The Crossing of the Red Sea
A Picture of the Process of Salvation
By James Scott Trimm
We read in Exodus:
13 And Moshe said unto the people, Fear you not. Stand still, and see the salvation of YHWH, which He will work for you today! For whereas you have seen the Egyptians today, you shall see them again, no more, forever.
14 YHWH will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.
(Ex. 14:13-14 HRV)
Therefore we have a picture of the “salvation of YHWH” in Exodus 14:19-29
19 And the angel of Elohim, who went before the camp of Yisra’el, removed, and went behind them. And the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them.
20 And it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Yisra’el. And there was the cloud and the darkness here, yet gave it light by night there: and the one came not near the other all the night.
21 And Moshe stretched out his hand over the sea. And YHWH caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22 And the children of Yisra’el went into the midst of the sea upon the dry earth, and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them into the midst of the sea; all
Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 And it came to pass in the morning watch, that YHWH looked forth upon the host of the Egyptians, through the pillar of fire and of cloud, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians.
25 And He took off their chariot wheels, and made them to drive heavily, so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Yisra’el, for YHWH fights for them against the Egyptians.
26 And YHWH said unto Moshe: Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians; upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27 And Moshe stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared. And the Egyptians fled against it, and YHWH overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 And the waters returned and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, even all the host of Pharaoh that went in after them into the sea: there remained not so much as one of them.
29 But the children of Yisra’el walked upon dry land, in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
(Ex. 14:19-29 HRV)
Philo writes of this:
(2.265) Again, when you see, amid the wars and disasters of life, the merciful hand of God and his favourable power held over you and standing in defence of you, be silent yourself; for that champion stands in no need of any assistance. And there are proofs of this fact recorded in the sacred writings; such, for instance, as the verse, “The Lord will fight for us, and ye shall be Silent.” (Ex 14:14.)
(2.266) And if you see the genuine offspring and the firstborn of Egypt destroyed, namely desire, and pleasures, and pain, and fear, and iniquity, and mirth, and intemperance, and all the other qualities which are similar and akin to these, then marvel and be silent, dreading the terrible power of God;
(Philo; Dreams Book 2; 40; 265-266)
So Philo sees an allegory here where the “Egyptians” represent “desire, and pleasures, and pain, and fear, and iniquity, and mirth, and intemperance, and all the other qualities which are similar and akin to these.” In other words Philo sees the Egyptians as representing the sin-nature which the Rabbis call the Yetzer Ra, the Evil inclination.
The ancient Nazarenes saw the same allegory in this story. Paul alludes to this picture of the “salvation of YHWH” when he writes:
1 But I want you to know, my brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, (Wisdom 19:7; Ex. 14:13-29)
2 And all were immersed by the hand of Moshe in the cloud and in the sea,
(1Cor. 10:1-2 HRV)
You may have been told that you are saved, the Scriptures actually
teach that salvation is a process which we “work out” (Phil. 2:12)
with two primary phases. The first of these phases takes place now,
but the second phase does not take place until the resurrection.
In the book of Romans, Paul lays out the two phases of salvation as
But Elohim commends his love toward us,
in that, while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood,
we shall be saved from wrath through him.
For if, when we were enemies,
we were reconciled to Elohim by the death of his Son,
much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
The first phase of salvation is “justification” or “reconciliation”.
This is the present phase of Salvation, as Paul writes elsewhere:
(For he said, I have heard thee in a time accepted,
and in the day of salvation have I succored you:
behold, now is the accepted time; behold,
now is the day of salvation.)
Who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling,
not according to our works,
but according to his own purpose and grace,
which was given us in Messiah Yeshua before the world began,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to his mercy he saved us,
by the washing of regeneration,
and renewing of the Ruach HaKodesh;
The second stage of salvation comes in the future, as the Scriptures
For whosoever shall call upon the name of YHWH shall be saved.
So Messiah was once offered to bear the sins of many;
and unto them that look for him
shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Are they not all ministering spirits,
sent forth to minister for them
who shall be heirs of salvation?
So how does this two phase process work?
