SALVATION AND REDEMPTION= An Overview of the Difference, Based on Linguistic and Scriptural Sources

PRELUDE

Among the ancient Jews, God has three avenues of relating to humanity= Creator, Saviour, Redeemer.

Had humanity not left Paradise, neither Salvation nor Redemption would have been necessary. Yet it was inevitable that humanity would not sustain the primal beatitude. Thus even as God created, he did so in readiness to save and to redeem..

Salvation and Redemption are of special interest to the Jews because their history is always troubled, difficult, tormented.

The root meanings of the terms ‘Salvation’ and ‘Redemption’ are much the same in Hebrew as they are in Greek, Latin, and [Irish] Gaelic. Salvation is particularly similar across all these old languages. Redemption is the same in core, but arguably more nuanced, more varied, over the span from one language to the others. That is because Salvation is more straightforward. Redemption is the mystery.

Herein lies a tale..

1,

In the Jewish Bible, Salvation and Redemption are sometimes referred to in the same line, in the same breath of Yahweh, as in Psalms, 106,10= “So he saved [Hebrew: yasha; Greek: sozo] them from the hand of the one who hated them, and redeemed [Hebrew: ga’al; Greek: lutroo] them from the hand of the enemy.” Or, Isaiah, 49, 26= “all flesh will know that I, Yahweh, am your Saviour and your Redeemer.” And, Isaiah, 60, 16= “..you will know that I, Yahweh, am your Saviour and Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” This might lead Jews and Christians to suppose ‘they are the same concept’, merely different ways of referring to one and the same reality. Such a conclusion is a huge mistake.

None the less, Salvation and Redemption have things in common, because both are activities of God which providentially ‘interfere’ in the wayward affairs of humanity, offering fallen human beings, living in ignorance and dereliction, ‘a different way to go.’

Consequently, both Salvation and Redemption divinely provide something that is able to ‘deliver’ the human condition from its loss of its real being and suppression of its true action. As a Hasidic leader recently put it, we are not ‘hitting the mark’ [the root meaning of the Greek term for sin] in our being and in our action because we have wandered off the road, and are in an alien land where we should not dwell, imprisoned, and unable to ‘return home.’ We are in Exile.

Salvation can only originate in God; Redemption can only originate in God. On this important point, Salvation and Redemption converge. God is common to both their out-reachings to help the human in ways that the human cannot help itself. Thus, neither can we save ourselves, nor can we redeem ourselves. Without God actively involved in human life, we are not saved and we are not redeemed.

However, both out-reachings ask for our human response [Salvation] or our human involvement [Redemption]. In this sense, neither Salvation nor Redemption is the child’s dream of [parental] ‘rescue’, mummy or daddy doing it all for me, while I am passive, doing absolutely nothing, but remain merely a by-stander to who and what is aiding me. The accounts of saving that are embarrassingly ‘childish’ all originate from the child’s wish fulfilment phantasy of forever retaining a parental rescuer; this is a regressive wishful phantasy, for growing up means facing the reality of all manner of difficult challenges from which there is no rescue, because these things must be faced and battled with by the ‘adult.’ But even an adult needs help in conditions of privation and threat; adults help, and are helped by, other adults. This saving activity is a sign of friendship, and not wanting anyone to go to the wall. One person demonstrating charity toward another person, or receiving charity from them, is perfectly adult, for it acknowledges how tough things are for everyone putting up with ‘the real world.’

Salvation comes closest, in its primitive meaning, to deliverance taking the form of ‘physical rescue.’ Redemption, though it is sometimes mis-construed as rescue, is really more a ‘restoration’ of an original, and truer, state of things, as a result of deliverance from bondage.

The possibility of ‘deliverance’ from a sick and tragic state of living is what Salvation and Redemption have in common. Both come from the gift and deed of God, and are ways that the human condition is changed. Moreover, both are only embraced by faith. Neither is embraced through the curbing of the Law.

Thus, in certain places in the Jewish Bible where the intention is to convey the reality of that possibility of deliverance from evil, and liberation to re-connect to God, and through God, to re-connect to all persons, creatures, and things, then Salvation and Redemption can be used more or less inter-changeably.

It is not necessary to be Wittgenstein to realise that the ‘context’ of use is all important to the meaning of any linguistic terminology. If the context is to talk about deliverance in general terms, not only can Salvation and Redemption be ‘confused’, but sometimes using the one term, and other times using the other term, sets up an intuitive sense of a vast range of differing kinds of deliverance. This reinforces ‘deliverance’ per se, creating a sense of its breadth and profundity, a sense of ‘in my father’s house are many mansions.’ At certain moments, in certain places, ‘this is just what the doctor ordered.’ At these moments and in these places, burdening the Jews, or anyone else reading their Sacred Text, with more subtle differentiations between different kinds of deliverance would be counter-productive. After all, both Salvation and Redemption have one source= God, and signify the same motive in God= God’s love; both are, without doubt, God’s love as the only real ‘help’ for humanity. Both express a love of God toward humanity that is without ulterior motive, a love not asking any recompense from us. It is therefore ‘pure’ love, nothing but love, animating Salvation and driving Redemption.

That is a lot to unite Salvation and Redemption. That is so important it might make some people frightened of discerning them as contrary, God’s Right Arm and God’s Left Arm. But why should God be limited to only one way of helping us? Is there not a reason why we have two arms, and why God is described as having two arms?

The Jewish Bible repeatedly calls Salvation God’s ‘right arm.’ Interestingly, Redemption is not called God’s ‘left arm.’ This is like the Jewish prayer, ‘God do not notice me today!’ The Left Hand of God upsets us all. As in the primordial story of Job, it makes you go through deep hells, and the ‘reward’ is you come out a totally different person– or not, if you give way in hell to self-pity and bitterness. The point is, people do not like to mention the Left Side of things, superstitiously hoping if they do not talk about it, it will not happen.. No such luck. The Left Arm, rarely if ever to be mentioned, is just as providential, indeed more so, in its bad luck, or dark fate, as the Right Arm.

Still, the Left Arm is named in other, less frightening ways, such as God’s Terrible Arm, and many similar metaphors indicating that the Left Arm is from the Daemonic. The Right Arm is Eros, so who would not prefer it? We human beings yearn for the Right Arm, as it says in 2 Samuel, 23, 5= “for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.” We try to evade the Left Arm, though it grabs hold of us as and when it intends. Hence= “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” [Hebrews, 10, 31]. The Right Arm of Salvation brings a Light which banishes fear, as it says in Psalms, 27, 1= “Yahweh, my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” Yet with the Daemonic, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” [Proverbs, 9, 10]. The Left Arm of Redemption is Fire.

It is in Isaiah that it is declared, God is Light, God is Fire. Light is Salvation, Fire is Redemption.

2,

It can be asked, who assesses the assessors? Similarly, who checks the scholars? The only thing to do is to wade through a lot of them, to see how they agree or disagree with one another when exposed to the same textual and extra textual ‘data.’ Common sense nous needs to be exercised, as well as an ultimate respect for, and opening toward, the inspiration of the Spirit.

[1] If we do not have the guidance of the Spirit in reading the Jewish and Christian Bibles, then the words on the page become a snare for the unwary, a trap for the foolish, and tradition tells us it is God who has laid down such a snare, and set up such a trap. Sacred Writings are not to be read casually, nor appropriated to human ambitions and hidden sinful agendas. Mere encyclopaedic knowledge cuts no ice, because the Biblical texts are not anything resembling a compendium of facts and figures, a fully explicit computer print-out, an instruction manual, a list of rules and regulations. The devil knows the ‘Holy Book’ better than any scholar, and can quote from it readily and exhaustively, but the people who read it in his ethos turn it into a weapon for wishing perdition on anyone who does not march to their tune. They cling to Scripture like a safety blanket, selfishly concerned only with their own salvation, and extending salvation merely to others who kow tow to the ‘authority’ of their ‘private interpretation’ [2 Peter, 1, 20]. This interpretation, which is never acknowledged as a distinct ‘reading’, misses what lies beneath, within, beyond, the literal. Literalism is an interpretation that comes from a fearful, and closed, human mind which is childishly trying to propitiate a hostile patriarchal ‘god’ who is really Satan the Accuser.

By contrast, though modern scholars may think their method is ‘non biased, objective, and scientific’, these ludicrous claims mask the extent to which the unchallenged assumptions of ‘rationalist’, secular-humanist, dogma is projected onto, and used as the ultimate criterion of discernment for, ancient materials that are poetic, strange, and mysterious. These materials are certainly not dictation from God, recorded by human scribes, but neither are they simply invented by arbitrary whim of human creativity. They are a human participation in the illuminatory energy of God.

[2] It is the mixture of human flaws and divinely inspired human insight that needs to be discerned in all Scriptures. A tradition is needed to interpret sacred writings.

In ancient Judaism, the task of reading the Scriptures, ‘not for judgement and condemnation, but unto healing of soul and body’, was in the hands of the priest. God appointed the priest to convey the true message, the meaning from God designed for the transforming of humanity.

Hence for the Jews, the priestly calling is granted special divine help to get beyond the pitfalls hidden in the Scriptures by God, like dragons on the walls of the Temple keeping out all those with insincere hearts and closed minds; this is why Hasidism says that the priest has a ‘duty’ to “open and reveal the road of life to others. If not doing his job, he ..hides the revelation of life to others.” God’s ‘minister’ to the people preserves the knowledge of God and His Ways.

The Jewish Dabar, the Word or Speaking of God, whether orally transmitted or written down, is never abstract, but is always concrete, addressed to humanity in their predicament, and intended as vital help in that ‘perilous situation.’ The ‘Word of God’ is medicine for sickness.

[3] There is a danger of turning the wrong kind of pre-occupation with the written words of the Jewish and Christian Bibles into idolatry. This issue is addressed in the Fourth Gospel of John the Theologian where it is made clear that neither all that Yeshua the Mashiach did, nor all that he said, is mentioned in the Christian Scriptures. John, 21, 25= “And there were also many things which Jesus did, which if every one of them were to be written down, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” No Bible, Christian or Jewish, can contain everything. But the point is, God is neither ‘captured’ in, nor ‘confined’ to, any Scriptures, like a wild beast put in a cage. God relates to people outside the Scriptures; indeed, God’s relating to us is a ‘speaking’ that cannot be written down on the page or indeed even put into words. It is beyond mere words. It is a music behind the words. In the earliest times, the Jewish Bible was not spoken, it was sung! The Eastern Orthodox Christians still follow this practice, chanting the words of Scripture when reading from the Old Testament and the New Testament during the liturgy. The meaning implicit in such a practice has been lost.

Moreover, spending all one’s limited time studying Scriptures runs the risk of never ‘tasting’ for oneself in lived experience and personal action the very mysteries the Scriptures are actually evoking.

This leads to a further point. At the Last Supper, Jesus tells the disciples that it is ‘expedient’ for them that he should go away, for if he does not go, then the Spirit will not come to them; when Jesus departs, he will send the Spirit to the disciples. The Spirit will ‘reproof’ the world, exposing the worldliness that is sinful, unjust, and judged as under the grip of ‘the prince of this world.’ Jesus adds that he has ‘yet many things to say’ to his disciples, but ‘you cannot bear them now.’ Hence, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will remind the disciples of things Jesus said and did which were never put into the Christian Bible, and more radically, he will also reveal to them further things Jesus did not say and did not do, for the Spirit will guide the subsequent followers of the Messiah into ‘all truth’ and show them ‘things to come’ [John, 16, 7-13].

It is clear that neither the Jewish Bible, nor the Christian Bible, have exhausted, or could ever exhaust, divine revelation to humanity. There are mysteries ‘to come’ which will be disclosed to people outside any Scriptures. People go on having direct encounter with God, in the Spirit, searching out the depths of God and the depths of humanity. That revelatory searching is not finished. People in every era carry it forward. Sometimes, treasures hidden in Scriptures are clarified after long obscurity. However, things not in the Scriptures can also be newly communicated by God because in earlier ages, no one could bear them at that moment in time.. In some ways, humanity is in stasis, just repeating the same old nonsense and vainglory as ever.. In other ways, God’s energies have touched us, and we have grown wiser. A Hasidic teacher once said, ‘we stand on the shoulders of giants– but that is why we can see farther than they did.’ Bible-idolatry holds us, wrongly, in an earlier step in our ‘bearing’ of the Truth. What they could not bear back then we can bear now. Those in the future will bear more than we can today. The baton is passed on, down the generations.

St Paul did not receive any testimony from the disciples about Christ, nor was he present at Christ’s crucifixion; no Scripture, Jewish or Christian, instructed him about the mysteries of Christ’s Cross.

It was through meeting Christ ‘in the Spirit’ on the road to Damascus, and accepting to be entirely reversed, that he was led to a profound understanding of the ‘hidden wisdom’ of the Cross. Yet St Paul did not speak ‘the last word’ in regard to the Cross. The Cross continues to kindle fire in those who will accept reversal, those who accept to be dead with Christ and alive with Christ.

To be ‘instructed and guided’ by the Cross that burns the heart with the Fire of the Spirit, outside of any and all oral handed on Tradition, outside of any and all Scripture, outside of any and all Liturgy, remains a way to the Messiah that is beyond human interference. It may happen later that confrontation with all these things confirms, and challenges, the direct revelation, even as it confirms and challenges them.

