As I read through this chapter I was struck by the two concepts that have been introduced in the book which are incomprehensible - the first was nothing. In chapter 1 Sproul explains that we cannot comprehend what nothing is - what it was like before the universe, time, space, energy, and matter all came into existence - because as created beings we exist in something. The second is holiness. Specifically the holiness of God. How can we? We cannot fathom what holiness is because we are not!
The Israelites trembled when they experienced God at Mt. Sinai and stood at a distance. They could not stand to be in the very presence of God. Like Isaiah they knew they were ruined, unclean and that they deserved to die. In this experience Moses tells us that we are not to be afraid but to have an awe of God's Holiness (Ex 20:18-20). Moses however was willing to go back up the mountain on behalf of the people and talk with God and be in His presence. But as amazing as this must have been...
[Moses] craved the ultimate spiritual experience. He inquired of the Lord on the mountain, "Let me see your face. Show me your glory." The request was deniedDenied because no one can behold the face of God and live. But we will not always be denied this request - when Jesus comes again we will actually see God as He is. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face (1 Cor 13:12). Revelation describes that encounter this way (Rev 22:3-4):
No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.Can we imagine what that will be like when there is nothing around us that is cursed and His name - which is Holy - will be written upon us? Nothing can be in the face to face presence of God unless it is holy. And we can only be holy when we have been cleansed like Isaiah (but more so). Jesus has made us holy and blameless so that we can look forward to that day with hope and anticipation rather than dread it (Heb 9:28).
My kids are so excited about going to Disney World that they are counting down the days and ask about going every day. I thought of that as I read this passage and reflected on the things I eagerly wait for. I can only pray that God will help me hallow His name and fill me with eager anticipation of seeing Him face to face.