The Scarlet Cord

“Come now, and let us reason together,”

Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18) 

Every year, on the Day of Atonement before the Temple was destroyed, the High Priest would put on a special white tunic with a red sash wrapped around his waist. He would wear this only once a year. He would take the two scapegoats (called seir la’azazel in Hebrew) and bring them through the streets of Jerusalem, foreshadowing Christ where people would spit on them, kick them, hit them with stones and curse them for their sin. One would be sacrificed; the other would be taken into the wilderness and pushed from a precipice. But before that, the High Priest would take the scarlet sash and cut it in half into two cords; one he would tie between the horns of the seir la’azazel released into the wilderness, the other he would hang before the “Qodesh Qodeshim”—the Holy of Holies in the Temple. 

The Jews believed that if their sin was forgiven on the Day of Atonement—Yom Kippur—the scarlet cord would turn white. We are told in the Mishnah (Jewish history) that for the forty years before the Temple was destroyed—in other words, from the time Yeshua was rejected as Messiah until the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, which both Jesus and Daniel predicted—it never turned white. Talmudic Judaism itself admits that the sins of the Jewish people were no longer forgiven on the Day of Atonement once Yeshua was rejected. 

We need to understand Old Testament atonement, or Yom Kippur. If the Hebrews had real faith and real repentance, the blood of the scapegoats would cover their sin until the Messiah came and removed them; it was a temporary provision.

It Speaks of Salvation

“…your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow” speaks of salvation. Consistently throughout Scripture we have the scarlet cord speaking about salvation.

‘The priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet material and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer. (Numbers 19:6)

Notice that the scarlet cord—the scarlet fabric—is thrown into the fire with hyssop. Hyssop is paschal. When the Passover lamb was sacrificed they would dip hyssop into the towel and take the paschal blood and make the bloody doorposts and lintels in the form of a cross. David, in his Psalm of penitence said, “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Ps. 51:7). We have the hyssop, the blood, the cedar (which is the wood from which the cross may have been made) and the scarlet cord.

“…then the priest shall give orders to take two live clean birds…

(As there are two goats there are two birds.)

“…and cedar wood and a scarlet string and hyssop for the one who is to be cleansed.…As for the live bird, he shall take it together with the cedar wood and the scarlet string and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was slain over the running water. (Leviticus 14:4, 6) 

The running water is a picture of washing with the blood, but we also have the hyssop and the scarlet.

Judah recognized them, and said, “She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not have relations with her again. It came about at the time she was giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb. Moreover, it took place while she was giving birth, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.”

(This almost certainly had to be an act of providence or divine intervention in itself. Christian and Jewish obstetricians who have looked at this have said that normally this would not happen.)

But it came about as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out. Then she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” So he was named Perez. Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand; and he was named Zerah. (Genesis 38:26-30) 

Notice that only the second born has the scarlet thread; only the second born has salvation. But the hand came out first. I am not a Calvinist, nonetheless the Scriptures are clear: “those whom He foreknew” (Rom. 8:29; 11:2). The Lord knows who is going to get saved even before we get saved. No place, however, is this scarlet cord more prominent or important than in the narrative of Rahab the harlot.

…unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household. (Joshua 2:18) 
There is the scarlet cord; only those who have it will be rescued. The rescue narratives of Scripture such as the Exodus, Noah, Lot, the events of AD 70 and in this case Rahab, each of these prefigures the Rapture of the Church. We do not base doctrine on typology or symbolism, but we do use the typology and symbolism to illustrate and illuminate doctrine on a deeper level. It shows us what is going to happen.

Scriptures from a Hebraic Viewpoint

If a Jewish believer at the end of the first century was reading the Book of Revelation (there would have been no chapter divisions at that time) during the persecution of the Emperor Domitian, they would have read it quite differently than we do with a Western, Hellenistic mind. (Unfortunately, the patristic church fathers Hellenized a Hebraic faith. They took a Jewish Christianity and turned it into a Greek one.) They would have read it midrashically. They would have seen it as a midrash on the Book of Joshua.  

In the Book of Joshua is found seven days of marching around Jericho, but on the seventh day there was a subset of seven. Coming out of the seventh seven, they had to do it seven times. So, in Revelation, we have the same pattern with seven seals, but out of the seventh seven there is a subset of seven trumpets. 

