Sunday, February 12, 2012

Has Anyone Ever Seen God?

The answer to this question in the Bible is yes and no!

Yes, many have seen him.
Genesis 12:7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built can altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him.

Gen. 18:1 Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day.”

Exodus 6:2-3 “God spoke further to Moses and said to him, "I am the LORD; 3and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them.”

Exodus 24:9-11 “Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. 11Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they saw God, and they ate and drank.”

Num. 12:6-8 “He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision.  I shall speak with him in a dream. 7"Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; 8With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses?"

(Acts 7:2), "And he [Stephen] said, 'Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran...'"

No, God is invisible and cannot be seen. (Or if you do see him, you will die.)

Exodus 33:20 “But He [God] said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!"

John 1:18 “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

John 5:37 “And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form.”

John 6:46 "Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.”

1 Tim. 6:15-16 “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”

Colossians 1:15 “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;”

1 John 4:12 “No one has seen God at any time …”

It is evident above that God was seen. But, considering the "can't-see-God" verses, some would understandably argue that there would be a contradiction. One explanation offered is that the people were seeing visions, or dreams, or the Angel of the LORD (Num. 22:22-26; Judges 13:1-21) and not really God Himself. But the problem is that the verses cited above do not say vision, dream, or Angel of the LORD. They say that people saw God (Exodus 24:9-11), that God was seen, and that He appeared as God Almighty (Exodus 6:2-3).

At first, this is difficult to understand. God Almighty was seen (Exodus 6:2-3) which means it was not the Angel of the Lord, for an angel is not God Almighty, and at least Moses saw God, not in a vision or dream, as the LORD Himself attests in Num. 12:6-8. If these verses mean what they say, then we naturally assume we have a contradiction. Actually, the contradiction exists in our understanding, not in the Bible--which is always the case with alleged biblical contradictions.

The solution is simple. All you need to do is accept what the Bible says. If the people of the OT were seeing God, the Almighty God, and Jesus said that no one has ever seen the Father (John 6:46), then they were seeing God Almighty, but not the Father. I suggest that they were seeing the Word before He became incarnate. In other words, they were seeing Jesus.

If we know who really Jesus is then we will understand the Bible perfectly. In John chapter one, John writes about the Word (Jesus) and God (the Father). In verse 14 it says the Word became flesh. In verse 18 it says no one has seen God. Since Jesus is the Word, God then refers to the Father. This is typically how John writes of God: as a reference to the Father. We see this verified in Jesus own words in John 6:46 where He said that no one has ever seen the Father. Therefore, Almighty God was seen, but not the Father. It was Jesus before His incarnation.  How Jesus can be seen as the Father? When we truly know Jesus we will get the answer to our question.

Who is Jesus?

1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Only the Father is described in the words “of whom are all things”. He is the great Source of all. There is only one ultimate Source of all things, not two or three. This one great Source is God the Father.

The Son of God is not another second source “of whom are all things”. This would make Him another God. He is rather described as the one “by whom are all things”. He is the channel through which all things come to creation. All things proceed from the Father through the Son.

Christ is called God in the Bible, yet there is a clear distinction between the Father and the Son. This only serves as confirmation that the Father is the one great Source of all, and the Son is the channel through which all things flow. This in no way means that Christ is any less divine than His Father. He is just as divine for ‘by inheritance He [Christ] obtained a more excellent name than they’ being the Son of the only God, He inherited from His Father all the attributes of divinity, He was made equal to the Father. It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness of the Godhead dwell; (Colossians 1:19). Christ is fully divine; He is God essentially, and in the highest sense. Seeing and knowing Jesus is seeing and knowing Almighty God the Father.  “Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.” Joh 8:19

The Bible clearly states “But He [God] said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live !” (Exodus 33:20). If the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in reality are 3 co-equal "brother gods,” then we have big problem with the Bible. If Jesus and God the Father is co-equal (brother gods in trinity) and if seeing God (the Father) will kill me, then seeing Jesus must also kill me. If they are just the same in every way then they must have the same effect on me in every way.

