When the Angel announced that He that was to be born on the first Christmas would save us from our sins, and be named JESUS, the angel was being redundant. “Jesus” means “God will save.” The name comes from the Hebrew word yasha. John E. Hartley, in the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Vol 1, pp. 414-15, says this about “yasha”:
Yasha and its derivatives are used 353 times. The root meaning . . . is “make wide” or make sufficient: this root is in contrast to sarar, “narrow,” which means “be restricted” or “cause distress.” To move from distress to safety requires deliverance. [T]he majority of references to salvation speak of Yahweh granting deliverance from real enemies and out of real catastrophes. That which is wide connotes freedom from distress and the ability to pursue one’s own objectives. Thus salvation is not merely a momentary victory on the battlefield; it is also the safety and security necessary to maintain life unafraid of numerous dangers.
Let’s begin with the idea that the Hebrew word for “salvation” means “make wide” or “large.” There are many verses that say this, and yet most Christians are completely unaware of the idea that a fundamental meaning of “salvation” means “being put into a wide open space.”
But let’s not take Prof. Hartley’s word for it. Let’s be like the Bereans, who studied the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11). You may want to look at some of these passages in their context in your own Bible.
(Psalm 118:5) I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.
(2 Samuel 22:20) He brought me forth also into a large place: He delivered me, because He delighted in me.
(Genesis 26:22) He moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he called it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”
(Hosea 4:16) For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: can now the LORD feed them as a lamb in a large place?
(Psalm 31:8) and hast not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; Thou hast set my feet in a broad place.
(Psalm 18:19) He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
(Psalm 66:12) Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.
(Psalm 69:35) For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession.
In the Bible, Godly men are shown to be concerned about living in a “large” land. Of course, in a more agrarian society, “large” is better, as far as land goes. But when God promises to save us by putting us into a “large land,” it’s clear that more is included than going to heaven after living for decades in a narrow land before we up and die. What is the modern equivalent of a “large land?” It varies from person to person, but it includes some form of economic prosperity and political Liberty. “Liberty” and “large” are Biblical concepts we are not familiar enough with. Let’s review them and put them in our brains, so that as we read the Bible we will be more aware of them.
“These men are at peace with us. Therefore let them dwell in the land and trade in it. For indeed the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters to us as wives, and let us give them our daughters.
So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.
And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.
When you go, you will come to a secure people and a large land. For God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.”
1 Chronicles 4:40
And they found rich, good pasture, and the land was broad, quiet, and peaceful; for some Hamites formerly lived there.
Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt.
For they have not served You in their kingdom,
Or in the many good things that You gave them,
Or in the large and rich land which You set before them;
Nor did they turn from their wicked works.
45 And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your precepts.
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
Because the LORD has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them:
15 Then you recently turned and did what was right in My sight—every man proclaiming liberty to his neighbor; and you made a covenant before Me in the house which is called by My name. 16 Then you turned around and profaned My name, and every one of you brought back his male and female slaves, whom you had set at liberty, at their pleasure, and brought them back into subjection, to be your male and female slaves.’
17 “Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and every one to his neighbor. Behold, I proclaim liberty to you,’ says the LORD—’to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine! And I will deliver you to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth.
2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.
A heart that knows God's salvation is "big-hearted."
I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my
Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged;
because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of
the Gentiles shall come unto thee.
God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and
Canaan shall be his servant.
For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders:
neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before
the Lord thy God thrice in the year.
When the Lord thy God shall enlarge thy
border, as he hath promised thee, and thou shalt say, I will eat flesh,
because thy soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy
soul lusteth after.
And if the Lord thy God enlarge thy
coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he
promised to give unto thy fathers;
And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a
lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.
Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip.
And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me
indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and
that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God
granted him that which he requested.
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement
and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy
father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to
the kingdom for such a time as this?
He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the
nations, and straiteneth them again.
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me
when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.
Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains
of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy
Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions
of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment
thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they
might enlarge their border:
The Nature of Salvation
by David Chilton
One of the basic themes of Scripture is that salvation restores man to his original purpose. In the beginning God created man in His own image, in order that man would have dominion (Gen. 1:26-28). That task of dominion began in the Garden of Eden, but it was not supposed to end there, for man was ordered to have dominion over the whole earth: Adam and Eve (and their children) were to extend the blessings of Paradise throughout the entire world. But when man rebelled, he lost the ability to have godly dominion, because he lost fellowship with his Creator. While fallen man is still the image of God (Gen. 9:6), he is now a naked image (Gen. 3:7), for he has lost his original covering—the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). The image of God remains, to some extent, in all men—but the image has become twisted, marred, disfigured, and broken
as a result of sin. And the earth, which was planned to become God’s Garden-Temple, has instead become a wilderness of thorns, thistles, sweat, scarcity, pollution, and death (Gen. 3:17-19; Isa. 24:1-6; Rom. 5:12). Man was banished from the Garden, and forbidden to enter it again.
But that isn’t the end of the story. On the very day that God pronounced judgment upon man and the earth, He pronounced a greater judgment upon the Tempter, declaring that the Redeemer would come to crush the Serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15). Accordingly, the Apostle John tells us that “the Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Scripture repeatedly draws connections and parallels: Christ came as the Second Adam, in order to undo the damage brought through the First Adam (1 Cor. 15:22, 45; Rom. 5:15-19). God had breathed into Adam the breath (in Hebrew, the Spirit) of Life, but Adam’s rebellion brought death into the world. In salvation, Christ again breathes into His people the Spirit of Life (John 20:22)—Eternal Life, which sets us
free from the Curse of sin and death (Rom. 8:2), and which will ultimately result in the restoration of the entire creation (Rom. 8:19-21). In Christ we really are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), because we have been recreated in God’s image (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), and clothed again with the glory of God (Rom. 8:29-30). And, this time, the security of the restored image of God is guaranteed, because our standing is in the Christ who can never fail. In Him we have Eternal Life.
Salvation, therefore, restores man to his original calling and purpose, and guarantees that man’s original mandate—-to exercise dominion under God over the whole earth—will be fulfilled. Cornelius Van Til has pointed out that the “redemptive revelation of God had to be as comprehensive as the sweep of sin. Redemption must, in the nature of the case, be for the whole world. This does not mean that it must save every individual sinner in the world. It does mean, however, that the created universe which has been created as a unit must also be saved as a unit.” Ultimately, Biblical salvation turns back the Curse, brings back Edenic conditions, repairs personal and social relationships, and blesses the earth in every area. The whole earth will be saved, and remade into the Garden of God. “For the earth will
be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9).
In a very real sense, therefore (and progressively as the Gospel conquers the world), God’s people have always lived in “the Garden.” For example, the land of Egypt is described in Genesis 13:10 as being “like the Garden of the LORD”—and when the covenant people went there to live, they were given the area of Goshen, which was the best in all Egypt (Gen. 45:18; 47:5-6, 11, 27). In this Edenic location they were fruitful and multiplied (Ex. 1: 7)—the same expression as in God’s original command to Adam and Eve in the Garden. The Promised Land also, as we would expect, was a land in which much of the Curse had been reversed: it was “like the Garden of Eden” (Joel 2:3), and therefore “flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:8).
As we shall see in future essays, the restoration of Eden is an essential aspect of the salvation that Christ provides. When the Old Testament foretold the coming of the Christ and the blessings He would bring, they often spoke in the language of Eden-restoration. Isaiah wrote: “Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the Garden of the LORD, joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and sound of a melody” (Isa. 51:3). And Ezekiel, many years later, prophesied:
Thus says the Lord LORD, “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt. And the desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of all who passed by. And they will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the Garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate, and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the LORD, have spoken and will do it (Ezek. 36:33-36).
But there is much more in these prophecies (and others) regarding the restoration of Eden than we might notice at first glance. Indeed, there are many, many passages of Scripture which speak in terms of the Edenic patterns which do not mention Eden by name. Being set in a “large place” is spiritually being set in an “Edenic place.”