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Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4502

 Did Moses See God?

[b]“And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” - Exodus 33:11[/b]

If you remember the story of Moses, you will undoubtedly remember this conversation. It is one of my favorite conversations in the Bible – and has been the prayer of my heart since I first read it! Who would not want such an intimate friendship with the Lord – that the Lord would actually speak “face-to-face” with you? Others have been considered a “friend” of God’s, but none were written about so intimately as Moses.

Now, you remember the situation. The Lord and Moses are having an intimate conversation concerning the people of Israel. Moses in turn, asked the Lord for understanding.

[b]”Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.”[/b]

I think that nothing touches the heart of God as much as when people ask such a request. God knows our heart. He knows it inside out, including those deep things that we share with no one else. It is marvelous when we reach a point in our lives that we feel that nothing else satisfies – nothing else pleases – compared with the knowledge found in intimacy with the Lord. And God loves granting such gifts to those who honestly and earnestly seek them. Men with such intimate relationship with God no longer fear death (or life, for that matter). They realize and can rest in the ultimate truth of the Universe - God is with them, and is in control of all things.

[b]”And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.[/b]

What an awesome realization! God is with us – and gives us rest! This is so reflective of what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto me…and I will give you rest.” Moses demonstrates his reliance on God by further telling the Lord, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.”

And then, Moses asked the question.

[b]” And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.” Exodus 33:18[/b]

What an incredible request for God! Moses had passed from the point of caring about himself, seeing his life as of no importance compared to the importance of knowing God. Moses might have even known that to see the face of God would be fatal. But he didn’t care! He was so hungry for such one-on-one intimacy with God, that he was willing to pass from this life to the next! Moses had already seen the burning bush. He had witnessed the incredible plagues poured upon the Egyptians. He had seen the pillar of fire and the cloud of God’s presence. But he wanted [u]more[/u]! Moses wanted to see the actual face of the Lord. But the Lord’s answer was timeless:

[b]”And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 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: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.”[/b]

The Lord made it clear to Moses that no one could see Him and live. It was as if He told Moses, “Moses, do you know what you are asking?” God told Moses, I will show you my back parts, but not my face. But when did this occur? This is the end of chapter 33 in the Book of Exodus. But these chapter breaks were not placed in the original text, and did not appear in the published Bible for several millennia. Chapter 34 actually begins where Chapter 33 left off. It begins with God’s instructions to Moses concerning the replaced tablets containing the Ten Commandments (since Moses broke the other).

So, did Moses ever see God? And if so, did he ever see God face-to-face?

I have an interesting theory, but I will have to wait until after work tonight to post it. Until then, does anyone else have an explanation? Thanks!



 2005/6/17 15:47Profile

Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132

 Re: Did Moses See God?

I'm anxious to see what it is you have to write Bro. , I'll be out of town for a couple of days and will catch up when I get back. I'll leave you with this one scripture
Psa 103:7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the children of Israel.
God Bless Bro. Daryl


 2005/6/17 18:49Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4502

 Re: Did Moses See God?

[b]Continued from an earlier post...[/b]

The Bible details the continued story of Moses' life. We know (from Numbers 20:6-13) how Moses disobeyed God (by striking the rock a second time, which the New Testament refers to as a representation of Christ). Because of this, Moses was refused entrance into the Promised Land.

But was God's promise to reveal Himself to Moses ever fufilled?

Chapter 34 of Deuteronomy describes the death of Moses. This chapter tells how Moses, at the ripe old age of 120 years, climbed Mount Nebo. There, from atop the mountain, the Lord showed Moses the Promised Land. But after showing it, the Lord reminded Moses, "I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it" (verse 4).

After that, the chapter explains that Moses the servant of the Lord died on this mountain. Moses was indeed an old man, but the Word tells us how Moses was quite youthful for his age:

[b]"And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." Deuteronomy 34:7[/b]

In other words, Moses was still quite fit. His eyesight was good and he was still strong (I mean, he just climbed up a mountain!). Interestingly, the Bible states that it was actually the Lord who buried Moses -- without anyone knowing where his grave was located.

