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Goodbye Jesus

Seeing Gods Face - A Question


Outback Jack

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I've never been brainwashed by the bible (praise Pasta), so I need a little help here.

 

A religious relative once told me that, "no one has ever seen the face of god." Later on I was going thru The Brick Testament and found the bit about Genesis 32:23-33 where Jacob wrastles with the big guy. When I showed this to my relative, he responded with something like, "You have to understand that angels take the place of god sometimes."

 

WHA????

 

Since he also once told me that the bible is "100% true" I guess he had to say something to cover his ass. So I have 2 questions for you folks who know where all this crap is in the bible (I just don't have the patience to read all of it).

 

1) Does the bible state somewhere that god's face will never be seen?

 

2) Does the bible make any claim that angels can take god's place, thereby making any references to god interpretable as an actual reference to an angel?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

OBJ

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Search Nave's Topical Commentary or any good Biblical encyclopedia.

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Good point. I didn't remember that story. He does say "I have seen God's face", so if it was an angels face and not God's, then Jacob was lying or deceived, or the author took some liberties (or more than a few).

 

I think the Bible tell the story about Moses and that he can't see God's face because God tell him that he must die if he does. Somtin' like that.

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Oh, but you want me to do another long Babble study? :clap: Oh boy.

For starters:

Gen 32:30 ESV

(30) So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered."

 

I have: Gen_16:13; Exo_24:10, Exo_24:11, Exo_33:14, Exo_33:19-23; Num_12:8; Deu_5:24, Deu_34:10; Jdg_6:22, Jdg_6:23, Jdg_13:21, Jdg_13:22; Isa_6:5; Joh_1:18; 2Co_3:18, 2Co_4:6; Gal_1:6; Eph_1:17; Col_1:15; 2Ti_1:10; Heb_11:27

 

Exo 33:20 ESV

(20) But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live."

 

Thou canst not: This is well explained by Rabbi Jehudah, in Sepher Cosri (P. iv. § 3): “Of that divine glory mentioned in the Scripture, there is one degree which the eyes of the prophets were able to explore; another which all the Israelites saw, as the cloud and consuming fire; the third is so bright, and so dazzling, that no mortal is able to comprehend it; but should anyone venture to look on it, his whole frame would be dissolved.†In such inconceivable splendour is the Divine Majesty revealed to the inhabitants of the celestial world, where he is said to “dwell in the light which no man can approach unto†(1Ti_6:16). By the “face of God,†therefore, we are to understand that light inaccessible before which angels may stand, but which would be so insufferable to mortal eyes, that no man could see it and live. Exo_24:10; Gen_32:30; Deu_5:24; Jdg_6:22, Jdg_13:22; Isa_6:5; Joh_1:18; 1Ti_6:16; Heb_1:13; Rev_1:16, Rev_1:17

 

You want I should locate all the mind twists the commentators make to explain the contradictions? They truly are works of artful wordsmithing and convoluted logic.

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Yawn, just a bit more before sleep. Let me kow if ya need more in-depth.

 

INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BIBLE ENCYCLOPEDIA

Face

faÌ„s: In Hebrew the translation of three expressions: (1) פני×, paÌ„niÌ„m (2) עין, ‛ayin, literally, “eye†and (3) ××£, 'aph, literally, “nose,†“nostril,†already noted under the word COUNTENANCE. The first and second of these words are used synonymously, even in metaphorical expressions, as, e.g. in the phrase “the face of the earth,†where paÌ„niÌ„m is used (Deu_6:15 et passim) and ‛ayin (Num_22:5 et passim). The third expression preserves more clearly its original meaning. It is generally used in the phrases “to bow one's self to the earth,†“to fall on one's face,†where the nose actually touched the ground. Often “my face,†“thy face†is mere oriental circumlocution for the personal pronoun “I,†“me,†“thou,†“thee.†“In thy face†means “in thy presence;†and is often so translated. A very large number of idiomatic Hebrew expressions have been introduced into our language through the medium of the Bible translation. We notice the most important of these phrases.

