Moses saw God. "The LORD
used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man
speaks to his friend" (Exodus 33:11). Moses communed
with God. He was a friend of God. What a high honor
and privilege! But even Moses could not look upon
the "glory" of God and live. Yahweh said in Exodus
And He said, "I Myself
will make all My goodness pass before you, and will
proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will
be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will
show compassion on whom I will show compassion." But
He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see
Me and live!" Then the Lord said, "Behold, there is
a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the
rock; and it will come about, while My glory is
passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the
rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed
by. "Then I will take My hand away and you shall see
My back, but My face shall not be seen" (Exodus
No one had looked into
the face of God until He became flesh and dwelt
among men. The apostle John says, "And the Word
became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His
glory, glory as of the only begotten from the
Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). "No
one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God
who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained
Him" (John 1:18).
However, Moses had an
unusual experience with God. When he came down from
Mount Sinai "Moses didn't know that the skin of his
face shone because of his speaking with Him" (Exodus
34:29). Such shining is always unconscious. His
brother Aaron saw that "the skin of his face shone,
and they became afraid to come near him" (v. 30).
"When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put
a veil over his face. But whenever Moses went in
before the LORD to speak with Him, he would take off
the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out
and speak to the sons of Israel what he had been
commanded, the sons of Israel would see the face of
Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone. So Moses
would replace the veil over his face until he went
in to speak with Him" (vv. 33-35).
A general irradiation and
illumination radiated from the face of Moses. His
whole face was irradiated in a strange, wonderful
and unusual manner in which those familiar with him
had never seen before. The Hebrew word is used for a
sunrise. This spiritual illumination for Moses was
so mighty, so powerful that it irradiated his
countenance. His spirit had entered into a new
fellowship with God. His whole personal being was
mastered, captured and illuminated by fellowship
with God. He was supremely conscious of God.
King David asked the
age-old question, "Who may ascend into the hill of
the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?" Then
he proceeded to answer it, "He who has clean hands
and a pure heart . . ." (Psalm 24:3-4). Jesus said
the spiritually prosperous shall see God.
PROSPEROUS ARE PURE IN HEART
Jesus said, "Blessed are
the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew
5:8). That is what Christianity is all about. The
gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned about the
condition of the heart and our seeing God.
"Blessed are the
pure in heart"
The Pharisees in Jesus
day, much like legalists in our day, were
scrupulously concerned with the external, ritual
purification. They ignored the inside. They kept the
letter of the law, but the heart was unclean. Jesus
was not concerned with religious rituals but "the
defiling influences of sin upon the inner man"
(Matt. 23:25, 28). "Out of the heart proceeds . . ."
Jesus went on to emphasize evil thoughts, murders,
adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness,
blasphemies, etc. The condition of the heart was the
center of all His teachings. Everything comes from
The word "heart" refers
to the center and source of the whole inner life,
with its thinking, feeling, and volition. It is the
place where we make our moral decisions. It is the
computer center or control room of our personality.
The heart represents the whole of our inner state,
thought and will as well as emotions. It is the
center and source of the whole personal life, with
its thinking, feeling and volition. Psychologically
it is the seat of man's combined energies, the focus
of his personal life, the seat of the rational as
well as the emotional and volitional elements in
human life. This is the center of the moral and
religious life of the individual. The spiritual
influence and activity have their origin in the
heart of man.
Jesus is concerned that
the very center of our being is pure. He demanded
purity of heart. He stated that this is the core of
the problem with man. It is not his circumstances
but the center of his personality where problems
The result of this
kind of purity is that "they shall see God."
The word "pure" has the
root idea of one that is being cleansed, free from
impure mixtures, without blemish, spotless. The
basic idea is single-mindedness. The pure in heart
have clarified their values, and have pure motives.
There are no hidden agendas, no double motives, and
no self-interests. They declare with all of their
heart, "I can do nothing else so help me God." There
is a singleness of mind as to motives of service.
The pure in heart is completely loyal to God because
cleansing of the heart has taken place. They are
free of dishonesty and deceit.
The pure in heart have an
intimate fellowship with God which can come only
from a personal encounter with Christ. It is not a
once in a lifetime, or once in a great while, but a
daily surrender to Christ as lord of your life.
A religious leader asked
Jesus one day, "Teacher, which is the great
commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, "You
shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This
is the great and foremost commandment" (Matthew
If your relationship with
God is right you will love Him with your total
being. The pure in heart is one in whom there is no
deceit, but genuine honest, open transparency before
God and men. The primary idea is sincerity with God.
