Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, August 28, 2019 

Shabbat Shalom,

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

Sat 28 Aug 2021 20th of Elul, 5781 Parashat Ki Tavo 

De 29:1-8 Isa 60:1-22 Ro 8:31-39

Hope 13 – by David Harwood

Hope at the Judgment: 

So far we’ve surveyed the expectation of Heaven and the Resurrection. We’ve mentioned hints of the prophesied blessings of the ages-to-come. These are the hope-expectations that helped guide and envision the early Messianic community. 

Within this overarching hope is the anticipation of  the rewards believers will receive at the Messiah’s Judgment Seat. There is much to say about aspects of this hope we embrace. I’m going to cite a lot of Scripture and include them at the bottom of this meditation.

The Revealing, the Unraveling and the Ripples

Look forward to the Judgment.

Believers will be rewarded. These rewards will provide the foundation of the Child of Heaven’s eternal experience.

Our initial experience of being rewarded happens at the believer’s resurrection. This shall transpire at the eagerly awaited return of the Messiah. (Philippians 3:20b–21; Hebrews 9:28) The resurrection is referred to as our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:18–23) This transformation is preparatory to our participation in the ages to come. 

We are looking forward to this resurrection. Paul oriented his life towards it (Philippians 3:10-11).  The current manifestation of the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Ruach ha-Kodesh. (Romans 14:17) This is the merest hint at what God has prepared. They are the hors d’oeuvres meant to whet our appetite and prepare us for the feast. (Hebrews 6:5 TLV)

The Scriptures clearly teach that at some point in the middle of all this transformation we will stand before the Lord and be evaluated for reward.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah, so that each one may receive what is due for the things he did while in the body—whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10 TLV)

The final outcome of this judgment will be that the born-from-above child of God will be rewarded. The wonderful outcome of your work will be seen for what it is. Writing of the edifying of the Messianic community, Paul wrote of fiery testing to come. 

13 each one’s work will become clear. For the Day will show it, because it is to be revealed by fire; and the fire itself will test each one’s work—what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss—he himself will be saved, but as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:13–15 TLV) 

Ha Yom (the Day) is approaching that will reveal the quality of your work. The thought of our works going through an ultimate fiery exam is daunting. It’s not bad to have a bit of apprehension concerning this. However, we find Paul’s hope-expectation of the end of this process in the next chapter of 1 Corinthians. Take a look: 

Therefore do not judge anything before the time—wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the things hidden in darkness and also make clear the motives of the hearts. Then the praise for each one will come from God. (1 Corinthians 4:5 TLV)

In 2 Corinthians 5:10, it speaks of receiving the results of our actions. 1 Corinthians 4:5 focuses on our life’s motivations. The truth is that our actions reveal our motives. Although this is true, our good motives do not always produce the right results. Therefore it came as a surprise to me that the outcome of our motivations being judged will be approval and praise. 

It is the God whose eyes are represented as being like flame (Revelation 1:14) that will examine us. We are assured that we will be found blameless. (1 Corinthians 1:8; Ephesians 1:4; Colossians 1:22; 2 Peter 3:14). A verse that gives God the glory for this verdict is Jude 24.

Now to the One who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, (Jude 24 TLV)

That is a basic element of the good news. As many an infomercial says, “But wait, there’s more”. Here it is: we will not only be found blameless, but according to 1 Corinthians 4:5 we will be acclaimed, and that by the Righteous Judge. This praise that shall surely come to each one is a way that this life’s sorrows will be overwhelmingly, ultimately, recompensed. 

Perhaps this is part of the process enabling us to find true comfort through God’s interaction with us. It is written that God will wipe away all tears from the eyes of the redeemed. This is an ancient promise found in Isaiah reiterated in Revelation 7:10-17. Let’s look at the foundational verses in Isaiah. 

On this mountain, Adonai-Tzva’ot will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples— a banquet of aged wine— of rich food, of choice marrow, of aged wine well refined. 7On this mountain He will swallow up the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the veil spread over all nations. 8He will swallow up death forever. my Lord Adonai will wipe away tears from every face. He will remove His people’s reproach from all the earth. For Adonai has spoken. 9It will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God, We waited for Him—He will save us. This is Adonai—we waited for Him. We will rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” (Isaiah 25:6–9 TLV)

How will He wipe away these tears? Is it a matter of holy anesthesia being pumped into our spiritual veins? I don’t think so. He is the faithful God of Ultimate Awareness, not the God of the knock out drug.

