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In the Old Testament, there are accounts of people (prophets) who saw God face to face.

Specifically in Genesis 32:30, it says

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

If God does not vary or change, then my assumption would be that he is still speaking with others face to face, as he did with Jacob.

Are there any modern (last 200 years) accounts of the pope seeing God face to face?

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Why are you asking specifically about the Pope? Excepting Jesus, are there any accounts of anyone seeing God face-to-face since Moses? (I'm pretty sure most of the prophets saw visions). –  DJClayworth Jan 31 '14 at 13:48
Interesting read, but not an answer:vultus.stblogs.org/index.php/2013/01/… –  The Freemason Jan 31 '14 at 18:57
@TheFreemason Actually, this is the best answer to this question yet. Thank you for the link! –  user9652 Feb 2 '14 at 20:40

2 Answers 2

No Pope has made such claim, but he wouldn't need to.

As Hebrews says,

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,

Just because one does not have a face to face encounter does not mean that God has not spoken to them. Very few of the prophets claim they saw God's face. Indeed, Elijah perceived him only as a "still small voice." Jeremiah saw the visions God intended for him, but none was a vision of God himself.

Indeed, Penuiel is a time where God deviated from his normal practice, in revealing himself. Later, when Moses sought to seek God's face (Exodus 33), it was understood he could not see God's face and live.

The lesson has less to do with whether or not God changes, then if man's ability to relate to God changes. And, to box God into a place where he cannot relate to people differently runs counter to his nature as a person who is capable of relating.

Futhermore, as God's appointed representative on earth, Catholics (and I am not one) claim on the basis of Matthew 18:18 that:

"Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

This translates into the ability for the Apostolic office (established with Peter to whom Jesus says this) to make heavenly decisions, under God's guidance, in accordance with God's wishes.

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I am not trying to box God into one nature or another. In fact, but asking this question, I am indeed trying to better understand the true nature of God. I am also confused by your citing of Exodus 33, because verses within that chapter seem to contradict. (vs. 11 states that the Lord spoke to Moses face to face while vs. 20 states that no one can see the face of God and live)--so which is it? –  user9652 Feb 2 '14 at 20:21
@user9652 I apologize that you took the "boxing in" as an attack - it's not. I'm just suggesting that freezing God's ability to relate to people in different ways is boxing him in. The differences in Exodus 33 are at the heart of the issue, which is why I brought it up - and I'd suggest therein lay the answers. –  Affable Geek Feb 3 '14 at 16:31

To add to an excellent answer given by Affable Geek:

See Mark 8:12

And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. [EVS]

I think its fair to say that a "face-to-face" encounter would count as a sign; what's more, I believe that many interpret this passage to be relevant to this day.

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I think this answer is stretching things just a bit. In Mark 8:12, Jesus is specifically talking to the Pharisees and Sadducees who are referenced in Matthew 16:1-12. In fact, Jesus tells them that wicked and adulterous generations seeketh after signs. In the book of Psalms, we are admonished to seek the face of the Lord. In Psalms 105:4 (NKJV) it says, "Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!" So are you saying that we should disregard this counsel from David? –  user9652 Feb 2 '14 at 20:33

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