Eternal Security
in Messiah

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The Eternal Security of the Believer in Messiah

Among those who consider themselves “evangelical Christians,” and even within the Messianic Restoration Movement, there is a major division on the doctrine of eternal security. On one side of the dividing line are those who believe that the work of salvation is totally dependent upon God, and since God cannot change His mind, once one is saved one can never lose that salvation. On the other side of the line are many who reason that since salvation is dependent upon one’s faith, if one allows his/her faith to waiver, or demonstrates lack of faith by a willful act of disobedience (sin), then that person’s salvation is lost until the faith is regained or the sin is properly repented of.

The very deity of Yeshua HaMashiach stands or falls upon His ability to save to the uttermost, to save—and to keep saved—those whom the Father has entrusted into His care. If He is unable to absolutely and permanently save and to bestow eternal life upon those who have come into a saving covenant relationship with Him, then He is not God, the Scriptures are a lie, our faith is absolutely in vain, and we are all totally lost without any possibility of hope.

To understand why I am so adamant about this concept, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the very nature of salvation.

It is first necessary to clearly understand that everyone who comes to Yeshua HaMashiach is given to Him by the Father, and it is Yeshua’s responsibility to keep secure those whom the Father has given Him.

After Yeshua had said these things, he looked up toward heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that the Son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all mankind, so that he might give eternal life to all those whom you have given him. And eternal life is this: to know you, the one true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the Messiah. … I made your name known to the people you gave me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me … I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given to me, because they are yours. Indeed, all I have is yours, and all you have is mine, and in them I have been glorified. … I guarded them by the power of your name, which you have given to me; yes, I kept watch over them; and not one of them was destroyed (except the one meant for destruction, so that the Tanakh might be fulfilled). … I pray not only for these, but also for those who will trust in me because of their word, … The glory which you have given to me, I have given to them; so that they may be one, just as we are one, I united with them and you with me, so that they may be completely one … Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am; so that they may see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. (John 17:1-24)

“Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will certainly not turn away. For I have come down from heaven to do not my own will but the will of the One who sent me. And this is the will of the One who sent me: that I should not lose any of all those he has given me but should raise them up on the Last Day. Yes, this is the will of my Father: that all who see the Son and trust in him should have eternal life, and that I should raise them up on the Last Day. … No one can come to me unless the Father — the One who sent me — draws him. And I will raise him up on the Last Day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘They will all be taught by ADONAI. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. (John 6:37-45)

It is also important to notice that all those whom the Father has given to the Messiah will receive eternal life, Messiah will never cast them out, and of all those whom the Father has given Him, none will ever be lost but all will be raised up on the last day. It is therefore impossible to once come to Messiah and then to be cast out.

Mankind does not choose to come to Messiah, but rather it is Messiah who chooses men and women from out of the world.

“You did not choose me, I chose you; and I have commissioned you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that whatever you ask from the Father in my name he may give you. … I have picked you out of the world … (John 15:16-19)

It is impossible to come to Messiah unless and until we are called by HaShem.

No one can come to me unless the Father — the One who sent me — draws him. And I will raise him up on the Last Day. (John 6:44)

We only come to God because it was decreed from before the foundation of the world that we do so.

Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose; because those whom he knew in advance, he also determined in advance would be conformed to the pattern of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers; and those whom he thus determined in advance, he also called; and those whom he called, he also caused to be considered righteous; and those whom he caused to be considered righteous he also glorified! (Romans 8:28-30)

Praised be ADONAI, Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who in the Messiah has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven. In the Messiah he chose us in love before the creation of the universe to be holy and without defect in his presence. He determined in advance that through Yeshua the Messiah we would be his sons — in keeping with his pleasure and purpose — so that we would bring him praise commensurate with the glory of the grace he gave us through the Beloved One. … Also in union with him we were given an inheritance, we who were picked in advance according to the purpose of the One who effects everything in keeping with the decision of his will, (Ephesians 1:3-11)

How does the idea of predestination square with the idea of free will? Both are clearly taught in Scripture, and the two ideas are not mutually exclusive. They are called a dichotomy, two concepts that appear to be in opposition or conflict with each other but which in actually are compatible when properly understood.