When they marched around Jericho there had to be total silence (Josh. 6:10). And so, in Revelation 8:1, “there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” How time is applied to eternity is another matter, but there it is. There are the two spies who come into play in Joshua (Josh. 2). They prefigure the two witnesses (Rev. 11).

When the last trumpet—the last shofar, is blown in the Book of Joshua, “This city has been given to us by the Lord” (Josh. 6:16), and so when the last trumpet is blown in Revelation, “This world has become the Kingdom of our God and His Messiah” (Rev. 11:15). 

If we want to know the future, look at the past. The Book of Joshua—the rescue of Rahab, is just like the rescue of Lot in that it is not just simply a past event, it is a future one. The rescue of Noah is not just a past event, it is a future event. If we do not know what did happen, we are never going to know what is going to happen. That is how a Jewish believer at the end of the first century would have read the Book of Revelation. We need to read it with the mind of the original first century Christians, not with the mind of the sixteenth-century Reformers or fourth-century “church fathers.”

Rahab the Harlot

Rahab is quite a figure who is mentioned with favor three times in the New Testament (Mt. 1:5; Heb. 11:3; James 2:25). Why Rahab? Why is she given such favorable mention? She is the great-great-grandmother of King David. The royal line of David—the Messianic line through whom the Messiah the Savior would come, has Rahab as one of his direct ancestors; a Gentile prostitute. We have to understand that Abraham is a Gentile whom God converted to Judaism. There are two Gentile women in the genealogy of Jesus dating back to the line of David in Ruth and Rahab. Why is this? It is simply because the Messiah would be Savior of both Jew and Gentile.

Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. (Matthew 1:5)

This, of course, picks up where the Book of Ruth ends. The genealogy of Jesus actually begins in the closing verses of the fourth chapter of Ruth. The great-great-grandmother of the Messiah would be Rahab, this Gentile prostitute. She marries into a Jewish family after converting to belief in the true God.

By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace. (Hebrews 11:31) 

Here in the index of the faithful she is a role model. Why does God make this Gentile prostitute a role model of faith? 

In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? (James 2:25) 

The previous verse tells us…

You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24) 

Martin Luther began well, but he ended very badly. During the Peasants’ Revolt he said the peasants should be murdered. He said every Jew should be cornered into a corral and forced to confess Christ at the point of a knife. “We, the German nation, are to blame if we do not enslave these Jews to prove we are Christians.” (This is quoted extensively by Hitler in Mein Kampf.) Not only that, he ended his life a complete heretic. He denied the canonicity of the Book of Revelation and also the canonicity of the Epistle of James. He said it was not part of the New Testament canon because he disagreed with it. He did not understand the difference between “works of the Law” and “works.” Because he was reacting against medieval Catholicism—salvation by works, by sacraments, by indulgences, etc., he could not handle what James was saying because he really did not understand it. What James is saying is simply this: Christians do not do good works to get saved, they do good works because they have been saved. We are saved by grace through faith, but what do we mean by “faith”? The problem had to do with the English and Latin languages.

Faith & Faithfulness

In Hebrew, the word for “faith” is “emunah” from which we get the word “amen”; in Hebrew the word for “faithfulness” is “emunah.” It is the same word, like from the Book of Lamentations: “Great is Thy faithfulness” (Lam. 3:23) The Hebrew language makes no distinction between “faith” and “faithfulness,” and neither, technically, does the Greek—“pistis.” There may be a difference in the case endings, but the word for “faith” and the word for “faithfulness” is the same. In other words, if somebody’s faith is genuine, they are going to be faithful.

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)

A saving faith is not a mere, intellectual faith. Satan has an intellectual faith; Satan knows it is true. If it is a saving faith, there will be faithfulness. The problem is that instead of following the Hebrew or Greek, our translations generally follow the Latin Vulgate of Jerome. “Faith” and “faithfulness” are different in Latin. Hence, in English, we get the wrong perspective. If it is a saving faith, we will be faithful. 

The righteous will live by “faith” (Hab. 2:4)? The righteous will live by “faithfulness.” We are saved by grace through “faith” (Eph. 2:8)? We are saved by grace through “faithfulness.” (Commencing, of course, by the faithfulness of Jesus). Without “faith” it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6)? Without “faithfulness” it is impossible to please God. We make a distinction between “faith” and “faithfulness” because of translational complications we should not be making.

