"The Elementary Teachings" Series

Eternal Judgment and the Need For Perseverance

The Two Possible Destinies of Every Man

By David M Rogers

Published: December 2017

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Messiah and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in Elohim, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.  And Elohim permitting, we will do so. (Hebrews 6:1-3)

Table of Contents

The Two Destinies

Obtaining Everlasting Life By Believing in Yahusha (Jesus) Messiah

The Fair and Righteous Judgment of Elohim

The Righteous Judgment of Elohim According to Ezekiel the Prophet

People of Faith Endure to the End

The Perseverance of the Saints

The judgment of every human being is a topic of the Scriptures which Paul evaluates as an "elementary teaching."  It's supposed to be simple and easy to understand.  Yet, theologians in the Church have historically made every topic they evaluate way more complex than it needs to be.  The Bible is not vague about the final judgment of every man, woman and child.  It's actually quite straight forward.

So in this Bible study article, we will ask and answer a good many questions which pertain to the judgment.  Hopefully, establishing the simple foundation of eternal judgment, the reader will be able to know and understand the standards by which Yahuwah our Maker has determined to judge each one of us.  And his judgment is righteous and fair for everyone.  No one will be allowed to bypass the righteous standard used by Elohim.

Here are a few things we will investigate in this document.  How can one have everlasting life?  And why do others receive condemnation?  What is free will?  What is predestination?  Can you lose your salvation?  What is the righteous judgment of Elohim?  How does Elohim determine a person’s destiny?  What do good works have to do with it?  What is perseverance and why is it important?

The Two Destinies

The two possible destinies of every human being is fairly plainly taught in Scripture.  First, Daniel the prophet describes the resurrection and the two outcomes:

At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people-- everyone whose name is found written in the book-- will be delivered.  Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:1-2)

Here Daniel speaks of the time of judgment after the resurrection when each one will be assigned his destiny.  Some will be rewarded with a place in the reign of Messiah.  Others will be thrown out, as it were, to a place of eternal loss, known in the Book of Revelation as the second death.

Messiah Yahusha also had a word to say about the assignments of every individual following resurrection:

For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.  Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out-- those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (4th Gospel 5:26-29)

The Son of Man, Yahusha, has been given the authority to judge everyone.  So, at his coming, there will be a resurrection.  Those who are "good" will rise at this time to receive their reward of eternal life.  Later, a resurrection will occur and the wicked will receive their condemnation to the lake of fire.

So it remains to ascertain the meaning of Yahusha's statement about the "good" people getting eternal life.  What did he mean by that?  Who are the good and what does that have to do with our own good works?

Obtaining Everlasting Life By Believing in Yahusha (Jesus) Messiah

The most common iteration in the Christian churches regarding the way to eternal life is found in a statement made in the Fourth Gospel 3:16:

For Elohim so loved the world that he gave his only born son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

So it is established that everlasting life is obtained by believing in Messiah.  Maybe that's what the Master meant by "good" people rising to life.  I suppose that's the end of that discussion.  Or is it?  Let's look a little deeper into what "believe" in him entails.  What exactly does it mean to believe in Yahusha or to believe in Elohim?

This investigation takes us back to the concept of faith in the Tanak (Old Testament).  The Hebrew word hn"Wma/,  pronounced e-mu-nah, is defined and translated for us in the Hebrew Lexicons.  The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament defines this word as "firmness, fidelity, steadiness."  The BDB Hebrew Lexicon defines it as "firmness, steadfastness, fidelity."  And the Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament says, "steadfastness, trustworthiness, faithfulness, honesty, permanent official duty."

Faith/Faithfulness is an action word.  Emunah is not mere mental assent to a thing or believing that something exists.  It does not mean "to agree in mind only."  It is not wishing something or "believing" it is so. Emunah is an action word.  It embodies the doing of a thing.  It suggests complete steadfast obedience and fidelity to this thing "believed" in.  Emunah is a word of substance.  It does not refer to the thoughts of the mind, but to the actions performed by the person.

