Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, September 3, 2023
Shavuah Tov,

Labor’s Rest, Now and Forever – Part 1 of 2
by Dr. Raymond Finney

INTRODUCTION: I am granting myself a Labor Day holiday by revising and adding to a Labor Day RR I wrote in 2022. (Happy Labor Day to me!)

Tomorrow, September 4, is Labor Day in the United States. This day is set aside to honor the millions of men and women who work at difficult, tedious, often thankless jobs to make our society function for the good of many. In celebrating this day, we thank workers for their labors and we provide a day from those labors for many of them to rest.

Since probably every RR reader works or has worked at various God-honoring jobs, we can pat ourselves on our backs. Our jobs have made America stronger, have helped others, and have pleased God.

We cannot appreciate enough the millions of laborers who design, manufacture, grow, sell, and transport the many products and foodstuffs upon which we depend. Importantly also, we must recognize and honor those who labor in homes to provide for the needs of families. And, I would be remiss in not mentioning greatly under-appreciated workers– caregivers who tend to the needs of ill or handicapped, homebound relatives.

There is earthly labor and Labor Day for workers, and there is heavenly labor and eternal rest for Believers. Celebrate a day of rest tomorrow, but thankfully anticipate eternal rest in Heaven. A Believer should labor for his/ her neighbors and family at an earthly job. More importantly, he/ she should labor for God and self at a heavenly job.

HISTORY OF LABOR DAY: In the United States, Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September to recognize the social and economic achievements of the American worker. Every day, millions of American workers add immeasurably to our nation’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.

In the late 1800s at the height of the Industrial Revolution, an American worker commonly worked twelve hours daily, even seven days weekly, but barely earned a living wage. With urging from the Labor Movement, the U.S. Government enacted legislation to make Labor Day an official national holiday in 1894.

YESHUA’S COMMANDMENT TO WORK: Whatever job you or I have now or have had in the past, God has a more important job for us. << See Matthew 9:35-38: Now Yeshua was going around all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest that He may send out workers into His harvest field.” >>

You and I should be workers in God’s harvest field of lost souls. Our labor is to help cultivate and harvest lost souls for God’s Kingdom. Our work for Him should never cease. Unfortunately, though, the labor of many of God’s workers has ceased or has become so lackadaisical that it is ineffective.

Yeshua commanded that the Gospel be spread into all nations, as a precondition of His return. << See Matthew 24:14: [Yeshua said] “This Good News [the Gospel] of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” >>

Yeshua reinforced this plan through His Great Commission. << See Matthew 28:19-20: [Yeshua said] “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” >>

Only in recent decades has this Commission (spread of the Gospel to all nations) been possible. Prior to the twentieth century, the Gospel was laboriously, slowly spread to the nations of the world by missionaries. Now, nearly every person in the world has access to a radio or a television. The Gospel is spread through these electronic means 24/7. One would be hard put to find a people anywhere not blanketed by the spread of the word of the Lord. This widespread dissemination of the Gospel is evidence that Yeshua’s return is at the door. << See Matthew 24:14b: “… and then [when the Gospel is proclaimed in the whole world] the end will come.” >>

BUT, WHO WILL WORK? Yeshua apparently anticipated a shortage of workers, judging from the preceding Scripture. << See Matthew 9:37-38: Then [Yeshua] said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest that He may send out workers into His harvest field.” >>

Notice in the above-quoted verse, Matthew 24:14, Yeshua said, “… the Gospel SHALL  be proclaimed in the whole world….” He did not say, “… the Gospel SHOULD  be proclaimed in the whole world….” The Apostle Peter gave us insight into the mind of God. << See 2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some consider slowness. Rather, He is being patient toward you– not wanting anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance. >>

At the end of the Age of Grace, the world will have the opportunity to accept or reject the Gospel. This Good News will be proclaimed in the whole world, with or without the help of people who consider themselves “religious.”

I am fascinated by numerous reports of Yeshua appearing to people in foreign lands (commonly Muslim lands), asking them to accept Him as Savior. Some Internet reports have been compiled at: Jesus appears to non-Christians in dreams and visions at DuckDuckGo . Missionaries report that they go into villages in which no one has ever mentioned the Gospel, and, as they begin to teach about Yeshua, villagers smile and say something like: “Oh, Jesus (Yeshua). Yes, He came to one of us in a dream. His message was shared to the whole village. Now, we are all Christians (Believers).”

