Today's post represents a milestone for me. One year ago I entered the blogging world and began sharing from my collection of scripture insights. Thank you for reading and commenting. I have loved learning additional insights from you.
The posts this week are excerpted from an article written by C. H. Wagner.
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: Numbers 6:25
The writers of the Bible often use the anatomy of God to describe aspects of His nature and character, e.g., when they speak about "the face of God," "the arm of the Lord," or the "hand of God," etc. What exactly do these expressions mean?
There are great differences between the Hebrew mindset of the writers of the Bible and the Greek mindset that most of us have today because of our educational systems which were designed after the model of the ancient Greeks. Hebrew thought is more concerned with the "function" of an object, i.e., what does it do? Greek thought is more interested with the "form" of an object, i.e., what is it?
Therefore, when reading Scripture written by the hand of the Hebrews, we need to pop into their heads to extract the fuller meanings of words and concepts that were intended when they were written. To really get a grasp of Scripture, we need to be thinking like the writers.
The "face of God," is used in many passages throughout the Bible. To understand its meaning, we have to move away from the Greek-minded, literal meaning of one's face as simply the arrangement of one's eyes, nose and mouth. We need to consider the way one uses his face from the context of ancient history, considering "what does it do?" In other words, how was the face or facial expressions used to bless or reject a person at the time when the Bible was written? Then, we need to see how the writers of the Bible used this imagery to express the nature of God so that we can understand more about the Lord and our relationship to Him.
The Hebrew word for face is panim, which not only means "face," but is also used in the Bible for "presence." The shewbread of Exodus 25:30, called the Bread of Presence, is written as Lechem HaPanim, literally the Bread of the Face. In other words, this was the bread that stood in the Presence, or before the face of the Lord. In Israel, the Ministry of Interior is called the Misrad HaPanim, or Office of the Presence. Literally, this is the government office that keeps a record of all citizens and new immigrants, as well as tourists and those wanting to extend their visas, or their presence, in the Land of Israel.