WHO IS THE FACE OF GOD?
~ The Glorious Facts of
Israel’s Restoration. ~
(As this article is largely for our Messianic Jewish friends, we show our respect for them by using some of the Hebrew words familiar to them. This is why we use ADONAI for LORD.)
IS IT TRUE THAT ISRA'EL HAS A VERY BRIGHT FUTURE IN EVERY WAY?
SIMPLE ANSWER: YES!
Here is the Scriptural Evidence from the Bible.
At this point one could literally fill pages with Scripture quotations, especially from the prophetic books of the Tanakh. (O.T.) Some of these books seem better known than others, such a Isaiah chapters 60 to 66, Jeremiah 30, 31, and 32 from verse 37, right through to the end of chapter 33. Then large parts of Ezekiel such as chapters 36 through to 39, and many more! Even if one only had the book of Psalms one could easily be convinced of a time of refreshment and restoration, with such sweeping yearnings for it to come, that analysing them, would show us that a glorious future is sure. The prayers of the Psalms (Hb. Tehillim), are GOD’S desires! Being part of God’s written Word assures us that they are sure to have God’s answers in His time!
So it is clear that prayers in the Word of God are equal to prophetic promises.
Perhaps there could be no better example of the New Testament’s words in 2 Corinthians 6:1, about us being “God's fellow-workers,” than these prayers, because to pray the Word of ADONAI to Him, is a way of claiming the answers.
Take Tehillim/Psalm 80 for only one example from many. Three times, like a repeated chorus of a song we read: "God restore us! Make Your Face shine, and we will be saved.” (Verses 3, 7 & 19/20) Surely, God would not include a prayer in His Holy Word if He did not intend to answer that prayer, prayed from a sincere heart!
A KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE FOCUS OF ADONAI’S BLESSING
IS AN UNDERSTANDING OF REFERENCES TO ‘HIS FACE’.
Many times and in many places, the O.T./Tanakh refers to ADONAI’S FACE. You will remember the most beautiful and frequently used Benediction (or b’rakhah) known as ‘the Aharonic Prayer’ in Numbers 6:24 & 25.
"ADONAI said to Moses, 'Speak to Aharon (Aaron) and his sons and tell them that this is how you are to bless the people of Isra'el: You are to say to them;
ADONAI bless you and keep you,
May ADONAI make His Face to shine on you
and show you His favour,
May ADONAI lift up His Face toward you and give you shalom.
"In this way they are to put My Name on the people of Isra'el,
so that I will bless them."
Be very sure, God’s intention is to bless Isra'el!
So now we can analyse how the blessing will come.
1. By prayer. The Priest, with uplifted hands would make the plea before God. At times, perhaps when there was no priest present, the people themselves would say the words as in Tehillim (Psalm) 67, ‘God be gracious to us and bless us. May He make ’His Face shine toward us…’
2. By the proclamation of the words. It seems that ADONAI was saying to Moshe, that by Aharon or his descendants announcing this b’rakhah/ benediction, the blessing of God would be on His People, with whom He had made Covenants to bless. ADONAI cannot ever break His Word!
3. By answering the request of the prayer. The request for God to bless them could be understood in the widest possible way, because of Who ADONAI is, and who He is to them. But it is also specific in two ways.
a) By being gracious to them, He was even then, as we now know in the light of the whole Word of God, extending undeserved mercy, rather than often-deserved punishment. This was how He would ‘show them His favour’.
b) He would also ‘keep them’. The image of the Shepherd is very appropriate here, giving the most beautiful picture of loving concern for a flock of sheep and goats, who are constantly surrounded, to defend them from harm. Another picture is of the eyelid protecting the eye, as the Hebrew word for ‘eyelid’ is the same as ‘watch over’. See Psalm 121, & Zechariah 2:8,b “Anyone who injures you, injures the very pupil of My eye.” It has a similar association with the ‘Mercy Seat’/covering of the sacred ARK in the first Temple, which we focus on ‘Yom Kippur’ or ‘the Day of Atonement’.
c) Some have suggested that there is even a possible link to the ‘kippah’ or small hat that a Jewish man may wear, (even though the root word may be from the German, ‘kappel’.) The truth is that only in Yeshua/Jesus who is our 'mercy-seat' having made atonement for us, can we find total covering from the penalty we deserve for our sins. These indicate how ADONAI cares!
