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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 5150 face
5150 face

5150 face

The main visual characteristic of a person. Facial features are recognisable as uniquely those of a particular person. The face also indicates mood and attitude. The showing or directing of the face towards someone or something may indicate regard, approval or determination, while hiding or turning away of the face indicates the opposite.

The face is the main recognisable feature of a person

Examples of facial recognition Mt 26:71 pp Mk 14:66-67 pp Lk 22:56 See also Est 5:2,9; Mt 13:55 pp Mk 6:3; Mt 14:35 pp Mk 6:54; Jn 1:36,47-48

Examples of failure to recognise faces Ge 42:8 See also Ge 38:15; Lk 24:16; Jn 20:14 There is no evidence to suggest that Jesus Christ’s post-resurrection face was different.

The face may be used symbolically to represent the whole person Dt 7:10

The physical appearance of faces

Attractive faces SS 1:15-16 See also 1Sa 16:12; Ecc 8:1; Da 1:4

Disfigured faces Isa 52:14 See also Job 2:12; Mt 27:29-30 pp Mk 14:65 pp Lk 22:63; Jn 18:22

Facial expressions

The face expresses a person’s mood Ge 4:5 See also Ge 21:6; 1Sa 1:18; Job 29:24; Da 5:6,9; Lk 24:17; Jn 20:15

Averting the face may express worship, respect, modesty or shame Ex 3:6 See also Ge 24:65; Ru 2:10; 1Sa 5:3-4; 1Ki 18:42; 1Ch 21:21; Job 11:15; Ps 83:16; Isa 6:2; Jer 13:26; Lk 5:12

Setting the face expresses determination Lk 9:51 the literal translation is “set his face to go”

Other gestures involving the human face

Hiding the face from someone as a sign of loss of favour Dt 31:17-18; Job 13:24

Raising the face as a sign of lack of shame Job 11:15

Slapping someone’s face as a challenge or insult 1Ki 22:24; Jn 18:22

Spitting in someone’s face as an insult Dt 25:9; Mt 26:67

Seeing someone’s face

An indicator of acceptance Ge 33:10 See also Ge 43:3-4; Ge 44:23-26; Dt 34:10

Indicating confrontation Gal 2:11 See also 2Sa 14:24-32; 2Ki 14:8

Not seeing someone’s face may indicate rejection Ex 10:28

Examples of supernatural facial appearance

Mt 17:2 pp Mk 9:2-3 pp Lk 9:29 See also Ex 34:30; Mt 28:3 pp Mk 16:5 pp Lk 24:4; Ac 6:15; 2Co 3:7-8,18; Rev 1:14,16

The face of God

As a symbol of blessing Nu 6:25-26 See also 2Sa 21:1; 1Ch 16:11; Ps 4:6; Ps 31:16; Ps 67:1; Ps 80:19; Ps 105:4; Ps 119:135; Eze 39:29

Seeking the Lord’s face means seeking his will 2Ch 7:14; Ps 27:8; Hos 5:15

God’s face may be turned away, hidden or set against people as a sign of opposition or removal from favour Dt 31:17 See also Lev 17:10; 2Ch 30:9; Ps 44:24; Isa 1:15; Isa 59:2; Isa 64:7; Eze 14:8; Eze 39:23; Mic 3:4; 1Pe 3:12; Ps 34:15-16

People cannot normally see God’s face Ex 33:20 See also Ge 32:30; Dt 34:10; Job 13:15; Job 19:26-27; 1Co 13:12; Rev 22:4 In the end all human beings will see God face to face. Isa 50:7

“Face of the earth” indicates the earth’s total area

See also Ge 6:7; Ge 7:4; Dt 6:15; Dt 14:2; Ps 104:30; Zep 1:2-3; Lk 21:35

See also

1255face of God

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