Monday, June 22, 2015

Numbers 12:8 and Exodus 33:11

I want to expand on this subject later, but now just want to point out that the expressions "face to face" and "mouth to mouth" (how Jehovah spoke to Moses) may or may not mean the same thing. Jewish exegetes/rabbis have gone both ways on this subject, and there seems to be no conclusive way that we might decide which view is correct. However, I notice that the Hebrew term for "face" is emphaszed in Exod 33:2, 19-20 and may signify the whole person or his presence in that account. The shewbread was also known as the "bread of presence" or bread of faces (Lev 24). Paul later speaks of seeing things "face to face" in 1 Cor 13:12 in contrast to how Christians behold things in the here and now.


Sean Killackey said...

On the same verse I noted that Trinitarians often use this as proof that God was seen. To them no angels were mentioned, so it has to be God (however that ignores the patter that "God" was always an angel or in two cases with Abraam, three angels).

However they ignore that both expressions, "mouth to mouth" and "face to face" are figurative, so why would the expression "he beholds the form of Jehovah," be literal?

Further Hebrews 11:29 says that God is invisible. (I have left it unsaid so far, but it is commonly assumed by Trinitarians and non-Trinitarans that Jesus is the angel of Jehovah (I am not sure personally). If he is then he cannot be God, for the Angel of Jehovah was seen. If he is God then some other being was the angel of Jehovah. That means that being who is not God can call themselves God (the angel of Jehovah did so when talking to Moses) which undermines the Trinity.

I am righting a booklet about the Trinity and I would like some feedback if you don't mind. If you are interested I would be glad to comment back with a link to access it.

P.S. The Trinity largely is based up the lack of knowledge concerning maxim of agency, "he who acts through another does the act himself."

Duncan said...


For 1 Cor 13:12

"πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον. Cf. Numbers 12:8, to which the Apostle is evidently referring. Also Job 19:26-27; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 22:4."

But numbers 12:8 is in the context of dabar, so I do not see a solid connection here but many commentators claim a connection.

Edgar Foster said...

Hi Sean,

How Moses saw Jehovah's form has befuddled Jewish and "Christian" commentators. The expression is likely figurative in view of Exodus 33:19-20; Deut 4:15-16; John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12. See also Exodus 24:9-11. The last account likely refers to a vision if we examine the context.

Another way that exegetes have tried to explain these accounts is by making some kind of distinction between God as he reveals himself and God in his essence. Some then place the Son qua angel in the first category, but God as he exists "immanently" in the second category.

I'll check out your link this evening.

Edgar Foster said...

Hello Duncan,

I cannot help but think that 1 Cor 13:12 has some connection to Numbers 12:8 and other related scriptures, but I've found verses that possibly have an even more intimate connection: Gen 32:30-31; Judges 6:22-23.

Gen 32:31: εἶδον γὰρ θεὸν πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον, καὶ ἐσώθη μου ἡ ψυχή.

Judges 6:22: καὶ εἶδεν Γεδεων ὅτι ἄγγελος κυρίου ἐστίν, καὶ εἶπεν Γεδεων ῏Α ἆ, κύριε κύριε, ὅτι εἶδον τὸν ἄγγελον κυρίου πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον.

Both accounts evidently involved angels.

Duncan said...

Yes Edgar, those two verses appear to connect in the Greek but going back to verse 1 of Gen 31, both malakim & elohim are masculine plural in Gen 32:31 also there is the very marked difference between the two versions of this verse which I believe is very significant to the overall understanding of the malakim :-

και αναβλεψας ειδε παρεμβολην θεου παρεμβεβληκυιαν

v.2 και εκαλεσε το ονομα του τοπου εκεινου παρεμβολαι

a place, not a vision.

One of your verses references Elohim & one YHWH - I am not sure that they are interchangeable in this instance. Even though "face to face" is common & it's association with dying (which never actually happens).

Peniel being "Face of El".

Yisrael being "He turns El".

“Peniel” (Genesis 32:30)

“Bethel” (Genesis 35:15)

I make no conclusions but there are items of significance within this text.

Duncan said...

Gen 47:27,28

Duncan said...

Sorry Edgar, some typos.

Gen 32:1 not 31:1.

Gen 32:1 & 2 not 32.