The term “righteousness” is found many times in scripture, and yet it is a word that gets very little attention in a positive manner. We often refer to people as self-righteous, but not necessarily righteous. There is a Biblical definition of righteousness found in the Psalms.
Psa 119:170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
Psa 119:171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
Psa 119:172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
Psa 119:173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
Psa 119:174 I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.
Righteousness equals “all of the commandments of the Creator” according to Psalms 119:172. Self-righteousness is something different. This is where the person or religious institution makes up the rules from their own imagination, or they make their personal preferences the measuring stick by which other people are compared. Following Yahweh’s instructions, which is His way, is following in His righteousness.
Another defining verse for the term righteous is found in Deuteronomy, after the Ten Commandments are recited.
Deu 6:24 And so Yahweh commanded us to observe all of these rules and to revere Yahweh our God for our benefit all the days that we live, as it is today.
Deu 6:25 And it shall be righteousness for us if we diligently observe and do all of this commandment before Yahweh our God, as he has commanded us.’
Righteousness has always been about keeping the commandments of Yahweh. Paul told us to be slaves of righteousness in his letter to the Romans.
Rom 6:15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
Rom 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Rom 6:17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,
Rom 6:18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
This can be confusing because so many have twisted Paul’s words over the years and would deny that we have any business keeping commandments, or that we could obtain righteousness in this manner. However, scripture is full of these references, and let’s not forget Peter’s warning that people would do this very thing with the writings of Paul.
2Pe 3:14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
2Pe 3:15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
2Pe 3:16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
2Pe 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.
Being found without spot or blemish is done through keeping the commandments. An example of the confusion can be found in Galatians. It appears that Paul is contradicting himself from what he said in his letter to Romans.
Gal 3:19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.
Gal 3:20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.
Gal 3:21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.
Gal 3:22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
Gal 3:23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.
Gal 3:24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
No amount of law keeping could justify us. There were no sacrifices for rebelling against the commandments. The penalty was death. This should not be confused with the righteousness that comes with the commandments. In another place, Paul tells us the law is spiritual.
Rom 7:10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.
Rom 7:11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.
Rom 7:12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
Rom 7:13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.
Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
The best places to clear up confusion with Paul’s letters, writing about different topics to different groups of people for specific purposes, are the words of the Father through the prophets, the Messiah and the other apostles. One must also keep in mind that Paul kept the commandments, as stated more than once in the book of Acts.
Act 24:14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets,
Act 24:15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.
Act 24:16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.
Let’s look at some other places in scripture to see what is said about righteousness.
Isa 51:6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.
Isa 51:7 “Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings.
Isa 51:8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool, but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations.”
Yahweh is addressing those who know righteousness, those whose heart is in His law. This is the reason that when one starts guarding and keeping the commandments through faith, they experience peace in their life, and are not left to the curses of disobedience. The apostle John speaks of this righteousness:
1Jn 3:6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
1Jn 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.
1Jn 3:8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
1Jn 3:9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.
1Jn 3:10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
I am making the argument that practicing righteousness is doing what the Father said to do, and doing it in love, not in a pious, legalistic fashion. Jesus, whose Hebrew name is Yeshua, meaning the salvation of God, told us similarly that we must be righteous. Our righteousness has to be more than that of the Pharisees, who were the religious leaders of the first century.
Mat 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Mat 5:18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Mat 5:19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
In order to enter the kingdom of heaven, our righteousness has to exceed that of the Pharisees. This requires us to do something different than the Pharisees did. They placed commandments of their own imagination higher than the commandments of Yahweh, thus breaking the commandments of Yahweh.
Mat 15:1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
Mat 15:2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”
Mat 15:3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
Mat 15:4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’
Mat 15:5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”
Mat 15:6 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.
Mat 15:7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
Mat 15:8 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
Mat 15:9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
We should not be surprised that false teachers and prophets have deceived many into believing that we should no longer follow Yahweh’s instructions by twisting a few scriptures of Paul, just as Peter said they were doing in his day. Yahweh said He would send these prophets to do this in order to see who would be faithful to His word and who would go after their own lusts. In other words, if all it takes to convince a person to turn their back on Yahweh’s instructions, is a supposed spiritual authority telling them it is okay to do it, then their faith was not grounded on the solid rock of Yahweh’s Word, but in the shifting sand.
