We read in 1Sam. 4:3, “Then the people came to the camp. Then the elders of Israel said, ‘Why has Yahweh smitten us this day in the face of the Philistines? Let us take to ourselves from Shiloh the ark of the covenant of Yahweh. Then he will come into the midst of us. Then he will save us from the palm of our enemies.” The elders thought if they had the ark, then Yahweh would have to save them from their enemies. What Yahweh wanted Israel to do was to be trustingly faithful to him. This meant that they should repent of their sin and idolatry. Then he would protect them from their enemies. Taking the ark into battle is similar to soldiers who take a talisman into battle, a lucky charm, or other object thinking it will give them good luck. In the middle ages, a Christian soldier might take a cross blessed by a priest. Such measures do not save or protect. Only Yahweh saves the trustingly faithful through Messiah Yeshua, the Word of Yahweh, who appeared to Samuel.
But today things are different. We are not superstitious are we? People think that if they have belief in the right doctrines, or say the right words, then Jesus will save them. Then they find out that their priest or pastor lied to them, and that his name is really Yeshua1. So then they believe that saying Yeshua instead of Jesus will save them, or that knowing the Lord’s2 name is Yahweh will deliver them. It is different. But it is the same superstition. These people have simply gone from one superstition to another superstition. The name of Yeshua saves no more than the name of Jesus. The reason we have superstition among Torah observant Christians is that they were superstitious when they were in the Church.
There are a multitude of people that treat names like the elders of Israel wanted to use the ark of the covenant. They wanted to use it as a talisman to save them. Sadly enough, this was the majority opinion in Israel. Sadly enough it seems to be an increasingly common approach among so called Messianic Christians. They have left one superstition for another. They even avoid owning the term Christian and the word Christ for superstitious reasons. Given the superstition of Messianics, I don’t know that Messianic sees any less superstitious use than the term Christian. There are good reasons for the term Messianic, and using the term Messiah, but none of those good reasons are the superstitious reasons that many think they must use those terms and avoid the others! What the Almighty (Elohim, God) wants is trusting faithfulness. He wants us to trust and obey him. Nothing less will do. Using the name of Yeshua vs. Jesus does not save anyone more or less. Saying Yahweh instead of Lord does not increase the chances of being saved. The only thing that helps anyone is faithfulness working through love. And then Messiah will do the saving.
If we are leading people in the Church to Messiah, we have to realize where they are starting. Most of them are starting from a superstitious form of salvation. And that is no different than the superstitions of Judaism. So now we have groups like the Essene Yahad that think saying the Shema three times a day makes them more spiritual. That is hogwash. And when I tell them it is hogwash, then they are puffed up with pride and tell me that I am a spiritual ignoramus, and that the truth has been revealed to them, and that they have spiritual understanding. They resort to condemnation and judgmentalism to defend their precious superstition. But if they had trusting faithfulness in Messiah, then they might realize that salvation does not lie in their superstitious doctrine.
The big superstition running around is that saying Yeshua or Yahweh, or the many corrupted Hebrew forms (which really are not Hebrew)---and we could build a virtual dictionary of them here—saves a person. Not any more than the terms they used before. When we say the ‘name of Yeshua’ saves, we are using a Hebrew idiom that means his character or reputation. We have that idiom in English, “he has a good name.” This has nothing to do with the sonorous qualities of someone’s name, or how we pronounce it. It has to do with his reputation and his character. The first thing we have to know about the Most High’s character is that he will not be toyed with. He will not be treated as some kind of magic wand, just like Israel was treating the ark. People who treat God like that are going to harvest a curse instead of a blessing.
A superstitious Christian becomes a superstitious Messianic if they are not taught that they must be rid of their superstition and become trustingly faithful to Messiah. If they replace it with another superstition, then they are no better off than before. We see this sort of thing in the Emergent Church. They have imported all sorts of superstitions to make them feel spiritual or close to God.
