PRETERIST BIBLE COMMENTARY › Forums › Forum › If No Man can see God and Live, How Could Jesus be Seen during the Parousia?
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May 6, 2015 at 4:28 am #6189adminKeymaster
God can Only be seen by People in Visions: Exodus 33:23 says that No Man can See God and Live. When Moses, Daniel and Ezekiel saw God, They saw Him in a Vision, Not with Physical Eyes. The Visible Coming of Christ (Mark 14:62) in “the Glory of the Father” (Matthew 16:27-28) in A.D. 66 was also a Vision according to Tacitus.
In Matthew 16:27-28 Jesus said that He was coming “in the glory of the Father.”
Then in Mark 14:62 Jesus said to the high priest that he shall “see” the Son of Man “coming on the clouds of heaven.” If Jesus was to be seen at least in some aspect of His second coming, how is that possible if He was to come in His Father’s glory when in Exodus 33:20 God tells Moses, “[N]o man can see Me and live!” Is this a contradiction?
No. People have seen God in the Old Testament. In fact, immediately after God said this to Moses, Moses saw God pass by and Moses saw God’s back in Exodus 33:23. How could Moses see God and yet God said that no man could see Him and live? It appears that Moses did not actually see God with his physical eyes. Instead, Moses saw a vision of God. This idea appears to be confirmed by other sightings of God like those in Ezekiel 1 and Daniel 7. Daniel’s sighting and description of God in Daniel 7:9-14 is said in Daniel 7:1 and 7:13 to be a dream and a vision. Likewise, Ezekiel’s similar sighting and description of God in Ezekiel 1 is also said to be a vision in Ezekiel 1:1. Thus no one has ever seen the full glory of the heavenly likeness of God with their physical eyes and lived. Rather, Moses and some of the prophets have seen God’s likeness in God-given visions.
After His ascension into heaven, Jesus took on a heavenly body that closely resembled the likeness of God as He is described in Daniel 7:9-14 and Ezekiel 1. This fact is confirmed by Paul’s sighting of Christ in Acts 9:3-9 and John’s description of Jesus in Revelation 1:12-20. Did these men actually “see” Jesus with their physical eyes? No. After Jesus appeared to Paul, Acts 9:7 says that Paul’s companions heard Jesus’ voice but saw no one. Furthermore, right before seeing Jesus’ heavenly likeness, John says that he was “in spirit” when he saw Jesus’ glorious image (Revelation 1:10). Therefore after Jesus ascended into heaven and took on an appearance very similar to that of the Father, Jesus also became invisible to physical eyes and then could also only be seen in visions. This fact also appears to be confirmed during the transfiguration in Matthew 17 when Peter, James and John saw Jesus in a luminescent, fiery form like that of his post-ascension heavenly body. According to Matthew 17:9 when the disciples came down the mountain Jesus said, “Tell the vision [of the transfiguration] to no one . . . .”
Not only were Jesus and the Father only visible in visionary form, angels in their similarly fiery and luminescent heavenly forms seem to also only be visible in visions. This fact is implied in 2 Kings 6:17 when Elisha’s servant was given a vision of an army of angels surrounding Elisha: “’O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
2 Thessalonians 1:7 says that during the parousia, Jesus will come in the presence of His heavenly angels and that Jesus and His angels will appear in the fiery likeness of their heavenly bodies as they are described in 2 Kings 6:17, Acts 9:3-9 and Revelation 1:12-20: “This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.” Therefore if Jesus was to be seen (Mark 14:62) coming in the glory of His Father (Matthew 16:27-28) in the presence of His angels (2 Thessalonians 1:7) during the parousia, then this event must have been witnessed in visionary form since no one can see God with their earthly, physical eyes and live (Exodus 33:20). This means that all the heavenly, miraculous spectral events witnessed around the time of the Jewish War and at the death of the beast were all visions.
Is there any historical testimony to support this idea? Yes. When describing the initial aspect of the parousia when Jesus appears to have actually been seen in the sky in the presence of His angels, Tacitus says that this event was a vision: “In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armour [emphasis mine].” The fact that this appearance of Christ and His angels during the parousia was a manifestation of Christ and His angels in the glory of their fiery heavenly bodies (2 Kings 6:17, Acts 9:3-9 and Revelation 1:12-20) is confirmed by the medieval Jewish historian Sepher Yosippon. Expounding upon this angelic army in the sky of A.D. 66, Yosippon writes, “Moreover, in those days were seen chariots of fire and horsemen, a great force flying across the sky near to the ground coming against Jerusalem and all the land of Judah, all of them horses of fire and riders of fire.” Thus in this miraculous event at the start of the Jewish War, one can see how Jesus was truly seen (Mark 14:62) coming in the glory of His Father (Matthew 16:27-28) in the fiery presence of His angels (2 Thessalonians 1:7) during the parousia in visionary form since no one can see God with their earthly, physical eyes and live (Exodus 33:20).
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