They Saw God – Was It Jesus?

Trinitarians often say that when John wrote the word recorded John 1:18, “No one has seen God at any time,” that this refers only to the first person of their alleged God; in other words, they would have it that the “God” that no one can see is only the alleged first person of the triune God, but that the “God” that man can see is the alleged second person of their triune God. Thus, they have to call upon the spirit of human imagination so as to read beyond what is written so as to imagine, assume, and add all this to what John actually wrote in order to perserve their triune God idol.

The scriptures reveal that God is a soul, a living sentient spirit being. (Leviticus 26:11-12; Proverbs 6:16) He has a body, shape, form, of spiritual substance, not fleshly substance. He has what Paul referred to as a spiritual body, when Paul illustrated the different kinds of celestial bodies. Paul explains the difference between spiritual and physical bodies, heavenly and earthly bodies, in answer to the questions: “How are the dead raised?” and, “With what kind of body do they come?” He does not answer with an answer that all will be raised with the same kind of body. He, in effect, states that it is God who determines what kind of body one receives in the resurrection, and that according to what has been sown in this life. He thus tells of two general forms of resurrection bodies, spiritual or physical. — 1 Corinthians 15:35-49.

See:
With What Kind of Body Will We Be Raised?
The Manner of the Resurrection

Jesus, before he became flesh, had a celestial glory that he did not possess while he was in the days of his flesh. — John 17:5; 1 Corinthians 15:39-41; Hebrews 5:7.

During the days of his flesh, Jesus had the sinless glory of a human being, defined in scripture as being a little lower than the angels. — Psalm 8:4,5; Hebrews 2:6-9.

Jesus became a life-giving spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45), with a spiritual body, when he was raised and given such a body by his God and Father. God raised Jesus with all the plenitude of might needed in his body so that he is able to carry out the will of his God and Father in raising the dead, judgment, etc. — Colossians 2:9,10.
See:
The Fullness of Deity

The human soul (as well as the souls of all animals) is made up of the body from the dust of the ground and the spirit of life from God. (Genesis 2:7) God’s soul, his sentient being, does not need an outside force of life, since he is the source of all might and power in the universe. (1 Corinthians 8:6) Yahweh is the first and last of all strength, might in the universe, and aside from him, there is no power, might (elohim). — Isaiah 44:6
See “What is the Soul?”

No human has ever seen the actual substance of God, for if any human did, he could would have died. Thus, the appearances of Yahweh had to be either by way of one of his angels, a visionary appearance, or by some form of materialization that could be seen by the human eye.

Angels of Yahweh who spoke for Yahweh were often referred to as Yahweh. When this happened, the scriptures seem to imply that Yahweh was speaking directly to humans, but a comparison of scriptures shows that Yahweh was actually speaking through or by means of his angel(s). — Exodus 3:2-4 [see Acts 7:30,35; Galatians 3:19]; Genesis 16:7-11,13; 22:1,11,12,15-18.

Let us look at the example of Moses:

Exodus 33:20 He [Yahweh] said, “You cannot see my face, for man may not see me and live.”
Exodus 33:21 Yahweh also said, “Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand on the rock.
Exodus 33:22 It will happen, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by;
Exodus 33:23 then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

Similary, we read:

Exodus 24:9 Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up.
Exodus 24:10 They saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was like a paved work of sapphire stone, like the skies for clearness.
Exodus 24:11 He didn’t lay his hand on the nobles of the children of Israel. They saw God, and ate and drank.

Are we to assume that what Moses and the others actually saw was Yahweh expressing himself as a supposed second person of a trinity? Such would be an assumption that has to be added to what is said.

Could Moses and these others actually see the “being”, soul, or spiritual substance of Yahweh? Could they have seen Yahweh’s mighty spiritual substance — whose glory is greater in power and might than the sun, or any star, indeed, greater than all the stars of the whole universe put together (1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chronicles 2:6; 6:18; Psalm 113:4) — and yet remained alive?

If Moses, and the others with him, had actually seen the being of Yahweh, he would have died, for Yahweh had stated: “man may not see me and live.”

