Can man see God the Father?
No man can see God the Father and survive. In the Old Testament, not even Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel, was allowed to see God the Father. We read the following, “And the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of the words, but saw no form; you only heard a voice” (Deuteronomy 4:12).
When Moses asked to see the full glory of God the Father (Exodus 33:18), his request was denied. The Lord said to Him, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (Exodus 33:20). Instead, Moses was covered with the hand of God as the Lord revealed His character to him saying, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilt” (Exodus 34:6, 7).
Jesus affirmed the same truth in the New Testament, “No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:18). And He added, “Not that anyone has seen the Father except He who is from God; He has seen the Father” (John 6:46). Sinners cannot see God the Father face to face and live. If at the appearance of one angel, the Roman soldiers at the tomb of the risen Christ “became as dead men” (Matthew 28:4), what might be expected when sinful man is ushered into the very presence of the Father?
Some have witnessed the glory of the divine presence (John 1:14), but, except in vision, none have seen the divine person (Isaiah 6:5). Christ came to reveal the Father, and, for all practical purposes, those who saw Him saw the Father. “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him. Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us. Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works” (John 14:7–10).
Is Exodus 33:11 contradictory to Exodus 33:20?
Exodus 33:11 says, ”So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” In this verse, the Bible is speaking of God the Son as “manifest in the flesh,” in the person of Jesus before His incarnation and thus with His glory hidden. But in Exodus 33:20, the Bible is speaking of God the Father in His undimmed glory.
There are many verses in the Bible that tell us that God spoke to men in the person of Jesus in the Old Testament. Some of these examples are: Abraham (Genesis 18:1-3), Jacob (Genesis 32:24–25, 30), Joshua (Joshua 5:14, 15), Gideon (Judges 6:22; 13:22), Daniel (Daniel 3:25), etc. And in the New Testament, God also spoke to men in the person of Jesus (John 1:18; 6:46; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 John 4:12).
In His service,