The Revelation Of God
By Paul Ferguson
In the Old Testament we hear little about God being a father to His people. Here, He is father only through the act of creation (Mal. 2:10, Isa. 64:8); or in places He is designated as father of the Jewish nation through His adoption of them (Jer. 31:9, Hos. 11:1, Ez. 16:8-14).
But in the New Testament we may freely read of the most glorious revelation ever to grace the printed page: God wants to be a personal spiritual Father to everyone, everywhere! He watches over us, cares for us, leads us, provides for us, and loves us with an everlasting, never-dying love. Our smallest troubles are His utmost concern; our minutest trial draws His most careful attention. When wee hear the expression “God the Father”, we should not think of some kind of a vague, abstract person in a trinity; but our hearts should be awakened to the most gracious of all God I s attributes: Love.
But it is in the very idea of the Most High God of the universe creating, loving, caring for and taking an active part in human history we meet our first problem. The Scriptures portray Him as not only loving, personal and revealing; but also He is described as glorious, invisible and unapproachable. Note well these verses:
“For our God is a consuming fire. Heb. 12:29
“which no man can approach unto” I Tim. 6: 16
“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible” I Tim. 1:17
“No man hath seen God at any time” John 1:18
“Who is the image of the invisible God” Col. 1: 15
“whom no man hath seen nor can see” I Tim. 6:16
“there shall no man see me and live. II Ex. 33:20
Read these verses over again, carefully! They appear to teach that IT 1S A PHYSICAL IMPOSSIBILITY FOR HUMAN FLESH TO APPROACH UNTO OR SEE GOD!
Yet certain Old Testament saints claimed that they had actually seen God. Throughout the Old Testament we hear of God visibly appearing to people! Let us examine some of these instances.
“And the Lord appeared unto him (Abraham) And he lifted up his eyes and three men stood by him” Gen. 18:1, 2
“And, behold, Jehovah (Hebrew reads this instead of the Lord) stood above it (the ladder), and s aid, I am the Lord God” Gen. 28:13
“And there wrestled a man with him (Jacob) and Jacob called the name of the place Penie]; for I have seen God face to face … ” Gen. 32:24,30
“And they (Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and 70 elders) saw the God of Israel and did eat and drink. Ex. 24: 10, 11
“thou, Lord art seen face to face” NUM. 14:14
“we (Samson’s parents) shall surely die because we have seen God.” Judges 13:17, 18, 22
“I (Micah 6) saw the Lord sitting upon His throne.” I Kings 22.:19
“I saw the Lord sitting upon His throne” Isa. 6:1
Read these verses over carefully along with the others.
Jewish theologians puzzled for centuries over these verses offering many a weird and fanciful explanation. But finally in the New Testament God gave us the true interpretation of all this. The New Testament teaching on this subject is as follows:
The invisible God has an image. II Gar. 4:4 Gol. 1:15, Heb.
Anyone who sees this image has seen God.
This is not just a masquerade. The image is God! John 20:28
God not by my own notion but by the decree of the scripture. The reader will notice that in each instance of the visible appearances of God what appeared was called God. And what the Bible calls God was and is forever God and none else. Not an archangel, a demigod, a separate person but absolutely and wholly God.
Although His substance is unseeable, unapproachable, unfathomable, He is able to change a portion of that substance into something we can see and approach since nothing is impossible with Him (Luke 1 :37).
I cannot see the back of my head except in a mirror. But it is as lawful and true for me to say I cannot see the back of my head as it is to say I can see it. It all depends on what sense I am talking.
But why would God want His creatures to see Him?
The answer is this: It is not enough for God to be all powerful, absolute, all knowing; He is a loving God. Love needs an object to love; so He must needs create. If He creates beings on whom He can shower His love, even this is not enough. Because He loves them He must commune with them and they with Him. They must have fellowship one with another.
Creature must meet Creator but not on His own level, or they would be consumed at His glory and brightness. Thus He changed a portion of this “consuming fire” into something His creatures could see, know, and, in part, understand. Not that we cannot now know God “in part” whom now, although we do not see him, we “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”; but God looks forward to the day when we shall see “face to face” and worship before His throne throughout eternity. (I Cor. 13:9-12) I Peter 1:8, Rev. 22:4,5). In the following chapter we shall see how God’s longing to be manifested to His creatures was finally fulfilled in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Many believe that his glorious form through which God ruled the universe was a portion of God transformed into a super-natural being. This is very likely if “first” in Col. 1:15 and Rev. 3:14, where Jesus is called “firstborn of all creation” and the “beginning of the creation of God, means “first in order” instead of rank. But this may not be the case.
In Ps. 89:27 God says of the Messiah, His image, “I will make Him my firstborn. When this Psalm was written, Christ was yet to be born. Thus “first” must mean “first in rank”.
As for Rev. 3:14 a quick glance at any thorough Greek lexicon, such as Thayer’ s or Arndt and Gingrich! s, will show that the original Greek word translated “beginning” in the King James version may also mean” author of”, The Greek word is __________ (ar-ka.) .
This article “The Revelation of God” by Paul Ferguson is excerpted from his book, God in Christ Jesus, 1981.