SEEING THE FACE OF GOD
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The Bible says, in the Book of Revelation, that the Throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the new Jerusalem, and His servants will serve Him. We see that grammatically God and the Lamb are considered to be the same Individual, in that it says “His servants will serve Him.” It goes on to say, “They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.”
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Revelation 22:2)
They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:4)
I am well aware that the Father and the Son are two different Persons, although they are One in a way that is not possible in our world of three dimensions. So we are left with the question: “Whose face will be seen by God’s servant—the Father’s or the Son’s?”
My thought is that it is the Father’s face. Jesus’ face is described in the first chapter of Revelation:
His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. (Revelation 1:14)
It is evident that the Apostle John saw the face of the Lord. But nowhere in the entire Bible, to my knowledge, is there any attempt to describe the face of the Father.
Perhaps it is true that when the Lord Jesus appears, everyone will see His face.
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. (Revelation 1:7)
Seeing the face of Christ is wonderful beyond all doubt. But it may be true that seeing “His face,” as in the Book of Revelation, may be referring to the Father. Can you imagine such a privilege?
I remember the story of a Christian professor of the Bible who was dying of a heart attack. As I recall, his family was surrounding him. He awakened momentarily and told his family members not to try to hold him back. He said, “I have seen the face of God.” The he closed his eyes and was gone. I have never forgotten that story.
How I would love to see the face of God. Wouldn’t you? Only one thing I would desire more, and that is to hear God say to me, “You have finished the work I gave you to perform, and you have fulfilled my expectations.” To hear that would mean more to me than anything else I can think of.
“No man can see God and live,” the Bible announces. Why is this? It is because we adults do not have the heart of a child. We are filled with deceit, hypocrisy, cunning, personal ambition, and a willingness to hurt other people if it would be of advantage to us.
God is pure of heart. He is not willing that self-centered people should see His face. We would try to put our sight of God’s face into some kind of project that would bring gain to us.
The Lord Jesus told us that the pure in heart are blessed because they shall see God. Purity can gaze on Purity. But fallen man is not pure enough to look at God’s face.
The angels of little children can see God. It is because they are innocent of the guile and the self-seeking of adults.
Who would not want to see God! I know I would like to. But I am not pure enough to look at the Holy Fire. I am certain there are many people besides myself who would want to see God if there was a way to do so.
When you think of it, even Moses was not permitted to see God’s face. He wanted to, according to the Bible. But God hid him in the cleft of a rock so Moses could not look on God as God came toward him. Only after God was leaving was Moses permitted to see God’s back; but never God’s face.
Yet Moses spoke to God every day in the Tabernacle, until the face of Moses was transfigured to such an extent that Moses had to wear a veil when he came out of the Tabernacle.
Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank. (Exodus 24:9-11)
“The God of Israel” perhaps was not the Father but the Lord Jesus. It is doubtful that the elders saw the Father. This may have been true also of God who spoke with Moses in the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
If this were the case, we can understand more clearly what it costs the Lord Jesus when the Father commanded Him to leave His Glory and come to earth to live among us.
If Moses and Abraham, the personal friends of God, were not permitted to see God’s face, what chance do such miserable creatures as you and I have to see His face. Yet, what father would not want his children to see his face. Of course God wants us to be able to see His face.
We can see God’s Personality in the Lord Jesus, but that is not the same as seeing God’s actual face.
Well, it says in Revelation that we shall see His face. How do we get from here to there?
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)
So the question is, how do we become pure in heart?
If I am hearing correctly from the Spirit of God, the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement has begun. Experiencing the Day of Atonement, or Day of Reconciliation, is the same as being manifest at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
If we are willing to follow Jesus closely, counting ourselves crucified with Him and living with Him, the Spirit of God will begin to point out the impurity in our personality: anger, murder, lust, covetousness, pride, unforgiveness, seeking preeminence, bitterness, haughtiness, personal ambition, lying, treachery, unfaithfulness, covenant-breaking, arguing, violence, causing people to take sides in a cause, boasting, taking God’s name in vain, smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol.
