Outside the Camp

We live in a society that lauds “tolerance” (defined as never saying anyone is wrong – except “those” Christians), and is quick to attack any perceived lack of it. On the streets and in college classrooms one is likely to hear some variation on the remark: “There are no absolutes.” Aside from the fact that such a statement is humorously self-defeating, the truth is that there are things which are fixed and immovable, and we dare not violate them. Yeshua articulated some of these absolutes when He claimed: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). Could there possibly be a more dogmatic assertion of absolute truth which challenges our “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” culture; a culture which refuses to recognize absolutes, particularly in the realm of religious truth? Let’s consider the Son of God’s words, point by point.

I Am the Way

Religious observance, while potentially good, is not the way. Charitable giving, while potentially good, is not the way. Keeping the Ten Commandments, while certainly advisable, is not the way. Yeshua Himself is the way. The way to Heaven is found in a Person – the Messiah. He is the ultimate Prophet who was predicted to come in Deuteronomy 18, the One who speaks everything that God wants communicated to us; and if we don’t listen to Him, God will surely punish us. Yeshua is the One of whom the Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah: “It is too small a thing that You (Messiah) should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light to the nations so that My salvation (literally, My Yeshua) may reach to the end of the Earth” (Isaiah 49:6). He is the Savior of Israel and all the nations of the world.

Messiah Yeshua is the way because He alone made the way to God possible by means of His death. He alone reconciled us to God and became our atonement when He carried our sorrows and griefs; He was pierced through for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities; the punishment for our well being fell upon Him, and by His whipping we are healed. Even though each of us like lost sheep has wandered away, and has turned to his own way, the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on the Messiah, who has enabled us to go the right way (Isaiah 53:4-6, paraphrased).

Yeshua is not “a way” or one of many ways; He insisted that He alone is the correct and sure path, the one certain road to the goal – Heaven. Heaven is a real place full of unimaginable joy, and the terms for entrance into God’s Kingdom are simple but firm: Yeshua. God’s requirement that we believe in His Son in order to gain Heaven is non-negotiable.

I Am the Truth

Truth is not determined by the Gallup Poll. Neither a majority nor minority opinion determines truth. Truth is what it is. It is fact. It is reality. And by calling Himself the truth, Yeshua claimed, “I am the embodiment of what is correct, what is factual, what is real, what is morally, ethically and spiritually right. I am the cosmic equivalent of magnetic north; and if your moral compass is calibrated to the truth, you will inevitably come to Me.” Anyone who sincerely claims to be seeking the truth will eventually come to Yeshua. If Yeshua is the truth, then those who claim to be truth-seekers will, at the very least, be willing to give the Good News an unprejudiced hearing. If Yeshua is the truth, we need look no further. Since Yeshua is the truth, His instruction is authentic and authoritative and His words can be trusted.

Even if you do not like what Yeshua had to say, He remains the truth. Even though truth is inflexible and unyielding, and can make us terribly uncomfortable, it is in our best interest to accept it. Yeshua said, “If you abide in My word… you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Some people claim to believe only in what can be experienced empirically; the assumption being that if you cannot see it, touch it, taste it, smell it or hear it, it doesn’t exist. In fact, there are many things we cannot see, hear, taste touch or smell that exist. Electricity is invisible but quite real, and it operates by fixed laws, which you violate to your own peril. The truth about Yeshua is also real. You follow Him to your own benefit or ignore Him to your own destruction.

I Am the Life

Yeshua claimed to possess eternal life and to be able to give this life to others. “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes… For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself… For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 5-6). Yeshua’s claims to be the sole possessor of eternal life and to be able to give it to us must not be ignored. He proved that His words were not empty boasts when, in full view of the public, He raised his friend Lazarus back to life.

Though Moses and the some of the prophets performed miracles by the hand of God, none of them ever dared claim that they possessed eternal life and had the prerogative to give it to whomever they chose. Certainly no other religious movement or leader has eternal life to give. So, if your goal is eternal life with God, then you have one and only one Source to approach. The only question that remains is: Will you take Yeshua up on His offer?

No one comes to the Father but through Me

This statement includes no exception clauses. Yeshua did not say, “No one comes to the Father but through Me… except for religious Jews” or “except for people who are sincere in any religion” or “except for those who have given a lot of money to charity” or “except for those who have suffered a lot.” He simply said, “no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” Yeshua’s word is Torah and must be obeyed. We are not at liberty to compromise His clear teaching about Himself being the only way to Heaven. Since these words of the infallible Son of God are faithful and true, how can we condone the recent announcement by the U.S. Catholic Bishops which claims that Jewish people are saved without believing in Yeshua?

Apparently they have adopted a heretical teaching known as “Two-covenant” theology (first suggested by Maimonides, later popularized by Franz Rosenzweig), which teaches that Yeshua is the Messiah for the Gentiles, while Jews already have a “saving covenant” with God. This theory is clearly unbiblical since it was specifically predicted by the prophet Jeremiah that Messiah’s New Covenant would be made with the Jewish people (see Jeremiah 31:31-34). And when the Messiah came, His New Covenant was presented to the Jewish people first! Since the coming of the Messiah, it is only those Jews who have welcomed Messiah Yeshua and the New Covenant who are saved. If Yeshua was only the Savior for the Gentiles, why were His very last words on Earth, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the Earth” (Acts 1:8)? If the lost sheep of the House of Israel did not need to believe in Yeshua, why bother bringing the Good News to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria – almost exclusively Jewish regions? Two-covenant theology is anti-biblical and dangerous, since it offers assurance where none exists. And it is unnecessary, since understood correctly, Yeshua’s claim to be the only way to the Father is by no means exclusionary – all are invited to come – Jews and Gentiles alike!

Since our society teaches tolerance yet is intolerant of Yeshua’s assertions, how do we deal with the hostility that His exclusive claims engender? Simple! Deflect it! It was Yeshua, not you or I, who claimed to be the sole way to Heaven. If someone doesn’t like it, let them take it up with Him! Consider it outside your jurisdiction to defend Yeshua’s teachings – they will stand on their own. Furthermore, if the doctrine of the uniqueness of Yeshua and His claim to be the only way to the Father is unpopular, then learn to live with unpopularity. “A servant is not greater than his master.” The Messiah was hated, and if we openly identify with Him, we will be hated too. Are you willing, with God’s help, to weather the disapproval of others? “Yeshua, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go out to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come” (Hebrews 13:12-14). Isn’t is far better that we should stand before Him on the Day of Judgment and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” than to have all the accolades and applause of men, while having compromised the truth?