This Week's Focus Passage

No Redemption apart from Righteousness

Focus Passage: Jeremiah 23:6

‘This is his name whereby he shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness.’

Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is the name whereby he shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness. —Jer. 23:5-6

To ask the question, in the context of the above passage, who is this of whom the writer is speaking when saying, ‘he shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness,’ is to simultaneously inquire as to who is He that will be raised unto David a righteous Branch. Is it not eminently clear that the righteous Branch that is raised unto David is the greater Son of David? The righteous Branch is none other than He who is subsequently spoken of as the Root of David in the book of the Revelation, 5:5, the righteous One promised by the prophets to come out of the loins of David.

Job has raised the question in Job 9:2, ‘How can man be just with God?’ and it was later iterated by Bildad in Job 25:4. Indeed, how is it possible for a man born in sin and conceived in iniquity ever to be counted righteous? The New King James version of the Bible renders the Hebrew word used in Job, in fact, not as ‘just’ but as righteous. But how can a man be righteous before God? And the NASB follows closely with But how can a man be in the right before God? While many other versions have also chosen right or righteous over just, they are both acceptable renderings of the Hebrew word, tsadaq, which is the root of the word righteousness found in Jeremiah 23:6.

May we not then affirm that Jeremiah, or more precisely Jehovah, has declared that the days come when God will provide that very righteousness which is the central matter of the inquiry of Job and Bildad? He will raise up One from the seed of David that will bring forth justice and righteousness whereby His name shall be called Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord our righteousness. Therefore, we find Isaiah proclaiming in 46:12-13, Hearken unto me, ye stout-hearted, that are far from righteousness: I bring near my righteousness, it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry; and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory. He has spoken through Isaiah that He will bring near His righteousness; He has said that He will place salvation in Zion. The clear association in these passages with righteousness and the Righteous One strongly suggests these intimations to be prophetic of the One to come; the One of whom Isaiah spoke—even according to the attestation of Christ Himself in John 12:41—in the year that king Uzziah died; that righteousness being conspicuously announced by the cry of the seraphim unto one another, saying, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory in such thunderous tones that the foundations of the thresholds shook and the house was filled with smoke. The thrice holy pronouncement and the sight of the King, Jehovah of hosts, caused the prophet to respond with repentant sighs similar to the publican of Luke 18, who, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be thou merciful to me a sinner. This closely approximates Isaiah’s Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.

Both the prophet and the publican recognized their need of righteousness that they did not, nor could, possess from themselves. They stood in great need of a righteousness not their own. They could find in themselves nothing to answer the searching interrogation of Job, but rather could only utter such words as For we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment—Isaiah 64:6. This uncleanness and pollution is all that we can find if we search for any righteousness in our hearts. We may attempt to vindicate ourselves as did the Pharisee standing in the forefront of the temple while the poor publican stood afar off. He boasted, in his delusion, of his own righteousness, praying thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. But he did not go down to his house justified; he needed the righteousness of Another.

This is exactly what is spoken of by Jeremiah in our focus passage. God has provided, in His Son, the perfect righteousness; the only righteousness that He will accept. Augustine prayed, ‘Lord command what you will, and give what you command.’ Our God commands righteousness of His people. He has given that very righteousness to His people in Jesus Christ—Jehovah our righteousness. This is why we may read, in Isaiah 45:22-24, most precious words to this effect:

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. By myself have I sworn, the word is gone forth from my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me shall every knee bow, every tongue shall swear. Only in Jehovah, it is said of me, is righteousness and strength, even to him shall men come.

Paul fully understood this; the Holy Spirit informed him, and he wrote that Christ was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and redemption. There is no redemption apart from righteousness. We read of the sure mercies of David; the key of David; the Root of David; the root and offspring of David. Can Jeremiah’s Branch be anything other than that which sprang from the Root; anything other than the offspring? Is then Jehovah our righteousness not certainly the Messiah; the Son of man; the Son of David? ‘Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’—Romans 5:1

David Farmer, elder,

Fellowship Bible Church


Join us Sunday at