Who is Yah'shua (Jesus)?
The Only Way Back to God
Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday 13 October 2001
If someone came up to you and asked you, "Who is Yah'shua (Jesus)?" What would you tell him? And how would you know that your answer is the correct one? There are very few people who have not heard of Him and nearly all of these have an opinion as to who He was and what He means, or so doesn't mean, for them today.
Almost every religion reveres Yah'shua (Jesus) in some way. The Muslims call Him 'Isa and say that he was a prophet like their own Mohammed. The Buddhists believe that He was a reincarnation of a great teacher from the past who has reincarnated many different times as different teachers. They view Him as a "master" or an "avatar", a human being who is very spiritually advanced. Hindus view Yah'shua (Jesus) as one of many of their gods, and like the Buddhists, as an incarnation of a great teacher. Both the Hindus and Buddhists believe that Yah'shua (Jesus) will incarnate again, that is, be born as a baby and grow up like an ordinary human being, to become the end-time Messiah or Christ. There are many who have claimed to be this reincarnated Christ, and there are still those claiming to be Him, and no doubt others will make the same claim. Then there are atheists and humanists who regard Him as a great social revolutionary and a teacher of advanced morals and ethics. Almost everyone has an opinion on who Yah'shua (Jesus) was.
People will always have their own ideas and opinions. There can be no doubt that Yah'shua (Jesus) was most of the things that those I have mentioned have described Him as being. Without a doubt, He was a teacher, since He has left us many of His teachings. Without a doubt, He was a prophet, for He prophesied as many things. Both of these propositions are true. But if we stop there, and conclude that He was only a teacher and a prophet, we will be entirely missing the point of who He primarily is, not because this is my opinion or belief, but because of what Yah'shua (Jesus) said about Himself. And we really ought to listen to what He says about Himself, oughtn't we?
I am sure you have all heard of Napoleon. He was a very gifted military leader and statesman. He saw himself as one who would create a New Political Order in Europe under the leadership of France. There were many in his day who thought of him as the end-time antichrist. We know a great deal about him. In the years since Napoleon lived and died, a great many books have been written and many studies made about him. Scholarship is digging up much about him all the time as hitherto unknown documents from his time are discovered and published. Bit by bit scholars have pieced together what is known about this extraordinary man over the last two hundred years. And as we know the lunatic asylums are full of crazy people who all believe that they are the reincarnation of Napoleon, often several living at the same time. People will believe what they want to. Napoleon believed many things about himself, some of them about his future not true, but one thing he never claimed to be was anything other than an ordinary human being.
Over the thousands of years during which men have wandered the surface of the earth, men and women have arisen claiming to be teachers, prophets and gods. Each of these began new, or developed already existing, schools of philosophy or religions. Many thousands of religions have come and gone, philosophies have appeared and mutated as man continued to speculate about the meaning of life. When I was a young man I studied dozens of philosophies and religions, as the books in my library will attest. There are almost as many ideas as there are people.
Of all the beliefs that have existed since time immemorial, there are only really about four that have survived. Firstly, there is atheism - the belief that there is no God and no spiritual world, that everything that exists consists only of matter, and that the organised and complex world we live in, the cosmos and the living creatures on the earth, arose entirely by chance. This belief has been around a long time, the ancient Greeks being particularly well known as atheists.
Secondly, there is animism or paganism - the belief that the invisible world consists of billions of spirits, both good and evil, and that the object of life is to please the spirits so that they don't harm us but rather bless us. The basic tenet of occultism is that we must control these spirits so that they will help us get what we want and not destroy us. The central philosophy behind this religion is that there is no one single "God" but that everything is "God" and that we are a part of "God". There isn't, therefore, a "God" you can talk to as a person, only living human beings and invisible spirits. And since we are a part of this "God", they say that we are "God" also. This religion is also known as pantheism. Satanism, Wicca, witchcraft, Hinduism, animism, and many other derived religions are all pantheistic. They believe that we are saved by being reincarnated millions and millions of time until we have saved ourselves. In the end, they believe, everyone will be saved, and everyone will make it, only some will make it quicker than others. They believe that, in the end, we will just "disappear" and be absorbed into a non-personal state of emptiness which is called by them Nirvana. This is the religion of final nihilism or extinction, what I call a kind of "cosmic suicide". Ultimately, everything is meaningless, and one just suffers for millions and millions of years one reincarnation after another. Buddhism is a kind of "refined" version of this philosophy. But basically, they are all the same.
The third religion is Islam which is actually a combination of Judaism and the monophystite sect of Christianity blended with pagan Arab customs. A careful study of the Koran reveals it to be full of internal contradictions and historical inaccuracies, and the complementary set of Muslim scriptures, the Haddith, is full of the most bizarre ideas imaginable. The Muslim view of heaven really sums up the religion in its entirety, since that is what all Muslims are looking forward to. The Muslim Paradise is a place of partying for the men, and chained up in the four corners of that paradise are the Muslim women who have been saved. They exist only for the men to indulge their sexual lusts in an orgy of perversion.