… that if you acknowledge publicly with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord [ADONAI] and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be delivered. For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance. For the passage quoted says that everyone who rests his trust on him will not be humiliated. That means that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - ADONAI is the same for everyone, rich toward everyone who calls on him, since everyone who calls on the name of ADONAI will be delivered. (Romans 10:9-13)

Asking whether we are predestinated to salvation or have “free will” is just like asking whether Messiah will come from Bethlehem [“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, ... From you One will go forth for Me” (Micah 5:2)], or from Egypt [“out of Egypt I called My Son” (Hosea 11:1)], or from Nazareth [“He shall be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23)]. The answer is not “either/or” but “yes!”

We are saved by faith and not by works, and it is not even our own faith that saves us, but the faith that God gives us.

But God is so rich in mercy and loves us with such intense love that, even when we were dead because of our acts of disobedience [we violated Torah], he brought us to life along with the Messiah — it is by grace that you have been delivered. That is, God raised us up with the Messiah Yeshua and seated us with him in heaven, in order to exhibit in the ages to come how infinitely rich is his grace, how great is his kindness toward us who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this [the faith through which you have been saved] is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore no one should boast [you can't even boast that you were saved by your own faith!] For we are of God’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions [walking in obedience to Torah] already prepared by God for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-10)

Yeshua answered, “Here’s what the work of God is: to trust in the one he sent!” (John 6:29)

Once we have entered into a covenantal relationship with HaShem through the Messiah, there is no power in the universe that can separate us from God, not even ourselves.

“My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them from the Father’s hands. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)  

If you claim that you can “leap out of the Father’s hand” you are claiming that you are more powerful than God! The grammatical construction of the Greek New Testament is very specific!

… because those whom he knew [a completed action with results that carry on forever] in advance, he also determined [a completed action with results that carry on forever] in advance would be conformed to the pattern of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers; and those whom he thus determined[a completed action with results that carry on forever] in advance, he also called [a completed action with results that carry on forever]; and those whom he called [a completed action with results that carry on forever] he also caused [a completed action with results that carry on forever] to be considered righteous; and those whom he caused [a completed action with results that carry on forever] to be considered righteous he also glorified [a completed action with results that carry on forever]! What, then, are we to say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare even his own Son, but gave him up on behalf of us all — is it possible that, having given us his Son, he would not give us everything else too? So who will bring a charge against God's chosen people? Certainly not God — he is the one who causes them to be considered righteous! Who punishes them? Certainly not the Messiah Yeshua, who died and — more than that — has been raised, is at the right hand of God and is actually pleading on our behalf! Who will separate us from the love of the Messiah? Trouble? Hardship? Persecution? Hunger? Poverty? Danger? War? … No, in all these things we are superconquerors, through the one who has loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers, neither what exists nor what is coming, neither powers above nor powers below, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which comes to us through the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord. (Romans 8:29-39)

If you are currently in a covenantal relationship with Yeshua HaMashiach, according to Romans 8:29ff it is because you have been foreknown by God, predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, called to the relationship with Him, justified, and glorified. In the Greek text all of these actions are described in the verb tense that indicates that the action has been completed with the results of those actions continuing on forever. If you have been foreknown, predestined, called, and justified, then according to the Greek text you have already been glorified with the results of that glorification continuing on eternally. You have already been glorified and seated in the high places!! It is a done deal! As Yeshua said at the moment of His death, “It is finished!”

In union with him, through the shedding of his blood, we are set free — our sins are forgiven; this accords with the wealth of the grace he has lavished on us … Also in union with him we have been given [a completed fact!] an inheritance, we who were picked in advance according to the purpose of the One who effects everything in keeping with the decision of his will, so that we who earlier had put our hope in the Messiah would bring him praise commensurate with his glory. … [having] put your trust in the Messiah [you] were sealed by him with the promised Ruach HaKodesh, who guarantees our inheritance until we come into possession of it and thus bring him praise commensurate with his glory. (Ephesians 1:7-14)

If you are in a covenantal relationship with HaShem it is He, and not yourself, Who is performing the work of sanctification in your life.