[4] It is what the Spirit breathes ‘into’ the words, originally, and moves us to read ‘out’ from them, subsequently, that matters more than any literalist religious, or rationalist secular, approaches to Biblical Scriptures.

[5] Later illuminations by the Spirit need to be understood to get the meaning of earlier illuminations by the Spirit, since the former prefigure, or foreshadow, the latter.

Augustine of Hippo comments on the dialectic between the Jewish Bible and the Christian Bible=

The New Testament in the Old is latent,
The Old Testament in the New is manifest.

[6] There are different layers of meaning in Biblical texts= historical, moral, symbolic, mystical.

[7] A person must have lived it to interpret it. This rules out both literalist and rationalist readings of Scripture. Neither are living what the Scripture is evoking, because both are, in different ways, shallow about the human, and therefore unable to penetrate the veil that conceals the divine. Superficiality toward the human and superficiality toward the divine is no lamp with which to search out high and broad, deep and terrible, things. Ironically, both literalist and rationalist are, in opposite yet similar ways, confined to ‘the letter which kills.’

3,

Scholars claim that the name Yeshua is most likely Aramaic, the language he spoke, not Hebrew. The word in Hebrew for ‘salvation’ is Yahshu’ah, which is feminine. The masculine version is Yashu’a, the name of Jesus. Both words come from the root term ‘yasha’, which means ‘to save.’

As the etymological root meaning of Salvation, ‘yasha’ has a host of key features. There is much to be unravelled, none the less these aspects of the saving activity are coherently and closely related, very much all of a piece.

[A] To Be Saved in Summation

According to one commentator, the three primitive Hebrew letters forming Yeshua are the consonants [i] yod, [ii] shin, [iii] ayin. [i] The yod primitively looked like a hand, and meant a deed, an action; [ii] the shin was teeth, and meant to consume, to destroy; [iii] the ayin was an eye, and meant to cast your eye upon, or look at. This word implies, at metaphorical root, that to be saved began with a hand performing a deed= a common Biblical image of God’s active energy moving toward the human. The saving power continued its impetus by delivering the human from what threatened it, and it did this by destroying the threat, biting down on it and chewing it up. Finally, after the defeat of the threat, the human cast its gaze upon what had delivered it from death and saved it for life. This gaze was not only devotional, giving thanks to the deliverer, but also mystical, beholding the deliverer’s wondrous presence.

God’s Salvational activity is not confined to what is going on within the Temple, but the Temple is where diverse persons come together as one people — ‘the people of God’ — to acknowledge Salvation as God’s generosity to them, take joy in it, glorify God for it, receive it ever more fully, and enter communion with its transformational energy. Since the Temple gathering is led by the priest, so this implies an unbreakable link between the priest, the sacred ceremonies ritually enacted in the Temple, and Salvation, as in Psalm 132, 16= “I will clothe [Zion’s] priests with salvation.”

Salvation vis a vis the historical world often has the connotation of deliverance from worldly evils that ‘crush, oppress, threaten’; these worldly conditions put the Jews “far from safety” [Job, 5, 4]. Moses is the Jewish leader who, more than any other, exemplifies the workings of Salvation in the world process full of danger and doom.

Moses says to the Jews, as they are running from the pursuing Egyptian army= “Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of Yahweh, which he will show to you today, for the Egyptians you have seen today, you will see them again no more forever. Yahweh will fight for you, and you will hold your peace.. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared; ..and Yahweh overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.. Thus Yahweh saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians.. And Israel saw that momentous work which Yahweh did upon the Egyptians; and the people reverenced Yahweh, and believed him and his servant Moses” [Exodus, 14, 13-14; 27; 30–31].

Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt, through God’s active help, is a paradigm of Salvation; this signifies, as it says in Psalms, 20, 7= “the mighty deeds of the victory of his right hand.” This crucial event in Salvational history is sometimes confused as redeeming, but it actually lacks all the features of the Hebrew terms for Redemption — there are 5 of them — even at the most primitive stage of meaning. The Jewish people are liberated from Egypt in order to serve God in the Promised Land= this is the dynamic of Salvation for the Jews. Salvation is not other worldly, because serving God means serving God’s world. John, 3, 17, echoes this point= “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but that through him the world might be saved” [in Greek, ‘condemn’ means, ‘to separate, to distinguish, to pick out’]. Saving does not separate, does not distinguish, does not pick out, the world, but includes the world.

God also asks Moses to establish a proto Temple, in the form of a tent, where the Ark of the Covenant is kept. The Ark is a chest reputedly containing the stone upon which the 10 Commandments are inscribed and pieces of manna. It should not be over looked that the role of Moses as Law-Giver is set within the context of the nascent Temple. The Temple puts its own, different interpretation on the Law.

In the Temple, the Law becomes ascetic, not formalistic, not legalistic, not behaviouristic. The ‘spirit’ in which we practice the Law is crucial. Until you are changed, from within, by being fully re-united with God, following the Law is all you can do. It shows willing. I won’t steal this person’s car, but I still would like to have it, and am tempted to take it. Since the Law tells me this is not compatible with living in God, so I will not do it. But I will go on thinking about it inwardly, if I don’t act on it outwardly..

It is the Temple which highlights and honours the highest mystical encounter with Yahweh in the burning bush, the revealing of his name as ‘I am that I am’, and ‘I will be what I will be.’ This supreme illuminatory moment renders Moses virtually an apophatic mystic, according to Maimonides [1138-1204 AD]; and St Gregory of Nysa, hundreds of years earlier, argues much the same.

[B] Saving Activity In Its Multiple Aspects

To save has a large number of cognate meanings.

[1] To save is to help, or offer aid, in the specific sense of to ‘preserve’ from harm; ‘keep’ alive, keep safe and well; to ‘spare’ from punishment or from other horrendously negative states, such as poverty, illness, or death; ‘bring to safety and security’, ‘ensure prosperity’, ‘look after the welfare of.’ In Ezekiel, to be ‘saved alive’ is the state of the repentant sinner who, spared the outcome of sin which is death, continues ‘safe and sound’ in life, indeed, they are regenerated in aliveness, because sin itself is a deadening state. [It is not that sin is marvellous, but its reward is death; its very condition is a deadness whilst still nominally alive.]

[2] To save is to ‘rescue from danger, trouble, lack, destruction’; over time, this was understood not simply as physical, but as spiritual, a coming out of ill-being and a going into well-being; thus, to save is to ’cause healing.’ Salvation is equated with the healing of the whole person through their opening up to God.

[3] To ‘save from sin’ is constantly repeated in the Jewish and Christian Bibles. For example, in Mathew, 1, 20-21= “a spirit from Yahweh appeared to Joseph, and said to him, ‘you son of David, fear not to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a son, and you will call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins’.” By contrast, only once in the Jewish Bible does it say, ‘redeemed from sin’ [Psalms, 130, 8]. What redeeming overcomes in us, and what we are redeemed to do, is deeper than any Salvation. Salvation addresses sin as the darkness which blinds us, and as the waters that drown us. Hence we are purified, to see the true Light of What Is; cleansed, to partake of the real Water of the Fullness of Life.

[4] Salvation is of the entire ‘people of God’, as in 1 Chronicles, 16, 35= “O God of our salvation, gather us together”, though each individual is ‘sanctified.’ We are saved ‘out of’ sin for entry ‘into’ the Sacred. The body is sacred, the soul is sacred. This is a Temple theme= the sanctifying of each and all. From this comes the Eastern Christian meaning of humanity as the high priest of the whole creation, blessing and sanctifying all things which humanity ‘handles’, offering everything created ‘back’ to God, hence not using matter as an end in itself, but discovering that matter is a route to knowing God, as the Hasids point out. When we have the vision of God’s Energies, or Glory, streaming through all created persons, creatures, things, rendering the material transparent rather than opaque, this is a high peak of Salvation. The vision of God — and the creation in God — is mystically salvational; it affirms the whole created universe as God’s exuberance, and the earth as God’s resting place, God’s abode, God’s Zion, God’s Temple.

[5] To save is most urgent in times of need, duress, jeopardy, especially when it is necessary to obtain God’s protection from evil; hence, David [Psalms, 64, 1] prays to God, asking him to “preserve my life from fear of the enemy.” This is a major Leitmotif of salvational activity in the Jewish Bible. Another primitive meaning of ‘yasha’ as ‘save’ is ‘to be or made wide’, to be or made ‘open’, or something spacious. Evil, and the pressure it exerts, are always regarded as narrowing, constricting, cramped= the very opposite of that spaciousness in which things have room to breathe, to develop, to be and become what they are and what they will be; and this inhibiting force of evil is also opposed to that spaciousness in which everyone and everything is welcomed — all things have their time and place under the sun. It is from the restrictive space squeezing us so tightly we can hardly take breath that the person cries out for Salvation. When help has come from God, there is a sense of a ‘wide’ space [Psalms, 118, 5]. Things open out, things widen.

This same deliverance of saving is felt keenly in physical battle with human enemies, though later the similar sense of being assaulted, surrounded, hemmed in, beset, will transfer to spiritual enemies, the demonic powers attacking mind, soul, heart, in the inner ‘spiritual warfare’ so prominent in the monastic tradition of the Christian East.

For the Jews, so encompassed on all sides by rivals for their land, saving took on a very concrete meaning of God helping their relative few win the victory in battle against the vastly superior invading armies, like David the small boy against Goliath the giant man. Success in combat removes the pressure, restores the sense of the divine spaciousness holding all of life’s fruitful possibilities. Thus ‘yasha’ as salvation implies ‘victory.’ The saviour is therefore ‘he who leads to victory in battle.’ According to the original understanding, it is God himself who is leading the good fight against the enemies of the people of God [Isaiah, 25, 9; 14, 20; Zephaniah, 3, 15-17]. The Jewish Bible will use ‘God of our Salvation’ as inter-changeable with ‘our victorious God’ [1 Chronicles, 16, 35; Psalms, 79, 9; Isaiah, 17, 10].

The saving God is the God who helps the Jews to be victorious in their battles for continued corporate survival against overwhelming odds. This counsels not to give up when the deck seems stacked against us. The victory can still come, not expected, at a moment of supreme crisis.

The Jews in ancient times believed that, in the last analysis, evils are caused by demonic spirits, and escape from evil influence is a help for which humanity feels gratitude to God. Thus, humanity is saved ‘from’ all manner of damaging evils= [a] from trouble [Psalm 34]; [b] from enemies in war [1 Samuel, 4, 3; and 7, 8] and from annihilation by rival nations [Esther, 7]; [c] from violence, or “men of blood” [Psalms, 22, 22]; [d] from reproach — moral accusation, shame, guilt [Psalms, 57, 4]; [e] from uncleanliness [Ezekiel, 36, 29]; [f] from huge calamity [Jeremiah, 30, 7]; [g] and ultimately, from sin and death [Ezekiel, 36, 22-32; Psalms, 68, 19].

[6] To be saved involves the re-joining of things that are not meant by God to be divided but have become so through the primordial separation of the human from the divine. This is not merging or fusion, but re-connecting; the re-uniting of what has been sundered, the making whole of what has been fragmented, the repair of the torn net of inter-dependent persons, creatures, things. St Maximos says that humanity, in the process of being saved, is called to undertake a saving activity toward all things; humanity becomes the integrative and reconciling factor, bringing back together all the falsely split ‘binaries’ of the creation, of which there are 6= Male [masculinity/manly] and Female [femininity/womanly]; Paradise [nature] and World [humanity]; Body [gross-sensory] and Mind [subtle-intelligible]; Inner [subjective] and Outer [objective]; Earth [terrestrial-visible] and Sky [celestial-invisible]; Created [the cosmos] and Uncreated [God]. This is also the re-finding of the I-Thou, as Martin Buber describes it, after the long domination of the I-It. Dialogue and two-way reciprocity replaces monologue and one-way unilateralism. Not only belittling tyranny but also flattering seduction are unilateral. Relationship is revived in all its saving graces.

[7] To be saved is something we wait for, as in Psalms, 25,5= “For you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait”, or= “on thee do I wait.” We hope in salvation, and have faith it will come, none the less we must show patience. In the Christian Bible, Salvation is likened to a thief appearing in the night, you don’t know when he will come, so you have to be watchful, and remain alert and sharply aware [2 Peter, 3-10; Revelations, 16, 1].

[8] To be saved is what we really desire, as in Psalms, 12, 5= “I will set him in the safety for which he longs”, and as in 2 Samuel, 23, 5= “for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.”

[9] To be saved is awaited, and longed for, yet it is always ‘nearer’ than we are aware, as in Psalms, 85, 9= “Surely his salvation is near.”

[10] To be saved brings joy, as in Psalms, 51, 12= “the joy of thy salvation”; or= “sustain unto me the joy of thy salvation.”

[11] To be saved is equated with, and rooted in, the ‘loving-kindness’ of Yahweh, as in Psalms, 85, 7= “O Yahweh, grant us your loving-kindness, your salvation.” The loving-kindness of Yahweh seems close to the Pauline ‘agape’ in the Christian Bible, and the ‘compassion’ of Buddhist enlightenment [though resolving such potential parallels awaits further study].

