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Face to Face with God

Genesis 32:24-32 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. [25] And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. [26] And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. [27] And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. [28] And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. [29] And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. [30] And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. [31] And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. [32] Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank. (KJV)

One with the likeness of a man wrestled with Jacob. The One wrestling puts a lasting mark of honor upon Jacob, by changing his name. He would be called Israel, a prince with God, a name greater than those of the great men of the Earth. He was a prince indeed, for he had power with God. Jacob gives a new name to the place, because there he had seen God, and obtained the favor of God. I believe that the Angel who wrestled with Jacob was none other than the preincarnate Christ (God).

Exodus 33:11 And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. (KJV) God and Moses talked face to face in the Tent of Meeting, just as friends do. Again, I believe this was the preincarnate Christ. WHY did Moses find such favor with God? Was it because he was perfect, gifted, or powerful; or was it because God chose Moses, and Moses in turn depended completely on God’s wisdom and direction?

Friendship with God was a true privilege for Moses, and was out of reach for the other Hebrews of that day. But it is not out of reach for us today. Jesus called His disciples and, all of His followers . . . His friends (John 15:15). He has called you to be His friend. Will you trust Him completely as Moses did?

Numbers 12:8 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 Moses? (KJV) God spoke to Moses in person, not by an interpreter, not by visionary symbols, not in a dream. God spoke plainly, surely and directly to Moses, not in dark speeches or parables. The representation of the Lord is what Moses saw, not the Face or essence of God the Father, who is invisible (Exodus 33:20; Col. 1:15; John 1:18). But Moses saw some unmistakable evidence of His glorious Presence (Exodus 33:2; 34:5). Moses had the spirit of prophecy in such a way which set him far above all other prophets; yet he that is least in the kingdom of Heaven, is greater than he; and our Lord Jesus infinitely excels him, Hebrews 3:1. Miriam and Aaron should have considered just whom it was they insulted. We should be really afraid of saying or doing any thing against the true servants of God

Numbers 14:14 And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by daytime in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. (KJV) Moses made humble intercession for Israel with God, Face to face. He was a type of Christ, who prayed for those that despitefully used him. The pardon of a nation’s sin, is the turning away the nation’s punishment; and for that Moses is here so earnest. Moses argued that, consistently with God’s character, in His abundant mercies, He could forgive them.

Deut. 4:11-12 And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. [12] And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. (KJV) The Israelites did not see God, they only heard Him. No one knows what God the Father looks like. God is a Spirit and we must worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). People are never to have any likeness of God whatsoever, for they have NO idea what He looks like! Even though the Lord Jesus came as a Man, the Bible gives us NO physical description of Him. The only picture we need of Jesus is the one in our heart! We need Jesus in our hearts, NOT on canvas! That picture on canvas is an idol. See our article on Pictures of Christ.

Deut. 4:15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: (KJV) Israel was inclined to idolatry. They were in the middle of nations freely worshipping idols of every kind. Their attention is repeatedly drawn to the fact that God did NOT appear on Sinai in any visible form. Caution is given to beware, not only of making representations of false gods, but also any imagined representation of the true God.

Deut. 5:4 The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, (KJV) The Lord talked to Israel, but the people did NOT see God. He was in the midst of this massive fire.

Deut. 34:10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, (KJV) No Hebrew prophet or ruler equaled Moses in
character or official dignity, or in knowledge of God's will and opportunities of announcing it.

Judges 6:22 And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. (KJV) Why was Gideon afraid of seeing an angel? The Israelites believed that no one could see God and live.

Exodus 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. (KJV) Did Gideon think this also applied to angels? Or --- did he know it was the Lord, the preincarnate Christ?

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (KJV) Now, is our present state. Through a glass (in a mirror); ancient mirrors were made of polished brass or other metals. Seeing an object reflected in a dull mirror (such as ancient mirrors were), compared to seeing it directly, is a big difference. Darkly . . . neither "eye nor ear" can fully represent (even though our soul gets a small revelation now) "the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9).

Compared with the visions and dreams bestowed on other prophets, God's communications with Moses were "Face to face." But compared with the direct vision of God in the hereafter, even His revealed Word now is "a dark speech" (Num.12:8 above). It’s like a shadow compared to God's likeness. 2 Peter 1:19 states the "light" or candle in a dark place stands in contrast with the "day" dawning. God's Word is called a glass or mirror also in 2 Cor. 3:18. When the day comes, we shall see our Lord Face to face, and know Him intimitely. For now, we are known by, rather than know God (1 Cor. 8:3; Galatians 4:9).


Exodus 33:18-23 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. [19] And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. [20] And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. [21] And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: [22] And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: [23] And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. (KJV)

Moses’ prayer was to see the glory of God because He wanted assurance of God’s Presence with him, Aaron, and Joshua. Because we are finite and morally imperfect, we cannot exist and see God as He really is. To see God’s back means we can only see where God has passed by. We can only know Him by what He does and how He acts. We cannot comprehend God as He really is apart from Jesus Christ (John 14:9). Jesus promised to show Himself to those who believe (John 14:21).

A full disclosure of the glory of God, would have overwhelmed even Moses. God’s goodness is His glory; and I think He will allow us to know Him by the glory of His mercy, more so than by the glory of His majesty. Upon that rock was a fit place for Moses to see the goodness and glory of God, for that rock in Horeb was symbolic of Christ the Rock; the Rock of our refuge, salvation, and strength. Happy are all those who stand and build on this Rock. The “cleft” may be a symbol of Christ, for He was smitten, crucified, wounded, and slain. God in Christ, is the fullest and brightest display of His glory, grace, and goodness.

I look forward with great anticipation to seeing my Saviour and Lord, Face to face! Even so, come Lord Jesus!

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