How often are we asked “are you saved”? or who often do we hear of
“the plan of salvation” yet the amazing truth is that the vast
majority of people who ask us if we are “saved” or approach us with a
“plan of salvation” even know what salvation is or how to get “saved”.
This booklet will explain to you, from the Scriptures themselves,
what salvation really is and how you can be “saved”.
When someone asks “are you saved”? the natural question is “saved from
what?” “Saved” is a verb that begs for a direct object. Yet many who
ask you “are you saved” cannot actually tell you what they mean. What
do you need to be saved from? The Scriptures, however, give us a clear
answer to this question. At the time of Messiah’s birth, his mother
Miriam (Mary), following instructions from YHWH, names Messiah
“Yeshua” (the Hebrew word for “salvation”). Matthew writes of this event:
And behold she will bear a son, and you will call his name
Yeshua; for he will save his people from all their sins.
Here is the answer to our question. Messiah came to save us from all
of our sins. Thus Yochanan (John) spoke of Messiah saying:
And on the day that followed, Yochanan saw Yeshua, who was walking
toward him, and said, Behold, the lamb of Eloah who takes away the sin
of the world.
Messiah came to save us from our sins, to take away the sins of the
world. That is what “Salvation” is and what we need to be “saved”
from. Moreove this is not a “New Testament” idea, this is an idea
drawn right out of the Tanak (“Old Testament”):
Behold, YHWH’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot
save, neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear;
But your iniquities have separated between you and
your Elohim, and your sins have hid His face from
you, that he will not hear.
Man needs to be saved from sin.
Now lets take a moment to examine these words “save” and “salvation”.
These English words have a lot of baggage attached to them, a lot of
theology that has been read into them over the last few centuries,
instead of reading theology out of the words. As a result, it can be
helpful to translate this same Hebrew word “YESHUA” with other English
words that convey its meaning. Other words are “deliver/deliverance”
or “rescue”. There are two Aramaic words that are used for
“salvation” in the Aramaic “New Testament”, one of these is CHAI
meaning “life, to vivify” and the other is P’RAK which comes from a
root meaning “to separate” and invokes the image of one being
“rescued” by being “separated” from a threat. In this case we need to
be separated from “sin”.
Now that we know that “sin” is what Messiah came to deliver (save) us
from, we must understand just what “sin” is. Simply put, sin is
falling short of observing tht Torah. As the Tanak says:
And if any one sin, and do any of the things which YHWH has commanded
not to be done, though he know it not, yet is he guilty, and shall
bear his iniquity.
But Yahu took no heed to walk in the Torah of YHWH, the Elohim of
Yisra’el, with all his heart; he departed not from the sins of
Yarov’am, with which he made Yisra’el to sin.
With my whole heart have I sought You; O let me not err from Your
Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
Perhaps the clearest definition of “sin” is given in the “New
Whoever commits sin transgresses also the Torah,
for sin is the transgression of the Torah.
So simply put, “sin” may be defined as “transgression of the Torah”.
Messiah, then, came to rescue (save) us from transgression of the
Torah (Mt. 1:21) and to “take away Torah transgression” (Jn. 1:29).
This is exactly what Scriptural “salvation” is all about, don’t trust
a thing that I say, look these Scriptures up for yourself! Elohim
wants to rescue you from transgressing the Torah by taking away Torah
But there us a serious problem in being rescued from Torah
transgression. The problem is that sin is bred into us. As the
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity;
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
While in Christian culture, a baby is viewed as the picture of
innocence, in Jewish (and Scriptural) understanding a baby is the
picture of evil. Now you may be culturally shocked at this concept,
but allow me to explain. A baby is born only caring about itself and
its own needs, it does not have the capacity to care about others.
This is the very definition of evil. Ever since the fall of Adam, we
have been born with this sinful nature, as Paul writes:
12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13: (For until the Torah sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed
when there is no law.
14: Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moshe, even over them that
had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is
the figure of him that was to come.
15: But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through
the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of Elohim, and
the gift by grace, which is by one man, Yeshua the Messiah, has
abounded unto many.
16: And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the
judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many
offences unto justification.
