God’s Hidden Face #10

Thursday, July 14, 2022

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2 KJV).

How can dispensational Bible study deliver us from experiencing a lifetime of fear, doubt, frustration, discouragement, and even apostasy?

Regarding the Mount of Transfiguration, Matthew 17:2 relays: “And [Jesus Christ] was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” This previews His return to reign in the Earth (chapter 16, verses 27 and 28). At Christ’s Second Coming, Israel literally sees the very face of God the Son illuminating Earth’s atmosphere! Malachi 4:2 likens it to a sunrise. In 2 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul speaks of “the brightness of [Christ’s] coming.” Satan’s nighttime reign in creation is forever over!

The Apostle John describes the New Heaven and New Earth in this fashion: “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads” (Revelation 22:3,4). Look at the communion the saints will have with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in the ages to come (cf. Isaiah 33:17,22; Matthew 5:8)!

Concerning what God is doing today—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—2 Corinthians 4:3-6 states: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Through His finished crosswork, we who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour have unrestricted, permanent fellowship with Almighty God. It is high time we start learning the program the Lord is working now, and stop claiming Bible verses (such as today’s Scripture) that have no relation to us! 🙂

God’s Hidden Face #9

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2 KJV).

How can dispensational Bible study deliver us from experiencing a lifetime of fear, doubt, frustration, discouragement, and even apostasy?

When King David brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit moved him to pen the psalm recorded in 1 Chronicles 16:7-36. David thanks the LORD for His goodness, exhorting his Jewish brethren: “Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually (verse 11). “Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore (Psalm 105:4).

Unfortunately, the Jewish people grew more apostate (fallen from the truth) once David died. Since they did not “seek [God’s] face” (wishing intimate fellowship or communion with Him), He hid it from them (see today’s Scripture). Intensifying phases of Divine wrath meant He had left them because they had first left Him for idols. The Prophet Daniel, a member of believing Israel, prays for destroyed Jerusalem by confessing their national sins: “Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake” (Daniel 9:17).

Israel’s believing remnant speaks in Isaiah 8:17: “And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.” These Jewish saints expect their nation to one day be restored to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. According to the context (see verses 8,14,18; also, chapter 9, verses 1,2,6,7; also, chapter 7, verse 14; cf. Matthew 1:23-25, Matthew 4:12-17, 1 Peter 2:5-8, and Hebrews 2:9,13), Messiah or Christ Jesus is coming to deliver. Two visits are in view—one arrival to die on Calvary (Christ’s earthly ministry), the other coming to reign from David’s throne (Second Coming)—but the Old Testament saints had limited understanding here and could not distinguish two visits of Messiah like we can with a completed Bible (1 Peter 1:10,11). Looking into the ages to come, Israel awaits her approaching King: “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah” (Psalm 67:1).

Even now, we see the face of the Lord Jesus Christ….

God’s Hidden Face #8

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2 KJV).

How can dispensational Bible study deliver us from experiencing a lifetime of fear, doubt, frustration, discouragement, and even apostasy?

Today’s Scripture is really a national—rather than a personal—issue. An entire group has offended the LORD God: the nation Israel is guilty! Remember, several centuries before Isaiah, the Jews at Mount Sinai entered a covenant relationship with JEHOVAH God. Disregarding His earlier promise to make them His people in the Earth (grace; see Genesis 12:1-3), they wished to make themselves His people in the Earth (law; see Exodus 19:3-8). They demanded to have a system of rules and regulations, so this is precisely what He gave them to prove their performance would never qualify them to be His nation. Either He would have to work on their behalf to make them righteous (they would learn their need for a Saviour), or they would always receive curses because of their failures (sins) to live up to His perfect standards. See Leviticus chapter 26 and Deuteronomy chapters 27–28, the punishments that would signify God’s displeasure with them. The final judgment was their removal from the Promised Land via invading Gentile world-powers.

Concerning today’s Scripture, Israel has incurred yet another penalty because of falling short of the Law’s righteous standards. Again, they are under a performance-based acceptance system—and, like all sinners, they have failed miserably! Let us now reflect on Ezekiel chapter 39: “[23] And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. [24] According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.”

Thankfully, verse 29 offers a glimpse a hope:Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” God’s face will be seen again….

God’s Hidden Face #7

Monday, July 11, 2022

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2 KJV).

How can dispensational Bible study deliver us from experiencing a lifetime of fear, doubt, frustration, discouragement, and even apostasy?

According to chapter 1, verse 1, the Prophet Isaiah’s Book concerns “Judah and Jerusalem.” Let us locate some helpful passages found in the immediate context of today’s Scripture. “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins…. Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (Isaiah 58:1,14). “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 59:20). Consequently, when we see “sins” in today’s Scripture, we know they are Israel’s wicked deeds.

