They Saw God
Exodus 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. 11And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not his hand. And they saw God, and did eat and drink.
This text evidently shows that humans saw God. Whether they saw Yeshua the Son or Yehovah the Father is not determined in this text. They did see God, however.
No Man Has Seen God
John 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.
1 John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.
These two texts tell us that no man has ever seen God. This directly conflicts with the Exodus 24 text. Yet the Greek tense of the verb, ‘hath seen’, is perfect, and thus should be rendered in the following way:
John 1:18 No man had seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
1 John 4:12 No man had seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
This directs us to a particular timing, because it refers to a particular event. A careful reader should also note that seeing a Being that is everywhere isn’t possible for a human. If God appears in one place at one time, seeing Him is more than possible; it is what will occur. Seeing Him in His omnipresence isn’t possible; one would have to be outside of Him to see Him in this way.
John 1:15 John bare witness of Him. And he shouted, saying, “This was He of whom I spake: ‘He Who cometh after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 16And we all have received of His fullness and grace for grace. 17For the Torah was given by Moshe—Grace and truth came by Messiah Yeshua! 18No man had seen God at any time. The only begotten Son Who is in the bosom of the Father—He hath declared.”
Messiah Yeshua had not yet started His ministry, yet John the Baptist declared that Grace and Truth came by Messiah Yeshua, showing that Messiah Yeshua brought the Torah, which consists of Grace and Truthjust as the following declares:
Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of Grace is in her tongue.
This law is the Torah, and it is the declaration of the Grace of God.
If the above is the case, John 1:15-18 refers to the giving of the Torah, and it is during this event that the statement, “no man had seen God at any time,” is made. Yehovah had quarantined Mount Sinai so that only Moshe could approach God. The Israelis had not seen God at any time before the Torah was given.
The Great God
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation for all men appeared, 12teaching us that we should live discreetly and righteously and piously in the present age, having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, 13awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the Glory, the great God and our Saviour Messiah Yeshua 14Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a segregated people, zealous of good works.
This text shows that the great God and Yeshua are the same. This goes along with the following text:
John 14:4 “And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” 5Thomas saith unto him, “Sir, we don’t know to where thou goest! And how can we know the way?” 6Yeshua saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth and the life! No man cometh unto the Father but via me! 7If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. And from henceforth ye know Him and have seen Him!” 8Philip saith unto Him, “Sir, show us the Father and it suffices us.” 9Yeshua saith unto him, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He who hath seen me hath seen the Father! And how sayest thou then, ‘Show us the Father?’ 10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? I don’t speak the words that I speak unto you from myself, but the Father Who abides in me—He doeth the works.”
Verse 7 directly connects knowing God with seeing God. This is not spiritualization. Many Israelis saw Yeshua, but few saw God. This is because they saw the son of Miriam, but did not have a clue that they had seen God, just as what Manoah experienced:
Judges 13:8 Then Manoah entreated Yehovah and said, “My Lords, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.” 9And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah. And the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10And the woman made haste and ran, and showed her husband. And she said unto him, “Behold, the man hath appeared unto me who came unto me the other day!” 11And Manoah arose and went after his wife, and came to the man. And he said unto him, “Art thou the man who spake unto the woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12And Manoah said, “Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?” 13And the angel of Yehovah said unto Manoah, “Of all that I said unto the woman, she shall beware. 14She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither shall she drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean. All that I commanded her she shall observe.” 15And Manoah said unto the angel of Yehovah, “I pray thee, we shall detain thee until we shall have made ready a kid for thee.” 16And the angel of Yehovah said unto Manoah, “Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread. And if thou wilt offer an ascending, thou must offer it unto Yehovah!” (For Manoah knew not that he was the angel of Yehovah.) 17And Manoah said unto the angel of Yehovah, “What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?” 18And the angel of Yehovah said unto him, “Why ask thou thus after my name, seeing it Wonderful [literally, Pele]?” 19So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto Yehovah. And the angel did Wonderful. And Manoah and his wife looked on. 20For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of Yehovah ascended in the flame of the altar! And Manoah and his wife looked on, and fell on their faces to the ground. 21And the angel of Yehovah did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of Yehovah. 22And Manoah said unto his wife, “Dying, we shall die because we have seen God!” 23And his wife said unto him, “If Yehovah were pleased to kill us, He would not have received an ascending and a meat offering at our hands, neither would He have showed us all these things, nor would He have told us such things as these as at this time!”
She obviously knew that seeing God was not fatal, whereas her husband thought it was, from the following text:
Exodus 33:20 And He said, “Thou cannot see my face. For the adam shall not see me and live!”
Yet in this same chapter, the Spirit of God testifies,
Exodus 33:11 And Yehovah spake unto Moses face to face as a man speaks unto his friend.
The problem with how readers misunderstand this text is with pronouns. Consider the beginning of Exodus 33:
Exodus 33:1 And Yehovah said unto Moshe, “Depart! And go up from here–thou and the people that thou brought up from the land of Egypt, unto the land that I swore unto Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give her unto thy seed.’ 2And I will send an angel before thee. And I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, 3unto a land flowing with milk and honey. For I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people!–lest I consume thee in the way!”
The pronouns thou and thee refer to the people of Israel as a unit! Thus, when Yehovah said, “Thou cannot see my face. For the adam shall not see me and live,” He wasn’t speaking of Moshe to whom He was speaking faces to faces at that time, but to Israel. Had He appeared to Israel, the Israelis would have died! The were not ready to see Him. Anyone who is born of God can see Him and live.
The Israelis at Mount Sinai, at the giving of the Torah, did not see God, but only smoke, fire, and the accompanying terrifying sights. Yet another text states that Yehovah talked with them face to face:
Deuteronomy 5:4 Yehovah talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire—5I stood between Yehovah and you at that time to show you the word of Yehovah, for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount—saying, 6I am Yehovah thy Gods Who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Yehovah did speak faces to faces with the Israelis. They did not see Him, however, but smoke, etc. Though they were shown the Word (Hebrew, Dvar) of Yehovah, they did not see. Yet, having seen what they saw, they still died in the wilderness.
They Saw the God of Israel
Exodus 24:9 Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. 10And 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. 11And He laid not his hand upon the nobles of the children of Israel. And they saw God and did eat and drink.
They did see God, and they survived, but Nadav and Avihu did not survive for long! They saw God, and they died later because of the contempt they showed for His fire.
Nearly all folks in Christianity today who desire to see God are in unbelief, many being very religious. They have a death wish. Some even sing songs asking for God to send His fire on them!