Storied Salvation:

Part X

I really enjoyed posting a bit about Daniel. Perhaps at some point I will return to the book for future posting, as Daniel 7 is a favorite passage, especially how it relates to christology. But for now, we will resume the series on Storied Salvation. You can find find the earlier parts of this series tagged under “salvation” at my blog.

Salvation: New Testament Application Built on Old Testament Foundations

As a result of the revelation God had given the prophets and from the experience Israel had in her relationship with Yahweh, their covenant-God, the belief developed that God had acted and would continue to act within history on their behalf, culminating in a time in the future when all would be set right. The belief of “salvation-history”[1] was integral within the worship of Yahweh. It is crucial to understand that the way in which the NT uses salvation is fashioned from the fabric of OT storied salvation brought about by the God of Israel.

“A word is necessary at this point about the meaning of the term ‘salvation’ in the context of the Jewish expectation. . . . There can be little thought of the rescue of Israel consisting of the end of the space-time universe, and/or of Israel’s future enjoyment of a non-physical, ‘spiritual’ bliss. That would simply contradict creational monotheism, implying that the created order was residually evil, and to be simply destroyed. . . . Rather, the ‘salvation’ spoken of in the Jewish sources of this period has to do with rescue from the national enemies, restoration of the national symbols, and a state of shalom in which every man will sit under his vine or fig-tree. ‘Salvation’ encapsulates the entire future hope. If there are Christian redefinitions of the word later on, that is another question. For first-century Jews it could only mean the inauguration of the age to come, liberation from Rome, the restoration of the Temple, and the free enjoyment of their own Land.” [2]


Names are generally nothing more than phonetic sounds in our twenty-first century culture and therefore the truly profound and complex importance of names in ancient eastern culture is not easily understood. [3]
Jesus’ Hebrew name is Yeshua, which in the language, is an obvious word play. His name is the masculine form of the feminine word y’shuah meaning “salvation.” Matthew 1:21 has it:

“[Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus [Yeshua] because he will save his people from their sins.”

In the Septuagint, the Greek word used to translate the name Joshua is lesus, the same word used to transliterate the word Jesus. It is probable that the idea of Jesus’ name being the same as Joshua was derived here. It is similar, but not the same. Joshua (Yehoshua) means “Yahweh is salvation” or “Yahweh saves.” Joseph (G. Matthew) and Mary (G. Luke) are given instruction to name this child Jesus (Yeshua) because of the Hebrew verb play [4] “to save, to deliver.” His name thus reveals God’s intentions for him, as Moses’ name did for him.

“Beneath the OT’s use of explicit salvation language lies a coherent worldview in which the exodus from Egyptian bondage, followed by entry into the promised land, forms the most important paradigm or model. . . . Furthermore, the exodus ‘constitutes the sociopolitical deliverance of a community from the real, concrete situation of oppression . . . [and thus] resists any ‘spiritualizing’ of salvation, keeping it firmly rooted in life in this world . . . God’s saving activity . . . has to do with deliverance from oppressive social, economic, and political realities . . . The continuation of the story of salvation thus captures all aspects of human existence: from history to community to political affairs and daily life. . . . Not to be overlooked amidst the lengthy story reviews are the brief historical reminders of the exodus that punctuate many of the prophets’ words as modifiers. . . . The historical event is also used as a kind of time stamp by which the audiences can orient themselves: ‘As in the days when you came out of Egypt, I will show them my wonders. . . . This story of salvation from the past has a profound impact on the prophets’ understanding of future salvation.” [5]

[1] In theology known as “Heilsgeschichte.”

[2] N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 1 (Fortress Press, 1992), 334.

[3] For the significance of names relating to the destiny of individuals, see Geoffrey W. Bromiley, “Name; Names, Proper,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 4 vols. (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1988; 2002), 3:481, 485–86.

[4] See R. Laird Harris, Robert Laird Harris, Gleason Leonard Archer and Bruce K. Waltke, “2405 שֵׁם,”Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999, c1980), 934.

[5] Mark J. Boda, J. Gordon McConville, “Salvation, Deliverance,” Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets (IVP, 2012), 693.

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