17: For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they
which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness
shall reign in life by one, Yeshua the Messiah.)
18: Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to
condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came
upon all men unto justification of life.
19: For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the
obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20: Moreover the Torah entered, that the offence might abound. But
where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21: That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign
through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
This inclination to do evil is called the Yetzer Ra (evil
inclination). The inclination to do good (Yetzer Tov), by contrast,
develops in time as one grows older. The result is that there are two
natures within man, each struggling for control. Paul writes:
14 For we know that the Torah is of the spirit,
but I am of the flesh and I am sold to sin.
22 For I rejoice in the Torah of Eloah in the inward son of man.
(Romans 7:14, 22 HRV)
Because of this, we are not weary, for even if our
outer man is corrupted, yet that which [is] inside
is renewed day by day.
(2Cor. 4:16 HRV)
for the flesh desires a thing which is opposed to
the Spirit and the Spirit desires a thing that is
opposed to the flesh and the two of these are
opposed to each other, that you do not do the thing
which you desire.
(Gal. 5:17 HRV)
Or as we read in the Talmud:
R. Nahman b. R. Hisda expounded:
What is meant by the text, Then the Lord God
formed [wa-yizer] man? [The word wa-yizer] (Gen. 2:7)
is written with two yods, to show that God created
two inclinations, one good (tov) and the other evil (ra).
It has been taught: R. Jose the Galilean says,
The righteous are swayed by their good inclination,
as it says, My heart is slain within me. (Ps. 109:22)
The wicked are swayed by their evil inclination,
as it says, Transgression speaks to the wicked,
methinks, there is no fear of God before his eyes.
(Ps. 36:1) Average people are swayed by both
inclinations, as it says, Because He stands at
the right hand of the needy, to save him from them
that judge his soul. (Ps. 109:31) Raba said: People
such as we are of the average.
And in the Dead Sea Scrolls:
Thus far, the spirits of truth and falsehood have been
struggling in the heart of man. Men have walked both
in wisdom and folly. If a man casts his portion
with the truth, he does righteously and hates perversity;
if he casts it with falsehood, he does wickedly and
abominates truth. For Elohim has appointed them in
equal measure until the final age, until ‘He makes all
things new’. He foreknows the effect of their works in
every epoch of the world, and He has made men heirs
to them that they might know good and evil. But [when the
time] of Inquisition [comes], He will determine the fate
of every living being in accordance with
which of the [two spirits he has chosen to follow].
(Manual of Discipline 4, 26)
The process of salvation begins with justification, but since
“salvation” ultimately is the doing away with the sin nature, the
second phase of salvation involves the death of Yetzer Ra
(“inclination to do evil”). When we die, our Yetzer Ra will die with
us, but in the resurrection only our Yetzer Tov will be resurrected
3 Or do you not know, that we who are immersed in Yeshua the Messiah are immersed
into His death?
4 We are buried with Him in immersion to death: that as Yeshua the Messiah arose from
among the dead in the glory of His Father, so also we will walk in renewed life.
5 For if we were planted together with Him in the likeness of His death, so we will also
be in His resurrection.
(Rom. 6:3-5 HRV)
Through the death and resurrection of Messiah, we die and
are resurrected with him. Through our covenant relationship with
Messiah, we are his joint heirs. Thus when our Yetzer Ra dies and
only our Yetzer Tov is resurrected, Messiah will have truly rescued us
from sin and we shall experience the final phase of salvation:
Rom. 7:1-7 taken from my translation from the Aramaic:
1. Or do you not know, my brothers, (for I speak to
learned ones of the Torah), that the Torah has
authority over a man as long as he is alive,
2. As a woman who is bound by the Torah to her
husband as long as he is alive. But if her husband
dies, she is freed by the Torah from her husband.
3. And if while her husband is alive she has intercourse with
another man, she becomes an adulteress. But if her husband
dies, she is freed by the Torah; and she is not an adulteress if
she marries another.
