Pastor David B. Curtis

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Unbelieving Believers?

John 12:37-42

Delivered 11/05/17

We are continuing our study of John 12, which gives us the events and teachings of the last week of Yeshua's life. In this chapter we have seen Mary's extravagant worship of Yeshua, in which she performed a prophetic or symbolic action of preparing her Lord for burial. Then we saw Yeshua's entry into Jerusalem, which I have called the "Tragic Entry." It was tragic for Jerusalem as the Lord wept over them. He enters as their King, but not the King they wanted, He came to die. And once they realized that Yeshua was not a political Messiah come to defeat Rome, those who hailed Him as their "King" cry out, "Crucify Him….we have no king but Caesar" (John 19:15). Then we saw some Greeks came seeking Yeshua, which caused Him to say (John 12:23), "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." The hour that had come was the hour of His death on the cross. He was going to be glorified through dying a sacrificial death. Last week we looked at Yeshua's statement:

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." John 12:32 ESV

This verb hupsoo (lifted up) usually means to exalt someone (Acts 2:33), and as usual Lazarus wants us to see a double meaning, it can refer to either figurative exaltation or to literal hoisting of a body on a tree or cross—here it is both. Yeshua's being lifted up on the cross resulted in His being exalted as the Savior of the world. So "lifted up" speaks of His death, resurrection, and ascension. Paul puts it this way:

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, Philippians 2:8-9 ESV

The words "highly exalted" are the Greek word huperupsoo which is from hupsoo, lifted up and huper which means above or beyond. So huperupsoo means: "to elevate to a surpassing position, to exalt beyond all others, to exalt to the highest, maximum majesty." This particular exaltation is so grand that this particular Greek word is not used anyplace else in the whole Bible.

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." John 12:32 ESV

When Christ is exalted He draws all people to Himself. "Draw" is helkuo, which means: "to draw by irresistible superiority." This verse is the answer to the Greeks request to "see" Yeshua. When Yeshua is crucified/exalted He will draw all people, Jews and Gentiles, to Himself as their Savior and Lord. Because He is "lifted up" the Greeks will see Him.

Yeshua had concluded His prediction of His coming death in John 12:36 with a passionate appeal to the Jewish crowd to believe in the light. The final part of verse 36 states that Yeshua departed and hid Himself. This is a dramatic illustration of His theme of "the passing of the light" in verse 35. The "Light" has departed from the people of Jerusalem.

That brings us to our text for today 12:37-43, which is an explanation of Israel's unbelief. If you remember back in chapter 1, Yeshua began His ministry with this announcement:

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. John 1:11 ESV

And now the public ministry of Yeshua ends with this:

Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, John 12:37 ESV

If Yeshua is in fact the Jewish Messiah, if He is really from God, then why do the Jews, God's chosen people, reject Him? How can what Yeshua is teaching be true if Israel doesn't believe it? The reason that Israel is not accepting the Gospel is because they are under a curse. Yahweh warned Israel that she would be cursed, she would be driven out of the land, scattered among the nations of the earth if she did not obey Him. And Israel continually disobeyed Yahweh and went after other gods. Let's look at our text:

Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, John 12:37 ESV

The Jewish crowd who heard Yeshua teach, the crowd who saw Him heal the lame man, give sight to the blind man and raise the dead after four days in the tomb, the crowd who heard the voice of God speaking to His Son, did not believe in Yeshua. Yeshua prays, and heaven thunders, but they still do not believe. What does Lazarus say is the purpose of these signs?

but these are written so that you may believe that Yeshua is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31 ESV

Lazarus had lined up miracle after miracle with plenty of interpretation all designed to convince the Jews to believe in Yeshua. That's why He begins by saying, "Though he had done many signs before them"—the Greek construction of the verb translated "done" indicates that Lazarus saw continuing results flowing out of those miracles. One of those results was that he was walking around as living proof of Yeshua's power to raise the dead. The verb "believe" is constructed in such a way as to communicate that the Jews kept on and kept on in unbelief. The picture is one of constant refusal to believe.

We have seen that the whole theme of belief is central to Lazarus' purposes in writing. Yet the reality was that most of the Jews who heard and saw Yeshua did not put their trust in Him. So as Lazarus summarizes Christ's three years of public ministry, he records the sad fact that the overwhelming majority did not believe in Yeshua.