Why do people cry? What may be some causes of such abiding sorrow that they are carried into the eternal presence of the God of all Comfort? Tears may be shed because of (in alphabetical order) abuse, frustration, grief, an inability to express oneself, pain, rejection, rage, regret, traumatic memories … or to cry for help, or sympathy.

I believe one way these tears will be wiped away is through what I call The Great Unraveling. The Romans 8:28 process will be revealed. Every single factor in every single life that was harmful, or painful, to each one, every negative result will be revealed to be the subject of God’s personal, successful, Kingdom adjustment. This revelation will take place within an experience of glory that cannot be adequately described and I believe it will happen at the Judgment.

Remember Joseph? That young man had a horrible life. God did not cause Joseph’s brothers to envy, hate, reject, betray, or sell him into slavery any more than God inspired Cain to murder Abel. The LORD of Romans 8:28 overcame their sin and worked it out for Joseph’s good, the benefit of his family, and the wellbeing of a famine-struck region. Have you ever seen, or seen pictures of, people starving to death? God adjusted the  calamities of Joseph’s life so Joseph might put a stop to that. He worked it out for the good, adjusted sin-wrought, pain-filled circumstances and sent Joseph ahead of Jacob’s family despite his brothers’ malicious intent. God’s promise came to pass. Here’s a favorite verse:

till the time that his word came true— the word of Adonai proved him true! (Psalm 105:19 TLV) 

Right now, like Joseph, we are being tried by the word of the Lord. At the end of this age our life stories will be like Joseph’s revealing that all things have, in fact, worked out for the good. At the Messiah’s Judgment Seat we will receive the promise of everlasting resurrection life and vindication.

Vindication? Yes. Right now, apart from our own uneasy consciences and the disapproval of many, we have an accuser. The devil has soaked the social atmosphere of every person who has ever lived with poisonous slander. Do you want to know what will happen at the Judgment? Let me tell you something to look forward to. You will be vindicated, because God will be vindicated in His love for you, His redeeming you, His leading and empowering you.

Every good thing you have done as a result of His redemption has had a ripple effect. Every wonderful result will be celebrated as having been done through abiding in union with Yeshua. It is not just you who will be vindicated. God with you, God in you, will be revealed to be righteous. His judgments will be manifest.

Moses and Yeshua wrote a song about a similar dynamic. Here it is.

And they are singing the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and wonderful are Your deeds, Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations! 4Who shall not fear and glorify Your name, O Lord? For You alone are Holy. All the nations shall come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed!” (Revelation 15:3–4) 

You have something to look forward to. It was the apostolic hope. It is found in the Scriptures. 

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and shalom in trusting, so you may overflow with hope in the power of the Ruach ha-Kodesh. (Romans 15:13).

Verses cited:

… we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 21He will transform this humble body of ours into the likeness of His glorious body, through the power that enables Him even to put all things in subjection to Himself. (Philippians 3:20b–21 TLV) 

so also Messiah, was offered once to bear the sins of many. He will appear a second time, apart from sin, to those eagerly awaiting Him for salvation. (Hebrews 9:28 TLV) 

For I consider the sufferings of this present time not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed to us. 19For the creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly but because of the One who subjected it—in hope 21that the creation itself also will be set free from bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans together and suffers birth pains until now— 23and not only creation, but even ourselves. We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Ruach, groan inwardly as we eagerly wait for adoption—the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:18–23 TLV) 

10My aim is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death— 11if somehow I might arrive at the resurrection from among the dead. (Philippians 3:10–11 TLV) 

for the kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking, but righteousness and shalom and joy in the Ruach ha-Kodesh. (Romans 14:17 TLV) 

and having tasted the good word of God and the powers of the olam ha-ba, (Hebrews 6:5 TLV) 

9For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another builds on it. But let each consider carefully how he builds on it. 11For no one can lay any other foundation than what is already laid—which is Yeshua the Messiah. 12Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13each one’s work will become clear. For the Day will show it, because it is to be revealed by fire; and the fire itself will test each one’s work—what sort it is. 14If anyone’s work built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss—he himself will be saved, but as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:9–15 TLV) 

He will also strengthen you until the end—blameless in the Day of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah (1 Corinthians 1:8 TLV)

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love  (Ephesians 1:4 TLV)      

But now He has reconciled you in Messiah’s physical body through death, in order to present you holy, spotless and blameless in His eyes— (Colossians 1:22 TLV)     

Therefore, loved ones, while you are looking for these things, make every effort to be found in shalom, spotless and blameless before Him. (2 Peter 3:14) 

His head and His hair were white like wool, white like snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire. (Revelation 1:14) 

Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 TLV)