God as the only source of salvation, a key understanding of the Hebrew Scripture

With the start of the new year comes the start of a whole new set of blogs. This one will be the first of many. I’ve been busy writing on my dissertation as well as keeping our weekly Facebook and YouTube Live teaching broadcasts going. I’m excited by what the Lord did with the reach of the last two teachings. I hope that you will consider joining us either on YouTube or by visiting our Facebook page at Facebook.com/zionsbanner. I’m grateful to those loyal folks who have been tuning in to our live broadcasts and viewing our videos.

In today’s blog I’d like to discuss Messianic prophecy in terms of the Biblical worldview and contrasted with something that has been lost in the transition from ancient Judaism to modern rabbinical Judaism. “In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jeremiah 23:6, NKJV).” The background of this passage is the promise of a future Davidic king that will restore and redeem Israel. As a side note, it is interesting that the prophecies of Jesus’ coming were connected on some level with the redemption of Israel so that replacement theology actually guts the authorial intent of Messianic prophecy. But this is not our focus here. What I want to focus on are the nature of the Messiah and His salvation.

Jeremiah 23:6 clearly shows Messiah being called by a title of God, “The LORD our Righteousness.” What is absolutely vital here is that this prophecy, as well as prophecies,  like Isaiah 9:6, teach the fact that God must be the one to redeem, save, and restore. This was a clear part of God’s teaching in the Torah when He provided blood atonement as the only system of atonement that He would accept. The biblical view recognizes that man cannot, through any action of his own, save or restore himself. This idea is not some Christian gloss on the Scriptures, but rather a keystone in the biblical worldview. We see this clearly in the Hebrew Scriptures: “But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9, NKJV).

Now, how does this concept of salvation compare with that held by rabbinical Judaism? It is important to note that rabbinical Judaism preserves a great deal of the truth and beauty of the Scriptures, but modern rabbinical Judaism still leaves one in the position of providing on some level for one’s own salvation and restoration. While the biblical view acknowledges the need for repentance, rabbinical Judaism sees the individual repenting as part of the process for one’s own restoration instead of repentance being the way one acknowledges that one cannot restore him or herself. More liberal reforms of rabbinical Judaism, such as Reform Judaism or even Reconstructionist Judaism, fail far worse in this area by literally making man his own savior or ignoring the need for personal salvation before a personal God.

If man cannot save himself then salvation must be provided by God, and the only way that this can really be accomplished fully is if God Himself comes and redeems man. In this new year as we face new challenges, which will be different for each of us, we must remember that the one who can restore and redeem this new year is none other than God Himself and we dare not look to ourselves. For more discussion of this prophecy, visit the broadcast that will be aired on Wednesday January 10th and hear more.