The Scientific Search for the Name of Jesus

Yahshua is an argued transliteration of the original Hebrew or Aramaic name of Jesus commonly used by individuals in the Sacred Name Movement.

The Sacred Name Movement (SNM) is a movement within the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Christianity, propagated by Clarence Orvil Dodd, that claims to seek to conform Christianity to its “Hebrew Roots” in practice, belief and worship. The best known distinction of the SNM is its advocacy of the use of the “sacred name” Yahweh (יַהְוֶה), the reconstructed proper name of the God of Israel, and the use of the original Hebrew name of Jesus, often transcribed as Yahshua. SNM believers also generally keep many of the Old Testament Laws and ceremonies such as the Seventh-day SabbathTorah festivals and keeping kosher food laws.

The Sacred Name Movement has few adherents which include The Assembly of YahwehYahweh’s Restoration Ministry, Assembly of Yahweh 7th Day, Yahweh’s Assembly in MessiahAssemblies of YahwehYahweh’s Frystown Assembly, and The Biblical Foundations Academy.

The English spelling Yahshua originates at least as early as 1950 in  The New Testament of our Messiah and Saviour Yahshua, The Word of Yahweh and The Sacred Name King James Bible. The form Yahshua is used in some Sacred Name Bibles.

These Bibles include The New Testament of our Messiah and Saviour Yahshua, The Holy Name Bible, The Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition, The Book of Yahweh: The Holy Scriptures, The Sacred Scriptures, The Family of Yah Edition, The Word of Yahweh, The Hebraic Roots Bible, The Restoration Study Bible, and The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible.

The following versions are those where either “Yahweh” or “Jehovah” is usually limited to use in the Old Testament. Unlike other Sacred Name Bibles, these are usually published by general publishers. These Bibles include Young’s Literal Translation, The American Standard Version. Rotherham’s Emphasized BibleThe Bible In Basic EnglishThe Amplified BibleThe New World TranslationThe Jerusalem Bible, The Anchor Bible, The New Jerusalem Bible, The New English Bible, The Living BibleThe New Living TranslationThe Holman Christian Standard Bible, and The World English Bible.

The spelling Yahshua (יהשע) is not found in Hebrew texts. The Hebrew Bible uses Yehoshua (יהושע), and later Aramaic form Yeshua (ישוע), for Joshua, which means “Yah is Salvation.” Christians, historians, and linguists outside the Sacred Name Movement for the most part reject the term Yahshua (יהשע) in favor of Yeshua (ישוע) as the original pronunciation. Tal Ilan’s Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity (2002), notes Yehoshua (יהושע), and the later Aramaic form Yeshua among many names containing Yah derived from YHWH.

An additional variant Yahshuah (Hebrew: יהשוה‎) is found in Christian texts. Like Yahshua this variant is not found in the Hebrew Bible. Another variant, Yesu, occurs in polemical rabbinical texts, connected with Jesus in the Talmud and is the modern Israeli secular spelling of Jesus. The spelling is not applied to other Yeshuas and Yehoshuas.

The transcription of Hebrew-alphabet Yehoshua (יהושע) as Latin-alphabet “Yahshua” is first documented during the early days of the Sacred Name Movement in the 1930s, perhaps developed by leaders such as Angelo B. Traina and C.O. Dodd.

Those who follow Sacred Name teachings (such as the Assemblies of Yahweh) believe that it is an aid to salvation to use the correct pronunciation. Unfortunately, this is worked based savation and cannot provide salvation to anyone.

  • For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

“Yahshua” supporters teach that since the Messiah will “come in his Father’s Name” (John 5:43), then he must have the name of Yahweh, or at least the abbreviated form (Yah) in his spoken name. Another popular contraction is Yah’shua with the apostrophe serving as a division to emphasise the “Yah” aspect of the name and the Hebrew shua (salvation), found in the Natural Israelite Bible.

Critics say that in their labor to get the pronunciation “Yahshua” out of יהושע, they are ignoring Hebrew linguistics that do not allow the ‘waw’ to be silent, so “Yahshua” is a questioned translation. Furthermore, it is argued by some that this pronunciation is not attested in antiquity, unlike the pronunciation “Yehoshua.”

