Call Upon The Name Of The LORD And Be Saved?


Through out my Christian walk I loved studying theology and learning the doctrines of the faith…however I also was aware that sometimes, many times, Christian doctrine and theology just couldn’t pass muster…when it came to what I call “where the rubber meets the road test” that’s where all sorts of circular thinking and hoop jumping seemed to happen. The cliched answers to the doctrinal conundrums always seemed to center around the “just have faith” or “God can do what ever He wants, after all no one deserves God’s favor” line of reasoning.

Let me give you an example of what I mean:

Christianity teaches that forgiveness and a relationship with God are only possible through Jesus Christ. Simplistically, that requires an individual to “turn from their sin and accept Jesus into their heart.”

Now let’s look at a possible real life scenario

Person A just happens to hear or read chapter 45 of Isaiah. They only have the Hebrew scriptures and have heard no other teachings. They embrace with all their heart what Isaiah 45 says about who God is – His name is YHVH, He is creator, He is redeemer, He is Savior etc. They are convicted, repent and respond and follow God’s ways.

Person A essentially calls upon the name of YHVH in the spirit of Joel 2 for his salvation – trusting that what he is reading is true.

Person A has never heard about Jesus and if he has, it never even dawns on him that YHVH and Jesus are the same people.

Does person A…

  • Have a genuine relationship with God?
  • Have salvation from Hell fire?
  • Have forgiveness of sins?

I have asked several Christians (all the way from doctors of theology to seminary students to lay teachers in the “church”) not one christian has been able (or perhaps willing) to give me an answer.

Christian please consider the following…

  • If Person A can enter into a relationship with God this way, that means there is another way of salvation other than Jesus
  • If even one person has salvation through YHVH and not Jesus that means he did not really have to die
  • If you think Person A cannot have salvation through believing in YHVH and repenting of their sin and following Him, what is your reasoning?
  • If you think Person A cannot be saved by calling upon YHVH how complicated is it to attain salvation? Does one need to know theology and doctrine are they saved by their knowledge or are they saved by God who simply calls us to humble ourselves before Him and walk in all His ways.

Let me hear your thoughts. Please leave your comments below.


  1. OOTS: Thank you for your thoughtful reply…
    What do you mean Christian doctrine does not work in the real world with real flesh and blood? If works fine. Anyone who comes to faith in Christ and repents of their sin will be saved. It works every time.

    OOTHS: I did not say “Christian doctrine does not work in the real world” I was referring to a specific passage that if taken at face value by the person reading or hearing it does God honor that. Does God hear and accept that cry of the heart. So essentially, you do not believe “Anyone who comes to faith in YHVH and repents of their sin will be saved.”

    What you really should say is that you dismiss this doctrine because you don’t like it. You don’t like that people go to hell even if they’ve never heard of Christ.

    OOTS: Is your argument logical? Are you saying you like it when people go to hell? Ezekiel 18:23 “God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked” – Do you? The point being 1) you make assumptions (perhaps unknowingly) and project them onto others. This corrupts the argument and dilutes your effectiveness. Using emotionally charged accusations and statements instead of sticking with the Hebrew scriptures to prove your points.

    A person could be similarly put off by your belief that knowledge of Yahweh is necessary for salvation.

    OOTS:Yes, they could…but we are not talking about what people in general believe, we are discussing how we can know what is the path of forgiveness and relationship with God according to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as revealed in the Tanakh.

    They could say, “What if a person in Saudi Arabia feels guilt over their sin and calls upon the name of Allah for salvation? What if they never hear the name Yahweh, but serve Allah with all their heart, soul, and mind? Are they saved? If not, then your belief does not work in the real world where such diverse cultures exist and sometime prevent a person from ever hearing about Yahweh.”

    OOTS: Yes, I see your point. I think the difference is that where as I tend to view the Torah as “instructions” not law as is taught in much of Christianity, thus my application is not as rigid as it once was : ). For example, I see very clearly that God has a place in His flock for righteous men. Read Psalm 18 for one example. Look at the righteous men Enoch, Noah, Abraham etc.

    I hope you see the absurdity of such a question. Not liking an exclusionary doctrine does not make it false.

    OOTS: Absolutely, not liking an exclusionary doctrine does not make it false, that is why the wicked perish Psalm 37:20 for one example. The wicked are excluded unless they repent

    To call upon the name of the LORD means to wholly devote oneself to God in faith for who He truly is. You have to know something about the LORD to truly call upon his name.