These Christophany events have been reported too many times not to be true. In “Biblical times,” holy persons or beings appeared to people to transmit messages from God.

A shameful question is: Is Yeshua required to visit nonbelievers, as the time of the end draws near and Believers are not contacting the lost about accepting and following a Savior? Yeshua prophesied such a time, as typified by the lazy, lukewarm congregation at Laodicea (see Revelation, 3:14-22). The Laodicean-type community of Believers will be the last in a succession of seven communities in existence immediately prior to the end of the age. The puzzle pieces of God’s plan are rapidly falling in place!

God’s plan will not be thwarted because we Believers are too lazy and too unconcerned about others’ salvation to spread the message, which was so passionately believed by the Apostle Paul. << See 1 Corinthians 2:2: For I [Paul] decided not to know about anything among you except Yeshua the Messiah– and Him crucified. >> If a nonbeliever asks you about “religion,” would your message be simply Yeshua HaMashiach and Him crucified?

In the 1980s, the Ford Motor Company launched an advertising campaign based on the slogan, “Quality Is Job One.” Spreading the Gospel is “Job One” for Believers. Messiah’s communities should stick to “Job One” and not to such social issues as fretting over pronouns, transgender restrooms, and other diversions, Since this is a Labor Day RR, I will stick to “Job One,” although other jobs are also important for Believers.

SEASONS AND TIMES FOR WORK: Every job I ever held had starting and ending times. A Believer’s long-term work schedule begins at the moment of salvation and ends at death or the Rapture.

Our job for the Kingdom has times and seasons. Our creation is based on these times and seasons, some of which affect our work for Adonai:

● All workers, whether secular or spiritual, have a work schedule. God’s workers are assigned times to work and live life. << See  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8): For everything there is a season and a time for every activity under heaven: a time to give birth and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to discard; a time to tear apart and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. >>

● God’s workers must work in the proper season. << See Proverbs 10:5: He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son. >> In God’s spiritual (”agricultural”) season, we are now nearing the end of Summer. In Summer, we need to toil to cultivate lost souls. Summer will soon be followed by Fall, and the harvest of those lost (but now saved) souls will occur, when Yeshua returns to call His followers home.

WAGES FOR GOD’S WORK: A worker deserves and expects payment for his/ her labor. These payments are usually outlined in an employment contract.

“Wages” now and in the future for a faithful Believer’s labors are promised in an “employment contract,” which is the Holy Bible. Following, I will briefly outline “payments” – now on Earth, in the future in Paradise, and in the future in Heaven. My list is by no means inclusive, and the faithful Believer surely will be amazed at all of the rewards awaiting him/ her. << See 1 Corinthians 2:9: But 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.” >>

Yeshua advised us to build our “retirement plan” in Heaven. << See Matthew 6:19-21: [Yeshua said] “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” >> Heaven’s retirement plan is infinitely superior to any 401k, Social Security, or other retirement plan.

Following are just three “treasures” (wages) promised in our “employment contract” (the Bible) for God’s workers:

● (1) Wages for faithful labor now on Earth: Benefits of being a faithful servant of God are too numerous to list here, and I will not even attempt to list them all. Life in modern society has many benefits, but these benefits come at a heavy price. Millions of Americans and many millions more worldwide suffer from stress (anxiety). Large segments of people take many prescribed anti-anxiety and other psychotropic drugs. Large segments also self-medicate for the stresses of life (with alcohol, marijuana, and so forth).

Stress relievers not requiring pharmaceutical agents are promised for God’s children. << See  Matthew 11:28-30: [Yeshua said] “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and ‘you will find rest for your souls.’ For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” >> AND << See Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything– but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the shalom of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Messiah Yeshua. >>

● (2) Future wages for faithful labor in Paradise: As I understand Biblical eschatology, there is life for the Believer progressing in this manner: Earth (present) > Paradise > Millennial Kingdom > Heaven (throughout eternity). In Paradise, events for the Believer include: Bema Judgment (Judgment Seat of the Messiah), Marriage to the Lamb (the Bridegroom Yeshua), and the Marriage Banquet of the Lamb.

