Seeing God

Discussion in 'Doctrinal Discussions' started by Seedsower, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. Scripture tells us that God spoke to Moses face-to-face as a man speaks to his friend. However, a few verses later God tells Moses that no-one can see His face and live: Ex. 33:11; 34:20. How does one explain this theologically speaking as this is not a contradiction?
  2. #2 Complete, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
    Hello @Seedsower,

    'And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face,
    as a man speaketh unto his friend. ... '
    (Exo 33:11a)

    'And he said,
    Thou canst not see My face:
    for there shall no man see Me, and live.'

    (Exo 33:20) see v.23 also.

    'Face' - when used figuratively of God, emphasizes His Divine presence in happiness (Psalm16:11), and of Divine favour (1 Corinthians 13:12; Jonah 1:3; Psalm 51:11) , Moses was in God's presence.

    In Christ Jesus

    Ref: 'Figures of Speech used in Scripture' by Dr E.W. Bullinger
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  3. Thanks Chris. However in the passage in question God's face is not used figuratively.
  4. I think Moses was so intimate with God that it is written in human terms as "face to face". The problem is trying to contain God in human words!! When it says no can see His face and live, no one can see Him in His full glory and live.
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  5. #5 Complete, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
    Hello @Seedsower,

    I agree that the figure is not in Exodus 33:11, but in the other verse referred to, Exodus 33:20. However, I believe that the use of the words 'face to face', in Exodus 33:20, is not to be taken literally either, for I believe that it was as Ravindran has said, a means of expressing the inexpressible. It means I believe that God spoke to Him directly (see Numbers 12:5-8).

    'And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud,
    and stood in the door of the tabernacle,
    and called Aaron and Miriam:
    and they both came forth.
    And He said,
    "Hear now my words:
    If there be a prophet among you,
    I the LORD will make Myself known unto him in a vision,
    and will speak unto him in a dream.
    My servant Moses is not so,
    who is faithful in all Mine house.
    With him will I speak mouth to mouth,
    even apparently,
    and not in dark speeches;
    and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold:
    wherefore then were ye not afraid
    to speak against My servant Mose

    In Christ Jesus
  6. Hello again, @Seedsower,

    Please consider also, Deuteronomy 4:12, John 1:18, 1 Timothy 6:16, and Colossians 1:15, in relation to the word 'similitude', in the reference in Numbers 12.

    Thank you for this interesting thought process
    In Christ Jesus
  7. Hello @Seedsower,

    I am reminded, when thinking of Exodus 33:11, and how God spoke to Moses, 'face to face', of Timothy in the New Testament: and God's instruction to Him, through the Apostle Paul, in 2 Timothy 2:15. For God Spoke to Moses directly, personally, as to a friend, when all around them there was murmering and dissent, similarly, the words of 2 Timothy 2:15, were intended to lift Timothy up from the crowd around him, which again, was full of questioning, and doubtful disputation, into fellowship with God, and the Word of God, rightly divided. Where direct speech, takes the place of doubtful disputation.

    Praise God!

    Thank you, again,
    In Christ Jesus
  8. Hello again, again @Seedsower,:)

    I think too, of the mysteries of the kingdom, (parables) which remained mysteries to the multitude; among whom already was rejection, both of His person and His work. Yet, to the disciples, our Lord revealed these mysteries, in direct speech. For they had ears to hear, and hearts ready to receive, as friend with friend.

    Praise God!

    In Christ Jesus
  9. God dwells in light that no man can approach, or can see, yet are told that we should see Jesus crowned with Glory and honor!!! This is not speaking figuratively but in truth. How can a person be imitators of God as little children, with out first seeing how he is? That is not possible!! Man in his human configuration as a flesh, bone and blood person with all of his five physical senses can never see God as God is a Spirit, but the Lord God can be clearly seen with the eyes of mans re birthed human spirit as his eyes are illuminated by God's Spirit!!
    As a Christian we are not trying to see the external Glory of God, because we are living on inside of that Glory looking out!!!

