3:4). 1 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955), 191. “So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before (in the face of) Pharaoh” (Ex. Thus Jacob sought Esau’s good reaction to his coming by sending gifts ahead with his servants. 108 Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on The Psalms, vol. Well does the apostle John warn today’s believers: “Little children, guard yourselves from idols” (1 Jn. For the text itself, see H. Donner and W. Röllig, Kanaanäische und Aramäische Inschriften , vol. Properly applied, Job’s declaration should be ours: “While my spirit is still in me, and the breath from God is in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness and my tongue will whisper no deceit” (Job 27:3-4). Face to face relationship means the exchange of personal thought and feeling, friendship, closest intimacy. Moses understood God’s presence well, for he pleaded with God further, “If your Presence (lit., face) does not go with us, do not take us up from here. In his years of service he has been Professor at Grand Rapids Baptist Theological Seminary, and Northwest Bap... More, 1. We read the Bible to see Jesus. 143:7). For the New Testament believer, however, there is a more immediate realization of that hope. One would “seek the face” of someone in an authoritative position. Verse Concepts He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. The image here is that of a personal meeting or relationship. In the New Testament, thousands of people saw the face of God in a human being, Jesus Christ. Therefore, the apostle Paul can rightly say, “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. (Exodus 33:11, NIV). 2:15). As such it was most pleasing to God and a “sweet savor” offering. King David expressed it so well: “Seek the LORD and the strength he gives! Moses could see God’s back, but not His full glory (that is, His face). In such circumstances it is reassuring to be aware of the Lord’s presence (2 Chr. Such were said to be “a soothing aroma to the Lord” (Lev. What possible importance can images such as these have upon the realities of everyday living before “the face of God?” Quite a good deal! 26:39). 106 See further, Stuart Briscoe, The One Year Book of Devotions for Men (Wheaton: Tyndale, 2000), 252. Likewise someone can “cut off his nose to spite his face” by doing that which is injurious to his own welfare. Accordingly, God declared their just judgment: “I will pull your skirt up over your face and expose you to shame like a disgraced adulteress! The figure of the face may be seen in still other settings. Eugene Merrill describes the rationale behind the stipulation: “The sandal, again, represented forfeiture by the derelict brother of any claims he might have had to his departed brother’s estate. May he smile upon us! 33:20) see God. Indeed, as did Jesus (Lk. The same idea may be seen in the case of unbelievers in the great tribulation period that will climax earth’s present history. This was supremely true of Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice for all mankind (Eph. As Simeon cradled the infant Jesus in his arms he remarked, “My eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence (before the face/presence) of all peoples” (Lk. Once again we see a poignant image. We shall see that the Bible uses many of them. That opponent turned out to be an angel from whom he received a blessing, “‘No longer will your name be Jacob,’ the man told him, ‘but Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have prevailed’” (Gen. 32:28). The combination of prayer and the Word of God thus commends itself for godly living and communion with the Lord. Augustus M. Toplady expressed it so well: Toplady’s reference to God’s smile reminds us of some of the things a face may do. Face, nose, nostrils—what can they tell us concerning God and our relation to him? 19:15; Deut. 1:13). To “make a face” at another can indicate contempt. 26:9, MT). It could be hoped that in using the sense of smell figuratively we would not mix our metaphors in doing so such as in the case of the British parliamentarian who remarked, “I smell a rat, I see it floating in the air, and I’ll nip it in the bud.”74 The wide use of facial features in figurative expressions should alert us to expect to find them in God’s communication to us. For example, God provided comfort and enjoyment to his people by giving instructions as to how Aaron was to bless the people: “The LORD bless you and protect you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Num. 9:6; 14:4; 18:28; 1 Kings 1:23, 31), self-humbling (Num. 3:16).85. 2 Kings 2:9-15). 37:13). 20:35). 1:11). 17:6-12; 81:6-7; 102:1-2; 138:8). 75 Interestingly, the Canaanite god Baal is called the “Lord of the Surface of the Earth”; see P. Kyle McCarter, “An Amulet from Arslan Tash,” in The Context of Scripture, eds., William W. Hallo, and K. Lawson Younger, Jr., vol. Let me leave you with two Bible verses … 24:5-6). 