4. By making His Face to shine on them. This is more than God smiling about them. By doing your own word studies, of both the word ‘Face’, (repeatedly used in Psalms especially); and the concept of ‘shining’- like the life-giving warmth of the sun, a wonderful evidence of the three-fold nature of ADONAI ELOHIM emerges.
[The great Light of the SUN – Like our great GOD, is conveyed through space in rays of Light, just as the shining of God’s SON. Then we are given -in an unseen way, like the ministry of God’s Holy SPIRIT; God’s LIFE, the warmth of God’s LOVE, and the LIGHT of the knowledge of the Truth. Each are separate, but inter-active ONE]
5. The use of the Words in the Prayer. To return to the Aharonic prayer, it repeats the special Name of ADONAI, (often translated as ‘The LORD’), three times, emphasising again His threefold nature, leaving exactly 12 other words, in the Hebrew. This prayer was for all 12 tribes, for all time! For Jewish Believers today, also. (But now, because God, Who is eternal, has grafted Gentile Christians into His 'olive tree' with His people so we can humbly claim the blessings too!) Amazing grace!
SEEING SPECIAL MEANING IN THE REFERENCES TO GOD’S ‘FACE’
God’s Face is a beautiful explanation of who Jesus/Yeshua is!
In the earnest final teaching session Yeshua/Jesus had with His disciples, as reported by John in chapter 14, we can imagine the disciples leaning forward to hear these amazing descriptions of the Father. Perhaps they could hardly believe their ears! Let’s listen! “Because you have known Me” Jesus was saying, “you will also know My Father: from now on you do know Him-in fact you have seen Him.” But Philip was bewildered, and had to ask, “Lord, show us the Father and it will be enough for us.” Yeshua/Jesus then made the electric statement, “whoever has seen Me, has seen the Father so how can you say, ‘show us the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am united with the Father, and the Father united with Me?” Even today, for many Jewish people, who recite the Sh’ma, (the Jewish affirmation of faith), so often, the fact that Jesus/ Yeshua is the visible evidence of ADONAI is difficult to grasp.
They repeat: ‘ADONAI Eloheynu, ADONAI, Ehad.’
‘[The LORD, our God, The LORD, is ONE.]’
THIS IS THE TRUTH of the whole Word of God for all Believers in Him!
We only worship ONE God. It is a truth we cannot understand with our intelligence, for if we could, we would be equal with God, and we all need and treasure the truth that we have a GOD Who is so much greater than we are! But because He understands us, He has graciously shown Himself to us in three forms.
Truly, as with so much of our other Biblically based beliefs, in the final analysis there are truths which, like the three-fold nature of God, simply must be accepted by trusting! If we could mentally understand the full mystery of the Godhead, He would not be the Sovereign LORD, to us, would He? We do not understand the mystery of trust either! But our ‘trust/faith/belief in God is gold to Him!
So the whole Bible shows us that Yeshua/ Jesus is ‘the Face’ of God!
THE REVELATION OF ADONAI’S FACE TO MEN
Times when God showed His ‘Face’
Of all the many references, there are at least two outstanding ones in the Old Testament.
1. One you will quickly recall was at the very significant time of the return of Ya’akov, (Jacob) to his roots. (Genesis 32.) Having made cautious arrangements about the safety of his large family, “he was left alone”. This is often how it is when God wants to get our undivided attention and when we are in great need.
So, now came a life changing encounter for Ya’akov.
Truly it was a time of ‘trouble’ and real fear for him!