The first group to use Yahshuah: as a name for Jesus were Renaissance Occultists. In the second half of the 16th century, when knowledge of Biblical Hebrew first began to spread among a significant number of Christians, certain esoterically minded or occultistic circles came up with the idea of deriving the Hebrew name of Jesus by adding the Hebrew letter shin ש into the middle of the Tetragrammaton divine name “yod-he-waw-he” (יהוה) to produce the form “yod-he-shin-waw-he” (יהשוה). Aleister Crowley used both the names Yahshuah and Yahshua through his occult writings, divinations and conjurings.

You are free to pray to and worship who you want. I will continue to pray to God (YHWH) through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (Yeshua, Yehoshua). The names Yahshuah and Yahshua have no devine meaning to me and certainly never will.

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Disturbing the Priest

Confession is the acknowledgment of sin (or one’s sinfulness) or wrongs. It is a religious practice in a number of faith traditions. In the Corpus Christendom, confession is a sacrament practiced by the Catholic ChurchEastern Orthodox ChurchEastern Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Lutheran Church, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Among most of these churches, the Sacrament of Penance is the method of the Church by which individual men and women may confess sins committed after baptism and have them absolved by a priest. This sacrament is known by many names, including penance, reconciliation and confession.

The Sacrament of Penance requires three acts on the part of the penitent; contrition (sorrow of the soul for the sins committed), disclosure of the sins (the confession), and satisfaction (the penance).

Religious denominations within the Corpus Christendom who practice the Sacrament of Penance instruct their followers to confess their sins to a man, but the Holy Bible reveals that those who have received salvation can appeal directly to God (YHWH) through Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) to receive forgiveness for their sins.

David confessed his sins to God when he prayed and wrote, “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Psalms 32:5 KJV) and “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me” (Psalms 51:2-3 KJV).

The Apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Those who practice the Sacrament of Penance receive absolution (forgiveness) from a priest who claims to be the Vicar of Christ or acting”In Persona Christi,” a Latin phrase meaning “in the person of Christ.” Essentially, such a priest is claiming to be Yeshua HaMashiach’s personal representative on Earth and are claiming to be the mediator between God and man.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6 KJV).

According to Roman Catholics, “The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as the second plank [of salvation].” (Pg. 363, #1446) and “After having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year” (Pg. 365, #1457). This doctrine essentially teaches that if a believer leaves the Catholic Church, they will not be able to obtain forgiveness for their sins, which means that their salvation is invalid.

The Sacrament of Penance is salvation based on works. In his epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV).

These doctrines are in direct conflict with the teachings of the Holy Bible. In his epistle to the Galatians, The Apostle Paul wrote, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1 KJV).

To some extent, most churches that practice the Sacrament of Penance also practice the Sacrament of Absolution of the Dead. Yeshua taught us that, “Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him” (Luke 20:37-38 KJV). Praying for the dead is not a biblical concept. Our prayers have no bearing on someone once they have died. At that point their eternal future is confirmed. Either they are saved through faith in Yeshua and are in God’s presence where they are experiencing rest and the joy of being in His presence, or they eternally separated from God, in hell and awaiting judgement.

Prayers on behalf of the dead have no meaning, for nothing can be changed by them. The Word of God shows us that the dead no longer have any physical or mental activity.  Solomon wrote, “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten” (Ecclesiastes 9:5 KJV).

The Prophet Isaiah wrote, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” (Isaiah 29:13 KJV).

All those who follow Yeshua as Messiah and Savior need to read the Holy Bible. The doctrines and commandments of men are worthless. Every question to every detail of your life has an answer within Scripture. Be encouraged to listen to many teachers and ministers, but read the Scriptures for yourself and by yourself. Never trust, always verify.

Yeshua said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:24-28 KJV).

The Apostle Paul wrote, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:9-11 KJV). There are no further works or actions required to obtain salvation. It really is that simple.

Can a person receive forgiveness directly from God through faith, or must he avail himself of a priest’s mediation? The Holy Bible is very clear, no priest is needed to mediate between God and man. The Sacrament of Penance and doctrine of absolution are not biblical.

Do I mind disturbing the priest? Not at all, not in the least.

Satan’s Ten Commandments

The Georgia Guidestones is a large granite monument in Elbert County, Georgia (USA). A message comprising ten guides is inscribed on the structure in eight modern languages, and a shorter message is inscribed at the top of the structure in four ancient languages’ scripts: Babylonian Cuneiform, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

The structure is sometimes referred to as an “American Stonehenge.” The monument is made from six granite slabs weighing more than 240,000 pounds combined. One slab stands in the center, with four arranged around it. A capstone lies on top of the five slabs, which are astronomically aligned. An additional stone tablet, which is set in the ground a short distance to the west of the structure, provides some notes on the history and purpose of the Guidestones.

