Is it a Salvation issue?
What can we learn from the Golden Calf?
By: Eric Turner
Many times over the years when I bring up keeping the Feasts, eating Kosher, and observing the Laws of Moses, it seems every Pastor and Christian between here and Israel has asked the question, “Is it even important, is it a Salvation issue”? So, this is an answer to that very question, not based on what we have heard, or what we have been taught from the Pulpit, but from the very Word of YHVH, the Living Messiah Yeshua. This article was inspired by a Facebook post from my dear Sister Chelsey Kent.
So, let us ask the question, “Is it a Salvation issue”? According to the Torah(Books of Moses), Prophets, and the New Testament scriptures, it very well can be and has been a Salvation issue. Before you go screaming, “Judaizer, False Prophet, Legalist, etc” as we often get from the Churches, allow me to expound, after all, it is written.
Pro 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
According to Deuteronomy 13, if any Prophet or Dreamer of dreams gives a sign or a wonder, or a Prophetic word, even if that Prophetic word or sign or wonder comes to pass, if the Prophet uses these things to lead you away from keeping the commandments, that Prophet is to be put to death because he is a False Prophet that YHVH sent us to TEST our Faithfulness to Him. It is written,
Deu 13:1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,
Deu 13:2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’
Deu 13:3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is TESTING you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deu 13:4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep HIS COMMANDMENTS and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.
Deu 13:5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught REBELLION against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God COMMANDED YOU TO WALK. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
Most Protestant and Catholic denominational dogmas teach that the Feasts commanded in Lev. 23 no longer apply, that the Kosher laws in Lev. 11 no longer apply, and that many other commandments no longer apply. Already we have a complete failure of this TEST that YHVH has given us to pass, but the larger issue is, what does this do when one teaches a Non-believer that Yeshua, who is called Jesus by most in the Western World, taught that we no longer have to observe these commandments? What will this do to an unbelieving Jewish person who knows this Deuternomy test like the back of their hand? It will most certainly do what it has done for 2000 years, it will cause them to 1. Reject the True Messiah as a False Prophet and Blasphemer 2. Create a False Image of the True Messiah 3. Cause the Jewish Person to label one who teaches these things a False Prophet. The saying “stick and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” comes to mind, because we see here already how words can prevent a man from accepting His Messiah who saves. Does keeping the commandments in itself save us, absolutely not, only the Messiah and Confession of sin, accepting His Sacrifice, and believing in Him and what he taught can save us. But the question remains, “Is it a Salvation issue”? To one who already believes in Him this may not be a Salvation issue in itself, but it can very well be a Salvation issue to those in whom we witness to. It can also be a Salvation issue to a person who has already been saved, and refuses after knowing that these commandments and laws still apply as well. How can I say this? Let us see what is written.
Mat 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy IN YOUR NAME, and cast out demons IN YOUR NAME, and do many mighty works IN YOUR NAME?’
Mat 7:23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of LAWLESSNESS.’
This says the exact same thing as Deut. 13 states, that even if a person Prophesies, does signs and wonders, or even casts out Demons in the Name of the Messiah, if they work LAWLESSNESS they will be told “depart from me, I never knew you”. What we also do is plant a stumbling block in the path of the blind, by teaching that the True Messiah, who said he came to fulfill the law and not abolish one jot or tittle from it, teaches it is perfectly fine to eat pork, to break the Sabbaths, and to refuse to observe the commanded Feasts of YHVH, and even mix Pagan customs into our Worship. When we paint a false image of the Messiah, it can very well be a Salvation issue as it has for 2000 years for the Jewish People, as well as other groups who see the contradictory nature of such teachings when they read the Bible. The Messiah said this,
Mat 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to >FULFIL< them.
Mat 5:18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Mat 5:19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
There are many views on what the Greek word “pleroo” that is translated as “fulfill” here means. The issue that most people get caught up in is the definition of this word pleroo. It has multiple meanings, and can indeed mean to do away with or to make an end to.
From G4134; to make replete, that is, (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.: – accomplish, X after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.
We see here that in can mean to make and end to, or to make replete, but is that the way the word is used in the context of the verses? ABSOLUTELY NOT! What we also find is that this word can mean “to fill up, fully preach, to make full”. In the context of the surrounding verses, as well as on the testimony of the Prophets in which we will discuss in a moment, this is the intended meaning. In the context we are assured first that he did not come to abolish or make and end to the law, then he assured us that not one jot or tittle would be removed from the law, then he went as far to say that if a person’s righteousness does not EXCEED that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, so we know just by these surrounding verses that the meant application of the word “pleroo” is not in any way suggesting to make and end to or abolish. Quite the contrary. Now, we know that according to Amo 3:7 “For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets., that YHVH does nothing without revealing His secrets to the Prophets. Is there in any place of the Bible a Prophecy concerning the Messiah doing away with any portion of the Laws of Moses? ABSOLUTELY NOT! What is then prophesied concerning the Messiah and what he would do with the Laws of YHVH?
Isa 42:21 The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will >MAGNIFY< the law, and make it HONOURABLE.
Isa 42:22 But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.
Isa 42:23 Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come?
Isa 42:24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law.
This says he would MAGNIFY the law, but what does this mean? It surely does not mean to do away with or abolish. Here is the Hebrew word “gadal”, and it also has many meanings, but not one means to abolish or do away with………
A primitive root; properly to twist (compare H1434), that is, to be (causatively make) large (in various senses, as in body, mind, estate or honor, also in pride): – advance, boast, bring up, exceed, excellent, be (-come, do, give, make, wax), great (-er, come to . . estate, + things), grow (up), increase, lift up, magnify (-ifical), be much set by, nourish (up), pass, promote, proudly [spoken], tower.
