So far, the “Preparing the Way” series has been a study on the progression of sin, how it morphed from questioning the Word of Yahweh to sex with fallen angels. We also discussed mankind’s completely corrupted mental framework which could not conceive a righteous thought because it had no righteous frame of reference.
The Messiah said:
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:
This tells us that the same dynamic(s) that happened in Noah’s day would happen again just before Yahshua returns.
Why did Yahweh like Noah so much?
There are a lot of great studies on the sinful aspects of Noah’s day and their close similarity to these Last Days, but what about the positive aspects? What do we want to stand for as we await the Wrath of Yahweh that we all know is just around the corner?
Is it as simple as believing in Jesus and going to church every Sunday?
You see, Noah was “the good guy” of the story who was rescued from the wrath of Yahweh upon a sinful world. Since we know that the Last Days are going to be just like the days of Noah, I believe it would greatly benefit us to look at Noah’s life and find out what made him tick.
What was it about Noah that caused Yahweh to say, “I regret that I have made this earth, it grieves my heart …. but I like you, Noah.“ (Genesis 6:6-8)
This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
When “genealogy” refers to something other than lineage
When most of us think of the word “genealogy,” we think of a recorded family line of ancestors, either found in the bible, or perhaps in our own private records. The Hebrew word for “genealogy” in this verse is “towledah” [H8435].
When I looked into the Strong’s definition of “towledah,” I saw that it usually does mean something akin to “genealogy,” and it certainly is the accepted definition, but something didn’t set well with me. In most biblical accounts, when “towledah” is used to reference an actual family lineage, the names of the descendants (or ancestors) immediately follow the key person’s name. (Genesis 11:27, 25:12,13)
Noah’s genealogy was already stated in chapter 5 and, although the names of Shem, Ham and Japheth soon follow in this passage, the Word first says this about Noah.
Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
Since Noah’s lineage was already stated in a prior chapter and the names of Noah’s sons follow AFTER an account of Noah, I believe it is more suitable to apply the metaphoric meaning (again look in the Strong’s entry) of “towledah” which would be “account of heaven.” It just fits.
The scripture would then read:
This is the account of heaven [H8435] of Noah. Noah was a just [H6662] man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
Before naming Shem, Ham and Japheth, the Word lists the qualities in Noah that caused heaven to take notice. Because Noah was just (righteous), unspotted in his lineage and because Noah walked with God, he was spared.
Because there are already great studies on Noah’s pure lineage, and because most people really have no clue as to what biblical righteousness really is, I want to focus on Noah’s righteousness and his walk with God in this post.
What is biblical righteousness?
Although, in Genesis 6:9 the NKJV refers to Noah as being a “just man,” the Hebrew word “tsaddiyq” actually means “righteous.” It’s the same word used in the very next chapter.
Then the LORD said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous [H6662] before Me in this generation.”
In this post, I want to take a little time to clear up some long-held misconceptions about biblical righteousness. We better have a clear understanding of this word and how it applies to us, so that we can hear from Yahweh and be ready for our promised deliverance when the time comes.
The church’s definition of righteousness
It is an unspoken standard in the modern-day church that, to be considered “righteous,” you have to adhere to the following:
- Ask Jesus in your heart
- Go to church faithfully
- Don’t drink (unless, of course, you’re in an prophetic/emergent church, then it’s OK)
- Don’t do drugs
- Don’t sleep around
- Don’t beat your spouse
- Don’t listen to rock music (unless, of course, you’re in an emergent church, then it’s OK)
Most of these are obviously bad practices, but they are nowhere to be found in scripture as a standard for biblical righteousness. One hundred years ago, the list was different and 100 years from now (if we’re still here) it will be different still.
These are man-made standards that will change with the times. While they may be great pointers for living a good, wholesome life, they are not righteous standards.
Yahweh’s definition of righteousness
Yahweh has a standard for righteousness that does not change with the times, but remains eternally consistent.
In a nutshell, your righteousness is gauged by how closely you obey the commandments of the Most High. The book of Deuteronomy clearly spells this out.
And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.
People may be quick to point out that Noah was alive BEFORE the Torah was given at Sinai. If that’s the case, how can obedience to His commandments be the standard of righteousness if they weren’t around yet?
Well, let’s ask a question … Did Yahweh really invent some new standard that went into effect when the children of Israel approached the foot of Mt. Sinai? I don’t believe that to be true because He never changes (Malachi 3:6).
