Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, February 2, 2020
Shavuah Tov *|FNAME|*,
Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin (God’s Judgments – Part 1)
By Raymond Finney
INTRODUCTION: In this two-part RR series on God’s judgments, I begin with Daniel’s interpretation for King Belshazzar of an Aramaic writing on the wall (Daniel 5:25-28): [Daniel said] “And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”
Punishment swiftly followed this announced judgment (Daniel 5:30-31): That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom,…. Thus, the beginning of the Daniel, chapter 2 prophecy began its fulfillment. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream statue’s head of gold (Babylon) was replaced by the chest and arms of silver (the Media-Persian Empire). All of Daniel’s amazing prophecy (Daniel, chapter 2) has now been fulfilled except for the very last part– the iron-clay toes (the Unholy Trinity’s army) being crushed by the Rock from the Mountain (Yeshua), which prophesies the Battle of Armageddon. We are fast approaching the return of Yeshua!
INEVITABILITY OF JUDGMENT: You cannot escape judgment (Hebrews 9:27): And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,….
Following is an outline of judgments compiled by the late Dr. Grant R. Jeffrey, an exemplary scholar and teacher. I flesh out his outline with my comments.
JUDGMENT OF A BELIEVER’S SIN: The Bible assures that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). The judgment of Holy God would– should– demand that all of us die for our sins. We can escape the death we deserve because of the sacrificial, vicarious death of our Passover Lamb, Yeshua HaMashiach. Yeshua secured, for any Believer, God’s grace and the opportunity to be forgiven of sin.
JUDGMENT OF A BELIEVER’S WALK: A Believer’s walk in life is always under judgment (1 Corinthians 11:31-32, Hebrews 12:1). The Holy Spirit pricks the Believer’s conscience, urging him/ her to turn back to God’s will (to repent).
JUDGMENT OF ISRAEL: Numerous Scripture references teach that Jews and their birthright, the land of Israel, are especially loved by God. (See Genesis 12:3, 7 || 17:4, 7-8 || 22:17 || 26:3-5; Deuteronomy 7:6-8; and other passages.)
Yeshua announced a general principle of God’s dealing with people (Luke 12:48b): [Yeshua said] “… For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” This general principle can be widely applied, including:
** God gave more to Israel (the Jews), but from them He has required (still requires) more than from other peoples.
** God has given much to the United States, but He requires more from us. Since the United States is much more blessed than, say, Bangladesh, He expects much more from America.
** To a person saved to eternal life in Heaven, He expects more from that person than from an unsaved person. In a recent RR about abortion, I quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14 in this context: America is divided by many things, including abortion. The nation can be healed by only one group of people– people who are called by the LORD’s name. Atheists and people of faith other than the Judeo-Christian faith cannot gain God’s attention and cannot heal America.
JUDGMENT OF GENTILE NATIONS: The seven-year Tribulation, especially the last half, will be ruled by the Unholy Trinity (Satan, Antichrist, False Prophet). Yeshua taught this time will be the worst time in history (Matthew 24:21). Jews and Believers/ Christians will be located and martyred, facilitated by a device– mark of the Beast– inserted in a hand or the forehead (Revelation 13:16-17).
SIDELIGHT: The technology necessary to implement this electronic “mark” has only been available in recent years. Unique devices and institutions necessary for the creation and operation of the Antichrist’s empire have become available since 1948– the year of Israel’s re-birth! I may write about this flurry of end-time prophetic accomplishments in a future RR. God began preparing for the return of Yeshua the year He returned His beloved Jews from the Diaspora (worldwide dispersion of Jews). God’s plans are on time all the time! END sidelight.
Not all persons living under the Antichrist’s control will mistreat or cooperate with mistreatment of Jews and Believers/ Christians. History documents the silent rebellion of good people in the Third Reich who refused to follow Adolf Hitler’s evil “solution of the Jewish question.” They shielded Jews from Hitler’s thugs, even at great personal risk. Well-known examples of persons protected from Hitler’s genocidal rage include Anne Frank and Corrie ten Boom. You may have seen the movie, “Schindler’s List,” about the efforts of Oskar Schindler, who is credited with saving 1,200 Jews from Holocaust execution. A partial list of persons who saved Jews from Nazi arrest and probable execution may be read at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescuers_of_Jews_during_the_Holocaust .
As part of Yeshua’s restoration of the world, He will judge the nations (people) who survived the Tribulation. Read this judgment, taught as a parable, in Matthew 25:31-46. Judge Yeshua, who has been called the Good Shepherd, will separate people into two groups, as a shepherd might separate his flock by animal types. Yeshua will direct people who did not harm His people– “sheep” – to His right, but people who harmed His people– “goats” – to His left. “Sheep” will pass into Yeshua’s Millennial Kingdom; “goats” will be consigned to Hell.
JUDGMENT OF FALLEN ANGELS: When Satan was expelled from God’s presence, one-third of Heaven’s angels (all rebellious) went with him. These fallen angels serve Satan, and we call them “demons.” A few weeks ago, I wrote a RR about angels and demons. God will have these demons chained, separated from humans (2 Peter 2:4, Jude 1:6). The fallen angels will be required to appear before the Great White Throne Judgment of God. Their fate– their verdict– has already been established by their rebellious acts. They will be consigned for eternity to the lake of fire and brimstone– Hell (Revelation 20:10).