John (John 1:18) plainly tells us that “no one [human] has seen God at any time.” This is repeated by John in his first letter, chapter 4, verse 12 (1 John 4:12), in identical words. In Colossians 1:15, Paul speaks of the “invisible” God. In 1 Timothy 1:17, Paul writes: “Now unto the King eternal, incorruptible, invisible, the only wise God.” In that same letter, chapter 6, verse 16 (1 Timothy 6:16), he tells us that Jesus also, as well as the Father, is “dwelling in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen, nor can see.” Thus, we conclude that neither Moses nor any other human has seen the very being of God, except for Jesus, who, of course, had been in the glory of a spirit being, and had seen God before his descent to the earth. — John 3:13; 6:33,38,51,62; 8:28,42; 13:3; 16:28-30; 17:5.

How, then, did Yahweh make his appearances to Moses and others?

Hebrews 11:27, tells us concerning Moses, that what Moses saw was “as [Strong’s #5613, Hos, like] seeing him who is invisible.” It was therefore a manifestation of Yahweh’s likeness, not His actual spiritual substance.

Regarding some of others who earlier “saw God” (Exodus 24:9-11), the scriptures indicate that they “saw” by means of a vision, as demonstrated in other instances. — Genesis 15:1; Numbers 12:6; 24:4,16; 1 Samuel 3:1; Psalm 89:19.

Nevertheless, some might note that Numbers 12:7,8 continues:

Numbers 12:7 My servant Moses is not so; he is faithful in all my house:
Numbers 12:8 with him will I speak mouth to mouth, even manifestly, and not in dark speeches; and the form of Yahweh shall he see: why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant, against Moses?

Does this mean that what Moses saw was not a vision, or a manifestation? Not necessarily; what is being contrasted is how the vision or manifestation is made. To prophets in general the visions were given in dreams – like dark sayings, highly symbolic, and the prophets are treated as servants, not friends. Yahweh spoke face to face, not with dark symbols, but with clarity to Moses, as a friend, not just a servant, and through Moses to the children of Israel. — Exodus 33:11; Deuteronomy 5:4.

Jesus spoke of the same principle:

John 15:14 You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you.
John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant doesn’t know what his lord does. But I have called you friends, for everything that I heard from my Father, I have made known to you.

A friend designates a greater degree of favor than a servant. One reveals more secrets to a friend than to a servant. Thus, Yahweh spoke to Moses face to face, as a friend, and not just as servant. Moses was allowed to see God’s glory in part, represented as his back in the vision.

In Exodus 24, it is related that Moses and others with him saw God’s body, as it speaks of his feet. This also would be a vision or a manisfestation, not the actual reality of God’s substance, for if they had seen the reality, then they would have died.

As mentioned earlier, some have claimed that the appearances were actually Jesus in his prehuman existence, appearing as the angel of Yahweh, and yet it is also claimed that this angel was Yahweh, the alleged second person of the alleged Yahweh-trinity. We know that various angels of Yahweh did appear and spoke as Yahweh, and they were often addressed as “Yahweh”. We have no proof, however, that any of the angels of Yahweh were Jesus in his prehuman existence. Such would be assumption. It would be even further assumption to think that the angel of Yahweh was Yahweh (as an alledged second person of Yahweh) whom the angel was serving as an angel. The angel of Yahweh could have been Jesus speaking for his God, but it does not follow from this that the trinity doctrine is true.
See:
Angel of Yahweh

Nevertheless, the only angel of Yahweh actually identified by name in the Bible is Gabriel, not Jesus. — Luke 1:11,19,26.

We know that in the Revelation four persons are spoken of concerning the giving of the Revelation: First, the God of Jesus, then Jesus, then the angel of God, and then John, who, in turn, gives it to God’s people. The angel of Yahweh in the book of Revelation is evidently *not* Jesus, but he speaks for Jesus, as well as for Yahweh.

Revelation 22:16: I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches.

This identifies the angel as separate from Jesus, since Jesus sends the angel, and Jesus speaks of the angel as ‘his angel’.

Revelation 22:6 appears to speak of this same angel as Yahweh’s angel.

This all suggests that the angel of Yahweh acted as Jesus’ angel [messenger] in delivering the revelation to John, who in turn, delivers it to the servants in the churches. Similarly, this could have been the way Yahweh communicated in the Old Testament also, first to his son, who gives it to the angel, who in turn spoke to the prophets.

         
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