Heart Meditations 12 - Breastplate of Righteousness - David Mitts
We live in times when standing for what is right and truthful and built on the foundation stone of the goodness of God is seen as anachronistic and bigoted. There is a war for the hearts and minds of God’s children. Our thoughts spring out of the meditations of our hearts. What we dwell upon becomes the fuel for our lives. If our meditations can be corrupted, then our lives follow suit.
Isaiah spoke of a parallel time. He prophesied that in his day, justice was turned back, and righteousness stood far away from the people’s daily life. Justice is about balance and fairness in matters of life. It is ultimately derived from a God perspective of goodness. Like Isaiah’s time, we see that the strong, the mob, rules by intimidation. Just this past summer we saw businesses that were the hopes and dreams of small families were obliterated by mobs who in their speaking were champions for justice but utilized massive injustice by acts of violence against the defenseless.
This is scripturally described by the term, iniquity, or lawlessness. By Yeshua’s words we learn that this condition abounds to undermine love:
"And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold." Mat 24:12 (NKJV)
Lawlessness or iniquity is not merely the absence of law. It sounds that way by the suffix “less”. No! Lawlessness is much more insidious and evil, than just the lack of law. It is actively antichrist. You see the word “law” confuses most of us. Law makes us think of rules and consequences. Yet the scripture says:
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." Rom 10:4 (NKJV)
Now, the word “end” here is the Greek word telos. Telos is where we get the word telescope. An end-scope is a scope that ends its view at the thing observed. So, when we say Christ is the end of the law for righteousness it means literally, He is the point, and our focus should be on Him to see what righteousness of the law is pointing at.
I do not believe it means as some have said that He abolishes the Law. No! Rather, I think, He is the whole point, the focus of the law. When I wrote the book on the Feasts, I wrote it from the perspective that the feasts find their fulfillment in Yeshua, yesterday, today, and eternally. He is the end or the target of the intention of the Law. Lawlessness then is at its core, Christless-ness or antichrist. Look with me 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 2:
"Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come." 2Th 2:1-2 (NKJV)
Clearly, Paul is telling the folks at Thessalonica, that prior to the gathering together there will be some threat to the peace of mind of the Believers. Let’s read on:
"Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." 2Th 2:3-4 (NKJV)
Now many people take this verse as a literal human being, the antichrist who will reign in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. I am certain this is true, but it could also refer to an authority or a ruling voice that deceives and causes an apostasy or a falling away in the hearts and minds of those who are called the church, the living temple of God. What could that be? What about a replacement of the true gospel with a lukewarm gospel that includes worldly solutions to crises of faith? It wouldn’t be a warning about deception if it didn’t garner a lot of agreement. As Craig Hill says, in his breakthrough book, Deceived, Who Me? a person who is deceived doesn’t know they are deceived. Let us continue:
"Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." 2Th 2:5-10 (NKJV)
Lawlessness is called a mystery. A mystery is a hidden reality. There apparently is some time frame where the who that restrains lawlessness or antichrist is itself restrained in some way. That restraint is removed when He who restrains it is taken out of the way. “Out of the way”. To be taken out of the way, you have to be first “in the way”. Notice that in the next verse, the Lord is mentioned as the One who destroys the lawless one. This makes me think that what restrains the lawlessness is perhaps different than who destroys it. I think who restrains it is the church, the body of the Lord. It gives me the picture of a tug of war where suddenly the one who has been holding back lawlessness is no longer able to do so.
The result is the coming of the lawless one according to the working of Satan with all power, signs, and wonders that are based on fundamental lies. This causes an unrighteous deception among those who perish. They are responsible for their own perishing because they refused to receive or hear the truth.
Let’s pause for a moment and think back over the past 18 months. Have we seen an increase in lawlessness? Have we seen the removal of the impact of the church which was a restraining force on the abuse of power? Have we seen a supposed solution that is a “miracle” or a wonder of modern “science” with a “power” that seems to deceive many into blindly taking the shot? One of the prophetic declarations in this passage is a reference to lying wonders. A lying wonder reminds me of the Wizard of Oz who was using illusions to project "power" that was actually all made up.
