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Thursday, September 27, 2018

A book review: the Book of Ezekiel (Translation and Commentary by Rav Dr. Joseph Breuer)

In the "forward" section of the book the author compares the message of the prophet Jeremiah and the message of the prophet Ezekiel, stating: "Jeremiah prepares for the reconstruction of the Jewish state even as it crumbles (Jeremiah 32). Yechezkel's [Ezekiel's Hebrew name - note is mine] spiritual eye views the eternal sanctuary of God, the eternal city of God, the eternal state of God."

The sanctuary of God refers to the place of worship of God for life as the Lord commanded Moses to build according to the pattern shown on the mountain in Exodus, and as further revealed in Ezekiel 40.

In Jeremiah 32 Jeremiah writes that the Lord God could no longer tolerate the sight of the Israelites committing adultery (bowing down to idol gods such as sun god), that he had to remove them from His sight, thus destruction of temple worship in Jerusalem.

Question becomes: what does it mean to see the face of the Lord and what is its significance?

We can find answers to the question in a few Bible passages concerning 'seeing the face of the Lord' as listed below:
  1.  Moses was afraid to see the face of God. He was afraid to look at God (into the face). Exodus 3:6
  2.  Later Moses said that God was going to hide his face in anticipation of the Israel persisting in their wickedness and in turning to idols (other gods). Deuteronomy 31:18
  3. Ezra said in 2 Chronicles 29:6 that the Israelite did evil in the eyes of the Lord and forsook him. He said they turned away from the face of the Lord's dwelling place (in Jerusalem) and turned their back on the Lord.
  4. King David wrote in his Psalm (24) that the Lord is the creator of the earth and everything and every life in it, that the Lord is the founder of the seas (and mountains). He asks, "Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?" He answers, "He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false." He tells then of the reason and the need for man to seek him see his face and life before and in Him, for He is the God, the Savior, and the God of glory. For this reason David prays to the Lord that He be gracious to the needy, bless, and make His face shine on them. Psalm 67:1
  5. Saul (who after conversion to Christ got renamed as Paul) remained shut out of the face of God; he remained 'lost' so to speak, lost in sin, but by God's grace he met Jesus and found salvation in the Lord, and then said to the Corinthians, the God who said, "Let the light shine out  of darkness" (in Genesis 1; John 1:5), let the light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6. (Cf. Acts 9:3)

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