“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads” (Revelation 22:1–4).
WE DON’T KNOW WHAT KIND OF INTERACTION ADAM AND EVE HAD WITH GOD IN THE GARDEN PRIOR TO THEIR SIN. It seems they may have had a direct, face-to-face fellowship with Him. But whatever it was, they lost a great deal of their contact with God when, after they decided to reject His rule over them, they were cast out of the Garden. They became alienated from their Creator.
One morning not long ago, I was reading in Exodus 33 where Moses pleaded with God, “Please show me your glory” (v.18). But God said, “You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (v.20). However, God agreed to hide Moses in a cleft in the rock while He passed by. “Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen” (v.23).
Given the tragic consequences of mankind’s sin, there is no more precious promise in the Scriptures than the promise of what heaven will be like for those who have been redeemed and reconciled to God: “They will see his face” (Revelation 22:4).
Whoever you are and whether you even believe that there is a God who created you, I want to suggest that you long to see the face of God. We all long for God, whether we realize that He is the object of our longings or not. Created in His image, we are hard-wired to need Him — and to need Him deeply. If, as I hope, Adam and Eve will be in heaven (if they are, it will be the result of the sacrifice Christ made to enable their sins to be forgiven), don’t you know they will be thrilled to see the face of the God they foolishly turned their backs on so long ago? And don’t you know that the best part of heaven for them, as for every one of the saved, will be the fact that God’s face is the face of a Friend?
“Deep calleth unto deep, and though polluted and landlocked by the mighty disaster theologians call the Fall, the soul senses its origin and longs to return to its source” (A. W. Tozer).