Here is what we have to understand: the unbelief of Israel was not a failure of the plan of God, it was in fact the plan of God. God planned that Israel would reject and crucify their Messiah so that by His death salvation would come to Jews and Greeks. Israel's unbelief and rejection of Yeshua as their Messiah was in fact foretold by prophecy in the Tanakh:

so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" John 12:38 ESV

"So that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled"—we see here that the first cause for the rejection of the Lord Yeshua is that it was predicted. The Jews' rejection of Yeshua fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah.

The writings of the prophet Isaiah are quoted in the Gospels more than any other Old Covenant prophet. Over 25 different verses from Isaiah are quoted by the writers of the Gospels to include 14 verses as direct quotes of Yeshua. The quoted passages come from all sections of Isaiah as these two passages illustrate (The Anchor Bible Commentary: The Gospel According to John, page 485).

Lazarus chose these passages from Isaiah because this prophet's mission in the 8th century BC parallels Yeshua's mission to God's Covenant people in the 1st century AD. Isaiah, like Yeshua, confronted a rebellious generation whose persistent unbelief called down upon them the Covenant Judgment of Yahweh, which resulted in the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722BC. Judea's rejection of Yeshua, the Messiah, will also result in Yahweh's Covenant Judgment and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D.70.

Verse 38 quotes Isaiah 53:1, verbatim from the Greek translation of the Tanakh.

Isaiah 53 is a description of the suffering servant, whom we know now is Yeshua. And the two verses that follow the one Lazarus quotes go like this:

For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:2-3 ESV

So the point is that Isaiah prophesied that this suffering servant would be rejected. Israel would not believe on Him. Which is why Lazarus quotes:

Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? Isaiah 53:1 ESV

Though the New Testament writers rarely use Isaiah 53:1 it perfectly fits Lazarus' need at this point. First, it made use of the word "believe," which is extremely important to Lazarus. Another advantage of Isaiah 53:1 is that its parallelism points to both Yeshua's words and His signs. "Who has believed what he has heard from us?"—assumes a spoken word. This has reference to all of the discourses of Yeshua, all of the detailed arguments with the Jews. "To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"—the "arm of Yahweh" refers to His mighty power. You would think that everyone who saw the mighty signs of Yeshua would believe. But Lazarus says that the arm of Yahweh must be revealed. The word "revealed" in Isaiah is the Hebrew word galah, which means: "to denude or reveal." The Greek word in our text is apokalupto which means: "to take off the cover, to disclose." So it is saying that If Yahweh doesn't open people's eyes, they will not see that Yeshua's miracles authenticate Him as God's Messiah.

So why do some people believe in Yeshua and some won't? The answer is right here, the arm of Yahweh has to be revealed. No one can truly understand that Yeshua is the Lord. No one can respond to the message and teaching that He gave. No one can see the significance of the mighty signs, unless it has been revealed to them by Yahweh. They must have a new birth, they must be given life, the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit.

This unbelief of the Jews in the midst of miraculous signs is not something new, they are like the ancient Israelites. In Moses' last public address, recommitting the Children of Israel to the Sinai Covenant, he charges the people as a whole with unbelief despite the signs God had worked for them in their journey out of Egypt to the Promised Land:

And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: "You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. Deuteronomy 29:2-4 ESV

Think of all that they saw in the exodus as Yahweh slammed the gods of Egypt. All the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the destruction of Pharaoh's army, the miraculous provision in the desert. Yet they didn't believe. Why? What does the text say? Yahweh has not given them a heart to understand.

It is interesting that Moses called the people who had rejected Yahweh a "perverse generation" (Deuteronomy 32: 5 & 20) just as Peter will use the same words to condemn his generation of Old Covenant people who reject Yeshua the Messiah in Acts 2:40.

The dozen or so overtones of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 found within John 12 show that Lazarus had the Servant Song in mind when he composed this chapter.

Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, John 12:39 ESV

Why couldn't they believe? They couldn't believe because Yahweh had not revealed Himself to them, He had not given them an understanding heart. Yahweh had determined to leave them to the blindness and hardness of their hearts, and to deny them His saving grace, which was the only thing that could enable them to believe.

The Greek text literally says, "For this reason they could not believe because that Isaiah said again:

"He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them." John 12:40 ESV

This is Isaiah 6:10, but let's read the whole chapter to get the context.

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Isaiah 6:1 ESV

Uzziah had been a great king. He had strengthened Israel. He had made Israel a real power. He had ruled for about forty years. He had been a great military leader, but now he has died. So Isaiah is given this magnificent vision of the glory of God just to remind him of the fact that though Uzziah passes on, though the great kings of the earth pass on, Yahweh is still on the throne. And it is in Him that our faith is truly to rest.

Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" Isaiah 6:2-3 ESV

This is a throne room vision. Yahweh is on the throne, and the Divine Counsel is there with Him. We see this same language used in:

And Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said one thing, and another said another. 2 Chronicles 18:18-19 ESV

This is a Divine Counsel scene, a throne room scene, with Yahweh and His Hosts.

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for." Isaiah 6:4-7 ESV

So Isaiah is brought into the Divine Counsel, into the presence of Yahweh and receives His commission.

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here I am! Send me." And he said, "Go, and say to this people: "'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed." Then I said, "How long, O Lord?" And he said: "Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste, and the LORD removes people far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled." The holy seed is its stump. Isaiah 6:1-13 ESV

Isaiah 6:10 that Lazarus quotes in verse 40 is repeated 5 times in the New Testament as a description of the Jewish people. Yeshua cited this text in Matthew chapter 13 and said that it pertained to the people of his day. Paul referred to this text in Acts chapter 28 and said it referred to those people to whom he was ministering. And here in John, Lazarus unites with Paul and Yeshua in applying this text to the people of their day.

The unbelief of Israel was God's plan. He willed to make their unbelief the means by which He would provide salvation for the world. The reaction of the Jews to Yeshua in rejecting Him led to the cross that produced salvation.

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. John 12:41 ESV

He [Isaiah] saw His glory and spoke of Him—the Him here can hardly refer to Yahweh, but must refer to Yeshua. We learn here for the first time that the vision of God in Isaiah 6 was none other than Christ Himself.

This is referring to Isaiah's vision of the Lord in the Temple (Isaiah 6). This is in itself an affirmation that Yeshua is God; for that is clearly God whom Isaiah saw in his vision. The glory of God in that vision, which Isaiah saw and reported, was the glory of Yeshua. This is similar to the claim that Yeshua made of Moses in 5:45-47 when He said "it was about me that he was writing…," and of Abraham in 8:56 when Yeshua said that Father Abraham "rejoiced that he would see my Day; he saw it and was glad." All through the Tanakh we see the pre-incarnate Christ. He is what the Jews called the Second Yahweh.

If you want to know the glory, the moral beauty of the father, read the Gospels and behold the person of Yeshua, because He's the radiance [the streaming out, the effulgence] of the glory of God.

Just as the sweeping indictment of 1:10-11 is followed by the exceptions of 1:12- 13, so the indictment of 12:37-41 is followed by these two verses.

Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; John 12:42 ESV

"Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him"—what do you think Lazarus is telling us here? What does he mean by the authorities "believed in Him"? Right now you should be looking at me like I'm stupid. He means they became believers, right? Well, I would think. But not everybody thinks so.

John Gill writes this, "Though they did not believe in Him in a spiritual and saving manner, as their Redeemer and Saviour, only in their minds, being convicted by his miracles, gave an assent unto him, as the promised Messiah."

John MacArthur writes, "'Many of the rulers believed in Him,' but the condition of their heart was not sufficient to demonstrate a true saving faith. Now, we know there were a lot of superficial believers." John goes on to say, "They are the most religious people in the nation, highly religious, believing in Yeshua. They are nonetheless doomed because theirs is a false faith."

Steven J. Cole writes, "But I would contend that while these rulers later may have come to saving faith, at this point John is describing men who were not yet saved."

Bob Utley writes, " In John 'belief' has levels. All do not attain salvation." He goes on to say, "John's Gospel uses believe (pisteuo) in several senses, from initial attraction to emotional response to true saving faith."

Mark A. Copeland, the author of the Executable Outlines, says, "There are some who teach that as long as one believes in Jesus, they will be saved. That salvation is by 'faith only.' But there is such a thing as 'an unsaved believer.' There were some who believed in Jesus, but were not saved—John 12:42-43. Let no one think that just because they 'believe' in Jesus, they have a free ticket into heaven!"

