Questions of the Heart
by Lonnie Lane
I am always blessed to receive responses to my articles. This week I received a couple that came with questions that resurface now and again. I thought I would address just a few of them in an article as perhaps some of you have had similar questions from time to time. Here are a few excerpts of emails I’ve received followed by my attempts at answering them.
Q. Last week when I was praying, I believe I heard the Holy Spirit call Jesus, "Yeshua." Can you give any insight to the significance of this? Thank you.
Another person writes: Every Jewish believer calls Jesus "Yeshua," which is His Jewish name which I am assuming He was called or known by. I would like to know how the name change came about from Yeshua to Jesus. In other words, what are the historical reasons why Jesus became more popular than Yeshua outside Jewish circles?
A. Yeshua is indeed Jesus’ real name. It’s the only name He was known by among those who knew Him or knew about Him in Israel in the first century. In Israel today, and among most Messianic Jews, He’s still Yeshua. In fact, the name Yeshua was first translated into Latin which then got translated into Greek and was transliterated into Jesus. That’s interesting since there is no “J” in Hebrew, as in Spanish where the name is pronounced Hay-soos but spelled Jesus. The name gets several variations in different languages. As for the title of Christ, which many actually think is Yeshua’s last name, the same process of translation from Messiah, which means ‘Anointed One,’ to Latin, then Greek and became Christos, which in English became Christ.
To me, the name Christ, while revered by many, doesn’t say anything. What is “the Christ” if you don’t know that the original word meant ‘Anointed One’ or ‘Messiah’? In the same way, knowing that Yeshua means “Yah is salvation,” (Yah being God as in Yahweh), gives the name profound prophetic significance. Every time in the Old Testament it mentions salvation, it is really saying the name Yeshua. Reading it that way opens up depths of revelation. Here are some verses as an example:
On the day that David assigned Asaph as head worship leader when they brought the ark into Jerusalem, he sang, “Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim glad tidings of His salvation (His Yeshua) from day to day” (1 Chron 16:23), just as we too should be proclaiming Him from day to day.
Since Yeshua said, “No one is good but God alone” (Mark 10:18), Yeshua is the good we rejoice in. “You need not fight in this battle…stand and see the salvation (Yeshua) on your behalf” (2 Chron 20:17). As we trust in Yeshua and “stand” (see Eph 6:14) secure in Him, He will fight our battles for us as we praise Him the way Israel did in 2 Chron. 20.
In essence Yeshua is the name of the Father because the name can be translated as “Yah became salvation,” and so Yeshua is the human manifestation of God who became our salvation and is one with the Father.
These are but a few of the 158 uses of this word “salvation” in the Bible, 109 of them in the Old Covenant. There are many other references to the same word used as “saved” or “saves.” Doing a word study will be an instrument for Him to reveal Himself to you as your salvation and the one who saves you in much greater depth than you may have today as you begin to see what God has promised in Yeshua this way as well as seeing things about Him that are hidden except to those who dig for them. (See Proverbs 25:2.)
Additionally, when the angel came to Mary and told her, “You will call His name Yeshua because He will save His people from their sins,” it makes sense because of the meaning of His name. But to say, “Call His name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins” (Matt 1:21) is what we call a non-sequitur, meaning one thing does not logically follow the other because the meaning is lost. So the name Jesus Christ, while associated with the Lord, doesn’t really bring the depth of what His true name and title do. He is uniquely anointed by God as the embodiment of the salvation of Yah(weh).
As God is restoring the Hebrew foundation upon which the New Covenant firmly sits, to restore to the true remnant what Yeshua’s name means would seem to be meaningful. Jesus is being called Yeshua by more and more Believers today than at any time since the first century. Could this be part of God’s preparing His bride for His soon coming? Would He not want to be called by His name by His beloved?
Q. You stressed the importance of Sabbath observance which I think is commendable. Why do you think Protestantism has gained such a strong hold in the observance of the first day of the week for a day of worship? If the Sabbath defines Him as Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth, don't you think it is still binding and that all creation should adhere to such a command?
A. I don’t know about all creation presently, though one day the whole earth will declare the glory of God. Eternity will be all that the Sabbath promises and so much more for the whole universe! But in the mean time, it is God’s people who are called to keep the Sabbath. Indeed, we are the only ones who would be able to “call the Sabbath a delight” (Is 58:13) when we keep it not by the letter of the law but by the Spirit. Without the Spirit it probably wouldn’t be a delight. But with the leading of the Spirit of God, the Sabbath is sweet. A phrase just went through my mind that my grandmother would say to us, which amounted to: “May you have a zeesah shabbas” Yiddish for a sweet Sabbath. Though my grandmother didn’t know Yeshua, she did keep the Sabbath unto God Whom she loved, just as she did her best to obey Torah. It would seem then that the Spirit of God blesses those with a zeesah shabbas who love Him and keep it unto Him, saved or not saved. It’s that important to Him.
