In previous articles Who is Jesus? And What are Angels? We established that Jesus existed as the Word before His incarnation through a Virgin’s birth. It was also determined that Jesus being God and creator of all things could also take on Himself the appearance of what He has created.
In the teaching What are Angels? It was made apparent that Angels could also pierce through the spiritual realm into the physical realm, in the course of their service to the Lord. These appearances to mankind were sometimes obvious in the form of angels and anonymously in human form.
In ascertaining Who is Jesus? We know that Jesus being a part of the Godhead can be both spirit and flesh. Have you ever wondered about the verses in Exodus where Moses is speaking to God.
God is commanding Moses and the people to leave Sinai. One verse says face-to-face and another says that nobody can see God’s face and live. Yet in between these two verses, Moses is begging God to show him his glory.
The face, physical appearance, and promised presence of God is revealed to all through scripture in the verses of (Exodus 33:1-20).
The Command to Leave Sinai
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Depart and go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ 2 And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. 3 Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”
4 And when the people heard this bad news, they mourned, and no one put on his ornaments. 5 For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the children of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. I could come up into your midst in one moment and consume you. Now therefore, take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do to you.’” 6 So the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by Mount Horeb.
Moses Meets with the Lord
7 Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp. 8 So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle. 9 And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. 10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. 11 So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.
The Promise of God’s Presence
12 Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ 13 Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”
14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15 Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”
17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”
18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”
19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” (Exodus 33:1-20)
In verse 11 we read that Moses is speaking to God face-to-face like a friend. So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. (Exodus 33:11)
Later in verse 18 is where Moses is begging God to show him his glory? And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” (Exodus 33:18)
God answers Moses’ plea with a shocking reality that explains why a living mortal man can not see God’s face.
“But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” (Exodus 33:20)
These types of verses are the ones that Satan and his followers use to confuse mankind. This confusion is Satan’s way of perverting God’s word.
Satan has influenced many peoples and religions into thinking that the bible is contradicting itself. Or that somehow God’s word is not infallible.
Satan has convinced sinners that the bible is a lie and that it can not be trusted because it is full of errors. He even successfully encumbers believers understanding of these situational instances as a sort of unexplained enigma.
For ‘some’, these verses can be quite the conundrum. This is where we must pray before reading God’s word. This will allow a two way friend-to-friend face-to-face understanding of the bible and of God.
In (Exodus 33:11) the Hebrew word for face from Strong’s #H6440 is פָּנִים transliterated in the plural form paniym from the root #H6437פָּנָה panah
The English translation for the face is: (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.) before and behind, toward, in front of, forward, formerly, from beforetime, before with prep in front of, before, to the front of, in the presence of, in the face of, at the face or front of, from the presence of, from before, from before the face of.
In verses 2-3 God the Father refused to go with Israel to take them to the Promised Land because they were stiff-necked and God knew the Pure Holy side or face of Him would kill them. He would send ‘His Presence’ in the form of an angel to go with them in His stead.
And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” (Exodus 33:2-3)
Let us look at the verse 14, “And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)
This is the same Hebrew word for “presence” as for face. The word is paniym, the face of the presence as described to go before them. Paniym likewise is the same Hebrew word for ‘before’ in verse 19.
This is the angel that is present with them, fighting for them, and giving them rest. This is the face of God that Moses spoke to. This is the personality that Moses was face-to-face with. God said His presence would go with them. God went in the form of an Angel. Not to be confused with regular angels.
This is what is known as a theophany. Defined as a visible manifestation of God to mankind. This is Jesus before he became mortal flesh. The spiritual form of the Word in (John 1:1). A more appropriate term being Christophany.
The reason Moses begged to see God’s glory is because God the Father is invisible. God explained it to Moses and then showed Moses why in verses 21-23 of Exodus chapter 33. God’s Glory will kill mortal man. God’s Glorious light is just too much to behold.
And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:21-23)
The bible itself explains that God is invisible and why He sometimes appears to humans in different forms such as pillars of smoke and fire, burning bushes, angels, and finally the flesh as Jesus.
giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Colossians 1:12-15)
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17)
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, (Romans 1:20)
Jesus in the form of an angel, is the pre-incarnate physical manifestation of God’s Glory shown to Moses in Exodus. Before Jesus became flesh through a Virgin’s birth (Matthew 1:18-25) He was the Word and a spiritual being in the Godhead. (John 1:1-4)
There are many manifestations of God in the Old Testament. Most often, but not always, in the tangible form of an angel.
Satan would have everyone believe that Jesus was just a man and died in history on a cross. God’s plan from eternity past, has always been fellowship with His creation and created. Theophanies were God’s way of communicating with mortals in a manner of which mankind could assimilate.
