The Upright and Righteous

        This is a study concerning the grace of God, that upon hearing the good news, this grace beginning with a gift from God that is a measure of faith, is faith that awakens the Law of God and a contrite heart that seeks forgiveness of sin through salvation by the Lord Christ Jesus. But there is more to be understood, that upon hearing the word, we then know the covenant's established for those under the law that will be judged by the law, and those under grace that will be judged by grace. Is it surprising the New Testament was written for the Chosen, that through the Chosen would be added peoples of every nation and tongue.

        Because most Gentile Christians are well aware of righteousness through grace, I want instead to concentrate on people called the ‘upright and righteous' told about in the Old Testament. These having promise fulfilled in common through a Messiah by faith believing, foretold in Heb 11:39-40 "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." This is important in relation to the promise of together made perfect, each in their turn as described in Psalms 11:7 "For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; upright, men will see his face." So if at death of the body (we) go to be with the Lord, what does this mean for us (together)?

        But what of scripture that appears to say that faith and resurrection or rising that enabled salvation through grace had been hidden and a mystery to the chosen of the Old Testament as found in Rom 16:25-27 "Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him..." Let us take a closer look at the mystery hidden long ages past, 'grace' was adequately taught in Prov. 3:34 and Zach. 12:10, 'salvation' is taught in Ps. 14:7, 27.1, and 35:8, 'faith' is taught in Mal. 2:16, Hab. 2:4, and 'resurrection or rising' is taught in Ps. 49:15, 1 Sam. 2:6, and Eze. 12:14. What was taught is that the Old Testament or Covenant is under law, and of the New Testament under grace, revealing the mystery or 'kept secret' was a matter of what the religious leaders taught or preached to their followers 'according to covenant'. God does not oppress nor with ill intent keep anything secret in the time of need, but provided what was needed at the time needed, the plan of God through the ages led to Christ fulfilling His will and good purpose for all of mankind.

        Regarding these upright and righteous, the promised seed of Abram was not limited only to some future or past time, nor was it limited to a single nation, it being offered in faith to all men whose obedience find salvation in Jesus Christ. It is very important to keep in mind it was the first covenant (now called Old Covenant) that was ended, it was not the Law, it is still the law that convicts concerning sin. Keep also in mind concerning the gift of faith, told as seed sown upon those of earth, earth symbolically describes all of mankind. Some mistakenly believe God gives His seed of faith and law only to saints, Christ said in Matt 9:12-13 "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.... For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

        God made this promise to those obedient in the Old Testament covenant called the upright, those righteous in His sight whom He would redeem into life eternal, this is their grace of salvation and rescue from death and the grave, described:
  • Ps 49:15 "But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself."
        God made promise to the upright and righteous in covenant faith that they would be resurrected from the grave, described:
  • Hos 13:14 "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?"
        In the following scripture will be shown that indeed God has chosen a people, from the law, also from grace. In both during life it was by 'Faith' that enabled an obedient relation with the Lord God, also by which the Lord God will judge. Within the Old Testament of law and sacrifice, the 'upright' and righteous were those who lived by faith, this described in Mal 2:16 "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel, ...So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith," and in Hab 2:4 "...but the righteous will live by his faith..." In this it must be remembered Christ did not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill the law, a law written on the hearts and minds of even those temporarily hardened of heart but not forgotten or rejected by the Lord.

        Then it remains true that by law of faith promised is now fulfilled as told in Psalm 11:7 "For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face", and now through faith will come grace for a people meeting Christ Jesus their savior. And how did this happen for those of Old Testament law who were called by God the upright and righteous resting in peace within Sheol. Of these upright and righteous we learn that Christ in the depth or grave after crucified preached or proclaimed, when Christ the first fruit in resurrection rose in victory over death from the grave, He then led from Sheol captivity captive or free, giving gifts of faith beginning a new covenant and promise. What Christ did for the first of the upright and righteous by grace, and those thereafter living in faith waiting their Messiah, it was His precious blood shed for their sin, each will see their resurrection as promised to be with the Lord.

        The first resurrection was from Sheol or the grave, continuing with each in their own turn at death having a part in resurrection, until the end of the age when prophecy tells that Christ rescue's those upright and righteous yet living at the 1335-day of the 70th week, described as 'these are they that came out of the Great Tribulations'. There is only one death of the upright and righteous, of those yet living God always keeps a remnant, at death then each in their turn meet the Lord their Messiah as the faithful believed would come. The lesson here is faith, and with faith obedience, and in obedience are the seed of Abraham through the saving grace of Christ Jesus the Messiah.

