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What is meant by seeing the back of God as per Exodus 33:23?

Does it mean that the LORD is causing all HIS goodness to pass in front of Moses according to Verse 19?

Exodus 33:23

NLT - 23 Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.”

Clarify Share Report Asked December 04 2013 178635 435846259785637 203418296 o Rajaraman V

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Q jcryle001 JD Abshire
You could have something there. In Exodus 33:20 we read: "And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live". The natural human body cannot withstand the glory, the brightness and pure white light radiating out from God. Simply put, I believe Moses would have been "toast" had he seen the uncloaked face of God. 

The incarnate Christ veiled by human flesh gave Peter, James and John a glimpse in Matthew 17. Verse 2 states: "And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light."

Paul in Acts 9 got a glimpse of the resurrected and glorified Christ and was blinded for 3 days.

In the New Jerusalem Revelation 21:33 states "And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."

Exodus 33:21-22 "And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:

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:"

1 Corinthians 10:1 " Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;" 
10:2 "And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;"
10:3 "And did all eat the same spiritual meat;"
10:4 "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Symbolically I believe Christ was the place, the rock that is mentioned in (v.21) and the only thing that saved Moses from being zapped (v.22) is that he was in the cleft of the rock, covered by the protective hand of God.

As with God's plan of salvation, the cleft of the rock (in Christ) is the only secure place safe from the judgment and wrath of Almighty God.

December 04 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Joseph Turner Christian, Sunday School Teacher, Actor, Health Food Worker
One helpful resource is netbible.com. They give free notes and commentary on verses and such. To address the question at hand, feel free to look at this link:


Basically the commentary talks about how the Hebrew word used is actually the plural form meaning 'backs'. The way it is being used denotes locality in general, but that is composed of numerous parts. Another way of looking at it, since God is spirit, the meaning could be rendered the 'after effects' of God's presence. It is also mentioned that though it is only the 'afterglow' of what God leaves behind Him, it is enough to suggest what the full brilliancy of His presence must be. 

I hope this helps. I give full credit to the website and the respective authors.

March 02 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini James Vessels
God was going to show Moses the things he wanted him to know from the Creation until the present time. Moses wrote the 1st 5 books of the Bible. God had to show him his backside.

December 11 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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