[12] To be saved is to be exalted, to be lifted up, as in Job, 5, 11= “they are lifted to safety”, or= “they are exalted to safety.” As a result of this, humanity exalts God, as in Psalms, 18, 46= “Let the God of my salvation be exalted.”

These are some of the aspects of saving activity..

[C] Biblical Images of Saving Activity

The saving activity of God is portrayed through a host of key images, full of symbolic meaning, in the Jewish Bible.

[1] God is Light, and this Light is Salvation [Psalms, 27, 1]. This is the Light of Salvation in Yeshua, “the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world” [John, 1, 9]. In the Jewish Bible, God says to his Messiah that “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth” [Isaiah, 49, 6]. The equation of the Light of God with Salvation is fundamental to everything else which can be regarded ‘salvational.’ If the Light of God, which is not the deceiving darkness of Satan, and not the limited intellectual light of humanity, is absent, then Salvation cannot be operative.

[2] Salvation is the Water of Life; the Cup of the wine of Gladness; the Wellspring of Generosity which overflows. We need to be immersed in a new life, cleansed, regenerated. This Life is the manifestation of Light. Light and Life are one thing, spiritually. When we are re-enlightened, we are also re-animated.

[3] Salvation is release from constriction into Spaciousness. Do not reject the foreigner, the stranger, the outsider. Make efforts to care for the widow and orphan, the dispossessed, the poor, the powerless. Stretch to be all inclusive, do not be narrow, pinched, mean, and rigid. Be more open, be more accommodating, to what is other, unfamiliar, not ‘fitting in.’ Be more fluid= do not fear the breadth that holds a vast complexity. Let everything and everyone be what they are, and do not stop them from becoming what they will become. Get out of the way, allow life to flow. Stop putting life into plans, structures, sign posts and hand rails, that impede its currents. Our paranoia freezes it all in ice= the Pronoa of God melts, un-tightens, and weaves together for good.. The spaciousness of God permits the Dance of Life.

Martin Buber= “This is one of the primary Hasidic words: to love more. ..Once before a journey Rabbi Rafael called to a disciple that he should sit beside him in the carriage. ‘I fear I shall make it too crowded for you’ the latter responded. But the rabbi now spoke in an exalted voice, ‘So, we shall love each other more, then there will be room enough for you’..” [pp 47-49, ‘The Legend of the Baal-Shem’, 1968].

[4] Salvation is the Rock. It is grounded, immoveable, a foundation stone on which we can rely. Hence, God is pleaded with= “be God, the rock of my salvation” [2 Samuel, 22, 47].

[5] Salvation is also for each and all of us “my strong-hold and my refuge” [2 Samuel, 22, 3].

[6] Salvation is the Victory in dire combats; and consequently for each and all of us God acts as “the shield of your salvation” [2 Samuel, 22, 36].

[7] Salvation is Goodness given away gratuitously, freely, graciously. “You crown the year with your goodness” [Psalms, 65, 11]. Indeed, Salvation bestows all manner of physical and spiritual Riches, Benefits, and Abundance [Psalms, 65, 9-13] on what is below from Above.

[8] Salvation is the vision of the Glory of God. God is Beauty, and his Salvation is Awesome, Amazing, Wonderful, to behold, to feel, to be baptised into, to walk as a path.

[9] Salvation is Peace. The experiential qualities that Paul attributes to the human being who is in the Holy Spirit are without doubt Salvational. They do not apply to Redemption, which brings what the Jews called ‘The Day of Trouble’; Christ on the Cross had to plumb the depth of that trouble. He assumed the deepest human experience of forsakenness by God in order to over-turn and over-come it.

[10] Salvation is likened to Marriage between God and humanity. This is evident both in the Jewish Song of Songs, part of the ancient tradition of Israel as wife and Yahweh as husband [Hosea, 2, 19; Jeremiah, 31, 32; Isaiah, 54, 8], and in the Christian tradition of Christ as the bride-groom and the Temple as the bride. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins [Mathew, 25, 1-13] depicts the coming of the kingdom of heaven as the ‘bridegroom’ but focuses on keeping vigil at night [the time when people are physically, psychologically, and spiritually asleep]. If we are not aware, but sluggish and distracted, then we might foolishly ‘miss’ the arrival of the supreme gift..

The Christmas card in our mail box naively wishing for us that the coming year may be ‘peaceful, happy, healthful’ is actually hoping the next year will bring Salvation!

[D] The ‘Mosaic’ Core Theme of Saving Activity

Despite the complexity of the saving activities, and the saving symbols, a certain core theme emerges. This can be accessed through the other root etymological term for Salvation, the name for Moses in Hebrew, which is ‘Moise’, Moseh, Moshe, and many variants. Though some commentators limit ‘saving’ to ‘yasha’, other scholars add ‘moshia’ for ‘saviour.’ This is undoubtedly because Moses is arguably the first, and exemplary, instance of God saving Israel.

If the name of Moses was adopted by Jewish tradition to indicate ‘saviour’, then its etymological root meaning is much more telling about what the salvational process really is accomplishing.

Though it can be disputed, it seems likely the name ‘Moses’ is in root Coptic, and was adapted into Hebrew. Its basic meaning is ‘drawn out of the water.’ People regard this meaning as very literal, because Moses was ‘saved’ by the Pharaoh’s daughter, when she plucked him as a baby from a raft of reeds being swept away on the currents of the Nile River. She took this unknown infant in because she was childless. In this way, Moses joined the Egyptian royal family [Exodus, 2, 10].

But, ‘drawn out of the water’ has a far more spiritual meaning. It has the same meaning when Yeshua says to the disciples he summons out of their ordinary life as fishermen, ‘I will make you fishers of men.’

Moses is drawn out of the waters in which all humanity is blinded and drowning, the illusion of life that is really death. Yeshua draws the disciples out of these same waters of death, and he tells them, once he has saved them from the deception of life that is really death, they will also save many other people from this delusion. The waters are sleep, the waters are consuming. The deadness we eat is eating us. Yeshua takes the disciples out of their state of sleeping, out of their state of being consumed. He opens their eyes to the ‘true light’ and gives them the ‘bread of life.’ As a consequence of his gift to them, they will give to many people this same awakening to light, this same ceasing to eat deadness and starting to eat life.

‘Fishers of men’ and ‘drawn out of the waters of the Nile’ are the same Salvation. Thus in Coptic, ‘mish’ means ‘to draw’, and when people are drawn out of death, into life, they are saved. This is what ‘saving’ really means= the drawing out of people ontologically in deadness into a new ontological aliveness.

Thus, there is a passive, ‘the one who is drawn out of darkness into the light by another’, and there is an active, ‘the one who draws another out of the darkness into the light.’ God initiates drawing out those in need of saving. If they are not drawn out, they will be more and more harmed, and eventually they will be entirely destroyed. Thus, drawing out is a necessity, not a life style extra; a basic and urgent need.

Another variant of the Coptic has ‘mo’ as ‘waters’ and ‘uses’ as ‘to save, to deliver.’ Hence, ‘draw out from the water’ also means ‘saved from the water.’ The true water is life, the false water is deadening. If we remain in it, it will eventually kill us, poisoning our lingering life, until it is forfeit, and lost.

Salvation, then, is heavenly. Heaven comes to earth, to save the earthly from falling into darkness and deadening. We are saved from darkness and deadness for a life that is full of light, and has all manner of other heavenly properties.

Some forms of Salvation are more ‘other worldly’ in spirituality= we come out of the world to go to heaven. For the Jews, that escape from obligation to the world was not permitted by Yahweh. Rather, in Jewish Salvation it is more that the heavenly comes down towards the earthly, and the world is raised out of the ‘bad things’ into which it had lapsed and raised into the ‘good things’ for which it had been created.

[E] Conclusion

The core theme of Salvation can be summarised in a few key aspects.

[1] The dynamic in saving activity is that we are [a] drawn out of X, and [b] drawn into Y.

X= darkness and death, calamity and impoverishment, unhappiness and fear, and similar ontologically deprived and imperilled states; Y= light and life, safety and fecundity, joyousness and hope, and similar ontologically secure and fulfilled states.

[2] The dynamic in saving activity of passing from an ontologically decreasing and contracting, almost extinguished, state of being into an ontologically increasing and expanding, reconstituted, state of being is a transformational process of raising up a ‘lower’ to a higher condition.

[3] This raising of a lower to a higher condition is done by the Highest; it is not earned, or merited, by doing moral works or adopting spiritual disciplines, for it is a free gift. It manifests a pure mercy, a pure kindness, a pure compassion, of God. The gift is received by faith; yet the gift needs time to draw us nearer and nearer to it, and draw us more and more into its light and life, the transfer of state is not instant, and so moral works and ascetic disciplines may be required to ‘work with’ the gift, making it ever more one’s own. Chewing and digesting takes effort; there is no swallowing whole and instant alteration. When the nourishment accumulates in us, and pushes out the toxins, we are gradually reborn, brought back to the life of the light.

[4] As the gift becomes our own, it both heightens us, and broadens or widens us, making us not only draw near to God but also draw ever nearer to our fellow humans, creatures, and things. The love of God, and the love of Neighbour as the very Self, are heads and tails of one coin for the Jews. It is impossible to attain one without attaining the other. We cannot love the Neighbour without loving God; we cannot love God without loving the Neighbour. Similarly, heightening and broadening go together. The saved do not just look upward, they also look outward. They have high or excellent values and broad or wide sympathies..

[5] Since the gift is genuinely made our own, how we freely, creatively, and lovingly, ‘use’ it is our responsibility to ‘work out.’ There is no stereotypical pattern of what you are and what you do when you are caught up in the process of Salvation. None the less, it has marks and the person is always recognisable as more enlightened and more alive, more at peace in their centre and more happy, than the general run of quietly demoralised humanity. You acquire ‘bliss bestowing hands’, as Buddhism puts it.

[6] Salvation is two-fold, invariably= we are saved from the undesirable state of affairs and saved for the desirable state of affairs. Salvation is never just getting out of an ultimate negative, it is that only for the sake of getting into an ultimate positive. It focuses on the negative only to get beyond its clutches and reach the positive. Simply disapproving of the negative we are to be saved from is not Salvational, unless there is an equal, indeed more pronounced, stress on the positive. Once transferred from negative to positive, God forgets our former estate, never harps on it, never reminds us of it, but moves ahead and moves on into the newness we have entered. The former things pass away..

[7] Salvation is not a transcendence of the world, an escape from the world process.. What happens, rather, is that one, destructive and inhibiting condition of the entire world is transformed into a different, creative and facilitating condition of the entire world. In this sense, a veil is ripped back, and the reality previously obscured is at last manifest. It was always there, but we ‘looked through a glass darkly’, and could not see and touch it.

[8] Salvation is clearly the Way of Eros, for it is the Eros of God that draws us away from sin, and draws us into God’s light, life, goodness, beauty, knowledge. This ‘drawing’ is the pull, the attraction, exerted by Eros. The soul, and body as planted in the soul, never lose the God-implanted desire, yearning, longing, for the Real Goodness. This capacity to be drawn out of the loss of God, and drawn toward the regaining of God, is the secret treasure buried in the soul, the pearl beyond price, for it means something in the soul created to ‘know’ God and ‘share’ God with the whole creation never can be, and never will be, blotted out by sin.

William Blake puts a fist of Salvation in the devil’s face in the poem titled=

‘To The Accuser Who Is The God Of This World.’

“Truly, my Satan, thou art but a Dunce,
And dost not know the Garment from the Man,
For every harlot was a virgin once,
Nor canst thou ever change Kate into Nan.”

The Eros that draws us out of the loss of Goodness and draws us into the re-entry into Goodness finds something bright, alive, ravishing, untouched, sacredly set aside for God, in the soul’s inner recesses. The soul is inherently virginal and will become for many the giving mother, dispensing Salvation, because the soul was made to be the wife of God.

There is something basically ‘gentle’ about Salvation.

1 Timothy, 2, 2-3=

“..that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful.. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.” This ‘undisturbed life’ is not the facile bourgeois existence; it makes possible a material and spiritual ‘flowering.’ Salvation aims at a final fruition. Things blossom. This is already mysteriously and latently seeded in the root meaning of the Jewish term Dabar, the Word or Speaking of God. Somewhat akin to the Greek Logos, one commentator claims that the Jewish Dabar implies something like the ‘inner sanctuary’ of the Temple, the Holy of Holies, or more figuratively, the ‘bringing forth of things’, or ‘the bringing about of things.’ God speaks things into being, and this speaking carries the seeds of things and brings them to ‘fruitfulness.’ Logos, or Dabar= the sower of seeds, and their fructifier; soul, nature, universe= the field in which the seeds are planted, and brought forth to flower fully. Salvation makes each and every one of us the sacred space, the sanctified location, in which sower, seeds, field, converge to produce a garden, a vineyard, from which many are nourished and in which God rejoices.

[9] For the Jews, Salvation transforms the very nature of life in the here and now; it is neither associated with Eternity, nor is it regarded the obligatory pre-requisite for entering Eternity after dying, so that if we are not saved in this life, then we are obliterated forever after our demise. This kind of thinking seems to have entered early Christianity, very much to its detriment, but it is not really Jewish. The belief in the afterlife as the Eternity of those who are saved is essentially Platonic; if it crept into Judaism just before the time of Yeshua, then that was doubtless under increasing Greek Hellenic influence on the Jews [due to Alexander’s Empire, and the Roman Empire that replaced it].

