glorious freedom of the children of God.”—Rom. 8:18-23.
GOD PROVED RIGHTEOUS IN ALL HIS ACTS
It can be seen that in his dealings with imperfect humans, as described above, God never violates his own standards of righteousness and justice. He does not declare sinful persons righteous on their own merit, thereby overlooking or condoning sin. (Ps. 143:1, 2) As the apostle Paul explains: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and it is as a free gift that they are being declared righteous by his undeserved kindness through the release by the ransom paid by Christ Jesus. God set him forth as an offering for propitiation through faith in his blood. This was in order to exhibit his own righteousness, because he was forgiving the sins that occurred in the past while God was exercising forbearance; so as to exhibit his own righteousness in this present season, that he might be righteous even when declaring righteous the man that has faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:23-26) Thus God, through undeserved kindness, has provided a legal arrangement on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice by which he can be completely just and righteous in forgiving the sins of those exercising faith.
ATTEMPTS AT PROVING ONESELF RIGHTEOUS
Since God alone can declare a man righteous, attempts to prove oneself righteous on the basis of one’s own merit, or by acceptance of the judgment of others as to one’s righteousness, are of no value. Job was reproved because, though not charging God with any wrong, he gave attention to “declaring his own soul righteous rather than God.” (Job 32:1, 2) The man versed in the Law who questioned Jesus about the way to everlasting life was indirectly reproved by Jesus for his attempt to prove himself righteous. (Luke 10:25-37) Jesus condemned the Pharisees for seeking to declare themselves righteous before men. (Luke 16:15) The apostle Paul, in particular, showed that, due to all men’s imperfect, sinful state, none could be declared righteous through trying to establish their own righteousness by works of the Mosaic law. (Rom. 3:19-24; Gal. 3:10-12) Instead, he stressed faith in Christ Jesus as the true basis for such declaration of righteousness. (Rom. 10:3, 4) The inspired letter of James complements Paul’s statement by showing that such faith must be made to live, not by works of Law, but by works of faith, as in the cases of Abraham and Rahab.—Jas. 2:24, 26.
Certain men, falsely claiming to be apostles, unjustly challenged the apostleship and Christian works of Paul, seeking thereby to draw away the Corinthian congregation to themselves. (2 Cor. 11:12, 13) Paul, knowing that he was faithfully carrying out a stewardship for Christ, stated that he was not concerned with the judgment of men, who, wholly unauthorized, sat in effect as a “human tribunal” to judge him. He did not even rely on his own judgment of himself, but looked to Jehovah as his Examiner. (1 Cor. 4:1-4) Thus the principle is set forth that reliance cannot be put in the judgment of men as to one’s righteousness or lack of it, unless their judgment is backed up by God’s Word. The person must look into God’s Word and let it examine him. (Heb. 4:12) Where the backing of God’s Word is evident, one being reproved by a Christian brother, especially by one having authority to reprove, would not properly turn aside such reproof by trying to prove himself righteous. (Prov. 12:1; Heb. 12:11; 13:17) And anyone in a position of responsibility who sits in judgment of a matter or a dispute would be condemned by God if he pronounced “the wicked one righteous in consideration of a bribe.”—Isa. 5:23; Jas. 2:8, 9.
2. A descendant of Abraham through Jokshan. (Gen. 25:3; 1 Chron. 1:32) The Dedanites descending from Jokshan apparently settled S and SE of Palestine in the same general vicinity to which Abraham sent all his offspring through Keturah.—Gen. 25:6
Since both families of Dedanites (those of Raamah and of Jokshan) evidently settled in sections of Arabia, there is some question as to which Dedan is meant when the name occurs in later Biblical writings. However, the connection that is sometimes made with other Semitic peoples such as Edom, Tema and Buz, indicates Dedan through Jokshan. For example, Dedan is listed as at one extremity of Edom, whose land was due to be ravaged. (Ezek. 25:13) Dedan, in “the desert plain,” is also told to flee before the invading forces. The Dedanite caravans are to seek quarters in the woods, while Tema, through whose territory they apparently make their flight, is called on to provide food and drink for the fugitives’ sustenance. (Isa. 21:11-15; Jer. 49:8) Like Edom, Dedan would also ultimately be forced to taste of the cup of the wine of Jehovah’s rage.—Jer. 25:15, 21, 23.
Authorities often link Dedan with the ruins of Daiden, situated on the northern edge of el-Ula, about ninety miles (144.8 kilometers) SW of Teima.
Other references to Dedan give no indications as to whether a Hamitic or a Semitic people is meant. For instance, Dedan is named at Ezekiel 27:15, 20 as a trader with Tyre. Dedan also views with selfish interest the planned plundering of God’s people by Gog of Magog.—Ezek. 38:13.
The Hebrew word neʹzer meant the sign or symbol of holy dedication worn as a crown upon the sanctified head of a high priest, or on the head of an anointed king; it also meant one with a Nazirite vow.
At Aaron’s installation as high priest, a turban made of fine linen was placed on his head. Fastened with a string of blue thread on the front of this turban for all to see was “the holy sign of dedication [neʹzer],” a shining plate of pure gold engraved as a seal with the words, “Holiness belongs to Jehovah.” The holy anointing oil was next poured upon the high priest in the installation ceremony. (Ex. 29:6, 7; 39:30, 31; Lev. 8:9, 12) Consistently the high priest had to be careful to avoid doing anything that would profane the sanctuary, “because the sign of dedication, the anointing oil of his God, is upon him.”—Lev. 21:12.
Similarly, the word neʹzer had reference to the “diadem,” an official headpiece worn by the anointed kings of Israel as a symbol of their holy office.—2 Sam. 1:10; 2 Ki. 11:12; 2 Chron. 23:11; Ps. 89:39; 132:18; Prov. 27:24.
When one took the Nazirite vow to Jehovah he was not to cut his hair or shave his beard as long as the vow was upon him. So his long hair became a crowning sign of his Naziriteship (neʹzer), (Num. 6:4-21) In personifying Jerusalem as one who had broken her sacred vows of holiness to Jehovah, the prophet Jeremiah exclaimed: “Shear off your uncut hair [niz·rekhʹ, a form a neʹzer, literally, “dedicated hair”] and throw it away.” (Jer. 7:29) By another prophet Jehovah describes how wayward Israel “went in to Baal of Peor, and they proceeded to dedicate themselves [yin·naz·ruʹ, a form of the verb na·zarʹ] to the shameful thing.”—Hos. 9:10.
In the Christian Greek Scriptures reference is made to certain dedicated things. The winter festival of dedication (eg·kaiʹni·a) is mentioned in connection with Jesus’ ministry. (John 10:22; see FESTIVAL OF DEDICATION.) This Greek word eg·kaiʹni·a is similar to eg·kai·niʹzo, which at Hebrews 9:18 is rendered “dedicated” by certain translations (AS, AV, Dy, Sp), but “inaugurated” by others. (CC, Mo, NEB,