The first 15 verses of Isaiah chapter 59—including today’s Scripture—delineate just why the LORD God is displeased with the nation Israel. Violence, murder, lies, error, injustice, and unrighteousness are destroying their society! Verses 12 and 13: “For our transgressions are multiplied before thee [God], and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.” Furthermore, chapters 40–48 are one gigantic section wherein the God of Israel voices His disapproval of their habitual idolatry!

Contemporary with Isaiah’s ministry, godly King Hezekiah counseled his Jewish people to reform: For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him(2 Chronicles 30:9). Having disobeyed the Law of Moses by forsaking the LORD for idols, the curses or punishments of the Law have fallen….

God’s Hidden Face #6

Sunday, July 10, 2022

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2 KJV).

How can dispensational Bible study deliver us from experiencing a lifetime of fear, doubt, frustration, discouragement, and even apostasy?

Dear friend, when considering any passage of Scripture, we should always (!) pose three simple questions to establish three critical facts. Firstly, who is the man the Holy Spirit has employed as the writer/speaker? This is usually found in the opening verse of the particular Book. Secondly, to whom is that Book written? Again, the answer can often be located in the initial verses of the Book. Lastly, what has been written? Alas, most Bible readers skip to that third question. By doing so, they isolate verses from contexts. Unless we notice the limited scope of the verse, God’s Word becomes meaningless and vexing to the soul that had hoped to gain spiritual light and understanding.

Recall Jesus’ temptations in Matthew 4:5-7 and Luke 4:9-12. Carefully read Satan’s “quotation” of the Hebrew Bible. “…[F]or it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Matthew 4:6). “For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Luke 4:10,11). Now, here is what was actually written in Psalm 91:11,12: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Notwithstanding Satan’s additions and omissions, his “bible” application was shoddy to say the least. To the Devil, Psalm 91 (or any other Scripture, for that matter) could be “named and claimed” and haphazardly used in any and every situation. In fact, he wrongly assumed Jesus was the audience of Psalm 91. To paraphrase, “Jesus, jump from the Temple roof because the Bible says God’s angels will protect You!”This sloppiness characterizes most modern “Bible study” too….

God’s Hidden Face #5

Saturday, July 9, 2022

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2 KJV).

How can dispensational Bible study deliver us from experiencing a lifetime of fear, doubt, frustration, discouragement, and even apostasy?

There is no way around it, dear friends: today’s Scripture says just what it means, and it means just what it says. God is hiding His face from sinners because they are out of fellowship with Him. They call to Him, but He pays no attention to them! Other Bible verses convey that same idea. For example, Micah 3:4: “Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.” Just who are these people anyway? What could they have possibly done to receive such stern treatment from God? Why would the LORD resort to this severity when dealing with them?

Doubtless, billions of unfortunate souls struggle with that ever-vexing problem of “unanswered prayer.” (Dear friends, you do know all about that, right?!) They have repeatedly begged the Lord for this or that, but Heaven has been silent for weeks, months, years, or even decades. Was there ever a God there to care and listen to their prayers? To their disappointment, their churches, pastors, and “spiritual counselors” have no meaningful solutions for them. In fact, how many of these poor people begin wondering if they are the doomed individuals of today’s Scripture? Victims of Satan’s evil world system, Bible (!) verses (!) are serving as weapons against them!!! These countless souls consider themselves hopelessly trapped in that predicament. Eventually, due to escalating bitterness, their spiritual life (if they ever had one) collapses, they become more disgusted with and even oppose the notion of God, they drift away from the Scriptures until they outright detest them, they cease church attendance, and they finally transfer into world religions, agnosticism, or atheism. (Thank you, denominationalism!)

If we and those we love are to be spared the aforementioned disastrous outcomes, we had better—and quickly—find some answers so we can solve this enigma of God’s hidden face….

Understanding God

Saturday, May 14, 2022

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand God?

Honestly, we all desire to do what we want to do and believe what we want to believe. For proof, we simply look around at this crazy world in motion. Everyone cries out in unison, “I am my own authority!” While we may not do it audibly, we do it internally and silently. For example, there are over 4,200 religions—an estimated 38,000 denominations in “Christianity” alone. Resolving these theological disputes is hopeless because they all believe they are right. It has been inquired, “Why can’t we all just get along?” There have been more than 1,800 wars in just these last 20 centuries. Someone somewhere has constantly been striving to take over someone else, somewhere else, steal from them what they want, do with or to them what they want. “I want my way and I will do whatever it takes to get it!” Newer generations are even more aggressive in this regard.

