A Current Bible Study:
Acts 26
"Has Anyone Seen God?"
          Yes. The Scriptures teach that God has revealed Himself directly to some. Of course His whole creation bears indirect witness to all people at all times that there is a Creator, and that He is very real and OMNIPOTENT. But Directly? Who has seen the Lord directly, and what effect would seeing Him, face to face, have on a person?
          I want to look at 3 such people, all from the Scriptures, as we make a little Christmas sandwich around Acts 26. And the first person is Moses. This is recorded in Numbers, Chapter 12. Listen, beloved:

Verses1-2- "And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, hath the Lord indeed only spoken by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it."
          This text may be referring to a second marriage for Moses. At any rate, his brother and sister had challenged the authority of his ministry, having judged themselves more fit then Moses to serve God. But they soon hear from God, Himself:

Verses 4-8- "And the Lord spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. And he said , Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? "
     When God meets a person openly and communes with them fully, as He did with Moses, face to face, and that person receives the faith to believe what they have seen of the Lord, then God very jealously bonds with that person. There's no other way to say it, just look at what comes next:

Verses 9-16- "And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them; and he departed. And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and behold Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb. And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. And the Lord said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received again. And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again. And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran."

     But the real point for us here is back in the verse I skipped over earlier, Numbers 12:3:
Verse 3- "(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)"
     Seeing the "similitude" of the Lord and hearing His voice, had not inflated Moses' ego. We see from this verse that it humbled him greatly. Moses, who saw God, was made meeker than other men, and meeker than he had been before he encountered the Lord. Remember this, beloved, hold on to it.

          The next person I want to mention from the Bible who saw God directly was the Apostle Paul. Paul tells us about it in Act 26. In this passage we find Paul bound in handcuffs for several years, being bounced around from one Roman leader's jurisdiction to another. The original charges of sedition and blasphemy brought against him by the Jewish leaders at Jerusalem were false and the evidence very thin. But the Bible tells us that Felix hoped Paul would bribe him in order to be released. And Festus thought he could get some political favor with his Jewish constituents by not releasing the Apostle. And finally, in Acts 26, Paul appears before one, King Agrippa, and speaks in his own defense:

Verses 6-11- "And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death , I gave my voice against them. (Paul never got over the love he saw in the Martyr Stephen--that's what I think, beloved-- see Acts 7:51-60.) And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities."
      Now Paul will tell us of the time he met God, face to face:

Verses 12-18- "Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith which is in me."
       How did seeing God effect Paul? Well, first of all, the GLORY blinded him for three days, nor could he eat or drink (see Acts 9:9). But what it actually did was fix Paul's course in life. God directly, and wonderfully, commissioned Paul. Beloved, look back at verses 16-17 above. Do you see how the Lord didn't just send Paul out on this mission empty-handed? God would provide on-going revelation and direction for Paul's ministry, and Paul was promised a continuing deliverance, too. Now look at verse 18, beloved. Could the goal of the mission be any clearer? Sometimes you and I today may seek deliverance and not be totally sure why we get delivered. Paul had goals that came directly from God.
          Now let's go on to Paul's response to his encounter with the Lord:
Verse 19- "Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision..."
Paul never again focused on comfort or even personal safety, or personal success. Success to Paul, from the Damascus Road onward, was to stay on his mission! He was as content in jail as he was at a party! Beloved, Paul knew why he was alive.

          The third and final person we shall look at is perhaps a bit more mysterious. Because the third person that the Scriptures mention as seeing God face to face, is Y-O-U!
          Yes, YOU. I found your name in the Bible! Would you like to see it? Go to Isaiah 9:6-7, or better yet, beloved, listen while I try to quote it to you: " For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
          Christ is God's Face to Face Meeting with us. Meeting the Lord in this way made a huge impact on Moses and Paul. Has it changed you? Has it changed me? He calls us to love our enemies, and be as meek as Moses. Jesus commissions us to be as committed as Paul. And we can't escape it for we have seen God in the flesh, and He is ready to speak to us today whenever we are willing to read His Word ... then beloved, you and I are no less accountable than Moses and Paul, and perhaps even moreso, for listen:
John 1:17-18
"For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."
       O, Come, let us adore God, face to face. Merry Christmas, beloved. 

May Jesus Christ richly bless you-JKD 12/24/03
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