What Is the Righteousness of God and Its Effect?

TODAY’S READING: ROMANS 1-3

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justified of the one who has faith in Jesus.” – Romans 3:21-26

I have heard this passage of scripture used in a way that sends a whole lot of people to hell.

I believe Paul’s words get used this way because the translation suffers due to the theological bias of the translators and a misunderstanding of the righteousness of God. The translations are biased and the righteousness of God misunderstood because so many Christians do not see God as only good, as a giver of only life, and as being just because he punishes the wicked with the eternally tormenting fire of hell.

However, if you see God as only, as a giver of life only and never death, and as being just because by grace and mercy he forgives us all for doing what we did not know we were doing, then you will understand these words of Paul in an entirely different way. This other way is more suited to God’s character – light and not darkness, love and not fear that has to do with punishment – and, in my opinion, supported the actual Greek Paul wrote.

Therefore, I will do my best to reveal to clearly and simply reveal by the Spirit what Paul is saying.

Let’s start with the phrase “righteousness of God.” The word righteousness in the Greek is dikaiosyne. This is the word dikaios with the suffix syne.

The ultimate root of dikaios is the dike. According to the Theological Lexicon of the New Testament, “It is generally agreed the dike, the basic term in this group, is related to deiknymi, ‘show, indicate.’ Thus its root meaning would be ‘that which is indicated, is in usage, is customary,’ and it from this starting point that it ends up meaning justice. The first appearance of this meaning is as a mythical divine being: ‘There is a virgin, Dike, daughter of Zeus, honored and revered by the gods, inhabitants of Olympia,’ who denounces the unjust deeds of humans before her father and call for their punishment.”

Wait.

What?

Did you get that?

The ultimate root, dike, of the all the words meaning righteousness and justice in the Bible first appeared meaning justice in the context of the virgin of daughter of Zeus who denounced the unjust deeds of humans before her father and called for their punishment.

Is this not what many Christians believe about God?

Is this not what many Christians believe Jesus is going to do at his second coming?

Many Christians believe that Jesus is going to come back and denounce all those that failed to believe in him, which is their unjust deed, and call for their punishment, sending them to fires of hell for eternal torment.

Dear Christian, are you worshiping Dike, the virgin daughter of Zeus, or Jesus, the son of God?

I’ve barely begun and should not alarm bells be going of in our heads?

Am I to believe that Jesus came to reveal that God is actually like Dike, the virgin of Zeus?

Of course not.

Dikaios is an adjective that means something is just, right, or equitable. With dikaios, we can say that something is just, right, or equitable really, actually, factually, concretely, materially, or objectively.

But, Paul is not writing about the dikaios – the actual or objective justness or rightness – of God here. No, Paul is writing about the dikaiosyne of God.

The Greek suffix syne makes the noun it is attached to abstract. Something is abstract if it is disassociated from any specific instance, difficult to understand, insufficiently factual; dealing with a subject apart from an object.

Paul is writing about the abstract – hypothetical, philosophical, complex, deep, real, intellectual, non-concrete, transcendental – righteousness of God. This righteousess of God is not associated with any specific instance, difficult to understand, and insufficiently factual.

Until…

“It was manifested.”

The abstract – hypothetical, philosophical, complex, deep, real, intellectual, non-concrete, transcendental – righteousness of God was manifested. The Greek word for manifest, phaneroo, means to reveal, make clear, make manifest. Something is manifest if it is readily perceived by the senses, especially by the sight or easily understood or recognized by the mind. Therefore, the righteousness of God, which was hard to understand, has been made easy to understand. The righteousness of God, which we could not see because it was hypothetical and philosophical, has been made visible. The righteousness of God is now something you can really and clearly see with your own eyes.

How was the abstract righteousness of God manifested?

“Apart from the law.”

The Greek word for “apart from” is choris. It also means without. There is no Greek word the in the original. Therefore, the abstract righteousness of God was manifested “without law.”

Do you understand what Paul is saying?

God’s abstract righteousness, which is hard to understand and perceive, was made real and visible without law. You don’t need law, any law, to understand the righteousness of God. As Western Christians, to understand what is just and right without law goes against everything we know and believe about justice and righteousness. Because in our minds, we only know, conceive, and perceive justice and righteousness if there is a law that can or cannot be broken.