The chapter concludes with a wonderful eulogy concerning Moses' relationship with the Lord:
[b]"And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew [i]face to face[/i]..." (verse 10)[/b]

Again, the Word states that Moses knew the Lord [i]face to face[/i].

But if Moses was so strong (enough to climb the mountain), and his strength had not departed, why did Moses die? And why was his body buried by God -- in an undisclosed location?

The Epistle of Jude speaks of Moses' body.
[b]"Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee." (Jude verse 9)[/b]

But why would the devil be so concerned with the lifeless body of Moses?

Back in Exodus chapter 34, we learn that when Moses came down from the mountain (Sinai) holding the new tablets, his faced shined. In fact, Moses shone so much -- the people were afraid to approach him. Moses spoke to them, and then put a vail on his face. When he would go in to speak to the Lord, Moses would remove the vail. But when Moses would speak to the people, he would put the vail back on (verse 29-35).

This is probably a result of Moses' encounter with the Lord. Moses was on the mountain, when the Lord fulfilled His promise to "show himself" to Moses.
[b]"And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.

Now remember, Moses' had only seen the "back parts" of the Lord (Exodus 33:23). If the back parts of God caused Moses to shine -- what would happen if Moses saw his face?

Perhaps this actually [i]did[/i] happen.

Remember, Moses' body had not lost his strength, nor was his eyesight gone. Conceivably, it is possible that this happened when God visited with Moses on Mount Nebo and showed him the Promised Land. When Moses had finished viewing the Promised Land, perhaps God showed him something even greater -- His Face.

While this is just a thought, perhaps this is the reason that Satan was so interested in fighting with Michael over the body of Moses. Imagine, if seeing the "back parts" of the Lord caused Moses to shine -- what would happen if he saw God's face? Of course, as the Lord told him, "Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live" (Exodus 33:20).

While this is just speculation, I am interested in the input of others. I started thinking about this in high school shortly after having given my life to the Lord. I always thought that if seeing the face of the Lord was instantly fatal -- then that was definitely the way I wanted to die!

Anyway, I am interested in hearing others' thoughts about this.



 2005/6/17 23:26Profile

Joined: 2005/4/26
Posts: 376
Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

 Re: Did Moses See God?

Dear Christopher,

Exo 34:5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
Exo 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
Exo 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Moses saw what is written above. This is God's Glory and it also describes the name of the Lord. More importantly, it decribes Jesus.

In Christ,

Gary Eckenroth

 2005/6/18 11:48Profile

 Re: Did Moses see God?


I have a slightly different understanding of this bit of history, which I hope to explain simply. I believe that when God called the people out of Egypt and was leading them with the fiery cloudy pillar, they could all see Him. Gradually, they chose to be further from Him and this made Him angry, but, He met Moses face-to-face and granted his requests.

Exodus 19
18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
20 And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses [up] to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
21 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. {charge: Heb. contest}
22 And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.
23 And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.
24 And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: [b]but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them[/b].
25 So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them.

In Exodus 19:9, God had tried to arrange a situation where all the people would hear Him speaking with Moses. v 19 'and God answered Him by a voice', but v 21 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, [b]lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze[/b], and many of them perish.' God's heart was so desirous of the people knowing Him, it is as if He hoped they would [i]want[/i] to break through to gaze on Him, but He knew it would be too much for them.

So Moses went down and spoke with them.

Exodus 20
18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [it], they removed, and stood afar off. 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. 21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God [was]. 22 And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

But, after all the thunderings and lightenings, the long trumpet which sounded louder and louder and made them tremble, what did they say? - [b]'but let not God speak with us, lest we die.'[/b] And that was their last word.

Exodus 24
1 And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.
2 And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.
3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.
4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD.
6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put [it] in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.
8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled [it] on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.
9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
10 [b]And they saw the God of Israel: and [there was] under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in [his] clearness.
11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, [i]and did eat and drink[/i][/b].
12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur [are] with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.
15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD [was] like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

Exodus 31:18
And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

Is it possible to spend 40 days with God, and be handed something by Him and not see His face?

