We will see His face

“No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22:3-5)

There are few videos that bring the tears quite like reunion videos. A daughter is surprised at school by her military father, home from serving overseas. A son who was given up for adoption meets his birth mother. Even watching a pet who has been separated from his owner find him and jump all over him can bring the waterworks.

In Revelation 21 and 22, we are given a glimpse of what eternity will be like. There are many amazing promises:  no more suffering or death, life-giving water, healing or our earthly sorrows. But the most amazing promise is found in 22:4 – “They will see his face.” In the reunion of all reunions, we who once were lost will finally see the face of the one who gave His life to save us.

What makes this promise even more incredible is that although God’s face is associated throughout the Bible with the favor and blessing of God (see Numbers 6:24-26 for one example), there is a huge problem. As God tells Moses in Exodus 33:20, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” There is a reason that everyone – John, Paul, Isaiah – seems to fall down as though dead when they catch even a glimpse of God’s glory. In fact, earlier in Revelation, the ungodly cry out to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of God” (Revelation 6:16). The reason is that God is perfectly holy, and we are full of sin, and so looking at the face of God would be a hundred times worse than staring into the sun.

The good news is that Jesus, the one who lived face-to-face with the Father for all eternity, came and lived the perfect life that we could not live and died on the cross in our place, to pay the penalty for our sins. And on that cross, as the song goes, “the Father turned his face away” as His Son bore the punishment we deserved. Jesus willingly gave up the Father’s face, His favor, and His blessing, so that we could have the face of God forever.

One of the predominant images of the new heavens and earth in Revelation is that of a wedding. The most moving part of modern weddings is probably the moment that the bride appears, walking down the aisle, towards her groom. After all the waiting, the sacrifices, and the trials, the day has finally arrived, and she sees his face. And so it will be one day for us. The doors will swing open, our eyes will open, and we will see the lover of our soul, the one who laid down his life for us to rescue us from death and give us eternal life.

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