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APPEARANCES OF ALMIGHTY GOD IN ANCIENT TIMES
January 3, 2020
In this study we wish to point out that the Almighty can reveal and manifest Himself to whomsoever He wishes, in many different ways and on different occasions, In fact, He did exactly this, as recorded in Scripture and as we will examine in the following lessons.
We know that “no one can See God and live” (Ex. 33:20).
The prophet lsaiah said: “Verily Thou art a God that HIDETH Thyself, O God of Israel, . . ” (Isa. 45:15).
The New Testament claims that: “God is SPlRlT ……” (John 4:24).
The Almighty said: “Do not I fill heaven and earth..?” (Jer. 23:24).
As a Spirit Being He is omnipresent – but also invisible, as confirmed by the apostle Paul in the New Testament: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever” (1 Tim. 1:17).
“Who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom NO MAN HAS EVER SEEN OR CAN SEE” (1 Tim. 6:16).
In these Scriptures we see that the Eternal, as Spirit, is omnipresent, invisible and dwelling in unapproachable Glory. He nevertheless did appear in different manifestations in ancient times to various people as we will shortly indicate from the Bible.
This is confirmed in Deut. 5:24, “… Behold. God has showed us His Glory and Greatness…and man still lives” (Also Gen, 32:30).
This seems like an apparent contradiction in the Bible. The student may, however, be assured that the Bible does not contradict itself, except for man’s lack of knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures.
Let us now read and study the Bible concerning these visible manifestations to man.
HIS APPEARANCE IN PARADISE – Study Gen. 3:8-24
“And they heard the Voice of YHWH God walking in the Garden (of Eden) in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of YHWH God amongst the trees of the Garden”. (Gen. 3:8,9).
At this appearance the Most High walked in the garden where He also had a personal conversation with Adam and Eve. Please read the full account in the quoted Scripture portion. When they heard Him walking, they hid themselves from His presence. Why? For fear that He should see them. Yes, the lnvisible God was present in a visible manifestation.
HIS APPEARANCE AT THE TOWER OF BABEL – Gen. 11:5-9
“And YHWH came down to see the city and the tower …And YHWH said…Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language (Gen.11:5-7).
We see clearly that the Almighty appeared in the land of Shinar from whence He scattered the people abroad.
HIS APPEARANCE UNTO ABRAHAM
In Mesopotamia (Study Gen. 12:1-4; Acts. 7:2;4). The martyr, Stephen, declares under the Power of the Spirit: “The God of Glory appeared unto our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia before he dwelt in Charan” (Acts. 7:2).
In Canaan (study Gen. 12:6-7) “And YHWH appeared unto Abram and said: ‘Unto thy seed will I give this land. And there he built an altar unto YHWH Who appeared unto him” (Gen. 12:7).
He appeared unto Abraham as the Almighty (Study Gen. 17:1-22). “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, YHWH appeared to Abram, and said unto him: ‘I am the Almighty God: walk before Me and be thou perfect … God talked with him…” (Gen. 17:1,3). He made a Covenant with Abraham (see verses 4-21). “And He left off talking with him. And God went up from Abraham” (verse 22).
His appearance on the plains of Mamre as “three men” or “angels” (Study Gen. 18:1-33; 19:1-13). “YHWH appeared unto him (Abraham) .., he lift up his eyes and looked, and lo, three Men stood by him …(v.2). Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread … (v.4, 5)… He took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them . . . and they (the three MEN) did eat” (v.8).
Serious and thoughtful study of this passage will reveal an amazing feature inherent in this capacity of the Almighty to manifest Himself in various shapes. The footnotes in the Jerusalem Bible declares of this portion, that “the text is frequently uncertain in its choice of singular or plural” and that the identity of the three Men is “mysterious”. This mystery is further fueled in the non-sacred Name versions of the Bible by their concealing or non-use of the Sacred Name YHWH, and using the broader term “LORD”. Careful study in a Sacred Name version though, and an understanding of the manifesting capability of God, will clearly reveal that these 3 men or Angelic manifestations were in effect a single `multiple’ manifestation of YHWH , the God of the Universe! Note how that Abraham addresses all three of them as YHWH . Note also the peculiarities in the following section:
“And the Men (all three) rose up from thence (v. 16) . . . and YHWH said: ‘Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?’ (v.17) … So the Men turned from there … but Abraham still stood before YHWH ” (v.22). The remaining Man was addressed as YHWH , and called ‘The Judge of all the earth’ by Abraham (see v.25).