[F] The Right Hand of Salvation

Salvation and Redemption differ, despite both coming from the same source in God, because God has two arms holding the creation and everything in it, and therefore Two Different Ways of helping the distress of humanity. The Salvational Way is explicitly named, in the Jewish Bible, as the Right Hand, or Right Arm, of God. Thus Psalms, 20, 6= “the saving of his right hand.” Moreover, we are ‘help up’ by God’s Right Hand, making it possible for us to rise up on it as our ‘support’, as in Psalms, 18, 35= “..the shield of your salvation and your right hand upholds me.” Salvation brings the ‘heavenly’ to us, and its ‘strength’ in upholding us, not ‘letting us down’, is also from God’s Right Hand, as in Psalms, 20, 6-7= “heaven with saving holy strength, the saving of his right hand”, and “the mighty deeds of the victory of his right hand.”

This delimits what Salvation does, and what it cannot do. Salvation works on the Right side of things.

Salvation is never called ‘the Left Hand, or Left Arm, of God.’

Never is it said that ‘Salvation works in two different ways, not just the one.’

Salvation works in only one manner, ‘the Right Handed Way.’

The Left Hand, or Left Arm, of God is not named as such, because we fear the Daemonic God, and desire the Eros of God. The Jews hope for Salvation, as an alternative to being forced into the Way of Redemption.

This is because Salvation is easier, and Redemption is harder.

It can be said that in Saving, God is an adult, not childish, Rescuer; a friend in need is a friend indeed. Salvation is enabling. But in Redeeming, God is Not A Rescuer, childish or adult.. The Redeemer undergoes something suffering, and deep, and empowers us to accept and undergo it as he does, as a Daemonic Fate that cannot be escaped.

Saving takes us out of, and puts us above; redeeming throws us in, and brings us through.

Redemption goes deeper into the human dilemma, to do something with humanity’s tragedy that Salvation cannot do. The tragedy in humanity is a fathomless depth, a fathomless abyss, where the Light cannot go. There is an evil stronghold, and evil refuge, an evil ‘rooting’ in this depth, in this abyss, which Light can neither reach, nor undo. Only Fire can reach it, only Fire can undo it.

But to go this deep into us, the Fire must suffer in a new and radical way. The Light does not have to suffer in this way to raise, to lift, to exalt, to heighten us, out of sin. But the human tragedy is deeper than sin, because it is the cause of sin, and sin is only its effect. To get to the real root, to get to the underlying cause, heaven cannot just bring the earthly and the worldly up to its felicity. It has to plunge down into, to suffer and bear and undergo, the infelicity, lodged in the root of us, at the basis of us. This plunge down and down is undertaken not by the Light of God, but by the Fire of God.

It is what the heavenly must bear and endure, what it must suffer, the cost it must pay, to go into hell and undercut evil at root, which is the Cross of Jesus the Christ, the new power of the Messianic Mystery which is a Reversal of everything humanity believes in as powerful, religiously or secularly. This is the Messianic Mystery in the 4 Slave Songs of Isaiah.

Salvation= Logos, Light. [The light that enlightens every man who comes into the world, though when it entered the world in Yeshua, ‘his own knew him not.’]

Redemption= Spirit, Fire. [The fire that Yeshua, speaking as the Mashiach, said he came to ignite in humanity, yet knowing it was not yet sparked, sadly wished it could already be burning.]

Salvation= humans are given the Light innately, before they are born.
Redemption= humans will only acquire the Fire in time.

Salvation= Logos primary, Spirit secondary.
Redemption= Spirit primary, Logos secondary.

Hence, Jesus is sufficient for Salvation.

But, Christ Jesus is necessary to Redemption.

Salvation= heaven come to earth; the earth is heightened.
Redemption= the heaven only revealed in hell; heaven is deepened.

There is a final reason, the most significant of all, why Redemption is necessary where Salvation stops.

Salvation, though inherently all inclusive, never the less always, by its very nature and very function, must include and exclude. It succeeds in some people, but in many more people, it fails. Only Redemption succeeds with each and every human being. Redemption was foreseen as needed by God, because Yahweh is the God of the living, and will not allow the devil’s ways to kill any one of his creatures, even the most broken– especially the most broken. Salvation baulks at real evil in its real depth. Only Redemption takes evil on, and defeats it, where it takes root, in the abysses of the human heart meant to carry the divine heart.

Salvation is the second of God’s Ways, and Redemption is the first of God’s Ways, because Yahweh the merciful, the gambler, Yahweh the humble and the bold, will not leave a single creature of his in hell.

Salvation saves some and abandons to profound hell many more.

This either/or is what Redemption overcomes and ends.

God will not leave a single creature of his in hell.

This is the Messianic Mystery operative in Redemption.

4,

[A] The Limitation of Salvation and the Limitlessness of Redemption

Salvation aims to reach and encompass the whole human being, and to reach and encompass the whole people not only of Israel but also of the entire world ‘to the ends of the earth’ [Isaiah, 49, 6]. There is no doubt that Salvation is at source open to each and every person, and thus meant to be non-exclusionary.

But Salvation inevitably fails in its intention to be all inclusive. Redemption is a stronger remedy for the deeper and more fundamental level of the human problem, the cause rather than the effect. Salvation takes us out of sin, the effect of the deeply lodged problem, but it does not, and cannot, even tackle, much less overcome, the problem’s cause. Only Redemption overcomes the problem at its root, where it takes root, in a way and with a power that can uproot the problem once and for all. It uncouples the depth of the human condition from evil, from the power and influence, the intimidation and seduction, the trickery and deception, of evil.

Thus, only Redemption, and not Salvation, is all-inclusive, and non-exclusionary.

Salvation aims to be but is not universal. Redemption is truly universal, because in redeeming, it is God himself who goes far down into the deeps of the human condition, in its fundamental tragedy. To do anything about the human tragedy, God must join it in a radical way, letting it affect, curtail, afflict, the divine as it does the human. In the old theological language, ‘what is not assumed’ cannot be redeemed. God has to assume the human tragedy, to redeem it. Thus there is a profound sense in which, in redeeming, God shares our grief and failure, and ‘takes’ our disappointment in and anger toward the God who allowed this to befall us. In one sense, the human tragedy is our choice and our making. In another, equal sense, the human tragedy is inescapable, inevitable, given the way things are primally set up by God. It is set up not just to ‘go wrong’, as the moralist diminishes the tragic dimension to his puny scale, but to ‘fall down’, to not hold its ground, to give way at the foundation in the abyss.

Consequently it is not enough that God be the Mosaic kind of Good Shepherd who saves the sheep from peril, by putting them safe and secure in a pen, and closing it against ‘thieves and robbers.’ Rather, God must be the Davidic Good Shepherd who is prepared to die for his sheep [John, 10], and even be ‘shorn’ like one of the sheep, as it says in the 4 Slave Songs of Isaiah, for the Messianic king must identify with their brokenness, and embrace their tragic condition, to really change this hellish state from within. Dostoyevsky points out that if the helping one stands above and outside what torments the helped one, they cannot help them redemptively, for all the redeemer evokes in those needing redeeming is hurt pride, envy, resentment. The Redeemer must really share the terrible condition of those needing redeeming. The Saviour always stands outside and above the condition of those in need of saving, and just offers them a ladder to haul them ‘up’ and ‘out’ of what imperils them. This does not work for redeeming. The Redeemer has to plunge down, and in, accepting voluntarily to become affected by what those crying out for redeeming are inescapably affected by.

The Redeemer enters the afflicted deep condition freely, and therefore as an act of supreme love. But once in it, the Redeemer must be afflicted by it for real. When Yeshua cries “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”, he experiences and undergoes the ‘divine abandonment’ common to all human beings at the deepest, and he does this as a Redeemer, not as a Saviour.

Christ on the Cross= this is Redemption.

Though the Jews had never confronted the Roman punishment of crucifixion, and therefore it does not figure in the prophets as a symbol of the price the Redeemer must pay, in his own blood, to redeem humanity in their entirety, never the less, the Cross is the embodiment of what the Messiah who is the ‘Suffering Servant’ must pass through in his coming as a king who is treated like a servant. Yeshua the Mashiach echoes the portrait of the kingship of the Messiah in Isaiah, when he says he has come to serve, and not to be served. Indeed, the Messianic Calling in Isaiah, and the Messianic Calling that Jesus is blessed by God at the Jordan River to bear, enact, and fulfil, are exactly the same. The Messiah is the ‘slave’ of God, and because he remains true to this, he is also the ‘slave’ of humanity. This is a different leadership, a different kingship, from that exemplified by Moses; it is a leadership, a kingship, that starts in David and climaxes in the Suffering Servant of Isaiah. This king not only dies for the people, but also is reversed for the people, losing his superiority and assuming their inferiority, losing his validity and assuming their invalidity, numbered among the criminals, the no good and the hopeless.

Let it be put starkly.

No Cross is needed by any Saviour, whether God, or a human representative of God. If Salvation sufficed for humanity, no Cross would ever have been required. There is not even a hint of a Cross in Salvation oriented Judaism. There is no Cross in any other religion that is primarily concerned with saving. The Cross only occurs, foreshadowed and prefigured, in the Four Slave Songs of Isaiah, and in the Psalms of David [21, 17-19; 68, 22]. Then it happens for real in the life of Jesus the Christ. This is why Yeshua is the Mashiach.

All that saving asks from the Saviour is to give generously, to share freely, and thus to open up the Divine Goodness to all who thirst for it, graciously, gratuitously, ‘gratis’ [without reason, without ulterior motive]. ‘If he asks for your shirt, give him your coat as well.’ Luke, 3, 10-11= “He who has two cloaks, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” Mathew, 5, 40-42= “If he compels you to walk a mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who asks you.”

In short, the saving activity ‘offers’ its riches to the poverty, the lack, which registers its deprivation of abundance in yearning for ‘the better life.’ The Saviour only has to engage in ‘beneficence’, giving from the Well of Goodness. But since this wellspring dries up when it is meanly limited, or meanly measured out in small portions, and goes on over-flowing when it is poured out without limit, without measure, then the Giving that saves never runs out. You may have to give the last money in your pocket to the beggar on the street who needs it more, yet in the ultimate, ‘great will be the heavenly recompense’ for earthly losses incurred in salvational activities. In Salvation, those who give unstintingly on the earthly plane are, over the longer run, unstintingly given to by the heavenly plane. So, ‘seek God first, and all the other things will be added to you’..

Neither God, nor any human, engaged in saving has to assume the problem their salvational activity will alleviate.

It is Christ on the Cross that reveals Redemption as so different to Salvation. Different in the predicament it addresses, different in the depth of that predicament it reaches, different in the cost it must pay and the wound it must suffer to plunge down that deep, different in the power it exercises through that cost and through that suffering to affect the dire condition it has entered, and change it from within its direst abyss.

Redemption= The Cross, Descent Into Hell, and Resurrection, of Yeshua the Mashiach.

Salvation by its very nature cannot, and does not, ‘save’ us from the human tragedy; the human tragedy can only be redeemed.

Salvation raises the soul out of the deadness of sin, and it lifts up the mind beyond the blindness of sin; the soul lives again, the mind sees again. But the drum beat of the heart remains stilled.

God requires the heart.

This is why Redemption, as the more costly but more powerful remedy for the regaining of the heart from evil, and the heart’s enflaming with the Spirit of Fire, was pre-established by Yahweh for humanity even before the world began. Redemption is the ‘Blood of the Lamb.’ This atones for sin, in its damage to the heart ground upon which we all stand, affecting and affected by each other, damaging and being damaged by one another; but it does more than atoning. More importantly, it uncovers the way through everything in the world ‘designed’ to stop heart passion, and to cause it to ‘fall down’, such that the heroic in humanity is reborn in the very midst of its failure in the world’s narrow straits; the heroic is reforged in the hell of its futility in the face of the evil running the world.

Salvation is bloodless. It is a Gift, but not a Sacrifice. It is an ‘offering’ from the self, but not a ‘giving away’ of the very self. Salvation offers the riches of the self, Redemption gives away the blood of the self.

Redemption reveals the heart of God, Salvation reveals the mind and soul of God.

Salvation is the phallic light impregnating and fructifying the fertile watery soul of creation, bringing it to fruition.

Redemption is a deeper and darker drama. The Blood of the Lamb is spilled, to re-ignite the blood of the heart, its passion, and to make the blood of the heart, its passion, Fire Bearing.

Redemption was in God’s heart before he made the creation. Redemption anticipates what humanity will do in the world, and provides the way through it, to a far side. To redeem the world means the world comes good in the end; the investment God puts in it pays off. At the Last Supper, Yeshua prays to Yahweh, about the disciples, in John, 17, 15= “I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from [falling to the] evil.” Let them come through. In redeeming, we have to go through and come through the hell overpowering the deeps to the heaven only operative in its kingship tested and proved in that hell. Such is the Descent into Hell that the Cross makes possible, and such is the Resurrection only won from the Descending into Hell.