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:29)

 ... the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. Therefore take heed, so that the thing spoken of in the Prophets may not come upon you: “Behold, you scoffers, and marvel, and perish; for I am accomplishing a work in your days, a work which you will never believe, though someone should describe it to you.” (Acts 13:38-41)

 … for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

The Lamb’s Book of Life

Oh draw near to my soul and redeem it; Ransom me because of my enemies! … All my adversaries are before You. ... May they be blotted out of the book of life And may they not be recorded with the righteous. But I am afflicted and in pain; May Your salvation, O God, set me securely on high. (Psalm 69:18-29)

Notice that the Psalmist, who is the only one to refer to the Book of Life in the Tanakh, expects his (and HaShem’s) adversaries to not have their names appear in the Book of Life, but he anticipates that by HaShem he will be “set securely” on high. That is, he expected his salvation to be eternally secure.

 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (Philippians 4:3)

Rav Sha’ul indicates that all of his fellow workers’ names are already written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world.

 All who dwell on the earth will worship him [the beast], everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. (Revelation 13:8)

 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. (Revelation 17:8)

Note that anyone whose name has not been written in the Book of Life “from the foundation of the world” will worship the anti-messiah [antichrist]! It is thus made abundantly clear that all who are “saved” had their names written in the Book of Life from the “foundation of the world.” If our salvation is dependent upon anything that we can have ever done, how can it possibly be that our names were recorded in the Book of Life thousands (or millions, or billions) of years before we were born?

 But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. … Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:31,34)

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. ... (Ephesians 1:3-8)

 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

In the Greek text of the Book of the Revelation, the critical phrase of the last sentence reads literally, “if anyone’s name was found never having been written in the book of life ...” They were cast into the lake of fire not because their name had been removed from the book of life, but because at no time had their names ever been written in the Book of Life.

I saw no temple in it [the New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there ) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:22-27)

Only those whose names have been written once and forever in the Lamb’s Book of Life may enter the New Jerusalem.

He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. (Revelation 3:5)

Yeshua HaMashiach says that He will not erase the names of the “overcomers” from the Book of Life. But who are the “overcomers” of whom He is speaking? Yochanan, the talmid whom Yeshua loved, tells us exactly who these overcomers are whose names will not be erased from the Book of Life.

 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? ... He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1John 5:1-12)

If you believe (experientially, not just intellectually—explanation follows) that Yeshua is the Mashiach, the literal Son of the Most High, you are by definition an overcomer, and your name will never be erased from the Book of Life! What is the proof that you are an overcomer? That you keep His commandments (Torah)! The reverse must also be true: if you do not keep His commandments (Torah), then you are not an overcomer, you were not chosen from the foundation of the world, and your name has never been written in the Book of Life.

Yochanan also gives us a number of very important additional points concerning our salvation.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments [the Torah]. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments [the Torah], is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word [Torah], in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. … I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness [obeys Torah] is born of Him. (1 John 2:1-29)

 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. … We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:13-20)

This epistle of Yochanan teaches us a couple of very important things about our eternal security. First of all, his repeated use of the word “know” is not the Greek word that refers to an intellectual acceptance of truth, but rather the word that refers to the sure knowledge that comes only through having experienced that truth. For example, as a child in school you read about the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, and you have seen pictures of it in the newspapers, in books, and in the movies. You have an intellectual knowledge of the probability that it actually exists, and that you haven’t been fooled by trick photography or cinematic special effects. Then as an adult you go to Washington, DC, and you actually visit the Lincoln Memorial. You walk up its marble steps and you stand in awe before the statue of the great president. Having once done so, you now have an experiential knowledge that it is real.

The second great truth that Yochanan presents here is that those who once appeared to be among the elect and who have apparently left “the faith” have done so not because they have lost a salvation that they once had, but rather “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.” He also affirms that the reason that he felt it necessary to explain this truth in such detail is that there are those who are teaching that your salvation can be lost in order to deceive you (1 John 2:26).

If you cannot believe that your salvation is secure and that you have eternal life as your present possession, then you cannot know whether you are or not saved. If you cannot know experientially that you are saved, then you can have no confidence. If you have no confidence, then you can have no faith. If you have no faith, then you cannot be saved! If you believe those who deceive you by teaching that your salvation can be lost, then you are not an overcomer; you have been overcome by the evil one! This issue is just that important!

The Rules of Language and Logic

Furthermore, it is absolutely impossible to accept the argument that a true Believer in Messiah can ever lose his/her salvation without totally violating the rules of language and logic.

