all including Ephraim and Manasseh, and the one missing is Dan.
Genesis 49:18 I have waited for your salvation, O LORD!
Is this a prophecy that links up with Revelation 7, saying that Dan, of all the tribes of Israel as a whole will have to wait for the Great White Throne Judgment? I do not know. I am just bringing that up. But, what did Jacob say? "I have waited for your "Yeshuah," O Lord!" This is in the first book of the Bible. "I have waited for your Son, "Yeshuah," O Lord!"
This is interesting because Genesis 49:10-12 mention Shiloh. As you know, we call this the prophecies of the tribes of Israel, but if you go through here, it is talking about Christ—Shiloh—until Shiloh comes! "And to Him shall be the obedience of the people." (verse 10)
Verse 11 can be seen allegorical references to His work. When you think of Jesus and a donkey, what do you think? His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. When you think of washing His garments in wine, what does that make you think of? Especially when it is followed by, "His clothes in the blood of grapes." Turn to Revelation 14, and it says His garments are dipped in His own blood. Then verse 12 (Genesis 49) mentions eyes darker than wine, and teeth whiter than milk, which is an allegory of purity, beauty, and holiness. And then we come to verse 18 again, where Jacob gives us His name. Going down to verse 24, this time in the prophecy to Joseph,
Genesis 49:24 But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
Who is Jacob talking about? Jesus Christ! It is just an amazing prophecy! The end parts of the first book of the Bible, and we have already got a fairly complete picture of the Messiah, for whom they waited for the salvation of themselves, and the world. To me, this is just amazing. In the first book of the Bible, and we already know His name, if you have eyes to see!
Isaiah 62 is neat too. This one could fit Christ's first coming, but it is especially relevant to His second coming, and to us as His people, because the church of God in many respects is the true daughter of Zion.
Isaiah 62:11 Indeed the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the world [Space? Geography? Time?] Indeed the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the world: "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Surely your salvation is coming; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.'"
Let us read it putting in the word "yeshuah."
"Surely your Yeshuah is coming. Behold, His reward is with Him. And, His work before Him."
What is this telling us? Hold on! He is almost here! You will be rewarded. And, His work, which is our work of salvation for all these people—both the Millennium, and the Great White Throne Judgment—will be right before us. Surely your Yeshuah is coming! As the book of Revelation tells us, He is coming quickly. "So be ready! Be ready to receive your reward, and get to work, you daughter of Zion! Don't lay back. This is the time to press on."
Isaiah 62:12 And they shall call them The Holy People, The Redeemed of the LORD [There is the Salvation!]; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.
You shall be called, "I Want You!" "I Want to Be Like You!" "I Am Going to Seek You!" Because, as we heard, we will be in Christ, His name will be our name. What are these people going to be doing? Seeking salvation! They are going to say, "Please, let me in! I want this!" And, we will give it to them.
This is very interesting in the way that it is set up. Verse 11 seems to beg for the proper name, Yeshuah, rather than the general term, yeshu'ah, because the word Yeshuah is followed by three masculine personal pronouns. It says, "Surely your Yeshuah is coming. Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him." Remember what I said the Hebrew word salvation was? It was a Hebrew feminine noun. But the antecedent here, and the rules for pronouns are not followed. It cries out for Yeshuah, the personal name. It is very incredible to think about this. "Your Jesus is coming!"
Habakkuk 3:13 is in a prayer. It is kind of interesting context because Habakkuk has been basically questioning God, and he is asking him, "What is coming on to Judah? Why are we about to be hit by Babylon?" The armies of Babylon are on their way, and Habakkuk is beside himself, because it is almost like, "God! How can you do this? We're your people. Have you seen what these Babylonian armies are doing to these other nations? They're coming in, and it's like shooting fish in a barrel. They're killing everybody, destroying everything, taking everything over, and we're next—why?" And God tells him, "Have faith. The just shall live by faith." Then God gives him all these woes. And He says, basically, "Look! Judah deserves everything it's going to get, because they've all left Me. Woe because of this and that."
