Yahweh and Jesus – The Name of Yahweh-Tsidkenu

Yahweh and Jesus – The Name of Yahweh-Tsidkenu

Yahweh and Jesus – The Name of Yahweh-Tsidkenu.

“Behold, the days are coming, says Yahweh, when I will raise up from 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 will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the Name by which he will be called: Yahweh-tsidkenu, LORD-our-righteousness.”  (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

Tsidkenu: righteousness; saving justice; upright; someone who is perfectly what he ought to be; full of truth, integrity and wisdom; unswerving adherence to righteous standards of fairness; blamelessly put things right.

Jeremiah’s prophecy came to the Israelites when they were under an ominous cloud of judgment. God would send His chosen people into exile for idolatry, immorality, and for judging the people falsely. There was no justice for the innocent. But in the midst of the gloom and doom, Jeremiah speaks the Lord’s words of hope and restoration that will follow on the heels of the difficult judgment. God promised to restore justice through a righteous king who will rule with wisdom and fairness. There will be saving justice in the land. This will be a time when the people will not have to depend on the tainted goodness of other people. The time will come when God Himself will be the people’s righteousness. The Messiah, the righteous Branch from David’s line, will restore the earth. There is reason to hope in the midst of judgment, says the LORD.

In some ways Jeremiah’s prophecy remains unfulfilled. These prophetic words at that time seem to be referring to the Lord’s return in glory to execute justice and righteousness over the earth. On the other hand, the Messiah did indeed come to offer righteousness to the world. Jeremiah’s prophecy is one of the “already but noy yet” words from the Lord. The prophecy is fulfilled now in the Person of Jesus, our righteousness, who became incarnate and suffered death and rose from the dead to kindle righteousness on the earth. Our Messiah did indeed bring a foretaste of the full restoration. But we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that Jeremiah is also speaking about when Jesus comes in glory as the righteous King and will restore all things unto Himself. God the Father is going to call Jesus by this glorious Name, LORD-our-righteousness. It is true now, and it will be true at that glorious time when Jesus will finally be the world’s righteousness for eternity. “And this is the name by which He will be called, Yahweh-tsidkenu, LORD-is-our-righteousness.” 

Gospel Fulfillment. “In those days and at that time, I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth.” (Jeremiah 33:15).  In His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ proved to be the long-expected Branch of righteousness:

  • Like a branch, He lived in a way that would provide the most light possible to the people;
  • Like a branch, He carried water, living water, to the people who were thirsty;
  • Like a branch, He brought the necessary food materials and nutrients, the Bread of Life, to the people for their growth and flourishing;
  • Like a branch, He made it possible for true life to be sustained despite contrary conditions;
  • Like a branch, He spread His influence outward as widely as possible;
  • Like a branch, He was new growth sprouting from what appeared to be a dead stump;
  • Like a branch, He is the life-giving force in the Tree of Life;
  • Like a branch, He enabled the sap of the Holy Spirit to reach the people and produce the fruit of His Spirit;

“Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the Accuser! You must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the Slanderer… Put on righteousness as your breastplate, the protective armor that covers your heart.” (Ephesians 6:11, 13, 14).

DIKAIOS: The root word for righteousness in Ephesians 6:14‘s “breastplate of righteousness“; it means holy, blameless, innocent, heart that is right with God, just. Righteousness has its root in holiness, set apart to participate in the righteousness of Christ. “The holy God will show Himself holy by His righteousness.” (Isaiah 5:16).

Warrior Priests. Breastplates don’t get a lot of attention in Scripture… “the breastplate of faith and love” in 1 Thessalonians 5:8; the High Priest’s breastplate of Judgement in Exodus 28; the “breastplate of righteousness” in Ephesians 6:14 (in most translations); the “breastplate of holiness” in Eph. 6:14 (the Passion Translation). As believers, we know that each of us is a warrior priest, a member of a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). Each of us is a soldier of Christ in the unseen warfare against our spiritual enemies (Eph. 6). As holy soldiers, we put on the spiritual armor provided by God, including the breastplate that protects the life-giving heart of our spiritual lives. Our spiritual breastplate protects our vital core from sin. The breastplate keeps us from yielding to temptation and turning to evil. And as holy priests, we are likewise wearing clothes provided by God. We priests are “clothed with righteousness” (Psalm 132:9), set apart to wear the “robe of righteousness” of Isaiah 61:10. As priests we are called to serve God wearing our holy robes given to us by God. As both priests and soldiers, we are given a protective layer of righteousness and holiness, keeping our hearts in the right place, shielding us from sin.

