In this week's blog, I am going to write about something that may challenge your beliefs concerning one of the most foundational doctrines held by those who believe in Yeshua as the Messiah of Israel. I am saying this in the opening paragraph for two reasons: first, in hope that you the reader will take the time to consider what I am sharing in light of the entirety of the Holy Scriptures, and second, in hope that you will read the entire blog before making any conclusions about the blog.
Let me set the stage for this teaching. Every year, those who observe Passover gather around their tables for a Seder meal. For those who may not know what a Seder is, it is a meal in which all of the foods shared are used in object lessons to share the story of the exodus from Egypt. While each part of the meal is important to the story, it is the telling of the story that is the reason for the meal. One of the commandments G-D gave to Israel in Exodus 13:8 was to tell the story to our children:
"You are to tell your son on that day saying, 'It is because of what ADONAI did for me when I came out of Egypt'" (TLV).
For Jewish people, the story of the exodus is the story of how a family became a nation. The children of Israel went into Egypt, and the nation of Israel left Egypt, and the story doesn't end until the Israelites are led by Joshua into the Promised Land.
However, for Messianic Jews and others who believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Passover story doesn't end at the Red Sea or at Mount Sinai. It continues beyond the crucifixion, which took place on Passover, and even beyond the resurrection, which took place within the week of Unleavened Bread and during the time of the First Fruits offerings. The story of the Passover continues for us until the moment that Yeshua leads us into our Promised Land, known as heaven, or the world to come.
This is important because for too many of us believers in Yeshua, when we tell our children of our exodus, we end our story way too soon. When we share with our children about our redemption, we take the time to explain how just as the children of Israel applied the blood of the lamb to the doorposts of their houses, we apply the blood of the Lamb (Yeshua) to the doors of our hearts. We even tell them that our immersion (or baptism) is symbolic of the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea.
Then we tell our sons and daughters that once that has happened, once we have applied that blood to our hearts through faith in Yeshua, then we are saved forevermore, no matter what. That belief would be fine if we stopped telling the story once the "Red Sea" is crossed.
However, the problem with that statement is that the story of the exodus doesn't end with the crossing of the sea; it continues through the wilderness journey. The story of the exodus includes the truth that many thousands, and maybe millions, of Israelites who had applied the blood to the doorposts of their homes didn't make it to the Promised Land. While they had the faith to apply the blood to their doorposts, and even though they crossed the Red Sea, their faith in G-D didn't continue.
It was with this understanding in mind that Yeshua spoke the words we read in Matthew 24:13 (TLV):
"But the one who endures to the end will be saved."
Our Messiah spoke these words in a sermon He was preaching about the end times, in which He says in Matthew 24:10-12 (TLV):
"And then many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one other. Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold."
Notice that Yeshua states that many will "fall away." In order to fall away from the faith, one must have entered into faith. Just as those who applied the blood to the doorposts of their homes physically but didn't make it to the Promised Land, today, we can spiritually apply the blood to our hearts and still not endure to the end and be saved.
You see, while it is true that Yeshua's blood paid the price so that all of us could be saved, in order to be saved, we must endure to the end. Or said another way: many people are willing to do what it takes to leave Egypt, but far too many are not willing to do what it takes to make it all the way to the Promised Land.
The Book of James said it this way:
"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? Can such faith save him?" (Jas. 2:14, TLV).
And it was to born-again believers in Galatia that Paul wrote proclaiming that those who do these things will not inherit G-D's kingdom.
"Now the deeds of the flesh are clear: sexual immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, witchcraft, hostility, strife, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, just as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit God's kingdom" (Gal. 5:19-21, TLV).
So this year, as we share the story of the exodus, let's share the whole story, including the words, "But the one who endures to the end will be saved."
Rabbi Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise; Transient Singularity; OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry; #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer; Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians; and Galatians in Context.
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