It was the atheist, Jean Paul Sartre, who once said that, "Hell is other people." Rowland Stenrud's Yeshua, the Crucified Serpent is about how mankind's savior, Jesus of Nazareth, has saved men and women from this hell by making it possible, and indeed inevitable, for human beings to love one another and their Creator-Father, Yahweh God.
This book is about the concept and practice of human and divine love. The words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, the Bible as a whole, and the reader's life experience will help in defining this. The author reviews what he knows about the concept and its related precepts and brings them to bear in this book. God himself is love, which should tell us how mysterious a thing love is. To acquire this ability to love, one must suffer in union with the suffering Christ. Salvation, pure and simple, is God delivering each one from the inability to love other human beings and the Creator Himself.
The obstacle to this perfect love is the serpent of human wisdom and pride that existed even in Jesus. In his loving obedience to the Father, Jesus nailed this serpent to the cross. Yeshua, the Crucified Serpent attempts to show that the question of evil and suffering in the world is answered by Yahweh's eventual success in saving all of mankind.
The majority of Christians believe in a number of key doctrines that the biblical authors do not unequivocally teach. A few verses may support these unbiblical doctrines but a greater number of verses, whose meaning is clearer, contradict the standard interpretation of these few verses. Other doctrines that Christians mistakenly believe in find support in this or that section of the Bible but are denied by the general thrust of the Bible as a whole. These unbiblical doctrines followed by the correct biblical teaching are:
1. Sometime in the distant past a large number of God's angels rebelled against Him becoming what are called devils or demons whose leader is known as Satan or Lucifer. The Bible teaches that the only agent of evil in the universe is man's heart.
2. Adam and Eve possessed the perfection of Jesus Christ before they sinned. If they had not sinned they would not have needed to be healed of any weakness. The Bible teaches that Adam and Eve could not have had eternal life even before they sinned without the work of Jesus of Nazareth.
3. Faith is an act of the free will of man. The Bible teaches that faith does involve man putting his trust in God's promises and revelation, but it is primarily a power given to man by God in order to enable him to see spiritual truth the natural man cannot see. Without this gift of the Holy Spirit, no human being can know God and be saved.
4. Ultimately speaking, we are saved by our faith. On the contrary, it is through Jesus's faith in and love for the Father that is the instrument of our salvation.
5. Jesus saved us by paying the penalty due our sins and therefore saving us from the just wrath of God. This is false. No one had to pay any penalty for God to forgive the sins of the human race. God relates to sinners on the basis of mercy and mercy is not mercy if the penalty for sin is paid. By going to the cross, Jesus healed our brokenness which forgiveness alone could not accomplish.
6. Satan and the sins of men are ultimately responsible for human suffering. False. God is ultimately responsible for human suffering as it is a necessary part of God's work of saving human beings. God Himself shares in all of our suffering: physical, emotional and spiritual even though He does not have a body or nervous system.
7. Salvation is about our eternal destiny. This is not correct.