One rather effective argument that I like to use to illustrate the effect of the rules of grammar and logic applied to the “eternal security” issue goes something like this (use your imagination and find a version that you're comfortable with):

Q. The Scripture says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is ...” — what kind of life?

A. Eternal life!

Q. How long does “eternal” life last? Ten minutes? Twenty years? Until the next time I sin? Until my faith waivers? Until I stop believing? Until I get tired of being a Believer and decide to quit? Until I decide give the gift back to God?

A. Well, duh! “Eternal” means an eternity! Forever!

Q. So “eternal” means “everlasting, never ending” or “incapable of being destroyed”?

A. Yes, of course.

Q. If it can ever be destroyed or come to an end then, by definition, it isn’t really “eternal,” is it?

A. Well, I guess not.

Q. If you once had “eternal” life and now you don’t have it, then your “eternal” life ended. If it ended, then it wasn't actually “eternal,” was it?

A. No.

Q. Then, without violating the very laws of language and logic, it is absolutely impossible for you to ever once have eternal life and then at some later point NOT have it! So, the only way that it is possible for you to EVER not have “eternal” life is if you NEVER had it in the first place!

Without totally destroying the rules of language and logic, there is simply no argument that can counter this one! By all rules of logic, a thing either “is” or it “is not.” A thing cannot logically both “be” and “not be” at the same time. Thus, “eternal” life can never be “not eternal.”

So the Arminian (the “technical” term for one who believes that salvation is not eternal, from the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius of the late 16th and early 17th centuries who formalized the concept) will then argue:

But I knew so-and-so who was a “good Christian” (or similar description) and who was a Deacon / Elder / Pastor / Leader / Rabbi (pick one) in his church / assembly / synagogue / denomination (pick one) and who turned his back on God and is now a thief / alcoholic / drug addict / womanizer / homosexual / satanist (pick one). He was obviously saved and now he isn’t.

Their logic is faulty from the very start! By what criteria do they determine that this person was EVER saved? That he “walked the aisle” and said the right “magic words” and got dunked in the pond or creek or river and joined the church / assembly / synagogue? That he put on a good show and paid his tithes? That he taught Torah class / Sunday school and maybe even went to Bible school / seminary / yeshiva? And was maybe a pastor / rabbi / priest?

NONE of these “activities” in either the “plus” column or in the “minus” column have anything at all to do with entering into a “saving” relationship with Messiah. They are all mere externals!

When Messiah finally judges each of us He will either say, “Well, done, faithful servant,” or “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” Notice that nowhere is it written that Messiah ever says, “Depart from Me, I knew you once and then I didn’t know you any longer.” To all those who are condemned He says, “I never knew you.”

So the real question is not whether one can lose his/her salvation. The real question is whether s/he ever had it in the first place.

Those who continue to insist that they can lose their salvation are either ignorant of the Scriptures [“You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God (Matthew 22:29)], or they may not actually have it to lose. [“Ignorant” is not a derogatory or judgmental term; it simply means untrained, untaught, or uneducated.] For if they actually had full confidence in the Giver of Life (which alone leads to eternal life), and correctly understood the Scriptures and the power of God, they should know that they already have as their present and permanent possession the eternal life that He gives.

If you listen to their arguments very carefully, they are almost always based on either (a) a faulty premise, (b) circular reasoning, or (c) Scripture verses taken out of context.

For example, I can show you in Scripture where it clearly states that “there is no God”! If you don't believe me, go to bible.crosswalk.com and do the word search and you will find it — in its proper context!

The following email message is rather typical of the messages that I receive on the subject of Eternal Security:

Shalom,

I believe that a Christian can lose his/her salvation. Hebrews 10:26 (and following) and 2 Peter 21-22 teach that after you come to the knowledge of Messiah, and you become a Believer, that it is possible to lose your salvation if you decide to reject Him after having once received Him.

A lot of Christians I talk to say you can’t lose your salvation, and they say that if you reject Messiah you weren’t a Christian in the first place.

Am I wrong in this?

God Bless
D.B.

I said above: “If you listen to the arguments very carefully, they are almost always based on either (a) a faulty premise, (b) circular reasoning, or (c) Scripture verses taken out of context.”