        The grace Abram received was not in knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, Abraham's faith we are told was accredited through obedience in faith believing God, and in believing was made complete by faith in action of obedience. It would also be accurate to say the faith of Abraham was credited or accredited, rather than justified, the Bible clearly tells us Gods grace is a gift not earned or justified by our own works, yet accurately in the will and fulfilling the purpose of the Lord. In the Old testament there are many promises of reward to those obedient, scripture tells us these after death were found within the bosom of Abraham in Sheol. About this time in the Old Testament the upright and righteous were described in Prov 11:6 "The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires." And in the very end both Old and New Testament tells us the Messiah will gather the remnant of the chosen now from one end of the heavens to the other, these are the upright and righteous into new covenant and into eternal Israel.

        In Old Testament times those given the law tried living in obedience to the law, however as we know the flesh is bent to sin, and for this reason God made provision for these upright to make blood sacrifice for their transgressions. The Bible teaches that all will sin and fall short of the Glory of God. Yet even under the law God was compassionate, calling some as being after His own heart. Through these chosen came the promise of a Messiah, not only for the chosen, but for many peoples and nations. Of these peoples and nations we were told they would be the seed of Abraham, in number as the sand on the seashore, and the stars in the sky.

        How do these upright and righteous receive Christ as Lord and Savior, even the many that had died and went to their grave before the Messiah was born as man. One word I find in the Old Testament that is this bridge, these are people who worshiped God and were called the ‘upright and righteous'. To begin understanding this bridge between Christ and the upright even today, we can begin in the New Testament scripture such as [NKJV] Rom 2:11-16 "For there is no partiality with God. For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel."

        Within the New Testament also is described this same bridge, in Rom 2:25-29 "For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God." Scripture makes clear that sinful flesh will not find justification as told in Rom 3:19-20 "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Some then will die in flesh nature, however for a remnant through faith and their Messiah, it is instead the flesh nature that will die.

        So it is neither the flesh or the works of man that God calls righteous or works of righteousness, as described in Rom 3:27-31 "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law." The Bible also teaches that God is not limited by time nor age, but has provided a way of bringing to Himself all men upright of faith in heart, described in Rom 4:16-17 "Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring-not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed-the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were."

        The gospel of peace is a promise made to all mankind of all ages, and the promise to mankind is found in Gal 3:7-9 "Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham." Then faith was measured out not only to the age after the ministry of Christ, no, faith was in Abraham before the coming of Christ as described in Gal 3:10-12 "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them."

        This truth was also told in the Old Testament as a prophecy, it is found in Hab 2:2-4 "Then the LORD replied: 'Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay... but the righteous will live by his faith..." And this faith when all things are made new for all nations, speaking symbolically in Isa 26:1-2 "In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith." These nations entering will soon find healing told in Rev 22:2 "...And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." About the healing of nations to become one people under God we are told, Ps 10:16 "The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land."

        The Bible tells us that Christ does rescue those of faith from the curse of law brought by our own sins, described in Gal 3:13-14 "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Further we are told that once rescued, law no longer condemns us, as in Gal 3:24-25 "Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor." And if rescued from the law, we become among those chosen, as in Gal 3:28-29 "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

        Then even before the birth of Christ was a promise through the Messiah to come, and the symbolic separation between two covenants not through Abraham, but symbolically through Sarah and Hagar in Gal 4:21-31 "Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar-- for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children-- but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written: "Rejoice, O barren,
You who do not bear!
Break forth and shout,
You who are not in labor!
For the desolate has many more children
Than she who has a husband."
Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman." So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free."

        Pay close attention to Gal 4:21-23 as a symbolic message, notice that this symbolic Hagar 'is Mount Sirai of Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is... (of the natural yet of this present earth age)', and verse-26 saying "But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother" representing the 'Jerusalem above' being the spiritual and eternal abode of 'all' the redeemed. The mere mention of Ishmael the son of Abraham needs be followed with clarification lest the above scripture be understood in error. God had proclaimed and brought forth symbolically the new covenant of grace through the seed of (Abram and Sarai) Abraham and Sarah, yet this in no way cutting off the nation and tribes of Ishmael, whom God also gave promises through Hagar. The promise of grace is to all men through faith, here grace is not prevented by law nor is it attained through our own works, and this described in Gal 4:4-5 "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons." Symbolically this tells us Christ did not come for the saint, but for the sinner, as sinners we all fall short of the Glory of God.