The fourth religion is called by many names which tend only to confuse it. Usually it is called Judeo-Christianity because, it is claimed, it is two religions, one of which (Christianity) developed out of the other (Judaism). This is not, however, accurate at all. Putting it simply, this is the religion (if one can actually call it a "religion") which originated in the Garden of Eden, being the worship of the Most High God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, whose Name is Yahweh. This true faith has continued right up until the present day. Out of it has developed what today is called "Judaism" and false "Christianity". This religion has no name. It is simply the Faith, the Way, or the Teaching of the Creator-God, Yahweh-Elohim, and His Son Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), though many have tried to give it names.
In trying to understand who Yah'shua (Jesus), it is helpful, I think to look at these three designations in Scripture. By far the most common is "The Faith". This description appears 39 times in the Bible and translate a word which is a combination of believing and doing, or what I call "active faith" as opposed to just "passive faith", remembering that the demons already have passive faith, but they do not obey, and therefore to not act (Jas.2:19). The "Faith" of Yahweh and His Son Yah'shua (Jesus) requires that we trust and act. We will talk more about this in a minute.
The second term, which in the Greek translates "The Way" but which in the Hebrew and Aramaic translates as "The Teaching" suggests a path or a road down which the one who is trusting and acting must walk. That "Way" is defined by "The Teaching" (Ac.24:14,22) . And as everybody here knows, unlike other teachers of religion who have brought forth religions, Yah'shua (Jesus) not only says that we must imitate His teaching but that He Himself is "the Way". More than that, He declares:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6, NKJV).
Now this statement means more than simply accepting and doing the words that Yah'shua (Jesus) taught. Not only is He the bearer of correct teaching about God, salvation and the proper way to live, but He is going much further: He is declaring, almost incredible when compared with other religious teachings, that He is actually the source of LIFE itself, and that there is no way to return to Yahweh, our God, except through Him as a person.
The concept is repeated many, many times in other "I Am" statements that Yah'shua (Jesus) makes. Reinforcing the scripture I have just cited, He says also: "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst" (John 6:35, NKJV). This is no mere religious teacher talking. This is not something that Mohammed ever said. Moses never said such a thing. Yah'shua is saying that as the source of life itself, He is spiritual food or bread. A few verses on He says: "I am the bread which came down from heaven" (John 6:41-42, NKJV) and a few verses on still, "I am the bread of life" (John 6:48-49, NKJV). These are the things which only God say. There is no way it can be doubted. Where did He come from? Heaven. What is He? Well, let's read a few verses on again: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world" (John 6:51, NKJV).
Now we cannot possible pass this incredible statement without looking at it a bit closer for this is what Christ said of Himself. These are not the words or opinions of other men. These are the words of the Teacher.
He declares, more than once, that unlike us, His origin is heaven, not earth. Yes, He was born of an earthly mother in order to obtain a body like us, but His origin is heaven itself. He says that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life - that He is bread from heaven, the bread of life itself. He is no mere human. And finally, he say, that if anyone eats this bread, he will become immortal. Listen to that: the only way a person can become immortal is if they EAT THIS LIVING BREAD. Is it dough and yeast He is talking about? Of course not. He says that He Himself is that bread - Yah'shua (Jesus) the Person, the Living Being.
Now ask yourself this question: do you know of anyone who has become immortal by believing and living the spiritual teaching of a teacher? Has being kind made you immortal? Yes, being kind is a moral teaching of Christ to be sure, but being kind will not make you live for ever. That is vitally important to understand. To become immortal you have to EAT CHRIST. Yah'shua was even more graphical than that. He said that in order to be saved His disciples would have to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Now listen very carefully to what he said as He tied all these threads together:
"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven -- not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever" (John 6:53-58, NKJV).
And after He said this words, a great many of His disciples left Him. They wanted nothing to do with Him. They were content to follow His teachings, but eat His flesh and drink His blood .... ?? That was just too much for them.
If you can't understand what Yah'shua (Jesus) is talking about, you will not understand who He is, let alone be able to follow Him or call yourself a Christian. This is the heart of the true faith. It is the core of the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It is what true religion is all about, and everything else is utterly worthless. Teachers of religion you will find in abundance, but those who are the only way back to God you will only find one of, and His Name is Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
From the very beginning of time this One Way has been known and taught by the Most High God to all His prophets, from Adam and down to the prophet, Yah'shua (Jesus). There is one unifying principle that connects the very first act of worship made by Adam after he was expelled from the Garden of Eden to the crucifixion of Yah'shua (Jesus) on Golgotha. And that unifying principle is BLOOD.
Needless to say Satan hates it. It is the one thing which he is afraid of. It is the blood which actually enables Yahweh's servants to cast out demons. It is the blood which makes a man immortal. Without it we are hopelessly lost. You cannot read the Bible, no matter whether in the Old or the New Testament, and escape the saving principle of blood. You'll find it in Genesis and you'll find it in Revelation, and in books in-between. Under the preparatory covenant, in the time before Yah'shua (Jesus) came, the blood of animals was required as a temporary remedy for sin. When Christ came and spilled His blood on the cross, it was a permanent remedy for sin. This shedding of blood is what saved us. It is the only way back to God, heaven and immortality. Without it, we are lost.