“To seek the face†is to seek an audience with a prince or with God, to seek favor (Psa_24:6; Psa_27:8 bis; Psa_105:4; Pro_7:15; Hos_5:15; compare Pro_29:26, where the Revised Version (British and American) translates “Many seek the ruler's favor,†literally, many seek the face (Hebrew penē) of a ruler).

If God “hides his face†He withdraws His presence, His favor (Deu_32:20; Job_34:29; Psa_13:1; Psa_30:7; Psa_143:7; Isa_54:8; Jer_33:5; Eze_39:23, Eze_39:14; Mic_3:4). Such withdrawal of the presence of God is to be understood as a consequence of man's personal disobedience, not as a wrathful denial of God's favor (Isa_59:2). God is asked to “hide his face,†i.e. to disregard or overlook (Psa_51:9; compare Psa_10:11). This is also the idea of the prayer: “Cast me not away from thy presence†(literally, “face,†Psa_51:11), and of the promise: “The upright shall dwell in thy presence†(literally, “face,†Psa_140:13). If used of men, “to hide the face†expresses humility and reverence before an exalted presence (Exo_3:6; Isa_6:2); similarly Elijah “wrapped his face in his mantle†when God passed by (1Ki_19:13). The “covering of the face†is a sign of mourning (2Sa_19:4 = Eze_12:6, Eze_12:12); a “face covered with fatness†is synonymous with prosperity and arrogance (Job_15:27); to have one's face covered by another person is a sign of hopeless doom, as if one were already dead. This was done to Human, when judgment had been pronounced over him (Est_7:8).

“To turn away one's face†is a sign of insulting indifference or contempt (2Ch_29:6; Eze_14:6; Sirach 4:4; compare Jer_2:27; Jer_18:17; Jer_32:33); on the part of God an averted face is synonymous with rejection (Psa_13:1; Psa_27:9; Psa_88:14).

“To harden the face†means to harden one's self against any sort of appeal (Pro_21:29; Isa_50:7; Jer_5:3; compare Eze_3:9). See also SPIT.

In this connection we also mention the phrase “to respect persons,†literally, to “recognize the face†(Lev_19:15, or, slightly different in expression, Deu_1:17; Deu_16:19; Prov 24; 23; Pro_28:21), in the sense of unjustly favoring a person, or requiting him with undue evil. Compare also the Hebrew hādhar (Exo_23:3 the King James Version), “to countenance†(see under the word).

The “showbread†meant literally, “bread of the face,†“of the presence,†Hebrew lehÌ£em paÌ„niÌ„m; Greek aÌrtoi enō̇pioi, aÌrtoi teÌ„Ìs protheÌseÌ„osÌŒ.

 

EASTON’S BIBLE DICTIONARY

Angel

A word signifying, both in the Hebrew and Greek, a “messenger,†and hence employed to denote any agent God sends forth to execute his purposes. It is used of an ordinary messenger (Job_1:14; 1Sa_11:3; Luk_7:24; Luk_9:52), of prophets (Isa_42:19; Hag_1:13), of priests (Mal_2:7), and ministers of the New Testament (Rev_1:20).

It is also applied to such impersonal agents as the pestilence (2Sa_24:16, 2Sa_24:17; 2Ki_19:35), the wind (Psa_104:4).

But its distinctive application is to certain heavenly intelligences whom God employs in carrying on his government of the world. The name does not denote their nature but their office as messengers. The appearances to Abraham at Mamre (Gen_18:2, Gen_18:22. Compare Gen_19:1), to Jacob at Peniel (Gen_32:24, Gen_32:30), to Joshua at Gilgal (Jos_5:13, Jos_5:15), of the Angel of the Lord, were doubtless manifestations of the Divine presence, “foreshadowings of the incarnation,†revelations before the “fulness of the time†of the Son of God.(1.) The existence and orders of angelic beings can only be discovered from the Scriptures. Although the Bible does not treat of this subject specially, yet there are numerous incidental details that furnish us with ample information. Their personal existence is plainly implied in such passages as Gen_16:7, Gen_16:10, Gen_16:11; Judg. 13:1-21; Mat_28:2-5; Heb_1:4, etc.