In June 1979, an unknown person or persons under the pseudonym R. C. Christian hired Elberton Granite Finishing Company to build the structure. R. C. Christian (Christian Rosenkreuz) is the semi-legendary, perhaps allegorical, founder of the Rosicrucian Order (Order of the Rose Cross), presented in the three Manifestos published in the early 17th century.

Rosicrucianism is a philosophical secret society, said to have been founded in late medieval Germany by Christian Rosenkreuz. It holds a doctrine or theology “built on esoteric truths of the ancient past”, which, “concealed from the average man, provide insight into nature, the physical universe and the spiritual realm.” Rosicrucianism is symbolized by the Rosy Cross.

The symbol of the Rosy Cross played a substantial role within the system of Thelema as developed by Aleister Crowley. In a cosmological context, the rose is Nuit, the infinitely expanded goddess of the night sky, and the cross is Hadit, the ultimately contracted atomic point. For Crowley, it was the job of the adept to identify with the appropriate symbol so to experience the mystical conjunction of opposites, which leads to attainment. It has several meanings, depending on the source. Some groups, such as the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, from a non-sectarian or non-religious view, suggest that the rosy cross predates Christianity, where “the cross represents the human body and the rose represents the individual’s unfolding consciousness.”

A message consisting of a set of ten guidelines or principles is engraved on the Georgia Guidestones in eight different languages, one language on each face of the four large upright stones. Moving clockwise around the structure from due north, these languages are: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. The inscriptions on the Guidestones are listed below.

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

The first guideline or principal would reduce the world population down to 500 Million people. What do they plan to do with the other 6.3 billion people? The world’s population (July 7, 2010) is around 6,854,837,564, and the United States’ population (July 8, 2010) is around 309,697,072. If the conspirators of this plan were to leave the population of the United States untouched, they would have to eliminate 6 billion people. That would leave less than 200 million people alive on the rest of the entire Earth.

Built to survive the apocalypse, the Georgia Guidestones are not merely instructions for the future, the massive granite slabs also function as a clock, calendar, and compass.

Whoever the anonymous architects of the Guidestones were, they knew what they were doing. The monument sits at the highest point in Elbert County. The monument is a highly engineered structure that flawlessly tracks the sun. The four outer stones are oriented to mark the limits of the 18.6 year lunar declination cycle. On an equinox or solstice, visitors who stand at the west side of the “mail slot” are positioned to see the sun rise on the horizon. The center column features a hole through which the North Star can be seen regardless of time, as well as a slot that is aligned with the Sun’s solstices and equinoxes. A 7/8″ aperture in the capstone allows a ray of sun to pass through at noon each day, shining a beam on the center stone indicating the day of the year.

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/17-05/ff_guidestones?currentPage=all

Many have praised the inscribed messages as “a stirring call to rational thinking,” while opponents have labeled them as the “Ten Commandments of the Antichrist.”

The Guidestones have become a subject of interest for conspiracy theorists. One of them demanded that the Guidestones “be smashed into a million pieces, and then the rubble used for a construction project,” claiming that the Guidestones are of “a deep Satanic origin,” and that R. C. Christian, belongs to “a Luciferian secret society” related to the New World Order. At the unveiling of the monument, a local minister proclaimed that he believed the monument was “for sun worshipers, for cult worship and for devil worship.”

Radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, in his 2008 documentary Endgame: Elite’s Blueprint For Global Enslavement, told the viewer that “the message of the mysterious Georgia Guidestones, purportedly built by representatives of a secret society called the Rosicrucian Order or Rosicrucians, which call for a global religion, world courts, and for population levels to be maintained at around 500 million, over a 6.5 billion reduction from current levels. The stones infer that humans are a cancer upon the earth and should be culled in order to maintain balance with nature.

Most people agree that the Guidestones are meant to instruct the survivors of some impending apocalypse as they attempt to reconstitute civilization. Not everyone is comfortable with this notion.

On the sixth day of the Creation narrative in the Book of Genesis it is written, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue [H3533] it: and have dominion [H7287] over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so” (Genesis 1:27-30 KJV).

