Sabbath Meditation #14 – Drawn Into His Presence
by Kelly McDonald, Jr.
“So he drove out the man; and he placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:24)
“Cain left The LORD’s presence, and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” (Genesis 4:16)
“1 Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looks toward the east. 2 Behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east… 4 The LORD’s glory came into the house by the way of the gate which faces toward the east. (Ezekiel 43:1-2, 4)
46 “‘The Lord The LORD says: “The gate of the inner court that looks toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the Sabbath day it shall be opened, and on the day of the new moon it shall be opened…The people of the land shall worship at the door of that gate before [paniym] The LORD on the Sabbaths and on the new moons”. (Ezekiel 46:1, 3)
When Adam and Eve dwelt in the Garden of Eden, where the first Sabbath was honored, the presence of God was with them. God would come down in the cool of the day and fellowship with them. After they transgressed in the Garden, they were driven to the East. In the very next chapter, Cain killed his brother. He also went out from the presence of the Lord to the East.
The Hebrew word translated as presence is paniym. It means to be in the face of someone and by extension their presence. It does not refer to general location, but instead to a person’s face being directed towards you. All of the pleasantness (or lack thereof) that comes from that person’s presence is implied when paniym is used.
For instance, God had a good purpose for Cain – and it could have been fulfilled. God directed His attention or presence towards him and even spoke to him. Unfortunately, Cain turned away from that purpose. He subsequently left God’s presence – His face, attention, and purposes.
When we read the prophetic books of the Bible, we learn about events that will take place in the future. Among these is the building of a Temple to honor God that has never been constructed; it is described in the book of Ezekiel. It will be gigantic in size!
God explained that this Temple will have an inner court gate that faces to the East! This gate will be open every Sabbath and the glory of the Lord will enter into it! The people will also come and worship in the presence the Lord through that same gate.
When we read the Bible, God declares the end from the beginning (Is. 46:10). Let us connect the verses we have reviewed.
Since the beginning, mankind has gone astray to the east, away from God’s presence or face. The Sabbath exists in part as a reminder that God desires us to be in His glorious presence. He desires to see you directly in His presence so you can receive all of the benefits of being near Him.
“Seek The LORD and his strength. Seek his face [paniym] forever more.” (I Chronicles 16:11)
While we should always seek the face of God, there is a special time when God’s face can always be found: the Sabbath. While we have all strayed away from His presence, to the east, His Sabbath is open every week to receive us back.
Throughout the week, God is beckoning us to dwell in His presence on Sabbath. His face will be fully turned towards us. Honoring the Sabbath involves setting aside those things that keep our face from being turned towards Him.
Will we accept His invitation?
Kelly McDonald, Jr
BSA President, www.biblesabbath.org