Lying to Hide the Spies

By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace. (Hebrews 11:31)

Rahab is commended because she hid these spies. Theologians are divided asking, “Did she lie?” “Was it right for her to lie?” But she is commended for what she did. I do not personally see it as a lie, but that she changed sides during a military conflict. I see it as military disinformation. Others may disagree, but I will relate a true story. 

I knew a lovely lady named Loki Nussenbaum, a Jewish lady. She and one brother lived in New York, but she has since gone to the Lord. I knew her in Israel. She became a believer at the age of fourteen and after becoming educated she became a missionary to the Bantu tribe in Angola. She was a remarkable woman who could speak Portuguese, French, Hebrew, Yiddish and German, but she could also speak Bantu, the native language of the bushmen to whom she was a missionary for many years until the communists took over Angola and kicked the missionaries out. Loki was incredible. 

Most of her family was murdered by the Nazis, including her father, mother, little sister and little brother. Loki and one brother escaped. They were smuggled by Christians from Belgium to Lausanne, Switzerland, at the age of thirteen, and a year later she became a believer. 

There were Christians in Switzerland who told her to look at Romans 13, their interpretation being that since politicians are God’s ministers, Adolph Hitler was a minister of God. They added that since lying was a sin, those who had lied to the Gestapo to smuggle her out had sinned. They told her since she now had a Christian testimony, she needed to go back and give herself over to the Gestapo even though they would put her in an oven. They actually told her this! These were people who were too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good. (I guess they did not like James’ epistle either.) At the age of fourteen she was very confused and actually contemplated doing it. Thank God someone with some sense got to her before she did so. 

Rahab is spoken of very highly. She is a role model for all of us. Let us see why King David’s great-great grandmother is spoken of so highly in the New Testament—this Gentile who married into a Jewish family after coming to believe in the Jewish God and was one of the people who was in the lineage of David and in the pedigree of the Messiah Himself, bringing salvation to all of us.

Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there.

This was a smart move, really. Who would ever think of looking for a couple of nice Jewish boys in a whorehouse?

It was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. “It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark…

(Shutting the gate, it is getting dark—these are eschatological nuances.)

…that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate. Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. “For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. (Joshua 2:1-11) 

(This pagan woman came to believe in the true God.)

She Knew What She Was

Who is going to be saved? If we are here at the time, who is going to be raptured? Only people who know what they are. 


Nobody has to tell a prostitute she is a hooker. I was a cocaine addict in my teenage years; no one had to tell me I was strung out and dealing drugs. Nobody has to tell a pimp he is a pimp; people like that know what they are. The most difficult people to get saved, of course, are religious people. Nobody has ever gone to heaven because of religion, but many people—countless people, have gone to hell because of religion. 

Rahab knew what she was. All have sinned, all fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). If we do not know we are morally bankrupt and spiritually abject before a holy and perfect God, we cannot be saved. Unless we know that we are no good, we will not know how good He is; unless we know that we cannot save ourselves and desperately need Him to save us, we cannot get saved. Remember, the enemy gets more people into hell with religion than all the immorality, all the covetousness and all the substance abuse put together. She knew what she was.

She Knew Joshua Was Coming

She was not like Rick Warren who tells us to avoid end-time prophecy. Fortunately she listened to the Word of God; she did not read the “Purpose Driven Lie.” She knew Joshua was coming. 


Even unsaved people have a sense that human history is coming to some kind of apocalyptic, catastrophic end. The Late, Great Planet Earth was a superficial book doctrinally, but many people were saved through that book in the 1970s. Why? Because it did what Jesus said by preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom (Mt. 24:14); it used end-time prophecy to present the Gospel. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 3:2). John the Baptist preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. In Matthew’s Gospel, He spoke three times as much about hell as He did heaven. When we use end-time prophecy, Yeshua says the Gospel of the Kingdom must be preached. It is the same Gospel of salvation, but it is presented in a certain eschatological character; it is prophecy used to engage unsaved people. 