This understanding of the root word emunah must be brought into the discussion of the writer's meaning in "John 3:16."  First he says,

For Elohim so loved the world that he gave his only born son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. (4th Gospel 3:16)

And then he qualifies for us what this belief in the Son entails:

He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of Elohim abides on him." (4th Gospel 3:36)

The two opposites are contrasted here.  The one who believes has eternal life.  But the one who does not believe, here described as "he who does not obey the Son," will not see life.  "Belief" is made more concrete in meaning by its usage and contrast with obedience.

So it is evidently those who actually obey Yahusha who are described as believing in him.  Belief in Messiah is much more than mere acknowledgment that he died as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  We aren't in any real relationship with him be simply believing about who he is or even by asking him into our heart.  James points out that the demons believe and tremble.

But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one Elohim. Good! Even the demons believe that-- and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? (James 1:18-20)

So clearly, biblical belief, the kind that amounts to anything good is an action, not just a thought.  By obeying what he commanded, our belief in Jesus (Yahusha) is validated to be genuine, and not of the kind of "belief" that demons possess.

The Master himself pointed out in no uncertain terms that his mission did not include nullifying the Law.  Obedience to the commandments of Elohim has far reaching ramifications toward our acceptance into the kingdom of heaven. 

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

One cannot "believe in Messiah," ignore and continue transgressing Elohim's law and then expect to participate in the kingdom reign with Messiah.  Those who put into practice obeying Father are the great ones in his kingdom.  And these obedient ones are those who truly believe in Messiah.

In an Old Testament example of what true belief means, we look at the story of our ancestors in the wilderness.  Their unbelief and lack of trust in the Almighty manifest in disobedience:

So he said he would destroy them-- had not Mosheh, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them. Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise. They grumbled in their tents and did not obey Yahuwah. (Psalm 106:23-25) 

The parallelism of these two phrases underlines the fact that the unbelief of the sons of Israel was made evident from their disobedience.  They disobeyed because they did not believe.

This point is made again in Psalm 78 which gives us a brief history of the plight of Israel.  They grumbled in the wilderness because although they saw the mighty miracles of Yahuwah, they didn't trust him to fulfill his promise of bringing them into the land safely:

When Yahuwah heard them, he was very angry; his fire broke out against Ya'acov, and his wrath rose against Yisrael, for they did not believe in Elohim or trust in his deliverance. (Psalm 78:21-22)

Their lack of trust is almost unimaginable considering all the incredible miracles they saw for themselves.  And yet, our own generation claims to believe in God but will not do what he commanded because they don't seem to really believe He can perform with the same amazing power that he exhibited before:

In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe. (Psalm 78:32)

Elohim has not changed.  People choose not to believe and not to trust him.  They may say they believe, but the proof is in the pudding.  Those who trust and believe him will do as he commands.

The Fair and Righteous Judgment of Elohim

There is a pernicious, ugly, evil doctrine taught and believed in many Christian churches.  This doctrine basically says that if you believe in Jesus and ask him into your heart you have eternal life, regardless of your "works" going forward.  Since Jesus died for all your sins even before you were born, then he died for all your sins after you received him, and therefore, any sins you commit going forward are already forgiven and cannot affect your eternal destiny.

Now if you can find this anywhere in the Bible, you may be able to convince me of this.  But the Bible says nothing of this sort.  In fact, the Bible is very clear in many places that the judgment of every person born must be done "according to what we have done."  This clearly indicates that the final judgment is based on our works, not on the accomplishments of Messiah Yahusha ("Jesus").

Let me say that again so that the reader does not overlook this critical point.  The judgment that every one of us must face as we stand before our maker is not determined by Messiah's death on the tree.  His death for us brings us atonement and reconciliation with our Maker.  But the judgment is based on what we do from that point forward.  Our works are what the Judge considers when he makes known the eternal determination of our destiny.

Consider the following.  In both the teachings of the Old Testament (the TaNaK for you Messianics) and the New Testament, the righteous and fair judgment of Elohim is always (with no exceptions) done "according to what we have done."  The Psalmist, for example, speaks of the righteous judgment of Elohim:

One thing Elohim has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O Elohim, are strong, and that you, Yahuwah, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.  (Psalm 62:11-12)

It is plain that the Psalmist is saying that the love of Elohim compels him to judge every man by the same standard - according to his works.