To subdue and have dominion over the earth and all living things on the face of the earth is to rule, subjugate, dominate, bring into bondage, and make subservient. The earth and its flora and fauna were never intended to subdue and have dominion over mankind. God’s plan was for mankind to care for and rule the earth. In the misguided  thoughts of most environmentalists and global elitists, these roles have been reversed.

The Rosicrucian Order designed and financed the Georgia Guidestones monument. The secretive nature of Rosicrucianism is in direct contrast with Christianity, which seeks to shout the message of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) from the roof tops, as Yeshua said, “What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops” (Matthew 10:27 KJV).

The Rosicrucianism Order is syncretistic, meaning that it borrows ideas and beliefs from various other religions in an attempt to unify them under a central theme—wisdom about life after death has been preserved through the ages and is revealed only to the secret brotherhood (the Rosicrucians). There are strongly occultic teachings in Rosicrucianism, including ESP, clairvoyance, and spiritism. This goes right along with the secretive nature of Rosicrucianism because these activities are the playground of Satan and his demons, and Satan always shuns the light.

The nature of secret societies is completely contrary to Christian belief. The Bible is an open book inviting all who will, to come to a saving knowledge of Yeshua HaMashiach. The Apostle John wrote, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17 KJV). Anyone inquiring into membership in the Corpus Christianum can investigate, ask questions, read the inspired handbook (Holy Bible), and make a decision for Messiah Yeshua fully knowing what the cost and consequences of the action will be.

In stark contrast, a secret society welcomes only a restricted number into membership, into the secret oaths and ceremonies, and into the activities of the society. Members of secret orders often compare their organization with the fellowship of believers in a local church. But a secret society is quite different from a church in that it is elitist in nature rather than inclusive. Unlike a church it does not extend its fellowship to any and all persons desiring to identify with the organization, its principles and practices.

The Corpus Christianum discourages membership in secret orders. The reasons for discouraging the Corpus Christianum from belonging to to secret orders and for encouraging the Corpus Christianum to avoid involvement with such orders are summarized below.

  1. The activities of secret orders demand time and energy that divert the servant of the Lord from efforts to fulfill the Great Commission.
  2. The binding loyalty to fellow members of the secret society—many of whom are not fellow believers in Jesus Christ and His saving work—is an unworthy joining together of believers with unbelievers.
  3. The spirit, philosophy, and general influence of secret orders channel activities toward improving only the natural part of humankind instead of changing the heart of the spiritual being.
  4. Commitment to secret orders and their teachings leads one to a wrong emphasis on salvation through good works and improving society.

Secret societies are in conflict with the teachings of Holy Scripture. A Christian must never affiliate with any organization that yokes together believers with unbelievers in unholy alliances (2 Corinthians 6:14-18), requires a pledge to unscriptural oaths which are sealed by using the name of God improperly or in vain (Exodus 20:7, Leviticus 5:4-6, Matthew 5:34-37, James 5:12), represents itself as providing teaching in harmony with the Bible when in fact it does not (2 Peter 3:16), represents itself as being religious and offers a false hope of salvation through works, yet dishonors the only true God and our Savior Yeshua HaMashiach (John 17:3, 1 Timothy 2:3-6, Colossians 2:8-10, Ephesians 2:8-9).

In his epistle to the Romans the Apostle Paul wrote, “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17 KJV). Secretively meeting behind closed doors where activities are carried on behind a cloak of secrecy, in favor of fellow members, usually for economic, social, or political advantage hardly describes doing what is right in the eyes of everybody. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18 KJV). This is God’s advice for Christians and is certainly applicable in regard to secret societies.

The Power of Forgiveness

What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as ‘to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt’. The concept and benefits of forgiveness have been explored in religious thought, the social sciences and medicine. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives including forgiving themselves, in terms of the person forgiven or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In most contexts, forgiveness is granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, an apology, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe himself able to forgive.

Most world religions include teachings on the nature of forgiveness, and many of these teachings provide an underlying basis for many varying modern day traditions and practices of forgiveness. Some religious doctrines or philosophies place greater emphasis on the need for humans to find some sort of divine forgiveness for their own shortcomings, others place greater emphasis on the need for humans to practice forgiveness of one another, yet others make little or no distinction between human and divine forgiveness.