    OOTS: Let me be clear, are you saying you have to know something about YHVH to truly call upon His name?

    As Paul, who quotes this very verse, points out, no one can truly call upon the name of the LORD without knowing something about him.

    Romans 10:13-17
    For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

    OOTS: Please go back and review each verse Paul quotes from the Tanakh in it’s context including using the proper name of God where it is in the actual text. Then go back and read Romans 10. For example, Paul is quoting Joel 2 “Everyone who calls on the name of YHVH will be saved.” Joel referring here to salvation from Israel’s enemies. Then read Deut 30 where Paul just happens to leave off the part of the quote..

    Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

    Paul also writes:
    But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:

    “Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.”[i]

    Quoting Psalm 19 – If read in context of psalm 19 Paul seems to be suggesting that he is agreeing with Psalm 19 that one can know God through general revelation.

    God has revealed his truths to us with greater knowledge over time. You know this as progressive revelation. At this point in history, the Son of God has already come to earth as a man to seek and save the lost by dying for their sins.

    Just for chagrins, when was the last time you saw your child repent and turn from their wicked ways and as their father say to them, “that’s not enough, I am still angry with you, but don’t worry, I’ll take it out on your mother, brother, sister…I’ll make them pay for your missing the mark, that will make me feel better and then we can have a relationship again. Do you feel or believe that for justice to occur someone must pay for the short comings of your child?”

    OOTS:The JW’s just say it another way, “the light is getting brighter.” Is progressive revelation perhaps just another way of saying we can change God’s word over time – how do we know that there will not be further “progressive” revelation that might change the way one views Jesus or even another savior who will come.

    Therefore, for a person to truly call on the name of the Lord in these days, they must know Christ. Otherwise they do not truly know Yahweh.

    OOTS: So, what you are saying is, a persona cannot call upon the name of YHVH and repent and have forgiveness…right. So I wonder, at what point in time did God require people everywhere to know this Jesus? How did that work? Were the righteous Jews in the diaspora at the time of the the crucifixion ready to be with God one moment because they loved God with all their heart, soul and mind and the next moment they were required to believe that a person died on a cross as a sacrifice for their sins a concept that would be blasphemous to them and according to the Tanakh which they knew thoroughly. Put yourself in the shoes of a first century Jew who loved God with all his heart, soul, mind and try to see this Jesus scenario through his eyes – through the revelation that God had given to him. I recently watched a deabte between Tovia Singer and William Lane Craig. Craig when pressed by Singer about how Jews were saved said, something like, they responded to the revelation given to them. I tend to agree with Craig on that point though we may differ on what each of us thinks that means. I have always said, God saves and God alone – not the depth of understanding a person has about God or in the case of Christianity when I was a Christian, about the depth of a person’s knowledge about Jesus. That is an example of what i mean when I say, there is a difference between theology and reality. Theology and doctrine are a vain attempt at understanding how God works in the world. Reality is, how He actually does it, which is pretty much hidden from our sight. JMHO.

    1 John 2:23
    “No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.”

    OOTS: The Son of God, His first born is Israel – Out of Egypt I called my son.

    The faith of Jews in the Old Testament was not merely “calling upon the name of the LORD”. Much like Christians, the Jews demonstrated their faith by following the commands of God.

    OOTS: The authors of the gospels have Jesus saying the following:
    “If you love me, keep my commandments.John 14

    For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.

    The teaches of the law and the pharisees sit in the seat of Moses. Be careful to do all they tell you to do, not what they do because they do not practice what they preach.” Matthew 23

    Jesus, “Our Father who art in heaven…thy will be done, thy kingdom come..”

    They were commanded to offer sacrifices which showed God’s justice toward sin. Your new faith seems to leave out the justice of God. Is God a righteous judge if he glosses over the sin of someone when they repent? How should the victim of those sins feel about that?

    OOTS: The Tanakh teaches restitution. Read Leviticus. In the case of David for example, adultery and murder, the law required him to be cut off or stoned. But he writes in Psalm 51 and 32 that YHVH washes him clean and forgives the guilt of his sin.Through David and the people of Israel suffered much for his sin. God is God and he can do do what he likes how he likes.