All of the above and many more are found in the human personality, varying in intensity from person to person. It is no wonder we can’t see the face of God.
When the Spirit calls one of these to our attention we are to get alone with God; tell Him exactly what we have been doing; ask Him for forgiveness; and ask Him to remove this spirit from us, telling God that by His help we never will behave in this manner even one more time.
We may have tried to be delivered from sinful behavior, and it did not work. We may have given up in the attempt to have a pure heart. We are in a different day now. If you will do what I have just written, you may be pleasantly surprised. But you are going to have to be in dead earnest. Deliverance from demons, and that is what it is, is nothing to play around with.
If you are a young Christian you might seek assistance from an older Christian, of the same gender as yourself, until you are comfortable doing this on your own. It takes quite a bit of time, removing these spirits from our personality. If we are faithful in doing what we can, the Lord Jesus will help us. He wants a spotless bride.
There may be gainsayers who will tell you that you already are perfect in Christ; or that God sees you through Christ so your behavior does not count; or some other of the deceptions that have destroyed the moral strength of the Christian people. They do not know the way of righteousness, only their dead religious slogans.
If you were perfect in Christ you would not do any of the unclean behaviors I have mentioned above. To say that God does not see what you are doing is totally unscriptural and unrealistic.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13)
When you die and pass into the spirit world, the unclean behaviors you faithfully have dealt with will not be brought up again. It is an eternal judgment.
But you are not as pure yet as Christ intends for you to be. This is the reason why there is a thousand years between Christ’s next coming, and the coming down to earth of the new Jerusalem and the new earth. I refer to the new world as the new world of righteousness. It is at that time that we will be pure enough to see the face of God.
What takes place during the thousand years before the new world of righteousness? The members of the Royal Priesthood, who are the ones who will see the face of God, will either be ruling with Christ over the nations of the earth, or living in the heavenly Jerusalem until it is time for them to come down to the earth as the new Jerusalem.
Both groups, the rulers over the earth during the thousand years, or those of the priesthood who still are immature during that time, will be ministered to until the old personality is gone completely and the purity of the new, Christ-filled personality, has come to maturity.
In both instances, the power that will cause the perfecting of the purity of Christ in the priest will be that of the Presence of Christ. Being near Him, whether while ruling on the earth or waiting in the heavenly Jerusalem, will cause the old to pass away and the new to come forth.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3:18)
Just as the face of Moses was transformed by being exposed to the Person of God (perhaps Christ) in the Tabernacle, so shall we be transformed by being with the Lord for the thousand years, and is the purpose for the thousand years.
This change in us is wonderful to think of. However, we must be very careful to remember that we cannot be a casual Christian in the present hour and expect to be made like Jesus after we die. This is not going to happen.
Remember the lazy servant who did not use his talent? When the Lord Jesus came to him, Jesus did not make the lazy servant industrious and wise. Rather, Jesus rebuked the servant sharply, took away his one talent and gave it to someone who was more diligent, and sent the lazy servant into the Land of Darkness.
As I said previously, we must be careful to listen to the Holy Spirit as He leads us in the program of deliverance from unclean spirits. Also, we must faithfully perform all the other duties of a disciple, such as denying ourselves; taking up our cross and following Jesus at all times day and night; reading our Bible each day; praying continually; assembling with fervent believers; giving of our means; asking for and using gifts and ministries of the Spirit to build up our brothers and sisters in Christ.
This is the genuine Christian discipleship. Today’s preaching of “accept Christ and you will have your permanent pass to Heaven” will never, never, never prepare anyone to see the face of God, neither in the present world nor in the next. You can count on that!
Let’s you and I be diligent servants, using the grace given to us each day to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, until that Day of all days when we are pure enough to see the face of our beloved Father.
(“Seeing the Face of God”, 3304-1)