Title: Names of God: YHVH, part 4. The face of God to Moses and to the church.
As we continue in our study of the Names of God, I want to first say a few words about the third commandment:
You shall not take [take up, lift up, or raise] the name of the Lord your God in vain [waste and disorder], for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain [waste and disorder].
The word prohibits all employment of the name of God for vain and unworthy objects: false swearing (LEV 19:12), using in an empty or thoughtless manner, lip service.
The true employment of the name of God is confined to invocation, prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, which proceeds from a pure, believing heart. The natural heart is very liable to transgress this command, and therefore it is solemnly enforced by the threat, "for Yavah will not hold him guiltless" (leave him unpunished).
God is not concerned about our orthodox terminology. He is concerned that we seek His face; that we seek what His name means: His essence and attributes - to know Him.
Our God should be revered and so His name should be revered. It shouldn’t be a punch line or a passing thoughtless remark. We have plenty of other words for those things.
The service of the lips must be accompanied by genuine service of the heart. Israel was condemned for their lip service.
‘And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you,' declares the Lord.’
PSA 9:10 And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee; For Thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee.
Knowing the name of the Lord means being in a personal, vital, and all important relationship with the truth. It means understanding God’s character intimately, not superficially or academically, and loving that character.
This of course doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t study God’s names and use them in our speech. We should know as much about Him as possible. The point is to not miss the forest through the trees. There is a deeper message from God regarding His name that transcends morphology, phonetics, and linguistics, etc. God is light, God is Spirit, God is love, God is _____ . Sometimes movements in Christianity are all emotion and at other times all cerebral/intellectual. It is one thing to know about God and quite another to really know Him. The greatest blessing of life is in the latter.
Last time we determined the reason why Moses was not allowed to see God’s face. God would not judge Moses.
God would not turn His face upon Moses until He could do so without judging him and that required the perfect atonement of Christ.
This truth has an astounding meaning for us who live during the age of the church. It means that we can behold the face of God. We do so through our union with Christ. We have put on Christ. We have been made perfectly righteous. We are justified and sanctified perfectly and forever.
To neglect the privilege of beholding His face every day is a tragedy. When we look at Moses in the cleft of the rock with God’s hand over his face and then we behold our own privilege we should have at the top of our priority list every day to behold the face of God.
Beholding the face of God is synonymous with such terms in the NT as fellowship, abiding, communion, and walking with.
The book of Hebrews speaks of the contrast between the shadow of things viewed by Moses and the reality of things viewed by the church in the most striking, beautiful and motivating way.
HEB 10:1 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect [complete] those who draw near.
A shadow' suggests indefiniteness and insubstantiality; a mere indication that a reality exists.
The contrast is between a bare suggestion that good things were to be given, and an actual presentation of these good things in an apprehensible form. It is implied that this latter is given in Christ; but what is asserted is, that the law did not present the coming realities in a form which brought them within the comprehension of the people.
The sacrifices were shadows of Christ. They were performed again and again, but no matter how many times a shadow is cast it can never amount to the substance.
HEB 10:2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?
The remembrance was not of sins previously atoned for but of sins committed since the previous sacrifice. The fact that the sacrifices had to be repeated time and time again made clear to the offerer that they were not efficacious and never imparted a final cleansing. The OT saint must return to the altar in the future as an unclean sinner yet again.
While this was the viewpoint of the Old Testament worshipper, yet actually, the Jew who would come to the tabernacle, present his animal for sacrifice, look ahead in faith to the God appointed Lamb who would some day bear his sins, was saved in Jesus' precious blood and saved forever.
HEB 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.
Hence, the consciousness of the worshipper is not fully satisfied.
HEB 10:4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
In what way would the blood of a mindless and unwilling animal atone for the sin of man? What does the blood of an animal have to do with the moral character of man?
HEB 10:5 Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says [PSA 40:7-9],
"Sacrifice and offering Thou hast not desired,
But a body Thou hast prepared for Me;
HEB 10:6 In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast taken no pleasure.
HEB 10:7 "Then I said, 'Behold, I have come
(In the roll of the book (OT) it is written of Me)
To do Thy will, O God.'"
Christ was the only qualified and desired sacrifice. He was willing and obedient. Obedience alone does not qualify Him. Who He is qualifies Him including His impeccability as well as His dual nature of divine and human. His obedience here is contrasted with the dumb animal who has no idea what he is doing.
In verses 15-17 we encounter the New Covenant.
HEB 10:15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
HEB 10:16 "THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM
AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,
AND UPON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,"
He then says,
HEB 10:17 "AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS
I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE."
“Remember no more” - the animal sacrifices are over. There is no longer a consciousness of sins. We are fully cleansed. This is the good news and we can behold the face of God every day.