This word means he would lift it up, advance, make it grow, nourish, promote, or as it plainly states to magnify the law. This word can mean in the context of what Matthew 5 discusses the same as what the Greek word “pleroo” means, to magnify it’s meaning, or to make it full of meaning, or to fully preach or reveal the law. Do we in the context of Matthew 5 have any evidence that he did in FACT magnify the law, or give it more meaning? ABSOLUTELY!
Mat 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
Mat 5:28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Nowhere in the Laws does it say a man has committed adultery if he looks upon a woman with lust, but the Messiah here illustrates that even if a man looks upon another woman with lust he has already commited the adultery, even though he has not broken any portion of the letter of the law. This is what magnifying the law means. Here is another magnification of the law.
Mat 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’
Mat 5:22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
Mat 5:23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,
Mat 5:24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
These are all not “new” commandments, but the magnification and Spiritual application to the old commandments. He is filling them full of meaning, or, fully preaching them. Now the title of this article asks another question, “What can we learn from the Golden Calf”? Well, what I have discussed here is by painting a false image of what the True Messiah taught, we have in the process led many millions of Christians into the same types of idolatry that Aaron led the Israelites into with the Golden Calf. Aaron did not declare that the Calf was a different “God”, nor did he give it a different name, and for the magnification of understanding the next scriptures, I will use the Scriptures 99’ translation because the name of God is not LORD, and every time the word “LORD” is used in the Old Testament, in the original texts the name of God, יהוה is written. Aaron did not proclaim a festival to a different God, he said it was by name יהוה he was declaring a Festival to.
Exo 32:2 And Aharon said to them, “Take off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”
Exo 32:3 “And all the people took off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aharon.
Exo 32:4 And he took this from their hand, and he formed it with an engraving tool, and made a moulded calf. And they said, “This is your mighty one, O Yisra’ĕl, that brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim!”
Exo 32:5 And Aharon saw and built an altar before it. And Aharon called out and said, “Tomorrow is a festival to יהוה.”
Exo 32:6 And they rose early on the next day, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
So, what had Aaron done here? He had not tried to cause the Israelites to worship a completely different “God”, he simply made a false image of YHVH as a mediator between the Israelites and YHVH. When we teach that Yeshua says it is ok to break the commandments, we are indeed painting a false image of the Messiah of the World. We have again fashioned another “Golden Calf” and this is idolatry as well as Adultery. It was this sin that caused 3000 Israelites to be slain, and this sin that caused Moses to break the Tablets, the Covenant, that YHVH had given them. You see Aaron proclaimed a Feast to YHVH, and in Aaron’s mind, as he declared, he thought this was the same “God” that brought them out of Egypt, but YHVH said that they were going out of the way that he commanded them, and he never said anything about them worshipping any other gods, he stated they had worshipped HIM in a way he had not commanded.
Exo 32:7 And יהוה said to Mosheh, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Mitsrayim have corrupted themselves.
Exo 32:8 “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a moulded calf, and have bowed themselves to it and slaughtered to it, and said, ‘This is your mighty one, O Yisra’ĕl, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim!’ ”
Exo 32:9 And יהוה said to Mosheh, “I have seen this people, and see, it is a stiff-necked people!
So, we see now that this can very well be a Salvation issue, for the person already saved, or the person who is not saved. Rebelling against YHVH by creating or worshipping a FALSE IMAGE of HIM, or giving false testimony is very well indeed a Salvation issue. One can lose their Salvation and have wrath turned upon them if they worship a False Image AFTER they are saved, and one can cause an unbelieving Jewish person to reject their Messiah for refusing to worship this FALSE IMAGE, so by all means, it is definitely and most assuredly a Salvation issue. Now, the last peace to this puzzle for the day is another question. Is there one who was prophesied to change the law of YHVH, and is it determined that this is lawlessness? ABSOLUTELY!
Dan 7:25 He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
This is an Anti-Christ Prophecy, the one who masquerades as a worker of light, who deceives the whole world into damnation and idolatry. He is also called the lawless one, and his spirit was already at work in Paul’s day.
2Th 2:3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the REBELLION comes first, and the man of LAWLESSNESS is revealed, the son of destruction,
2Th 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
2Th 2:5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
2Th 2:6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of LAWLESSNESS is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.
2Th 2:8 And then the LAWLESS one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.
2Th 2:9 The coming of the LAWLESS one is by the activity of Satan with all power and FASLE SIGNS AND WONDERS(Remember Deut. 13),
2Th 2:10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
2Th 2:11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may BELIEVE WHAT IS FALSE(Deut. 13, YHVH testing us)
2Th 2:12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.
So, the Moral of the Story is this, test everything, and make sure you are not worshipping or proclaiming a False Image of Yeshua, because it most certainly is a Salvation issue. We are not saved by works by any means, but if we willingly rebel after we are saved, we can lose that Salvation. We can also place a stumbling block in front of others who refuse to accept the True Messiah because we have presented them with a FALSE IMAGE of Him. Again, it is definitely a Salvation issue. Do not think that any teacher, Prophet, Pastor, Apostle, Deacon, Bishop, etc. is infallible, and do not think for one second that these people can’t be deceived or be intentionally deceiving you, it is your duty and responsibility to test them according to Word of YHVH and ensure they are sent by the True Messiah.
2Co 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
2Co 11:15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.