VIEWING GOD - FACE TO FACE
Moses Sees God
The characters who 'view' God (in the bible) is not literal as many would suppose. In Genesis 32:30, where Jacob said, “…I have seen God face to face,” and yet in John 1: 18, Jesus notes “No man hath seen God at any time.” Such confusing statements communicates God is unbalanced. God is not contradictory (1Cor 14:33). Again, Jesus says in John 14:7, 9, “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him and have seen him … he that hath seen me hath seen the Father….” How then do we reconcile seeing the face of God?
Simply: Nobody Has Seen God’s Face
As God told Moses in Exodus 33:20, when Moses was on Mt. Sinai and wanted to see God: And he said, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock.” What God did was actually hide Moses so that he could not see Him and all of His Glory. But passed over him and as He was leaving Moses was able to see the wake of God. So, we do know when God said, “no man can see my face (hand, foot, body, etc.),” this is what He meant.
What About Jacob? Didn’t He See God’s Face?
Now, back to Genesis 32:30 when Jacob said, “I have seen the face of God?” We know that in John 1:18, Jesus refers to what God told Moses here in Exodus, that no man has seen the face of God; and yet, there are other passages in the Word of God that mention someone seeing God. This, of course, is dealing with a theophany, or really, a spiritual seeing of the face of God, but not in all of His glory. In the same chapter (Exodus 33) where God said, “There shall no man see my face and live,” the Bible also says, “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh unto a friend. So here again this has to be dealing with a spiritual seeing of the face of God, and it is not contradictory.”
Moses is God’s Presence
Moses and the Burning Bush
Moses certainly was in God’s presence, just as he was in His presence when he walked up on Mt. Sinai and saw the bush burning (Ex 3). Although he did not see God, he saw the effects (the burning bush) and knew the relationship of God. Actually, God spoke to a man(a rarity in the bible), “Take off your shoes, you are on holy ground.” So, here is an instance of God supposedly meeting someone “face to face.”
Also, in Deuteronomy, it says, “The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee, and lift up His covenants unto thee.” Certainly, God’s Word says no man has seen His face, so what we are dealing with here is not only a physical and personal relationship with a man, because Genesis 32:24 says very simply, “And Jacob was left alone, and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” Now, it doesn’t say that God wrestled with Jacob.
Jacob was wrestling with God spiritually, as well as physically. So, certainly, when God had dealt with him through this wrestling match, if you will, and when God had not only crippled him but also healed him, this is when Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face.” It did not mean that he had literally investigated his face, but that he had met with Him in a very personal way.
Bishop George L. Lockhart, Pastor
The Church of the Living God, PGT
Jacob Fights with The Angel of God