And so, Habakkuk, maybe one of the most righteous men who ever lived, makes this wonderful prayer at the end of his book. It is a prayer of praise to God because he finally got it. God is in control. Things are going to happen in the way that God wants them to, and He is going to make this turn out for good, ultimately.
Habakkuk 3:13 You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for salvation with Your Anointed. You struck the head from the house of the wicked, by laying bare from foundation to neck. Selah [think about that].
When I first read this, I thought, "You know, this doesn't sound much like a prophecy of Christ." Actually, it did not even sound like much to think about. That is what we think "selah" means—think about, interlude, pause, consider. It just made me wonder if this was a good translation of this passage. So I went looking to see what it could be translated as. And I found that a literal translation from the Hebrew would go something like this:
"You went forth to save the people with Yeshuah your Messiah! You wounded the head of the house of the Wicked One, laying it bare from the foundation to the neck."
Now that is something to think about! Read it again.
"You went forth to save the people with Yeshuah your Messiah! You wounded the head of the house of the Wicked One, laying it bare from the foundation to the neck."
This is an absolutely incredible prophecy! He lays it all out right there for us. We could even say that Habakkuk 3:13 is a direct prophetic link from Genesis 3:15 where it says that the serpent would bite His heel, and the Messiah would bruise the serpent's head. Tthen He names names. And it specifically mentions Yeshuah, the Messiah.
It has been there the whole time. It is just an incredible prophecy! No wonder he says,
Habakkuk 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
He was happy when he heard that, when God inspired him with that. Habakkuk lived and wrote toward the end of the Judean kings. What we have here is a comfort to Habakkuk saying, "It won't be too long when Yeshuah the Messiah is going to come and save His people." And so, Habakkuk says, "All right! I'm so happy in the God of my salvation to hear this! Come on Chaldeans! God's in charge! He will save His people!"
Now, let us see where this ended up. This is the in the episode where Simeon makes his prophecy about Jesus.
Luke 2:25-26 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him [he was converted]. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
Does this not echo Habakkuk? He said, "Yeshuah, your Messiah." Then, from the Greek into the English, this is, "Jesus, your Christ." What does it say in Luke? "The Lord's Christ." It is very similar.
Luke 2:27-32 So he [Simeon] came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he [Simeon] took Him up in his arms and blessed God [like the blessing of little children we had today], and said: "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel." And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
It is no wonder that His parents marveled! I am sure that they knew these Old Testament prophecies. However, perhaps even with the angel coming just a few days before, they really never really quite understood, or it had not really sunk in yet, that this Child, this little baby, whom they knew as Yeshuah, whom we know as Jesus, was the Yeshu'ah of Israel, and of the Gentiles—the whole world, of all people, for all time! This little bundle of flesh named Yeshuah.
Simeon lets them, and us, know that God's salvation, the Lord's Yeshuah, the Lord's Messiah, is a Person—Jesus Christ our Savior. He, The Lord, is our Salvation!—the Person of Jesus Christ.
Now, this should make John 17:3 so much clearer to us:
John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ [Yeshuah Messiah] whom You have sent.
Salvation is all about Him—all about Jesus Christ. Once the Father draws us to Christ, everything that we do in our walk toward the Kingdom of God is centered on Christ—on Yeshuah—our belief, our faith, our love, our unity, our security, our example, and on and on. It is all focused on Christ. Everything we think, or say, or do toward salvation is in Christ. As we have heard all this Feast of Tabernacles, He is our salvation. It is not some fuzzy theological term. It is Him.
Turn to Psalm 68 to conclude. And, we can all say this in our prayers any time you like:
Psalm 68:19-20 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah. Our God is the God of salvation; and to GOD the Lord belong escapes [deliverances, salvation] from death.
And, not only to us is He the God of salvation, but He will also be the God of salvation for all those billions of human beings who will rise in the second resurrection for their opportunity for eternal life in God's Kingdom.
Jesus Christ—Yeshuah, Messiah, the same today, yesterday, and forever—the God of our Salvation!