The wise one says the same thing about the conditional judgment in the book of riddles (Proverbs):

Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?  (Proverbs 24:12)

Here, Yahuwah is described both as "the one who weighs the heart" and he who repays everyone "according to what he has done."  This is not a contradiction.  The things in each one's heart will always manifest in the works of his hands.  Thus, the judgment of Yahuwah is righteous and fair because the things in the heart are revealed in the things each one does.

Messiah Yahusha indicates that the righteous judgment of Elohim will be based, not on one's faith in Jesus or acceptance of Jesus, but "according to what each one does" - the actual actions of each human being:

Then Yahusha said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his stake and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.  What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. (Matthew 16:27)

The Master Messiah Yahusha never teaches that those who accept him (Yahusha) into their hearts will receive eternal life.  But what does the Master teach about eternal life?  That those who obey Elohim and do his commandments will inherit eternal life.

When the rich young ruler approached the Master, he asked his a simple question, to which Yahusha gave him a simple, straight-forward response:

Now a man came up to Yahusha and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Yahusha replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." "Which ones?" the man inquired. Yahusha replied, "'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matthew 19:16-19)

This is consistent with the other teachings which we have already seen that the righteous and fair judgment of Elohim is base on our works, not necessarily on what is hidden in the heart or what we believe.

In Luke's account of this same incident, the question reads a little differently.  He asks the Master, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

 A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Yahusha answered. "No one is good-- except Elohim alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'" (Luke 18:18-20)

But the answer Yahusha gave him is the same.  "Keep the commandments of Elohim."  Could it be any clearer that the Messiah is plainly saying that eternal life is given not necessarily to those who believe who he is or believe in him, but to those who obey the commandments of the Almighty.

In still another incident, Messiah Yahusha indicates that at the resurrection, those who have done good will inherit eternal life:

And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out-- those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (4th Gospel 5:27-29)

The Master indicates that eternal life is predicated upon something done and not merely something believed in.

Paul gives this same teaching in his letters.  The judgment is in accordance to what people have done:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

While it is certain that one's belief is a factor in the judgment, this is not how Scripture usually depicts the final judgment.  For Elohim to be fair and righteous in his judgment, everyone must be judged by the same standard.  And that standard is his fruit or works.  In other words, if a person is genuine in his allegiance to the Creator of the universe, it will be evident by what he does.

To round out this point which is found throughout the Scriptures, the book of Revelation confirms what we have been presenting on this topic.  To wrap up the teaching about the revelation of the Messiah and the judgment he will bring, the Master is recited as saying the following:

"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done." (Revelation 22:12)

It should no longer be questioned that the judgment is based exclusively on works for everyone.  That is how the judgment is fair, because there are no exceptions in the judgment.  All are treated the same.

Paul elaborates on the righteous judgment of Elohim in his letter to the Romans.  He describes the practical aspect of this judgment as a warning to those who say they believe:

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  Now we know that Elohim's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape Elohim's judgment? (Romans 2:1-3)

Paul pulls no punches as he addresses the assembly at Rome.  Elohim's judgment is based on truth, and the truth of one's beliefs manifests itself in the actions of each person.  You cannot fool Elohim.  What you say is either corroborated or contradicted by what you do.  So, the inner thoughts and heart's intent is revealed in the attitudes and actions we each adopt and display.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that Elohim's kindness leads you toward repentance?  But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of Elohim's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:4-5)

Again, Paul is not going to let people deceive themselves into thinking that they can claim to be righteous while remaining stubborn in the face of Elohim's instruction and guidance.  Such action only grows the case the Judge will bring against you in the judgment.

Elohim's standard does not change.  And Paul's reminds us of this yet again!

Elohim "will give to each person according to what he has done."  To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.  But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.  There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Yehudi, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Yehudi, then for the Gentile.  For Elohim does not show favoritism. (Romans 2:6-11)

Here, Paul breaks it down into a practical explanation of what it means that Elohim "will give to each person according to what he has done."  The good works get rewarded.  The evil works get condemned.  This applies to all, whether one claims to be a "believer" or not.