This viewpoint is further supported by the truth(s) that Yahweh established the 7th day Sabbath from the beginning (Genesis 2:3), there was a standard for animal sacrifice (Genesis 4:3-5) and Noah knew the difference between clean and unclean animals (Genesis 7:2, 8, 8:20).
On top of all this, Yahweh expressed His confidence that Abraham would faithfully instruct his household after the Ways of Yahweh.
For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness [H6666] and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.
Take a minute to consider all of the evidence above. Remember that righteousness and justice are the foundation of His Throne (Psalm 89:14, 97:2). Yahweh knew that Abraham would instruct his household after the foundational values of the Kingdom.
Now fast-forward a few hundred years. Think about the fact that Israel had spent 430 years (4-6 generations) steeped in pagan idolatry during their stint in Egypt (Exodus 12:40) AND the fact that they had become so separated from the God of their fathers that they didn’t even know His name (Exodus 3:13-15, even Moses was clueless) and you should safely arrive at the conclusion that the Torah given at Sinai was not some new group of laws that Yahweh decided to implement, but more of a “refresher course” for the descendants of Jacob. They needed to get re-acquainted with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob … and Yahweh obliged.
Yes, Yahweh still held to the same standard of righteousness and required His followers to walk the same path before Sinai. This obedience to the covenant, this “righteousness,” was to be a sign between Yahweh and His people signifying their citizenship in the Kingdom.
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
So, if you think about the word “righteousness” or “righteous,” don’t follow the church’s line of thinking and define it as a general “goodness” or a culturally-imposed purity. Our righteousness is measured by our obedience to the laws of the Kingdom.
I’m going to make a bold and dangerous claim here, but please hear me out.
You CAN be considered righteous apart from any imputed righteousness.
I can already hear you … “BLASPHEMY! What about …??”
Please, just stay with me on this, it will all make sense by the end of the post. We have all been lied to by well-meaning (and some not-so-well-meaning) people. I am going to address some of the most popular of these man-made dogmas, put them back into their original context and (hopefully) clear things up.
Chances are, it’s going to ruffle some religious feathers but … oh well.
But aren’t my righteous deeds just filthy rags?
One man-made doctrine that is out there is that “all of our righteous deeds are as filthy rags” in His sight.
This is a total lie. People who parrot this false doctrine will quote Isaiah 64:6.
But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
They never consider that the righteous deeds spoken of were performed by people who were rebellious to Yahweh’s covenant. The truth is your righteous deeds have great value. In fact, they will be what you wear in the Kingdom!
And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
If righteous deeds are filthy rags (some say menstruous cloths – gross), there are going to be some pretty nasty looking individuals in heaven.
I exposed this lie in greater detail some time ago. Check out the following post when you have time.
But the bible says that “there is none righteous, no not one!”
What we have here is a classic case of taking scripture out of context. People who love to recite this verse in defense of their man made-dogma have to ignore many other verses that address the REALITY of righteous people.
If the righteous (who apparently don’t exist) will be recompensed on the earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous (who apparently don’t exist), but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Noah (Genesis 6:9), Lot (2 Peter 2:7), Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth (Luke 1:5) … apparently they weren’t really righteous, even though the bible says so, right?
NO … Hogwash! They WERE righteous, we’ve just been brainwashed into believing a lie. Take another look at Psalm 14 and 53. The scriptures are addressing FOOLS … not mankind as a whole.
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.
Then a couple verses later, it says.
There they are in great fear, for God is with the generation of the righteous (who apparently don’t exist).
If there are “none righteous, no not one” then how come there are so many verses talking about righteous people?
Even when Paul refers to these scriptures in Romans 3, he is addressing both Jews and Greeks when they are all “under sin.” To be “under sin” is to be in a state where you are still under the penalty of sin, thereby not pursuing righteousness.
A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, but it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.
When interpreting scripture, it is absolutely vital that we depart from the man-made, foolish doctrines that have been handed down to us by our fathers. Righteous people exist in this world!
But, Kevin, there are no righteous people in the world … nobody is perfect! I didn’t say anything about perfection … read on.
Righteousness – What is attributed and what is not?
Another heresy taught by the mainstream church is the idea that, when Yahweh looks at us, He either sees sinful Adam or righteous Jesus.
This is another lie.
Yahweh sees us all individually and we will be given punishment (or rewards) individually. The Word says in several places that He will “render to us according to our deeds.”
Paul was speaking to the church when he said:
But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness – indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.
