Answering Meaningful Questions
by Lonnie Lane
“How do you spell Yeshua?…What about ‘once saved, always saved’?…My family doesn’t ‘get it’… What about tithes in the NT?” These are just a few issues people have asked for help on. Perhaps you’ve had some of these same questions. Hope you can glean something meaningful from the answers that follow.
Q: I was spelling the Lord’s name “Yeshua’ but along the way I saw it written as Yahshua. I recently purchased the Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition Study Bible where I now see it is spelled Yahshua, not Yeshua. Oh dear…. (Her concern was to be sure she was saying or spelling the Lord’s name correctly.)
A: Happily the Lord is not petty about it (or about anything). Besides He reads our hearts, not our lips. So whatever we call Him, as long as we’re calling upon Him, He’s happy with us. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me." (Psalm 50:15). Big trouble, or little trouble. It doesn’t matter. When we call upon Him, He’s there and listening. Calling upon Him, however we pronounce or spell His name, honors Him by our trust in Him. It is, as was said, a heart issue. On the other hand, Yeshua is His real name (not Jesus) and the one by which He was called when He walked the earth. It may touch His heart to be called by His real name because it indicates receptivity to His Jewishness.
Calling upon Him, however we pronounce or spell His name, honors Him by our trust in Him.
There are people who are firm believers that Yehashua or Yahshua is the correct pronunciation, the latter based on the use of Yah as a shortened form of the name of God, but that doesn’t seem to apply according to most scholars. Archaeologists in Israel have turned up remnants of things with His name on it and the Hebrew letters would be the equivalent in English to Y’sh-u-a. Various languages also interpret His name differently, such as Esa in Arabic; Yeshu in Urdu, Jesu in Afrikaans, and pronounced Hey-seus in Spanish which, like Hebrew, has no “j” sound. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are based on restoring the divine name of God as “Jehovah” to its rightful place. However, they’re talking about it in English only because, since there is no “J” in Hebrew, it cannot be pronounced in Hebrew as Jehovah. The very name they think is so important to pronounce properly is pronounced improperly. In fact, according to the Jews, the true name of YHVH is unpronounceable as it has only consonants: YHVH, though is generally represented as Yahweh or Yahveh. Our Bibles usually translate it as Lord to avoid the issue. To reiterate the answer to the original question, Yeshua’s name appears to be properly spelled and said as Yeshua.
Q: I was wondering if you could help share some wisdom with me. My pastor had said a couple of weeks ago that no one goes to hell for their individual sins, but for rejecting Jesus. I have learned that other Christians have gone there when they died and I am wondering why, if they accepted Jesus? I grew up in a church that taught once saved always saved.
A: Since we go to heaven because we accept as truth that Jesus died to pay for our sins, faith in what He did is our entrance to heaven. It stands to reason that NOT accepting by faith that Jesus died for your sins would keep you out of heaven, in other words, hell-bound. So yes, your pastor is right according to Scripture. If we haven’t received God’s forgiveness through Jesus, then we’re still in our sin and there is judgment for sin. That’s the reality.
As for ‘once saved, always saved,’ I personally (and I’m not alone) believe the ‘once saved, always saved’ doctrine has had terrible consequences. Many people think because they once walked forward during an “altar call” or prayed the “sinner’s prayer” they are saved even if they continue in sin or the Lord isn’t a part of their daily lives. Not so. There must be evidence of a changed life, a life now lived for God, a life that reflects a desire to live a godly life and to be close to God or it is doubtful if that person really was born again by the Spirit of God. The reciting of a “sinner’s prayers” one time without a corresponding change in a life is not “getting saved.” The reality is there is no “prayer of salvation’ or ‘sinners prayer’ in the Bible, there is only the turning from sin to God in a life of “fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8). If there’s no fruit, that’s a sure sign there’s no life (of God) there. Nor is there any place in the Bible of an “altar call.” What is in the Bible is responding to God with a contrite heart in an ongoing relationship with Him.
This ‘once saved, always saved’ doctrine goes along with the concept of “asking God into our hearts.” I don’t really see that as Biblical either. Uh oh, I just saw some eyes widen and even a gasp or two thinking, “That’s heresy.” Is it? If I’m wrong, please let me know and show me where it is in Scripture. What I am saying here is not out of a judgmental spirit, but out of a heart of deep concern for people who may think they are saved, but aren’t. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard from people, about a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend, “Well, he is saved, he accepted the Lord but he’s just not walking with Him.” What I see in Scripture is people coming to a realization of their sin and their great need to be right with God and calling upon His mercy. I don’t see any casual “acceptance” of God that results in true salvation.
When Peter preached that first message at Pentecost, bringing the understanding that they were responsible for Yeshua’s crucifixion, “when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" Peter said to them, "Repent…” (Acts 2:37, 38). I hear a desperation in their cry, asking what can they do in the face of such conviction of their sin. The fact is, all of us are responsible for His crucifixion because of our sins; each of us are why He was on that cross. He took the punishment due you and me upon Himself, so we could be free to come to God. We are released from the charges against us and the guilt of our sin by faith in His death on our behalf. Do you see the holiness of that? Do you see how profound it is that God Himself would come and take your place in punishment and death, so you might never have to suffer punishment for your sin, have fear of death or of being separated from God? I don’t have a word for how horrible it would be to be separated from God and all that is good forever. But Yeshua knew and He did the holiest thing He could by assuming total responsibility for our sin by dying in order to keep us from that eternal destiny in hell. Shall we take that salvation lightly?
