Did Anyone See God?
We are told in Scriptures that “No one has seen God at any time.” (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12) Is that a lie?
Many are claiming that God was literally “seen” and cite passages to promote the Trinity and/or Deity of Jesus. The doctrine of the Messiah falls or stands on this issue and passages are quoted while discarding the Hebraic mind set (which we need to try and understand). When God’s words are perverted, it is changed into a lie. We must be careful that we do not handle the word of God deceitfully. (2 Cor. 4:2)
“Do we believe Jesus contradicted scripture when He said “NO MAN HAS SEEN GOD AT ANY TIME”, when scripture clearly tells us that Israel DID see God?
Another person said,
“If no man has ever seen God at any time, as Jesus spoke, then who was it that everyone saw in the Old Testament? If Jesus says no one has seen Him, then no one has seen Him. Yet we have dozens of testimonies of the patriarchs and the prophets who saw God.
Then the person quoted the following verses:
Gen 32:30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
Exo 33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
Exo 24:10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. Exo 24:11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.
Joh 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Answer: Since Scripture tells us that no one has seen God at any time, and that no one can see His face and live (Ex. 33:20) we must believe it and take off the Trinitarian colored glasses. Is there a contradiction or a lie?
Scripture proves that not even Moses directly spoke with God when giving the Torah at Mt. Sinai. The NT passages help explain this. Please note carefully:
Acts 7:30; 35; 38; 53
30 And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel [divinely appointed emissary] of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. 35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel [divinely appointed emissary] which appeared to him in the bush. 38 This is he that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel [divinely appointed emissary] which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels [divinely appointed emissaries], and have not kept it.
19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels [divinely appointed emissaries] by the hand of a mediator.
2 For if the word spoken through angels [divinely appointed emissaries] proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,
As these verses prove, not even Moses directly saw or spoke with God. Therefore, since the passages that record the discourse between Moses and God, that most strongly imply direct communication, obviously were not direct communication.
If no one can see God and live as we are taught in Scripture, how can God speak to Moses “face to face”? Moses said to the people (referring to the giving of the Ten Commandments, Ex. 20),
“The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire.”
Again, the New Testament passages tell us exactly what happened, how God spoke with the Israelites- through one or more angels – divinely appointed emissaries.
In Deut. 4:12,15,16, we read,
“And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,”
God would not allow them to see any likeness of Him because He knew they would most likely make an image of Him.
Again, though some verses strongly imply direct communication, they were not direct communication.
Now, elsewhere Jesus told his disciples,
“he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”
Remember, no one has seen God. All the disciples had to do was look at Jesus, NOT as oneness of being (none of them ever did that) as we are taught, but a oneness of character, will, Spirit.
In John 6:46, the Greek word “seen” means “to discern clearly (physically or mentally ).” The disciples did not have a physical sighting of the Father, but a mental perception of His character by looking at Jesus. In this sense, to see Jesus was to see the Father, but not literally.