To See His Face
“They will see his face…(Revelation 22:4a)”
“See you soon” are words we utter without much thought. To see someone is something we do all the time (although in these peculiar days some of that seeing is virtual). But what is promised here is something that is not available to even the greatest of God’s servants in this age. Do you remember the dramatic scene in Exodus 33? Moses on the mountain pleaded to see God’s face but God told him: “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live (vs. 22).” Yet what was denied to Moses and every servant of God in this age is now promised to all who belong to Him - we will see his face!
This speaks of an intimacy beyond anything we have known in this life. Richard Bauckham argues that the face expresses who a person is. Thus “to see God’s face will be to know who God is in his personal being.” As believers, we can talk of mountaintop experiences in worship when we sensed the Lord’s presence in a special and powerful way. But those experiences are only faint hints of the intimacy we will one day know for all eternity.
John, the author of Revelation, wrote in 1 John these words: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2)”. Yet as John shares this truth in his letter he is not only announcing an amazing truth concerning our eternal existence; he is also using this truth to spur believers on to more faithful living in this day. Listen to the next verse: “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure (1 John 3:3)”.
In this star-crazed world people get all excited over the opportunity to see someone famous. Ah, but here is an infinitely greater truth for those who belong to the Lord: we will see his face! May that truth in this life spur us on to purify ourselves as He is pure.