PLEASE NOTE: The following study, though not a direct quote, is adapted from a discussion authored years ago by a fellow Torah keeper, worshipper of the One True God, and follower of Messiah Yeshua. I prefer to not provide his name until I receive permission to do so.
This study is a companion study to a separate discussion in which we prove how God cannot be and never has been literally seen. Of course, that proves that since Yeshua (Jesus) was often literally seen then he cannot possibly be “God in the flesh”. The discussions were presented separately in order to reduce the length and complexity of each.
That study focuses upon the “seeing” issue. This study focuses, instead, upon alleged examples in Scripture that people say prove God was seen as well as what they wrongly interpret to be examples of the physical manifestation of a preexistent Messiah (Christ). There is some unavoidable overlap or repetition between the two studies. Nevertheless, the need to correct the common misconceptions within contemporary Christianity and counterfeit Messianism necessitates repetition in order for the truth to be rescued from the darkness of deceit and false teaching found within those two sister faiths.
Both studies prove basically the same thing, which is that since God has never been seen, Yeshua the Messiah cannot possibly be God. This study goes further in proving that the concept of Messiah appearing in a preexistent form is incorrect and based primarily in biased preconceptions that are forced into the passages used by such agents of deception.
Theophanies and Christophanies?
In the written Torah we find the following passage:
- Exodus 33:11 (KJV)
- 11 And YHVH (God) spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend….
Such a statement is explained in theological terms as a “theophany.”
Christophany is another theological term used to refer to either a visible or auditory manifestation of the preincarnate “Christ.” A christophany is one interpretation of a theophany. Neither word is found in Scripture. They are simply man’s attempt to define and explain something they don’t understand. The Scriptures, however, do not leave us in the dark concerning the alleged ‘appearances’ of The Almighty Creator God.
Let’s begin by trying to understand theophanies and whether or not they can be actual appearances of The Eternal One. The Bible makes it quite clear that no man has ever seen or heard The Most High Creator God. Consider the following verses;
- Exodus 33:20 (KJV)
- 20 And He said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
- John 1:18 (KJV)
- 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared Him.
- John 1:18 (NET)
- 18 No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known.
The shameless bias of the specific scholar who was tasked with translating the verse is obvious. Though I will not quote it here, the translator note which accompanies the verse within the NET bible actually makes mention of the potential error and then attempts to dodge the issue.
I will not detail the error within this discussion since I will do so in the study which proves how God cannot be seen, never has been seen, and therefore how Yeshua (Jesus) is most definitely not God. I will presently only point out how the “himself God” phrase is an extremely biased and blatant attempt at deception. At best, the variation within the many translations seriously undermines the translators biased rendering of the verse and should cause any sincere reader to recognize its doubtful accuracy.
Continuing with the verses, we read:
- John 5:37 (KJV)
- 37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape.
- John 6:46 (KJV)
- 46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of god, he hath seen the Father.
- 1 John 4:12 (KJV)
- 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.
- 1 Timothy 1:17 (KJV)
- 17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
- 1 Timothy 6:16 (KJV)
- 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
Returning to Exodus 33:11 we again read:
Exodus 33:11 (KJV)
11 And YHVH (God) spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. …
How can that be the case? If the other verses are correct, which they are, how can it be said that The Creator spoke to Moses “face to face”? Similar statements were made in Deut.34:10, and Num.12:6-8.
Deuteronomy 34:10 (KJV)
10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,
Numbers 12:6-8 (KJV)
6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. 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?
Moses himself helps to explain this in Deuteronomy.5:4 when he said “The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire.“ He was referring to the giving of the Ten Commandments in Exodus.20. Upon completion of Israel hearing those words, God told Moses to say to the children of Israel, “You have seen that I have talked to you from heaven“ (Ex.20:22).
Let us study this further. Did God actually speak to Moses “face to face”? Was God literally “seen” talking from heaven? Are these actual theophanies or christophanies?