Deu 13:1 “If a prophet stands up in your midst or a dreamer of dreams and he gives to you a sign or wonder,
Deu 13:2 and the sign or the wonder comes about that he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (those whom you have not known), and let us serve them,’
Deu 13:3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer, for Yahweh your God is testing you to know whether you love Yahweh your God with all of your heart and with all of your inner self.
Deu 13:4 You shall go after Yahweh your God, and him you shall revere, and his commandment you shall keep, and to his voice you shall listen, and him you shall serve, and to him you shall hold fast.
One must remember that Yahweh only gave us His Word. There was nothing else, and He specifically told us to keep it that way.
Deu 4:15 “So you must be very careful for yourselves, because you did not see any form on the day Yahweh spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire,
Deu 4:16 so that you do not ruin yourselves and make for yourselves a divine image in a form of any image, a replica of male or female,
Deu 4:17 a replica of any animal that is upon the earth, a replica of any winged bird that flies in the air,
Deu 4:18 a replica of any creeping thing on the ground, a replica of any fish that is in the water below the earth.
Deu 4:19 And do this so that you do not lift your eyes toward heaven and observe the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of the heaven, and be led astray and bow down to them and serve them, things that Yahweh your God has allotted to all of the peoples under all of the heaven.
Yahweh then sent His Word in flesh, Yeshua, commonly referred to as Jesus today. Is the Jesus of our imagination, the same Word of Yahweh and salvation of Yah that was sent 2000 years ago? Only if He is in alignment with Yahweh’s Word. Unfortunately, many do not know, or try to know, the Word of Yahweh by studying it. They rely on other men and women to tell them what they think it means, instead of the Holy Spirit of Truth.
Hos 4:1 Hear the word of Yahweh, O children of Israel, for Yahweh has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or loyalty, there is no knowledge of God in the land.
Hos 4:2 Swearing and lying, murdering and stealing, and adultery break out, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Hos 4:3 Therefore the land mourns, and all those living in it languish with the animals of the field, and the birds of the heaven, and even the fish of the sea are being swept away.
Hos 4:4 Yet, let no one contend, and let no one accuse, for with you, O priest, is my contention.
Hos 4:5 You will stumble by day, and the priest also will stumble with you at night. And I will destroy your mother;
Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from acting as a priest for me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.
Hos 4:7 When they became many, their sin increased against me; they changed their glory into shame.
Hos 4:8 They feed on the sin of my people, they are greedy for their iniquity.
Hos 4:9 And it will be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways, and I will requite them for their deeds.
These Words still apply to the people of Yahweh today. Once a person studies and understands who Ephraim was and who these children are, it becomes painfully obvious that which is being spoken about.
Hos 4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone.
Hos 4:18 When their drinking has ended, they surely indulge in sexual orgies. They love lewdness more than their glory.
Hos 4:19 A wind has wrapped them in its wings, and they will be ashamed because of their altars.
Ephraim is still consumed with idols of trees, eggs, pine cones, rabbits, heavenly hosts (sun worship), light, pillars and all other symbols from worship of other gods. We do not have to just look at Old Testament scriptures to find these concepts. Jesus, when speaking of the woman from the Northern kingdom, Ephraim, has this to say:
Joh 4:21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
Joh 4:22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
Joh 4:23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
Joh 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
If we worship Yahweh with things He said not to do, on days that are not associated with Him, but none other than Baal, can we say we are worshipping in spirit and truth, or are we like the Samaritan woman, and worship what we do not know?
Paul warns Timothy of similar situations. We will have teachers telling us the the Jesus of their imagination did away with the instructions of Yahweh, and now “all we need is Jesus”. I have been told by a church leader in the past that we don’t need to worry about studying scripture because all we need is Jesus now. The superficial component of that mentality is very frustrating once a person sees for themself what is being taught in scripture. This is how the whole church is being deceived. Without studying and obedience, ignorance of scripture and ignorance of the nature of Yahweh abounds. Can the majority be wrong? Absolutely.