Note also from ch. 19, how at Sodom, the actions and words of the 2 Angels are recorded as applying to one person. Note v.18 “No, I beg you my Lord (singular), Lot said to them” (plural). And then the definitive verse 23, “As the sun rose over the land, YHWH (the 2 Angelic Beings with Lot) rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from YHWH (in Heaven)”. This, while the third Angelic manifestation was with Abraham. Certainly, no impossible accomplishment for an omnipresent Divine Being! After all, what stops the Omnipotent, Almighty God from manifesting Himself as four, five or ten men, yes, even as an army of men, all acting and thinking differently at any one moment, yet, collectively, being the manifestation of the One God YHWH (Deut. 6:4).
We have to accept literally what the Bible teaches, believe it … and the Most High will then reveal the Truth. The explanation to the apparent contradiction that “no-one can see God and live”, we must then conclude from the Scriptures, as that no-one can see God as He is (in His essence, His full Glory or as Spirit), but in His visible manifestations, the Bible is very explicit (as we have seen), that they did see Him, talk to Him, touched Him, etc. It seems therefore, that in such visible, `human-like’ manifestations of the Almighty, it is as if the Divine Power and Glory is totally `toned down’ (shielded).
We have therefore no choice but to conclude from the Scriptures, that Almighty YHWH Himself appeared unto Abraham and was manifest, this time, in the shape of ‘three Men’ Who ate bread, butter, milk and also of the calf which Abraham had dressed. Abraham had no problem in identifying them and addressing them as YHWH, His God.
THE ALMIGHTY’S APPEARANCE TO HAGAR – Gen.16:1-16
Hagar, Abraham’s slave-girl, ran away from home having conceived a child of Abraham. “And the Angel of YHWH found her by a spring of water (Gen. 16:7) …. The Angel of YHWH also said to her, ‘I will greatly multiply your descendants’ (v. 10)…. So she called the Name of YHWH Who spoke to her: ‘THOU ART A GOD OF SEEING’, for she said, ‘Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing Him?’ ” (v.13). We therefore conclude that the “Angel of God” is simply the visible, “shielded”, human-like manifestation of the Invisible God.
HIS APPEARANCE TO JACOB – Gen. 32:24-30; Hosea. 12:2-5
“And Jacob was left alone and there WRESTLED A MAN with him.” (v.24). Who was this Man? The prophet Hosea in chap.12:4 reveals the matter to us. “He (Jacob) wrestled with the Angel and beat Him… ” Yet, at the same time this “Man” or “Angel” was God Himself. This astounding fact is revealed by the wrestling Angel Himself in Gen. 32:28. “…because you have been strong against God, you shall prevail against men” (Jerusalem Bible). Jacob then extorts a blessing from Him and exclaims: “I have seen God face to face and yet my life is preserved” (Gen. 32:30).
Hosea 12:3,4 confirms: “…in his manhood he wrestled against God … He met God at Bethel…” etc..
In these Scriptures we see clearly that the Angel, Who had the shape of a Man, was the Almighty God Himself Who appeared in His Angelic form.
HIS APPEARANCE TO ISRAEL IN EXODUS – Ex. 23:20-23; Ex. 3:7-22; Numb. 14:13-35
We read that the “Angel of YHWH ” led them out of Egypt – yet, the Scriptures reveal that it was the Almighty Himself. “And when we cried to YHWH , He heard our voice, and sent an Angel, and brought us forth out of Egypt .. ” (Num. 20:16). “Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of lsaac and the God of Jacob… I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians….. Ex 3:6,8. “Behold I send an Angel before thee… ” (Ex. 23:20-22).
“And YHWH went before them by day in a Pillar of a Cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a Pillar of Fire, to give them light” (Ex. 13:21). (See also Ex.19:9, Deut. 1:33; 5;22; Ex.16:10).
Thus, the Angel that was sent to bring His people out of Egyptian bondage was none other than the Most High Himself Who appeared in His Angelic manifestation, this time, as a Pillar of cloud and fire. Read also Ex.14:19,24.
HIS APPEARANCE TO MOSES – Ex. 3:2-17
“And the Angel of YHWH appeared unto him in a Flame of Fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed … when he turned aside to see, God (Who was that fiery Angel) called unto him out of the midst of the bush and said (v.4) I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God …”
And again in Ex. 24:9 “Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Avihu and seventy elders of Israel. They saw the God of Israel … they gazed on God.”
(v.6). This is what Paul was referring to when he said in Hebrews 11:27, “By faith he (Moses) left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the King: for he endured as seeing Him Who is invisible”. By saying this, Paul confirmed that the Invisible God could be seen – when He manifests Himself – usually shielding His Glory in doing so!