Therefore, forgiveness is literally the setting aside of a debt by the one to which the debt is owed. When we view forgiveness in this manner, are we to understand that it is possible for us to pay God for our forgiveness? Absolutely not, but it should cause us to realize just how incredible and awesome God’s forgiveness toward us actually is.

In the New Testament, Yeshua speaks of the importance of Christians forgiving or showing mercy towards others. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is perhaps the best known instance of such teaching and practice of forgiveness.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
(1 John 1:5-10 ESV)

A message from the Lord Jesus, the Word of life, the eternal Word, we should all gladly receive. The great God should be represented to this dark world, as pure and perfect light. As this is the nature of God, his doctrines and precepts must be such. And as his perfect happiness cannot be separated from his perfect holiness, so our happiness will be in proportion to our being made holy. To walk in darkness, is to live and act against religion. God holds no heavenly fellowship or intercourse with unholy souls. There is no truth in their profession; their practice shows its folly and falsehood. The eternal Life, the eternal Son, put on flesh and blood, and died to wash us from our sins in his own blood, and procures for us the sacred influences by which sin is to be subdued more and more, till it is quite done away. While the necessity of a holy walk is insisted upon, as the effect and evidence of the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus, the opposite error of self-righteous pride is guarded against with equal care. All who walk near to God, in holiness and righteousness, are sensible that their best days and duties are mixed with sin. God has given testimony to the sinfulness of the world, by providing a sufficient, effectual Sacrifice for sin, needed in all ages; and the sinfulness of believers themselves is shown, by requiring them continually to confess their sins, and to apply by faith to the blood of that Sacrifice. Let us plead guilty before God, be humble, and willing to know the worst of our case. Let us honestly confess all our sins in their full extent, relying wholly on his mercy and truth through the righteousness of Christ, for a free and full forgiveness, and our deliverance from the power and practice of sin.
(Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Why would God forgive us? God desires to forgive is a result of His agape love for mankind. In the New Testament, agape love refers to the covenant love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term necessarily extends to the love of one’s fellow man. Many have thought that this word represents divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love. Although the word does not have specific religious connotation, the word has been used by a variety of contemporary and ancient sources, including Biblical authors and Christian authors.

God pursues a continuing relationship with us that is real and personal.  Love is God’s very essence. Love, properly defined, needs an object upon which to express itself. You can be an object of God’s love or an object of His wrath.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
(1 John 4:7-13 ESV)

God’s desire is fellowship with us. While God desires fellowship with us, that prospect is spiritually impossible. What makes it impossible is His utter holiness and righteousness in opposition to our utter sinfulness and depravity.

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
(John 17:20-23 ESV)

Our Lord especially prayed, that all believers might be as one body under one head, animated by one soul, by their union with Christ and the Father in him, through the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. The more they dispute about lesser things, the more they throw doubts upon Christianity. Let us endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, praying that all believers may be more and more united in one mind and one judgment. Thus shall we convince the world of the truth and excellence of our religion, and find more sweet communion with God and his saints.
(Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

The Spirit of God is the Spirit of love. He that does not love the image of God in his people, has no saving knowledge of God. For it is God’s nature to be kind, and to give happiness. The law of God is love; and all would have been perfectly happy, had all obeyed it. The provision of the gospel, for the forgiveness of sin, and the salvation of sinners, consistently with God’s glory and justice, shows that God is love. Mystery and darkness rest upon many things yet. God has so shown himself to be love, that we cannot come short of eternal happiness, unless through unbelief and impenitence, although strict justice would condemn us to hopeless misery, because we break our Creator’s laws. None of our words or thoughts can do justice to the free, astonishing love of a holy God towards sinners, who could not profit or harm him, whom he might justly crush in a moment, and whose deserving of his vengeance was shown in the method by which they were saved, though he could by his almighty Word have created other worlds, with more perfect beings, if he had seen fit. Search we the whole universe for love in its most glorious displays? It is to be found in the person and the cross of Christ. Does love exist between God and sinners? Here was the origin, not that we loved God, but that he freely loved us. His love could not be designed to be fruitless upon us, and when its proper end and issue are gained and produced, it may be said to be perfected. So faith is perfected by its works. Thus it will appear that God dwells in us by his new-creating Spirit. A loving Christian is a perfect Christian; set him to any good duty, and he is perfect to it, he is expert at it. Love oils the wheels of his affections, and sets him on that which is helpful to his brethren. A man that goes about a business with ill will, always does it badly. That God dwells in us and we in him, were words too high for mortals to use, had not God put them before us. But how may it be known whether the testimony to this does proceed from the Holy Ghost? Those who are truly persuaded that they are the sons of God, cannot but call him Abba, Father. From love to him, they hate sin, and whatever disagrees with his will, and they have a sound and hearty desire to do his will. Such testimony is the testimony of the Holy Ghost.
(Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Yeshua’s last words at His crucifixion were, “It is finished.” What was finished? The way was paved for God to have the fellowship with the apex of His creation. We can have fellowship with God now because of Yeshua’s sacrifice at Golgotha. What is God’s forgiveness? It is most clearly seen in the sacrifice of His only begotten Son on the cross. Yeshua suffered a terrible and cruel execution at His crucifixion. He took God’s wrath for all the sin in the world which was placed upon Him. Yet Yeshua had no sin, He had never broken any laws and died in the company of two criminals. They deserved their sentences, He did not. We deserve death, but Yeshua paid the price for our sins so that we don’t have to suffer eternal death.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed 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 upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
(Ephesians 1:3-10 ESV)

