Face to face?
The Bible states that God at time spoke “face to face” with various Bible characters, and many Christians sincerely believe this to be so. Did he really?
Although the Scriptures do, indeed, say that The Creator God spoke “face to face” with the children of Israel, they did not actually see him as one sees with the eyes.
As I explain in the companion study in which I prove that God had actually never been literally seen, this form of “seeing” God is actually referring to “understanding” or “comprehending” God. It is actually a well known and often used definition of “seeing” something. We all at times, when trying to explain something to someone else, often ask, “Do you see now?”. In such concersations what we are actually wanting to know is if they understand or comprehend what we are telling them.
That is precisely what Scripture means when it talks of “seeing” God and what Yeshua (Jesus) meant when he said in the gospel of John:
John 14:9 (KJV)
9 Jesus saith unto him, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”
Yeshua was not saying, effectively, “Hey guys! If you are looking at me then you are looking at God.” Instead, he was explaining that if they understood the teachings and faith example that he provided, then they likewise would understand what The Eternal God’s will is for all mankind. That was his basic intent within that entire chapter of John’s gospel.
One “face to face” meeting with God is shown in chapter four of Deuteronomy.
12And YHVH (God) spoke 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. …15Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that The Eternal God spoke unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: 16Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female.
The Eternal One would not allow the children of Israel to see any likeness of Himself because He knew they would then make an image of Him and worship it. We see that God’s command was well founded when we consider the far reaching images abomination within the Catholic church, which has ignored and discarded God’s direct commandments against images and idol worship.
Although the passage from Deuteronomy says that God “talked” to them, it was not God’s actual voice they were hearing. Not only is this confirmed by John.5:37, but also by Acts 7:38,53 as well.
John 5:37 (KJV)
37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape.
Acts 7:38,53 (KJV)
12This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spoke to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: …15Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
It was actually angels that spoke with Moses and the fathers of Israel. Therefore, Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians:
12Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
“Ordained” is from the Greek diatasso meaning “to command”.
Again, we read in Hebrews.2:2:
Hebrews 2:2 (KJV)
2For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
It is clear that The Eternal Creator spoke the law to Israel through angels. The Creator Himself was never heard nor seen.
Concerning Gen.32:24-30 where Jacob wrestled with a “man”, he said he saw “God face to face”.
Genesis 32:24-30 (KJV)
24So Jacob was left alone. Then a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25When the man saw that he could not defeat Jacob, he struck the socket of his hip so the socket of Jacob’s hip was dislocated while he wrestled with him. 26Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” “I will not let you go,” Jacob replied, “unless you bless me.” 24The man asked him, “What is your name?” He answered, “Jacob.” 28″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.” 29Then Jacob asked, “Please tell me your name.” “Why do you ask my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. 30So Jacob named the place Peniel, explaining, “Certainly I have seen God face to face and have survived.”
Yet, in Hos.12:3,4, we find out it wasn’t God, but an angel that he wrestled with.
Hosea 12:3,4 (KJV)
3He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: …4Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us.
Most people may think that the Bible must be untrue because it contradicts itself. How can it state that God spoke “face to face” or performed an action, yet in other places present the apparent contradiction that it was actually an angel who did the speaking or actions.
Most people fail to understand the truth regarding “seeing” and “hearing” God because they approach the issue from a mind set or worldview that is non-Hebraic and not based in Torah. In fact, what we have discussed is a well established and standard Hebraic concept. It is what is known as the Torah’s “law of agency”. “The main point of the law of agency is expressed in the dictum “A person’s agent is [regarded] as the person himself” (Talmud: Nedarun 72b; Kiddushin 41b).”
The law of agency, as well as the definition of the Hebrew term shaliach, which means “agent” is discussed in a separate study entitled, “Yeshua: God’s empowered AGENT, but he is not God” in which we prove how Yeshua, as the “agent” of God, cannot possibly be the God by whom he was commissioned as an agent. Please review that study for more information.
The angels that spoke the law were The Creator’s agents or representatives. As such, they had full authority to not only speak in His name, but to seemingly appropriate His name as in Ex.20:2.
Exodus 20:2 (KJV)
2H am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
The angels, as God’s empowered agents, spoke and did exactly what The Eternal Creator God sent them to say and do.
Exodus 23:20-23 (KJV)
20Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. 21Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. 22But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. 23For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
The “angel” (Heb. malak – messenger) would actually speak to Israel, but The Creator God says, “all that I speak” even though He was not the one who literally spoke. The Creator God would command the angel what to say and he would say it.
The same is true of our Savior Yeshua. He said in the gospel of John:
John 12:49-50 (KJV)
3For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 4And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
So we see that Yeshua (Jesus) was simply obeying the commands given him by his God, the Only True God, which happens to be the God to whom he referred in John chapter 17.
John 17:3 (KJV)
3And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Ok, but what about the “angel of God” so often seen in the Scripture? What is this “angel of God”? Was it Yeshua Messiah (Christ) appearing in a preexistent form as most Christians assume? Or was it something entirely different? Please continue to part 3 to find the answer.