But it was not Esau he met. Four times in the following verses, the description is of a Man, wrestling with and disabling Ya'akov. In return for Ya'akov/Jacobs’s demand, “I won’t let you go unless you bless me,” the Man asked Ya'akov what his name was.
The Man then says, "from now on you will no longer be called Ya'acov, but ISRA'EL because you have shown your strength to both God and men and have prevailed...and He blessed him there.” Jacob was convinced of the sacredness of the place- and the Person he had encountered, and so he called that place, “P’ni-El, because I have seen God Face to face, yet my life is spared.”
Surely, an encounter with Jesus! [Note: P’Ni=Face, El=God]
Maybe even Jewish people forget the significance of this event. This was when the man, through whom the Nation actually came into being, and through whom the 12 tribes were formed, for the first time in History, was given a specific Name by ADONAI! It was one most significant night.
‘ISRA’EL means ‘prevailer/prince with God’ and it was demonstrated through this encounter with His special Person, Yeshua.
2. Another significant encounter for Isra'el through a man was the repeated experiences their Leader and First Prophet, Moshe or Moses had with God, as is recorded several times in the Torah as being ‘Face to face.’ For instance, Exodus 33:7-11 explains the need for a special tent outside the camp, where Moshe/Moses met with God. While the people waited, "ADONAI would speak to Moshe Face to face as a man to his friend."
Later, God Himself spoke to the rebellious brother and sister, in Numbers 12:6, "When there is a prophet among you, I make Myself known to him in a vision, I speak with him in a dream. But it isn't that with My servant Moshe. He is the only one who is faithful in My entire household. With him I speak Face to face, and clearly, not in riddles; he sees the Image of ADONAI.”
Moshe's’ epitaph in Deuteronomy 34:10 confirms that, “there has not arisen in Isra'el a prophet like Moshe, whom ADONAI knew Face to face.” However the mystery of reconciling these records with ADONAI’S own words, ‘My Face you cannot see, because a human being cannot look at Me’ and remain alive', is solved in the ongoing record in the same chapter as the description of the ‘Tent of meeting’ in Exodus 33: 7 -11. There is the story of Moshe's special request for Someone to go with him, and the beautiful response was given: “Set your mind at rest- My Presence will go with you after all.” [Jewish Bible.] N.I.V. says: (from verse 12), “You have not let me know Whom You will send with Me…”
“The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you, rest.’”
Who else could this be if it is not Jesus/Yeshua, by the power of the Holy Spirit? But it is all by ADONAI’S mercy and undeserved compassion as Moshe heard in the further request that he made, to see ADONAI’S full glory. He soon found that it was impossible, because of the overwhelming glory, which no man could bear to see, for its majesty would cause death. God said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass before you, and in your presence I will proclaim the Name, of ADONAI. Moreover I will show favour to whomever I will and I will display mercy to whomever I will.” ‘’But’, He said, ‘you cannot see My Face, for no-one can see Me and live.’
There is such a rich meaning to this chapter to meditate on! So Who did Moses see Face to face? Surely it was Yeshua/ Jesus!
John in the first chapter of his book in the Brit Chadashah/N.T. Wrote,
“No one has ever seen God; but the only and unique Son, Who is Identical with God and is at the Father’s side.” John was describing the entry of Yeshua/ Jesus into the world when He summed up the whole of the Divine ministry in Yeshua’s first coming.
3. Other encounters in the Tanakh/ O.T. Again, is this actually what Yeshua meant in John 8:56, when He told the Jews of His day, that “Avraham your father, was glad that he would see My day, then he saw it and was overjoyed.” It is widely accepted that one of the three ‘angelic’ visitors who came to Avraham, with Whom he interceded for the rescue of his nephew Lot, was ADONAI in a visible Form. Surely Yeshua/Jesus, Himself! See Genesis chapter 18. Can you think of other possible encounters with Yeshua/Jesus in the Tanakh/O.T? What about Gideon in Judges chapter 6 or Daniel's three friends in the 'fiery furnace'? (Daniel chapter 3.)