Pertinent Scriptures include:

□ Bema Judgment: Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:10;

□ Marriage to the Lamb: Revelation 19:6-8; and

□ Marriage Banquet of the Lamb: (Revelation 19:9).

At the Bema Judgment, each Believer will appear before the Divine Judge Yeshua. The Believer, having left all worldly possessions behind, will appear before the Judge empty-handed, except for one thing– the works he/ she performed for God and neighbors on Earth. Were these works worthy or unworthy? If found worthy, the Judge may award crowns. I have outlined these crowns in previous RRs. The Believer will likely cast (place) his/ her crowns before the throne of God in appreciation for the grandeur of his/ her eternal home and the realization of eternal life.

The Believer, presently viewed as a virginal, betrothed bride, will be spiritually married to his/ her Bridegroom Yeshua. See the Parable of the Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) and other Scriptures. This parable reflects the Jews’ first-century marriage customs. Here, virgins (Believers) are betrothed to their Bridegroom (Yeshua), who is away (in Heaven) preparing a place to live. It was the custom that, after betrothal, the bridegroom went to his father’s village to prepare a home for his bride. He would be gone, on average, one year. He returned to the bride’s village, unannounced and usually at night. He called out her name and requested her to come out and meet him (a picture of the Rapture). The reunited couple would travel with friends and family (the Resurrection/ Rapture) to the father’s village (Paradise/ Heaven) to begin eternal life.

To Jews in Yeshua’s time, purity (virgin status) of the bride was of utmost importance. The betrothed bride, a virgin, kept company only with other virgins (hence, Yeshua’s Parable of the Virgins). They kept each other morally straight (synagogue/ church worship). For the only time in a Jewish woman’s life (betrothal), she wore a veil, signaling to any other suitor (Satan) that might visit her village that she was betrothed (to Yeshua) and would not even speak to the suitor. How times have changed!

Then, as now, many brides wished/ wish for a special wedding gown. We, too, will desire a beautiful wedding garment to wear at our marriage to Yeshua. During the year she spent apart from her bridegroom, the betrothed bride prepared for marriage. She, typically a young teenager, learned cooking, sewing, and housekeeping skills from her mother.

During the year she was separated from her bridegroom, the bride sewed and decorated her garment. We spiritual brides of our Bridegroom Yeshua will want beautiful wedding garments. Our labor for God and others provides the beauty of our garments. << See Revelation 19:6-8: Then I [the Apostle John] heard something like the voice of a great multitude– like the roar of rushing waters or like the rumbling of powerful thunder– saying, “Halleluyah! For Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot reigns! Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him! For the wedding of the Lamb [the Bridegroom Yeshua] has come, and His bride [Believers] has made herself ready. She was given fine linen to wear, bright and clean! For the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the kedoshim.” >>

You and I are now preparing our wedding garments from this fine, bright, clean linen by our righteous deeds (works). Just as the first-century bride was meant to be an innocent virgin, we twenty-first century “brides” should remain pure for our Bridegroom. << See  Ephesians 5:27: Messiah did this so that He might present to Himself His glorious community– not having stain or wrinkle or any such thing, but in order that she might be holy and blameless. >>

● (3) Future wages for faithful labor in Heaven: The final destination for a Believer is eternal life in Heaven. To put an end to human rebellion and sin (and all reminders of rebellion and sin), Adonai will destroy the present Earth and Heaven and will create a New Earth and Heaven. << See Revelation 21:1-5. >> The newly created magnificent jewel of New Jerusalem will descend from above to our world (New Earth). Those persons who have faith in Yeshua as Savior, who have their names written in the Lamb’;s Book of Life, and who have “overcome” will be allowed to pass through gates of pearl to claim their new living place and homes. The Apostle John was permitted a brief glimpse of this magnificent place. Read John’s description, and anticipate what a perfect life will finally be like. << See Revelation, chapters 21 and 22. >>

In eternity, God will repay infinitely more than we can imagine any “wages” we think we may have earned by following Him.

CONCLUSION: I will finish this series on labor’s rest next Sunday. Until then, Shalom and Maranatha.

<< Scriptures quoted from the Tree of Life Version Bible. >>

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sun 3 Sep 2023 17th of Elul, 5783
De 29:10-29[9-28] Ob 1 2 Ch 13 Heb 12 (Ac 7:30-60)