The LORD our Righteousness

"'Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgement and righteousness in the earth. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is his name by which he will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS'" (Jeremiah 23:5,6).

"In his days Judah will be saved" . Judah was the fourth son of Israel, after Reuben, Simeon and Levi. Judah, however, according to the prophecy by his father, would be a leader within the nation.

"Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh comes; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples" (Genesis 49:10).

Not only would Judah be responsible for government and the administration of law within the nation, but King Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah.

Following the giving of the Law, and the construction of the Tabernacle at Sinai, it was Judah whom God commanded to lead the nation. "So they started out for the first time according to the command of the LORD by the hand of Moses. The standard of the camp of the children of Judah set out first . . . " (Numbers 10:13,14).

So Judah had the lead role in the progress of the nation as it made its way to the Promised Land, and Judah was prominent when Israel was to take posession of the Land. After the death of Joshua the children of Israel inquired of the Lord, " . . . 'Who shall be the first to go up for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?' And the LORD said, 'Judah shall go up. Indeed I have delivered the land into his hand'" (Judges 1:1,2).

Understandably, Judah being at the battle front bore the brunt of any enemy attack. A prophecy through Moses concerning Judah in this regard is noteworthy: "Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him to his people, let his hands be sufficient for him, and may you be a help against his enemies" (Deuteronomy 33:8).

Judah would come against some powerful adversaries; moreover it was an indication that Judah would be continually defending and counter-attacking, so that he'd be like one who is desperate for rest from the battle.

As the lead nation Judah would represent the whole, in that whatever Judah suffered or hoped for so too the nation.

Judah received both the promise of greatness and the warning of strong opposition, therefore in Judah the nation would endure hardship, while longing for the fulfilment of redemption, and the day when justice and righteousness would prevail.

An interesting event happened after Judah was finally taken into captivity by the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which none of his wise men could reveal or interpret, that is with the exception of Daniel and his three colleagues.

The significance of this fact is revealed in Daniel's statement to King Nebuchadnezzar. "As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and he who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king . . . " (Daniel 2:29,30).

We remember that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) were sons of Judah. The significance carries further impact in the dream's interpretation (Daniel 2:36-45) which revealed that, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar's reign, five consecutive Gentile empires would have control and influence over the people and land of Israel, until the coming of King Messiah and the establishment of His kingdom of righteousness.

Israel would not be free from Gentile domination and control until King Messiah came, therefore as a nation they perceived their final deliverance as coinciding with Judah's salvation. And so the Scripture confirms that in the day when the Messiah reigns " . . . Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely . . . "

We note too that in that day the Lord will be known as the righteousness of Israel – "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."

Not that He will be their righteousness only, neither does it mean that no other nation will be righteous. But specifically, Israel can say at that time, "This is the LORD our righteousness"; this is what they were promised; this is He for whom they have waited. They have endured for so long, and finally they can satisfy themselves in Him and rejoice in His salvation.

"And it will be said in that day: 'Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation'" (Isaiah 25:9).

As a prerequisite the Scripture confirms that Israel must return to possess the land of their fathers. " . . . And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it." (Jeremiah 30:3).

Interestingly Israel had not possessed the land since their being taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC, until May 14th 1948. On previous occasions when Israel had returned they were under Gentile kings and rulers. But now, in our day, we see Israel not only returning to but possessing the land of their fathers.

Is it any wonder then that the same Scripture which speaks of Israel's return and possession of the land also predicts Israel's pursuit of an elusive peace? There can be no mistake, these prophecies concerning Israel are being fulfilled in our day.

"We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear and not of peace. Ask now, and see, whether a man is ever in labour with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labour?" (Jeremiah 30:5,6)

When the disciples asked what would be the signs to indicate Yeshua's return, He told them that wars, pestilences, famines and earthquakes would increase – these certainly have in our day. But then He said, " . . . all these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:8).

The Greek words used here are those which are used for a woman in labour, which is how Jeremiah prophesied it would be for Israel. Nevertheless, it would be only the beginning of sorrows.

Jeremiah further predicts that Israel will experience a period of immense suffering and anguish. So terrible is this time, it is promised to be the worst period of their suffering. "Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's trouble . . . "

Likewise, Messiah Yeshua stated in His reply to the disciples' questioning, that there would be "great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21).

Whilst all nations will experience this period of turmoil and upheaval, the great tribulation is specifically focused on Israel. The previous verses in fact predict events that will take place in the land of Israel.

" . . . when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place" – a reference to the Antichrist, or false messiah, in the holy place, which by inference assumes that the Temple is functioning in Jerusalem.

" ... then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains . . . " – a geographical reference to Israel, which assumes that the Jewish people are in the land.

" . . . pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath . . . " It has been known to snow in and round Jerusalem during winter which would make travel slow, but how much more if one were attempting to escape, which is the warning. Also there are numerous restrictions on the Sabbath which the orthodox Jewish person observes. For example, they are not permitted to travel any more than 3 kilometres on the Sabbath, which is restrictive, particularly if one is trying to flee.

But in spite of Israel being in the fiery furnace of the great tribulation, they shall be saved, " . . . it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it" (Jeremiah 30:7).

It will be at this time that Israel will recognize and understand that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah, because God will pour out His Spirit on them, according to the prophets Joel (chapter 2) and Zechariah (chapter 12).

Repentance and faith toward Jesus will overwhelm the nation and will result in His return: "they will look unto him whom they have pierced . . . " (Zechariah 12:10). They will call the Messiah, Yeshua, back and announce Him as their King: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!" ((Matthew 23:39).

In the light of Scripture then one may understand that the present Peace Process will not provide Israel with the satisfaction of lasting peace or security. Israel with the satisfaction of lasting peace or security. Israel can not live securely nor enjoy lasting peace while Gentile nations influence and attempt to dictate government policies.

Only when the Prince of Peace comes as the King of kings to take the throne will Judah be saved and Israel dwell safely. Only His never-ending government of righteousness can bring lasting peace and prosperity for Israel and the whole world.

These days are significant because they are days of preparation. The stage is being set for the final scene. It is evident from these Scriptures being fulfilled today that we are close to the time when the Holy One of Israel shall return in power and great glory.

And these are also days of salvation, because "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved" (Joel 2:32). While Israel waits and longs for everlasting salvation as a nation, individual Jewish people are experiencing salvation today.

And so it is written: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation:" (Second Letter to the Corinthians 6:2).

Salavation is available today through Messiah Yeshua. As another Jewish follower of Yeshua testifies: "Yes, and all the prophets from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.

"You are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'

"To you first, God, having raised up his servant Yeshua (Jesus) , sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities" (Acts of the Followers of Jesus 3:24-26).