Know Your Bible

VOL. 11                                                                                                                                                                                July 29, 2012                                                                                                                                                                                NO. 27


 God's Facebook

For those who are not familiar with it, Facebook is a very popular website. Through Facebook, users can keep up with what is going on in the lives of friends and acquaintances. Each person's Facebook page typically contains a photo of the person and the latest news in that person's life. Facebook is now the largest social networking site on the internet and has more than 200 million members worldwide. It's really just a way of keeping in touch with a lot of people.

God already knows what is going on in our lives. He keeps up with us every moment. As David said, "You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether" (Psalms 139:2-4). If we are doing things we shouldn't, God knows that as well. As He said of sinners long ago, "I remember all their wickedness; now their own deeds have surrounded them; they are before My face" (Hosea 7:2).

God wants us to keep up in touch with Him. He wants to communicate with us about it what is going on in our lives, and He wants us to communicate to Him about it. If our hearts are right, we will want to stay in contact with the Lord. David put it this way in Psalm 27:8, "When You said, 'Seek My face,' My heart said to You, 'Your face, LORD, I will seek'".

We can allow God to stay in contact with us by learning His word; in this way we come to know Him face to face! In 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul informs us that when God's perfect word had been completely revealed, He would stop using temporary means of revealing Himself (such as prophecy and miraculous tongue-speaking). Paul says, "When that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away." (1 Corinthians 13:10).  Through God's perfect word we can come to fully know Him. "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known" (1 Corinthians 13:12). It is in learning God's will for us that we can experience His presence daily in our lives. The Psalmist says, "Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes" (Psalms 119:135).

We can keep in touch with God through prayer. The Lord calls upon His people to "humble themselves, and pray and seek My face" (2 Chronicles 7:14). Daniel said, "I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications . . . (Daniel 9:3)

One of the great privileges of being a Christian is the ability that we have to keep in touch with God every moment. Many men living in other times and places have not enjoyed such a privilege.  But the Lord made this promise concerning us: "I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,' says the Lord GOD" (Ezekiel 39:29).

---Steve Klein

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How Could Moses Enter Heaven But Not The Promised Land

Sin Has Consequences As Well As Guilt: -- At Mt. Sinai, God instituted a sacrificial system for Israel. It was complete with priests and specified various sacrifices to "atone" (cover) for different kinds of sins. Israel's sins cost the lives of many, many animals. While it was impossible that these animals could take away sins (Heb. 10:4), they said to be "shadows" and "types" of things to come. God wanted Israel to know that sins cost. Any sin separates man from God (Isa. 59:1,2; Jas. 2:10). These "typical" sacrifices foreshadowed Jesus Christ whose death would satisfy God's justice. Such would allow God to forgive us who live under the New Covenant, as well as everyone who had lived under the Old Covenant (Heb. 10:1-9; 9:15; Rom. 3:23-26).

When the Israelites sinned, their faith in God's Word and His system to atone for their sins was seen when they offered what God specified. Their sins would be forgiven, but based on what Jesus would do some 1500 years later! Therefore, when a faithful Israelite died, though he had sinned, he could die in hope of something greater (heaven), based on Him Who would eventually come (Heb. 11:13- 16). God made it possible that under the Old Covenant, the guilt of sin could be removed. We might say that Israel was saved on a "type" or "shadow" of forgiveness under God's sacrificial system then, but it was based on the fact that the perfect sacrifice would eventually be offered and fully "pay off" the penalty for sin (Rom. 3:23-26).  Anyone who is ever saved will be saved by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Heb. 9:13-15; 10:1-10; 11:39,40).  In this way, God provides for the guilt of everyone's sins.

      However, this did not remove consequences of sins. God promised to give the land of Canaan to the very Israelites who come out of Egypt (Exo. 6:6-8; Num. 13:2). Yet, at Kadesh-bar-nea, after the spies had surveyed the land for forty days, ten of the twelve said:  "We are not able to go up against the people of that land" (Num. 13:32). Due to their "evil report" and its influence, all of that generation of men above twenty years of age were sentenced to die in the wilderness except for Joshua and Caleb (Num. 14:28-30). This was the consequence or punishment for their sins. Could they be forgiven? Yes. But they were not able to enter Canaan.

Consequences And Guilt Of Moses' Sins: -- In a similar way, God thought Moses's sin of rebellion and disbelief when he struck the rock rather than

speak to it in the wilderness of Zin was grievous enough to prohibit his entrance into Canaan. This event was close to the end of Israel's wandering for forty years (Num. 20:1-13; 27:12-14; Deut. 1:37; 3:26,27). Such punishment was the consequence of Moses' specific sins.

      Will Moses ultimately be able to enter heaven? Yes. This is made evident from numerous New Testament passages. He was with Elijah and Jesus in the mount when Jesus was transfigured (Matt. 17:1-8).  He is said to have been "faithful" in all his house (Heb. 3:5). He is also listed among those whose faith was illustrative of what God wants in all Christians (Heb. 11:24-29). It is safe to conclude that Moses is in "paradise" now (Lk. 16:19-31) and will ultimately be in heaven after judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). Therefore, was he forgiven of hsi sins committed in the wilderness of Zin? Yes. How? The same way any other Israelite was forgiven -- through the sacrificial system God gave them that foreshadowed Jesus Christ.

      It is also safe to say that immediately after Moses died, he would have enjoyed the bliss, comfort, and joy that all other faithful saints enjoy in paradise (Lk. 16:19-31). This would be "far greater" (Phil. 1:23) than any physical "rest" or blessing the Promise Land of Canaan could provide, since it was only a "type" or shadow of heaven (Heb. 4:1-10). Rather than sorrow for Moses not being able to enter with Israel into the promised physical "rest" of the Land of Canaan, we should be happy that he experienced a far greater benefit after his death. One minute after his death on Pisgah (Deut. 34), he would never want to leave "paradise" for Canaan!

      Similarly, when faithful saints die now, we sorrow for the fact that we will not see their face again in this life (Acts 20:38), and that they did not enjoy "a few more years," or some other physical blessing on earth. However, that sorrow should actually be greatly overshadowed by their forgiveness, faithfulness, and present condition with the Lord! Like Moses, faithful Christians who have passed on into paradise would never want to exchange it for anything on earth.

      We, like Moses, have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Often in this life we suffer consequences of our specific sins. However, we can be forgiven. As Israel expressed their faith in God and His plan by offering whatever God specified for their sins, we express our faith in God and His plan for us when we comply with His conditions for our salvation in the New Covenant. When we repent and are baptized, we express our faith (Acts 2:36-38; Col. 2:12). God will then forgive us. Moses and Israel's forgiveness was based on what God would do through Christ some 1500 years after they lived. Our forgiveness is based on what God did through Christ some 2000 years ago.

      We all suffer to one degree or another consequences of sin now (Rom. 5:12-14). However, all of us can be forgiven of the guilt of our sins and enjoy the promised "rest" of heaven, that  which is far greater than any blessing or reward on earth (Rom. 8:18).

---Phillip Owens

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Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

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