Little wonder that YHWH and Moses have become so close, after Moses convinced his God not to destroy the people in spite of their evil at the base of God's mountain (Ex. This is not a satisfactory answer for two reasons that I can think of. 80 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. Is God a physical person with literal body parts including a face, a hand and a back? Therefore, human wisdom and judgment is folly and the wise man trusts that God God also said to Moses say to the israelites, the lord, the god of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob has sent me to you. God is present throughout the events of the exodus. The Moses Sees God's Back Bible scriptures located in Exodus 33:12-23 explains directly from God's Word the Moses Sees God's Back topic. That is possible, but less likely than the next possibility. “Then,” God promised, “I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen” (verse 23). (3)    On this particular occasion when Moses witnessed God’s glory, God chose to exhibit such a glorious light that it would have caused death if seen directly. 7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” – Exodus 33:20. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. Shortly after his vision, Moses is tempted by Satan. 8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. Here we see that Moses and others saw God with their own eyes. But theophanies represent events of intensive presence that underline the principle that he is always present with his people and that he is faithful to his word and his covenant.After the incident with the golden calf (Exodus 32), Israel’s future appears to be in doubt. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland recounts the story of Moses and his encounter with the Lord on the mountain. Ouch! 4 O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? Hardly! This passage prompts several questions. More importantly it does not make sense for the creator of the universe, who made all things including material things, for himself to be made of the materials he created. Moses was allowed to see the back view of God as He passed by. Let’s take a look. Maimonides on Moses Seeing God’s Face / Back Guide to the Perplexed: Part One, Chapters 37 and 38 On Exodus 33:12-23 Samuel Ready I) Introduction Exodus 33: 12-23 presents a conversation between Moses and G-d shortly after the incident of the golden calf, after which Moses returns enlightened. To protect Moses, God put him “in a cleft in the rock” and covered him with His hand as He passed by (verse 22). There are other Bible passages where people saw an angel’s face without any harm. YAHWEH said to Moses: “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.” Should High Holy days be observed today as in New Testament times. Moses was not focused on personal success, but on the God who could be known. But later, Moses was not allowed to see God's face. It was for Moses’s benefit that he received the vision, but it is not a literal description of God. Exodus 24:10 tell us that Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders “saw the God of Israel.” Moses was even said to have had the unique honor of speaking to God “face to face” (Deut. Rather, it is telling us that the Lord revealed to Moses that his glory was his holy character by which he is both merciful and just, gracious and good. Judges 6:12 – An angel appeared to Gideon. Clearly, Exodus 33–34 is not informing us that Moses had a glimpse of God’s literal body but only saw his back. Joshua 5 – An angel who was “commander of the LORD’s army” appeared to Joshua. It is like turning on the spiritual lights: when we know God personally, we begin to know the truth about God, ourselves, and our world. YHWH God visited Moses in Mount Sinai but Moses could see only the back side of God. Generally, we tend to think of the backside of anything as its worst side. God is outraged at sin, in the same way that you and I get outraged when we see others being unfair to the people we love. The Bible doesn’t tell us the name of the Pharaohs in power when Moses was being raised in the palace, or when he returned years later to lead the Israelites to freedom. Based on that date, many scholars believe that the Pharaoh of the Exodus may have been Amenhotep II, the grandfather of K… 14 Turn again, O God of hosts! Because of this, we cannot see God’s face and live: God’s holiness would meet our sin, and destroy the sin, and us in the process! 12 Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit? Because God is holy, God cannot tolerate sin. 15 For Gregory of Nazanius, what Moses saw was not Jesus, but "the back parts of God, which he leaves behind him as token of himself, like the shadows and reflections of the sun in the water, which show the sun to our weak eyes, because he is too strong for our power of perception." So, Moses saw God's glory passing by, which means a change of position. Let your face shine, that we may be saved! Anonymous. Restore Us, O God Enter your email address to subscribe to the SOTH blog and receive new posts by email. 18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on … 18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” 19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. After the burning bush, God's relationship with Moses surpasses all other prophets. 6 You make us an object of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies laugh among themselves. In the New Testament, we learn that Moses and Jacob did not see God in some abstract, intangible way. Exodus 33:18-23 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” (19) And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ The Old Testament, however records some instances where God’s people were said to see some aspect of God. Using Human Traits to Describe God Unraveling the problem begins with a simple truth: God is spirit. 16 They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your face! God then places Moses in a cleft in the rock, covers Moses with his hand until God passes by, then removes his hand so Moses may see only his back. A person from the back woods is viewed as ignorant and poorly educated. Notwithstanding God’s being gracious and compassionate to whomever He chose, Moses could not see God’s face and live. The result was that God used these events to raise Joseph up to be the head of Egypt and lead many to faith in God and escape from famine. In this sweet scene, Moses wants to see God’s glory, and God protects him, by showing his “backside.” The … 17 But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself! 33:12–18). And yet Moses is said to see the “backside” of God in our text. At first glance, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face then later tells Him he can’t see His face and live. He was seeing the pre-incarnate Christ. Exodus 33:12 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou … Teams, Task forces, Councils and Committees, Lifeway Spiritual Gift Survey and Resources, Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), July 12: The Sower and the Good Soil (Guest Pastor Jake Taxis). While in prison those four years Joseph saw God's back and waited for God to reveal His salvation. Acts 5:19 – An angel rescued Peter from prison. A Testimony. We can let God’s face shine on us, without getting burnt, because in baptism, we are covered by the pure garments of Christ. He shall see "all his goodness" - he shall have another revelation of the name of God (ver. (1)    God actually has literal body parts. The text makes it clear that the backside of God is His good side, for it is the “goodness … Exodus 33:18-23. Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, 15 the stock that your right hand planted, and for the son whom you made strong for yourself. 1 Kings 19 – An angel appeared to Elijah. 18 Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name! Psalm suggestion: Psalm 80: In addition to the readings below, try reading and reflecting on Psalm 80 each day this week. (20)  But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”  (21)  And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock,  (22)  and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. In this more intensive meeting, described in Exodus 34:5–28, As is usual with theoph… It is an intriguing and important account. I can think of three possible ways of understanding why Moses saw God’s back. 17 And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back: but my face shall not be seen. 11 It sent out its branches to the sea and its shoots to the River. This was how Moses “came to Horeb, the mountain of God.” When Moses saw the lamb drink thirstily from the brook, he said, “Little lamb, had I known that you were so thirsty, I would have carried you to the water on my own back!” After hearing that, God said, “Moses is worthy of being the leader of my people.” Since God is spirit (John 4:24), He does not truly have a “face.” Exodus 33:11 is simply saying that God and Moses had a … 34:10). Scripture can be used, however, to pinpoint the year—1446 BC—in which the Exodus is likely to have occurred. 5 You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in full measure. Today’s passage is one of several which help us to stop taking God’s graciousness for granted. Good News Translation Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back but not my face." Yet, the first verse states that he saw God’s face then continued to live. The person who brings up the rear is the loser. Judges 13 – An angel appeared to Samson’s parents before he was born. © 2021 // Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church - Richfield, WI. That is, Moses could learn about God's glory through God's name as well. But if we see the face (but not the back or hands) of God then we will die. 5 1. It does not explain why Abraham saw the LORD, not just any angel. God's would reveal to Moses His self sufficient, eternal unchanging nature through the meaning of His name. (23)  Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”. Three times prayer asks “let your face shine, that we might be saved.” When God’s face shines on us, it means we are in a personal, face-to-face relationship with God. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.’” (Exodus 33:19–23). “Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen,” (Exodus 33:23). Moses could see God’s back, but not His full glory (that is, His face). 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock. Sinai and saw the bush burning. Whatever he saw of God’s nature transformed into blazing light is referred to as “God’s back” and was never subsequently described by Moses … First of all you have it all wrong. Does God really have a “hand,” “face,” and “back”? And so Moses, cowering beneath the umbrella of God's palm, waits, surely with face bowed, eyes covered, and pulse racing until God gives the signal. But note that Moses couldn't see God's face for He said that 'no man shall see me and live!' 17 And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. Who did Moses see when he saw the backside of God? Everyone is welcome! 2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us!3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! Moses saw the back of God's true and divine and that does not mean Jacob got punked. Ouch! We can see an angel without being killed. Because of this, we cannot see God’s face and live: God’s holiness would meet our sin, and destroy the sin, and us in the process! GOD'S WORD® Translation Then I will take my hand away, and you'll see my back, but my face must not be seen." (2)    Since angels differ in rank, then perhaps some angels (or maybe just one angel) is so highly ranked that these rules about dying apply to them (or him), but not to lesser angels. In this sweet scene, Moses wants to see God’s glory, and God protects him, by showing his “backside.” The good news for us is that we live in the new covenant. Jesus said in John 6:46, “Not that any man has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.” Of Asaph, a Psalm. 18); and, further, he shall be so placed as to see as much as mortal man can behold of "his glory" - God will pass by him, and when he has passed, Moses shall be allowed to look after him, and see what is here called "his back." And does God need such things as literal hands with opposable thumbs? Moses certainly was in God’s presence, just as he was in His presence when he walked up on Mt. 9 years ago. What could be the shape of God in this context? Do we die if we see God’s face, but not if we only see his back? God did not show his glory to Jacob if you read God was in the form of a man and not in his true divine form. 32: 11-14). Some examples (and there are more): Genesis 18 – Three angels spoke with Abraham and Sarah. Moses (/ ˈ m oʊ z ɪ z,-z ɪ s /), also known as Moshe Rabbenu (Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ ‎ lit. 10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches. God knew him, as we saw from Deuteronomy 34 at the beginning, God knew him face-to-face - and actually God's glory rested upon his face. International Standard Version Then I'll remove my hand so you may see my back, … Exodus 33:18-23  Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”  (19)  And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. What could be the shape of God in this context? What, then, does Exodus 33:11 mean by saying God and Moses spoke “face to face”? To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. 13 The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it. Shepherd of the Hills, a Lutheran Church, located in Richfield, Wisconsin serves the surrounding communities including Hubertus, Colgate, Slinger, Germantown and Menomonee Falls. 9 You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land. The devil, we are told, gets the hindmost. One of them bore the name of God (Gen 18:23). Moses requests that God show him his glory (Ex. And even after God, says I will be with you, We see Moses is still hesitant, he says. This personal relationship changes everything in our world. So, clearly, Moses never truly or fully saw God. 19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts! YHWH God visited Moses in Mount Sinai but Moses could see only the back side of God. Luke 1:11 – An angel appeared to the father of John the Baptist. Does this suggest that Moses got less than he asked for, or less than he had hoped for? Did God exist before he was born to Mary? 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