If the abstract righteousness of God was manifested without law, then how did we come to see this righteousness and have it clearly revealed to us?

“Although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it.”

Now, we start getting into some translation problems.

There is no Greek word for although in Paul’s writing. However, there is an untranslated Greek word, de. De means but or and, which is how it is translated the vast majority of the time. I believe this word that was left untranslated should be translated “but.”

Immediately after the untranslated de is a second dikaisyne theou, the righteousness of God. This will be very important as we go.

We might say, “But the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it.”

However, this is still not correct.

“Bear witness to it” is the Greek word martyroumene. The way this has been translated makes it sound like “the Law and the Prophets” are actively bearing witness to the righteousness of God. But, this cannot be correct because martyrourmene is a singular, present, passive, participle.

Basically, a participle is a verb that becomes an adjective. In English, we typically add -ing to a verb to make a participle. In our case, the word would be witnessing.

The voice passive means the subject is being acted upon by the verb. Therefore, if “the Law and the Prophets” are the subject of the passive martyroumene, then it should read something like “but the Law and the Prophets being witnessed.” It would be “the Law and the Prophets” that are being witnessed. But, “the Law and the Prophets” are not being witnessed. We know from the rest of the Bible that “the Law and the Prophets,” which are together known as the scripture, do the witnessing. In John 5:39, Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”

The present tense means an action that is continuous and ongoing. The passive action of being witnessed to that is happening to the subject is continuous and ongoing. Again, this makes it clear that “the Law and the Prophets” are not being witnessed on a continual and ongoing basis.

This present, passive participle is singular. The singular thing Paul is writing about is the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God is the subject that is passively being witnessed to on a continual and ongoing basis.

Also, there is another untranslated word in the Greek, hypo. The vast majority of the time this word is translated “by.”

Let’s put all of this together so far.

“And now the righteousness of God has been manifested without law, but the righteousness of God is being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets.”

To what do “the Law and the Prophets” witness?

“Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations.'” (Luke 24:45-47)

“The Law and the Prophets,” the scriptures, witness to the necessity that the Christ suffer and rise from the dead. That Jesus suffered and rose from the dead is clearly perceived, easily understood, seen by the eyes of more than 500 witnesses. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection was the manifestation of God, and Jesus said the scriptures are a witness to that.

Now, it should be clear that the abstract – hypothetical, philosophical, complex, deep, real, intellectual, non-concrete, transcendental – righteousness of God is manifested, clearly perceived, easily understood, and visibly seen in the suffering, the crucifixion, of the Christ and his resurrection from the dead.

So…

“And now the righteousness of God has been manifested without law, but the righteousness of God is being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets.”

How did this come about?

“Through faith in Jesus Christ.”

Now we have more translation problems. I know this is a hotly debated subject.

The word “in” does not exist in the Greek.

Jesus Christ is a noun in the genitive case. Basically, this means that the noun possesses another noun. The other noun that is possessed in our case is faith. Therefore, I side with those who say Paul wrote “the faith of Jesus Christ” not “faith in Jesus Christ.”

The “faith of Jesus Christ” makes more sense when we consider that is “through,” or by means of, “the faith of Jesus Christ that the righteousness of God was manifested without law. It was not our faith in Jesus, which, if we are honest, is at best fickle and wavering, that manifested the righteousness of God but the faith of Jesus that did so.

Why is it the faith of Jesus that is necessary and not our faith in Christ?

The entirety of scripture witnesses that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and rise from the dead.

Who’s faith made it possible for Jesus to be crucified and rise from the dead?

Yours or his?

Pretty obvious isn’t it.

Jesus required faith in his Father that his Father would raise him from the dead after he laid down his life and let us torture and crucify him.

That is a tremendous amount of faith.

Care to put your faith into action like that?

You wouldn’t stand a chance.

So…

“And now the righteousness of God has been manifested without law, but the righteousness of God is being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets through the faith of Jesus Christ.”

Why “through the faith of Jesus Christ?”

“For all who believe.”

