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What does God look like?

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God the Father is spirit (John 4:24) and cannot be seen. In Exodus 33:20, God specifically taught, "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live." John 1:18 declares, "No one has ever seen God."

When God has shown Himself to people, it has been through forms others can visually recognize. For example, God's presence was made visible in a cloud to the Israelites in the desert with Moses. God also appeared as an angelic visitor in Genesis 18 to Abraham. The Lord spoke to Elijah in the quiet following a storm.

On one occasion, Moses asked the Lord to "Please show me your glory" (Exodus 33:18). We read, "And he said, 'I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name "The LORD." And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,' he said, 'you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.' And the LORD said, 'Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen'" (Exodus 33:19-23).

This took place when Moses received the Ten Commandments from the Lord on Mount Sinai the second time in Exodus 34. No description was given of how God looked, but, "When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him" (Exodus 34:29-30). Even seeing God from the back was enough to cause the face of Moses to glow in such a way that others were afraid to come near him (Exodus 34:34-35).

In the New Testament, God revealed Himself in human form through Jesus Christ, the Son of God and second Person of the Triune Godhead. He was called Immanuel, meaning "God with us" (Matthew 1:23). John 1:14 teaches, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."

The Bible also notes that in the future, there will be a time when God's children do discover God's appearance: "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 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 3:1-2).

Related Truth:

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How can I come to really know God?

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