The Righteous Judgment of Elohim According to Ezekiel

The book of Yechezqel (Ezekiel) really lays out the righteous judgment of Elohim in terms which are crystal clear.  The one who sins, dies.  Each is judged by his own works, not by the works of his father or his son.  Each individual must stand or fall on their own life choices and actions.  It could not be any other way.  Elohim is always just in his actions.  He is always right and fair.  Ezekiel lays it out in no uncertain terms.  "For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son-- both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die." (Yechezqel 18:4)

The prophet begins this teaching about the righteous person:

"Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right.  He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of the house of Yisrael. He does not defile his neighbor's wife or lie with a woman during her period. He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked.  He does not lend at usury or take excessive interest. He withholds his hand from doing wrong and judges fairly between man and man.  He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares Adonai Yahuwah." (Yechezqel 18:5-9)

This is pretty straight forward.  The righteous man will live because he walks uprightly before Yahuwah.  He deserves to live.  And so, Elohim rewards his fairly.

But then what if this righteous man has a wicked son?

"Suppose he has a violent son, who sheds blood or does any of these other things (though the father has done none of them): "He eats at the mountain shrines. He defiles his neighbor's wife.  He oppresses the poor and needy. He commits robbery. He does not return what he took in pledge. He looks to the idols. He does detestable things.  He lends at usury and takes excessive interest. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he will surely be put to death and his blood will be on his own head." (Yechezqel 18:10-13)

The violent son is judged according to his own works, not according to the works of his righteous father.  Each person is judged based on what he - and no one else - has done.

But then what if this wicked son has a son of his own, and that son is righteous?

"But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things: "He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of the house of Yisrael. He does not defile his neighbor's wife.  He does not oppress anyone or require a pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked.  He withholds his hand from sin and takes no usury or excessive interest. He keeps my laws and follows my decrees. He will not die for his father's sin; he will surely live.  But his father will die for his own sin, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people.

Again, each one is judged on his own merit.  No one will die because of another's sin.  And no one will receive life because of someone else's righteousness"

"Yet you ask, 'Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?' Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live.  The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. (Yechezqel 18:19-20)

Now this is truly a righteous judgment.  There are no gimmicks, tricks, slight of hand or magic.  Elohim calls each case on its own terms.

Another scenario is next raised concerning a wicked man who repents and walks righteously going forward.  What about that man?

"But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die.  None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live.  Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares Adonai Yahuwah. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? (Yechezqel 18:21-23)

 Likewise, a righteous man who turns to do evil must be judged righteously.  What does that look like?

"But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die. (Yechezqel 18:24)

The judgment of the Almighty is always fair to each human being.  Each one receives a sentence for his or her final destiny based on "according to what he has done."

People of Faith Endure to the End

With that word from Ezekiel in mind, what must we conclude about the importance of how a person responds to the Gospel?  It is vital that whoever repents and believes the Gospel walk it out in their daily life.  Yet, in spite of that clear word from Ezekiel regarding the righteous judgment of Elohim, so many who sit under the influence of the trained leadership of the church still diminish the importance of lifestyle going forward as a significant factor in the judgment.

There are basically two camps of thought on this issue of "how then shall we life?"  Can a believer “lose his salvation”?  The centuries old debate between Calvinism and Armenianism summaries it.  Theologians through the years have debated the free will of believers vs. the predestination of God.  We will add nothing to this debate, but will in embarrassingly few words dismiss it.  What the Scriptures say about it will put to shame the countless hours, books, studies, dissertations, writings and sermons on this topic.

The root of the Calvinistic "predestination" doctrine is found is Paul introductory comments in his letter to the Ephesians:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6)

In these few words, the debate about what is meant by predestination was born.

The Greek word here is proori,zw (pro-oridzo) - decide on beforehand, determine in advance, to foreordain, appoint beforehand.  This begs the question, "What did God determine beforehand?"  From which theologians speculated, "Is everyone's eternal future already determined?"  "Do we have any say or influence on our own eternal destiny?  The problem with finding answers to these questions is that these are the wrong questions to ask.  Done.

The real meaning in what Paul is saying is that people are not predestined, but that the plan of Elohim is predestined.  The Creator and Redeemer has laid out a plan to destroy evil and rebellion in the universe and to reward the faithful, obedient ones with a great reward.  Paul says in that verse that adoption is what Elohim has predestined.  It is the fate of all those meeting the requirements of Elohim to be adopted as sons. It is as simple as that.

