The Bible tells us that no one has ever seen God (John 1:18) except the Lord Jesus Christ. In Exodus 33:20, God declares, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” These Scriptures seem to contradict other Scriptures which describe various people “seeing” God. For example, Exodus 33:11 describes Moses speaking to God “face to face.” How could Moses speak with God “face to face” if no one can see God’s face and live? In this instance, the phrase “face to face” is a figure of speech indicating they were in very close communion. God and Moses were speaking to each other as if they were two human beings having a close conversation.
In Genesis 32:30, Jacob saw God appearing as a man; he did not truly see God. Samson’s parents were terrified when they realized they had seen God (Judges 13:22), but they had only seen Him appearing as an angel. Jesus was God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14) so when people saw Him, they were seeing God. So, yes, God can be “seen” and many people have “seen” God. At the same time, no one has ever seen God revealed in all His glory. In our fallen human condition, if God were to fully reveal Himself to us, we would be consumed and destroyed. Therefore, God veils Himself and appears in forms in which we can “see” Him. However, this is different than seeing God with all His glory and holiness displayed. People have seen visions of God, images of God, and appearances of God, but no one has ever seen God in all His fullness (Exodus 33:20).
The Lord appeared to Abraham near the large trees of Mamre. Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent. It was the hottest time of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. So he quickly left the entrance to his tent to greet them. He bowed low to the ground.
He said, “My lord, if you are pleased with me, don’t pass me by. Let me get you some water. Then all of you can wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat to give you strength. Then you can go on your way. I want to do this for you now that you have come to me.”
“All right,” they answered. “Do as you say.”
So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick!” he said. “Get about 36 pounds of the finest flour. Prepare it and bake some bread.”
Then he ran over to the herd. He picked out a choice, tender calf. He gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. Then he brought some butter and milk and the calf that had been prepared. He served them to the three men. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“Over there in the tent,” he said.
Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year. Your wife Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old. Sarah was too old to have a baby. So she laughed to herself. She thought, “I’m worn out, and my husband is old. Can I really know the joy of having a baby?”
Then The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Will I really have a baby, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for me? I will return to you at the appointed time next year. Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was afraid. So she lied and said, “I didn’t laugh.”
But The Lord said, “Yes, you laughed.” Genesis 18:1-3 explained that God appeared to Abraham as a man, and in Ezekiel 1:26-28, it’s a similar scenario: “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a Man….
When Abraham raised his dagger to slay Isaac, he (the father of faith – For Christians, Abraham is seen as the “father of the faith” and is honored for his obedience. The Apostle Paul expands the concept of being a descendent of Abraham when he writes in his letter to the Galatians: “So also Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”) was called into to NOT harm the child… But the angel of The LORD called out to him from Heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (The Word of what would be! For God so Loved the world that He gave His one and only Son – Jesus Christ that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.)
Jacob had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the Earth, with its top reaching to Heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood The LORD, and He said: “I am The Lord, The God of your father Abraham and The God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Genesis 29:12,13
Moses Spoke to God Face to Face – In this context, Moses asked to see God’s glory. In essence, God responded, “Alright, but not My face revealed in full glory of My goodness. If that were to happen, you would be so radically changed on every level that no one could relate to you anymore.
And we seek The glory of God, Amen.
LORD, we cannot see Your Face and live, we ask that in our life, You shine Your glory down upon us so that we glow with Your Essence. Father, use us to do Your work we ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.