And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved (Genesis 32:30 KJV)
Seeing God face to face is knowing God directly, clearly, and fully without an intermediate means such as dreams or written words, similar to how we know someone when we meet them in person. It does not mean seeing God’s physical face, though God appeared to some people physically as we below. We will begin with seeing as knowing and then examine the different avenues people have seen God from the Old to the New Testament.
Seeing God face to face is knowing Him by perceiving or experiencing Him directly and clearly. Imagine sending an email to you, presenting your potential husband or wife with the best flowery descriptions possible. That email will help you know the person described to some degree—indirectly, as “though seeing through glass.” However, when you meet that individual in person, you have an opportunity to know them directly and clearly. In this respect, you have seen them face to face. In the same way, whenever God reveals Himself to us directly and clearly, we “see Him face to face”; this can take several forms.
In the Old Testament, God directly and clearly revealed Himself in various ways. For example, He appeared in human form and wrestled with Jacob, so Jacob saw God face to face( Genesis 32:30). Similarly, the Israelites heard God’s audible voice speaking from Mt Sinai with their ears, and therefore scripture says God spoke to them “face to face” (Deut. 5:4 KJV) though they did not see any visible form( Deut. 4:15).
In the New Testament, Paul tells us we currently see God dimly but will see Him face to face (1 Cor. 13:12). He then explains what he meant by seeing God face to face: “now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” We see dimly today because we mostly see God through the written scriptures, dreams, or visions. But the day is coming when we will no longer see God through these intermediate means; we will know Him directly, clearly, and thoroughly.
Read more: What are Spiritual Eyes?
Watch Deshen Live Bible Study: What Does it Mean to See God Face to Face?
What does it mean to see God face to face? Does God have a physical body?
Apply the Word
Today, you see God’s face every time you know Him more. I pray you keep seeing Him more and more. I saw Christ in His Word, and my life took a glorious course upward. I have one ministry task: to open your eyes to see Jesus in the scriptures. May the Lord open your eyes to see Him more and more clearly!
Ask the Father to open your eyes to see His face more and more.