Why are they going to fortune tellers, the occult, horoscopes and all this garbage? They want to know the future. Well, we know the future. Use prophecy evangelistically. That is the only way to successfully evangelize a post-Christian, neo-pagan, post-modern world; not the Emergent garbage, not the Purpose Driven garbage, not the Rob Bell garbage—the Word of God. Do what Jesus said—use prophecy to engage unsaved people evangelistically.

She Knew God’s Divine Plan for Israel

Thirdly, Rahab did not pay attention to people like John Piper; she did not adhere to Replacement Theology. She knew God had a divine plan for Israel. She knew that God’s prophetic agenda depended on His prophetic agenda for Israel and the Jews. 


Israel is a litmus test. If somebody is right about Israel, it does not prove that they are right about other things; there are plenty of crazy people who understand that God has a prophetic purpose for Israel. We have people who lift up “Jewishness” instead of “Jesus-ness” in the Messianic Movement, putting Gentiles under the Law and all kind of craziness. There are people like John Hagee and International Christian Embassy (ICE) saying Jews do not have to be evangelized. If somebody is right about Israel, that does not prove that they are right about other things; it is not that kind of a litmus test. It is not a litmus test for orthodoxy, but it is, however, a litmus test for heterodoxy

I have never found a single preacher, author, or theologian who is wrong about Israel who is not wrong about other things. If they deny the prophetic significance for Israel and the Jews, we can bet our boots they have other seriously wrong doctrine. Being right about Israel does not prove they are kosher, but being wrong about Israel proves they are not kosher. Do not pay any attention to them as they have nothing to say that is worth listening to that cannot be obtained elsewhere. 

It is no wonder John Piper is pushing Rick Warren; he was never any good. How can an endorsement be given to someone who says we must unite with Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists to bring in global peace? How can one promote someone with an antichrist agenda unless they are out to lunch to begin with? No one does something so crazy overnight. It proves something was always wrong. If they are wrong about Israel, they are wrong about other things.

The Temporal Work of Redemption

Rahab knew the divine plan, she also knew the signs of the times, but she knew something else, that redemption was not only eternal, but temporal. When Jesus died, He did die to save us from hell, and he did die to bring us to heaven, but He also redeemed us to do something in this life and thisworld. It does not matter what she did or what she was, it does not matter what we did or what we were. 


Before I emigrated to Israel, my church in New York had a rescue mission to street people, homeless people, alcoholics, drug addicts and teenaged prostitutes; we would rescue them. I never met a prostitute who was not a professional liar. They lie to their clients to pretend they like them—all they see is green. They lie to their pimps about how much they made (or not), and above all they lie to themselves. One has to be a liar to be a prostitute. So look at what Rahab did. When the authorities came looking for the two Israelite spies, her human skills were redeemed and transformed to be used for God’s purpose. 

When Bibles were not legal in China, I used to smuggle them in. When Bibles were not legal in Vietnam, I used to smuggle Bibles from Bangkok, Thailand into Vietnam, and before that from Hong Kong into China. Why? Because before I met Jesus I used to smuggle hashish from Toronto into Amsterdam. 

It does not matter what we did, it does not matter what we are; it only matters if we have been redeemed. God redeems the whole person. It could be a professional skill in medicine or law, it could be something from the humanities like writing or music—it could be anything, even something sinister like a prostitute or a drug dealer from the East Side of Manhattan. It does not matter what we did; it only matters if we have been redeemed. Whatever it is, the Lord is going to crucify the whole person. He is going to take it to the cross, then He is going to raise it up and use it for His glory. 

That is the total meaning of “redemption.” Remember that in Matthew 25, the gifts are given in proportion to the talents. That was some talent to have, but God used it. Rahab understood redemption.

The Victory is Already Assured

“Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.”


(As we see in the Exodus narrative, as we see in the Lot narrative, as we see in the Noah narrative, God is in the business of saving whole families.)

So the men said to her, “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.” Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall, so that she was living on the wall.

(Sounds like Paul in Damascus, does it not?)

She said to them, “Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way.” The men said to her, “We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household. It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear.” She said, “According to your words, so be it.” So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

(Notice that twice it is reiterated, “Do not betray us” (Josh. 2:17, 20), and twice it is reiterated, “Tie the scarlet cord” (Josh. 2:18, 21). It becomes emphatic when it is repeated.)

