In Exodus 33 God gave Moses a picture of how He would reveal Himself through Jesus Christ over a thousand years later.
God hid Moses in the cleft of a rock while He made all His glory pass before him. He also hid Moses with His hand during this time. Afterward, God took away His hand and said Moses could see His back, but that no man could see His face and live.
In this way, God ultimately took upon Himself flesh and became Jesus of Nazareth. Though Jesus’ followers knew that He was “of God” while He was among them, they did not know the full extent of His identity until afterward. Jesus instructed His apostles not to proclaim His identity as Messiah until after He was raised from the dead. Similarly, the Messiah was not fully revealed to be God until the church age ended in the coming of the kingdom of God with the passing of the apostles.
It was difficult enough for us to cope with the life and ministry of Jesus Christ when we thought God was with Him. Had we known that He was God Himself in the flesh…well, we could hardly have coped with that thought.
Only after God has passed by, can we fully open our eyes and digest the event.