So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Genesis 32:30
Not too many people can claim to seen God face to face and live to tell about it. In fact, years later, Moses was told: ““You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (Exodus 33:20). So how is that Jacob was able to do this and survive? It has to be that the One he encountered was some type of expression or manifestation of God in a bodily form — most likely the pre-incarnate Messiah. Thus we are introduced to the concept that, in order for God to walk among men and engage them in a more personal manner, He had to take on the form of flesh.
The apostle Paul, on multiple occasions, acknowledges that the Almighty was “manifest in the flesh” through the Messiah (1 Timothy 3:16) and is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). The writer of Hebrews (who many believe to be Paul) said that Messiah is the “brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3). Apparently Jacob had an encounter with God in some similar fashion long before Yeshua was born of a virgin in Bethlehem.
The point, however, is this: God cared so much for His people that He yielded to their need and took on the form of flesh. The purpose for doing this was to enable a personal relationship with them. If He had not done this, how could we have ever hoped to interact with Him on that intimate a level? If we could not see Him face to face, how could we feel that close to Him? And thus it is written:
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Through Messiah, we can behold the glory of the Almighty God. One day, we SHALL see Him face to face.
Blessings and Shalom,