Redemption’s undergoing and passing through to the other side, in the depth, is anticipated in David’s toils and tumults of heart. Thus, Psalms, 66, 10-12= “For you, O God, have proved us: you have tried us, as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid affliction upon our loins; you have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but you brought us out into a fruitful place.”

When Yeshua, in the Last Supper, identifies himself with Isaiah’s Suffering Servant, the reality that only Redemption reveals the depth of God’s heart is clearly declared. Yeshua reveals the mystery of Redemption to his befuddled and resistant followers who cannot really yet bear these things. God is often merciful toward what we can take, bringing the easier things to us prior to bringing the harder things. Thus do we slowly but surely grow into ‘all truth.’ None the less, on this occasion Yeshua is speaking to all the generations of humanity, for all time. What he says is urgent, for his Cross is looming. Soon he will be in The Room of No Exit, and from there he will either buckle and fall, as humanity did primordially, or he will go on from that place where all the options run out, to take on what humanity put down primordially, lifting the weight we cannot carry, suffering the wound we cannot endure.

The saving person, like an advanced monastic, has peace in their core, and however life rages round them, the raging stays at their periphery. The Redeemer instigating redeeming is not like this at all. He is in The Room Of No Exit, and in this moment and in this place, humanity’s deepest raging down in the heart comes up into his core, and has to be taken on, or fled from. The storm is not moving round him, at his periphery, but is in his core, because in this moment and in this place, the storm cannot be evaded; it is right in your face, and so your heart has to face up to its tragedy, or be utterly defeated by it.

This is why Yeshua has to speak of the coming storm, what it will do to him as Redeemer, and how this will begin redeeming as a process for all of humanity. In depicting himself as the Good Shepherd, Yeshua reveals many mysteries previously latent, or simply never conveyed. He is the Good Shepherd, the leader, the king, in the tradition of David, not the Good Shepherd in the tradition of Moses. Moses is the Good Shepherd of Salvation. Yeshua is the Good Shepherd of Redemption. He describes himself unambiguously as in the line of the Davidic Good Shepherd which culminates in the Suffering Servant of Isiah. Thus Yeshua says he is the Good Shepherd who will ‘lay down his life’, dying a voluntary death, for the sheep whom he loves [John, 10, 11-18]. Paradoxically, it is his dying that brings ‘life to the full’ [John, 10, 10; 11, 15; 17-18]. This dying ‘for’ those imprisoned in the death and hell of the heart is what reveals the heart of God in action towards humanity. Therefore, this death is what will draw all human beings towards Yeshua the Messiah [John, 12, 32], for it is an admirable, heroic death, a death that manifests the supreme love. There is no love greater than laying down your life for your friends and enemies no different. This demonstrates the ‘great heartedness’ of God. As one commentator puts it, Yeshua’s ‘obedience unto death’ is more than any martyr’s death; it is because Yeshua was in the ‘form’ of God’s Messiah that he poured himself out and laid down his life [Philippians, 2, 6-8]. In Yeshua’s dying we behold the terror and beauty, the glory and grief, the fathomless deeps, of God’s heart, freely sacrificed for the sake of humanity.

Thus, the death of Yeshua the Messiah is what decisively, and finally, tests and proves that God ‘is’ love [1 John, 3, 16]. For, love is the laying down of life, by he who loves, that others can live. In Yeshua we look upon the divine heart, and what we look upon moves us. In reality, as Kierkegaard points out, it offends us. The Cross reminds people of their own vulnerability, which has undermined, and brought to ruin, their passion of heart. They do not want to be reminded of this calamity by a God who is vulnerable for their sake. This divine vulnerability, which is mysteriously free of and subject to our human vulnerability, is exactly what people are shaken by and brought to tears over in the Cross of the Messiah, yet it is also, at the same time, what they most rebuke God for, and demand of God, why couldn’t you have set it up differently?

To this anger, to this sorrow, in the human heart, God makes no reply. God is silent to our agony. He will not make it different. It is what it is. Redemption is the ‘way through’, and that is the only answer, the only end to God’s silence. Even when Yeshua entered The Room Of No Exit in the garden of Gethsemane, he asked God to excuse him from taking on the burden of the Redeemer. ‘If this Cup of blood can pass, let it pass; but if not, then I will drink it to its bitter dregs.’ After he accepts ‘not mine, but thy will be done’ to Yahweh, and the crisis had past, Yeshua goes forth unreservedly to his Destiny, having accepted the Daemonic Fate that must befall the Slave of God in order for him to redeem all humanity from the slavery that holds them fast, unremittingly.

It becomes more clear, then, why Salvation, so generously giving at origin, becomes ‘either/or’, so dualistic, in its impact on humanity. Grace comes freely and over-flowing to those who receive it, and respond to it; but to those who reject it, the ‘wicked’, it ‘threatens destruction’ [Isaiah, 1]. David — whose Psalms sometimes focus upon Salvation and other times focus upon Redemption — equates Salvation with God’s ‘face’, and he too is subject to the divine wrath in which God turns away his face, as in Psalms, 27, 9= “Hide not your face far from me; put not your servant away in anger: you have been my help, leave me not, don’t forsake me, O God of my salvation.” God’s anger threatens to remove Salvation, as in Psalms, 85, 4-6= “..O God of our salvation, cause your anger toward us to cease. Will you be angry with us for ever? ..Will you not make us live again, so that your people may rejoice in you?” God’s opposition toward sin which is not repented of remains fiercely implacable [John, 3, 36].

Two things, in inter-action, mean that Salvation always ends up exclusionary, dividing sheep and goats. In Redemption, everyone is a goat, and redeeming turns goats not into docile sheep, but into Lambs and Lions of God.

[a] On the one hand, not everyone can be saved.

Such is the heaviness of the tragedy pulling us down, and such is the pain of the tragedy taking away our ground, it is not possible for many people to turn toward the light and life that saves in trust and faith; they may even feel resentment at something ‘authentically better’ than what they are caught up in, and so they may positively turn away from anything pointing toward ‘good things.’ From genes, through cultural background, to the traumas of growing up, with all the social and psychological damage that gets woven into us as part and parcel of our very sense of identity, there are countless reasons why people cannot be saved. Saving drops down a rope to a drowning man, yet he may feel unable to grasp it, much less haul himself up it. ‘God helps those who help themselves’ is the favourite facile remark of those who think they are fine and well, but whose hearts are not far short of Satanic; what of those who cannot help themselves? What of those in death, in hell, falling endlessly into the abyss, who cannot respond one jot to the helping ‘hand up’ of Salvation? What of those who are really defunct, in unremitting failure of spirit and brokenness of heart?

This is all of us, if you go deep. Some of us, a relative few, can come up out of the waters for air. These are the children of Light. Even if traditions call these people saints, or enlightened, they are not reborn in heart. They are benign, charitable, calmed and collected people, yet they are not redeemed. They are not fiery in love. The saved hark back to Paradise, but the redeemed belong to the Age to Come, the End Time, the Inauguration of the Messianic Kingdom. We know from our past what saved people are like. We do not really know yet what redeemed people are like. We get indications.. The redeeming in the ground of the heart, which will drive the redeeming of the ground of the world, is coming. This will be the children of Fire.

[b] On the other hand, God cannot ‘compromise’ over the fullness of Salvation, or let it be ‘diluted’ by sin.

God cannot allow a diminishing of Salvation’s Gift, by ‘tolerating’ sin. Liberals think this a lack of kindness by God, a harshness toward human weakness, or even a retaliation against human refusal to bow down. It is nothing like that. It is ontological. God is Light, God is Life; if we cling to darkening, if we cling to deadening, we cannot be ‘in’ the Light and Life. We put ourselves ‘out’ of it. Thus, even if you were in heaven, you would not enjoy it, because your world would remain dark and dead in the midst of all the heavenly wonders.

[B] The Primitive Roots of Redeeming

During the long sojourn in Egypt, the Jews had lapsed from the faith of Abraham and therefore God must revive what had been submerged under so much exotic but debilitating cultural, political, religious, over-lay.. God renews the First Covenant, and its promise to the Jews, in Exodus, 6, 2-6= “And God spoke to Moses, and said, I am Yahweh. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by the name of Elohim, God of Armies, but by my name Yahweh was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, where they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel.. Wherefore, say.., I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm..”

Not only Salvation but also Redemption are involved in the renewing of the promise by God, no doubt because both are inherent to the covenantal relationship, though for once it is Salvation that is implicitly hinted at, and Redemption that is explicitly mentioned. This anticipates things to come. Salvation is ‘bringing you out from under the burdens of’, whilst Redemption is ‘riding you of your bondage.’

Only Redemption can overcome the heart’s deep love of evil, and make this hard stone the flint for kindling the fire of deep love for God. But that is not yet.. It is sufficient that, through Moses, the Jews get out from under the suffocation of an alien way of living that blocks their access to the Salvation of the Promised Land, the Good Land of Milk and Honey. In Egypt they are in a spiritual desert, a ‘famished land.’

There is no link between the name of Moses, and Mashiach, the Messiah, who is the Redeemer and King of Israel, and the entire world, from beginning to end. Chronologically, Salvation is the prelude to Redemption, and Redemption is the crown of Salvation. The real victory of the long journey and arduous battle is Redemption. The whole creation, not only humanity but also the animals, ‘groan inwardly’ for the completion of Redemption [Romans, 8, 23].

When it says Jesus the Christ came by ‘water and blood’, water is Salvation, blood is Redemption. “This is the one who came by water and blood. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood” [1 John, 5, 6]. 1 Peter, 1, 18-20, puts it simply and starkly= “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty life [abysmally empty, vacuous, groundless] handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these.. times for your sake.” John the Baptist, at their first meeting, recognises Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God ‘who was before me’ [John, 1, 29-30].

By being ‘perfect’ in the manner of Salvation, the Messiah has no sin, for he is not himself fallen down in the human tragedy. None the less, his humanity, his heart, is such that he will accept his innocence to be convicted by that of which we are guilty, the mud and blood from our human despair will be thrown at him, and he will be besmirched. The Messiah is made dirty, losing the cleanliness of Salvation, in order to redeem those lying in the dust, unable to get up, morally and existentially. This part of humanity, in each and every one of us, is ‘beyond saving’; that is why its tragedy must be redeemed, and redeeming asks so much from the agent of redeeming. The Redeemer gives himself. He holds nothing back, and possesses nothing more.

To touch the human tragedy with divine power, we must allow the human tragedy to touch us with human power. “In all their affliction, he was afflicted” [Isaiah, 63, 9].

The Davidic leadership leads on to and climaxes in the leadership of the Messiah in the Four Slave Songs of Isaiah, the king who dies for his people, is repudiated by them, is disbelieved by them, is humiliated by them, to join their forsakenness, their invalidation, their humiliation, so as to redeem them from its prison.

Yeshua is a Saviour, though his Salvation exceeds that granted through Moses, since he taps directly into God’s Grace in his very being. ‘God saves’ names his being as the Son of God. But Yeshua is secondarily a Saviour, and primarily the Redeemer and King, the Messiah. Paradoxically, this more radical and profounder title of Christ is what makes him the ‘Son of Man.’ For much of his ministry, he enlightens, heals, does miracles, as a Saviour. Once he enters Jerusalem on a donkey, ‘the game is up’, the alternatives fast run out, and he is soon in The Room of No Exit. The Last Supper points to it, and symbolically anticipates it. The Cross embraces it. In The Room of No Exit there is only one door, and it opens on Golgotha.

Redemption, not Salvation, is “God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our honouring before time began. None of the rulers [leaders, kings] of this age understood it.. But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” [1 Corinthians, 2, 7-10]. Redemption, not Salvation, is the deep things of God and the deep things of humanity.

But all such hidden matters have a primitive beginning..

There seem to be in Hebrew five root terms that refer, in different aspects, to the action of redeeming, how the redeemed are dynamically changed, the role of the redeemer, and what the redeemer must give= ga’al, goel, geullah; padah; kapar.

“For the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and he gave his life as a ransom for many” [Mark, 10, 45; Mathew, 20, 28]; this description of Yeshua the Redeemer of humanity brings into play all of these metaphors, though it also expands upon their archaic foundation.

[1] Ga’al= the Hebrew word [verb] for ‘redeeming’, as an action.

Originally, to redeem was ‘to restore someone to their prior, good, state’ — by virtue of paying a price to release them from their enslavement.

Therefore, redeeming referred to two closely related things.

[a] Redeeming is the bringing of someone in bondage — not just outer captivity and oppression, but more hindering, inner slavery and imprisonment – out of that bereft, forsaken, abandoned, state of affairs, by virtue of the redeemer paying a ‘ransom’ for them, which was usually money, but could be an animal, or something else of serious value. Sometimes money could be paid to deliver a person from death [Exodus, 21, 30; Numbers, 3, 46-51; 18, 16; Psalms, 49, 7-9].

[b] This is, for the redeemed, a release, not just the outer freedom to do anything or everything, the freedom ‘from’, but the freedom ‘for’ living in a new way, the inward freedom to act, again, from the truest personhood that had been paralysed through enslavement. The action of the redeemer frees the enslaved, so they can ‘return to an original and truer state.’

It is clear that [b] is dependent upon [a].