11:7). 72 The words of this familiar hymn were penned by Carrie Breck and set to music by Grant Tuller. “I hope to come visit you and speak face to face” (2 Jn. Here as in several places in the Scriptures we have an example of the well-known call- answer motif. (Revelation 22:4.) When the Sun Sets: Jacob Meets God (Gen. 27:41-28:22), Face to Face with God: Human Images of God in The Bible. 52:11). This same emphasis occurs frequently in the Code of Hammurapi. 29:26). The Bible says believers will, indeed, see the face of God, but in the New Heaven and the New Earth, as revealed in Revelation 22:4: "They will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads." 25:9). 7 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985), 481. If Moses met face to face with God, why, later, was he not allowed to see God's face? - Basic English Bible For we see now through a dim window obscurely, but then face to face; now I know partially, but then I shall know according as I also have been known. Peter’s rebuke and James’ own words stand as good advice to all of us: “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show prejudice” (Jas. And God saw that the light was good. Even as late as Ezra’s time the importance of sacrifices being pleasing to God was recognized (Ezra 6:10). 111 Willem VanGemeren, “Psalms,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Rather, it is given for mankind in order that people may understand his active presence in world affairs, particularly in connection with his own people. Of course, it is only a fancy. In the former category we may note that a bright or shining face may reflect approval or being pleased: “In the light of a king’s face there is life” (Prov. . Such metaphors suggest that God views himself as Sennacherib’s master. 59:8). Do not reject me (lit., hide your face from me)! It is not less true for today’s believers, whether in the socio-economic world (Eph. William Cowper also speaks of God’s face in his well-known hymn: “God Moves in a Mysterious Way. What a comfort it is to know that God stands against the wicked but is on the side of the believer (Pss. Unraveling the problem begins with a simple truth: God is spirit. The face is often used for certain verbs expressing personal relationships or encounters. As John opens his gospel, he informs us that “no one has ever seen God,” but that Jesus, “the only God… Prayer may also be expressed as “lifting up the face” (Job 22:26-27), “seeking God’s face” (1 Kings 13:6; Ps. 80 One may note the same idiom in an Old Babylonian letter in which a man writes, “When you have set your face to go to Sippar, …”; see F. R. Kraus, Briefe Aus Dem British Museum (Altbabylonische Briefe, Heft II (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1964), 112, #175, lines 5-6. A particularly graphic figure utilizing the face is that of “pulling up the skirt over the face.” The image is related to the act of harlotry. Sadly, God warned the sinning Israelites of Ezekiel’s day that in a future time he would send them again into exile among the nations: “And there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. He does not have a body: "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth." A “shamed” face points to defeat, frustration, humiliation (II Sam 19:5). 7:21-22). 5:15), or “putting the face between the knees” (1 Kings 18:42). Some realized he was God; most did not. Moreover, even in time of trouble, “You prepare a feast before me in the plain sight of my enemies” (Ps. Confirmation of this understanding comes from Moses’ encounter with God before Mount Sinai. The face is associated with many inanimate objects in the Bible. God’s “face” also reminds believers that God is available in their everyday lives, whether in his self-revelation in the Scriptures or in their daily communion with him in prayer. We also noted that in some texts God is represented as having a nose. King Amaziah of Judah at one time sent a military challenge to king Jehoash of Israel saying, “Come face me on the battlefield” (2 Chr. Such were in evidence at the time of Israel’s passing through the sea (Ex. As the writer to the Hebrews declares, “But now he has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice. 3:21).”105. At still other times a “sad face” can betray sorrow (Gen. 40:7, MT) or a heartfelt need. 2:14). Because God is righteous (Deut. Although attitudes will also be evident in some of the following cases, our emphasis here is on the activity itself. And what a positive and powerful ministry Elisha was to have!87 Here indeed was a man of prayer (2 Kings 4:33; 6:17-18). 1 Pet. The great Creator and Controller of this world invites you and me to receive instruction and guidance from Him for our daily lives. 4:5-6), Jesus declared that this prophecy was fulfilled in John the Baptist (Mt. 4:37). 