 2005/7/23 19:04


God had hoped the people would believe Moses, because they could see Moses had God's confidence. But, the people didn't want this direct relationship with God, so it was left to Moses to hear from God on their behalf. Still, God was willing to appear. There was no barrier - till the golden calf.

After the golden calf episode, Moses offers his own life in exchange for the forgiveness of the people. He understood how serious this was and that blood may need to be shed to redeem them.

Exodus 32
31 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; [b]and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written[/b].
33 And the LORD said unto Moses, [b]Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book[/b].
34 Therefore now go, lead the people unto [the place] of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.
35 And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

Exodus 33
2 And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:
3 Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou [art] a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.
4 And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments.
5 For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, [b]Ye [are] a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee[/b]: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.
6 And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.
7 And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, [that] every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which [was] without the camp.

Whereas God had let the people wear 'ornaments' He had required them to be removed as an outward sign of their willingness to be His, rather than their idols'.

Here it was that the people saw God in the cloudy pillar, speaking to Moses face to face. God also tells Moses that He knows his name. Being called by name, means something to God and also to the person who is called by name, by God.

(This is reminiscent of Peniel, Genesis 32, where the name of the Other, was an important defining factor of that relationship.)

Moses asks God to go with them and separate them from all the other nations, to be identified with Him, but although He acceeds to Moses' request, His anger with the people forces Him to distance Himself to do so. He will not now, let Moses see His face, because Moses identifies with the people.

If one looks back over what's gone on in these chapters, Moses, who had first seen God in the burning bush, now has an even more intimate relationship with Him, while the people, who have been saved from having their firstborn die, and from being caught up by the Egyptian army, and have been involved in making the Tabernacle that God could dwell among them, have shown more interest in keeping their distance, than in appreciating how much He wanted them to be pleased He could be nearer them.

Centuries later, Jesus is pleading to be believed for the very works' sake, such is the difficulty with faith and relationship that the people have with God. Not even the priests and rabbis believe....

As for Satan disputing for Moses body, I suspect he was desirous of it for no good purpose, being as death is his domain. It is comforting to know this was not allowed to happen.

 2005/7/23 19:07

Joined: 2004/9/28
Posts: 957
Cleveland, Georgia

 Re: Did Moses See God?

This may be way off. Don't trust me, trust God.

I read that "no man hath seen God at any time."

I think that this refers to God the Father. Therefore, to see the Father you must be outside of time (out of the body, like Paul or John, etc).

I believe that people saw God the Son on earth throughout Scripture. In Daniel, on the Damascus Road, etc.

So following my way of thinking, Moses could have seen Christ, or if he was out of the body (not in our physical state) he could have seen the Father. I think that Moses may have met face to face with Christ, and that would be one reason that Christ told the unbelieving Jews, "Moses wrote of me." Because Moses saw the Son.

Feel free to blast this if you see Biblical faults (not because it contradicts a theology). I'm searching for truth whereever it leads.

Hal Bachman

 2005/7/23 22:18Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4502


Great comments. Thanks for your insight!


 2005/7/23 23:44Profile

Joined: 2005/7/18
Posts: 57
Brooklyn, USA


I believe that has been taken at a "too-literal" angle. What this means, "face to face" is the way you & I may speak. They SPOKE back & forth as you & I may speak. That is what is meant by "face to face". There is NO MAN that can survive after seeing the glory of the Masterful Creator of all things.


Arnaldo Santiago, Jnr.

 2005/7/24 0:42Profile

Joined: 2004/9/28
Posts: 957
Cleveland, Georgia



Do you think there is a possibility that Moses saw Christ, though?

Remember that Peter, James, and John saw Moses and Elias in Luke 9:30. If they could appear, certainly it seems Christ could.

Hal Bachman

 2005/7/24 1:01Profile

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