These superior beings are very numerous. “Thousand thousands,†etc. (Dan_7:10; Mat_26:53; Luk_2:13; Heb_12:22, Heb_12:23). They are also spoken of as of different ranks in dignity and power (Zec_1:9, Zec_1:11; Dan_10:13; Dan_12:1; 1Th_4:16; Jud_1:9; Eph_1:21; Col_1:16).

(2.) As to their nature, they are spirits (Heb_1:14), like the soul of man, but not incorporeal. Such expressions as “like the angels†(Luk_20:36), and the fact that whenever angels appeared to man it was always in a human form (Gen_18:2; Gen_19:1, Gen_19:10; Luk_24:4; Act_1:10), and the titles that are applied to them (“sons of God,†Job_1:6; Job_38:7; Dan_3:25; compare Dan_3:28) and to men (Luk_3:38), seem all to indicate some resemblance between them and the human race. Imperfection is ascribed to them as creatures (Job_4:18; Mat_24:36; 1Pe_1:12). As finite creatures they may fall under temptation; and accordingly we read of “fallen angels.†Of the cause and manner of their “fall†we are wholly ignorant. We know only that “they left their first estate†(Mat_25:41; Rev_12:7, Rev_12:9), and that they are “reserved unto judgment†(2Pe_2:4). When the manna is called “angels' food,†this is merely to denote its excellence (Psa_78:25). Angels never die (Luk_20:36). They are possessed of superhuman intelligence and power (Mar_13:32; 2Th_1:7; Psa_103:20). They are called “holy†(Luk_9:26), “elect†(1Ti_5:21). The redeemed in glory are “like unto the angels†(Luk_20:36). They are not to be worshipped (Col_2:18; Rev_19:10).

(3.) Their functions are manifold.

(a) In the widest sense they are agents of God's providence (Exo_12:23; Psa_104:4; Heb_11:28; 1Co_10:10; 2Sa_24:16; 1Ch_21:16; 2Ki_19:35; Act_12:23).

(B) They are specially God's agents in carrying on his great work of redemption. There is no notice of angelic appearances to man till after the call of Abraham. From that time onward there are frequent references to their ministry on earth (Gen. 18; 19; Gen_24:7, Gen_24:40; Gen_28:12; Gen_32:1). They appear to rebuke idolatry (Jdg_2:1-4), to call Gideon (Jdg_6:11, Jdg_6:12), and to consecrate Samson (Jdg_13:3). In the days of the prophets, from Samuel downward, the angels appear only in their behalf (1Ki_19:5; 2Ki_6:17; Zech. 1-6; Dan_4:13, Dan_4:23; Dan_10:10, Dan_10:13, Dan_10:20, Dan_10:21).

The Incarnation introduces a new era in the ministrations of angels. They come with their Lord to earth to do him service while here. They predict his advent (Mat_1:20; Luk_1:26-38), minister to him after his temptation and agony (Mat_4:11; Luk_22:43), and declare his resurrection and ascension (Mat_28:2-8; Joh_20:12, Joh_20:13; Act_1:10, Act_1:11). They are now ministering spirits to the people of God (Heb_1:14; Psa_34:7; Psa_91:11; Mat_18:10; Act_5:19; Act_8:26; Act_10:3; Act_12:7; Act_27:23). They rejoice over a penitent sinner (Luk_15:10). They bear the souls of the redeemed to paradise (Luk_16:22); and they will be the ministers of judgment hereafter on the great day (Mat_13:39, Mat_13:41, Mat_13:49; Mat_16:27; Mat_24:31). The passages (Psa_34:7, Mat_18:10) usually referred to in support of the idea that every individual has a particular guardian angel have no such meaning. They merely indicate that God employs the ministry of angels to deliver his people from affliction and danger, and that the angels do not think it below their dignity to minister even to children and to the least among Christ's disciples.

