Exodus 33:20, No man shall see me, and live
But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”
//These are God’s words. God tells Moses on Mount Sinai that nobody can see his face. The confusing part of this, however, is that others throughout scripture do seem to see God face-to-face. So what, exactly, is God telling Moses?
Moses is shielded from seeing God’s face, but he is allowed to see God’s “glory,” the light which surrounds God. This becomes evident when the “glory” spreads to Moses, and his face also begins to shine (see the end of chapter 34).
According to Jewish tradition, God’s image hides behind an intense light. God’s glory—his kavod—conceals him and protects those who come face-to-face with God, just as happened with Moses. See, for example, the Gospel of Thomas saying 83:
Jesus says: “The images are visible to a person, but the light within them is hidden in the image. The light of the Father will reveal itself, but his image is hidden by his light.”
As the Gospel of John proclaims, God is Light. Tradition holds that this is the closest we will ever come to seeing God’s true image. Thus today’s verse, Exodus 33:20, tells the truth; perhaps many in scripture see the “face” of God, but they do not actually see the true image of God. The light emanating from God protects them from this.
The River of Life
The Way It Happened
|Revelation: A love story gone awry.||The Gospel: A love story set aright.|
What really happened 2,000 years ago? How did a persecuted minority of end-time believers known as Christians, with their dreams of Armageddon and a conquering Messiah named Jesus, evolve into the largest religion in the world? Author Lee Harmon explores the period in which the New Testament was written in his books about John's Gospel and Revelation.
(Bloggers: you may be eligible for a free review copy! Just contact us.)
The God Show
- Book review: Questioning Your Doubts
- Book review: Glimpsing Heaven
- Reframing a Relevant Faith
- A Man Called Jesus, A Novel
- Book review: The River of Life
- God of Fire: The Hope Reformation
- The Weight of a Feather: and Other Stories
- Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense
- Book review: You Don’t Understand the Bible Because You Are Christian
- Book review: The Way of Serenity
- Book review: The Beckoning
- Book review: The Two Faces of Christianity
- Book review: The Book of Revelation and the Coming Judgment
- Book review: True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense Of Our Complex World
- Book review: The Bible Tells Me So
- Book review: That Old Devil Called God Again
- Book review: Calvin for Armchair Theologians
- Book review: Wine and the Word
- Book review: postChristian
- Book review: The Eucharist
- Book review: The Synoptic Problem
- Book review: Lost Christianities
- Come Out of Her My People
- Book review: The Bible Tells Me So
- Book review: We Make the Road by Walking
- Book review: Lincoln’s Bishop
- Book review: Becoming the Son
- Book review: The Beautiful Scientist
- Book review: Healing Marks
- Book review: Make Christmas Real
- Luke 5:5-7, The Fate of the Lost Sheep
- Luke 15:21-24 Who is the Prodigal Son?
- Matthew 13:45-46, The Dark Side of the Pearl
- Mark 14:62, The Son of Man
- Luke 24:44, What is the Tanakh?
- Genesis 9:25-27, The Curse of Ham
- Matthew 12:22-24, The Battle With Satan
- Matthew chapters 13, 20 and 22: Parables of the Kingdom
- Matthew 23:33, The Authoritarian God
- Luke 6:20, The First to Enjoy the Kingdom
- Matthew 5:39, Matthew’s Unique Jesus
- Galatians 4:30, Cast aside the Law
- 1 Corinthians 12:27, The Body of Christ
- Matthew 24:34, The Liberal’s Bible
- Mark 1:1 The Messianic Secret
- Mark 3:32-33, The House Church
- Acts 14:14, Paul the Apostle
- Matthew 3:2, Was Jesus a Disciple of John the Baptist?
- John 13:4-5, The Suffering Servant
- Deuteronomy 18:21, How To Know When God Is Speaking
- Exodus 20:4-5, One Calf Or Two? Part II of II
- Exodus 32:4, One Calf Or Two? Part I of II
- Matthew 25:33, What’s Wrong With Goats?
- Genesis 6:14, What Is An Ark?
- Genesis 29:26, Jacob Gets His Just Desserts
- Matthew 28:19-20, The REAL Great Commission
- Matthew 5:13, Doing Good: The Meaning of Christianity, Part II of II
- Matthew 25:33, Doing Good: The Meaning of Christianity, Part I of II
- Luke 17:34-35, The Fate of the Raptured
- Genesis 9:4, God Allows Eating Meat, Part II of II
Archives By Month
Archives By Category
My Favorite Feeds
- James' Thoughts and Musings
The Firefighter's Sign: At church yesterday, a few people were expressing support for a local firefighter who put up a sign...
- Maphead's Book Blog
Immigrant Stories Challenge: All Russians Love Birch Trees by Olga Grjasnowa: Years ago, I read in the newspaper that a rather surprising number of Jews from the lands of the fo...
- The Bible and Culture
The Prince of Peace— Part Two: One of the usual ploys used to domesticate the teachings of Jesus about non-violence is to point to...
- The Religious Left
Our Saturday Moment: By Garrett FitzGerald Originally posted on Holy Saturday, 2012A few years ago, I was privileged to...
- Threads From Henry's Web
Links: Some C. S. Lewis on Christmas: Thomas Hudgins provides samples: here, here, and here. For those who may not know, Thomas Hudgins is...
More Reading: Breakthrough in Argentina; Death without God: One of the books that helped me on my way to atheism was Robert Ardrey’s The Territorial Imper...