Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, August 21, 2019 

Shabbat Shalom,

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Sat 21 Aug 2021 13th of Elul, 5781 Parashat Ki Teitzei

De 24:14-25:19 Isa 54:1-10 Rom 8:18-30 

Hope 12: Heaven, the Resurrection, and Relationships by David Harwood

We are currently being prepared for heavenly relationships. Similarly, Heaven provides a place to prepare us for Resurrection relationships.

Illumination regarding our relationships with those in Heaven may be found within the reports of Yeshua’s post-resurrection-interactions. His resurrection is the pattern of every believer’s future. Those interchanges provide a promise for our futures. They will begin at the highest possible level of love and truth-light, and go on from there. 

From the Greater to the Lesser

The General Resurrection is the door to the destinies of every-body who ever lived. Except for a select group of people, at the end of this age (1 Thessalonians 4:15–17), we, the justified ones, get the privilege of going to Heaven before we are raised from the dead. What an amazing foretaste that will be of all the ages to come! 

In the same way that in this life there are previews of the powers of the ages to come, so Heaven is a prelude to the Resurrection. This earthly life’s best experiences are amplified in Heaven. Heaven’s best experiences are promises waiting to be fulfilled after our Resurrection. It is wonderful now, and we will experience its wonder then.

… as it is written, “Things no eye has seen and no ear has heard, that have not entered the heart of mankind— these things God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9 TLV)

Are people in Heaven aware of what is going on here?

I recognize my limitations in answering this question. The best I can immediately come up with to affirm this probability is from Revelation 6.

When the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those slaughtered for the sake of the word of God and for the witness they had. 10 And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “O Sovereign Master, holy and true, how long before You judge those who dwell on the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants was complete—their brothers and sisters who were to be killed as they had been. (Revelation 6:9–11 TLV) 

Either the souls who are present in heaven know what is going on through observation, or they receive reports from recently arrived martyrs. No matter what the source of information, they are concerned, and they intercede.

Will we know one another? Is that a biblical hope?

Just as Heaven speaks of facets of our lives after our resurrection, so, also, can we work backwards. There are elements of reality we shall experience after the General Resurrection that will be ours – though, admittedly, less vibrant – in Heaven. 

We get hints of this promised future in the New Covenant Scriptures when they describe the Resurrected King’s interaction with people. As in all things most holy pertaining to humanity, our King, Yeshua, is the pattern. 

Yeshua’s disciples had interaction with Him after His resurrection. 

We know that in one instance the Lord went out of His way to ensure that He was recognized and to communicate that His resurrection was real. I am referring to Yeshua’s interaction with Thomas. Quite frankly, the Lord encouraging Thomas to physically examine His wounds was an invitation to an uncomfortable amount of intimate self-disclosure. Here’s the record 

Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe!” (John 20:27 TLV) 

Not only after His Resurrection, but also after He was glorified, Yeshua could be recognized.

Stephen knew who He was. In the moments before the first martyr’s death he saw Yeshua, the Son of Man. Stephen knew who he saw. 

But Stephen, full of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, gazed into heaven   saw the glory of God—and Yeshua standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:55–56 TLV) 

John, in the midst of his exile, was aware of who was revealed on that Lord’s Day. 

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned, I saw seven golden menorot. 13 In the midst of the menorot, I saw One like a Son of Man, clothed in a robe down to His feet, with a golden belt wrapped around His chest. 14 His head and His hair were white like wool, white like snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the roar of rushing waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came forth a sharp, two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at full strength. (Revelation 1:12–16 TLV) 

What does it say of the Son of Man that He bent over, placed His hand on His undone disciple, and told His Emissary to calm down. He then revealed Himself in a way that has comforted and amazed people for practically two millennia. Here’s the record:

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. But He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last, 18 and the One who lives. I was dead, but look—I am alive forever and ever! Moreover, I hold the keys of death and Sheol. (Revelation 1:17–18 TLV) 

In His glorified state He was an understanding, empathetic, insightful person who was able to effectively communicate with those He loved.

Let’s work with this pattern and apply it to our hope-expectations.

If the disciples knew Yeshua after His resurrection, then you will know loved ones who precede your arrival in Heaven. By the way, Yeshua knew His disciples. That goes without saying, but my point is that you will be known by those who are now at home with God. 

The Lord’s love was not abandoned in the tomb when He arose. He had special affection for those who, though flawed in their character, were loyal to Him. For instance, Peter. Peter was not a whole human being. Yet, Yeshua had a special care for Peter. He said, 

“But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to the Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.’ ” (Mark 16:7 TLV) 

“… and Peter.” Reconsider that… He knows our names, too.

Yeshua maintained His relationship with one of His best friends. In the same way, those with whom you had a special relationship will have a unique relationship with you when you arrive in Heaven.

But was Yeshua always recognizable? 

Sometimes He had to deliberately reveal Himself. As He did, Yeshua revealed His wounds, His desires, His promises, and the deepest aspects of His true identity. He also revealed His glory.

It is likely that there will be aspects of self-revelation imparted to us from those we knew best, and loved most. After all, who knows another perfectly in this life? Who can say that they have revealed themselves completely? We can admit this: we don’t even know ourselves.

To conclude this meditation.

According to Revelation 6 we may cautiously conclude that those who are present with the Lord know about what is going on in our lives.

Also, Yeshua, Risen Messiah, provides us with a pattern of our future relationships. Accordingly, the depths of the goodness of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, united and fused with our souls, is going to be revealed through a fuller manifestation of who we really are. 

It’s going to be an amazing experience when, in Heaven, we relate to those we knew on earth. They are in the beginnings of the full revelation of God’s intention for them. They are going to be the renewed and improved people we knew. You will recognize and know them, and the relationships will reveal the ever fresh splendor of manifest eternal life. If the disciples could interact with the risen Messiah, then you will be able to commune with your loved ones who are present with the Lord.

These are reasonable expectations which reality will help to make our future in Heaven, heavenly. They are something to look forward to. 

Faithful is the One who calls you—and He will make it happen! (1 Thessalonians 5:24 TLV)