The “angel of his presence†(Isa_63:9. Compare Exo_23:20, Exo_23:21; Exo_32:34; Exo_33:2; Num_20:16) is probably rightly interpreted of the Messiah as the guide of his people. Others have supposed the expression to refer to Gabriel (Luk_1:19).

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Wow! Just wow!

 

I had NO F-ing idea that religious people could put so much work and research into those kind of ideas. I'm really impressed.

 

Of course, I have absolutely no idea what the hell they're trying to say! (No insult to you intended, 1odd. It's about my bedtime too. But I skimmed thru this and it makes no sense whatsoever. But I thank you for it. I'll read it better this weekend and see if it makes any more sense.)

 

Off the top of my head, this just seems like they're trying to dazzle with bullshit. Am I wrong, or are they really saying something useful here?

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Wow! Just wow!

 

I had NO F-ing idea that religious people could put so much work and research into those kind of ideas. I'm really impressed.

 

 

Off the top of my head, this just seems like they're trying to dazzle with bullshit. Am I wrong, or are they really saying something useful here?

 

The dazzle of BS is astounding (I'm almost ashamed to say that I understand it - Gads.), and if you're into theology, it's actually useful. Nave's is a good start, post if ya want more (and maybe more organized with more effort on my part)

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(I'm almost ashamed to say that I understand it - Gads.)

 

You have my sympathies, 1odd!

 

Nave's is an interesting link; thanks for it. But it just seems to link together similar keywords. I don't know how I'll have a use for it, but I'll keep it in my bookmarks.

 

I don't want you to work any more for a fairly minor point I'd like to make with my relative, but what's your personal opinion? Is my relative just trying to cover up for another bible contradiction? Or at least a contradiction about something that he's been told and now tells to others?

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I have met few people who take the effort to deeply research into these contradictions (or have the time-many years in a :D "gated community" afforded me the time); most listen to a few radio preachers and perform their pre-formatted bible studies.

His answer has a lot of scriptural backing, and the subject has had extensive, hmm, explanation (and I prefer the Reformers for reasoned and thorough expositions).

 

Better yet, challenge him to provide a 20-page analysis of the relevant quesiton using commentaries and studies. I guarantee that he will look at his flavor of the myth differently, and maybe not have enough spare time to bug you ;)

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Better yet, challenge him to provide a 20-page analysis of the relevant quesiton using commentaries and studies. I guarantee that he will look at his flavor of the myth differently, and maybe not have enough spare time to bug you ;)

 

Hell, I can't even get him to answer any of my questions anymore!

 

Actually, he wasn't bugging me. He wanted to discuss religion with me. I knew he was trying to convert me but I agreed because I respect him on many levels and I wanted to learn more about xtian beliefs. He's also a smart xtian who knows about the nastier parts of the bible. I figured he'd have some answers for me.

 

Unfortunately, I was wrong. First he started ignoring my questions (just responded with more questionable bullshit) but every letter generated more questions. Just a few days ago, he said that he's done with our religious discussion because "neither one of us is going to change our minds." I guess he just coundn't take the heat (or the lack of blind acceptance).

 

One of the best things he claimed was that there was more eviedence for JC than there was for Napoleon. LOL! I showed him some contemporary evidence for Napoleon and asked him to do the same for JC. Strangely enough, he never did!

 

Anyway, I plan to write a final letter with a torrent of questions for him to ignore. This "god's face" question was something I wanted to mention. I just wanted to see where he was getting his info before I organized a cutting remark or comment.

 

Cheers and thanks for the help, 1odd. I appreciate it.

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The sad thing is that he apparently can't understand that a religious talk can just be about gaining knowledge. It doesn't have to be about converting the other person.

 

During our discussion, I learned many things about Xtiananity. Most of what I learned came from this website though, which probably explains why he quit answering questions.

 

I tried to teach him something as basic as the idea of the scientific method. All he got out of it was that "a theory is just a guess." <sigh>

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