13:8-12) when believers shall enjoy his presence and behold “the throne of the Lamb and … they will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads” (Rev. Because the human heart is so mixed in the motives that the desire to seek God will be diluted by the desire for human praise, thus vitiating the fast.”83, A further positive note is the scriptural prophecy that God would send “my messenger, who will clear the way before me” (lit., my face; Mal. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 5. So not only did Moses see God, they carried on a dialogue, speaking face to face like friends. Moses is the prime example: "The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend." It can be observed that, “every living thing has the breath of life in its nostrils, but only man has the breath of God in his nostrils.”102 Elsewhere the figurative use of the nose revolves around the sense of smell. Although he was thus out of fellowship with God, God now had his attention. Unlike those who lived under the old covenant, whose “minds were closed” so that even now “whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds” (2 Cor. Indeed, it was the Lord who scattered the post-deluvial population “across the face of the entire earth” (Gen. 11:8).75 Jehu, the founder of the fourth dynasty in the Northern Kingdom, gave instructions concerning the remains of Queen Jezebel’s body to the effect that it should lie “like manure on the surface (lit., face) of the ground” (2 Kings 9:37). 1:21, 23), his mission was but in the spirit and power of Elijah, who is yet to come. Know that God Wants You to See His Face. Acts 7:32 1. “Lifting up the face” could also indicate the granting of a request (Gen. 19:21, MT) but “turning back the face” meant refusal. Knowing how God will make himself visible to Christians will have to wait until that day. Submission or respect for a superior or elder was demanded in the Old Testament. 19:32), servants (2 Sam. Indeed, the sinning Israelites “turned away (lit., their faces) from the Lord’s dwelling place and rejected (lit., turned their backs on) him” (2 Chr. (Exodus 3: 4, 6) Moses did not literally see God, though, for the context shows that he actually saw “Jehovah’s angel.” —Exodus 3:2. I am the LORD” (Lev. Pss. Although this concept can be worthwhile in aiding readers to relate to God, it can cause trouble if taken too literally. As in the case of human activity in which the “face” is utilized, the action may be positive or negative. 15:13). 82:2). Ps. (NIV). “Moses, Who Knew The LORD Face To Face” (Deut. The Scriptures record many other facial features. The Search Of The Wise Men (Matthew 2:1-12), Christmas Searches: Expository Sermons For Christmas, 3. It is likely, therefore, that “face to face” in this context describes a personal encounter between two individuals (i.e., person to person). In addition to hostile situations like open warfare, the idiom “to one’s face” can indicate rebuke. Simian-Yofre notes that the face is often used to represent the whole person, especially in constructions where “face” is followed by the controlling noun. Such is our privilege and high calling, and our eternal blessedness, for David speaks of our “absolute joy in your presence (lit., face, Ps. To be noted also is the Egyptian phrase h£r nb (every face), which commonly means “everyone.”. 1:18; 6:46; 1 Jn. 17:10) or the nation: “I have determined not to deliver this city but to bring disaster on it (lit., I will set my face against the city for evil and not good)” (Jer. very strong anger or displeasure (Gen 4:5).78, “He sees God’s face with rejoicing” (Job 33:26). 2:46), especially of a king (2 Sam. Meanwhile, each believer needs to keep reminding himself that because of God’s daily blessings, his life is to be one that is satisfying and pleasing to God, as well as a testimony to the world. Nevertheless, we have preferred to group the above examples in accordance with the attitude or emotions behind the actions. 67:1; 80:3; 119:131) but should realize that God is “aware of our sins; you even know about our hidden sins (lit., what we have hidden to the light of your face)” (Ps. The crowning result is to "see his face" in the fulness of its glory, and forever. For by these he demonstrated that he “loved us and gave himself for us as a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God” (Eph. If we “show our face” at an event, we attend it or perhaps allow ourselves to be seen there. 3:18).104 “So far from losing its intensity or luster, the glory experienced under the new covenant progressively increases until the Christian finally acquires a ‘glorious body’ like that of the risen Christ (Phil. A still more important text concerning the nose or nostrils is found in the Genesis account of man’s creation: “The LORD God formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7). A “shining” face is evidence of joy (Job 29:24). Thus the psalmist prays, “Hide your face from my sins! Please don’t refuse me” (lit., turn back my face; 1 Kings 2:15-16). 1:17). 