Again, we have more translation problems.

The Greek word  for “for” is eis. It is by far most often translated to, into, or in.

“To all who believe.”

Who believes though?

“Who” is not in the Greek.

Believe is translated from pisteuontas. It is a present, active, accusative, participle. The accusative case is the case of the direct object. The direct object receives the action of the verb.

While it is tempting to think that we are the direct object of Jesus’ faith, faith is a noun. Therefore, the believing are not the direct object of Jesus faith in this case.

There really is only one verb that pisteuontas could be the direct object of. That verb is manifested. If we strip everything extraneous away, then we would have “And now the righteousness of God has been manifested to all the believing.” Although it is possible to see the the believing as the direct object of being witnessed as well.

The believing are those to whom the abstract righteousness of God has been made visible and clearly perceived without law, being witnessed by the by the law and the prophets that is was necessary for the Christ to suffer and rise from the dead through the faith of Jesus Christ.

So…

“And now the righteousness of God has been manifested without law, but the righteousness of God is being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets through the faith of Jesus Christ to all the believing.”

Are there any that the righteousness of God has not been manifested to?

Is it not the Holy Spirit that manifests and witnesses the righteousness of God to us?

Is this not why the Holy Spirit was poured out on all flesh after Jesus ascended to heaven?

Sure, the manifestation and witness is more and less from person to person, but I believe scripture clearly shows that the manifestation and witness is happening, and will happen, to all.

Therefore, Paul writes, “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Where is there no distinction?

Between Jew and gentile. The Jew has the law. The gentile has no law. But, it doesn’t matter because there is no distinction between them. In fact, all Jews and all gentiles sin and fall short of the glory of God.

But, what else happens to them all?

“And are justified.”

Justified is the present, passive, plural, nominative participle of dikaioo. Dikaioo means justify, declare righteous, set right, vindicate. The nominative case means that this participle is the subject of the sentence. It is passive, meaning the subject is being acted upon. It is present, meaning the process of being justified is ongoing and continual. And, it is plural.

The only possible noun that fits all of these requirements is the all that have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

“All are being justified.”

How are all being justified?

“By his grace.”

In what manner?

“As a gift.”

This is the Greek word dorean. It is an adverb, meaning it describes a verb.

Grace is a noun and not a verb. But, the translation makes it seem like “as a gift” is describing God’s grace.

The only verb dorean could be describing is “being justified.” Dorean means freely, gratuitously, without a cause, without cost, free of charge, without payment, for no reason, for no purpose.

All are being justified freely, gratuitously, without a cause, without cost, free of charge, without payment, and for no reason.

So…

“And now the righteousness of God has been manifested without law, but the righteousness of God is being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets through the faith of Jesus Christ to all the believing. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are being justified for no reason by his grace.”

There is nothing you ever do to warrant justification, being declared righteous. It is by grace.

Therefore, there is nothing you could ever do to not warrant justification, to prevent God from justifying you.

“Through the redemption that i in Christ, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

You guessed it. More translation problems.

The Greek word for “as a propitiation” is hilasterion. It is the word in the Greek Old Testament that means mercy seat.

God intended Jesus to be a mercy seat, a place of atonement.

“By his blood.”

The Greek word for by is “en.” It is by far most often translated in.

God intended Jesus to be a mercy seat in his blood, that is covered in his blood.

“To be received by faith.”

The words “to be received” are not in the Greek. And, they should not be in the English.

Who handles the blood on the mercy seat?

The chief priest. The high priest.

Hebrews 9:11-12 says, “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing eternal redemption.”

Who took Jesus’ blood into the heavenly tabernacle and put it on the mercy seat?

Jesus.

Who’s faith was required to do that?

The faith of Jesus.

Not you. You don’t cover the mercy seat in the blood of Jesus

We are talking the same faith, the faith of Jesus, that we saw above.

So…

“And now the righteousness of God has been manifested without law, but the righteousness of God is being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets through the faith of Jesus Christ to all the believing. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are being justified for no reason by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God intended to be a mercy seat in his blood by faith.”