They departed and came to the hill country, and remained there for three days until the pursuers returned. Now the pursuers had sought them all along the road, but had not found them. Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them. They said to Joshua, “Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us.” (Joshua 2:12-24)

Notice how the war is won even before the battle is fought. In Christ, the victory is already assured; the outcome is fixed in eternity. Even Luther realized that truth before he went off his rocker. He composed, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”—“Christ Jesus is He and He must win the battle.” There is no other possibility. Yes, things are tough and they are going to get tougher, dark and getting darker, but do not worry, I read the end of the Book, and in the end, because of Jesus, we win. There is no other possible outcome. The only question is whose side we want to be on. If we turn away from Jericho and turn toward the God of Israel, He will bring us into His family, and bring us into His people, and bring us into the lineage of the Messiah the same as He did with Rahab. We either perish with the kingdom that is fading, or we become a patriarch or matriarch in the Kingdom that is coming.

She Desired the Salvation of Her Family

I suppose that because prostitutes see the dark side of human nature for what it really is, and they see the dark side of themselves for what they really are, they know the depravity and depths to which a person can sink. Perhaps that engenders strong family values. Despite what she was and what she did, she desperately desired the salvation of her family. 


After our own relationship with the Lord, there is nothing more important in our lives than the salvation of our loved ones. It is more important than our own biological lives. Rahab desired the salvation of her family, and God desires the salvation of our families. May they repent and believe.

She Switched Allegiances

Then she switched allegiances and joined the other side. 


Yes, things are getting very unpleasant for Christians in the world, and I speak in places where the Church is persecuted. I was just with the Hmong people in Vietnam. They are impoverished—and I mean really poor. They are persecuted, and for the most part they do not have any Bibles, yet their churches are growing! They have nothing to hope in, nothing to trust in except Jesus. Their only hope for a better life and better world is the coming one. Remember, it was Smyrna who was really rich (Rev.2:9), and it was Laodicea, although materially and financially rich, who was broke (Rev. 3:17). The Hmong people are Smyrna; we are Laodicea. 

Rahab desired the salvation of her family and she switched allegiances. Someone who has switched allegiances and become part of the invading army has no problem. It is like Kaddafi, who was deposed as dictator of Libya. Who wanted to fight for him? He couldn’t win. But it is specified, “Do not go out” (Josh. 2:19). Just as it was with Lot, it is an application of, “Forsake not the fellowshipping together, one with another, especially as you see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:25).

She Was Told Not to Go Out & Not to Betray

If we have a Bible-based church that is centered on Christ with decent leadership, we are very fortunate. But there are many Christians in America, Australia, Britain and elsewhere who do not have this. I find more and more people meeting in homes and small groups simply because they can no longer find a biblically-based church where they live. It does not matter if someone meets in a tent out in the middle of a field, they must be in fellowship. If people are out of fellowship with other believers, it is because they are out of fellowship with the Lord. If they are in prison for the faith in Saudi Arabia, that is something different; God will take care of them. But the norm?


He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom. (Proverbs 18:1) 

When we see people who are chronically out of fellowship with other believers, they are actually out of fellowship with the Lord. Some claim they do not go because the church is filled with hypocrites. Well then, they ought to fit right in. No matter what they say, they quarrel against all sound wisdom. They are really seeking the desire of their own nature. They say, “I don’t need the church, I have Jesus!” If that was true, they would want to be in fellowship with other believers. They are quarreling against all sound wisdom; they seek their own desire—they lack sense. People who are out of fellowship in the last days put themselves in a situation of tremendous peril. If we cannot stand together, we will never stand alone. “Do not go out!”

When people leave the church (I am not saying a given congregation, but out of fellowship) they are going to backslide if they have not done so already. And twice it is reiterated, “Do not betray.” What did Jesus say was going to happen? “Many will fall away and betray one another” (Mt. 24:10). This is happening already, but it is going to happen big time. 

Just to begin with, let me tell you who is going to betray us tomorrow: the ones who tune into the idiot box and listen to Benny, Kenny and Joyce today. Those listening to the money preachers and their false promise, “You don’t have to suffer! You’re a King’s Kid! God wants you rich! Blab-it-and-grab-it! Just confess the victory and you won’t suffer!” When opposition and trials come, they are going to be the first ones to fall away, these people who listen to those religious liars who have a lying spirit. These money-preaching televangelists are at the forefront of the false prophets Jesus warned would come to deceive the elect in the last days (Mt. 24:24). Do not pay attention to any of them.

