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Jesus In The Old Testament

Some of my favorite parts of the Bible tell of heavenly 'visitors' in the Old Testament, and their visits to humans on earth, many time interacting directly with us. Before getting into these instances, remember that the John 1:18 reminds us that "No man hath seen God at any timeŽ". Now, that's pretty declarative, but keep this in mind while we discuss some specifics from the Old Testament.

We can start in the beginning: Genesis 32:30 tells us Jacob said "...for I have seen God face to face". Wait - what? But...but...but, what about what was just quoted in John 1:18???

It's in Genesis 32 that we read how Jacob 'wrestled' with a 'man' who we, in Verse 30, find out is God. So, we have a physical representation of God here on earth. Now, let's see, where else is there a physical representation of God on earth? How about in the four Gospels? He was called "Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God". In fact, John's Gospel begins with this statement: "In the beginning was the Word [capital letter], and the Word [capital letter] was with God, and the Word [capital letter] was God." Then, Verse 14 says, "And the Word [capital letter] was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

This leads us to the belief that the 'man' in Genesis 32, whom Jacob called 'God' was, indeed, God in the flesh - the pre-incarnate embodiment of God, a.k.a., Jesus. This is called a "Christophany", or an appearance of Christ before He was born to Mary and Joseph.

There are other instances. Here are just a few:

In Judges 13, Samson's father, Manoah, after an interaction with an 'Angel' exclaims in Verse 22, "We shall surely die, because we have seen God"

In Isaiah 6, the prophet encounters angels in the temple, but he also saw another heavenly being. In Verse 1 he says "I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up...". Then, in Verse 5 he, filled now with fear, says "Woe is me! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts."

In Daniel 3, when Nebuchadnezzar became furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego and threw them into the "fiery furnace", not only were they not harmed at all, but when Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace, he saw a fourth man with them who the Bible says was "like the Son of God".

There is also a more controversial one to be mentioned: Melchizedek. We meet Him first in Genesis 14, the first of only two places where He's mentioned in the Old Testament (the other being Psalms 110:4, where He is specified as the same kind of priest as Christ), as the "King of Salem". But, in Hebrews, Paul goes into more detail as to who Melchisedec (slight difference in spelling) was. The primary evidence for His being the pre-incarnate Christ are Verses 3 and 10. In Verse 3, Paul tells us Melchisedec was "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither the beginning of days, nor the end of life; but made like unto the Son of God". It's hard to believe He could be anything but God in the flesh. Additionally, in Verse 10 we are told that Melchisedec knew Abraham before he was even born!

These are all encounters with God in the flesh - the embodiment of God that we can see and touch. We knew His name in the New Testament as "Jesus". Just to make sure we understand the difference between the physical God, and the spiritual God, I Timothy 6:15-16 speaks of the spiritual God, "...Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to Whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen." - To which I say: Amen, indeed!


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