In the translation, the next sentence starts, “This was to show God’s righteousness.” However, I think this is the actual conclusion to the sentence we just read. “This was” is not in the Greek. Nor is the word God. It’s the word for his.

It really should just say “to show his righteousness.” That is, the abstract kind.

The Greek word for show, endeixin, is interesting. It also means to demonstrate or prove. An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon says it means “a pointing out,”  and as a law term “a laying information against one who discharged public functions for which he was legally disqualified.” Jesus carrying his own blood to the mercy seat in the heavenly tabernacle was information against all of us and Satan who discharge the public function of crucifying Jesus illegally.

So…

“And now the righteousness of God has been manifested without law, but the righteousness of God is being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets through the faith of Jesus Christ to all the believing. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are being justified for no reason by his grace in proof of his righteousness.”

I think the next sentence and its repeated use of endeixin proves (pun intended) why I put the previous one at the end of the last sentence.

Now Paul writes, “Because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time.”

“It was” is not in the Greek. I think this is one thought from Paul that is the preface to his concluding statement.

Further, the words “he had passed over” are misleading. This the Greek word paresin. The root word for paresin is iemi, which is where we get the word forgive in the New Testament. The Greek prefix par means beside, alongside, related to; disordered, sideways, wrong, contrary to, different from.

To translate this as “he had passed over” seems a little misleading given the Hebrew feast of Passover, the whole context of what we have covered so far, and what we will cover below. Paresin more literally means tolerate.

The word for time is karios. It means a set or proper time, the right point of time. The word for present is nyn, which is almost always translated now. The now time is the appointed time. Of course, the appointed time was the crucifixion of Jesus, that was “the hour” his entire life and ministry was headed towards.

Therefore, the preface to Paul’s concluding statement is “Because in his divine forbearance he tolerated former sins to prove his righteousness [the abstract kind again] in the appointed time.”

So…

“And now the righteousness of God has been manifested without law, but the righteousness of God is being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets through the faith of Jesus Christ to all the believing. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are being justified for no reason by his grace in proof of his righteousness. Because in his divine forbearance he tolerated former sins to prove his righteousness in the appointed time.”

Now, what is Paul’s concluding statement about the abstract righteousness of God that was manifested at the appointed time of the cross?

“So that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Again, we have more translation problems.

“So that” is eis, which is almost always translated to, into, or in. I think is most appropriate here.

In the translation, he is the subject of the sentence. But, in the Greek he, auton, is in the accusative case, meaning it is the object of the verb.

“Might” is not in the Greek.

“Be” is the only verb in the sentence. So, he is the subject of be or being.

“Justifier” is the present, active, accusative singular participle of dikaioo. Therefore, it should be justifying and is the object of the verb being.

“Of the one who” is the word ton. It is in the accusative and goes with the accusative participle of dikaioo. Therefore, it is ” the justifying one” not “the justifier of the one who.”

“Has” is not in the Greek. It is the word ek, which means from, of, out of.

“Faith in Jesus” is the same as we saw above. It should be the “faith of Jesus” or “Jesus’ faith.”

So, what then is Paul’s concluding statement?

“in being him the just and the justifying one of Jesus’ faith.”

How is God being the just and the justifying one of Jesus’ faith?

Recall from above, the mentioned Jesus needed faith to be the Christ who had suffer, be crucified, die, and rise from the dead. He had faith in his Father to raise him from the dead after he laid down his life and let us crucify him.

Why did Jesus do this?

Go back above to Luke 24:47.

Jesus suffered and rose from the dead so “that repentance and the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name.”

Forgiveness of sins could only be proclaimed in his name if they were actually forgiven.

What did Jesus ask his Father for on the cross?

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Jesus asked this of his Father in faith.

The Father answered his request, forgiving everyone, justifying all that have sinned for no reason, so that the Father could be the just and justifying one of Jesus’ faithful request for forgiveness for all.

So…

“And now the righteousness of God has been manifested without law, but the righteousness of God is being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets through the faith of Jesus Christ to all the believing. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are being justified for no reason by his grace in proof of his righteousness. Because in his divine forbearance he tolerated former sins to prove his righteousness in the appointed time, in being him the just and the justifying one of Jesus’ faith.”