She Hangs a Scarlet Cord

But there, finally, hanging in the window of the room where Rahab gathered together her family, the scarlet cord is found. And here we are, all together where the scarlet cord is. Our sins are like scarlet, but they shall be white as snow (Is. 1:18)—the blood of the paschal lamb. 


In the house where I live in England, near the suburbs of London, there is on the door a “mezuzah”—the way the Torah is put on the doorposts of a Jewish family’s house. Then there is a sticker on the garage, “Jehovah’s Witnesses Welcome Here.” (I have a great time when they come over, though I have reason to believe I have been put on their black list and they tell their people to avoid me now.) But there is a third thing I still have to get: I want to hang a scarlet cord in the window. I have the sticker, I have the mezuzah, but I must get a scarlet cord. We all need a scarlet cord. 

How did Rahab get rescued? Why was she saved? Why did God bless her and use her so much? Why did she become a matriarch and a role model of faith and faithfulness? How did she become memorialized for all time in the Word of God and an ancestor to Jesus the Messiah Himself? How did a Gentile prostitute reach this stature? She was not just a shiksa, but a hooker to boot! It is not how low we have been, but how high we can go in Christ. She knew what she was.


If you have never trusted Jesus for your salvation, it is quite simple. Believe me, you are not the only person who has sinned. But even if you were, you are so important to God and He loves you so much that He would have come and been nailed to that cross just for you alone personally. Jesus did not die just for all of us, He died for each of us; that is how important you are to God. The price has already been paid. You are either going to repent and ask Him to forgive you, or you will spend eternity wishing you did. 


Rahab knew what she was, that she was no good. In and of myself, I am no good, and I do not know who you are, but take my word for it, the Scriptures say you are no good. Once you realize that, we can get someplace. In other words, if you want to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire, a place prepared for Satan and his angels (Rev. 20:10; 21:8), you do not have to be an upstanding member of society, you do not have to be a priest, a rabbi or a liberal minister, you do not have to be a member of the professional or business community, you do not have to be an outstanding citizen to go to hell, but it helps

On the other hand, if you want to be saved, you do not have to be a hooker like Rahab, you do not have to be swindler or crook, a cocaine addict like me or a drunk, you do not have to be immoral, you do not have to be a fornicator, you do not have to be debauched or a gambler in order to go to heaven, but it helps because at least you know what you are. All have sinned, all fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Rahab knew what she was.

Rahab knew Joshua was coming, and, believe me, Joshua is coming! We can call Him “Joshua,” we can call Him “Yehoshua,” we can call Him “Yeshua,” we can call Him “Jesus,” but He is coming. She knew that His coming depended on God’s plan for Israel. Wise Christians still know that. She knew the signs of the time and we should know the signs of the time as well. 

Her redemption was not just eternal, it was temporal. Whatever we are, whatever our background, God wants to turn it around and use it for His purpose and our blessing in the salvation of others. He takes all of us to the cross and crucifies our good points as well as our bad. On the other hand, He saves all of us; He saves our good points and bad and uses it all for His purpose and redemption. 

Rahab desired the salvation of her family. Every day and every time we think of it, we need to be praying for the repentance and salvation of our loved ones. There is nothing more important than our own walk with the Lord.

Rahab switched allegiances. We cannot trust in this world and the world that is coming. We cannot trust in this fallen kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom that is coming soon to replace it. We have to make a decision—to which kingdom does our allegiance belong? 

“Do not go out!” Stay in fellowship with others who believe the truth. One way to think of a church that holds to the Word of God is a lifeboat on a Titanic that is sinking. Remember, this is not a social club for nice people; it is a rehab center for sinners. 

“Do not betray!” Many will fall away and betray one another (Mt. 24:10). Be wary of those who follow false doctrines; they cannot be trusted. They may be Christians, they may say they are born again, they may be nice people, but if they are believing false doctrines, following false teachers, do not trust them. 

But above all, get ahold of that scarlet cord and hang it in the window. Though our sins are like scarlet, in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, they shall be white as snow. God bless.

You are here:

Sermons in English