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"And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel:  for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."  Genesis 32:30.

"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."  Exodus 33:11.

"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 day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night."  Numbers 14:14.  [This is a great verse to show that our Lord spoke to all the people "face to face."  Confirmed by the next one]:

"The Lord talked with you [ALL] face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire."  Deuteronomy 5:4.


In A Side Note:  The next three verses teach us of a belief that you could not even hear the VOICE OF GOD and live:


"Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?"  Deuteronomy 4:33.

"And ye said, Behold, the Lord our God hath shewed us His glory and His greatness, and we [ALL] have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire:  we [ALL] have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth."  Deuteronomy 5:24.

"For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the Living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we [ALL] have, and lived?"  Deuteronomy 5:26.




"And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face."  Deuteronomy 34:10.

"And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord [Jesus], Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face."  Judges 6:22.

"And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God."  Judges 13:22.

"Then said I [Isaiah], Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips:  for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts."  Isaiah 6:5.

"And I will bring you [Ezekiel] out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.  And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face."  Ezekiel 20:34-35.  [Here our Lord promises to gather all His people unto Himself and talk with them].


Other possibilities where people believed they had seen God and lived are Genesis 16:13; Exodus 24:10; Judges 13:22; Isaiah 6:5; John 12:41; and Revelation 1:17.






What all these people really saw is hard to say, for the bottom line is comprised in the statement of Exodus 33:20:  "And He said, Thou canst not see My face:  for there shall no man see Me, and live."  Along with Deuteronomy 4:12,which explains quite clearly what the people saw:  "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."


Most likely what they all really saw is summed up in Deuteronomy 5:24:  "And ye said, Behold, the Lord our God hath shewed us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire:  we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth."


But we still must discern what these individuals really saw.  The Bible states in many places that no man can see God and live (see above).  I believe this to be “Gods Face” and live.  For Moses saw God’s “back parts,” Exodus 33:23.


In Isaiah 6:5, we learn that the word, "undone," would be better translated from the Hebrew word, "damah," as literally meaning, "cut off."  So we can understand that these men did see God and live.  But how can that be, considering all the Biblical statements to the contrary?


This superficial discrepancy is cleared up when we understand the Biblical truth that whenever The Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omnipotent, Invisible God, wanted to appear to men, He has done so in the Personage of His Eternal Son, Jesus Christ.  To qualify this statement please see the following verses:  John 1:18:  "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him."  And John 6:46:  "Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father."  And First Timothy 6:16:  "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see:  to Whom be honour and power everlasting.  Amen."  Lastly First John 4:12:  "No man hath seen God at any time.  If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His Love is perfected in us."  Therefore, the Word of God is speaking primarily of Jesus' earthly form (see also John 1:14; Phi. 2:6-8; Col. 1:14-19; and Heb. 1:3; 2:17); what theologies call a “theophany of Christ;” pre-incarnate appearing before the cross.


In a cross reference to Genesis 32:30, we find it to refer to Hosea 12:4-5, which refers to the "angel" that Jacob wrestled with, as being "the LORD God of hosts," or better, "the Angel in charge of the angelic host."  In other words, it is our Lord Jesus Christ Whom Jacob wrestled with.  Thus, in John 1:18, we find the clearest explanation of these sightings of God, in that the Father has not been seen, but Christ.  "No man has seen God at any time except as He is revealed through Christ."  8T:265.  It was not God in His Essential Triune glory, of course, but rather God declared and manifested Himself in the form of God the Eternal Son, Who it was that appeared to men, representing the Everlasting Godhead.


As mentioned before, all such disclosures of this kind, and of God to men, are what theologians call, "Theophanies," or pre-incarnate appearances of Christ [in what would be his human form; that is what they saw].  The English word, "Theophany," is from two Greek words meaning, "God appearing," and it beautifully defines these many appearances of God the Son to men before He actually became man.


But here is the bottom line for us to do as found in First John 4:20:  "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar:  for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God Whom he hath not seen?"  And see John 4:12 (above) again.  And here is our future:  "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."  First Corinthians 13:12.






By contrast, the only God seen is the humanity of God in the form of Jesus, The Christ.  In reality, here is what is not seen in Heaven above or anywhere else:


"[301] We can never by searching find out God.  He does not lay open His plans to prying, inquisitive minds.  We must not attempt to lift with presumptuous hand the curtain behind which He veils His majesty.  The apostle exclaims:  'How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!' [Rom. 11:33; see also Job 9:10].  It is a proof of His mercy that there is the hiding of His [302] power, that He is enshrouded in the awful clouds of mystery and obscurity; for to lift the curtain that conceals the Divine presence is death.  No mortal mind can penetrate the secrecy in which the Mighty One dwells and works.  We can comprehend no more of His dealings with us and the motives that actuate Him than He sees fit to reveal."  5T:301-302.

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