Motives and goals are not divided when the heart is
pure. There is a single-minded focus on the kingdom
of God. The pure in heart do not try to serve God
and self at the same time. There is a clear motive
and loyalty to God. The goal of the pure in heat is
to please God alone. Therefore the thoughts and
emotions are focused on a right relationship with
Him. Their only interest is to serve God with
complete, total sincere devotion to Him.
When we have such a
relationship with God we are free to take off the
masks and enter into His holy presence as His
Opposite of the
pure in heart
The opposite of a pure
heart is one that is divided. Without singleness of
purpose it is impure. The double-minded person tries
to serve both God and the world system. The apostle
James in 4:8 wrote: "Draw near to God and He will
draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners;
and purify your hearts, you double-minded."
The divided self tries to
serve two opposing masters at the same time. The
double-minded are blind spiritually and their
loyalties are divided and therefore cannot see God.
Pure in heart is closely
related to faith in James 1:5-8. "But if any of you
lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all
generously and without reproach, and it will be
given to him. But he must ask in faith without any
doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of
the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man
ought not to expect that he will receive anything
from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable
in all his ways."
There are no hidden
agendas when the heart is pure. There is no ulterior
motive in service of the Master. It is focused with
one clear objective to glorify Him alone.
Is there a singleness of
purpose? Read what Jesus said in Matthew
6:19-24. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures
on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where
thieves break in and steal. But store up for
yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth
nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in
or steal; for where your treasure is, there your
heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body;
so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will
be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole
body will be full of darkness. If then the light
that is in you is darkness, how great is the
darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either
he will hate the one and love the other, or he will
be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot
serve God and wealth."
When was the last time
you tried to walk in both directions at the same
time? Why try to do it spiritually?
First John 2:15-16
reminds us, "Do not love the world nor the things in
the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of
the Father is not in him. For all that is in the
world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the
eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the
Father, but is from the world."
Our purity of heart is
threatened by anything that causes us to lose our
"first love" relationship with God. Jeremiah said,
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked" (17:9). Our trouble is in the
heart. It is wicked and it is deceitful.
How do we lose that first
love? Anytime we love money or things more than the
Lord will break our fellowship with Him. Sinful,
forbidden cravings and lust can capture your first
love relationship. You can fall in love with what
you have, or with what you are able to do. When our
love is not pure toward God, our fellowship with Him
is broken. Our relationships with other believers
reflect upon our relationship with God.
Jesus demanded that we
have pure hearts, open, honest, genuine, nothing
hidden, with sincerity and single–mindedness. Can
you give some examples of such people?
EXAMPLES OF THE PURE
We have already noted
Moses who "By faith left Egypt, not fearing the
wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who
is unseen" (Hebrews 11:27).
The Prophet Isaiah saw a
thrice-holy God sitting on the throne of eternity.
Isaiah 6:1-7 describes that personal experience.
"In the year of King
Uzziah's death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne,
lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe
filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each
having six wings: with two he covered his face, and
with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
And one called out to another and said, 'Holy, Holy,
Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full
of His glory.' And the foundations of the thresholds
trembled at the voice of him who called out, while
the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, 'Woe
is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of
unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean
lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of
hosts.' Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a
burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from
the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it
and said, 'Behold, this has touched your lips; and
your iniquity is taken away and your sin is
cleaning of his heart by the Lord God. The apostle
John helps us to understand Who Isaiah saw in John
12:41. "These things Isaiah said because he saw His
glory, and he spoke of Him" referring to the
preincarnate Word of God.
David experienced a
catharsis in his own heart
Origen said, "Every sin
stains the soul." King David is the only person in
the Bible who is described as "a man after God's own
heart" (Acts 13:22). When we turn to the Psalms we
see the man who saw God in his heart because God had
cleansed him. Psalms thirty-two and fifty-one
beautifully illustrate this cleansing of the soul.
"How blessed is he whose
transgressions is forgiven, whose sin is covered!"
(32:1). "Oh, how blessed many times over," or "How
blessed many times over, blessing upon blessing,
upon blessing." We could read, "Deeply blessed,
satisfied, and marvelously blessed over and over
again." That was Yahweh's cure for David's sin of
murder and adultery. Only God can cleanse like that!
In Psalm fifty-one King
David shares the cleansing of his heart. The imagery
is powerfully set against the ugliness of filthy
sin. "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and
cleanse me from my sin" (v. 2). We can hear the
pounding, stamping and vigorous rubbing of the
clothes against the stones to loosen the dirt.
"Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost
being, and in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know
wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (vv. 6-7).
Only after cleansing has taken place can he hear the
"joy and gladness" of the LORD. "Hide Thy face from
my sins, And blot out all my iniquity" (v. 9).
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a
steadfast spirit within me" (v. 10). "Restore to me
the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a
willing spirit" (v. 12).
