Monday, April 6, 2015

Righteousness Exalts a Nation

Righteousness Exalts a Nation

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34).

I spent the greater part of 24 years teaching in colleges and universities in Taiwan (from 1986 until retirement in 2010). Early on, I learned that several Chinese characters illustrate truths taught in the Bible. In this Passover / Easter season, it seems appropriate to focus on the character, which means “righteousness,” because it depicts the symbolism inherent in the Passover:

21   Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb.
22   Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.
23   For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.
24   You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. (Exodus 12:21-24, ESV)

7 ….For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. (1 Corinthians 5:7, ESV)

21   For our sake he [God the Father] made him [God the Son] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV)

In him [Jesus Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, (Ephesians 1:7, ESV)

Here is the “righteousness” character, enlarged:

This particular character is composed of two independent characters squashed together, one on top of the other:
sheep, lamb (yáng)   

  I, me (wǒ)

Thus, the resulting character depicts a lamb over me.

righteousness (yì) [lamb over me]

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So, when God looks at me, He sees His Perfect Lamb over me, just as He saw the blood on the lintel and posts of each door that He passed over in ancient Egypt on that first Passover.

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The basic building blocks in Chinese writing are called “radicals,” of which there are 214, ranging in complexity from one to several strokes. Some radicals can stand alone as independent words; whereas, others occur only in combination. In the case of the “righteousness” character, the top radical (“sheep”) can stand alone. The bottom component (“I, me”) can also stand alone, but it is also composed of two radicals: the left side means “hand” and the right side, “lance,” both of which can also stand alone as words.

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For additional information on the interface between Chinese characters and the Bible, see:

The Chinese Language and the Creative Hands of God

C.H. Kang and Ethel R. Nelson, M.D.: Discovery of Genesis: How the Truths of Genesis Were Found Hidden in the Chinese Language (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1979)

Ethel R. Nelson, M.D., and Richard E. Broadberry: Genesis and the Mystery Confucius Couldn't Solve (Concordia Publishing, Revised edition, 1994)

Ethel R. Nelson, M.D., Richard E. Broadberry, and Ginger Tong Chock: God's Promise to the Chinese (Read Books Publisher, 1997)

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