An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 6 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 132 of 270
one says the Lord spake to Moses face to face, the other declares that no man
can see the face of God and live.  In this selfsame chapter lies the solution
of the problem.  In verse 14, the Lord said to Moses, 'My presence (face)
shall go with thee'.  Now in Exodus 33:2 the Lord promised, 'I will send an
angel before thee' and this angel, spoken of in Exodus 23:23, is invested
with great power, 'for My name', said the Lord 'is in him' (Exod. 23:21).
When Israel received the law at Sinai, they received it through the
disposition of angels, and in this way Israel came 'face to face' with the
Lord.  When Moses spoke 'face to face' with the Lord, he, like Jacob before
him, saw God or spoke to God, through the mediation of the Angel of His
Presence or Face.  It is reserved for the fuller revelation of the New
Testament for angels to be set aside, and for the believer to 'see the glory
of God In The Face of Jesus Christ .
We have considered some of the ways in which the Hebrew panim is
employed.  We must now turn our attention to the New Testament equivalent,
the Greek word prosopon.  This word is one of a number of compounds of ops.
Thus we have ophthalmos, 'the eye' (Matt. 5:38), enopion, 'the sight' (2 Cor.
4:2) and the word employed to group Matthew, Mark and Luke together -- the
Synoptics, Gospels having a common viewpoint.  On two occasions only is any
other word than prosopon used, namely in John 11:44, where the word
translated 'face' is opsis.  In John 7:24 it is translated 'appearance', and
stoma, 'mouth' in 2 John 12, where we read 'face to face' (literally 'mouth
to mouth', or as the English has adopted from the French t^te -... -t^te).
These exceptions need not hold us further.  We turn our attention to the
usages of prosopon.  This word occurs about seventy -five times, and is
translated 'appearance', 'countenance', 'person' and 'presence' in some
twenty passages, leaving fifty -five occurrences to be rendered 'face'.  It
will be seen that in usage it is a very good representative of the Hebrew
panim.  Matthew contains 10 references, all but one being rendered 'face'.
The exception being Matthew 22:16 where it is 'person'.  Mark has but three
references, two being translated 'face' and one 'person'.  Luke has fifteen
occurrences, the two exceptions to 'face' being 'person' and 'countenance'.
John does not use the word in either Gospel or Epistle.  Let us consider some
of the usages in the Epistles of Paul.
'Face to face' (1 Cor. 13:12).  The R.V. has altered the word 'glass'
to 'mirror' and 'darkly' to 'in a riddle' (margin).  The apostle says nothing
about seeing through a pane of glass, but seeing by means of a mirror.
Neither he nor his hearers would be ignorant of Plato's figure of the
reflections seen in a cave, as the illustration of our present inadequate
knowledge of things:
'At present we only see the baffling reflections in a mirror, but then
it will be face to face.  At present I am learning bit by bit, but then
I shall understand, as all along I have myself been understood' (1 Cor.
13:12, Moffatt).
'Person'.  '... to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in
the person of Christ' (2 Cor. 2:10).  Here, as we have seen in the Old
Testament, the 'face' sometimes stands for the whole person (2 Cor. 2:10;
Gal. 2:6; Jude 16).  The veiled face of Moses (2 Cor. 3:13) is set over
against the 'unveiled face' ('open face') of the believer (2 Cor. 3:18), the
veiled face of the Devil's dupe (if our gospel be hid = veiled, 2 Cor.
4:3,4); and the glory of God seen in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6).
The passage is too full for comment here, but will be given more adequate