These are called 'theophanies' by Bible scholars, but real encounters.
GOD’S FACE, AND THE NATION OF ISRA'EL
God only chooses individuals in order to bless His people as a whole.
Have you noticed this fact? This is especially true for His chosen people, Isra'el, including His people today, known as Jews. Biblically there are only two ‘peoples’ in the world. Perhaps it is hard for Jewish people to grasp the enormous privilege ADONAI has given them! However, privileges bring responsibilities...
This is why Moshe himself, in his moving, final speech, warned the Israelites of the cost of forsaking ADONAI and His WORD. It is summarised in one sad statement in Deuteronomy 32:20.
ADONAI says, “I will hide My Face from them.”
Just before Moshe's death, twice in the three verses of warning in Deuteronomy 31, (16-18) this phrase is repeated. Against the background of what we have already explained this is a very sad picture of ADONAI’S displeasure with His chosen children of Isra'el. It represents an agony of ADONAI’S disappointment and displeasure to the point of angry separation.
Sadly this too was a prophetic statement, just as the wonderful promises were.
The greatest separation was borne by God when He could not respond to His Only begotten Son’s cry as He took the sin of the whole human race on Himself on the hill of Golgotha. But this separation was meant to bring reconciliation for His Jewish People.
Sha'ul/Paul could hardly bear the realisation that as a Nation his own kindred had refused the sacrifice of their own Deliverer and Messiah, so again God hid His Face from His chosen Jewish People. The result of Paul’s deep concern as described in Romans chapters 9-11 was to discern that this separation was for a reason of God’s love for all peoples, and it was only partial, and only for a set period of time. Here is where the exciting development of the romance of a glorious reunion is assured! We could even be part of it soon!
SO, IS IT REALLY TRUE THAT ONE DAY ADONAI
“WILL NO LONGER HIDE HIS FACE” FROM ISRA'EL?
This is the central factor in this article like an ‘open letter’ to you!
It is so wonderful, - that this writer is amazed that so little is spoken about it, or it is consigned to such a distant future that it is best not to get too excited about it now. But perhaps we need to take things more slowly to convince you, and explain other factors as we go? Praise God Elohim, "The Word of ADONAI lasts forever" Isaiah 40:6-8, but we need the Holy Spirit's wisdom and patience to become aware of His unfolding plan. We have to tell you about this promise right now, at the end of Ezekiel 39: verse 29, “
will no longer hide My Face from them,
For I will pour out My Spirit on the House of Israel,
Declares the Sovereign LORD.”
We need to pray for His help in understanding and sharing in it.
The especially important truth is that ADONAI has a Plan to restore all Isra'el, including individual Jewish people to Himself, very soon. And not to just a small remnant of Jewish people, but all. (N.B. Today’s Jewish people are ‘a remnant’- especially when compared with Arab peoples.) ADONAI’S counting system is very different from ours: “for it is not His purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins.” 2nd Peter 2:9.
No one needs to wait for some ‘special time’ to recognise and accept Who Yeshua/ Jesus is, for themselves. Anyone, anywhere, can bow in sincerity, confess they need Yeshua’s perfect sacrificial death for their own sins, and ask Him to write your name in His Book of Life, where He keeps yourname as part of His Holy Royal Family. We then ask for His help to live as a Holy Royal Family member should.
In the articles “ISRAEL’S GLORIOUS FUTURE” you can read more about this.
Please look and check them out for yourself carefully, reading the references, making your own notes, and pray and rejoice over them. Isra'el especially, is close to a very bright future, “For the time to favour her has come.” Tehillim/Psalm 102!
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to actually hear Yeshua Himself
explaining all these things to us?
Surely He does to those keen to really understand and search
His Word for themselves...
This web-site is only a path to walk along as we hear
Him speak as He did to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Thank you for ‘travelling along the road’ of this study
and may you be greatly blessed by Yeshua!