Blessed are the SHALOM makers,
for they shall be called sons of God. [i]
for they shall be called sons of God. [i]
Who are the SHALOM makers? TZEDAQAH (righteousness) is one of the most important words in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Bible of Yeshua (the real Jewish Jesus). The teachings of Yeshua make it very clear that TZEDAQAH is the most important word to him, too. It is absolutely essential for us to accurately understand what it meant to him.
TZEDAQAH not an abstract notion. It consists in doing what is just and right in all relationships. Acts of TZEDAQAH result in social stability and ultimately in SHALOM (completeness and wholeness). An important part of TZEDAQAH is “almsgiving” -- the obligation to help the poor and needy. This was considered by Jewish sages of all ages to be one of the cardinal commandments -- almsgiving is as important as all the other commandments combined. [ii]
It is the almsgiving aspect of TZEDAQAH that is the focus of the message and movement of Yeshua. For many readers today, when they hear the word almsgiving they think of acts of charity or welfare. Giving charity or providing welfare for someone in our culture is an option; the giver is doing the needy person a favor. The needy person often feels indebted or beholden to the giver. TZEDAQAH means something completely different.
● TZEDAQAH is the duty, obligation, and responsibility of every person possessing the means to give what is needed by the poor to them. It is not a favor done for them.
● The poor have a legal right to receive TZEDAQAH and recipients are not indebted or beholden to giver.
● Recipients of TZEDAQAH are obligated to give TZEDAQAH to those in need.
● The importance of TZEDAQAH reaches far beyond simply meeting the needs of the poor -- it is the foundation of social justice. [iii]
Just understanding the above information about TZEDAQAH will transform the way you understand the words of Yeshua.
You (plural) are the light of the world. A city that is set on a mountain cannot be hid. Nor do they light a lamp and place it under a bushel, but (they place it) on a lampstand and it gives light unto all the ones in the house. Thus, let your light so shine before men, so that they may see your TOV works and glorify your Father in heaven.[iv]
What’s the message? If you understand this, you will understand the central message of Yeshua and mission of his movement.
(1) Your life is the light of the world.
(2) Let the light of your life shine through your acts of TOV (good) works.
(3) When others see you doing acts of TOV they will glorify your Father in heaven.
The Hebrew word TOV is another extremely important words in the Hebrew Scriptures. It appeared seven times in the first account of Creation. It is the standard the Creator used to measure His acts of creation.
For an act to be TOV it must protect life, preserve life, make life more functional, and increase the quality of life.
The three key words of the message of Yeshua are TZEDAQAH, TOV and SHALOM. Keep the following in mind anytime you read the words of Yeshua, because it is usually “the moral of every lesson he taught.”
Almsgiving acts of TZEDAQAH (righteousness) are acts that measure up to the Creator’s TOV Standard, which result in SHALOM – making lives of the people who received the alms more complete, total and whole – and also making the creation more complete, total and whole. When people do acts of almsgiving, they reveal the image of the Creator on the earth in their generation.
What do you think would happen in our world today if “believers in Jesus” became “followers of Yeshua” and revealed the image of the Creator on the earth today? The answer is that our world, and the lives of many people, would become more complete, total and whole. For 2,000 years Christian churches have been preaching “believe in Jesus” and look at the results.
We have witnessed what happens when “believers in Jesus” understand the teachings of Yeshua – they stop believing institutional doctrines and start revealing the image of God through their acts of TOV.
Christian churches have be arguing, fighting and splitting for the past 2,000 years. It is estimated that over 75% of Americans identify themselves as Christian, but they belong to over 30,000 denominations and para-denominations. None of them – as far as we know – are teaching the message above of Yeshua. What do you think Yeshua would like to be remembered for?
A lot people believing conflicting theologies about him but required to do nothing?
A lot of people revealing the image of God through their acts of TOV and not required to belief man-made theologies .
I thought this would be a good lesson to ponder as we come to the end of 2014. I truly believe that most of the issues we are facing today could be resolved if just Christians could learn to understand the voice of Yeshua in their Bibles so they can make his messages realities in their lives, homes, businesses & churches.
Let’s make this a New Year’s resolution for 2015 and unleash the healing power of SHALOM.
Biblical Heritage Center
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TZEDAQAH – TOV – SHALOM in 2015!
Thank You & Be Empowered!