God is not interested in
the "sacrifices and burnt offerings" of our modern
society. He is not interested in our religious
platitudes and intense religious emotions without a
pure heart. "The sacrifices of God are a broken
spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou
wilt not despise" (v. 17). What God longed for in
David's heart is the same thing He desires of us.
Then we too, like David, can "Be glad in the LORD
and rejoice you righteous ones, and shout for joy
all you who are upright in heart" (32:11). This is a
theme you will find throughout the Psalms.
What made David "a man
after God's own heart" was his single-minded focus.
He was a Jesus described "the pure in heart." He
loved the LORD God with all of his mind, with all of
his heart and all of his soul.
The apostle Paul
experienced a change of heart
The Apostle Paul saw
Jesus as one born prematurely out of time. After
giving evidence of those who saw the resurrected
Jesus the apostle Paul then says, "And last of all,
as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me
also" (1 Corinthians 15:9). When did that happen?
Acts 9:3-7 records the event.
Paul was approaching the
city of Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven
flashed around him and the impact caused him to fall
to the ground. He heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" Paul said,
"Who are You, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom
you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city,
and it will be told you what you must do." The men
who traveled with him stood speechless. They heard
the voice but saw no one. Paul alone had an
encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus and it
radically revolutionized his life. From that time on
with singleness of purpose he lived Christ. He had a
singleness of purpose to serve Christ and his life
was characterized as being "in Christ." It was
so radical for Paul he could say, "If any man is in
Christ, he is a new creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17a;
cf. Philippians 3:8-16).
Jesus is our best
If we are going to be
pure in heart it means we are going to be like Jesus
Christ. He had an undivided heart. He alone has
loved the LORD God with all His heart, and with all
His soul and with all His mind. Jesus is our best
example of a single–minded pure heart. He was set on
doing the will of God and He stayed in the shadow of
the cross during His whole ministry. Listen to Him
praying in the Garden of Gethsemane when He was
facing the cup of the wrath of God the next day. He
was praying, "Not My will, Your will be done." In
Matthew 6:33 Jesus got to the heart of our problem
when He said to His disciples, "Seek first His
kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things
will be added to you."
The Psalmist said in
Psalm 19:14, "Let the words of my mouth and the
meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer."
PROSPEROUS SEE GOD
To the pure in heart is
given the promise that "they will see God."
The impure in heart never
see God, here or in eternity. God unveils Himself to
the pure in heart like to the apostle John on Patmos
in Revelation. Even now we see a glimpse of Him who
is invisible, but one day we will see Him as He is.
The eschatological future
is clearly in mind. Those who have been justified by
faith in Jesus Christ and cleaned in His precious
blood will be ushered into His holy presence the
moment they pass from this earthly life. It is our
blessed hope to bow in His holy presence, cleaned,
washed and robed in His pure righteousness.
Like Moses we will have
fleeting shadows of those wonderful experiences of
His presence with us, but to "see God" as Jesus is
in the presence of the heavenly Father is impossible
for us to experience in this life. It is something
that is reserved for that day when we "We know that
when He appears, we will be like Him, because we
will see Him just as He is" (1 John 3:2). That we
will not experience while on this earth. It is
available to the believer on in the consummation
when Jesus comes for us or we die in Christ. The
pure in heart will be ushered into His presence.
The "pure in heart" will
be where God is, to see Him in the full radiance of
The possibility is
Jesus said it is possible
to have a direct, intimate personal knowledge of
God. God is imminent. Wherever we are God is here.
He is at work all about us right now if we have eyes
to see Him. When He has prepared our hearts He
invites us to join Him in what He is doing. We can
see Him at work when someone asks us what is it that
makes you different from other people. God is at
work when someone asks how can I know Jesus Christ
as my Savior.
God can be seen as He
sustains us with His grace in time of deep personal
needs or in time of crisis. The Holy Spirit bears
witness in our hearts of His presence with us. We
are never out of His presence anywhere on the face
of this earth. "I in you, and You in Me," are words
of encouragement from Jesus to every believer.
The apostle Paul wrote,
"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a
mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed
into the same image from glory to glory, just as
from the Lord, the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The child of God who has
a pure heart has nothing to hide, nothing to defend
and nothing to explain. He is free to be honest,
open, genuine and transparent with God and men. His
face is unveiled before God and people. He advances
from "glory to glory" until that blessed day when
Christ comes and he is like Him through all
eternity. "Even so, come Lord Jesus."
When do we see God?