        Here also must be remembered the instructions of Deut 21:15-17 "If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love, when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love. He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father's strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him."

        Be certain you understand scripture that tells us this grace that brings salvation has appeared to all men as told in Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men." Scripture also tells us that the innocent of the past called the upright although at one time in the grave waiting resurrection, these were not at that time destroyed as described in Job 4:7 "Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed?" Instead scripture promises that even those from before the ministry of Christ on earth shall see Him as described in Ps 11:7 "For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face." This is repeated in Ps 37:37-38 "Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off."

        God has made many promises and given many assurances to those who lived upright lives, here are some of those promises:
Ps 36:10 "Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart."
Ps 94:15 "Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it."
Ps 97:11 "Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart."
Prov 3:32 "...for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence..."

        And we know to those of all ages, who scripture has given assurances, when Christ descended into the depths, He led these righteous in faith free from the captivity of the grave, as described in Eph 4:7-8 "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore He says:
When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men."

Remember also the words of Christ to the thief also upon a cross next to Him, who had rebuked a second thief also being crucified and who scoffed at the divinity of Christ, who then asked Christ to remember him in His Kingdom. Christ then said to the thief in Luke 23:43 "Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise'." Paradise is not the grave, where before Christ and after death in Sheol the soul would then reside. Here Christ clearly said this man would be with Him in paradise and not the grave or Sheol, and in this promise were a day like a thousand years, this time has now past meaning he now is with the Lord.

        Then what of the signs and miracles told us in the Bible, these evidenced by those saved by grace through faith, also the water baptism as outward sign of the believer. To begin, baptism by water unlike fire is not what we are baptized (in) but what we are baptized with. Water baptism is an outward act by ourselves demonstrating our belief, the Lords cleansing grace is an (inward) baptism of which the Bible describes being baptized with or by. The instructions to the husbands as by Christ is example of this baptism, the symbolic cleansing is by or with the word, described in Eph 5:25-26 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word..." The washing with water is the Word, in this verse meaning Christ. The baptism then is a spiritual act, just as the signs and miracles are of and by the Lord, and these being manifest through those who serve the Lord. What greater miracle is a sinner made Holy as a miraculous sign of Gods love, and as the thief upon the cross evidenced, by the confessions of his mouth.

        What is appointed for all men then, is one time to be born, one time for the flesh body to die, and then comes judgment. Then in the grave are yet those called the wicked, for the upright and redeemed in the grave have had their souls each in their turn led free as captives by Christ Jesus, they are with the Lord and no longer captives of death in the grave. John describes these as the souls he saw beneath the alter. Some then still remain in the grave, those yet waiting for judgment, these are the wicked, the unredeemed. And soon with great shout will be heard the return of Christ, then those with the Lord gathered out of the four corners of heaven, together with those still in the grave will be brought before judgment. The redeemed for a new spiritual body and reward, the wicked to be thrown into the lake of fire where their soul's perish in destruction.

        Sometimes it is easier discovering how faith works within salvation, doing this by tracing back through the Bible to see who scripture tells us will be resurrected. If there is only one way of salvation being grace through the gift of faith, and this faith in believing through Christ Jesus the Messiah, then scripture tells us of all that will be resurrected into Paradise as proven according to the word of God. Perhaps it is our misunderstanding that some we are told will be resurrected into Paradise, are found by ourselves as lacking the approved method we understand, certainly in this case God is not a liar. More astonishing is the many that cannot tell the difference between the sanctuary of Satan, and the Chosen of God. But the difference and need one day will be past, as when no one need to tell another to know the Lord, or like the leaves of the trees in heaven said will heal the nations. These differences between people, tongues and nations will eventually end, this taught in Ps 10:16 "The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land."

        I believe there are many false religions, I believe these false religions are based upon concepts not followed, and for this reason apparently not believed. This makes the Christian religion false, false for many who do not believe paying only lip service. The Christian Bible makes this point very clearly, prophesied in the end days, when many false Christian prophets and teachers arise who lead many astray. Demonizing a people is a philosophy and nature of man, demonizing others to sanctify the murder of these others in war and aggression is the way of their master. Thank God only the flesh body can be killed by man and their false god.
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