None the less, in discussions of redeeming, [a] is often considered without reference to [b]. One commentator thought that redeeming ‘is just salvation with a cost attached to it.’ This is a basic mistake. Redeeming is an outer action, but it penetrates deeper inside the redeemed. Their release is not just outer, but is inner. Redeeming is more than paying for the deliverance, it is also a release for the delivered. What is released? This is key. Redeeming is coming out of prison to become the royal personhood of the heart you were created as, but had given up on, a long time ago.

Saving does not go that deep, to what is released via redemption, whether it pays a costly price or, as is usual, pays no costly price. Our own ‘hidden man of heart’, our own Messianic inclination, is released in our being redeemed. The saved are charitable in love, the redeemed are passionate in love.

The first redemptive action I am aware of ever receiving from someone close, that made a difference, happened early in my life. At a moment of crisis, and despair, early on in my 20s, I confessed my trouble to a close friend. We were both experimenting as artists. We encouraged each other’s work. On this occasion, he had brought a new black and white visionary drawing to show me. I had liked it and praised him, encouraging him to continue. The drawing was on a table where we were both seated. Suddenly — after I had finished telling him my despair, and he had sat with me in silence for a time, knowing there was nothing he could say that would not be trite — he leaned over, took hold of his drawing, and lit it on fire with his cigarette lighter. I tried to stop him, but he would not let me. Again we stared at each other in silence, no words adequate to this communication. And in the midst of my horror watching his beautiful drawing turn to black ashes on the table, his deed got to my heart. I understood the meaning. I took courage, as his action intended. All I could mumble was a curtailed ‘thanks.’ His sacrifice told me I could go on..

The Hebrew letters for ga’al, gimmel, aleph, and lamed, tell the story of the way in which redeeming changes the person redeemed, in their core. Thus, ‘gimmel’ means ‘to restore to pride’, or ‘raise to self-respect’; ‘aleph’ means ‘the first, the primal’; ‘lamed’ means ‘the guide.’ Or to put it less literally, to restore to the primal ‘image of God’, to restore to our primal strength and true ground for respect.

Before redeeming occurs, the human heart is defunct. After redeeming is accomplished, the heart is free at last to do its action, to take on its job, to fulfil its mission, in and for the world. The restoration is more fundamental and far-reaching than ‘sin no more’, being made whole, being healed, being sanctified, being enlightened and enlivened.. Yes, all that is good, very good; yet, it is not the fire of love that only the heart can become the furnace for forging.

[2] Goel= The Hebrew word [noun] for ‘redeemer’, as the agent of the action.

Originally, the redeemer was ‘the person who takes on the duty of releasing one’s blood relation from bondage by the payment of a price.’

Therefore, without the redeemer’s active and cost-paying role, those in need of redeeming would remain unendingly stuck in calamitous distress.

The redeemer, or goel, ‘buys back’ the freedom of his kin, a freedom lost through debt. In olden times, this deed would fall to the near kin, hence the ‘redeemer-kinsman’ [the story of Ruth is a telling example of such a role]. This speaks of the redeemer feeling a closeness, a brotherly or sisterly love, for the redeemed ones. All part of a clan, a tribe, a common blood family. The kin relation is closer than saving-saved, more intimate, more friendly, more ‘bound together unbreakably.’ It might be argued that saving needs no covenantal relationship to work. After all, God saved Noah and all the animals without there being any agreed covenant between Yahweh, or Elohim, and this man of ‘faithfulness’ [Genesis, 45, 7-9]. Job, who was not a Jew and hence not part of the First Covenant, begins his story as a good man, living the good life. He is saved, naturally. He does not seem to have any intimate relation with Yahweh before his ordeal begins; his faith in God’s Goodness, and exemplary way of life, is sufficient to reap the harvest of the good things of Salvation. It is only when the Daemonic God allows Satan to lay his garden to waste that Job breaks through to the mystery of redeeming.

The promise of God to humanity in the covenantal binding seems, then, more in the foreknowing of the need for Redemption.

Another primitive meaning of the role of redeemer was that, in certain circumstances, he was the ‘blood avenger’ who defended his kin so fiercely, if one of them were to be killed, then this evil deed would be repaid by the redeemer-kinsman killing its perpetrator [Deuteronomy, 19, 6]. Though certain of the laws that crept into Deuteronomy long after the time of Moses, and do not come from the hand of Moses, are said by Yahweh to have been given to the Jews ‘because of the hardness of your heart’, the responsibility of avenging ‘blood for blood’ is different.

This is really the calling of the redeemer to be a warrior, and to take the fight to the evil one. Yahweh will not stand idly by as evil ravages the human venture. The Messiah brings a Sword of truth, and without it, the Cross of sacrifice loses its power and wisdom. The truth and sacrifice of love has a formidable enemy. We are in a real fight to the finish.

Stressing the Cross as a non-retaliation to evil, so as to avoid the Sword, is false to the paradox. Stressing the Sword as a crusading zealotry against evil, so as to avoid the Cross, is false to the paradox. We must fight evil’s Lie to the last breath, yet sacrifice is what defeats evil’s Power.

The paradox is, the ultimate Fighter is the one who makes the ultimate Sacrifice.

To redeem also means ‘to tear loose.’ This is a violent action. It is not for the faint hearted, nor for the temperamentally pacific. The kingdom of heaven is ‘taken by men of violence.’ A Bob Dylan song articulates its spirit= “Don’t scare easy when I’m under the gun.” The redeemer is ‘under the gun’ of evil, and does not back off. He meets it head on, in heart to heart combat.

[3] Geullah= the ‘right of redemption’, and ‘the price of redemption.’

Though fallen into tragedy, God’s primordial promise to redeem us remains operative, it has not been forfeited [Leviticus, 25, 48]. However, this redeeming of us is going to be costly for the one doing it. The ransom, though initially money, will finally become one’s own blood, one’s own life. The sacrifice of the redeemer becomes the ransom, the key, that unlocks those needing redeeming from their jail. Over time, the ransom’s price is understood to increase in moral and existential cost, meaning the redeemer gives of themselves to redeem the forsaken.

[4] Padah= a ‘ransom’, or ‘to ransom.’

Such a ransom ‘substitutes’ for the person in dire trouble; in this way, they get out of a bind, a legally fixed obligation which is severely onerous, by someone giving something for them ‘instead.’ The redeemer makes a voluntary substitution for the person in difficulty [Jeremiah, 31, 11; Hosea, 13, 14].

[5] Kapar= to ‘cover’, as in covering over sins.

From this comes atoning for sins, seeking to make things better after they have gone wrong. This covering of, or atoning for, sin also involves the payment of a ransom; the variant ‘koper’ signifies a price paid for a life that has become forfeit [Exodus, 21, 30; 30, 11-16].

That sin should be ‘covered’ in atoning has a deeper significance.

[a] On the one hand, it has the meaning of ‘I have that covered.’ The problem is being taken care of, not left to linger and fester. The injury in the fabric of human inter-relations is being addressed, and something is being done about it, to repair the rent. If this ‘making better’ of a wrong state of affairs between people is not done — and obviously it needs the honest confession that wrong has been committed — then the persons involved cannot come together again, but fall apart more and more, doing fresh damage to one and all, with the damage rippling out from its source to harm wider and wider circles of existence. This is the rationale of the old truth, if one is wronged, then everyone is wronged. We are not discrete moral units. What we do that is destructive, and fail to do that is creative, has a wide effect, because we are bound together in a complex network of relationships..

Making reparation, on an individual scale, might work perfectly well, since perhaps, by a sacrificial action, I can give you something of mine that makes up for what I took away from you by my unrighteous action. In this way, sacrifice tries to make amends for departures from and failures of righteousness. But, to atone gets harder and harder, over time, as more and more people are affected, as human affairs get ever more complexly inter-connected. In the end, everyone ends up a debtor to others, for which of us has not done wrong and harmed other people, thereby harming the life we all share in a community? Indeed, everyone ends up in debt, and unable to pay, unable by any sacrifice of their own to repair things. When the Messiah atones for everyone, as it says in Isaiah’s 4 Slave Songs, he takes on this debt of everyone toward everyone, and because God’s love is in this sacrificial deed, he removes the collective debt by accepting its consequences to him alone, and forgiving all of them; forgiving both those we owe but cannot repay, and those who owe us but cannot repay. Because of this deed of atoning redemption, we become indebted to the Messiah for ending the power of the mutual debt we are all in to one another to poison all human inter-action. As we are forgiven, so we are asked to forgive. If you owe 50 coins to someone, and they make it so you do not have to repay, which redeems you from the prison of debt, allowing you a new life beyond its cold calculation of who did what to whom, then you can hardly go to a person who owes you 5 coins and demand ‘accounts be settled’ immediately, or else you will get them thrown into jail..

If God does not keep score, and can forgive, as the gateway into a redeemed situation for all parties to it, then neither should we be keeping score. Much inner work is required to forgive and be forgiven: honest acknowledgement of ‘iniquities’, done by us and done to us, as well as grieving over hurts received and sorrowing over hurts done, and willingness to accept change, not just the reform of outer action, but change in the heart’s inner inclination..

[b] On the other hand, to atone as ‘covering’ sins has the meaning of not wanting to hold people to their wrongs, rubbing their faces in their moral and spiritual failures. In the Near Eastern Desert tradition of Eastern Christianity [400 AD], there is the aim of ‘covering the sin of the brother’, so as not to humiliate him, expose him, or provoke the hurt pride that would make him want to defend himself as not in error, but entirely right. In extremis, to atone means to ‘cover over’ people’s sins by giving away your merit to them and taking on their sins as if you had done them. This atoning is not understood by many people, because we are so judgemental, so moralistic, so quick to excuse ourself and blame someone else.. To cover the brother’s sin, to throw a cloak over it, is the opposite of wanting it publically declared, so he can be publically pilloried..

This does not mean that the evil which loves darkness, because it fears exposure in and rebuke by the light, can be allowed to go on hiding in darkness [John, 3, 17-21]. Truth must break in on spiritual evil, especially when it uses a mask of respectability, or even uprightness, to conceal its works.

[C] The ‘Obligation’ of Redeeming

The situation in need of redeeming in the Jewish Bible is= one person is in the power of another person, and are unable to win their own release. A third person, outside the oppressive conjunction of the two wherein one is jailer and the other is jailed, appears, and this person is able to effect the release of the latter from the former.

There is, then, [a] those needing redeeming; [b] the action that redeems them; [c] the agent who performs the action; [d] the ransom the agent must pay. Any careful examination of these elements will show that redeeming is, as an activity, very different from the activity of saving.

[a] Those needing redeeming are in a worse ‘captivity’; [b] the action that frees them from that captivity and returns them to their real innate calling is costlier, starting with something we value and ending as our own blood, our own life, given in sacrifice; [c] the agent who does the action is more giving, indeed at the extreme of making sacrifice, he is laying down his life for the other, and no love is more radical; [d] the ransom paid, or given, by the redeemer is therefore the most valuable thing he has to give, his very heart’s blood.

The redeemed are, as in Psalms, 35, 10= “..the ransomed of Yahweh”, for only God can truly and lovingly pay such a price, and when we pay it, we can only do so in the name and power of God.

This has a further meaning, which seems to support the claim that the covenant between God and the Jews is mainly, if not exclusively, established in respect of Redemption. For, God vows himself, or promises to the Jews, that he will redeem them, when they come to desperately need it. This First Covenant ‘ties’ God to the Jews and the Jews to God, unbreakably. God has an obligation toward Israel [Psalms, 25, 22] and hence a claim upon Israel [Deuteronomy, 15, 15]. The Redeemer ‘pays for’, and therefore now ‘owns’, those he ransomed with his blood; they are ‘his’, not belonging to themselves any more.

Isaiah, 43, 1= “But now thus says Yahweh who created you, O Jacob, and he that formed you, O Israel. Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine.”

The redeeming is undertaken by the redeemer because the redeemed are his blood kin, or he regards them as like near relatives. They are dear to him, so he will pay dearly to get them released from what is vitiating them.

‘You are dear to me’, the redeemer says to those crying out for redeeming, ‘and when I have redeemed you, I will have demonstrated just how dear you are; for you will be my people, I will call you by name, we will be close, as if we shared the same blood like relatives.’

The redeemer is saying, ‘I will not forsake you, abandon you, leave you bereft, in hell.’ The redeemer purchases their deliverance by giving himself as payment for their redeeming [Ephesians, 1, 7; 1 Peter, 1, 18; 1 Timothy, 2, 5-6].

Redeeming is paradoxical. It is given for the sake of those who cannot help themselves one jot, nor even respond to the Gift of Salvation when offered to them. Redeeming seizes hold of us fearfully, aggressively, it overwhelms us, but in dragging the human heart not ‘out’ of hell, but ‘through’ hell, to the other side, it reforges and reignites our defunct flame in that process of journey and battle, and so we come alive in its grip, and react to its summons.

In this way, it can be said the covenantal obligation works both ways, and does not remove freedom, and choice, on the part of humanity. In fact, Redemption does not just recover the primal Image of God in us, rather, it creates newly the beginning of the Likeness to God that, only as the redeemed, we will become.

We walk toward Holiness. We become Christ-like.

