Face to face is a phrase found in the Bible that points to God speaking plainly with His people. As mentioned above, Christ spoke in parables and without a parable He did not speak. Why? Because Jesus is the Word made flesh and by constantly speaking in parables, Jesus was letting us know how to understand the entire Bible (the Word). A parable does not assist the reader in understanding truth, rather, a parable serves to hide truth from the eyes of the reader of the Scripture.
When God speaks face to face with a man (like Moses) He is indicating that He is no longer hiding Himself (i.e. speaking parabolically) but is instead showing Himself fully, as He does when He opens up the meaning of a parable.
Numbers 12:7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. 8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
‘Mouth to mouth’ is synonymous with ‘face to face’ (one obviously has to be face to face in order to speak mouth to mouth). God says in Numbers 12:8 that He will not speak to Moses in dark speeches. Dark speeches are parables. Instead, He will speak mouth to mouth, even apparently.
This goes along with some very interesting statements made in the 2nd & 3rd epistles of John:
2 John 12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
3 John 13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: 14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.
The Greek word translated as ‘face’ in both 2 John and 3 John above is stoma, Strong’s #4750. It is most often translated as ‘mouth.’ So we see once again that face to face is synonymous with mouth to mouth.
Notice that emphasis is placed in both Scriptures upon NOT writing with ink and paper, but coming and speaking to you ‘face to face’. What could this possibly mean?
Ink and paper is what the Bible is written on. The Bible is a book. And God moved men of old to write down all the words of God we have in the Bible. The entire book can be summed up as one written with ink and paper.
The apostle John, is being moved by God to say, that there will come a time when God will speak with His elect people (2 John verse 1 was address to the elect lady and her children) NOT through additional divine revelation (not through adding more written words to the Bible via ink and paper) but, will instead speak to us ‘face to face.’ And face to face means plainly, apparently. Not in dark speeches (parables). In other words, God will speak to His elect people by opening up the Scriptures so that they can understand them more clearly.
This is why the Bible says this:
Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Daniel 12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
10 ... and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Finding fault with them (the first and second---the entire written Bible) He makes a new covenant of opening up the Scriptures at the time of the end to reveal much truth (speak face to face with His elect) people.
We’ve been living in the days of that opening of the Scriptures for several years now. The Holy Spirit has been guiding His people into much truth (speaking face to face not in dark speeches) for some time as we have arrived at the end stage of the world.