Summary: Reconciling scriptures that suggests that some people (like Jacob & Moses) saw God face to face and scriptures that say "No one has seen God".
1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
Rev 21:23-25 “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.”
I. JOHN SAYS THAT SOMEDAY WE’RE GOING TO SEE GOD “AS HE IS”
A. Anyone Want To Take A Guess What That Will Look Like
B. Dazzling Light and Devouring Fire Of God’s Glory
II. UNTIL NOW, NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN THE FACE OF GOD
A. Apostle John Makes This Case More Than Any Other NT Writer
John 1:18 “No one has seen God at any time.”
John 6:46-47 “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.”.
1 John 4:12 “No one has seen God at any time.”
B. However, Some Scriptures “Seem” To Contradict This John
Gen 32:30-31 “So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: "For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."
Ex 24:9-10, 17 “Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.”
C. Then In Exodus, We Get A Mix Of Views
Ex 33:9-11 “And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses. All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.”
Ex 33:18-23 “And he said, "Please, show me Your glory." Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live." And the LORD said, "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."
III. MAKING SENSE OF WHAT THEY DID SEE
MAKING SENSE OF WHAT WE, OURSELVES, CAN AND CANNOT SEE
A. Any Contradictions In Scripture Are Only “Apparent” – No Contradictions At All
B. True, Mortal Man Can Not See Face Of God – See Him Directly
1. Like looking into the sun
2. We are not equipped, we’re limited
3. In His compassion to our mortal frames, God doesn’t reveal Himself that way – we just couldn’t handle it – it would be too dreadful