Peniel (The Face of God)

This name – Peniel – is sometimes rendered Penuel.  It is from a Hebrew word.

It is the name Jacob gave to the place where he wrestled with the angel through the night.  He said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved” (NASB).  Literally, the word means “The face of God.”

The Scripture was prophesying, as it does over and over, of Jesus Christ – who is the face of God.

We could not imagine God.  He is invisible.  He is a mystery.  How could we have looked at creation and imagined in advance that God would look like Jesus Christ?  And yet when Jesus Christ is revealed to us, we are compelled to say, “My Lord and my God!”

Our Lord, our Savior, Jesus Christ is…Peniel.  Look into His eyes this moment…and always!

Bible notes on this post.

See also the post Call on His Name, which includes a listing of other names of the Lord.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything else – but Him.

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10 Responses to Peniel (The Face of God)

  1. Sam says:

    Funny. For me the word “Peniel” means only one thing. It is the name of the summer Bible camp in Lake Luzerne, NY, which I attended from ages 6 – 21. Although I have fond memories of outdoor play, it was also a place of Calvinistic indoctrination and wrenching internal soul-searching. A place where nothing was more important than daily spiritual warfare on the Grandest Scale. Daily mandatory prayer groups, Bible studies, “Quiet Times”, and “putting on the whole armor of God”. Fighting against my “old man”. The “world of the flesh”. As “Jacob wrestled with the angel”. “Bless me, or I will not let you go”.

    Tough for seven-year olds, but imperative none-the-less. Forty-five years later I still dream about the place, almost every night. And I still search for what it all meant.

  2. Sam says:

    Thanks, Mike. I feel like I am running out of time.

    Sites such as yours help me a lot. I have never understood the Bible. I was an English major, yet I find the Bible to be the most obscure book I have ever read. (The more you read, the less you understand). I very much appreciate your simple approach. However, I take the stance of the illiterate medieval peasant who listens to the voice of his local priest simply because he is able to read and understand Latin.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      My experience is the more I read, the more I understand – though I’m far from understanding it all. For this reason I feel less like the medieval priest you describe and more like the town crier. Or, to bring the metaphor closer to our time, I feel like a paperboy standing on street corner, not understanding every line written but able to shout the headlines.

  3. Sam says:

    If you have glanced at my blog, you know what my dilemma is. I know you have also visited the blog of Dr. Richard Beck (“Experimental Theology”), because that is how I found you.

    I cannot remember just now if you have addressed the issue from Scriptures of “Principalities and Powers”, but Richard has a whole series on it. I am currently formulating an entry on this topic for my own blog.

    The short of my thesis is this: The Christian Church is a “principality and power”. Why? Precisely because the Bible is so ponderous and dense, so open to individual interpretation, so obscure as to be practically useless. If this were not true, there would not be a different outpost of the church with their own flavor of Christianity on almost every street corner in the Western world. As I see it, there is precious little consensus within the church on anything beyond the proper use of pot-luck suppers.

    Blame who you will (Satan, God, or humanity), but the disarray I see is empirical proof of the lack of objective truth within Christianity. As you rightly note, the church is unnecessary and causes harm, and belief in the Trinity is a hindrance (on both practical and psychological principles), but by the same token having a “relationship” with an invisible man is also psychologically untenable, based on all we learn in this life of Reality.

  4. Mike Gantt says:

    The short of my thesis is this: The Christian Church is a “principality and power”. Why? Precisely because the Bible is so ponderous and dense, so open to individual interpretation, so obscure as to be practically useless. If this were not true, there would not be a different outpost of the church with their own flavor of Christianity on almost every street corner in the Western world. As I see it, there is precious little consensus within the church on anything beyond the proper use of pot-luck suppers.

    It’s one thing to say that humanity’s ability to misinterpret the Bible allows the proliferation of churches; it’s another – and going too far – to say that it is the cause of such a state.  The corruption of the church was predicted, attested, and condemned in the New Testament itself.  If the Bible takes the same dim view of churches that you do, isn’t that a reason for embracing it rather than rejecting it?

    Blame who you will (Satan, God, or humanity), but the disarray I see is empirical proof of the lack of objective truth within Christianity.

    The disarray is empirical proof that the churches are unscriptural and ungodly.  It does not say, much less prove, that God and the Scriptures are untruthful.

    As you rightly note, the church is unnecessary and causes harm, and belief in the Trinity is a hindrance (on both practical and psychological principles), but by the same token having a “relationship” with an invisible man is also psychologically untenable, based on all we learn in this life of Reality.

    I don’t see how having a relationship with an invisible man is psychologically untenable.  Millions have testified to its reality, and I am but one of them.

  5. Sam says:

    “It’s one thing to say that humanity’s ability to misinterpret the Bible allows the proliferation of churches; it’s another – and going too far – to say that it is the cause of such a state.”

    What then IS the cause?

    “I don’t see how having a relationship with an invisible man is psychologically untenable. Millions have testified to its reality, and I am but one of them.”

    Millions of people also testify to the reality of alien life, solely based on numbers. (There are billions of galaxies, ipso facto there is other life in the Universe). This is common now even among astrophysicists, who should be ashamed of themselves.

    Mike, you very succinctly point out why human beings are ill-equipped experientially and psychologically to handle the concept of the Trinity. I don’t see much difference between that and the notion of God to begin with. How can you have a one-sided relationship after a lifetime of knowing only the kind that requires both people being “present”, either physically or through technology?

    • Mike Gantt says:

      What then IS the cause?

      Human weakness.  We live in a world where we humans have the freedom to do right or to do wrong, to pursue truth or to perpetuate error.  Many people make wrong choices, aided by the “principalities and powers” you identify, which prey upon human weakness.

      Millions of people also testify to the reality of alien life, solely based on numbers.

      I quite agree with you that “might doesn’t make right” (that is, 50 million Elvis fans actually can be wrong).  I was only saying that I was not unique in my assertion that relating to an invisible man was psychologically tenable.  I actually need no one else to tell me that doing so is practical; my own experience speaks loudly enough.

      Mike, you very succinctly point out why human beings are ill-equipped experientially and psychologically to handle the concept of the Trinity. I don’t see much difference between that and the notion of God to begin with.

      My objection to the Trinity is that it is unscriptural and illogical.  The Scriptures do not teach the idea; moreover, God cannot be three and be one at the same time.  On the other hand, the Scriptures do teach that relationship with Jesus is not only possible but desirable.  And there is nothing illogical about having such a relationship.  If I enter a room with a hidden camera or with a one-way mirror, and I am told about it, I can know I’m being seen without seeing who is seeing me.  People put faith in these sort of understandings all the time, irrespective of faith in God.

      How can you have a one-sided relationship after a lifetime of knowing only the kind that requires both people being “present”, either physically or through technology?

      By becoming as a child – at least that’s what Jesus said.  Children are quite prone to believe (which is why Jesus was so critical of those who would mislead them).  Leaning on all the worldly education we have received and our years of experience will help us little; we must return to the hearts we had when we were young.  In terms of understanding, we are to God as a dog is to us.  We exist on different levels, but that doesn’t mean we can’t communicate…and be loyal to each other.

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  7. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:17-18)

    If the road ahead is not so easy, you don’t need a doctor or some honey bears ( 🙂 ), just wait a minute until you know the time is right and brings you joy again. Like a determined honey bee with a love of nectar that longs for the sugary bud of a flower, just don’t stop looking for Him until you’re face to face.

    Face to face with God – oh, as you can see… the best things in life are free. 😉

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