Jeremiah 23:5 – “Behold, the days come , saith the LORD, that I will raise up unto David a RIGHTEOUS Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and JUSTICE in the earth”
JEWISH SAGES: UNDERSTANDING HEBRAIC RIGHTEOUSNESS
what is righteousness? What does it mean to be “righteous”? It has been said that righteousness is simply “right standing w/God and man”. However, the hebraic concept captures a more compelling and comprehensive definition. In western culture, we often limit the full cultural scope captured in the hebraic understanding of words, concepts and teaching. We must look at scripture through HEBREW THOUGHT not WESTERN THOUGHT. Let’s look at the jewish worldview of the concept of righteousness…
HEBRAIC WORD STUDIES: “TZEDEK” – (RIGHTEOUSNESS)
The word “TZEDEK” (RIGHTEOUSNESS) is actually a “ethical/ judicial term” used in the legal sense like a lawyer and a judge in a courtroom. It carries the sense of divine arbitration. For westernized thought, the word that more closely articulates the Jewish worldview of God’s righteousness is “JUSTICE”. TO BE “RIGHTEOUS” THEN, IS WHEN WE ACCEPT CHRIST AND ARE GENUINELY BORN AGAIN, THERE IS AN AWAKENING OF “MORAL CLARITY” BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, FROM A PLACE OF MORAL DEPRAVITY IN TRUTH. WE ARE “SAVED” WHEN WE BECOME AWARE OF OUR INABILITY TO “SELF GOVERN”, OUR REJECTION OF OUR GOD KING, AND OUR REALIZATION OF AN INHERENT HEART OF EVIL RESULTING IN OUR REBELLION TO HIS RULE AND THE CAUSE OF OUR “LAWLESS” LIVING.
The process becomes this: at salvation, God regenerated a NEW SPIRIT within us, reprogrammed with God’s sensitivities, substance, purity, and child like innocence, hence the term “born again”. Then, His indwelling Holy Spirit’s task is then to REVEAL our “twisted godless thinking” to return and renew (Rom12:1-3) to the “LOGIC” (LOGOS) of God’s word as THE CONSTITUTION OF HIS KINGDOM, holding His prescribed parameters and precepts. Our recreated “CONSCIOUS” BECOMES ALIVE AGAIN once hardened and cauterized by sin, and insensitive and callous to right or wrong by the death nature.
WE ARE AT ONCE “FLOODED” WITH REALIZATIONS AND REVELATIONS OF GOD’S “RIGHTNESS” (hence the term RIGHTEOUSNESS) AS A “PURE FATHER/JUDGE” REGARDING ALL MATTERS AND DECREE’S HE HAS LITIGATED CONCERNING MANKIND. We “SEE” CLEARLY what we were once BLIND to before. His perspective in our REBORN EYES see’s God’s “vision” and heart with such simplicity as never before. NOW NOTICE THIS: WE SEE WHAT GOD SEE’S, IN THE WAY HE SEE’S IT. IT IS HERE MY FRIENDS, WHERE GOD THEN BEGINS THE “POWER” OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. FOR IN ALLOWING US TO SEE WHAT HE SEE’S, HIS GOAL IS TO CREATE WITHIN US A “BURDEN” AS THE TRULY RIGHTEOUS IN CHRIST, FOR “JUSTICE”. HE IS ALSO REVEALING WHOM AND WHAT ARE THE “SUBVERTERS, PERVERTERS AND OPPRESSORS’ OF TRUTH AND JUSTICE IN THE EARTH.
As a believer, ask yourself this: WHAT DOES GOD “SEE” EVERYDAY? think of ALL the legal arbitration our righteous judge has to conduct daily for justice on behalf of his people and even unbelievers alike. ALL THE UNJUST BALANCES, OPPRESSION OF THE POOR, THE DEFRAUDING AND THE RAPE OF THE INNOCENT, SEXUAL DEVIANCY AND PERVERSITY, and the WICKEDNESS that is permeating our planet. Even among those considered more “spiritual” HIS HOLY EYES SEE our “man tainted methods in ministry, our forms of “whitewashed” religious self justification. Even our self imposed agenda’s and order constantly resisting and even quenching His Spirit. Think about the incessant attempts to “overthrow” and mutiny against his Godhead and electing of Godless officials in government and the imbalances of our earthly law codes and unjust law structures. THAT IS ONLY A FRACTION TO TAKE IN. You see, our understanding must go further than us knowing we are “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” as a means to access blessings. We must also see in that term WE ARE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD (HIS MORAL ELECTED AGENTS) TO RESTORE HIS “RIGHTNESS” AND RULE ON BEHALF OF THE OPPRESSED AND TO RESTORE JUSTICE AS HIS CHURCH IN THE EARTH.
BALANCE: TEMPERING OUR UNDERSTANDING OF “FULL” RIGHTEOUSNESS
People of God, this realization open our eyes to see more fully this “elementary” understanding of what mature righteousness looks like, as it works inside us and outside us. It is always inextricably connected to “ACTION”, not just “status” or “position”. FOR A TRULY “RIGHTEOUS” MAN IS KNOWN BY HIS “DEEDS”. “HEBRAIC RIGHTEOUSNESS” IS NOT THE “AMERICAN RIGHTEOUSNESS” WE COMFORTABLY CONFESS OR CONFORM TO. OUR “ACTIONS” AGAINST INJUSTICE REVEALS OUR FULL UNDERSTANDING OF THE REALITY OF OUR CONCEPT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. WE ARE TO BE A SOCIALLY AND LEGALLY TRANSFORMING BODY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AN ORGANIZED ENTITY IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, COMMUNITIES, CITIES AND NATIONS, AS WELL AS GOVERNMENT AND IT’S LAWS.
Thus to articulate it more simply is the slogan the Lord spoke to me: GOD MAKES YOU “RIGHT” BEFORE HIM, SO YOU CAN GO AND “MAKE THINGS RIGHT” FOR HIM
This is the hebraic concept of RIGHTEOUSNESS….(TO BE CONTINUED)
(Click here to read part 2 of our blog series “A Jewish Worldview on Righteousness”)
Minister Frankie Vega