Paul takes an illustration from Jewish Law. A woman is bound to her
husband as long as he is alive. She cannot marry another as long as
he lives (unless he divorces her; she has no right to divorce) until
4. And now, my brothers, you also are dead to the Torah in the body
of the Messiah that you might be [married] to another who arose from
the place of the dead, that you might bear fruit to Eloah.
As far as the Torah is concerned we die with Messiah and are freed
from our former husband (sin) thus allowing us to be brides to Messiah.
5. For while we were in the flesh, the passions of sins that are in
the Torah were working in our members, so that we would bear fruit
6. But now we are brought to an end by the Torah, and we are dead to
that which was holding us, that we should serve from now on in the
renewal of the spirit and not in the oldness of the writing.
The Torah allows us to be brides either to YHWH or to sin. When we
are freed from sin we can become brides to Messiah,
7. What therefore are we saying? Is the Torah sin? Absolutely not!
But I did not learn sin except by the hand of the Torah. For I had
not known covetousness except that the Torah said, Do not covet.
Paul is concerned that his reader might misunderstand him and think
that the Torah is sin and that therefore misunderstand his
illustration as teaching that our previous bridegroom was the Torah
which we are freed from in order to be bound to Messiah. Absolutely
not! Paul says. Sin was our first love and former husband from whom
the Torah frees us, but THE TORAH IS NOT SIN (it simply recognizes
that we are married either to sin or Messiah) and since the TORAH IS
NOT SIN then the Torah is NOT our former husband and we are NOT freed
from Torah to be joined to Messiah. In fact the Torah is the
instrument that allows us to be married to the Messiah. Without the
Torah there is no marriage at all.
Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman) (1194-1270 C.E.) wrote one of the most authoritative Torah commentaries in Rabbinic Judaism. He gives a very similar understanding to Paul here:
And YHWH your Elohim will circumcise your heart (Deut. 30:6) It is this which the Rabbis have said, “If someone comes to purify himself, they assist him” [from on High]. The verse assures you that you will return to Him with all your heart and He will help you.
This following subject is very apparent from Scripture: Since the time of Creation, man has had the power to do as he pleased, to be righteous or wicked. This [grant of free will] applies likewise to the entire Torah period, so that people can gain merit upon choosing the good and punishment for preferring evil. But in the days of the Messiah, the choice of
their [genuine] good will be natural; the heart will not desire the improper and it will have no craving whatever for it. This is the “circumcision” mentioned here, for lust and desire are the “foreskin” of the heart, and circumcision of the heart means that it will not covet or desire evil.
Man will return at that time to what he was before the sin of Adam, when by his nature he did what should properly be done, and there were no conflicting desires in his will, as I have explained in Seder Bereshit.
It is this which Scripture states in [the Book of] Jeremiah 31:30], Behold, the days come, says YHWH, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers ..etc. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Eternal, I will put my Law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it.
This is a reference to the annulment of the evil inclination and to the natural performance by the heart of its proper function. Therefore Jeremiah said further, and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My People; and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying: ‘Know YHWH; ‘for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them
Now, it is known that the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth and it is necessary to instruct them, but at that time it will not be necessary to instruct them [to avoid evil] for their evil inclination will then be completely abolished. And so it is declared by Ezekiel, A new heart will I also give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will cause you to walk in My statutes . (Ezekiel 36:26)
The new heart alludes to man’s nature, and the [new] spirit to the desire and will. It is this which our Rabbis have said : “And the years draw nigh, when you shall say: I have no pleasure in them; these are the days of the Messiah, as they will offer opportunity neither for merit nor for guilt,” for in the days of the Messiah there will be no [evil] desire in man but he will naturally perform the proper deeds and therefore there will be neither merit nor guilt in them, for merit and guilt are dependent upon desire.
(Ramban on Deut. 29:6)
Salvation is a process. We receive justification and reconciliation now, but the completion of the process will ultimately involve our death and resurrection, only then will our salvation be complete.
Just as the Egyptians followed the Hebrews into the Red Sea but the Hebrews alone emerged alive, when we enter into the death burial and resurrection of Messiah as symbolized by water immersion, only our New Man emerges alive in the resurrection, while our Old Man will be left behind in death.