Isaiah, 62, 12= “And they will be called, the holy people. The redeemed of Yahweh; and you will be called, ‘sought out.’ A city not forsaken.”

[D] The ‘Adversary’ of Redeeming

If we are saved from sin for Sacredness, then we are redeemed for Holiness by passing through the deeps of the heart where evil’s hold on us is so firmly fixed. The very appeal of evil to the heart is revealed, at source, in its ‘basic error’ — its error as a basis for the heart. Thus does the heart ‘convert’ from evil’s way to the Way of God, embracing truth and love from its deep ground ‘whole heartedly.’ The redeemed heart is singular, no longer conflicted.

The paradox is, Redemption takes on a deeper adversary of humanity, yet by coming through this to the far shore, Redemption brings humanity into the fiery Holiness of God.

Redeeming locks horns with the implacable adversary of the human heart, the very spirit of evil, the devil who is Prince of This World. This is not some vague negativity floating in the atmosphere. The devil is intensely personal, a pure spiritual hatred directed at each and every human being, and remorselessly intent upon the annihilation of the ‘human gamble’ taken by God. For, God created the human heart as the throne-chariot of his own heart, deep to deep, abyss to abyss, fire to fire. The ‘enemy’ opposed to the human heart, offended by it, in permanent accusation of it for never acting ‘up to standard’, is challenged in Redemption. This final battle for the human heart does not happen in saving, but it is the key, the core theme, in redeeming. It is the mystery withheld until the 4 Slave Songs of Isaiah.

Not surprisingly, the ‘hinderer’ opposes the Messianic power more than any other kind of spirituality, or ethics, not redemptive in impetus and outcome, because he knows that whereas Salvation cannot dislodge his tyranny from the depths of the human heart, Redemption brings the fight to his citadel there, and can break its walls, and expel its false ‘god’, its lying king. Anyone who has the chutzpah to walk the road of the Messiah in this wicked world, in order to take it back from its phoney leader, will come under special attack by the Evil One.

The Daemonic power of God is necessary to counter the demonic power that wants to block it.

The perilous journey, and savage fight, crucial to redeeming puts God, the devil, the human heart, in an extreme situation. The pressure is immense, the forces energised electric. The devil’s time will come to an end. He knows that, and makes horrendous last efforts.

The mystery of Redemption works by Reversal. This surprises and disappoints humanity, yet the devil knows how dangerously powerful in the deeps it really is. He has not played his last card. It is all still hanging by a thread.

Hasidic tradition says that regardless of the situation, time or place, it is incumbent on the Jew to see himself and the entire world in the balance, and that he can tip the scales through one single action, word, or thought. It is not as the Evil Inclination might wish to persuade him, ‘what power could one person’s deed possibly have?’ Every person has serious imperfections. None the less, it remains true that one person can tip the scales of worth for himself and the entire world.

The urgency to act now, on the edge of debacle, arises from following God in the way of redeeming.

What Reverses us humanly brings God’s ultimate power to bear upon the devil’s insatiable wrath demanding the failure of the human venture.

[E] Mysteries of the Redemptive Power

The redemptive power of God is terrible, holy, angry, for the sake of humanity, and set against the evil that seeks to hold in chains the human heart forever, until it gives way and gives in, and ceases. This is not a game. The devil is playing for high stakes, and so is God.

This throws into relief many facets of the redemptive power in its work to free the heart of humanity from the ‘dominion’ of evil. Once this happens, the Spirit of God will indwell the human heart as the only ‘dynamic’ moving it to action. Such will be the Messianic Age. Until that is accomplished, and during the endless time when it is underway, ‘the fight is on.’

[1] The ‘contending’ of Jacob with the Daemonic God.

Although the long drawn out, combative yet profound, process of redeeming begins with Abraham, because it undergirds the First Covenant, it is significant that the very first usage of any Hebrew term for ‘Redemption’ occurs in the story of Jacob, in the context of his fight with God by the fast flowing river for all of one night. This fight which gave the Jews their name ‘Israel’ is paradoxical. Jacob both prevailed over God, and was wounded by God, in obtaining God’s blessing for the way of passion that he had pursued through all his ‘variable’ ups and downs, ins and outs. God contends with that passion, not only to ‘chastise’ it for its ‘iniquities’, but to reforge its burning in the Fire of Spirit.

Thus, the God who redeems is a Fighter; he fights the human heart, to set it on its feet and to deepen it, and he breaks and remakes this heart as his king in the world and fighter for the world, against the devil. He who fights God becomes worthy in heart to fight the heartless way of evil in the world.

Hence the ‘God of Jacob’, the ‘God of Israel’, is also the ‘God of Armies’, the God whose ‘Arm’ is ‘Strength’, and the ‘God of Holiness.’ Such is the God who redeems. He is a fierce God, implacable in regard to the truth of what the heart does or fails to do, yet his very fierceness is the source of his mercy, his pity, the pathos he feels, for the human struggle in ‘the two hearts.’ We are tempted by the lesser heart, yet wrestle toward the greater heart, which we only revive and reclaim by entrusting its existence, its ardour, its inspiration, to God. Abraham lived that trust existentially.

It would seem that, if Moses is the primary exemplary instrument of Salvation, then Jacob is the primary exemplary instrument of Redemption.

This does not mean God’s saving activity is missing from the Jews until the time of Moses! Nor does it rule out an element of the redemptive in the story of Moses. However, it does suggest a very early beginning for God’s redemptive activity, though in foreshadowing and hints more than anything articulated explicitly.

Thus, the first mention of ‘redeeming’ occurs when Jacob is near death and recollects the most inexplicable and affecting event ever to befall him, in Genesis, 48, 16= “The spirit from God [with whom I fought] redeemed me from all evil.”

No unpacking of why fighting God is the key to redeeming the human heart of ‘all evil’ is provided so early on. The mystery remains to be uncovered by the strivings and tumults of Israel down the ages.

A host of Scriptural verses, stemming from Jacob’s strange battle with, and wounding by, God testify to that heart to heart encounter as the arena, and furnace, for Redemption. Abraham is faith as the leap of passion; but Jacob is where passion stakes itself to the ground.

Psalms, 77, 15= “You have with your arm redeemed your people, the sons of Jacob.”
Isaiah, 49, 26= “I, Yahweh, am your Saviour, and your Redeemer the Mighty One of Jacob.”
Isaiah, 48, 20= “..Yahweh has redeemed his servant Jacob.”
Isaiah, 41, 14= “Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and you people of Israel, I will help you, says Yahweh your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
Isaiah, 43, 1= “..thus says Yahweh who created you, O Jacob, and he that formed you, O Israel. Fear not, for I have redeemed you..”
Isaiah, 60, 16= “..you will know that I, Yahweh, am your Saviour, and your Redeemer the Mighty One of Jacob.”
Isaiah, 49, 7= “Thus says Yahweh, the Redeemer of Israel and the Holy One.”

[2] The ‘suffering’ of Job in the gamble of the Daemonic God.

Though the story of Jacob is the earliest mention of Redemption, the story of Job is older, at least as a written document. Job has to struggle with the exactions of an unfair existence, and delve the unmerited and hence ‘non explainable’ suffering that fate inflicts.

The usual euphemism about the Left Hand of God is evident in Psalms 77, 15= “You have with your arm redeemed..” Job, however, is more forthright about the trouble, agony, striving, in depths intended by the Daemonic God= “Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends; for the hand of God has touched me” [Job, 19, 21].

The Left Hander, as sports people know, for example in tennis or in boxing, is harder to beat, catches you out, and also is more surprising, harder to anticipate..

The whole point of this story is that the Left-Handed God has built the suffering of the Daemonic into existence, because only the wrestlings it throws the heart into will, at the end, allow God to redeem it. The paradox is, only the God of the storm and lightning and the torrents of wind and hail is going to turn up, for humanity, on The Day of Trouble.

Isaiah, 44, 6= “Thus says Yahweh, the King of Israel, and Israel’s Redeemer the God of Armies. I am the first and the last, and beside me, there is no God.”
Jeremiah, 50, 34= “Their redeemer is strong, the God of Armies is his name..”
Isaiah, 54, 5= “For your Maker is your husband: the God of Armies is his name; and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: the God of the whole earth shall he be called.”
Isaiah, 47, 4= “As for our redeemer, the God of Armies is his name, the Holy One of Israel.”
Exodus, 15, 13= “You have led forth the people you have redeemed: you have guided them in your strength towards your holy habitation.”
Psalms, 78, 35= “And they remembered that God was their strength and the high God their redeemer.”
Proverbs, 23, 11= “For their Redeemer is strong..”
Psalms, 19, 14= “Let the words of my mouth and the pondering of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Yahweh, my strength and my Redeemer.”
Psalms, 78, 35= “And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.”

[3] David is the redeemer king ‘appointed’ by the Daemonic God.

Redemption is forgotten in Egypt, and resurfaces in the story of David. 2 Samuel 7, 12= “I will establish his kingdom. He will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father and he will be my son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him. But my mercy will not depart away from him.” And in 2 Samuel, 7, 16, Yahweh promises to David= “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before me forever [olam]; your throne shall be established forever [olam].”

Isaiah, 54, 8= “In a little wrath I hid my face from you for a moment: but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on you, says Yahweh the Redeemer.”

David is the ancestor of the coming Messiah, thus all the waves and flames that buffeted his life are the ‘material’ on which the Fire of Redemption will burn. The same cannot be said of Moses. The bigger Judaism, the way of risking the greater heart= Abraham, Jacob, Job, and David. The smaller Judaism, the way of curbing the lesser heart in following the endless statutes of Deuteronomy and Leviticus= the Law.

The former must consciously and actively bear the clashing of the lesser heart with the greater heart; this is its yoke. God will guide such a heart, directly, in experience and through action. To follow the greater, you will be tempted by the lesser.

The latter does not have to endure the clashing of the two hearts, for it puts the lesser under strict policing, yet by this manoeuvre it also loses the greater. It eliminates the risk of error, yet the trade-off is not to take any risk with love. No Law can, by saying on the written page ‘you shall love’, spark you to actual love in your living and doing. The heart has to be trusted to give love to existence. Nothing redemptive will ever emerge by holding back the heart, out of the fear of it going wrong. The parable of the talents says the same.

[4] The Daemonic God teaches us the ‘way to walk.’

“To live outside the law, you must be honest”, Bob Dylan proclaimed in his Jewish redemptive voice. If we are truthful in the inner delving provoked by the difficulties we meet in outer deeds, then we will get God’s help to proceed. A pure heart can see God; long before that is attained, a heart curbed by honesty can hear the guidance of God.

Isaiah, 48, 17= “Thus says Yahweh, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am Yahweh your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you the way you should go.”

[5] Egypt is not as bad as Babylon.

If Egypt is the Exile linked with Salvation, then Babylon is the Exile linked with Redemption. Babylon is far worse than Egypt. King Cyrus of the Persians, around 500 BC, defeated the Babylonian Empire, and freed the Jews to return home. In Isaiah, Cyrus is spoken of as a ‘redeemer.’ But Cyrus could only free the Jews from Babylon externally; he could not remove their inner slavery to Babylon. He got them out of the City of Corruption, but he could do nothing to get the City of Corruption out of them. His external deliverance lacked the internal restoration, and radical change, that only the Redemption from God brings. Thus, the Jews took Babylon home, and in some respects, Jerusalem became the Whore of Babylon– then Rome, then England, then America. As the Rastas know, today we all live under Babylonian Captivity.

It is therefore very vital that, whereas Salvation addresses the religious and political tyranny of Egypt, Redemption opposes the outer and inner corruption of Babylon the Great, Babylon the Whore, Babylon the False Mystery. Babylon enters Jewish and Christian Apocalyptic literature, and is seen in end-time prophetic visions as part and parcel of the manner in which the devil ‘possesses’ this world. Babylon is serious evil– not just human weakness, human folly, human wrong-doing. In Isaiah and Ezekiel, Babylon is linked to Lucifer= he is her lord, she is his mistress. The false Eros and the false Soul infected by it= everyone worships Babylon these days.

Babylon is the worldly city of wealth and power [literally and symbolically built on trading by sea], with vast dichotomies of rich and poor, powerful and powerless, masters and slaves; the advantaged, safe and well, are in the minority, while the disadvantaged, imperilled and ill, are in the majority. Yet a Luciferian sheen of glamour, of sparkle, of vain and empty charisma, covers over it all, like an expensive diamond studded dress. Babylon sucks you in, and once in, it becomes hard to get out. It infiltrates your innerds, by offering you a false garden of poisoned fruits to gorge on.

Babylon is capitalism, and it began in the Middle East with the settled crop growers, building barns to store grain, the prototype for the banks. Capitalism creates the bourgeois spirit, and spreads it like an infection, until everyone is sickened on its virus. The bourgeois motive is self-preservation= making yourself safe. You hoard to ensure your future protection, against loss and harm. You scheme and calculate, trying to get on top, and so you must save yourself even from extremes of passion that are too unsettling for the well-oiled machine of ‘business.’

This is bogus Salvation. This is the false earthly paradise. We do not trust God, so we save ourselves, by ‘securing’ our life. But monstrous and subtle evils lay eggs on this bogus saving, sucking out our juices like a vampire, dampening the fire of love in the heart, and by recourse to shallow, cold Luciferian beauty, corrupting the soul such that its real treasures are neglected, and false riches acquire an ugly glory making them desirable..