DB’s concerns are clearly based on Scripture verses that are taken out of their context, and according to 1 John 2:26 (see the discussion above), those who teach that it is possible for a person to come to saving faith in the Messiah and then lose their salvation are trying to deceive the Believers.

Hebrews 10:26 in context is speaking not about our salvation, but about Messiah’s eternal work as the ultimate High Priest and His completed atoning sacrifice of His own blood.

Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. 26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge [intellectual knowledge, not experiential knowledge] of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses [violates Torah] dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Verse 22 says that we can draw near to God in full assurance of faith; that is, fully assured and convinced that we have eternal life as a present and permanent possession.

Verses 23-25 are about how we can support one another in the faith.

Verses 26-31, in the context of Messiah’s work as High Priest, indicate that since Messiah has offered His own precious shed blood in the heavenly Temple, there is no other sacrifice (the “blood of bulls and goats”) that will provide a covering for our sins. That is, once we have come to the intellectual knowledge that Messiah’s sacrifice provides the true propitiation, if we reject that sacrifice and fail to enter into the experiential acceptance of His completed work of salvation, there is no other sacrifice that will save us (no alternate means of salvation), and we will “fall into the hands of the living God.” The only hope that we have for salvation is to put our full trust in Messiah Yeshua — there is nothing else in the universe that can cleanse us of our sin. As we have discussed above, there is a significant difference between intellectual knowledge to historical truth and experiential knowledge of that truth.

Verses 28 and 29 tell us that the Torah provides the death penalty upon the testimony of two or three witnesses, and asks if the Torah is that severe for those who reject it, then how much more severe will be the consequences of rejecting the sacrifice of the Son of God. There is absolutely nothing in this passage about once coming to a covenantal relationship with Messiah and then leaving that relationship.

Second Peter 2:21-22, in context, is a discussion of the fate of false prophets and false teachers who only pretend to be called by God to minister to His people. They have heard the Gospel of Messiah and have an intellectual knowledge of the truth, but they reject the truth in favor of their own lusts. They have never come into an experiential relationship with Messiah.

2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds ), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties [“I bind you, Satan, and all your demons in the name of Jesus!”], 11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these [false prophets and false teachers], like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, 13 suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They [the false prophets and false teachers] count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; 15 forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet. 17 These [the false prophets and false teachers] are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. 18 For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, 19 promising them freedom while they themselves [the false prophets and false teachers] are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they [the false prophets and false teachers] have escaped the defilements of the world by the [intellectual, not experiential] knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they [the false prophets and false teachers] are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them [the false prophets and false teachers] than the first. 21 For it would be better for them [the false prophets and false teachers] not to have known [intellectually, not experientially] the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment [the Torah] handed on to them [the false prophets and false teachers]. 22 It has happened to them [the false prophets and false teachers] according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

Another passage that I am often asked to explain is the Parable of the Sower.

That same day, Yeshua went out of the house and sat down by the lake; but such a large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there while the crowd stood on the shore. He told them many things in parables: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some seed fell alongside the path; and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky patches where there was not much soil. It sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow; but when the sun had risen, the young plants were scorched; and since their roots were not deep, they dried up. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. But others fell into rich soil and produced grain, a hundred or sixty or thirty times as much as had been sown. Those who have ears, let them hear!" (Matthew 13:1-9)

 Their assumption is that the seed that sprouted quickly and then dried up is a person who hears the Gospel, responds and becomes “saved” and then later “dries up” and loses their salvation. Yeshua explained (interpreted) the parable to his talmidim and gave them a similar parable to provide further illustration.

"So listen to what the parable of the sower means. Whoever hears the message about the Kingdom, but doesn't understand it, is like the seed sown along the path — the Evil One comes and seizes what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is like a person who hears the message and accepts it with joy at once, but has no root in himself. So he stays on for a while; but as soon as some trouble or persecution arises on account of the message, he immediately falls away. Now the seed sown among thorns stands for someone who hears the message, but it is choked by the worries of the world and the deceitful glamor of wealth, so that it produces nothing. However, what was sown on rich soil is the one who hears the message and understands it; such a person will surely bear fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:18-23)

In Yeshua’s explanation (interpretation) of the parable to his talmidim, He said that there are four kinds of people who hear the word of the kingdom:

 1. The first kind hears the word of the kingdom but does not understand at all, either intellectually or experientially. The evil one comes and snatches it away; it goes in one ear and out the other.