2Ti 4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
2Ti 4:4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
In order to understand these words, one must define sound teaching, truth and myths as defined in scripture. Teaching is not considered sound because you like it, it comes from a famous evangelist, or it is being taught by your favourite religious organization, singer, lodge or famous person. Paul tells Timothy where to find sound doctrine:
2Ti 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
2Ti 3:13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
2Ti 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
2Ti 3:15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
2Ti 3:17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”. Remember that this was a letter from Paul to Timothy. Neither Paul or Timothy considered this scripture at the time of its writing. The only scripture they are referring to is the Torah, prophets and writings or what we call the Old Testament. I would also argue that they had sacred writings that are not in the redacted sixty-six book Bible we have today. The story of the Maccabees, for example, gives us a lot of history after Persia was conquered by Greece. It shows the people of Yahweh under the thumb of an anti-Christ figure spoken of in Daniel, sacrificing a pig on the altar during the winter solstice celebration. Very few today have any knowledge of this event in scripture because some political, religious leaders decided to remove it from scripture in 1647. Here is an excerpt from Maccabees. I recommend reading all four accounts of the Maccabees. This is from the King James Version of the Bible:
1Ma 1:51 In the selfsame manner wrote he to his whole kingdom, and appointed overseers over all the people, commanding the cities of Juda to sacrifice, city by city.
1Ma 1:52 Then many of the people were gathered unto them, to wit every one that forsook the law; and so they committed evils in the land;
1Ma 1:53 And drove the Israelites into secret places, even wheresoever they could flee for succour.
1Ma 1:54 Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side;
1Ma 1:55 And burnt incense at the doors of their houses, and in the streets.
1Ma 1:56 And when they had rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, they burnt them with fire.
1Ma 1:57 And whosoever was found with any the book of the testament, or if any committed to the law, the king’s commandment was, that they should put him to death.
1Ma 1:58 Thus did they by their authority unto the Israelites every month, to as many as were found in the cities.
1Ma 1:59 Now the five and twentieth day of the month they did sacrifice upon the idol altar, which was upon the altar of God.
1Ma 1:60 At which time according to the commandment they put to death certain women, that had caused their children to be circumcised.
1Ma 1:61 And they hanged the infants about their necks, and rifled their houses, and slew them that had circumcised them.
1Ma 1:62 Howbeit many in Israel were fully resolved and confirmed in themselves not to eat any unclean thing.
1Ma 1:63 Wherefore the rather to die, that they might not be defiled with meats, and that they might not profane the holy covenant: so then they died.
1Ma 1:64 And there was very great wrath upon Israel.
If a person did not forsake the instructions of Yahweh, and follow the instruction of the new king, they would be tortured and killed. Many remained faithful, and would not eat of the pig sacrificed on the altar, or refrain from having their children circumcised. I am suggesting nothing was different when the Romans took over the Christian faith. They even had “places of exercise” in Jerusalem. How much money has been spent on gymnasiums attached to churches instead of taking care of the needs of people in the community?
1Ma 1:13 Then certain of the people were so forward herein, that they went to the king, who gave them licence to do after the ordinances of the heathen:
1Ma 1:14 Whereupon they built a place of exercise at Jerusalem according to the customs of the heathen:
1Ma 1:15 And made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do mischief.
Are we to believe that a couple hundred years after the righteous people of Yahweh were being killed for circumcising their children, not eating pork, or not forsaking the Torah, Yahweh would send His son to tell the descendants of those people that all that commandment keeping didn’t mean anything anyway? Then a few hundred years later the “church” would be aligned with the same holidays and practices of Antiochus Epiphanes? They would also torture and kill those “judiazers” of the faith who practiced the true Sabbaths, commandments and feasts of Yahweh? This is a logic vacuum.
It should be becoming clearer why some of these books have been removed from our Bibles. Righteousness is the same today as it was in the scriptures Paul told Timothy to read that would make him wise for salvation. Another example of righteousness was found in the mother and father of John the Baptist.
Luk 1:5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
Luk 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.
If the parents of John the Baptist could be righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of Yahweh, how much more should we strive to do this now that we have the Messiah to free us from the grips of the grave through His resurrection, and His Spirit to guide us?
Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Peter quotes the words of Yahweh that are spoken when He is giving the list of animals that are considered food in the Torah:
1Pe 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,
1Pe 1:15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
1Pe 1:16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
The alternative is to follow unrighteousness, which will cause you to be under a strong delusion sent from Yahweh. I promise that it will not end well.
2Th 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,
2Th 2:10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
2Th 2:11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
2Th 2:12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
This is speaking of religious institutions today, those who refuse to love the truth. Psalms 119:160 , “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” They are sent a strong delusion and believe what is false. Such as: the wrong Sabbath, the wrong Holy days and feast days, the wrong names, the wrong identity, the wrong diet, and essentially, the wrong God. Instead of loving the truth of scripture and the commandments, they are having pleasure in unrighteousness, following their own lusts.
Try following in the the footsteps of the Messiah’s righteousness. I guarantee the Spirit of Truth, the Messiah promised us, will open the scriptures to those who are obedient.
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