33:2-3). For now we see things in a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now my knowledge is in part; then it will be complete, even as God's knowledge of me. Under those circumstances God is said to “hide his face” from his people or bring his judgment. 4:6). Jesus himself predicted, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and experts in the law. 13:12) is reflected in the words of the well-known hymn: “Face to face with Christ my Savior, face to face what will it be?”72 This question is especially meaningful because the face plays an important role in our everyday experiences. 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” At this point, the relationship has changed to signify that Moses asked to see the Lord in His glory! If someone “puts on a bold face,” he attempts to appear confident. 6:16). What Does the Bible Tell Us About Ghosts? 34:5). 82:2). Whether Job’s words are to be understood literally or figuratively (or both) is uncertain.90 If Job’s words are to be understood figuratively in an attempt to describe the general public contempt he feels, the figure is certainly a strong negative one. 19:15). For example, paragraph 141 reads: “If a married lady who is dwelling in a man’s house sets her face to go out (of doors) and persists in behaving herself foolishly wasting her house (and) belittling her husband, they shall convict her” (etc.). (Exodus 33:20, NIV). You will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful follower to see the Pit. See also, Donald A. Leggett, The Levirate and Goel Institutions in the Old Testament (Cherry Hill, N. J.: Mack Publishing Company, 1974). For at Antioch Peter had withdrawn from fellowshipping with Gentile believers because of the arrival of emissaries from James. You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presence (lit., face); you always give me sure delight” (at your right hand, MT) (Ps. The “nose” or “nostrils” of God were also seen at times to indicate God’s displeasure or judgmental power. As Christians, our highest satisfaction will come when we see our God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and when we stand before Them in perfect uprightness. If one of the brothers died, it was the prescribed obligation of the surviving brother to marry the widow. “For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing—to the latter an odor from death to death, but to the former, a fragrance from life to life” (2 Cor. Because of Peter’s actions, “I opposed him to his face, because he had clearly done wrong” (Gal. God then places Moses in a cleft in the rock, covers Moses with his hand until God passes by, then removes his hand so Moses may see only his back. Worship should not be reserved for Sundays, but should be a part of our everyday experience. 84 See E. Ray Clendenen, Malachi in The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2004), 459-60. 2 Kings 13:4), especially in repentance and submission (Hos. (John 4:24, NIV). So, clearly, Moses never truly or fully saw God. Thus although the wicked nations and people defy him, and cast insults with their mouths at him, “You, O LORD, laugh in disgust at them; you taunt all the nations” (Ps. For example, Jonah was God’s prophet but he attempted to run away from God’s will for his life and wound up in the belly of a great sea creature. For as David declares elsewhere, “And as for me, because I am innocent, I will see your face; when I awake, you will reveal yourself to me” (Ps. A “nosey” person, however, pries into others’ affairs and is said to have “poked his nose” into them. 74 Stuart Briscoe, The One Year Book of Devotions for Men (Wheaton: Tyndale, 2000), 201. This problem of seeing God's face is compounded even further by the number of Bible characters who seemed to see God yet still live. Such indeed proved to be the case, for Zedekiah was blinded by his captors and led away in chains to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-7; Jer. Yet “God is merciful and compassionate; he will not reject you (lit., turn his face from you) if you return to him” (2 Chr. The face can reveal many things concerning someone’s inner feelings. 97 William Dyrness, Themes in Old Testament Theology (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1979), 42. 3:5). Some people may “have their nose out of joint” that is, be unduly displeased about something. One should not pray just in difficult times (Pss. In Heaven, we will see God in all His unveiled glory. 15:19). Such a despicable act may account for Job’s feelings of mistreatment by his former friends and neighbors: “He has made me a byword to people. 10:7-9; cf. “Biblical imagery of the hook in the nose symbolizes mastery or forced leading. 27:1-3, 13; 56:9-11). Whether face or nose, these texts assure us of God’s mighty power. 1 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1966), 6, #27, lines 14-15. 19:4). 26:31; Isa. 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