Before we dig into this let me remind you of a quote from J. I. Packer. This quote is worth our repeating over and over:

We do not start our Christian lives by working out our faith for ourselves; it is mediated to us by Christian tradition, in the form of sermons, books and established patterns of church life and fellowship. We read our Bibles in the light of what we have learned from these sources; we approach Scripture with minds already formed by the mass of accepted opinions and viewpoints with which we have come into contact, in both the Church and the world… It is easy to be unaware that it has happened; it is hard even to begin to realize how profoundly tradition in this sense has molded us. But we are forbidden to become enslaved to human tradition, either secular or Christian, whether it be "catholic" tradition, or "critical" tradition, or "ecumenical" tradition. We may never assume the complete rightness ofour own established ways of thought and practice and excuse ourselves the duty of testing and reforming them by Scriptures. (Fundamentalism and the Word of God, by J.I. Packer. [Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1958.] pp. 69-70)

Believer, we must test everything we believe by the text. The beliefs you hold must come from the text. There is often a difference between what people say the Bible says and what it actually says. The Bereans are praised for checking out Paul's teaching, so how much more should we test what we are taught. Even if everybody thinks that something is true, that does not make it true!

So in looking at Lazarus' words here, "Many even of the authorities believed in Him," lets attempt to put aside our preconceived ideas and simply let the text speak. Do you view Lazarus' words, "Many even of the authorities believed in Him," as verbally inspired Scriptural truth?

I'd like to take some time here to talk about biblical inspiration. Biblical inspiration may be defined as God's superintending of the human authors so that, using their own individual personalities (and even their writing styles), they composed and recorded without error His revelation to man in the words of the original autographs. Inspiration means that the Holy Spirit of God superintended the human writers in the production of Scripture so that what they wrote was precisely what God wanted written.

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21 ESV

The words "carried along" in this verse literally means: "to be borne along" or "carried along." Peter says that men were carried along, much as a wind fills the sails of a ship and moves it forward, by the Holy Spirit. The personality of the authors can be seen in their works, but, ultimately, it is a book supremely correct in what it affirms, and without error, because God is the superintending author. It is the very revelation of God Himself.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

What this is saying is God breathed out Scripture. God spoke it. It is the very breath of God. The essential point here is that when men wrote the Scriptures, their statements did not originate in their own thinking, but were put into their minds by the direct action of the Holy Spirit. They wrote the Word of God in the sense that they wrote words that came directly from God. This is what the "Westminster Confession" means when it says that the original text of the Bible was "immediately inspired by God" (1.8).

Paul tells us that "all Scripture is God-breathed," and there is a sense in which all Scripture is "true." But we must distinguish between Scriptures where the very words are themselves teaching divine truth, and Scriptures where the words are correctly recorded and are a true record of what was said, but are not themselves to be seen as expressing divine truth.

Let me show you what I mean by this. In the book of Job we have words spoken by Job and his four friends, and it is necessary for us to consider which of their words are divine truth, and which are simply an accurate record of false ideas being put forward by his friends. The words "accurately present" was what was said, but without necessarily themselves expressing divine truth.

Job's so called friend, Eliphaz, says to him:

"Remember: who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off? Job 4:7 ESV

Eliphaz is here basically telling Job that the innocent do not suffer: Job you must be guilty of something. Eliphaz is basically teaching the health/wealth Gospel: As long as you live right, you will have no problems, you will be healthy and wealthy. Eliphaz continues this thought in:

Is it for your fear of him that he reproves you and enters into judgment with you? Is not your evil abundant? There is no end to your iniquities. For you have exacted pledges of your brothers for nothing and stripped the naked of their clothing. You have given no water to the weary to drink, and you have withheld bread from the hungry. The man with power possessed the land, and the favored man lived in it. You have sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless were crushed. Therefore snares are all around you, and sudden terror overwhelms you, Job 22:4-10 ESV

He is basically saying, "Job if you are suffering, you must have done something wrong. If you were a good man, you would not be in this situation." Is what Eliphaz said divine truth? No, notice what God says of Job:

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. Job 1:1 ESV

This is God's evaluation of Job. Job's problems were not a result of his sin, but were a trial from the Almighty. Notice what God says in:

After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Job 42:7 ESV

That tells us that we are not to see their words as conveying divine truth, even though they are in the Scriptures and are to be seen as presenting a true record of what they had said. Thus, if we base our doctrine on what they taught, we will go astray. This makes it clear that we have to be discerning when we use Scripture. We have to distinguish when the Scriptures are putting forward "revealed truth," and when they are telling us what people said without necessarily indicating that it was divine truth.

As another example, notice what Satan told Eve:

But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. Genesis 3:4 ESV

The serpent's words are certainly Scripture (that is, they are recorded in Scripture as indicating what he said, and can be relied on as an accurate representation of what was truly said), but they were not conveying divine truth, they were a lie. So when considering divine truth, we must ask, "Who said it?" and "Under what circumstances?"

