Thus Yahweh used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.
Trinitarians claim that since no one has ever seen God the Father, Moses must have been speaking to Jesus.
The Claim vs. The Facts
This claim completely ignores what follows in this same chapter where God tells Moses he cannot see His face and live. The Bible also tells us that the Son did not speak to God's people in the Old Testament and it also tells us it was the Father who spoke to Moses.
The Problems with the Claim
1. Hebrews 1:1-2
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in a son.
If the Son had spoken to God's people, it would be senseless to make such a statement. No one would say such a thing if he thought the Son spoke to the Israelites of old.
2. Interpretation by Eisegesis
Once again, Trinitarians resort to their imaginations. There is no evidence whatsoever that Moses was speaking with a pre-existing Son. Yet once again, Trinitarians grant themselves a right to impose their imaginations upon the text.
3. "Face to Face"
Trinitarians have a tendency to pluck things out of the Bible without any respect for the context. Here they see the words "face to face" and then suppose that Moses was seeing the face of God the Son. But we only need to read the next few verses to see Trinitarians are obviously mistaken and they don't know what they are talking about:
Thus Yahweh used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. Then Moses said to Yahweh, "See, You say to me, 'Bring up this people!' But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, 'I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people." And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest." Then he said to Him, "If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”
Yahweh said to Moses, "I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name." Then Moses said, "I pray You, show me Your glory!" And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of Yahweh before your face and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion." But He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” Then Yahweh said, "Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen." Exodus 33:11-23.
In the above passage, the Hebrew word translated as "face" is paniym . In fact the word translated as "presence" in the above passage is the exact same word, paniym.
The expression "face to face" was a Jewish way of saying that the God of Israel spoke to Moses personally as someone speaks to a friend. To speak "face to face" or "mouth to mouth" was a Jewish idiom for speaking to someone in person. It is beyond doubt that Moses did not see the face of God for we learn immediately hereafter that God would not allow Moses to see his face. In fact, God tells us that if Moses did seen his face he would surely die. He also says that nobody could see Him and live. This is verified in the New Testament where we are told that no one has ever seen God nor can see God (1 Timothy 6:14-16).
Analysis of the Facts
1. The Cloud
We are told a cloud would descend when God wanted to speak with Moses.
Whenever Moses entered the Tent [of Meeting], the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent and Yahweh would speak with Moses.
2. Numbers 7:89
In the immediate context of Exodus 33:11, we are told that Moses spoke to Yahweh when he went into the Tent of Meeting. And Numbers 7:89 makes it even more clear how God spoke to Moses:
Now when Moses went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim, so He spoke to him.
God spoke to Moses from the mercy seat.
3. Numbers 12:7-8 and Hebrews 3:4-5
A careful comparison of Numbers 12:7-8 and Hebrews 3:1-6 shows us that Moses was speaking with God the Father.
Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, Yahweh, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, also openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of Yahweh.
For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a son over His house.
Christ was faithful as a son over his Father's house. Therefore, "God" here is obviously the Father. The Hebrews writer is using this language for a reason; he didn't just dream it up. When the Hebrews writer says that Moses was faithful as a servant in God's house, we know he is obviously referring to Numbers 12:7-8 where God says that Moses is a faithful servant in His house. Therefore, the Hebrews writer shows us that God the Father had been speaking to Moses.
When the Scriptural facts are set before us, the truth of the matter is not difficult to comprehend. God explicitly tells Moses (and us) that he would not see God's face and live. The expression "face to face" means that God spoke to Moses personally; He spoke to him in person. And we are also told how this happened. A cloud would descend over the Tent of Meeting and God would speak to Moses from the mercy seat. And the Hebrews writer makes it undeniably clear that Moses was speaking with God the Father.
Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses whom Yahweh knew face to face.
Angel of the Lord
Created: February 26, 2016
Last Revision/Update: February 26, 2016