Yes, the meaning I have given Romans 3:21-26 is entirely different than what most translators and preachers have said it means. But, it is all in the original Greek if you know what the righteousness of God is that Jesus was manifesting on the cross, what the whole witness of scripture is, and what God wanted to show the world about himself.

Did God want to show the whole world that he was like Dike, the goddess of justice who denounced the unjust deeds of humans before her father and called for their punishment?

Or did God want to show he was something altogether different?

God is just.

God is merciful.

God is forgiving.

Of all, for no reason other than his Son asked him to.

Jesus, the Christ, God’s son, for whom it was necessary to suffer, die, and rise from the dead, according to all the scriptures.

 

Suffering, dying, and rising for the sole purpose that repentance, changing our minds about who God is, a forgiver not a condemner like Dike, and the forgiveness of sins.

Yes, God is justifying the faith of his son Jesus by declaring all righteous, all forgiven.

Everyone Is Justified by Jesus

TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 22-24

“David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his fathers house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.” – 1 Samuel 22:1-2

There were tens of thousand, if not hundreds of thousand, people in Israel. Yet, “everyone” who was in distress, in debt, and bitter in soul totaled just 400 people? Really?!?

The juxtaposition of 400 people making up everyone who heard that David escaped to the cave of Adullam should lead us to search for a deeper spiritual meaning of the text.

And, why would David escaping to the cave of Adullam have anything to do with people in distress, in debt, and bitter in soul gathering to David? That seems pretty weird.

It seems weird until the Spirit breathes life into the passage to reveal its witness to Jesus.

And, that witness is that everyone will hear the message of Jesus and everyone will be justified by Jesus.

DAVID, A SHADOW OF JESUS

The name David means beloved son.

Jesus is the beloved son of God. When Jesus was baptized, “behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'” (Matthew 3:17)

DAVID DEPARTED THE ACHISH, THE KING OF GATH

1 Samuel 22:1 says, “David departed from there.”

Where’s there?

1 Samuel 21:10 tells us that David “went to Achish the king of Gath. Further, verse 12 tells us that David “was much afraid of Achish the king Gath.”

Who is Achish the king of Gath? What episode does this represent in the life of Jesus?

There is no agreed upon meaning of the name Achish, but it has something to do with anger and fear. A likely meaning for the name is “he was afraid.” The name Gath means wine-press.

So, here we have a picture of Jesus going to the winepress in fear and trepidation. This is a picture of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane before he went to the cross.

Matthew 23:36 says, “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane.” Gethsemane literally means “a wine-press of oils.” Then, in verse 38, Jesus says, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.” Jesus was deeply grieved and trouble. We could even say he was in fear.

Luke 22:39-46 also recounts Jesus’ time in the garden of Gethsemane before he was crucified. Luke 22:44 says, “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” When a grape is squeezed in the wine-press, its juice comes out. So, here we see the life of Jesus being squeezed in the wine-press as his sweat became like great drops of blood. Remember, the life is in the blood.

Because Jesus asked the Father to remove this cup from him, we assume that it was God putting him in the winepress. But, this is wrong.

The shadow that is David shows us who put Jesus in the wine-press. Achish the king of Gath was a Philistine. The Philistines represent the flesh. They were the people under the control of the god of this world, Satan. It was Satan through man that judged the man Jesus and put Jesus in the wine-press to squeeze his blood, his life, out of him.

DAVID ESCAPED TO THE CAVE OF ADULLAM

When he departed Achish the king of Gath, David “escaped to the cave of Adullam.” (1 Samuel 22:1)

Throughout the Bible, a cave is a burying place for the dead. After Jesus’ life was completely squeezed out of the wine-press of the cross, he was buried in a tomb, a cave.

There are two possible meanings for the name Adullam. The first is refuge or retreat. In this sense, David escaped the wine-press to the cave of refuge or retreat.

However, I find the second meaning even more intriguing. Adullam also means “the justice of the people.”

Romans 4:24-5:2 says, “Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.”

It is Jesus Christ was crucified, died, buried, and raised for our justification. We are justified by faith in his work. And, we even obtain this faith by which we are justified through Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:18 says, “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.”