But what exactly does Yah'shua (Jesus) mean when He says we must actually eat His flesh and drink His blood? We know He was not talking about cannibalism! And yet He chose to express a vital truth in such a graphical and shocking way that it had the immediate effect of separating the sheep from the goats.
All the apostles understood exactly what He meant ... Eventually. The apostle Paul was taught by the resurrected Christ the exact meaning of this. He writes to the Ephesians: "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ" (Eph 2:13, NKJV). Speaking of Satan, the Accuser, the apostle John writes in the Book of Revelation: "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death" (Rev.12:10-12, NKJV). Do you see, that without the blood of Christ, we cannot overcome Satan in our lives. To the contrary, Satan overcomes us!
There is one other "I Am" statement that Yah'shua (Jesus) used of Himself that I have not quoted and now is the time. He said: "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life" (John 8:12, NKJV). Notice that this light gives life, for it is the "light of life". Again we see that Yah'shua (Jesus) is the source of life itself.
In one of his letters, the apostle John writes:
"But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (1 John 1:6-10, NKJV).
Please notice that Christians cannot have fellowship in the light of Christ, which is the life of Christ, unless "the blood ... Cleanses us from all sin". Once again the blood is central. Without it we are still in sin. Without it we are unsaved. Without it we have no light. Without it we have no life. Without it we cannot defeat Satan.
You cannot read the Bible and not see the central theme of blood running through it all. We especially remember this at Passover (Pesach), don't we? Every year we are reminded of it in one of the nine feasts of Yahweh, less we forget it.
Accepting Yah'shua (Jesus) as our Lord and Saviour means accepting His atoning blood. By accepting the crucifixion of His body on the Cross and His spilt blood of atonement, we are eating His flesh and drinking His blood. And this is commemorated in the Passover meal when we eat unleavened bread and drink unfermented wine, none of which has any leaven which represents sin.
Almost all the other religions accept Yah'shua (Jesus) as a teacher or prophet of some sort but none save the true faith accept His blood as that which washes away their sins and gives them eternal life. They accept Him as one of many enlightened prophets, teachers, and saviours, but not as the only Prophet, Teacher and Saviour, and the only way back to God.
You see, Yah'shua (Jesus) is no ordinary man. He was born in an extraordinary way. And He came back to physical life again after His crucifixion and death. These things were witnessed by hundreds of people. But the most important testimony is that the "life" He speaks of is not something theoretical or abstract but real and can be experienced now. This life changes your heart, casts out all darkness, fills you with life and daily spiritual manna. Most importantly of all, it is your passport to eternal life in heaven in the presence of our loving Heavenly Father. Nothing you can do can earn you this blood-covering. It can't be purchased. You can't get it by being good, or pure or chaste, because it is the blood itself which makes you good, pure and chaste. Yes, Yah'shua (Jesus) is also the Teaching - He has moral and ethical principles which he expects you to live, but these do not themselves make you right with God - they are simply the fruits of obedience of one who us already saved by the blood. We can force ourselves to be good outwardly by being nice to people, chaste, and so forth, but if our hearts are impure and dirty, these works are ultimately useless. They cannot save us. If they were, then anyone could be saved - atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, or Hindu - just by doing good works. But God says, No! That is not enough! For the only way a person can get right with God is by confessing that He is a sinner, cut off from Yahweh and unable to save Himself. For as it is written: "we shall be saved by His life" - Christ's life - and not our own (Rom.5:10, NKJV). And: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no-one can boast" (Eph 2:8-9, NIV).
Mark that well, for it is the key to everything - we are not saved by what we do ourselves, but by what Christ has done for us. And what he has done for us is that he has spilled His blood as the Son of God - not the son of man - but as GOD INCARNATE. Yah'shua is God in the flesh we are talking about, for only God can pay the price for our transgressions.
Our puny works are nothing - in fact, they are utterly useless, when it comes to salvation. Our works only have value to us as a result of being saved. And then they become an act of worship and adoration. This is the truth as summarised by the apostle Paul:
"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:4-7, NKJV).
This is the central doctrine of the faith. Any teaching which omits it is satanic counterfeit because it denies the possibility of salvation.
Confess your sins and your utter helplessness in saving yourself, and accept the life-giving blood of Christ. Then live a godly life as an act of praise and to set an example of what God has done for you through the blood of Christ. Using a life of clean living without the blood is only an advertisement for yourself and a testimony that you are lost. Yah'shua (Jesus) clearly said that the reason He came to this world was to die - to shed His blood - not to start a new religion. It was the faith of the Old Testament brought to completion.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (1 John 1:8-10, NKJV).
May Yah'shua (Jesus), the Salvation of Yahweh, bless and keep you all through His precious atoning blood by which we are united with Him in eternal love and life. Amen.
This page was created on 19 October 2001
Last updated on 19 October 2001
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