Why God Hides Himself
By Gerald Flurry • August 5
God is a mystery to mankind. People can’t answer who and what He is.
Did you realize that God hides Himself on purpose? “Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust” (Psalm 104:29). What a disturbing, horrifying verse.
God knows how we humans can find true happiness in this world. We all want a wonderful life, which only God can provide, yet He hides Himself from the vast majority of people. Does that seem practical to you?
God created us. He can give us joy and happiness like no one else—and He will if we put Him first.
“Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour” (Isaiah 45:15). How can God help us by hiding Himself? How can He save us this way? It is part of God’s master plan to hide Himself today, but He won’t be hiding Himself for much longer. He prophesies that Jesus Christ will return to Earth in just a short while. Then Christ won’t be hidden anymore. And eventually, God the Father will come to Earth too.
“But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end” (verse 17). God has a plan to save Israel. Everybody—physical Israelites and Gentiles—will become spiritual Israel soon. God’s plan includes everyone. But we must understand why God hides Himself right now.
The Underestimated Adversary
Possibly millions of years ago—maybe more—God sent Lucifer the archangel and one third of the angels to Earth to establish God’s government. But Lucifer rebelled and eventually deceived all the angels under him. At that point, God knew He had to re-create Himself in man because the angels could not be trusted to build and beautify the whole universe, which they would have done if they hadn’t failed on Earth.
We humans have the potential to allow Christ to enter our mind and give us the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). We can develop the very mind of Christ! (Philippians 2:5).
But humanity in general has not chosen this way. God created Adam and Eve, but they listened to Satan instead of God and took on the mind of the devil. God let Adam set the course for mankind. Adam led them to follow Satan. God would have offered Adam and Eve His mind, if only they had chosen the tree of life.
Satan deceived Eve. She really believed that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was better than the tree of life (Genesis 2-3). However, Adam was not deceived (1 Timothy 2:13-14). He willfully chose to follow Satan and rebel against God’s explicit instructions. Then Satan began to work on his mind. Satan became Adam’s god. Ever since Adam and Eve, Satan has taken this world captive.
Satan the devil possesses real power. He is the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), the master broadcaster of wrong moods, attitudes and impulses. He is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and has always been able to sway and manipulate mankind into obeying him.
How many people really believe this? It is clear in your Bible. Herbert W. Armstrong’s free book Mystery of the Ages explains it very well: “The glorious archangel Lucifer, as God originally created him, was the pinnacle of God’s creative power in a single being. Few today remotely realize the great power, now turned to cunning deception, possessed by Satan. Apparently Adam completely underestimated him.”
People today underestimate Satan all the time! He has so much power. He has caused 95 percent of God’s own Church to rebel in this end time. He was once an angel of light, but now he just appears as one to deceive people into worshiping him (2 Corinthians 11:14).
If Adam had resisted Satan, he would have replaced Satan on Earth’s throne. He failed.
Adam and Eve decided to determine for themselves what is good and what is evil, which only results in self-righteousness. They rejected God’s definition of good and evil. That is the meaning of the tree they chose. God calls human righteousness filthy rags! (Isaiah 64:6). It is worthless!
“And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:22-24).
God expelled Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden and barred them from reentrance. This was the start of a 6,000-year sentence on mankind: 6,000 years cut off from their Creator—except for a select few called out by God to do His work, including the prophets of old and then the one true Church that will never die (Matthew 16:18).
Mr. Armstrong didn’t understand until right at the end of his life just how totally God has cut man off—for now. Those called out of this world today have God’s government restored in the Church. Christ will return to restore God’s government over the entire Earth. God’s people today must build God’s character to be able to help Christ establish the Kingdom of God, rule in the World Tomorrow, and finish creating the whole universe. All this is part of God’s master plan!
But we must change. Adam and Eve refused to change, so God drove them out. If those of us called out of the world now decide, after a lifetime of chances, not to change and obey God, then God will blot us out of the book of life (Revelation 20:15).
For the rest of mankind, their opportunity to choose life is yet in the future, but the process will be the same. They will not be cut off from God for much longer. Hebrews 9:27 shows that the hope of mankind is in the resurrection. They are not being judged by God yet! But because they have rejected Him, He hides Himself.
Right now, God is reproducing Himself in His firstfruits—those called out before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, those who are doing God’s work and delivering His warning message to the world.
God is re-creating Himself in man! That is an extreme ultimate feat! It ought to stagger our minds!
Trees of Consequence
The two symbolic trees in the Garden of Eden are highly significant to us today. These trees explain the very foundation of this world, which has always been a mystery to mankind. People can laugh and scoff at the two trees as a childish way to explain the Bible, but this is so profound that almost no one understands it. It is the very depth of God!
What happened to Adam and Eve is now happening to the whole world. God has allowed mankind to work things out their own way. He has observed humans continually choose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which is really the tree of death. It symbolizes eternal death for us—if we don’t learn some lessons. This is something to beware of in this evil, pulsating, twisted world.
Our world is like a movie. We can’t understand it if we start viewing it in the present day, when the movie is almost over. It is too confusing. We will have the wrong premise and the wrong outcome every time. We must go back to the two trees and beyond to grasp why the world is the way it is. Study the origins. Start the movie from the beginning.
From the beginning, humans have learned the hard way that going our own way would never bring peace. The firstborn son of the first humans murdered his own brother! (Genesis 4:8). Cain killed Abel from the beginning. This world continues to be violent and without peace. People will have to endure a lot of suffering before Christ returns and brings world peace.
The first family on Earth was taught directly by God. He didn’t hide His face from them! He taught them how to live a joyful, happy, abundant, prosperous life. They rejected Him, and their descendants killed the prophets God sent to warn them through the ages. Mankind in general loves worshiping Satan. They have fallen in love with Satan’s world, resulting in frustration, defeat, death and all kinds of horrible problems.
They keep trusting in themselves! They are self-reliant and self-willed! Christ came to Earth to teach us the will of His Father. He submitted perfectly to that will and relied totally on God. He finished His Father’s work. This is simply not what men do today—or ever.
God’s Mind in Us
Sin makes God turn His face from mankind. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).
The world doesn’t want God. They don’t seek Him. They might think they do, but they really don’t understand Him at all.
When Christ returns, He will reveal the Father to mankind at last. He came to Earth the first time to declare the Father (John 1:18). Why? Because no one knows the Father!
There are two Gods at this time, called God and the Word in John 1:1. They use the power of the Holy Spirit to build character in human beings. The Word, or Spokesman, became Christ. God is now the Father; Christ is the Son. God is a Family! And they want to bring us into that Family through the resurrection.
All mankind is about to know the one true God. Notice the positive ending: “[B]ut I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 39:28-29).
Soon, everyone will have access to God’s Holy Spirit to combine with the human spirit. Finally, man will have the very mind of God, choose God’s way, and inherit the whole universe!Read More