    Col 2:9.. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
    Col 2:10.. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
  10. Thanks to all who've replied thus far. My own understanding goes like this: If I look at my face in a mirror, would it true if I said that I had seen my face? Well yes and no. I would have seen a near perfect reflection but not my actual face. I believe Moses saw a Theophany or an appearance of the second person of the trinity, the pre-incarnate Christ, a reflection of God and His glory but not God in His essence. There are Theophany in scripture, such as The Captain of The Lord's Hosts in Joshua and The angel of The Lord to Manoah in Judges. That's been my understanding but appreciate all other opinions so please keep posting!
  11. It all depends on who's mirror you are looking into. If you look in the mirror in your bathroom, then you will just see your physical face, but if you look into God's mirror, (the Word of God) you see Christ in you the hope of Glory.
  12. Hello @CCW95A,

    You have again, taken something and used it for your own ends. This is not what Seedsower was talking about.

    When I look in the Word of God, I see what the Holy Spirit would have me see at that time: It may be the truth that 'Christ in you' (referring to believing gentiles corporately) is, 'our hope of Glory', (which is wonderful - Praise God!), but it could be something quite different, according to His purpose.

    In Christ Jesus
    Seedsower likes this.
  13. Hello @Seedsower,

    You believe that Moses spoke face to face with the pre-incarnate Christ.

    In Christ Jesus

  14. A Theophany or Christophany is what scholars call an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ. The Angel of The Lord in the O.T. is a case in point. In the N.T. The Angel should be translated an angel as Christ had been born. To answer you I believe that a Theophany is a possible explanation of who Moses saw as he could not have seen God in the fullness of His Divine essence.
  15. I wonder how you plan on being Christ like in this life if you never see Jesus Christ in the "mirror" of his Word.
    Does God have some other "mirror" we don't know about?

    2Co 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
    2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass (mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
  16. To speak to a person face to face is not as it were down a mobile phone.
    It conveys at the very least an intimacy of communication and of a directness few it seems are willing to 'face'
    Does not the scripture say also "Seek my face"?
    To which David replied "thy face will I seek."
    The presence of God is for every child of God though how many are aware of that presence of God is another matter .
    But you can be aware of the presence of God and still not see His face .
    Yet the scriptures also say that we see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!
    The scriptures speak of little children. as it also speaks of young men ,
    But it also speaks of "ye fathers ,ye know Him who is from the beginning " I would suggest that in the main the church does not know God as much or as well as it thinks it does and certainly does not know Him who is from the beginning .
    How can it when so many deny what is written "in the beginning"?
    Was it not the same Holy Spirit who inspired that part as all the rest?
    Then perhaps we should then seek the face of Him who is from the beginning and we may then like Job confess "I have heard of thee ,but now mine eyes seeth thee.........."

    in Christ
    Seedsower and Complete say Amen and like this.
  17. Well put bro!
  18. The problem stems from the fact that we are not truly loving Jesus as he said we should.

    John.. 14:21.. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth (to guard, and protect) them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

    Guard and protect the Word from what? The lusts of other things, the deceitfulness of riches, the cares of this world. (Mark 4:19)
    What if this is done, then how does Jesus love us back?

    I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

    The word "manifest" means, "to cause to be seen, to make appear, to show openly"

    If we have never seen Jesus maybe we are not loving him! Jesus guarantees to manifest himself to those who really love him.
  19. I think you have missed the point somewhat. I was referring in my OP to Moses and the fact that God said that no one can see His face and live. Yet God spoke with Moses face-to-face. As this is not a contradiction, who did Moses see?
  20. This is a easy answer. Moses saw the pre-incarnate Christ who is known as the "Angel of the Lord" who happened to appear in the burning bush. The word "Angel" simply means "messenger" which is exactly who Jesus is since he is the Word of God. Words bring messages, and they flow out of the mouth of God the Father. Jesus is also known as "the messenger (angel) of the Covenant" (Mal 3:1)
    The Angel of the Lord in the burning bush identifies himself as......

    Exo 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

    Exo 3:6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

    Abraham also saw the pre incarnate Christ as Jesus said here.

    Joh 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad."
    Joh 8:57 So the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?"
    Joh 8:58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."
    Joh 8:59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

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