Now I am all for using the correct terms, for acknowledging that his name is Yeshua, and that the Scriptural name for the Most High is Yahweh, and that Messiah shares this name. It is simply basic respect to say a person’s name the way they tell you it is, and we feel more 'connected' at an emotional level since we associate Yeshua with the truth and the truth we learned. But God forbid that I should say another person is not saved because they don’t know how to pronounce his name. Anyone who brings their former superstition among us, and then changes it for a new superstition, and who does not recognize that we are saved through our trusting faithfulness, by Messiah himself, is accursed. They are cut off.
The only way to know if someone has trusting faithfulness is to see how they walk in the Ruakh (Spirit). If they are condemning everyone less perfect than themselves, then they are not showing any mercy. Chances are that they are puffed up with pride in their pet doctrine that makes them special, and gives them the right to judge everyone else. They need salvation as badly as jihadists.
Now for the rest of you, who were trustingly faithful in Jesus before you learned his name was Yeshua. I know you are trustingly faithful now. Oh yes, we were quite zealous when we learned that truth, and sometimes intolerant, but we were never passing condemnation. For if we were to pass condemnation, then we would be condemning our own faithful trusting before we learned the truth more fully. So Remember where we came from. We came from a place of being saved among a bunch of superstitious Christians to a place of knowing the truth better among a bunch of superstitious Messianics. Don’t forget it. We have to live in the midst of a bunch of Pharisees. Pharisees there were then, and Pharisees there are now.
Israel lost about 4000 men in the day against the Philistines. They they took the ark to protect them. And then they lost 30,000. Why is the Messianic movement withering? Because too many substitute faith in doctrines and names for faithful trust in Messiah. We can’t expect Christians in the Church who have real trusting faithfulness in Messiah, and who live among their own superstitious cohorts, to see the light among Messianics, when all they see is a bunch of superstitious Messianics. Chances are that it was a superstitious person without about real faith in Messiah that is delivering them the truth about the Sabbath, someone that themselves is judgmental and cannot acknowledge faithful trust in Messiah among those less perfect. Well, I have gone long enough for one day here.
1. Many are being taught that his name is Yeshua, and at the same time the teachers are saying that Jesus is a pagan name. This is false doctrine, and it serves to destroy real trusting faithfulness, and to put the superstition in place of it that saying the right name saves. It is also a lie. Jesus is no more or less than simply an incorrect pronunciation, caused by translating from foreign languages. It is not pagan and has nothing to do with paganism or false gods. The etymology of Jesus has no connection to 'he-zeus' or any other slanderous lie. These lies are taught by false teachers who claim to be spiritual and scholars, but they are neither. Beware of anyone that says that the name Jesus is pagan.return
2. The word "Lord" is not a pagan word. It is a perfectly acceptable translation of the Hebrew word Adonai (אדני) which occurs regularly in Scripture, i.e. "Adonai Yahweh" (אדני יהוה). This translates into English as "Lord Yahweh" (cf. Ezek. 13:13, 16, 18). To most English speakers "Lord" is probably more meaningful than Adonai, because Lord has been used in definitive contexts, but they are not familiar with the use of Adon, and Adoni in Hebrew in definitive contexts. It is admittedly a cultural habit of Messianic Jews and Israel to say Adonai all the time instead of Lord, and this habit is part of being a community. We have to be careful that we don't let our culture become a barrier to meaningful communication. We have to be careful not to communicate that using "Lord" is somehow wrong. Adonai is properly an intensive plural with the pronoun my on the end. So it is equivalent to "my Lord!," i.e. "my Adon! Yahweh", i.e. "my Lord Yahweh." In English we can show the intensive plural by spelling Lord with a capital L. If spelled LORD, then it is a substitution for Yahweh. If spelled Lord, then it can stand for Adonai, i.e. "my Lord." The substitution of LORD for Yahweh is not pagan, but it is an unbiblical tradition that hides the name from view, and keeps people from saying it. One does not need to now how to say the name or to say it in order to be saved, but none the less its suppression is not biblical.return