So how do we balance that verse with verses like this? Paul also said in the same epistle:
And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.
So what is it gonna be, Paul? Are we all going to be judged according to our deeds, or is Yahweh going to look at all of “saved humanity” and give us a blanket “free pass?” You can’t have both!
There is a lot of confusion that arises when one thinks of faith purely in the terms of “mental assent.” When you do this, the above passages will always conflict. But when you realize that Abraham’s faith was NOT “mental assent” but was actually a combination of physical actions spurred on by inner belief, the above passages will connect.
I’ve already discussed Abraham’s faith in greater detail in the following post. Check it out when you have time.
And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified [G1344 – dikaioō – made righteous] by works, and not by faith only.
Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. I’m not saying that we can rely completely on our own righteous deeds to get into the Kingdom. I AM saying that if you are not walking in His Ways, which includes obedience to the commandments of the Most High, don’t think for one moment that He is going to back you up when that Day comes.
He is the King, and His Rule does not bow to any man-made interpretation.
THE BOTTOM LINE is we really need to depart from the mindset that we will be able to enter the Kingdom riding on the coattails of our thought life. Attributed righteousness occurs when one believes with the mind AND walks it out in their life. This is not an either/or concept.
The Practice of Righteousness
All of the confusion centered around righteousness, and what it means to be righteous, started when well-meaning people believed what they were told without checking with the Word first. They were told that, since Yahweh is righteous and perfect, they also needed to be perfect in order to be considered righteous.
This also is a lie. A lie that was told to us.
John wrote in his epistle that righteousness is a practice.
If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
Consider the righteous people I mentioned earlier in this post.
- Noah got drunk and mankind is still trying to decipher exactly what happened between him and Ham. In my opinion, saying “I saw daddy naked” is hardly worthy of a generational curse.
- Zechariah questioned the words of Gabriel. Not just an angel, but THE angel that stands in the very Presence of Yahweh … while Gabriel was standing right in front of him!
- Lot slept with his daughters … I really don’t want to elaborate on that one.
Maybe my sights are too lofty, but in my view, these are hardly good examples of righteousness. Still, in spite of their sin, the scripture goes on record as calling these people “righteous.” Apparently, Yahweh thinks my opinion is moot.
Even David (who is not mentioned above but had a deep reverence for Yahweh’s Torah – see Psalm 119), who killed a loyal soldier and knocked up his wife, was considered worthy enough to be named in the Messiah’s lineage. Yes, our Messiah chose to be called “the Son of David.”
All of the righteous people mentioned were not perfect, however they revered and “practiced” the laws of the Kingdom. The same laws that our churches declare null and void (except the tithe), confusing you by telling you that those who follow those laws have “fallen from grace.”
They have absolutely no clue what grace even means.
What does it mean to walk with God?
Solomon said in Proverbs 4:18 that “the path of the just [H6662 – righteous] is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.”
Proverbs also says “a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again” (Proverbs 24:16a)
These verses imply that righteousness is a path where we practice obeying the laws of the Kingdom. It’s not a perfect walk, but it gets “brighter and brighter” as we move forward.
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
So you will walk in the way of good men And keep to the paths of the righteous.
Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it.
Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
The church tells you that righteousness is a state of being that you simply cannot attain, but the Word of God says differently.
The Word of God says that righteousness is a practice and a pathway that Yahweh Himself guides us along with the help of His Holy Spirit. In order to walk with Him, you must walk (or at least stumble) along this pathway. There is mercy (notice I didn’t say grace) for those who stumble along the path, but there is no mercy (or grace) when you are not walking His Path.
So what does this tell you about your walk with God if you are NOT practicing, or regarding, the Commandments of the Kingdom?
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
If you’re not on the path of His commandments, what path do you think you’re on? Who do you think you’re walking with?
The simple Truth is, if your walk is without righteousness as defined by scripture, you’re not walking with Him. What the record of heaven says about Noah cannot be said of you.
Most importantly, our Messiah instructed us:
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
As we re-consider this verse, it is important to remember that His Kingdom and His Righteousness are not hyper-spiritual concepts that are open for anyone’s interpretation. They are actually very practical.
We know that His Kingdom is coming very, very soon. Before that happens, He is looking for those who are righteous, like Noah. In order to be found among the righteous, you need to be walking His Pathway, which is directly connected to obedience to His Torah.
This is what we are to SEEK FIRST. All other pathways are futility.
A wise man once said:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
I think we would do well to heed this timeless message.