There must be evidence of a changed life, a life now lived for God, a life that reflects a desire to live a godly life.
Peter knew about repentance. Peter had come to the end of himself, having seen the wretchedness of his soul in denying Yeshua. He knew about the mercy of God in having been restored to Him. To the extent that we recognize our sin and come to repentance, we will appreciate the immeasurable gift of salvation and relationship we can have with God.
Are you struggling with sin in your life? That’s not an altogether bad thing – you're struggling with it, as in not wanting it in your life. Then you are a candidate for the mercy of God. Cry out to Him for His help. Humble yourself before Him. Tell Him you want to be clean in His sight, you want to live in holiness before Him. Ask Him to forgive you and to enable you to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10). That’s a prayer He’s sure to answer. Keep praying it, believing He’ll answer, until He does.
Q: I am the only one in my family that has gotten the message, and they are attending a church that teaches replacement theology. We have got to get ready for the wedding supper of the Lamb and it is churchianty as usual for all of my family! I try to keep the Sabbath, and it is like swimming upstream in fast moving water.
A: Well, praise the Lord you got the message that the church didn’t replace Israel in God’s plan of redemption. I believe God has “front runners,” those who get the ‘rev’ (revelation) before others in order to lead them into the truth. Along with the ‘rev’ God has given to me He has made me very accountable to 1 Cor. 13:1-10 – there’s the balance. (Please take the time to read it in your Bible today.) We must be careful not to be haughty and with an “I-know-what-you-don’t” attitude. As I see it, the test is not that we see what others presently don’t, or that we “have the gift of prophesy and know all mysteries and all knowledge” but that we “have love” (13:2). God has given some of us the revelation before others of things He’s restoring in this day we live in, but as with “many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14), the test is to see if He can trust us with the gospel of love in order to use us to bring the truth to others. He’s never frustrated or impatient with us; we are called to treat others as He treats us! If our message is to be taken seriously, people must trust that we are of trustworthy character who don’t think more highly of ourselves than we ought. As Paul, who had to learn this (see 1Cor 13:1 as autobiographical perhaps) has said, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).
After all, the church has been under this replacement thing for 1800 years. Just because you and I ‘get it’ doesn’t mean everyone else will just like that. How long did it take you to ‘get it’? Give them some time. In the mean time, there’s a world of folks out there who need to know the Lord for you to share with, one at a time. Ask God to bring people to you who will “hear” what you’re saying. Just be sure you don’t get cynical about where the church is or has been. Be optimistic, prayerfully expecting God to bring about the changes. He’s doing it. I believe there are changes He’s making in the church that are below the surface in many places and not yet visible. But they’re coming. You may be able to give some insight to others when things begin to change to let them know it’s not destruction, but reconstruction to our originally intended God-given Kingdom-reflecting fully-functioning Body of Messiah.
Q: Is the tithe as taught in the O.T. carried over into the N.T.? Why is there not much said about it in the N.T.?
It becomes such a joy to give when you give unto the Lord.
A: The Old Testament or Covenant is the foundation upon which the New Covenants sits. It wasn’t new as in a brand new, never seen before covenant. The word in Hebrew for new is really more like “renewed.” This time the covenant is written on our hearts, not on stone, but the same moral code and reverence for God is still there. God renewed it by writing the New Covenant on people’s hearts so that it becomes our nature, as believers, to want to do what God has already declared in the Old Testament is godly. Yeshua’s death renders the need for the sacrificial system no longer necessary. But the Ten Commandments are still in place as required, as are other commandments. That would seem to include the Tithe. Since the tithe was originally to take care of the priests and Levites and the maintaining of the Temple, once the Temple was destroyed, there was no more temple to maintain and the priesthood, at least the Sadducees who were completely Temple dependent were no more. The Pharisees, on the other hand, survived the destruction, went elsewhere and evolved into the rabbis who would teach the people. They were generally supported by the people, often with food so they could eat and other practicalities, depending on the economic condition of the Jewish community. Funds for taking care of those in need has almost always been a part of a Jewish community even in very difficult times. As for the believers, we have numerous incidents in the New Testament where the believers set aside tithes each week, or took up a special collection, to help other believers who were in need.
While not everyone agrees that the principle remains to give God a tenth (we get to keep 90%) of all that He has allowed us to reap/harvest/earn/gain, there is a theme throughout the Bible of sowing and reaping. If you’ve ever heard a tithing sermon you’ve undoubtedly heard this reference in Malachi: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows” (Mal. 3:10). God says test (prove) Me and see if I will not pour out upon you. It’s the only place God ever says to test Him. So, have you? If you’re someone who doesn’t believe the tithe is for today, if you’re in some kind of financial bind, may I suggest you try what to me seems like God’s way. My own experience is that, as the expression goes, you can’t out-give God. I’ve seen miracle after miracle as a result of giving to God or where you feel He’s showing you to give. One of the fruits of the Spirit of God is generosity. God is the most generous Person I know. He does give to us by having us give to one another. It becomes such a joy to give when you give unto the Lord. “…Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts. 20:35). I concur.
The Temple in Jerusalem may be no more, but if you belong to a church, you have your own Temple to maintain, just as the Temple needed maintenance, and the pastor and staff need to be paid just as the priests needed to be supported. So, yes, the tithe is valid. If you don’t think so, take the Lord up on His offer, test Him and see if He doesn’t keep His promise.
Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2011.
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.