Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, August 17, 2023

One In Messiah part 40 – Romans, part 151

Romans 11:7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained; but the elect obtained it, and the rest were hardened— 8 just as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes not to see and ears not to hear, until this very day.”

I guess Paul knew his Bible.  Here he quotes Deuteronomy 29:3(4) But to this day Adonai has not given you a heart to know, or eyes to see, or ears to hear. And also, Isaiah 29:10 For Adonai has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep, and has shut your eyes—the prophets, and covered your heads—the seers.

These verses raise questions that require answers.  Let’s pursue the truth.  What is Israel seeking?  Israel (as well as those of us who are grafted into Israel) is seeking to spend eternity in the presence of God (which takes place in heaven).  Micah 6:8 He has told you, humanity, what is good, and what Adonai is seeking from you: Only to practice justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

While heaven is eternity in the presence of God, hell is the opposite, eternal separation from the presence of God, sometimes referred to as the lake of fire.  Eternity in heaven or or eternity in hell are the only two options available to any of us.  But, who is going, where are they going and when are they going there, are some of the questions that require answers.  Most theologians will answer authoritatively that the saved are going to heaven when they die physical death and the lost are going to hell when they die physical death.  But is it really that simple?  The Bible speaks of a “second death.”  Revelation 20:14 Then death and Sheol were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire.

Would a merciful God blind eyes and close ears (see our subject verses) so that those “hardened” people would spend eternity in torment?  He says in His word that those same people are “without excuse.”  Romans 1:20 His invisible attributes—His eternal power and His divine nature—have been clearly seen ever since the creation of the world, being understood through the things that have been made. So people are without excuse—.

And I hate to bring this up again, but Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed due to their evil ways, yet they will have it better than any town that rejected the ministry of the Apostles.  Matthew 10:15  “Amen, I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the Day of Judgment than for that town.”  Also, Yeshua spoke similarly over towns that rejected His Own ministry, including Capernaum.  Matthew 11:24 “Nevertheless I tell you that it will be more bearable for the land of Sodom on the Day of Judgment than for you.”  

I realize that I’m wading into uncharted territory, and I’m not trying to rewrite anyone’s theology.  I’m just bringing some light to some things that many people may not have considered before.

Principle number one: There is a lake of fire in Scripture called Gehenna.  It is named after the Hinnom Valley in Jerusalem (western most of the three valleys of the old city).  The Hinnom Vally was the city dump of Jerusalem, where perpetually burning fires burned the trash.  Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.

Principle number two:  Satan will go there at the end of Yeshua’s millennial reign.  Revelation 20:10  And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are too, and they shall be tortured day and night forever and ever.  

Principle number three: Those who follow satan will also be cast into the lake of fire.  Revelation 21:8 “But for the cowardly and faithless and detestable and murderers and sexually immoral and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars—their lot is in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Principle number four: We must trust in the goodness, justice and mercy of God.  Deu 32:4  The Rock—blameless is His work. Indeed, all His ways are just. God of faithfulness without iniquity, righteous and upright is He.

I said at the beginning of this RR that our mission is to pursue truth.  The pursuit of truth is a continuous journey, but as we do, we will never get to the bottom of God (have all the truth).  So we discern through the power of the Holy Spirit what we can, and remain faithful.  Above all, we trust in God’s goodness and mercy.  Shalom shalom.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Thu 17 Aug 2023 30th of Av, 5783 Rosh Chodesh Elul Day
De 18:14-19:13, Nu 28:11-15   Hos 3-4 1 Ch 29 Tit 3 (Jn 15)