Did Moses, Abram see GOD? In Exodus 33:11 we see that Moses saw God face to face, but at the end of the chapter, we understand that still, Moses did not see God. In Gen 18, Did Abram see God.? In I John 4:12 we see that no one has seen God. Can you explain..?
Thank you for your question.
The Bible says in Exodus 33:11, “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.”
God says to Moses in the same chapter, in verse 18, “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.”
We know that there are no contradictions in the Bible. How do we answer this one? We start comparing it with other Scripture.
The Bible says in Colossians 1:12-15, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the INVISIBLE God, the firstborn of every creature:”
The Bible says in I Timothy 1:15-17, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, INVISIBLE, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
The Bible says in Hebrews 11:24-27, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is INVISIBLE.” This passage right here gives us a clear clue, because it is referring to Moses.
As we can clearly see, God is INVISIBLE. John 4:24 says that He is a Spirit. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” A spirit cannot be seen by our physical eyes, unless revealed to us in some form. “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39).
Back to Exodus 33:11, “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.” Imagine for a moment, that you are in church. The pastor is up in front preaching to the congregation. Is he speaking to you face-to-face? Yes. Now, imagine that we make him like a spirit, invisible. He is still standing there, and he is still talking to the congregation, but you cannot see him. Is he still talking to you face-to-face? Yes he is. You cannot see his face, but only because he is invisible. He is still facing you talking, but you cannot see him now.
That is the situation in Exodus chapter 33. God is talking to Moses face-to-face, but Moses cannot see God’s face when He is talking. This is not an isolated instance of this, nor is it trying to just “explain away” a contradiction. The same situation is seen in Deuteronomy.
The Bible says in Deuteronomy 4:9-13, “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. And the LORD spake unto you out
of the midst of the fire: YE HEARD THE VOICE OF THE WORDS, BUT SAW NO SIMILITUDE; ONLY YE HEARD A VOICE. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.”
Notice carefully that it is clear that they heard the voice, but that they did not actually see God, nor any similitude of God.
Now look at Deuteronomy 5:1-4, where it looks back and comments on that very scene. “And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. The LORD talked with you FACE TO FACE in the mount out of the midst of the fire,”
Deuteronomy chapter 4 is very clear that they did not see God, but Deuteronomy chapter 5 is very clear that God was speaking to them face-to-face. That is not so hard to understand, when we realize that God is invisible. God can be looking right at man, speaking face-to-face, but man cannot see Him.
Do you know Jesus, the true and living God, as your personal Savior? “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” (I John 5:20).