Characterofgod.org News – March 7, 2019
Hi to all you lovers of the true character of a loving God
This newsletter reports the latest additions to the www.characterofGod.org which serves as a hub of information about the character of God, the people who are foremost in promoting it and more.
New Articles Added:
A number of new articles were added since the last newsletter:
https://characterofgod.org/divine-recession/ (guest article by Kevin Straub)
New Glossary Entries:
Four new detailed definitions were added to the Character of God and the Gospel Glossary – many more words to go:
New Contributors Profile:
Welcome to Brian Zahnd author of Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God.
Some years ago, I first heard about the book The Shack by William P. Young. What I heard was mostly negative so I did not pay it any attention. Recently, however I heard an interview by Brian Zahnd (the newest contributor to www.characterofGod.org) of William Young. They talked of the character of God and what I heard resonated with many things I have learned lately. So I read the book.
It is different. While many Christians I know might have challenges with it and its portrayal of God, it said some good things about His character. What does God Himself think of it? – well, we will find out. But I think He is anxious to use a wide variety of tools and messages to reach people and dispel the many myths of what He is really like. Just last night we were able to watch the video version of The Shack. Of course, the movie version always has to leave lots out.
If you are interested in knowing what The Shack is about I would recommend becoming familiar with it in this order:
1. Listen to the interview by Brian Zahnd of author William Young – their discussion hopefully got some people thinking about God in a new way.
2. Read the Book – there is much missing from the video so you might appreciate what is in the book more.
3. Watch the movie – we got the DVD on an inter-library loan from our local library.
God Hiding His Face
My website has included material about what I have referred to as the SALT pattern which looks like this:
Sins God, in
Leaves/withdraws His protection and then
Trouble comes from another source.
There is a page discussing in more detail how this works and another page listing over 70 examples of its occurrence in scripture. The “leaving” part of the pattern is expressed in terms like:
- Gave them over
- Delivered them up
- To forsake
- God departed
- To not be among them
- Sold them into the hand of …
- Removed them out of His sight
It is also sometimes given as God “hiding His face.” This was discussed in the article on Divine Recession by Kevin Straub with the example:
“Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods.” (Deut 31:17-18)
It is interesting that the people even recognized the reason the evils were coming upon them – people today can’t figure that out. However, there is another, deeper meaning to God “hiding His face.” It is not simply so that we cannot “see” Him or benefit from His protection. It also has to do with God’s feelings. Yes, He has feelings too and when you become aware of this you will start to notice it being mentioned often in scripture.
I found what I think is the earliest illustration (not example) in scripture of God hiding His face:
“And he [Joseph] lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son. And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there. And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.” (Gen 43:29-31)
Joseph hid his face from his brothers to vent his emotion. Notice the connection to “his bowels did yearn.” This term expresses strong emotion as in Psalm 22:14. I hope to be sharing more about this at some meetings next month. Understanding God’s emotions, I believe, will help us connect with Him more.
Adrian Ebens’ new book Agape is available from me for readers in Canada. The book includes concepts I had never heard anywhere else but they make sense and help to explain some of the more difficult concepts regarding the character of God. There is no charge for the book but if you can help a little especially with the postage I would appreciate it. If you are requesting from the U.S., I will forward your name and address to a U.S. contact that can send a copy. Again, see the right column of my website.
You can also download a digital version of Agape at http://fatheroflove.info/book/view/agape
The revised and updated version of Marilyn Campbell’s Light on the Dark Side of God is now available. You can get the new full version from https://www.the-character-of-god.com/ There is also a condensed (less costly to mail) version available from my website – see the right column.
The Lake of Fire and the Second Death
Revelation 21:8 says the Lake of Fire IS the Second Death. It is an event NOT a place. The words “from God” in “fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” are not in the original. It is more like the lost are consumed by the guilt and shame from all their sins. They are “burned” up only in an emotional/mental sense. Then literal fire does come down to burn up the corpses and cleanse the earth for the recreation in Revelation 21. You need not fear that God will kill you if you don’t measure up. God only wants to save you. Fear sin: “sin when it is finished, brings forth death.” (James 1:15) View the video (57 min) at: https://characterofgod.org/resources/
Website Traffic Increase:
Traffic (number of unique visitors) to www.characterofgod.org was up 10% for January from December, increased another 16% in February and is looking like a larger increase in March. While it is not a large amount, there is a steady stream of comments, questions and book requests to respond to.
Blocked Emails (Gmail users):
Whenever I post a new article to my website, WordPress automatically sends an email notice to my subscribers at about 6am PT the next day. I have encountered a problem with Gmail filing the notices coming to me in the SPAM folder. I would like to know if anyone else with a Gmail address has had this happen.
I posted a new article yesterday (Wed., Mar. 6) so any subscriber should have received a notice this morning (Mar. 7). If you did not and you use Gmail, here is what you can do to whitelist those notices:
Open your Gmail account
Click the down arrow in the right of the box that says “Search mail”
On the line for subject enter: Posts from The Character of God
Click “Create filter”
Click “Never send it to Spam”
Click “Create filter”
That should do it. Thank you.
Feedback: Please get back to me, Ray Foucher, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback from this newsletter and please share this information with others.