Jesus is our righteousness. In our roles as both priest and soldier, we are holy, set apart, and asked to “put on” something. We are to put on the holy breastplate of righteousness as well as a robe of righteousness, garments of blamelessness, virtue, justice, goodness. In fact, what else is this but simply “putting on the Lord Jesus” (Romans 13:14)? God has graciously provided the Lord’s righteousness as we live into the holy priesthood and the army of God. His breastplate of righteousness means that this not a breastplate of our own construction. One of the names our Father gave to the Messiah in Jeremiah 23:6 is “The Lord Is Our Righteousness.” Jesus Himself is our righteousness, He is our breastplate. When we put on Jesus and His righteousness, we are participating in His perfect righteousness, and not merely depending on our own righteousness to suffice as our ultimate protection. Jesus was strong to resist temptation in the wilderness and throughout His life. Wearing His breastplate will do the same for us. After all, as it is with all other aspects of our Christian life, it’s not about us. It’s about putting on Jesus and living into His righteousness. Because He is holy, we are to be holy: in the way we live, the decisions we make, the behavior we demonstrate. When we put on the holy armor, we are “clothing ourselves in Christ” (Galatians 3:27). We are “putting on the new self which is in the likeness of God and has been created in righteousness and holiness in the truth” (Eph. 4:24). Our breastplate is described well in Colossians 3:12: “And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving each other. And beyond all these things, put on love.” That is what our breastplate of righteousness looks like. These are the holy virtues of Christ, and we put them on when we put on His breastplate.

Dress Clothes. God’s grace provides the holy breastplate of Jesus. God’s strength is needed to put on this breastplate. God’s power will transform us as we wear Jesus Christ. Let us rejoice as we think about the time when we will take off the breastplate for good and put on the wedding garments of clean white linens. The warfare will have been ended, the enemy vanquished. There will be no need of protection, and the victory banquet, the wedding feast of the Lamb, will begin.

Do we, in our heart of hearts, really believe that this part of Jeremiah’s prophecy is true now, that the LORD is our righteousness? Do we live this way? Or do we savor our own righteousness? Often enough we are tempted to allow our righteousness to compete with God’s. But one aspect of the Faith is that we believe God to be literally our righteousness, and that any evidence of our being upright is not due to our efforts in our better moments. Instead of expecting applause and feeling a little pride when we do the right thing, the truth is that we should applaud the Lord for being the Source of all righteousness. To applaud God for His character is in fact what glorify means. The LORD is our righteousness. To Him be the glory. It’s not about us.

“I will greatly rejoice in Yahweh, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation. He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garment, and a s bride adorns herself with jewels. For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so Yahweh Elohim will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” (Isaiah 61:10-11).

Righteousness appears to be something we should take off and put on. We take off the filthy rags of our righteousness, and we put on God’s righteousness like an elegant robe. And thus our battle over wardrobes ends. We might be tempted to take off God’s robe and out on the old rags again. But in Christ it’s no contest. Believing in Him means we trust His taste in clothing, and we wear God’s robe of righteousness like a heavenly uniform. While we’re at it, we could put on Christ’s breastplate of righteousness as a permanent accessory (Ephesians 6:14).The robe is for moral beauty, the breastplate is for spiritual battle. Both articles of clothing reflect our new standing before God. He has declared us righteous because we are wearing Christ. We are hid in Christ, because we have put on Christ. Wearing His robe and His breastplate, we have found our hiding place. Through Jesus, we put on our new self, our God-righteous self. Our self-righteousness, tattered and dirty, is no longer good enough.

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world caused by human desires.” (2 Peter 1:2-4).

Yahweh is the only One who is naturally and completely righteous, and Jesus was His incarnation of righteousness on earth. The LORD is the truly Righteous One. When we put on Christ, when we wear God’s righteousness, we become partakers of His divine nature. We share in His holiness. We are members of His priesthood. We participate in His character. When we put on His robe, He declares us righteous. We haven’t all of a sudden become good. We are good through God’s goodness. Because of our union with Jesus, when God looks at us, He sees Jesus and His righteousness. It is our new position before God. After we put on the robe and the breastplate, they are sized a little too big, so we grow into them. We are expected to mature in His righteousness. We are called to live into His holiness as we participate in His nature. We don’t become gods, we become like God as we share in His righteousness.

A Prayer to Yahweh-tsidkenu (ya’-way sid-ken’-oo) honoring Jesus, the Person of Yahweh with flesh on.

We are in awe of you, Yahweh-tsidkenu, LORD-our-righteousness. For there is no one to compare with you, the perfectly Righteous One. We know that without you, God, there is no one righteous, not even one. You are the righteous Rock, whose works are true, whose ways are just. Righteousness and justice are the very foundations of your throne. In you, LORD, love and faithfulness meet together, and righteousness and peace kiss each other. We rejoice in you, for you are protecting us with the breastplate of righteousness, and are covering us with your robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garment, and bride adorns herself with jewels. We are thankful that your Son became sin for us, so that we could become the righteousness of God. And we accept that this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Longing for purity of heart, and waiting for the restoration of all things, we bow before you, Yahweh-tsidkenu, and delight in your righteous Name. Amen.