Truth be told, none of us are God. Sure, we pretend to be gods, but it is simply a fantasy. We may even imagine “there is no God,” but that is just our attempt to evade responsibility for our actions. However we arrived here, there is something or someone greater than us that brought about our existence. In Psalm 100:3, we read: “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves….” Yet, our sinful nature inside rebels against that truth, as Romans chapter 1 declares: “[21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,… [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

In contrast to us, mere mortal creatures, whether we like it or not, the Creator God has always existed and will always exist. He is the Final Authority.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘secondary separation?’ Should we Bible believers practice it?

Assurance

Sunday, February 27, 2022

“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42,43 KJV).

Behold, the security this believing malefactor’s soul had!

I just read the biography of a celebrity atheist. He had grown up in a religious household, but eventually became a millionaire television journalist who unashamedly wrote newspaper columns to make fun of God. Moving from agnosticism (maybe there is a God) to atheism (there is no God), spiritual darkness gradually overwhelmed him. In real life, he was a cantankerous person, complaining about practically everything—from major to trivial matters. He had many fans, but rebuffed them when they met him in public and asked for his autograph. Overall, he was a miserable soul.

More recently, I watched an interview of him. Now in his 90s, nearing retirement, he was discussing his long life and extensive, successful career. He said he “hated” growing old. When asked whether or not he thought about death, he replied he “did not like [the idea].” Death “did not appeal to him at all.” Five weeks later, eternity kept him where death found him.

How dreadful it is, dear friends, when the aforementioned writer lived in the United States of America for nearly a century, with our millions of Bibles everywhere, and wound up in such dire spiritual ignorance! Not only had he ignored creation as evidence of the Creator (Romans 1:18-25), he also disregarded his conscience—that which gave him some sense of right and wrong, and had allowed him to see his failure to live up to all that he knew was right (Romans 2:14,15).

In the context of today’s Scripture, the believing “malefactor” (evildoer) crucified with Jesus recognized his sin problem. He knew the Lord was innocent, but he freely confessed he himself rightly deserved Rome’s capital punishment meted out to him (see verses 39-43). The criminal needed not hate death, for, he was told, his soul was “verily” (truly, certainly) in the Lord’s hands and would ultimately wind up in the Lord’s kingdom. If we have also trusted in Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, that assurance is ours too (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; 2 Timothy 4:18).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘haunt’ mean in the Bible?

Joy to the World! #2

Sunday, December 12, 2021

“Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity” (Psalm 98:5-9 KJV).

The second verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Joy to the earth! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.”

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world, and death by sin (Romans 5:12), plunging creation into suffering. What God had intended to last forever was now languishing away and dying off! “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit…” (Romans 8:22,23).

We humans, pinnacles of God’s creatures, are so ungrateful to our Creator. Even in such a fallen state, our universe is amazingly complex and it is a miracle it even functions at all with its abounding impediments! Rather than praising our Creator for giving us life, we complain about our “problems” and then write books, display billboards, and give lectures about His “non-existence.” We mock His name, laugh at His Bible, stick out our tongues at Him, and wag our fingers in His face. Newsflash—God will not tolerate that forever!

In His own time, Almighty God will make all things right. That means getting rid of that which (and who) is wrong/evil. As 1 Timothy 6:14,15 say: “…the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;” No matter what mankind does—cooperate with Him by faith, or protest by throwing a tantrum in unbelief—God has already determined what He is going to do. Jesus Christ, whether people like it or not, will be King over all creation!

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “‘In your patience possess ye your souls?’” and “What does ‘pernicious’ mean?

The LORD Revealed

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

“And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD” (1 Samuel 3:21 KJV).

How does the LORD reveal Himself?

We are creatures capable of communicating with each other through various means (voice, writing, facial expressions, and so on). If He has endowed us with these abilities, then our Creator has somehow communicated with us, that we may not only have that information but also be able to understand it. By possessing His words, we may then perceive Him. To “reveal” actually means “reverse a veil,” a curtain pulled back so we may see what is behind it. God, being far more superior to us, is hidden from our puny little minds and limited senses; yet, He can overcome that barrier to make known to us what He would, thereby making Himself known.

In Samuel’s time, the nation Israel has three apostate leaders. The Priest Eli and his two priestly sons, Hophni and Phineas, are evil; the younger men are idolaters, Satan worshippers, disregarding the words of the LORD God (see chapter 2, verses 12-36). God will use Samuel, a boy, to accomplish His will in Israel. Read chapter 3, whose last verse is today’s Scripture. The LORD calls out to Samuel in an audible voice. Verse 7 informs us: “Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.” Unlike those aforementioned wicked priests, Samuel wishes to hear God; as the chapter unfolds, the LORD talks to him (verses 11-18).

Today’s Scripture in context: “[19] And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. [20] And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD. [21] And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.” Even now, the LORD shows Himself to us through His Word—the completed Holy Bible, preserved for us in English, the King James Bible. May we listen, especially to Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, and believe in our heart that Divine revelation. “Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth!”