Spiritual and heavenly blessings are the best blessings; with which we cannot be miserable, and without which we cannot but be so. This was from the choice of them in Christ, before the foundation of the world, that they should be made holy by separation from sin, being set apart to God, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, in consequence of their election in Christ. All who are chosen to happiness as the end, are chosen to holiness as the means. In love they were predestinated, or fore-ordained, to be adopted as children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and to be openly admitted to the privileges of that high relation to himself. The reconciled and adopted believer, the pardoned sinner, gives all the praise of his salvation to his gracious Father. His love appointed this method of redemption, spared not his own Son, and brought believers to hear and embrace this salvation. It was rich grace to provide such a surety as his own Son, and freely to deliver him up. This method of grace gives no encouragement to evil, but shows sin in all its hatefulness, and how it deserves vengeance. The believer’s actions, as well as his words, declare the praises of Divine mercy.
(Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Who needs God’s forgiveness? Anyone who is under the curse of the original sin. Moses wrote, “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5 ESV). Isaiah probably summed up the quality of mankind’s righteousness with one verse. He wrote, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isaiah 64:6 ESV). Polluted garment or filthy rags (as used in the King James Version) is a reference to menstrual cloths (H5708).

Who needs God’s forgiveness? Anyone who meets the Biblical qualifications of being a sinner. The Bible says that “all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Therefore, we all need God’s forgiveness.

God’s forgiveness is His unmerited favor towards mankind. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV). King David wrote, “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalms 103:10-12 ESV). That is the amount of forgiveness that God gives to us when we repent and serve Him. None of us deserve this from our Creator. Isaiah wrote, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25 KJV). With forgiveness, God forgets completely forgets our sins. Many critics argue that an omniscient God could never forget something, but they fail to recognize that an omnipotent God can do anything.

What is God’s forgiveness? God’s forgiveness is experiencing His unmerited favor towards mankind. It is a gift, all you have to do is accept His sacrifice of Yeshua. There is nothing you can do to earn God’s forgiveness. No amount of good works or deed will earn salvation for anyone. The Apostle John wrote, “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:5-6 KJV). There is only one God (YHVH), and the only way to have a relationship with Him is through His only begotten Son, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).

Anyone can experience God’s forgiveness by taking advantage of His plan of salvation.

  1. First, you need to realize your need for forgiveness. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:19-26 KJV). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23 KJV). It is necessary to forgive anyone who you perceived has wronged you in any way. Yeshua said, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15 ESV).
  2. Second, you need to respond to God’s provision and plan of salvation. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:8-11 KJV).
  3. Third, you need to repent of your sin. What is repentance? Many understand the term repentance to mean “turning from sin.” This is not the Biblical definition of repentance. In the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.” The Bible also tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions (Luke 3:8-14; Acts 3:19). While repentance is not a work that earns salvation, repentance unto salvation does result in works. It is impossible to truly and fully change your mind without that causing a change in action. In the Bible, repentance results in a change in behavior. Yeshua said, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3 ESV).
  4. Fourth, you must accept and receive Yeshua as your Messiah and Savior. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9-13 KJV). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:16-21 KJV).
  5. Fifth, you need to rejoice and faithfully confess your salvation to others. “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33 KJV).
  6. Sixth, you need to obey God’s commandments and instructions. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38 KJV). Baptism is not a work that earns salvation, it shows obedience to God publicly. Yeshua said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15 ESV). “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12 KJV).