Some might say, The Word (Jesus) becomes a flesh and that’s how we were able to see Him. But we know that the Lord appeared to Abram (Genesis 12:7) long before the Word became flesh.

And we read in the Bible that the God does not change.
Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not;
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

If God in reality is 3 co-equal "brother gods,” and the Bible clearly states that God does not change and if the Father does not change then the Son, which in the trinity teaching he is just like the Father, also cannot change. If the Father is invisible (Col 1:15) then Jesus which in the trinity teaching is just like the Father, also must be invisible. If they are 3 co-equal “brother gods” they must all be the same, invisible etc.

Actually Jesus never claim that he is the God nor he is the Father, but rather that his God and Father could be seen in him, through his words and through his works, which were done in the name of his God and Father, Yahweh, which agrees with the rest of the scriptures.

No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God [THEOS, mighty one] who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. -- John 1:18

John was not saying that Jesus was the Supreme Being whom no one had seen, but rather that Jesus was a mighty one begotten by the only true Supreme Being, and that Jesus explained the only true Supreme Being. -- John 17:3.

John 10:25 - The works that I do in my Father's name, these testify about me. -- In whose name did Jesus perform his works? -- "Yahweh said... whoever will not listen to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." -- Deuteronomy 18:17,18

When Jesus said: "He who has seen me has seen the Father," did he mean that everyone who saw him walking around on earth had seen the Father? No, because he also had earlier said to the unbelieving Jews: "The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form." (John 5:37) And again in John 8:19: "You know neither me, nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also." So Jesus could not have been speaking of seeing the Father in him by physical eyes, but rather by means of the eyes of comprehension.

This indicates that Jesus meant that if his disciples had seen him that they also had seen his Father, since Jesus did the works of his Father. (John 8:38) As John said: "No one has seen God at any time. The one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him." (John 1:18) And Jesus also had said: "Therefore everyone who hears from the Father, and has learned, comes to me. Not that any man has seen the Father, except he who is from God. He has seen the Father." -- John 6:45,46.

However, Jesus in the context does tell us what he meant when he said that he who had seen him had seen the Father also: "Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father living in me does his works." (John 14:10) Rather than claiming to be God Almighty, he is saying that he spoke the words of God Almighty his Father, and thus in this manner the Father could be seen in him. This is in harmony with the prophecy that Yahweh would put his words into his mouth, and that he would speak in Yahweh's name. -- Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

Jesus was stating in John 14:9 that he so reflected the Father's character, that to observe and learn of him was tantamount to observing and learning of the Father. Literally, of course, "no man has seen God at any time". -- John 1:18; 1 John 4: 12; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15.

No mortal being could literally see the God and Father of our Lord Jesus and live. (Exodus 33:20) Jesus’ statement in John 14:9 is to be understood in harmony with other scriptures. As it was impossible for the Lord’s followers to actually see God, the Heavenly Father, the only way then in which they could see God was in the representative sense. Our Lord Jesus, fully and perfectly represented the Father. According to many translations, Jesus was God manifested in the flesh. (1 Timothy 3:16, KJV) The Father’s love, and mercy, justice, and wisdom, were all manifest in the Life and teachings of the Lord Jesus. Those then, who became acquainted with the Lord Jesus, were made acquainted with the Father. The Lord Jesus never claimed to be the Heavenly Father personally; but always taught that He was the Son of his God and Father. The Scriptures declare that God sent His only begotten Son into the world. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself in the same sense in which He will be “all in all” when the Son shall have delivered up the Kingdom to the Father at the close of Christ’s millennial reign. — 1 Corinthians 15:17,28.

The answer to the question: Has Anyone Ever Seen God? Yes, many have seen Him, many have known Him, because who ever see or know Jesus, see and know God the Father Almighty. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Joh 17:3

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