- Hebrews 11:27
This is talking about the time Moses fled from Egypt after accidentally killing the Egyptian (Exodus 2:14-15). This was much before God selected him and his spiritual conversion at the burning bush.
So this verse doesn’t say that Moses literally saw God. But it says that Moses had faith in the God of his fathers and he moved as though he “saw” God in faith.
Now the definition of faith includes “the evidence of things not having been seen” (Hebrews 11:1). And Hebrews 11:24 clearly says, “by faith he left Egypt” seeing the Invisible One. So this clearly proves that Moses didn’t see the invisible God with his naked eyes but he saw with his “inner eyes”, that is, with faith.
- Exodus 33:11
This verse does not say that Moses saw God face to face! It says, “And YHWH would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend”. Here ‘face to face’ means “directly”. So the verse does not say Moses saw God directly but that God would speak to Moses directly!
If Moses saw God directly in verse 11, then why did he, immediately afterward, pray to God “let me see Your glory”? (verse 18). That doesn’t make sense! If Moses saw God in verse 11, then why did he say ‘let me see You’ in verse 18?
It is then that God lets him see His rear.
- However, it is irrefutable that 70 elders of Israel, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu with Moses literally saw the God of Israel!
9 And Moses and Aaron went up with Nadab and Abihu, and seventy from the elders of Israel. 10 And they saw the God of Israel. And under His feet was as the work of a pavement of sapphire, and the same as the essence of the heavens for clearness. 11 And He did not stretch out His hand to the nobles of the sons of Israel. And they saw God, and they ate and drank.
This was not a figurative seeing but a literal seeing!
- The Scripture twice says they “saw” the God of Israel.
- They saw the pavement of clear and brilliant sapphire under God’s feet.
- God did not stretch out His hands to kill them because they saw Him.
- They ate and drank showing that they were not hallucinating!
This is significant considering that people like Abraham, Jacob et al saw God in the physical human form.
- John 1:18
No one has seen God at any time. This is talking about God the Father. Why? Because the same verse distinguishes the Father from the Son! The monogeneis (only of the same genus/kind) Son who is in the bosom of the Father only knew the Father.
The secular world never knew about God the Father (John 17:25). The chosen people, the Jews never knew God the Father (John 7:28). It was only when Jesus declared about the Father that everyone came to know about the Father!
So the question remains: who did the 70 elders and others including Moses see on the Mount?
Of course, the Scripture is very clear. They saw Jesus as the YHWH of the Old Testament!
No wonder, in some manuscripts, John 1:18 ISV has this:
No one has ever seen God. The unique [monogeneis = only of the same genus/kind] God, who is close to the Father's side, has revealed him.
The Apostles knew this very well.
For example, Paul says that Moses “thought that being insulted for the sake of the Messiah was of greater value than the treasures of Egypt” (Hebrews 11:26 ISV). Moses knew no other God except the God of his fathers. And the author of Hebrews (considered to be Paul) confirms that the God of the fathers is Christ Himself!
Again Paul says that we should not “provoke the Lord to jealousy” (1 Corinthians 10:22). [Verses 16 and 21, when compared will show beyond any doubt that Paul is referring to Jesus as the Lord!].
We know about a “jealous God”! Yes, “for I am YHWH your God, a jealous God” (Exodus 20:5).[This is part of the 2nd commandment against other gods and idols]
the context - in both, the Old and New Testaments, the context is the same. Yahweh and Jesus are provoked to jealousy by other gods and idols!!
With strange gods they moved Him to jealousy; and with idols they provoked Him to anger.
For they enraged Him with their high places; and they provoked Him to jealousy with their molten images.
1 Corinthians 10:20-21
But the things the nations sacrifice, "they sacrifice to demons, and not to God." But I do not want you to become sharers of demons; you cannot drink the cup of the Lord and a cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and a table of demons.
So to Paul, Lord Jesus and Yahweh of the OT are the same Being!
There are more instances like these that clearly show that the Apostles identified Jesus as the very God of the Old Testament. I think two would suffice now.
So there is no contradiction in the Word of God.