We see God when we have
fellowship with God based upon personal faith in
Jesus Christ (cf. 1 John 1:1-3, 6-7). Sin breaks our
fellowship, but not our son-ship. In the context of
this marvelous fellowship with God John reminds us
that we have a bar of soap that cleanses when that
fellowship is broken. All self–effort at cleaning is
futile. Only God alone can cleanse the heart because
there is only one detergent that will cleanse. "If
we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another, and the blood
of Jesus, His son, cleanses us from all sin" (v. 7).
This is the only way fellowship can be restored. "If
we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to
forgive us our sins and to cleanse us for all
unrighteousness" (v. 9).
We see God when we
worship Him with a pure heart (1 Jn. 1:8-10). That
was true of David, Isaiah and the disciples. There
is that sense of His presence of knowing Him and
sensing that He is near. When the heart is pure we
see Him in our own experiences, in His gracious
dealings with us in His grace and mercy. As we grow
in His grace we see Him in ways we have never
experienced Him before. Like Paul, "Now we see
through a glass, darkly." One day however we will
see Him face to face.
The pure in heart will
see Jesus when He comes in power and glory! What a
day that will be! (Rev. 1:7, 9ff; I John 3:1-3;
4:4-6; Jn. 17:24; Rev. 22:3-4). It is a life lived
in full fellowship with God that begins now in the
new birth and reaches its fulfillment at the
consummation when Christ returns. Seeing God implies
a direct and immediate knowledge of God.
One of my favorite verses
of Scripture is 1 John 3:2-3. We are already called
the children of God because of the great love the
Father has bestowed upon us. "Beloved, now we are
children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what
we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be
like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And
everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies
himself, just as He is pure." Not only will we see
Him, but also we will be like Him! In Christ we will
at last attain God's original intention for mankind.
What awesome grace.
One day every eye
shall see Him
The Bible teaches that
every eye will see Him, whether we plan to, or don't
want to. Both saved and the lost will see Him.
"Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye
will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all
the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it
is to be. Amen" (Revelation 1:7).
Moreover, because Jesus
was obedient and humbled Himself even to die on the
cross, "God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him
the name which is above every name, so that at the
name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that
every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians
1:8-11). We have the opportunity today of bowing
before Him as a volitional choice. But there is a
day coming when we not have a choice. He will come
as a sovereign King and every knee will bow and
confess Him before men.
Have you seen God?
The pure in heart have
come under conviction about their poverty of spirit
and are mourning over the impurity of their hearts.
Cleansing of heart comes only by means of the shed
blood of the Lamb of God. "If we walk in the Light
as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship
with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son
cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). This is the
only way to a pure heart.
Do you have an intimate
love personal relationship with Him?
Do you know why we don't
have a clearer vision of God? Our hearts aren't
naturally pure. We by nature tend to be
double–minded. The pure in heart long to hear Jesus
say, "Well done my good and faithful servant!" The
pure in heart "seek first the Kingdom of God and His
righteousness." The pure in heart are willing
to ask themselves what is my motive of service? What
is my purpose in serving Christ? There are no hidden
agendas, no double purposes. They come with pure
motives, high and holy principles and singleness of
purpose. Ask God to reveal to you anything in your
life that is causing you to lose your first love for
Him. Mourn over it and God to give you strength to
overcome it in your life. "Therefore, having these
promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all
defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness
in the fear of God" (2 Corinthians 7:1). "Now flee
from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith,
love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from
a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22).
We see Him as we grow in
His love and grace. With pureness of heart the Holy
Spirit removes the veil of our unbelief.
Let's go back to the
opening illustration in the life of Moses for a
closing moment. Recall how Moses put the veil over
his face "until he went in to speak with God"? Note
what happened when that glory faded! The apostle
Paul tells us "Moses . . . used to put a veil over
his face that the sons of Israel might not look
intently at the end of what was fading away" (2
Corinthians 3:13). Ouch! Only Christ can remove that
veil. "Whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is
taken away. It is the veil of the heart. "But we
all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the
glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the
same image from glory to glory, just as from the
Lord, the Spirit" (v. 18).
Why did Moses keep the
veil on his face after the glory had faded? Moses
was afraid the Israelites would see the glory had
faded! He hid the faded glory behind a veil, a
façade. He did not let anyone see what was actually
going on behind the veil. It was a veil of pride. It
was a problem of having an unclean heart. We think
we can do something for God and our eyes are blinded
to the fading glory and hearts are impure. We
project an image and hide our real selves behind the
veil of pride and hypocrisy. We use double entry
spiritual book keeping to cover our pride. Our veil
of unrighteousness is an impure heart.
Those who with a simple,
undivided heart seek the kingdom of God shall see
Him. Jesus prayed that we might behold His glory
(John 17:24). Oh, Spirit of God sanctify our hearts
that we may see You today. Help us to "Keep our
heart with all diligence, for out of it are the
issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).