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