David “escaped” to the cave of Adullam. The Hebrew word for escaped, malat, means to flee to safety. That’s what escape means. But, malat also means to save someone. Therefore, by the Spirit we David’s escaping to the cave of Adullam as a picture of Jesus’ death and burial, which we he was resurrected from and leads to justification and salvation.

But, did you notice above that Paul said this one act of Christ – his crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection – leads to justification for and life for all men?

DAVID’S BROTHERS AND FATHER’S HOUSE HEARD

1 Samuel 22:1 says, “And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him.”

It is the hearing that David has escaped to the cave of Adullam that draws his brothers and his father’s house to him.

What do we see here?

This is a picture of the gospel drawing all men to Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, Paul says, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” This is just what we are seeing in the shadow of David.

How did Paul deliver this gospel?

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, Paul says, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you.”

We saw above that it is by faith we are justified. Paul is preaching in 1 Corinthians 15 the gospel that says, which we shadowed by David.

But, how do we see receive the faith in this justifying work of Christ?

Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Hearing the preaching of the gospel draws us to Jesus.

This is just we see with the shadow of David. He went to cave, the burying place, that was named the justice of the people. When people heard that he escaped there, they came to him. How wonderful is the inspiration of the scripture.

Take note of who heard.

First, David’s brothers. This is a picture of believer in Christ, the church. Paul called the Corinthians who had received his preaching, his brothers. And, when Jesus was resurrected and Mary found him in the garden, Jesus said, “Do not cling to me, for I have yet ascended to the Father, but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascneding to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” (John 20:17)

Second, David’s father’s household. If we, the believers, the church, are Jesus’ brothers, then who is his Father’s household? The household of God is Israel, God’s spirit-filled people. Gentile believers, brothers, have been grafted into this tree, this household. Gentile believers, brothers, who were strangers and aliens are now fellow citizens of the household of Jesus’ Father, God.

Ephesians 2:13-19 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

So, David’s brothers and father’s household came when they heard David escaped to the cave that was the justice of the people.

So, just who comes to Jesus’ burial place when he hears the message of justification? Who identifies with Jesus by being baptized into his death and is so raised with him?

EVERYONE WHO IS IN DISTRESS

1 Samuel 22:2 says that “everyone who was in distress” gathered to David. Therefore, it is everyone who is in distress that comes to Jesus.

The Hebrew word for distressed means hardship or anguish. It comes from a root word meaning to press, drive, oppress.

Almost every time the word oppress is used in the New Testament it is in relation to someone under spiritual attack. The gospels often say that those oppressed by demons were brought to Jesus (Matthew 4:24, 8:16, 9:32, 12:22, 15:22; Mark 1:32).

In Luke 4:18, near the start of his ministry, Jesus announces he came “to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”

In Acts 10:38, Peter tells Cornelius’ household, “He [Jesus] went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”

Oppression comes from the devil. And, everyone who is in distress, everyone who is under oppression, goes to Jesus for justification, salvation, and healing.

EVERYONE WHO IS IN DEBT

1 Samuel 22:2 says that “everyone who was in debt” gathered to David. Therefore, it is everyone who is in debt that comes to Jesus.

The Hebrew word for debt here is an interesting one. It comes from a root word meaning to lift or bear. It has the idea of carrying something away. One Hebrew dictionary says the word comes from a primitive root meaning to lead astray, i.e. (mentally) to delude, or (morally) to seduce.

This is fascinating.

Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which once walked, following the course of the this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

Paul says that we have all been led astray, deluded, seduced by the world and Satan. But, look at what Paul says about us who have been led astray.

Colossians 2:11-14 says, “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

We are in all debt because we have been led astray from the truth by Satan. But, Christ cancelled that debt by nailing it to the cross.

EVERYONE WHO IS BITTER IN SOUL

1 Samuel 22:2 says that “everyone who was bitter in sould” gathered to David. Therefore, it is everyone who is bitter in soul that comes to Jesus.

The Hebrew word for bitter means to be bitter, to be desperate, bewildered, to make bitter. Interestingly, the root word for bitter is used as the root for the Hebrew word meaning gall bladder, gall, or poison.

