“And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be in their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:3,4). No one on earth except Jesus has ever seen God’s face.[1] Moses, who had the closest relationship with Him of anyone who ever lived, wanted to see God’s glory. God granted him to see his “back,” but told him, “you cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (Exodus 33:18-23).

It is sin that makes it impossible for man to look upon God, whose holiness is incompatible with sin: “Your sins have hidden His face from you” (Isaiah 59:2). “For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). The apostle Paul describes God as “He…who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:16). Because of this, God has always revealed Himself visibly in an indirect way, as “the Angel of the Lord[2] or “the Son of God”[3] and most importantly, as Jesus (“He who has seen Me has seen the Father” John 14:9 ). “God…has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Even the veiled revelation of God’s glory had an overwhelming effect on those who saw him. When “the Angel of the Lord appeared” to Samson’s parents, Manoah, the father, “said to his wife, ‘We shall surely die because we have seen God!” (Judges 13:22,23). Daniel, seeing a vision of the Son of God, said of himself, “No strength remained in me, for my vigor was turned to frailty in me and I retained no strength…I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless…nor is any breath left in me” (Daniel 10:8,15,17). When Paul saw a vision of Jesus on the Damascus road he was blinded and so traumatized that “he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank” (Acts 9:8,9).

It is not God’s purpose to traumatize people with His presence, and for this reason He is constantly trying to prepare His people for a full revelation of His glory. He does this by giving the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts, making us accustomed to His character and holiness. God said through Ezekiel, “I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel’, says the Lord God” (Ezekiel 39:29). Through repentance and prayer we receive His righteousness, and this prepares us to see His face—“He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him, he shall see His face with joy, for He restores to man His righteousness” (Job. 33:26).

All this is preparation for the day when God will show Himself in His full glory. To those who have not allowed Him to prepare them, His glory will be too much—they will be “destroy[ed] by the brightness of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). “But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:2). The “Sun of Righteousness” will bathe the whole earth with radiant glory—And there shall be no night there, and they need no lamp, nor light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5)..

Continue to next section: 22:6-15 I AM COMING QUICKLY

[1] The exception would be Adam and Eve before the entrance of sin. There are those such as Enoch and Elijah who have been translated to heaven, and presumably they have the same privileges there that we will have when we are resurrected or translated.

[2] Judges 6:22, Genesis 32:30.

[3] Daniel 3:25.