Mankind Was Created in the Image of God

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
(Genesis 1:26-31 ESV)

Out of all of God’s creation, only mankind was created in the image of God. But was does it mean to be created in the image of God?

The Hebrew word for “image” used in Genesis 1:26 is tselem (צֶלֶם), Strong’s H6754. The usage of this word suggests that man is made in the likeness or resemblance of God.

God clearly does not have a body of flesh and bones. Yeshua said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24 KJV).

In the Book of Revelation, John wrote, “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God” (Revelation 4:2-5 KJV).

Certain groups, notably the Mormons, have committed the error of saying that God the Father has a body, and have thus become anthropomorphites, people who say that God has a human form.

This form of doctrinal decay has also set in among certain segments of American Evangelicalism, most notably in the Pentecostal Word Faith movement. Many Evangelicals have (temporarily or permanently) bought into the idea that the Father has a body.

Anthropomorphites argue that man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27) and point to verses that refer to the strong right arm of God, the eyes of God, and so forth.

Tatian the Syrian said, “Our God has no introduction in time. He alone is without beginning, and is himself the beginning of all things. God is a spirit, not attending upon matter, but the maker of material spirits and of the appearances which are in matter. He is invisible, being himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things.”

The Bible is clear that mankind, unlike the rest of creation,  is made in the image of God. Furthermore, the Bible repeats this truth after sin enters the world, which means even though sin has stained and marred us, we remain God’s image bearers.

Part of being made in God’s image is that Adam had the capacity to make free choices. Although he was given a righteous nature, Adam made an evil choice to rebel against his Creator. In so doing, Adam marred the image of God within himself, and he passed that damaged likeness on to all his descendants (Romans 5:12). Today, we still bear the image of God (James 3:9), but we also bear the scars of sin. Mentally, morally, socially, and physically, we show the effects of sin.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned — for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.
(Romans 5:12-13 ESV)

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
(James 3:7-10 ESV)

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:9-11 KJV).

John Calvin wrote the following comments on Colossians 3:10:

“We are renewed after the image of God. Hence, too we learn, on the one hand, what is the end of our regeneration, that is, that we may be made like God, and that His glory may shine forth in us; and, on the other hand, what is the image of God, of which mention is made by Moses in Genesis 9:6, the rectitude and integrity of the whole soul, so that man reflects, like a mirror, the wisdom, righteousness, and goodness of God. He speaks somewhat differently in the Epistle to the Ephesians, but the meaning is the same. Paul, at the same time, teaches, that there is nothing more excellent at which the Colossians can aspire, inasmuch as this is our highest perfection and blessedness to bear the image of God.”

What John Calvin is saying is that to image God is to “mirror” His invisible attributes to the world, somewhat like Moses, who radiated the glory of God after being in God’s presence. Therefore we are not to reflect Adam, the culture or even ourselves to the world. Rather God has bestowed upon us the amazing ability and awesome responsibility to be His mirrors on the earth, reflecting His goodness and glory to all for His glory and our joy. All persons are God’s image in a basic sense, but Christians image Him more than non-Christians and mature Christians do so even more.

God formed man from the dust and gave him life by sharing His own breath (Genesis 2:7). Accordingly, man is unique among all God’s creations, having both a material body and an immaterial soul/spirit.

The good news is that when God redeems an individual, He begins to restore the original image of God, creating a “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). That redemption is only available by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior from the sin that separates us from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through Christ, we are made new creations in the likeness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The image of God is generally held to mean that people contain within their nature elements that reflect God’s nature: compassion, reason, love, hate, patience, kindness, self-awareness, etc. Man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Though we have a physical image, it does not mean that God has one. Rather, God is spirit (John 4:24), not flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).

Yeshua alone has imaged God perfectly. Many New Testament Scriptures, and even Yeshua Himself, declare this.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
(2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV)

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.
(Colossians 1:11-16 ESV)

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
(Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV)

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.
(John 12:44-45 ESV)

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
(John 14:8-11 ESV)

Yeshua told is how we can best mirror the image of God and the radiance of His Glory as Moses did. Yeshua said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16 ESV).