    I realize you are no longer believing in Christ as the promised redeemer, but his death on the cross is the culmination of everything the Jewish system represented. The only reason God could ever forgive those in the Old Testament that “called upon the name of the LORD” is because his wrath would one day be satisfied in the substitutionary atonement of Christ.

    OOTS: Because you believe it, does not make it so…belief is a powerful, powerful thing…belief systems and paradigm shifts change people..that still does not make the belief necessarily true. I hope that you will be humble enough to allow God to show you where there may be error in your theology, your understanding of Him and the Bible. Obviously, theology can be an idol just like many other things. YHVH says seek Me with all your heart and I will be found by you… after all as a Jesus follower you see him only as 1/3 of the trinity, right? Please give YHVH all the glory and honor HE due His name.

    In a previous conversation, you quoted Isaiah 1 to show that sacrifices are unnecessary for forgiveness.

    Isaiah 1:11
    “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord;
    I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts;
    I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.”

    Using just this verse misses the point of the passage. It continues in this way.

    Isaiah 1:12-20
    “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?
    Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me.
    New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
    I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
    Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates;
    they have become a burden to me;
    I am weary of bearing them.
    When you spread out your hands,
    I will hide my eyes from you;
    even though you make many prayers,
    I will not listen;
    your hands are full of blood.
    Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
    remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
    cease to do evil,
    learn to do good;
    seek justice,
    correct oppression;
    bring justice to the fatherless,
    plead the widow’s cause.
    Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
    though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
    though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool.
    If you are willing and obedient,
    you shall eat the good of the land;
    but if you refuse and rebel,
    you shall be eaten by the sword;
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

    As this passage demonstrates, God does not even desire the prayers of an unrepentant person. But I would never conclude that prayers are unnecessary as you have concluded about sacrifices.

    OOTS: I understand what you are saying, but just wondering, are prayers and sacrifices the same thing – seems like apples and oranges to me. Because the same words show up in these verses and because God rejects both from unrepentant and unrighteous people does not mean we can simply equate the 2. Could it be thay sacrifices were part of the middle eastern culture in which the Israelite lived. Could God, have given the Israelites a way to worship Him that they were familiar with and that at the same time would not offend Him such as human sacrifices and eating blood like the pagans did. Check out Michael Heiser’s work – he works for Logos software but is a scholar of ancient near east languages and culture. The Tanakh proves over and over it is about the heart, God wants the heart, not the sacrifices. The difference is prayer and crying out to God is a universal phenomenon, i.e. it is how people everywhere try to connect with their creator. God doesn’t command gentiles in the 21st century in the west to offer sacrifices in this day and age because it is not part of the culture in which we live….The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving, a grateful heart etc. Just like we understand that materialism, money, food, sex etc can be idols, not just an image carved from wood or stone. Again this is just my opinion. There are things we can know, that are clearly stated from God’s word and others that we cannot…those other things are opinion.

    The prayer is accepted, much like the sacrifice from a pure heart – PS 114 may my prayer be set before you like incense, the lifting of my hands like the evening sacrifice. Ps 51 You desire a broken spirit and contrite heart oh God.

    Is 57
    “Build up, build up, prepare the road!
    Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”
    15For this is what the high and exalted One says—
    he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
    “I live in a high and holy place,
    but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
    to revive the spirit of the lowly
    and to revive the heart of the contrite.
    16I will not accuse them forever,
    nor will I always be angry,
    for then they would faint away because of me—
    the very people I have created.
    17I was enraged by their sinful greed;
    I punished them, and hid my face in anger,
    yet they kept on in their willful ways.
    18I have seen their ways, but I will heal them;
    I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners,
    19creating praise on their lips.
    Peace, peace, to those far and near,”
    says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”

    In your new faith where you have no sacrifice, how does God forgive you and still remain just? God is just.

    One last point, in the event that God did satisfy His wrath at calvary for sins past, present and future, there is nothing compelling or clear revealed in the Tanakh about it that would lead a simple minded person like myself to even think this way unless I had otherwise been indoctrinated to see it, thus I would have to conclude that a) it did not happen or b.) it is not a requirement of YHVH to know or acknowledge.

    YHVH determined the way of forgiveness and relationship with him and I trust it. I do not stand in my own righteousness, I simply accept His grace which abounds from Genesis to Malachi and love and obey Him as best I can. He initiates the work, He completes it. He is Savior, He is Healer, He is Redeemer, He is Defender, He is the Most High and Exalted and Holy One and His name is YHVH.

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