[quote="Bookcat, post:2, topic:313371"]
The theme of the “quest for God’s face”, the desire to know this face, the desire to see God as he is, is clearly present throughout the Old Testament, to the extent that the Hebrew term pānîm, which means “face”, recurs 400 times, and refers to God 100 times. One hundred times it refers to God: to the wish to see God’s face is expressed 100 times. Yet the Jewish religion absolutely forbids images, for God cannot be portrayed as, on the contrary, he was portrayed by the neighbouring peoples who worshipped idols; therefore with this prohibition of images the Old Testament seems totally to exclude any “seeing” from worship and from devotion. Yet what did seeking God’s face mean to the devout Israelite, who knew that there could be no depiction of it? The question is important: there was a wish on the one hand to say that God cannot be reduced to an object, like an image that can be held in the hand, nor can anything be put in God’s place; on the other, it was affirmed that God has a face — meaning he is a “you” who can enter into a relationship — and who has not withdrawn into his heavenly dwelling place, looking down at humanity from on high. God is certainly above all things, but he addresses us, he listens to us, he sees us, he speaks to us, he makes a covenant, he is capable of love. The history of salvation is the history of God with humanity, it is the history of this relationship of God who gradually reveals himself to man, who makes himself, his face, known.
..... In the Old Testament there is a figure with whom the theme of “the face of God” is connected in a special way: Moses. The man whom God chose to set his people free from slavery in Egypt, giving him the Law of the Covenant and leading him to the Promised Land. Well, in Chapter 33 of the Book of Exodus it says that Moses had a close and confidential relationship with God: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (v. 11). By virtue of this trust, Moses was able to ask God: “show me your glory”, and God’s response was clear: “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name”…. But he said “you cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live.… There is a place by me.... You shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen” (vv. 18-23). Thus on the one hand there was the face-to-face conversation as between friends, but on the other, the impossibility in this life of seeing the face of God which remained hidden; sight is restricted....
Something completely new happened, however, with the Incarnation. The search for God’s face was given an unimaginable turning-point, because this time this face could be seen: it is the face of Jesus, of the Son of God who became man.
Pope Benedict XVI
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In Jesus of Nazareth God really visited his people, he visited humanity in a manner that surpassed every expectation: he sent his Only-Begotten Son: God himself became man. Jesus does not tell us something about God, he does not merely speak of the Father but is the Revelation of God, because he is God and thus reveals the face of God. In the Prologue to his Gospel St John wrote: “no one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known” (Jn 1:18).
Pope Benedict XVI