Not every angelic appearance can be attributed as a theophany. Only one Angel ‘usually,’ not always, known as “the angel of the Lord,”
This Angel receives worship, forgives sin, and is identified with or speaks as the Lord. This angel exercises all the attributes and responsibilities of God.
“Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him. (Exodus 23:20-21)
The Testaments record theophanies through angelic luminaries named the “angel of the LORD,” the “angel of the Presence,” the “angel of the Covenant,” and the “messenger of the Covenant.”
The Burning Bush
This angelic dignitary is set apart from other angels by the manner and descriptions given in scriptural context. One of the most famous yet overlooked theophany, is known as the burning bush of Moses. This renowned childhood bible story is of a burning bush that did not burn up!
And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. (Exodus 3:2)
Take note: What is in the midst of the bush? This is a Angel. Now listen to what the bible records in verse 4 as to who calls from within the midst of the bush. This again is the Angel. God in Angelic form.
So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Exodus 3:4)
But wait! It gets even better. The Angel ‘makes no bones about it.’ Professing that He (the Angel) is God in the next verses 5-6!
Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Moreover He said, “I am the God of your 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. (Exodus 3:5-6)
Hold on, were not done yet! Let’s tie this all back together with the above teaching from (Exodus 33:1-20). In the preceding paragraphs we learned that God sent Himself in the form of an Angel before the people to fight for them and give them rest.
And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. 3 Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” (Exodus 33:2-3)
“And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)
Here we are shown the thread of truth that binds God’s words together. From chapter 33 of Exodus, way back to the burning bush in chapter 3 of Exodus.
God tells us in (Exodus 3:8) that He has come down from Heaven to fight for the people and provide the deliverance that gives them rest. God is fighting the same people. The Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and the Jebusites in Chapters 3 and 33 of Exodus.
God delivers on His promise of His presence.
So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. (Exodus 3:8)
This Angel is the visible manifestation of an invisible God to mankind. You now know this to be Jesus before he became mortal flesh. The spiritual form of the Word in (John 1:1). This is why I stated in the beginning that a more appropriate term for Theophany; that being Christophany.
God promised his presence and protection to Moses and Israel. This includes you as a believer and a part of the true church known as Israel. To learn more about The true Church Israel. Read this teaching link. Grafting an Olive Wood Church
This is God’s promise fulfilled in the Book of Exodus and throughout the bible. The is the very promise ultimately fulfilled permanently through Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
When Moses was 120 years old and the promised land was finally in sight. Moses appoints Joshua over Israel to go and inhabit the Promised Land. Moses reminds us of God’s promise in Deuteronomy.
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
God came down in the form of an Angel from The Burning Bush to Sinai, from the Promised Land to Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
God sent an Angel in the Old Testament and He sent Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus and the Angel are both one and the same physical manifestation of an Invisible God. Jesus attests to this Himself in the book of John.
“I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.” (John 8:18).
There are many more theophanies recorded in the bible. From Genesis to Revelation. Like….
An Angel appears to Hagar functioning as God giving Life.
Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” (Genesis 16:10) Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” (Genesis 16:13)
An Angel appearing to Abraham on Mount Moriah and functioning as God by saving Isaac.
And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (Genesis 22:10-12)
The famous story of Jacob wrestling with God in a Dream all night.
Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Genesis 32:24-30)
Let’s go clear to the book of Revelation with John on the isle of Patmos.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. (Revelation 1:1-2)
I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. (Revelation 1:9-18)
This is just a smidgen of theophanies found in the bible. What is important is that you know, as shown, that from Genesis to Revelation God has manifested Himself. You know how and by whom God revealed Himself. You now, also know the why.
Delivering the Promise
God made a promise of His presence with mankind in the Old Testament and never failed to keep His promise to this day.
Jesus Christ also known as Immanuel is the realization of this promise. Immanuel means “God with us.”
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
Through Jesus Christ’s (Immanuel) finished work on the cross at Calvary. Jesus paid the price for your salvation and fulfilled the promise of God presence with us by giving us the Holy Spirit.
This is known as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is the action by which God takes up permanent residence in the body of a believer through Jesus Christ.
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Would you like to talk to God face-to-face friend-to-friend just like Moses did? Would you like God to reveal Himself to you just like He promised throughout the entire bible? Would you like to receive the Holy Spirit into your heart today? If you do? Pray with me now!
Pray Now!! Pray this simple prayer to trust Jesus as your Savior:
“Lord Jesus, I am a sinner and I need a Savior. Right now I will turn away and repent from my sin and accept you as my Lord and Savior. I trust and believe that You are the Son of God, my Lord and Savior for my salvation, I know and believe that You died on the Cross and rose again from the grave to pay for my sins. I thank you for saving me. Amen.”