I believe that the short description of salvation that I will go into will still involve at least 2-3 posts. Salvation typically is understood to mean our ability to go to heaven when we die. This meaning is looking forward to that which is to come far into the future (but we seem to look at as a now – see post On Purgatory for what our destination right now is). I’ll probably go into this in a future post – sort of a tie in of discussions.
What I believe the first and foremost definition of salvation in the Bible is, is to be saved from the wrath of God. The last week or two, I have been just thrilled with reading the book of Isaiah (still working on it – only part way thru). The passage Isaiah 24-28 though is a wonderful passage on the Messiah and the Kingdom that is to come at His return. But in this passage, the reason for what is happening to our world is defined.
In this passage, it actually goes all the way back to the flood when Yeshua made a convenant with all life on the earth – man and animal. I believe that we all are aware of Yeshua’s part of the covenant – as signified by the rainbow. Never again will the Creator destroy all life on this planet with water/flood. This is a promise that the Creator will not break – regardless of our ability to keep our part of the covenant. But, as with all of the Creator’s covenants with man, there is a part for us to keep.
But first, what did the Creator promise from His side – as it is more than not to kill all life by flood (see Genesis 9).
1. Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth
2. Every beast, bird, land and sea animal will fear man – for they have been given to man
3. Every animal and green herb/plant have been given for food (to man and animal), except for that with blood still in it which man should not eat
4. All life will no longer be killed by the flood again
From our side, what does the Creator require from this covenant?
1. Do not eat any meat that still has life-blood within it still (required of man)
2. Do not shed another man’s blood, because man is the image of the Creator. If we shed a man’s blood, then our blood is owed (ie, if we kill, then our lives are forfeit).
(Note: right after this covenant Moses also goes so far as to show that “man is the image of the Creator” goes even further. For when Ham told his brothers of their father’s nude state they covered their father and Ham was cursed for dishonoring the image of the Creator by dishonoring his father.)
So, what does this “perpetual” and everlasting covenant have to do with Isaiah and the Creator’s judgement at the end of time?
Isaiah 24:1-6, 21-23 (New Living Translation)
1 Look! The Lord is about to destroy the earth and make it a vast wasteland. He devastates the surface of the earth and scatters the people.
2 Priests and lay people, servants and masters, maids and mistresses, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, bankers and debtors—none will be spared.
3 The earth will be completely emptied and looted. The Lord has spoken!
4 The earth mourns and dries up, and the crops waste away and wither. Even the greatest people on earth waste away.
5 The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God’s instructions, violated his laws, and broken his everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore, a curse consumes the earth. Its people must pay the price for their sin. They are destroyed by fire, and only a few are left alive
21 In that day the Lord will punish the gods in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth.
22 They will be rounded up and put in prison. They will be shut up in prison and will finally be punished.
23 Then the glory of the moon will wane, and the brightness of the sun will fade, for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will rule on Mount Zion. He will rule in great glory in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people.
It is because of the covenant made with all life thru Noah, and our continuing inability to honor the Creator and His image (man) that we will be punished. One day, the crimes will have mounted far enough and punishment will come upon the earth and all that dwell within. When this time comes, the Creator’s faithful remnant will be saved from the destruction that God will bring and will be carried thru to the Kingdom.
This definition of salvation has a very defined location, time, and scope. This salvation is that which the Creator will give to believers – the faithful – when the great day of judgement is here and Yeshua is returning to rule and reign on Mt Zion.
This ends part 1, as the primary biblical meaning of salvation is defined. It lies within man’s life on the planet Earth – in relationship to the rest of creation. Our lives, in this creation, are tied to this creation (the planet, vegetation, animals, man, and angels) and of course to the Creator of it. Judgement or blessing comes from our ability to honor the Creator (Yeshua) thru all that He is and all that He has made.
Outside of the scope of this creation is a new heaven and a new earth with all new creations and covenants, and thus blessings and curses. What our place in the new creation will be is unclear, unstated, and will be made known at the final judgment. This should not be our focus. The Creator has given us life so that it may be lived in honor of Him – thru all that we say and all that we do – now.
“Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name. All night long I search for you; in the morning I earnestly seek for God.” (Isaiah 26:8-9, New Living Translation)