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The Window Of The Mind

The Hebrew word, pronounced paw-neh, meaning face, is used in a complex number of ways in the Holy Scriptures. Perhaps for that reason, the King James Version translators often used the word "countenance," which means facial expression, to render the meaning into English. Although the face is a physical part of the body, one can often "see through" it into the person's mind by means of their expression of happiness or love, sadness or anger. The human face isn't a reflection of the mind, it's a window that can be seen through, when the curtains are drawn open with "countenance."

For example, notice how easily anyone could see Cain's thoughts by means of his countenance (see also Christ's Warning To Cain):

"4:5 ... And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell." (Genesis 4:5 KJV)

But also, sometimes, when the light inside becomes dark, that is, when it becomes devious (in contrast to "the light of my countenance" Job 29:24 KJV), the "curtain" is drawn over countenance, as in this further example where Abel could not "see through" his brother's invitation to his own premeditated murder:

"4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him." (Genesis 4:8 KJV)

"They shall walk, O LORD, in the light of Thy countenance"

The people of Bible History were skilled at interpreting countenance.

The Holy Scriptures

"31:2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban [see also Jacob And Laban's Witness Heap], and, behold, it was not toward him as before." (Genesis 31:2 KJV)

"2:2 Wherefore the king said unto me [i.e. Nehemiah], Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, 2:3 And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?" (Nehemiah 2:2-3 KJV)

Defiantly evil people display wicked countenance with evil smirks.

"10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts [see High Places of The Mind]." (Psalm 10:4 KJV)

"3:9 The show of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom [see Sodomites], they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves." (Isaiah 3:9 KJV)

The LORD warned Samuel to not naively make important decisions at "face value."

"16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7 KJV)

The LORD's people are not devious; their countenance is genuine because it's the LORD's Light (the Holy Spirit) that shines out from within them.

"89:14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. 89:15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance [see Parables Of Jesus Christ: Let Your Light Shine]." (Psalm 89:14-15 KJV)

Should God's people ever "draw the curtain" for private matters? Yes, but only for righteousness. An example for the LORD's instructions about fasting:

"6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 6:18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." (Matthew 6:16-18 KJV)

Fact Finder: Is there anything that can be hidden from God's Judgment?
See Glass Houses and When Will You Be Judged?; also Could Christ Return Tonight?


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