 2. The second kind hears the word of the kingdom with an intellectual curiosity, plays with it for a while, and then moves on to things he finds more interesting.

 3. The third kind hears the word of the kingdom with an intellectual understanding only, tries it for a while, and then gets enmeshed in “the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth” – that is, the things of the flesh are more important to him than the things of the spirit – and he decides it just isn’t worth the effort.

 4. The fourth kind hears the word of the kingdom, understands it intellectually and internalizes it so that it becomes true experiential knowledge, an integral part of his being. This is the only one of the four who enters into a covenantal “saving” relationship with Messiah.

Mishnah Avot (5:15) provides a similar [though not exact] illustration of four types of learners:

There are four types of students:

• One who grasps quickly and forgets quickly, his gain is offset by his loss [type 1 in the parable];

• one who grasps slowly and forgets slowly, his loss is offset by his gain [type 3 in the parable];

• one who grasps quickly and forgets slowly, this is a good portion [type 4 in the parable];

• one who grasps slowly and forgets quickly, this is a bad portion [type 2 in the parable].”

The Master gave his talmidim a second parable which expands upon and amplifies the first.

Yeshua put before them another parable. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while people were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, then went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads of grain, the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Then do you want us to go and pull them up?’ But he said, ‘No, because if you pull up the weeds, you might uproot some of the wheat at the same time. Let them both grow together until the harvest; and at harvesttime I will tell the reapers to collect the weeds first and tie them in bundles to be burned, but to gather the wheat into my barn.’” …

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. His talmidim approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world. As for the good seed, these are the people who belong to the Kingdom; and the weeds are the people who belong to the Evil One. The enemy who sows them is the Adversary, the harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth his angels, and they will collect out of his Kingdom all the things that cause people to sin and all the people who are far from Torah; and they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where people will wail and grind their teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:24-43)

Tares are prolific weeds that look exactly like wheat, and it is impossible to tell the difference until the grain is fully ripe. Within the holy community there are those who are true Believers in Messiah [wheat] and those who only appear to be Believers but are really not [tares]. It is impossible to tell the difference between them from all outward appearances, but when the judgment comes, the Master will sort them out.

As Yochanan wrote, there are those who once appeared to be among the elect and who have apparently left “the faith,” but they have done so not because they have lost a salvation that they once had, but rather, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).

Summary

So what have we determined from this study?

 1. Everyone who comes to Yeshua HaMashiach is given to Him by the Father, and it is Yeshua’s responsibility to keep those whom the Father has given Him.

 2. It is also important to notice that all those whom the Father has given to the Messiah will receive eternal life, Messiah will never cast them out, and of all that the Father has given Him, none will ever be lost but all will be raised up on the last day. It is therefore impossible to once come to Messiah and then to be cast out.

 3. Mankind does not choose to come to Messiah, but rather it is Messiah who chooses men and women from out of the world.

 4. It is impossible for us to come to Messiah unless and until we are called by HaShem.

 5. We only come to God because it was decreed from before the foundation of the world that we do so.

 6. We are saved by faith and not by works, and it is not even our own faith that saves us, but the faith that God gives us.

 7. Once we have entered into a covenantal relationship with HaShem through the Messiah, there is no power in the universe, including ourselves, that can separate us from God.

 8. Even the Psalmist expected that he would be eternally secure in his salvation.

 9. Rav Sha’ul indicates that all of his fellow workers’ names are written in the Book of Life.

10. Anyone whose name has not been written in the Book of Life “from the foundation of the world” will worship the anti-messiah!

11. All who are “eternally saved” had their names written in the Book of Life from the “foundation of the world,”  thousands (or millions, or billions) of years before we were born.

12. You have the privilege of experientially knowing that you have eternal life, and that you are forever secure in that eternal life.

13. Those who once appeared to be among the elect and who have apparently left “the faith” have done so not because they have lost a salvation that they once had, but rather, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”

14. Those who teach that our salvation can be lost do so in order to deceive us.

15. It is absolutely impossible to accept the argument that a true Believer in Messiah can ever lose his/her salvation without totally violating the rules of language and logic.

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