Paul further explains Elohim's predestination plan:

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us in all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:7-12)

Listen to all those key words Paul throws around: his will, his kind intention, that which he purposed, with a view to....  These words and phrases all emphasize the mind of Elohim laying out his plan and purpose for reconciling the fallen universe to himself.  Thus, that which is predestined is that the Redeemer has firmly decided the outcome, has put it all in motion and that the outcome is certain.

Paul uses the word predestined again in verse 11.  Here its the inheritance that is predestined.  People aren't predestined, inheritance is predestined.  The inheritance here spoken of is explained further in Ephesians 2 and 3.  It is what was promised to the patriarchs  The inheritance is that of the Promised Land.  It will be fulfilled in the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth!

So, in these two places in Ephesians 1 where the word is used, Paul explains himself immediately what he is talking about when he uses that word predestinationAdoption and inheritance are the predestined outcomes of those who are pleasing to Elohim and meet the requirements of entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

Who then are those who qualify for the predestined outcomes of good?  Who are the loyal ones of Elohim?
Who meet the requirements for entrance into the Kingdom that Messiah will rule?  Certainly not all.  The parable that Yahusha teaches the people and explains to his disciples surely hints at this

That same day Yahusha went out of the house and sat by the lake.  Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.  Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop-- a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.  He who has ears, let him hear." (Matthew 13:1-9)

In the parable the seed was scattered onto four distinct soils.  Some fell on the path and were eaten by birds.  Some fell on rocky places and sprung up but withered by the heat Some fell among thorns and were choked.  Some fell on good soil and produced a crop.

Clearly here, the seed which represents the Word of Elohim, was scattered about and only a portion of the ground where it was planted produced a crop.  Thus, it appears the Master is indicating that not all who hear the Word will produce the desired end product, which is fruit.

Yahusha explained to his disciples the meaning of the four places where seed was scattered:

"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." (Matthew 13:18-23)

What becomes clear in the explanation of the parable is that not all who hear the message of the Good News of the Kingdom will take advantage of the opportunity.  Many will fall away from reaching the goal of adoption of sons and inheritance which Elohim has predestined for those who love him.  Some won't understand the message.  Others will receive it but fall by the wayside when the walk becomes too difficult.  Some will love the world more than the Kingdom.  Yet, some will embrace the message and walk it out and finally inherit.

The need to persevere through the persecutions, worries of life and deceitfulness of wealth is underlined in this parable by the Master.  Only those who endure through those life situations and stand faithful to the end will produce the fruit and inherit the promises as the adopted sons and daughters of the King.

In another teaching by the Master found in Matthew 10 which points to the rightful recipients of the predestined adoption and inheritance, Messiah Yahusha suggests again the need for his disciples to persevere:

"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:21-22)

And in another place,

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:12-13)

And still another:

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Mark 13:13)

Paul also writes about this endurance to the end that is a mandatory element of inheriting the salvation awaiting those qualified followers of Messiah:

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Messiah Yahusha, with eternal glory.  Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us… (2 Timothy 2:10-12)

The word endure comes from the Greek u`pomonh,  (hupo-monay) as a basic attitude or frame of mind may be translated patience, steadfastness (2) as steadfast adherence to a course of action in spite of difficulties and testings perseverance, endurance, fortitude (3) with a component of hope and confidence expectation, patient waiting.

The need to persevere is the theme of Hebrews 10, followed  by the theme of the faithfulness of endurance in Hebrews 11.  The writer presses his readers over and over again to hang on in their difficult circumstances and to never give up.  Endurance is what enables the disciple to make it to the end in order to be saved.  So, Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (v23).

A stern and solemn warning against falling back is next given:

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of Elohim.  Anyone who rejected the law of Mosheh died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of Elohim under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "Yahuwah will judge his people."  It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living Elohim (Hebrews 10:26-31).

There is no uncertainty for the fate of those who deliberately keep on sinning in the face of the kindness showed them by Elohim through Messiah's death on the tree.  And so, Hebrews encourages its readers to press on:

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.  Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.  You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of Elohim, you will receive what he has promised.  For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay.  But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."  But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved (Hebrews 10:32-39)

The perseverance of the saints is the proving of our attachment to him.  It is in faithfulness and fidelity to Elohim and his covenant that we are accepted into his presence.  He will not be pleased if we fall away or “draw back” from faithful obedience.  This is true “faith” – remaining true to him and faithfully obedient.

