Why does God say whoever sees His face will die?


Exodus 33:20

ESV - 20 But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.

Clarify Share Report Asked December 18 2013 Img 0422 %282%29 David Riley

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Stringio Joseph Turner Christian, Sunday School Teacher, Actor, Health Food Worker
It is my opinion that, first and foremost, God's Word is, among other things, an encrypted love letter. That being said, everything mentioned in the Bible has a specific reason for being there. One reason that we do not have lengthy topical sections is that it would be that much more easy to distort things. So, in order to understand God's Will, one must thoroughly know His Word. 

Why does He say that whoever sees His face will die?

In other passages, we are informed that only one person has seen God's face, the One Who came from Heaven, His Son Jesus Christ. 
(John 1:18; 1 John 4:12;)

And we are told by Jesus that only He knows the Father, as well as anyone He has revealed the Father to. (Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22)

And the Only Way to the Father is through Jesus. (John 14:6)

There are multiple instances of people meeting God, however, they did not see His face, like the burning bush with Moses (Exodus 3:2) as well as when God passed Moses by (Exodus 33:22), the pillars of cloud and fire with the Israelites (Exodus 13:21), in dreams (sometimes with a humanoid form, however, form is not the same as substance) to Abimelech (Genesis 20:3), Jacob (Genesis 28:11-13), Solomon (1 Kings 3:5), etc. And there are many other instances where the Angel of the Lord appears, but that is attributed to being the pre-Incarnate Christ. 

Then there is the instance where Stephen sees Christ standing at God's right hand. (Acts 7:55-56) However, technically speaking it was God's glory Stephen saw, not His face, and even then, that was right before Stephen was stoned to death.

However, no one has seen God's face except for Christ. We are to look to Christ if we want to know what God looks like. Ultimately, we are to concern ourselves with resembling Him in character. 

It is also good to remember these things when encountering those who do claim to have seen God's face or that He is flesh and not Spirit. Another reason that those who see God's face do not live is that, at least in the case of those being Judged, that would be the second death.One day all believers in Christ who worship in Spirit and in Truth will see Him face to face and they will rejoice.

January 16 2014 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Sidgar .
It would be too much for the limited human mind to bear. To stare in the face of eternity, even for a millisecond, would overload all the senses and destroy our feeble minds. We are but specks of dust in this unimaginably large universe. Just imagine how much greater the one who created it must be!

January 17 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

David goliath victory hg clr Jim Tumlinson One beggar leading others to where the bread is
Here are some things to look at
Gen 32:30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." NIV

Ex 24:11
Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they saw God, and they ate and drank. NASU 

It seems it only pertained to the old testament and perhaps that is because of right standing. They were under the law and the only one under grace back then were before the law and nothing happened and it looks as if no one in the new testament has had a problem with seeing God and dying. Perhaps it is because we are made right in Jesus once we get born again. We are the righteousness of God in Christ 2 Cor 5:21.

I have heard it said that we don't see God or Jesus but the Holy Spirit who is still here on earth to help us etc. Since Jesus is seated at the right hand of God and God is on His throne though He is omnipresent. The good thing is once we die we get to see Him and that will be a glorious day.

January 23 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Mike Olynyk
I love how we can try and try and try to understand the fullness of who God is, and we will never get there. It is a life long journey to fully know our Father, one we will never have all together, get bored and move on from.

I believe this answer not only answers this question, but also answers the question: why Jesus had to die? We seem to separate the spiritual realm and from the physical realm in our thinking. The spiritual reality is intimately and necessarily linked to the physical. With this understanding, we can see that God is Holy...which I define as absolutely morally pure. Only the Triune God can claim that. If we were to see the face of God...the fullness of perfect holiness in the midst of our sinfulness, we surely die. Even Moses, a leader of great character and faith was not perfect. He asked to see God's full glory (a brazen ask) and God said it was not possible (Ex 33:18ff). So Moses saw his back, yet even seeing the backside of God, the spiritual realm collides with the physical. He still came down the mountain, His skin was luminescent, phosphorescent...he was glowing like a lightbulb and people were afraid (Ex 34:29ff). As stated before, a similar thing happened to Stephen. The spiritual meeting the physical, Stephen sees God and his face starts to glow.

So this then informs our question on why Jesus had to die or even, why a loving God isn't a universalist. Even if we lived a perfect life from this moment on, we are tainted with sin. The taint stops us from seeing the full glory of God in Heaven. It is physically and spiritually impossible for us to be up in Heaven and seeing God's full glory and continuing to live. This is not God being a cosmic meany, but a reality based on the nature of God, the Spiritual and physical reality of His perfect holiness. It is impossible to be in His presence and live.

Yet, Jesus was the perfect and only possible intermediary for us. He was 100% God and 100% human. How is that possible to be 100% human while seemingly cheating with the presence of God? Wouldn't that make Him a demi-god? No, Phil 2 tells us that he voluntarily gave up His God powers, He emptied Himself (quite a sacrifice this Christmas event I might add) so He wasn't cheating and could be fully human. Everything He did on earth was through the power of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit we have access to by the way (Rom 8:11).

Because Jesus never sinned and was fully God, He was powerful enough to pay for all sin...and then He conquered sin, Satan and death by raising from the dead. When we choose and confess Jesus as our King (not some simple prayer but a lifestyle change where we become Princes and Princesses of His Kingdom[1 Peter2 :9-10]), we embrace His promise and in that moment upon confession, obtain the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21). That's how we can see God's full face in Heaven and that's why we can't see it on earth. Praise Jesus that through His sacrifice and victory, we are made holy and pure too!

March 27 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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