By Benjamin H. Liles
It was the fifth day of the month of the fifth year that King Jehoiachin had been a prisoner. The Lord spoke his word to Ezekiel son of Buzi in the land of the Babylonians by the Kebar River. There he felt the power of the Lord. A voice came from above the dome over the heads of the living creatures. When the living creatures stopped, they lowered their wings.
Now above the dome there was something that looked like a throne. It looked like a sapphire gem. And on the throne high above was a shape like a human. Then I noticed that from the waist up the shape looked like glowing metal with fire inside. From the waist down it looked like fire, and a bright light was all around. The surrounding glow looked like the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day. It seemed to look like the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I bowed face down on the ground and heard a voice speaking~ Ezekiel 1:2-3, 25-28, Expanded
I do an extraordinary amount of reading in my time before I come on here and share what I believe God shows me. And that's the point I'm going to make in this article. I haven't seen God's face directly, no one has. John says that, "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is at the Father's side, has made Him known" (John 1:18, Berean Study).
But what about Moses? Surely Moses saw God and lived!
Let's read it together: "But [God] answered, "You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live. Here is a place near Me. You are to stand on the rock, and when My glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away, and you will see My back, but My face will not be seen" (Exodus 33:20-23, Holman Christian Standard).
Well, considering Jesus is God incarnate, we have seen Him face to face. Why is it we can look at the Son and live, but not God the Father? Jesus came to be like us. He came in the same manner as we, flesh, but He was sinless so He could fulfill what the works He saw the Father do. We can look at the face of Jesus and live, because He was made to be like us.
This is one of those things that's hard to explain, even for a guy like me who's never been to Seminary. Yes, you read that right. I have not been to Seminary or Bible College.
Wow, you could have fooled me with the way you write these articles.
No, in fact, I'm like all of you as well. I have my face plastered from my twitter account, my google+ page as well as on facebook. So, there's a very real guy who just reads a great deal. What's that to do with this?
The point is while Jesus was sinless and was able to die in our place--"Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" (1 Peter 3:18, American King James)--we can look on Him and live because of the fact he came to put to death what resides in us. Sin, in other words, has no more a hold on us. But it's up to us and our choice ultimately to put it off. And since sin has been dealt with so has death. It also has no more a hold on us either. We can walk in the newness of life Jesus extends to us through His death on the cross.
So, what's this vision of God we're to lay hold of?
If we go back and read a little of Ezekiel 1, we see something rather peculiar. "As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man; all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above; each had two touching another being, and two covering their bodies" (Ezekiel 1:10-11, New American Standard). Do you see it? Did you catch what the angels are doing here? "Their wings were spread out above; each had two touching another being, and two covering their bodies" (verse 11). Now why are two of their four wings covering their bodies?
Matthew Poole, a noted 17th Century theologian, wrote, "see Isaiah 6:2; with twain (rather, two) they covered their feet, either in deep humility, and for decency, or because of infirmity of human nature, for whose relief they appear in what they do, but must not appear what they are, because they would be too glorious for our sight" in regards to "And two covered their bodies." One Bible Study notes that the reason the angels cover their bodies with wings is representative of their submission to God.
Might I offer this up: that the reason the angels cover their bodies isn't just an act of submission to God, but also that they do this because of God's holiness. Do we dare enter God's holy place, or into His holiness, without making sure we are in full submission as well as making sure we're properly covered in so handling what He shows us? I would think, and it may be my opinion, that these angels cover their bodies with their wings because the holiness of God can easily undo anything or anyone unless they are covered.
The proof is in this: Isaiah, before being commissioned by God had to be sanctified by a coal having touched his lips. A lump of coal is normally thought to be dirty and filthy; however, if it is handled by God, who uses the coal to take away the filth, the coal is a purifying agent in taking away such things from a man (see Isaiah 6:5-7). The same thing can be said of Jeremiah as well. God touches Jeremiah's mouth, saying to his prophet, "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down,
To destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant" (Jeremiah 1:9-10, New American Standard).
This is then the vision of God which we are to catch and lay hold of. He is holy, mighty, and able to do all that which He says He will accomplish in, to and through us. Without firmly catching a vision of God and what He is actively doing, setting apart men for the work which He imbues them with, no flesh can be saved. in seeing His holiness, and seeking to submit to His authority, as well as making sure we are covered wholly and appropriately can we serve God in the way He calls us.
I offer this to you to think and mull over, "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and he chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose what the world thinks is unimportant and what the world looks down on and thinks is nothing in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. God did this so that no one can brag in his presence" (1 Corinthians 1:27-29, Expanded). Henry T. Blackaby, notable for his work on Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the will of God, says it this way, "The reality is that the Lord never calls the qualified; He qualifies the called."
I'm just one more person who agrees with that statement. If you believe God can't use you, and you choose to run away from Him, you're right; He can't use you. However, if you choose to remain with Him, allowing Him to work with and in you, and you do those things He wants to do through your hands then you're right where He can use you the most. Now get going!
Father, I know I can do nothing on my own accord. I mean I could, but without You at work in and through my life it comes down to nothing. I am nothing without You. I put myself before You, bringing myself before Your holy throne. I may not see you directly, not being able to look at Your face, but I can look at Jesus my Lord and Savior and see the kindness and mercy and grace You have extended to me. He took my punishment on my behalf so I can stand with and before You. I no longer have to feel unworthy of You or Your grace. You gave it because You first loved me. I realize I don't deserve You or Your love. You loved me before I could ever love You. I love how you said it to Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5). You know me, Lord. You know my heart, my thoughts, and my ways even before I know it. Nothing surprises You. I thank and praise You for all You do. Thank You for what You have done through Your Son, Jesus Christ. In His name I pray. Amen.