When the apostles heard that Samaria had received Jesus, they sent Peter and John to them. While the Samaritans had received the word of God, they had not received the Holy Spirit. Simon saw this and offered Peter and John money so that he could receive the Holy Spirit too.

In Acts 8:22-23, Peter said to Simon, “Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” Peter links the gall of bitterness with the evil intentions of the heart. These evil intentions are like poison in our hearts.

In his death, burial, and resurrection, Christ acted as poultice, a balm, that sucked the poison of bitterness out of our souls.

DAVID BECAME COMMANDER OVER THEM

1 Samuel 22:2 says that David “became commander over them,” everyone that came in distress, debt, and bitterness of soul.

The Hebrew word for commander means representative of the king, official, commander, etc. It comes from the verb meaning to rule or reign or to have oversight of.

David as a commander  is a picture of Jesus as lord.

While Jesus was called lord by many all throughout the gospels, the full understanding of Jesus as Lord did not come until after the resurrection. In fact, in Peter’s first sermon he links the death of Jesus to his being made Lord. Peter says in Acts 2:36, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

God made Jesus Lord because he was “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)

EVERYONE IS 400 MEN?

So, David’s brothers came to him. All his father’s household came to him. Three times we read that everyone came to him. But, then 1 Samuel 22:2 says, “And there were with him about four hundred men.”

Wait…so all and everyone means that just 400 men came to David? What’s do significant about that? Why the stressing of all and everyone to be let down by just 400 men coming to David?

Something seems off and that doesn’t sound like much…if we read the text literally. But, if we read the text by the Spirit, then we see something entirely different.

The first mention of 100 is found in Genesis 11:10, which says, “These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood.” Shem was the son of Noah that Jesus would ultimately come from.

The name Shem is the Hebrew word for name. It can also mean identity or personality. The name Arpachshad means something like “light trickles from his bosom.” Therefore, at 100 years of age, the name fathered the light that trickles from his bosom.

This alludes to God fathering his only begotten son, Jesus, the light of the world from the bosom of the Father. Jesus is the identity of God. Colossians 1:15 says, “He is the image of the invisible God.” And, Hebrews 1:3 says, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” Jesus is the light from the bosom of the Father, or the radiance of the glory of God. Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature, the light that is the identity of the Father.

The next two mentions of 100 are related to Abraham and Issac, who are a picture of the Father and Jesus. Genesis 17:17 says, “Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old?’” Then, Genesis 21:5 says, “Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.”

Issac was the child of promise. Paul says in Galatians that Jesus is the true child of promise. Therefore, the number 100 speaks to the child of promise, Jesus.

The number four is a symbol of the universal picture or meaning of something. Something is universal means it includes or covers all or a whole collectively or distributively without limit.

In the Bible, we have four directions that include the earth. We have four gospels that give the universal or whole picture of Christ.

Also, the number four symbolizes the people that will come to God. Revelation 7:9 says, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, stranding before the throne and before the lamb.” Here there are four descriptions that define all the people that will before the lamb on the throne.

So, when we combine the number 100 and four we understand that the 400 men that came to David represents the universal people of the child of promise, Jesus. It’s not a literal 400 people. Therefore, all and everyone in 1 Samuel 22 means everyone.

BUT, DO ALL COME TO JESUS

You may say that the all and everyone does not really mean all will be justified because not everyone will come to Jesus.

But, recall Romans 5:18 form above. “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” All men were condemned. All men will be justified and receive life.

I mentioned above Philippians 2:8-9, which says that Jesus was exalted as Lord for his obedience to the point of death.

Why did God exalt Jesus and to Lord and give him a name above every other name?

Philippians 2:10 says, “So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God.” That’s every knee and every tongue of all creatures, all things created.

Also, in 1 Corinthians 12:3, Paul says, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.” So, if every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, then every tongue will be in the Holy Spirit.

Remember that in the first sermon ever preached by Peter he said the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the fulfillment of God pouring out his Spirit on all flesh.

I could go on with many references to the all’s and every’s in scripture that related to the justification of all people in fulfillment of the shadow of David justifying everyone in 1 Samuel 22.