A Voice in the
" The Face of God "
"When You say, Seek My face, my heart has said unto You, Your face, O
Jehovah, I will seek. Hide not Your face from me; turn not Your servant
away in anger. You have been my help; do not leave me, nor forsake me, O
God of my salvation." (Ps27:8-9)
The 'burden' for each month's topic comes differently from month to month. This time it comes from a question of a visitor to the website.
"And He said, I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will
proclaim the name of Jehovah before you. I will be gracious to whom I
will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have
compassion. But He said, You are not able to see My face; for no man
shall see Me, and live. And Jehovah said, Here is a place by Me, and you
shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that
I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand
while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My
back; but My face shall not be seen." (Ex33:19-23)
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood is not able to inherit
the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption."
"For now we see through a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I
know in part, but then I shall fully know just as I also am fully
"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed
what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like
Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in
Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." (1Jn3:2-3)
"How about writing a study on Phil3:10, Psa27:8, stuff like
this. If all we do is follow Him, which is a whole lot, believe
me, all we see is His back, as Moses saw. I want to see His
face. Where do I find His face? The Refiner sees his face
reflected in the gold when it is fully refined. Does the
"gold," also see His face? Do I need to wait for Heaven before
I can see His face? Will I, even there?"
The term "face" is often considered to be synonymous to "presence", and is often translated that way. When Adam and Eve hid from God's "presence" (Gen3:8), the word could equally say "face". Ditto when Cain "went out from the presence of Jehovah" (Gen4:16) In seeking to be more 'literal' the LITV renders Gen3:8 with the word "face".
On the other hand the Hebrew word for "face" is also used of expressions like the "-surface- of the waters" (Gen7:18) Some translations say "face", and others "surface". Even in current English some might speak of the "-face- of the mirror"... referring to its flat shiny surface.
So, when we consider the matter of man's interactions and fellowship with God, we must consider variations and subtle nuances in the meaning of words, and the understanding of concepts.
For instance, if two people are interacting, there are many levels at which they do so. For the topic at hand let's consider two scenarios:
What we speak of, most of the time, is this 'first' scenario. As the reader suggests as "seeing God's -back-". But what is being asked is the 'second' scenario. The person wants it. And in truth, is this not what all True Believers want!
- First, a couple are happily married. They are both together in the house, in harmony; one is doing chores over here, another over there. They sit down to eat a meal together. Perhaps they cuddle together while watching a favorite TV show. Through all of this they talk to each other, ask each other questions, respond in actions according to each other's verbal particulars.
- But then, there's the more earnest interaction. Whatever the topic under discussion, they are standing or sitting, -facing- each other, looking each other in the eyes, perhaps holding hands or embracing. Perhaps the topic is so serious that they reach out and touch each other's face or cheek. If the topic is such that there are tears, perhaps the other reaches over to wipe away the tears.
But did you notice the progression of the Scripture passages that opened this article?
Seeking God's face, striving to be pleasing to Him (2Co5:9)... is that not the gist of the Christian life? Please note: we are not speaking of how to be saved. We are assuming this discussion (and article) is -to- [C]hristians, those who already know the Lord from having received Jesus unto Salvation of Eternal Life. (Jn1:12,3:16) We strive to be "holy" before our Holy God. (Eph1:4, 5:27, 1Pet1:14-17, etc) Things that are written to Believers from this ministry: is this not the essential summary of what we address regularly. Yes, many things are also written to the unsaved and pretenders; as well as warnings -about- the 'pretenders' -to- True Believers. But when we forget about others, and look inward, is this not our souls' desire? To be "faithful". (1Co4:2)
However, before Moses was shown God's 'back' parts, what does the passage tell us? What is the background of that incident?
"And Jehovah spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, and his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tent." (Ex33:11)
But why could not Moses see the face of God's glory? Israel had sinned. Moses had been up in the mountain receiving the Law at God's hand, and they were busily breaking the very first two commandments. They were worshiping an idol which they had made. And the context of the 'back' incident is Moses interceding before God on Israel's behalf. (Ex32-33) When Jesus was on the cross bearing the sin of the world, what did the Father do then? He turned His back on the Son, with whom their relationship had been "One" (Jn10:30); whereupon Jesus cries out, "My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?" (Mt27:46)
This is why we cannot go to Heaven. Even True Believers, on this earth, in these present bodies of "flesh and blood" ARE NOT ABLE TO go to Heaven. (1Co15:50) Our spirits are saved, and we have the Holy Spirit of 'promise' (Eph1:13); but we have not yet experienced the "redemption of our body" (Rom8:23) Our spirits could go to Heaven, because being saved, we "are the righteousness of God in Christ" (2Co5:21); and at death, that's what happens; the spirits go to be "home with the Lord" (2Co5:8) But you notice, at death, the -bodies- remain on this earth and rot, "dust...to dust" (Gen3:19)
But we have the promise. At the resurrection God will bring those spirits back to be joined up with their resurrected bodies. (1Th4:14-16) And what is the nature of these bodies?
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." (1Co15:42-44)
This is why Paul also speaks of how our present view of God is presently 'dim', but then it will be face-to-face. We don't know it all now, but then we will. (1Co13:12) All we see presently is our physical existence and we have no clue as to the glories of eternity (1Co2:9), but when He comes for us and "transform[s] our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body..." (Php3:21) we will be "like Him" as we have a full view of Him "as He is" (1Jn3:2)
I suspect we -will- see God face-to-face, and look Him in the face. Remember the intimate moment mentioned earlier of the two, face-to-face, looking into each other's eyes, and one wiping the other's tears?
"...for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.... And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Rev7:17,21:4)
And so, what is our response to all this happy dreaming? Do we live, la-dee-dah, no cares in the world, running along frolicking, dancing with glee, "praising the Lord", and relishing that God loves us "just as we are", and His 'graaaeeeesss' sustains us because we know that He "knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Ps103:14)? After all: whine whine, sniff sniff... I'm so weak, I just can't help it! Boo hoo!
But what does John exhort? Chin up! Salvation did not make us sissies!!
Get to work:
"And everyone who has this hope in Him -PURIFIES- himself, just as He is pure." (1Jn3:3)
"For this is the love of God, that we -KEEP- His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome." (1Jn5:3)
"For this commandment which I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you to understand, nor is it far off. It is not in the heavens, for you to think: Who shall ascend into the heavens for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it? Nor is it beyond the sea, for you to think: Who shall go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it? But the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, THAT YOU MAY -DO- IT." (De30:11-14)