With this in mind, when we come to John 12:42, and the text says, "Many even of the authorities believed in Him.", who said this? Is this text telling us what the authorities said, or what others said about them? No, these are God breathed words recorded by Lazarus, this is divine truth! This is God saying these men believed.

If there had been any hint when Lazarus wrote this that their faith was not genuine, Lazarus would surely have worded it differently. Lazarus speaks from his own first hand knowledge, under inspiration. His statement, therefore, should control our judgment, and he says, not that these authorities pretended to believe, or that they said they believed, but, "they believed." I think we should conclude, then, that they did, in the true and proper sense of the word, "believe."

Lazarus, earlier in the text said, "They were not believing in Him" verse 37 and then in verse 42 he says, "Many even of the authorities believed in Him." but despite what the inspired author says, many say they really didn't believe. Which would mean that when Lazarus says, "Many even of the authorities believed in Him." what he means is "They were not believing in Him." Talk about confusion! Why did he say they believed if they in fact didn't believe?

To say they believed when they didn't believe violates the laws of logic. The law of non-contradiction says that A cannot be both A and not A at the same time and in the same sense. The law of non-contradiction says that a statement such as "It is raining" cannot be both true and false in the same sense. Of course it could be raining in Missouri and not raining in Arizona, but the principle says that it cannot be raining and not raining at the same time in the same place.

So these authorities cannot be believing and not believing. And since the Scripture says they believed, I'm going with that.

The words "believe, believing and believed" are used 85 times in this Gospel, and they clearly refer to those who have trusted Christ and are saved:

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, John 1:12 ESV

They believed and were given the right to become children of God.

Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Yeshua was not yet glorified. John 7:39 ESV

Those who believed received the Spirit, they receive eternal life. Salvation is all about believing, and nothing but believing.

The Lordship view says: "These authorities can't be saved because there's no confession and they love the glory of man." But the Scripture says, "They believed." Now, who are you going to believe,the Bible or men? Lordship theology causes people to doubt the testimony of Scripture. Faith is believing, and believing alone makes you a Christian.

Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; John 12:42 ESV

"Nevertheless"—is from two Greek words, homos and mentoi which function as a strong adversative. The Lexham English Bible translates it, "Yet despite that, even many of the rulers believed in Him." The majority of Jews could not believe, they were blinded, ""Yet despite that many even of the authorities believed in Him." He is contrasting these authorities who believe with those who do not believe. "Authorities" here is archon which probably indicates members of the Sanhedrin.

Let me say this again, How can "many even of the authorities believed in Him," (John 12:42) mean the same thing as, "….they still did not believe in Him." (John 12:37) How can Lazarus say that some believed and some did not, but mean none believed?

What is it that causes people to think that these authorities were not real Christians? It's their works! Look at the rest of the verse:

Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; John 12:42 ESV

Because these new believers feared the Pharisees and therefore would not confess Christ people say they did not believe even though the inspired text says they did believe. Lazarus under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote, "many even of the authorities believed in Him" and they wrote, "but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it." He is telling us that these men are believers even though they didn't confess their belief in Christ. Listen, please listen, You don't get to heaven because of what you do or don't do. You go to heaven because you believe in Yeshua. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone.

Let me share with you a quote from my favorite Scholar. Michael Heiser in his podcast, "The Naked Bible Podcast" on Hebrews 3 said this:

You have got to stop substituting faith in the Gospel and in what happened on the cross with your performance. It's an easy trap to fall into. It's not 'I, I, I, I…. Am I doing this and avoiding that enough?' That is not the Gospel. And this is the concern of the writer of Hebrews. He doesn't want them to abandon their confidence. Confidence in what? Their performance? No! Confidence that God —God! —will do what He said He will do. 'If you believe, you will be part of my family. If you believe, you will have eternal life.' You either believe that or you don't. The temptation—the subconscious temptation —is how we can take that idea and turn it, twist it, pervert it into something about our performance. You need to be aware of that propensity, and you need to combat it with the example that he gives right here. [Michael Heiser, "The Naked Bible Podcast", episode 181, on Hebrews 3]

When Lazarus says that someone believed, that is what he means. Belief in Christ, in His Name saves. Believe the Bible, not what men say about the Bible. The Bible is the inspired Word of God, mens comments on the Bible are not!

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