As for Protestantism’s strong hold of celebrating the Sabbath on the first day of the week rather than the 7th day, the Protestants inherited it from the Catholics and just kept it after the Reformation. Constantine (early 4th century) declared Sunday a day of rest for the Roman empire. He did not specifically change the day for the Sabbath; he just ignored the Hebrew day, though it is clear that the church under Constantine came to regard anything Hebrew as anathema (cursed). Acts 20:7 and 1 Cor. 16:2 make mention of Believers meeting on the first day of the week. More might be made of it than was intended. When I was living in Israel for several months, I joined the Messianic Believers who often met on Tuesdays and even had weddings on Tuesdays. Shabbat was a day of rest to be at home with your family.
By the first half of the second century many Christians met on Sundays though quite a number of Believers continued to worship on the Sabbath (Saturday). For many centuries Christians distinguished between the Sabbath (Saturday) and “The Lord’s Day” (Sunday) which was to commemorate the day of the Resurrection. Even Calvin held to the fact that Sunday was not the Sabbath. There is nothing in the New Covenant that suggests that the Sabbath was to be changed, nor are there any edicts against working on the first day or any other day of the week but the 7th. There was no apostolic decree to change the day of the Sabbath to Sunday to celebrate the Resurrection. That is an entirely Roman perspective as mentioned above. It has such a strong hold simply because of traditions. Yeshua did make mention of “invalidating the word of God by your tradition” (Matt 15:16) or “You yourselves transgress the word of God for the sake of your tradition” (Mtt 15:3). He wasn’t speaking about the day to keep the Sabbath there, but the application holds: traditions can take precedence over the Commandments of God. The Sabbath is a paramount example.
Q. Can you explain Isaiah 58:13, "If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord honorable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.” Verse 14 goes on to say, “Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Verse 13 seems to be opposite of what I’m learning about delight from your article; yet 14 seems to shed light on what your article reads. Please help me to understand what this Bible text is about. I just want to do the right thing in keeping Sabbath.
A. This is an unfortunate mistranslation in the King James which has been kept in several other translations as well. Verse :13 should read, as it does in the NASB and numerous other translations: “If because of the Sabbath you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure…." Whether intentional or not, the gentlemen who did the KJV translations evidently had little sensitivity to the Sabbath being on Saturday so that it was not “caught” as a mistranslation. This mistranslation has contributed to the ongoing dialog against keeping the Sabbath on Saturday, with the thinking being that Yeshua Himself would have wanted the church to do away with that Jewish Sabbath, which is of course entirely unfounded.
Q. Would you please explain to me what One New Man is and what it should look like? We have Jewish people in our church. Is that ONM - Jews in the church? Is it God’s will that Gentile Believers become more like Jews? I have the feeling I’m missing something important and would be grateful if you could give me a picture of what ONM is supposed to look like.
A. Without going into the history of how the church came to look more Gentile than Jewish quite early in church history, what One New Man means to us today is that Jews no longer need forsake their Jewish heritage upon coming into the church as they’ve done for almost 2,000 years. When the Jerusalem council met in Acts 15, they had to decide what to do with the Gentiles coming into the church. Today that has flipped and now the Gentiles in our generation have been trying to process what to do about the great number of Jews coming to faith in Yeshua. God does not want Gentiles to become as Jews in any cultural sense as He would have Israel always remain distinct and identifiable (please see Jeremiah 31:31-34) in order to be witnesses to His faithfulness to His promises to Abraham.
But we must keep in mind that what Israel was came directly from God and did not evolve sociologically as other nations. What God was building into Israel was godliness and integrity, love and faithfulness to God and to one another as found in Torah. These qualities were always to be the way of God’s people. Yeshua summed it all up as love for God and “your neighbor.” In these qualities, Gentiles are to be as God had ordained for Israel. This would also extend to keeping of the Sabbath and the Feasts of the Lord as God always intended for them to be kept by the “sojourners” or “strangers” which meant the Gentiles among them. These were lost to the church in past centuries but in our day God is restoring them to the remnant who will observe them with honor and joy as coming from Him.
As the church begins to again take the Tenach seriously, which is the whole of what we call the “Old Testament” (thought it is not in any way old), we will gain fresh revelation of how Yeshua embodied the Torah, (as opposed to the erroneous idea that “fulfilled” means ended). As a result, there will be a growing sense of holiness and a reverential fear of God and a jealousy for His honor and for the honor of one another. So in this way, Gentiles are to become as Israel, just as Yeshua and his early Jewish followers lived, in the whole of God’s Word to them, in love. In this, we will be am echad hadash, one new people, or one new humanity.
Q. I love the Sid Roth TV shows and website and the articles! I was wondering if I could ask you a question or two. Can a true, born again believer in Christ, lose their salvation? Do most Messianic Jews believe you can lose your salvation?