Christ urged us [Mathew, 6, 25-33] not to be careful over what we wear, eat, and similar things; seek God first, and then these other things will be added. Christ inveighs against people who ‘save up’ for the future..

The hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ declares ‘God made me safe and led me home’; another hymn refers to ‘seeing, riches, healing’ as bestowed by the graciousness of God [Psalms, 103, 4= “Yahweh ..heals all our diseases”]; all this goodness of living is Salvation, and is nothing like the counterfeit version peddled by the ‘lure’ of Babylon. She promises further delights, the more you buy into her attraction, like a naked woman strung over a fancy tomb, and if you are lured in, you will drink the poisoned chalice more and more.. This ‘brew’ she is the saleswoman for kills all sense of justice, brotherhood, uprightness. We trample each other, pushing each other out of the way, to get the most from her cup.

Babylon is a whole system of unconscious fantasies which rule over people in capitalism, sickening and manipulating their desire. The real desire is for the fullness of the aliveness of being. The fantasies which run people, unconsciously, seeking riches where there is really only impoverishment, are a kind of unacknowledged ideology that dominates the ‘liberal’ capitalist ethos. People are puppets on a string they cannot see, nor feel, or even sense. They become like the bird in a cage who has arrived at the point of thinking ‘this is as good as it gets’, and even if the door is flung open, the poor creature has lost the gumption to fly out to freedom.. In capitalism, people become self-imprisoning, beneath a vain rhetoric of their ‘unlimited’ freedom; they are free to be slaves to certain forces within [unconscious] that make them addicts to certain forces without [the market place].

Isaiah, 53, 3= “For thus says Yahweh, you have sold yourselves for nothing, and you will be redeemed without money.” We hold ourselves cheap, in reality. Our redeeming will cost what is most precious to God, and to us.

Isaiah, 48, 20= “Go forth from Babylon.. and declare, Yahweh has redeemed his servant Jacob.”
Isaiah, 43, 14= “Thus says Yahweh, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: for your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles..”
Jeremiah, 50, 34= “Their redeemer is strong.. he will vigorously plead their case so that he may bring rest to the earth, but turmoil to the inhabitants of Babylon.”

[6] The different ‘opponents’ of redeeming.

In the ultimate, there is only one enemy, one adversary, one hinderer, one accuser, the Evil One. We are redeemed, in extremis, from the evil force trying to build its fortress in the human heart, and in that process, causing the supple, pliable, ‘passible’, affectable, vulnerable, heart to become ‘hard’ as stone, callous, impregnable, immoveable, a throne of cruelty, a whited sepulchre.

The hells that we create in the abyss of the heart are different aspects of passion under the influence of evil. There is the Pit where passion becomes ‘decayed, defunct, ruined’, its life force and forward thrust fatally weakened, until it becomes like a ghost, still in existence but not with any throbbing heartbeat, not with any vital push. This is Hades, in Greek, or Sheol, in Hebrew. The place of existential Shame.. There is the apocryphal Hell where passion becomes ‘hot and bothered’, yet at core ‘cold as ice’, its fire for truth ‘snared’ by evil, and thus ‘converted’ to the lie. This is Gehenna, in Greek. The place of existential Guilt.. And there is the Vacuity that drags everything downward, like a Black Hole, the Empty Void, or Groundless Abyss that we fall into, forever. The place of existential Despair..

The Pit is the loss of Life.
Hell is the betrayal of Truth.
The Empty Void is the extinguishing of Faith.

Both Job, without any failing, and David, with plenty of failing, wrestled ‘deeply’ in all these deep places, in trying to get to God, not face to face in the Light, rather, heart to heart, in the Fire.

From ‘all evil’ are we redeemed. All the three hellish conditions of the heart will be undercut, at root.

St Paul asserts that we face ‘wickedness in high places.’ Christ’s Sword of Anger for Truth is mostly focused on the ‘false leaders’, religious and political, who are like a lying ‘Good Shepherd.’ This leadership cares nothing for those it leads, it can be bought and sold for money, and it trades on spreading false teachings so it can deceive the people, and keep its dire motives under wraps.. This lack of individual righteousness and absence of collective justice will be overcome by redeeming.

Redeeming will overcome our persecution by large groupings of people who despise and abhor us. The heroes who stand up for truth in this wicked world are often threatened by the vested interests they challenge, or even by ‘normal’ people who just do not want to be disturbed.. In the historical world process, redeeming has servants who facilitate it and enemies who block it. Thus in Jewish Biblical texts where it says Yahweh had to pay a ‘ransom’ for the Jews to leave Egypt, the ransom was the Egyptians who were on the receiving end of Yahweh’s deeds as the blood avenger. It is as in war: both sides pray to God, yet one side’s prayers are heard, and the other side’s have to be disregarded, if redemptive historical changes are to be achieved. God has no favourites. He does have friends whom he calls to onerous action, and at times, he backs their deeds and they win through; at other times, he asks for their sacrifice, and they lose. In our childishness, we want God to back us against the world, and ensure we prevail in the world.. God is not partisan for me against you, nor you against me. The truth cuts all of us..

Redeeming will bring the tears of the heart to an end. We will cry no more.

Psalms, 107, 2= “Let the redeemed of Yahweh say so, whom he has redeemed from the hand of the adversary.”
Jeremiah, 31, 11= “For Yahweh has ransomed Jacob and redeemed him from the hand of the one who was stronger than he.”
Psalms, 107, 2= “Let the redeemed of Yahweh say so, whom he has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.”
Psalms, 103, 1= “Bless Yahweh.. in redeeming your life from the Pit.”
Hosea, 13, 14= “Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem from death? O Death, where are thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting?” [1 Corinthians, 15, 15, is quoting Hosea.]
Psalms, 69, 17= “I am in trouble.”
Psalms, 74, 2= “Remember your people who you have purchased of old.”
Psalms, 69, 18= “Draw nigh.. and redeem me because of my enemies.”
Job, 6, 23= “Redeem me from the hand of the tyrants.”
Psalms, 103, 6= “Yahweh.. is always on the side of the oppressed.”
Job, 19, 29= “There is an anger stirred to flame by evil deeds; you will learn that there is indeed a judgement.”
Isaiah, 1, 27= “Zion will be redeemed with justice.”
Isaiah, 49, 7= “Thus says Yahweh, the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel, to him whom men despise and to him whom the nation abhors, ..the Holy One of Israel .. will choose you.”
Psalms, 103, 4= “Bless Yahweh.. and forget not all his benefits: he forgives all our iniquities, he redeems our existence from destruction.”
Isaiah, 35, 10= “..the ransomed of Yahweh will return, and sorrow will flee away.”
Isaiah, 25, 7-8= “And he will destroy.. the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and Yahweh will wipe away tears from off all faces: and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for Yahweh has spoken it.”

[7] God ‘justifies’ us against the accuser.

The accusation from Satan the Accuser that we are ‘no damn good’, and should be damned in the end, is not suppressed, shouted down, or banished through sheer force, by God. The devil has his day, and the devil gets his due; the accusation is seriously looked at, and God has to go deeper, in himself and in us, to vindicate the venture God is embarked on with humanity.

Jeremiah, 50, 34= “Their redeemer.. will vigorously plead their case..”
Proverbs, 23, 11= “For their redeemer.. will plead their case against you.”
Lamentations, 3, 58= “O Yahweh, you have pleaded the cause of my soul, you have redeemed my life.”
Psalms, 34, 22= “Yahweh redeems.. and none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.”

[8] Redemption changes what ‘rules the roost.’

It is through the victory of Redemption that ‘the lion will lie down with the lamb’ [Isaiah, 11, 6-8]; the Redeemer judges the wretched with integrity, the poor of the earth are vindicated, and the ruthless and wicked are brought low, their haughty reign at an end [Isaiah, 11, 4-5; Isaiah, 24, 21], for God has been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy [Isaiah, 25, 4].

God will end the pre-eminence and predominance of the ambitious wheelers and dealers who, in trying to come top of the heap, show cold indifference to the plight of their fellow sufferers of the human condition, and are driven by the heat of selfish desire and murderous hatred to destroy all potential rivals to their crown.

The conviction which advantages the self at the disadvantage of the other is rationalised by insisting it is ‘just the way things work.’ This is the paradigm ‘example’ of the devil’s sway over the heart.

Isaiah, 25, 11-12= “..and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands; and the fortress of the high fort and its walls shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even the dust.”

The fall of the citadel of evil in the world mirrors the fall of the citadel of evil in the heart. Redeeming will purge the heart of evil.

The truth hurts, yet this very hurting is what purges the heart of its ‘adhesion’ to evil. We are ashamed, we are regretful, we sorrow, over the evil we have embraced and enacted, and we experience and undergo its injuries to others as if they were daggers driven into us. My cold indifference makes me freeze, my heat of destructiveness makes me boil, in the grip of hellishness.

This is a cathartic medicine, for it returns the heart to its truest impetus; a purifying that finally frees it to be unreservedly given, for God, to the world.

Purging is feared as punishment, retribution, pay back, by those still secretly clinging to the evil inclination in their heart. It is nothing like that. The day when the hells we have created in our heart are flushed out of hiding, and become conscious to us, is the day when redeeming has come.

[9] The process of ‘passing through’ the deep.

Isaiah and David are the only prophets to awake to the significance of the deep floods and deeper conflagrations we pass through in the process of being redeemed. We will not be swept away, we will not be burnt up, Isaiah says, hinting at Christ’s passing through deep torments and coming through, so we can do the same. If we die Christ’s death, then we will live Christ’s life. If we go through hell as Christ did, then we are resurrected with him. We enter the Messianic Age to come, right now.

Isaiah, 51, 10= “Yahweh has made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over.”

Isaiah= 43, 1-2= “Thus now says Yahweh, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you will not be burned, and the flame will not consume you.”
Psalms, 66, 10-12= “For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid affliction upon our loins; you have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but you brought us out into an abundant place.”

[10] The redeemed ‘end up’ in Holiness.

The redeemed enter the Holiness of God’s Fire, and God forgets all past iniquities= ‘the slate is wiped clean.’

Exodus, 15, 13= “..you have guided [the redeemed] towards your holy habitation.”
Isaiah, 44, 22-24= “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and as a cloud, your sins: return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

[11] Redemption makes possible an ‘eschatological’ Salvation.

Only when Redemption is complete will Salvation lose its conditionality, and become unconditionally giving to all, shared among all; Salvation is ‘redeemed’ from a smaller version, and brought to a bigger version. Thus Salvation loses any narrow focus only on any group of the elect, the good, the saved, and extends to one and all. Salvation ceases to be confined to heaven, but comes to earth, and becomes the Wedding of heaven and earth all creaturehood is travelling toward, the new heavenly earth. This transformation is ontological, it is the final shift in being, and is therefore not limited to the ethical. The ethical is not jettisoned, but the ethical is overcome, in its narrowing of the gate, and the gate is thrown open.

The redeemed whores and redeemed tramps and redeemed criminals will enter the kingdom of heaven first, and despite their existence having never been saved, they will be the first to taste the future fruits of heaven married with earth, the ultimate in Salvation. Through Redemption, ‘the last will be first’ in Salvation.

Thus, the Salvation offered by Yeshua the Mashiach is more open, more broad, more universal, than that which the earlier Jews believed in. As is clear in the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua’s Salvation has qualities of extreme generosity not in evidence in Judaism before his arrival. The ‘love of enemies’, not just ‘loving neighbours and hating enemies’, is a new, third commandment, specific to Yeshua, and not in Deuteronomy. A people so beleaguered by enemies as [northern] Israel and [southern] Judea were had to fight to go on existing, and begging God to preserve them from enemies is an early yet long-standing exemplar of pleading with God to save them. Loving even enemies would have seemed odd, even impossible, in Yeshua’s day, just as it does today!

The Salvation that becomes possible after Redemption has accomplished its ‘impossible work’ can afford, at last, to make the benevolence of God as unmeasured and immeasurable as the suffering of God. God suffers for all so that, in the end, God can bestow the future flowering upon all.

Isaiah, 35, 1-2; 5-10= “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for [the redeemed]; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall bear fruit abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing.. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a stag, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, ..a way, and it will be called the way of Holiness.. ..the redeemed will walk there. And the ransomed of Yahweh will return, and will come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy on their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

Isaiah, 25, 9= “And it shall be said in that day, this is our God, ..this is Yahweh: we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Christ’s Salvation anticipates this eschatological end, which is ontological, and asks people to act as if it were already here and now! In a sense it is, in another sense, it is not — yet. It will be, if Redemption does not falter in its awesome task.

[12] Summation

The Daemonic God is the Redeemer.

Isaiah, 63, 4= “For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.”
Isaiah, 35, 4= “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not, behold your God will come with vengeance..”

The vengeance is directed at the Evil One, not at humanity.

He Reverses us, yet for our sake, he is Reversed by us..

Isaiah, 63, 9= “In all their affliction he was afflicted. ..in his love and pity he redeemed them. It was Yahweh who was bearing them, and carried them, in the days of old.”

This God is the ultimate lover of what he has made.