In Ex. 3:7-17, the Angel, (Who was God in His ANGELIC manifestation), in a conversation with Moses, claimed to be the great “I AM THAT I AM.” (Ex. 3:14) and that He descended from Heaven (Ex 3:8). He commands Moses to lead the Israelites from their Egyptian slavery and then gave Moses three Divine Signs in order “that they may believe that YHWH God of their forefathers has appeared to you (Moses)” (Ex. 4:5). Yes, the Eternal knew that His own nation would not believe that He Himself appeared unto Moses – hence the 3 miracles as proof.
HIS APPEARANCE ON MOUNT SINAI WlTH HIS ANGELS – Ex.19:1-25; 20:1-26
“And Moses went up unto God, and YHWH called unto him out of the mountain saying . . .(Ex.19:3). “Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud ” (v.9). “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: YHWH is among them, as in Sinai in the Holy Place” (Ps. 68:17). “For on the third day YAHWAH will come down upon Mt. Sinai in the sight of all the people” (Ex.19:11).
HIS APPEARANCE IN THE TENT TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS – Ex. 33; Num. 12
Moses regularly entered the Tabernacle while the nation observed the Cloud coming down thereon. “Thus YHWH used to speak to Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend.” (Ex. 33:11). The Eternal Himself confirms this in Num. 12:8, “With him (Moses) I speak mouth to mouth … and he beholds the form of YHWH “- as opposed to speaking to prophets in visions. (v.6).
HIS APPEARANCE TO BALAAM – Num. 22:22-35
“…and the ANGEL of YHWH took His stand in the way as his (Balaam’s) adversary…”(Num. 22:22). Then follows a description of this meeting and the conversation between the Angel and Balaam. Even Balaam’s donkey saw the Angel with drawn sword standing in the road (v.23).
GOD’S APPEARANCE TO SAMSON’S PARENTS – Judges 13:1-22
“And the Angel of YHWH appeared…(v.3)… Behold, the Man has appeared unto me…(v.10)…And Manoah said unto the Angel of YHWH , “What is Thy Name?” (v.17). And the Angel of YAHWAH said (v.18) “Why askest thou thus after My Name, seeing it is Secret?” (marginal reference renders it “Wonderful”). And Manoah said unto his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God” (v.22). This Man Who was the ‘Angel of YHWH , was the Eternal Himself Who appeared in a visible manifestation. He declared that His Name was “Wonderful”.
HIS APPEARANCE TO SAMUEL – 1 Sam. 3:21
“And YHWH appeared again in Shiloh: for YHWH revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the Word of YHWH ” (1 Sam. 3:21). Thus, once more we see the Invisible One making Himself visible and revealing Himself, this time as the “Word of YHWH “. Also Gen. 15:1, 2, 5.
HIS APPEARANCE IN A WHIRLWIND – Job.38
“Then YHWH answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said…” (Job 38:1).
THE ALMIGHTY’S APPEARANCE IN THE TEMPLE – 2 Chron. 5:11-14
The Tabernacle, being a temporary mobile sanctuary, was replaced by the proper Temple in Jerusalem, built by King Solomon after Israel settled in the Promised Land. The Eternal’s Glory, as during Tabernacle times, once again appeared in the Most Holy of the Temple.
“And the Word of YHWH came to Solomon, saying, ‘Concerning this House which you are building… I will dwell among the children of Israel… So Solomon built the house and finished it” (1 Kings 6:11-14).
“It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one … thanking YHWH …with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised YHWH , saying: ‘For He is good’…that then the House was filled with a cloud, even the House of YHWH … for the Glory of YHWH had filled the House of God'” (2 Chron. 5:13-14).
At the dedication of the Temple, the Almighty took possession of the Temple and in this way dwelt amongst His people.
HIS APPEARANCE TO GIDEON – Judges 6
“And the Angel of YHWH appeared to him”, (Judges. 6:12). Gideon asked for a sign that it was really the Almighty who was speaking to him (v.17), whereupon Gideon’s sacrifice was consumed by a bolt of fire. “…and the Angel vanished from his sight (v.21)…and Gideon said, ‘Alas O Lord God, for now I have seen the Angel of YHWH face to face’. But YHWH said to him, ‘do not fear, you shall not die.'” (v.22, 23).
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
We have seen, thus far, that the Bible explicitly states that:
The Almighty did appear to different men at different times in different Manifestations.
These manifestations at different times were called “The Word” or “The Angel” of God ( YHWH ), and as such did not indicate the heavenly beings or servants of the Eternal, but were the appearances of the Almighty HIMSELF.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yahwah Ha Mashiach for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
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