A. Messianic Jews, like their Gentile brothers and sisters in the Lord, cannot be said to all believe one thing and one thing only on this subject or many others. It is my experience that a great many Believers today, be they Jew or Gentile, believe “once saved, always saved.” I am personally not convinced the Bible assures us of that. God makes it clear that those who depart from the ways of God do so at risk of eternal peril. Hebrews 6:4-6 is a terrifying example of just that. On the other hand, one does wonder if a person who supposedly knew the Lord was able to walk away from Him if they really were born again since Yeshua told us that nothing could take us out of His hand.
It may be that many dear people who have “accepted the Lord” (a phrase not found in the Bible), never actually came to the place of real repentance. Repentance preaching is not exactly a “seeker friendly” message and we live in an age of toleration so the spirit of conviction is often lacking in our Christian experiences. If there has never been real conviction of sin and repentance, just what Yeshua is it they accepted? “John came baptizing… and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4). Without repentance there is no remission of sins! Without repentance we are still in our sins. We may known Yeshua is the Son of God and that He died as atonement for sins, but until it’s personal and about our own sins against God, they are not remitted and I’m still in them. At least that’s the way I interpret the Word. After Pentecost, the first sermon, preached by Peter, in the New Covenant, stated the qualifying word: “Repent” and went on to say, “and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Yeshua Messiah for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Without repentance, neither can we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this may explain why the church is often more dependent upon the minds of man than the Spirit of God.
Repentance is the key to receiving salvation (Yeshua!). So to address the question, either someone was born again but fell into sin and never returned to the Lord in repentance in which case I do not believe they are heaven-bound, or they had an experience with the Lord but may never have truly been born again of the Spirit of God so that they became a new creation (1 Cor 5:17), making them now alive to God.
Please note that 1 Cor 6:9; Rev 21:8 and 22:15 make it clear who will be excluded from heaven, which is, of course, ultimately what Salvation is all about eternity with God. I fear there are those who think of themselves as Believers who have disqualified themselves. And while I would prefer to write easy-to-read words of assurance and comfort, I have lately had an increasing sense of wanting to warn people with the same words that John and then Peter spoke out to Israel: Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand (Matt 3:2; 4:7, 10:7; Mk 1:15).
This question isn’t a recurring one, but as we are in a critical time in our nation, I have included it here.
Q. I've heard some Christians say that, although Paul, under inspiration, told believers to pray "for those in authority," today's America and its governmental system is so Satanic and so incapable of God's intervention that "it’s all doomed anyway until Yeshua comes back, regardless of which guy gets in the White House or any other house, so don't bother." At this time, I don't really pray that much for "those in authority" or for the war in Iraq or things like that because there's too much squabbling out there over whether such prayers work.
A. If you have your ear tuned to the prophetic words coming forth these days, you know that there are basically two camps: 1) God has turned His back on America and she is under judgment, and 2) God is about to bring the greatest revival America has ever known. These, however, are not mutually exclusive. They can happen at the same time and seem to be. As for praying, Paul, under the unction of the Holy Spirit, told us to pray for those in authority. He didn’t say to pray only when things are good. We are exhorted by God to pray. Do we believe that God answers prayer? If we do not pray, then we leave everything in the hands of the devil and his henchmen. Where’s the faith in God if we say “it’s all doomed anyway until Yeshua comes back so don’t bother”? I’m not willing to let go of my country like that. America has been through tougher times than these and God brought us through when we came to Him in prayer. President Lincoln called the country to a day of prayer and fasting in a time of national crisis. Perhaps God will grant to us a new president who will do that same. We can pray for that.
I recall hearing a word from the Lord delivered prophetically when President Clinton fell into adultery that God was more upset with the Christians who didn’t pray for him than with Clinton’s behavior. We’re the ones who were supposed to be praying for those in authority with all the stresses they have to deal with. There may be tough times ahead. Whoever our president will be, we will do well to pray for godly wisdom for him, for God to impact his life, for discernment and for courage to know and to do the right (righteous) thing.
We may face some very challenging times that will look like judgment to some. To others, it may look like the shaking that God has told us He will bring in order to shake out that which will not stand in the judgment. When God shakes and judges, it is always in order to bring about greater good and to shake out that which is harmful to us, however much we may love what He’s trying to free us from. God’s ways are ALWAYS GOOD and ALWAYS REDEMPTIVE.
So for those who will “let go and let God,” He will set us free from those things that hold us, including whatever keeps us away from Him in whom alone there is security, wholeness and happiness, to put it in Biblical terms, so that our lives will be characterized by love, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit. I’m expecting that we are entering into a revival that will not just revive but RESTORE, which is what Peter said must happen before Yeshua returns (Acts 3:20, 21). Whatever happens politically in this country is to some degree incidental to what God is doing actually, though it is a part of it. What God is doing is always primarily about Kingdom, not country. And we would do well to pray Kingdom reality and values into America. The alternative is to acquiesce to evil. As has been said, “For evil to triumph, good men need only do nothing.”
Reprints of this article is permitted but must include: Reprinted by permission of Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2008
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.