This need to persevere leads the writer to talk about all those whose faithfulness to Elohim caused them to persevere through the trials.  Hebrews 11 has been called the “Hall of Faith” or the “Faith Hall of Fame.”  The examples of these people of faith(fullness) show that they endured the most difficult of circumstances and still trusted Yahuwah to the end.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, KJV)

This word Faith/Emunah (Hebrew word) is a word of substance.  From the Greek u`po,stasij, (hupo-stasis) - 1. a setting or placing under; thing put under, substructure, foundation: 2. that which has foundation, is firm; hence, a. that which has actual existence; a substance, real being: b. the substantial quality, nature, of any person or thing.

As in the Hebrew language, even the Greek word for faith/faithfulness means a substructure or foundation.  It is the firmness or faithfulness upon which we stand.  It is the substance of what is hoped for.  It is the evidence of that unseen.  In other words, upon the foundation of faithfulness to Elohim, his people can build character through perseverance of anything that comes their way.

Paul again talks about this character building through perseverance of the saints:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:1-4, 2011-NIV)

And in another place:

Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5).

Our faithfulness leads to perseverance which leads to being counted worthy of the kingdom of Elohim.  Those are the ones who qualify to be adopted as sons and daughters and to inherit the kingdom, according to his predestined plan.

Even James has to chime in on the subject:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 2011-NIV)

Faith produces perseverance which works toward our maturing into recipients of the kingdom promises.

The Perseverance of the Saints

The perseverance of the saints is an important theme covered throughout the writings of the New Testament.  The book of Revelation succinctly states it this way:

Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of Elohim, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.  "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."  Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of Elohim and the faith of Yahusha. Revelation 14:9-12, NAS (corrected)

Why the ancients were commended for perseverance.  The faithful followers of Yahusha endure great hardship and persecution on behalf of their Master.  It is easier to worship the Beast than to faithfully follow the Lamb.  The world of religious people worship the one they call "God" in ways that the pagans of ancient times worshipped their gods of wood, stone and metal.

The saints of the Most High must overcome the temptation to worship the Living One in the manner that all others worship their gods.  The saints of the Most High have a sign from the true Creator and Lord.  This sign is the seventh day Sabbath:

Then Yahuwah said to Mosheh, "Say to the sons of Yisrael, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am Yahuwah, who makes you holy.  "'Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people. For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to Yahuwah. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. The sons of Yisrael are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the sons of Yisrael forever, for in six days Yahuwah made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.'“ (Shemot [Exodus] 31:12-17)

And so, the true disciples of Yahusha Messiah are identified by this sign.  They are the faithful ones who carry with them the sign of authenticity from the Maker.  And so, returning to the book of Hebrews, the faithful ones endured through perseverance to be in a position to receive the promises:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, KJV). 

The next verse elaborates:

For by it the elders obtained witness (v2, Scriptures)

For by it the men of old gained approval. NAS

For by it the elders obtained a good report. KJV

This is what the ancients were commended for. NIV

In each of these ways the translations render verse 2, they indicate the outcome of a life of faithfulness.

Abel was commended.  Enoch was commended.  So were Noah, Abraham, Sara, Yoseph, Mosheh and others.  Paul talks about Abraham, noting that he did not waver through unbelief:

Therefore, the promise comes by faithfulness, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Avraham's offspring-- not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faithfulness of Avraham. He is the father of us all.  As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of Elohim, in whom he believed-- the Elohim who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Against all hope, Avraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."(Romans 4:16-19)


Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-- since he was about a hundred years old-- and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of Elohim, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to Elohim, being fully persuaded that Elohim had power to do what he had promised. This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness.“ (Romans 4:20-22)

And finally, the writer to the Hebrews concludes, let's do the right thing.  Let perseverance be named among us:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)

At the end of faithfulness and perseverance of the saints is the holiness that enables us to stand in his presence and see his approving face.  Let that be the goal of each one of us.  Let's make righteousness our daily walk.  And we will see the day when our reward will be given and we will inherit the promises for good.