SIDELIGHT 1: In 2 Peter 2:4, the Greek word translated “Hell” is used only once in the Bible. This word is the English-transliterated Tartarus (in Greek text = Tartaros). Many suppose that Tartarus may be the deepest and worst part of Hell. Hell, called by several names in Scriptures, was first created for fallen angels– Satan and his demons– but has been enlarged by necessity to now receive sinful, rebellious man (Isaiah 5:14, Matthew 25:41). END sidelight.
SIDELIGHT 2: A symbol of modern jurisprudence is a statue of Lady Justice. This symbol is taken from the goddess Iustitia of Roman mythology. Iustitia was elevated to the status of a minor deity because the Romans greatly valued justice. You probably have seen Lady Justice statues around courthouses:
** She is clothed in a flowing robe or toga, symbolizing purity (justice should be pure).
** In later statues, she is blindfolded, emphasizing that justice should not see the status of the person being judged (all persons should be equal before the law).
** She carries a sword, symbolizing the authority of the law and emphasizing that execution of justice can be swift and final.
** Apropos to this RR, she carries a balance (scale) to weigh both sides of legal arguments (evidence) before the court and determine which side is weightier (has more substance or credibility). Recall the second Aramaic word in the Daniel Scripture: TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting. Modern jurists symbolically weigh defendants in Lady Justice’s balance to determine whether they are guilty or not guilty.
Incidentally, in American jurisprudence, a defendant is never found “innocent,” but may be judged “not guilty.” Prosecutors may not prove the case against a defendant and the jury may issue a verdict of not guilty, even though he/ she may not be innocent. We humans have all sinned (Romans 3:23) and are not innocent, but Yeshua’s death on the cross has purchased God’s grace for us, making us not guilty. END sidelight.
WILL YOU BE FOUND WANTING? Belshazzar’s life was judged in one night. He read the Aramaic inscription: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. The mightiest man in the nation (the king) did not measure up to God’s standards. He was slain. He lost everything for which he had worked all his life (his kingdom).
Like Belshazzar, you will die. You will lose all of your earthly possessions. Your Divine Judge will evaluate your life (weigh your life in the balance) and determine the worthiness of your life. God sent us His Son as the perfect atonement. In Yeshua, we avoid the White Throne Judgment and enter the Bema Judgment for our reward.
SIDELIGHT 1: Yeshua will bring your rewards at the Resurrection-Rapture. Whatever you have earned or not earned is sealed at the moment of your death or rapture to be revealed at your Bema Judgment. You can neither add good works nor subtract bad works from your record. After death or being raptured, your “night” has come. You cannot do your Father’s works during this “night.” Your judgment (your “book”) is sealed, and you have determined your own verdict. Understand that God never sends anyone to Hell. Each person determines whether he/ she goes to Heaven or Hell by the choices he/ she makes in life.
Since AD 1160 – 1180, Catholics have taught the concept of Purgatory, which is said to be an existence between earthly life and heavenly life. In Purgatory, imperfections are “purged,” so that the dead soul may be made perfect enough to be in the presence of God. Living persons may pray or do good works on behalf of the sinner in Purgatory to speed his/ her transit through this place. Traditional Judaism believes similarly and follows similar practices. There is absolutely no Biblical basis for a place/ state resembling Purgatory. Catholics point to the Apocrypha (2 Maccabees 12:42-46) to justify praying for the dead. In 2 Maccabees 12:46, we read: “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” This Apocryphal (non-canonical) source is at variance with other (canonical) Scriptures. See: Deuteronomy 24:16, Jeremiah 31:30, Ezekiel 18:20, Matthew 12:36, Romans 5:12, Hebrews 4:13, and 1 Peter 4:5.
Shomair Yisrael does not recognize the Apocrypha (non-canonical writings) as sacred Scripture. A fairly good summary of Purgatory may be read in: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purgatory . Links to the Catechism of the Catholic Church concerning Purgatory are included in this source.
Yeshua and Paul taught we pass from this life to the next life directly, first entering Paradise. Purgatory seemingly denies the sacrificial, vicarious death of Yeshua to atone for our sins. Study the Bible and learn for yourself what God really says, not what an ecclesiastical council decrees. END sidelight.
SIDELIGHT 2: In this Revelation 22:12 verse, the word translated “quickly” confuses many. Critics use this verse to “prove” that a delusional or fraudulent Yeshua lied to us because He has not returned in nearly two-thousand years, which is not “quickly” by anyone’s standards. The Greek word in this verse is tachu, which may be translated “quickly” OR “suddenly by surprise.” Of course, the latter translation makes sense, is compatible with other Scriptures, and is consistent with post-Yeshua history. I suspect the less desirable “quickly” stems from the King James Version (KJV). The KJV has several questionably or erroneously translated words. Since you have an Internet connection, you can easily research questionable translations. Look for Yeshua to return suddenly by surprise, which is the basis of the long-held teaching of Yeshua’s imminent return, a time no one, except Father God, knows (Matthew 24:36). END sidelight.
NEXT WEEK: I will discuss the remaining two judgments in the February 9, 2020 RR. You will appear at one of these judgments. Shalom and Maranatha.