In today’s “pandemic” world we see a similar lying wonder. The “killer virus” actually kills very few. Most who died were already dying. We know that fear drove many to hide in their homes. Masks that were supposed to protect people were more about controlling behavior. Science was touted as the driving force but, it was only the approved science of the political and pharmaceutical agenda. Then to top it all off we see a push for receiving DNA modifying shots that genetically hijack our own genetic replication mechanism to crank out spike proteins which somehow are supposed to mitigate the deadly virus, which is not really deadly. Sounds like an unrighteous deception that will lead to perishing who do not receive the truth of a loving God who made our bodies to heal themselves when cared for.
For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. (2Th 2:11-12 NASB)
There is a delusion influencing the masses producing a false belief that is revealing a love for wickedness. What is wickedness? It is the serving of the flesh and its demands. You see if a shot can fix my world, then I don’t have to be responsible. I personally have no fear of any viruses. God, who is in me, is greater than any disease in the world. The key to this is the breastplate of righteousness.
What is a breastplate? It is armor that protects my most vital organs, especially my heart. Righteousness is a shield to me.
But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield. (Psa 5:11-12 NASB)
The favor of the Lord is His protection of righteousness. It is difficult to remember this truth in troubling times There is power in the armor of God. The breastplate of righteousness is the protection of the righteousness of Yeshua over our hearts.
What does it protect us from? Deception. Let’s back up a few verses in Psalm 5, beginning at verse 2:
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, For to You I pray. In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. You destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit. (Psalms 5:2-6 NASB)
We live in times of great deceit and iniquity. Good and evil are being redefined right before our eyes. There is an attack in the realm of thinking. What is at the core of the issue is whom our trust is in. We are being told by the media and the government to trust in science versus God.
The Hebrew word for righteousness is the root word Tzadak. It literally means to be straight. We use this when we want the truth from someone, we say “be straight” with me. We speak of the straight and narrow path. The word for dishonesty is crookedness. We call a dishonest person a crook. A crooked person or a crooked path is one that has deviated from the straight path. This is actually very easy to do.
Yeshua spoke of this when He said:
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mat 7:13-14 NASB)
Righteousness, being straight, is much more difficult than being crooked. What drives the conflict is the need to protect oneself. This is described by Yeshua as loving one’s own life.
"He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. (Joh 12:25 NASB)
You see the core of the Gospel is about sacrifice. Yeshua sacrificed Himself, the true and living word of God. He was, is, and will eternally be what is righteous, what is good and true in life. He is the embodiment of the breastplate of righteousness. He is the one true Cohen haGadol, the high priest, who enters into the Holy Place with His own blood and makes eternal atonement for our sin and declares us by that sacrifice as eternally righteous.
The righteousness of God is NOT our own self-righteousness. We cannot protect ourselves and be righteous. When we try to be “righteous”, we are really trying to define our own rightness. It goes back to wanting to be like God, deciding what is good and evil.
But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness’s are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isa 64:6 NKJV)
It isn’t that we cannot do good things apart from God. It is more that we cannot be made righteous apart from Him. Only the one who is good can declare us to be good. He who is right has the power and true authority to make us right. We cannot and do not make ourselves right, no matter how big a mob we a part of or how much science we grab ahold of. If there is anything we can learn from the history of man’s truths is that they are always eventually found to be wrong, waiting for the next discovery to change it all.
So it is with our self-righteousness. We all want to find people who make us feel alright. It is a deep and desperate human need. The Bible tells us the story of Israel chosen by God trying to find acceptance from the nations. Today we see the same drama played out at all levels, individuals trying to be liked, countries trying to be accepted. At the root of it all is a lie, that the crowd will make us OK.
We are OK because of One Voice, which declares “it is done”. We are made righteous, and we can arm ourselves with that breastplate over our heart
Activation: Putting on the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate guards our hearts and the inner thoughts, our meditations that define our lives. The key to these is presenting our requests to God with an attitude of thanksgiving. What are you thankful for? Can you see that God has made His goodness shine as the light of your life?
Our righteousness comes from Him who gave His life to make us righteous. Let’s take communion to affirm that He alone is what can make our world right!