“So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend…since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face” (Exo. 33:11; Deut. 34:10).
Parts of the body are used throughout scripture to relay various spiritual truths. The head signifies authority, the feet are emblematic of one’s walk, the hands represent one’s deeds, the eyes bespeaks of one’s vision and understanding, the forehead represents the mind. But in the events that took place in Sinai, the face is a part of the body that is repeatedly mentioned. We read of the face of God, which no man can see and live (Exo. 33:20). The face of Moses shone as he came down from the mountain (Exo. 34:29) and as we read in the opening text, Moses spoke to God face to face (Exo. 33:11). It was no coincidence that the shining of the glory that Moses manifested was predominant in the face. God had ordained it. Jesus’ face had also shone like the sun as He was transfigured on the mount (Matt. 17:2). So what is the spiritual significance of the face? And what does it mean to speak with God face to face?
The face often epitomizes the very person and is important for recognition and identity. Face to face contact also bespeaks of a more intensified connection with someone. John writes in his farewell greeting: “I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full” (2 Joh. 1:12). Emotions such as joy, sadness, anger, fear and grief are all conveyed in the face. Thus, the face serves as an important mode of communication.
The scriptures convey to us that God has a face. It’s the earnest desire of every son to seek God’s face and to communion with Him face to face. I trust that none will imagine that we will have to go to a throne in a distant galaxy to encounter an entity we call “God” face to face. God is Spirit and does not have a body. He exists in the eternal dimension of spirit. And anyone who desires to speak with Him face to face needs to be caught up into the same dimension of spirit, for it is in that realm of being that one beholds God’s face with their unveiled face (unhindered by the natural mind).
Therefore, speaking face to face implies a spirit to spirit communion between the Lord and us. Consider John the revelator. Where did he experience that awesome sight of One like the Son of Man? He affirms: “I, John… was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:9, 10). While John was physically in Patmos, he was in the Spirit. And it is there, that John beheld the face of the One like the Son of God whose countenance was like the sun shining in its strength, His eyes like a flame of fire, His voice as the sound of many waters, and out of whose mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. Surely, beholding His face with ours is to enter into a preeminent dimension of Spirit where we encounter His life, for “in the light of the king’s face is life” (Prov. 16:15).
Beloved, there is no other way to commune with God outside of the Spirit of Christ. We know humans can relate to each other because they function at the level of human nature. Just as lions relate to their kind because their minds function at the level of lion nature. But human nature is of a different and higher order than lion nature. Similarly, God is of a different and higher order than the natural because He operates at the plane of divine nature. Therefore, men cannot relate to God by their human nature. Paul declares: “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things” (1 Cor. 2:14-15). Thank God that we have the capacity to communion with God in the dimension of spirit because we have been made “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4).
This face to face communion of His Spirit with ours is relayed by Paul who states: “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16). As the offspring of God, made in His image and likeness, we share the same nature and are created to fellowship with God in the spirit. Jesus declared: “God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality)” (Joh. 4:24 Amp). True worship is worship in the spirit. This is the deep calling unto deep of which the psalmist writes. Praise God, we need not go far or wait a lifetime; the Spirit of Christ is in our midst, nearer than our very own breath. And in seeking and entering into union with the indwelling Spirit we seek and communion with God face to face. It is there that we experience the essence of His joy, His peace, His compassion, His goodness, His wisdom, His love and all His life entails. On the contrary, when God’s face is hidden, these experiences are withheld from finding expression within.
It’s not by accident that God has designed the face possessing most of the senses. All that is on the face including: seeing, speaking, tasting, and smelling are the senses we appropriate spiritually in encountering the countenance of our Father. And so, meeting God face to face is an intensified joining together in perfect union where we experience the attributes of God through all the senses on the face. Surely, this encounter will cause our face to shine (express the divine) for it will transform our mind and very nature.
Consider the shining of God’s glory both on the face of Moses and Jesus Christ. These events point us to a wonderful mystery about the transformation of His sons. “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (Mat. 17:1-2). The word ‘transfigured’ (Greek: metamorphoo) refers to being transformed and is the same word used in Romans 12:2: “be transformed (metamorphoo) by the renewing of your mind”. Thus, to be transfigured in the face is the outward expression of being transformed in mind. Notice, although there were four men on the mount but only one was transfigured. The only One transfigured was the One who was a manifested Son, the One who had the mind and nature of God and who was communing with God face to face.
We also read in Revelation 22:4; “they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads”. Those who see His face are those who have His name on their forehead. His name (i.e. His nature) on the forehead bespeaks the inscription of God’s nature on the mind. These are they who possess the mind of Christ. As they communion with God face to face, they are transfigured to reflect God’s glory and nature. For in continually beholding the glory of Christ as in a mirror we are transformed into the same image from glory to glory. For when He is revealed, not only shall we see Him as He is, but we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2).
However, to behold His face with ours, we need the veil removed from our face. This is part of our transformation which involves the putting off the mind of the flesh, which veils our face from beholding and expressing His divine nature. All that is on the face: the spiritual faculties of seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting are all inhibited by the veil over the face. Paul states: “now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.” (1 Cor. 13:12). Seeing Him dimly signifies an in-part understanding and union with the mind of God. On the contrarty, a face to face interaction suggests a perfect knowledge, a seamless communion, and an unimpeded union in the Spirit. For the veil (flesh) is removed by being in the Spirit (Rom. 8:13; 2 Cor. 3:16).
As we saw in the face of Jesus, the face is also the outraying or expression of what one is on the inside. It is the manifestation of one’s being and nature. Just as in the natural, the face often conveys a person’s emotional condition or their state of mind. Similarly, Jesus Christ is the expression of the Father. He is the perfect imprint and very image of God and the exact manifestation of God’s nature (Heb. 1:3). Jesus Christ is the face of God. Is this not why Jesus could say, if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father?
But if Jesus Christ is the expression of God’s nature, are we not also to be the expression of His nature as members of His body? Beloved, of a wonderful truth I tell you; the called and elect sons of God are ordained to be the face of God unto creation. This may shock some who see God as an entity separate from themselves. But Paul affirms that “he who is joined to the Lord is one Spirit with Him” (2 Cor. 3:17). We are His offspring and heirs of His divine nature. In this state, everything we are and do is of Him. Praise God for He is not ashamed to call us sons and to express His nature and character in us. Of this union Jesus prayed saying: “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one” (Joh. 17:23). This is a communion in Oneness which the sons will manifest.
Beloved, we are ordained to be the face of God because we are to be the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person to all who encounter us. It is for this glorious cause; of being transformed into His image, that God is drawing us into a spirit to spirit communion. Paul relays this truth saying: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into THE SAME IMAGE from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18). When God has finished His work in us, we like Jesus will be able to confidently claim that if you’ve seen us, you’ve seen the Father. For the manifestation of sons will be the corporate expression of His life in a people.
It is for this purpose that God is calling on His elects to seek His face. Leave behind the traditions of men and the deception of the spirit of this age and seek only My face. Those who are being drawn by God to communion with Him in the Spirit are today meeting with Him face to face. And in that realm of Spirit, God is imparting His nature and sharing the secrets of His heart and the hidden mysteries of the ages. It’s our prayer that the Lord will continue to raise up a generation who will earnestly seek Him, who will seek His face! Amen.