THE INVISIBLE GOD
God, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, is invisible. The apostle Paul tells us so: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim. 1:17).
Visible is that which can be seen, even if it does not have a physical body, such as in a vision or dream. If God reveals Himself in a theophany, He is not invisible anymore, for invisible is that which can never be seen. An atom is not visible to the simple eye, but it can be seen with the help of a microscope.
But God is invisible, that is, He cannot be seen by anyone, not even by the angels. This is why the evangelist Matthew says, “No one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). In the Old Testament god became visible, and this was not through Jesus, contradicting the declaration of the Son in Matt. 11:27, for he physically appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Ex. 6:3. Whoever sees something, does not know it completely, for he does not know the essence of it. And Jehovah said: “And I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but […] I did not make Myself known to them” (Ex. 6:3).
I saw a tree, and someone told me: “It is a grapevine.” As it was not time for fruits, it was dry with no leaves. I got to know, by sight, the form of the tree, but not the leaves and the fruits. This was the way Abraham knew Jehovah. Jehovah appeared to Adam in the Garden of Eden, and Adam hid himself. Therefore, that god was visible (Gen. 3:8). He showed himself to Enoch (Gen. 5:22-24). Jacob bodily wrestled with an angel to receive the blessing of Jehovah. This is in Gen. 32:22-30. Jacob declares inverse 30 that god had fought with him, for he said: I have seen god face to face. The peculiarity of this god is that he feared the light, and begged Jacob, saying, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking” (Gen. 32:26).
The prophet Hosea reveals about this wrestling episode with Jacob that Jehovah was the angel overcome by Jacob (Hos. 12:4-5). At a single time, Jehovah appeared to seventy-four people. “Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself” (Ex. 24:9-10). If they saw the feet, he had a bodily form, and therefore, Jehovah was never invisible. At a certain time, Moses made a request to Jehovah: “‘I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of Jehovah before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.’ But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!’ Then Jehovah said, ‘Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and I will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.’” (Ex. 33:18-23). An invisible god does not have a back, neither he has hands, or a face. Let us read what Jehovah declared about his servant Moses: “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, Jehovah, shall make myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. Not so, with My servant Moses, he is faithful in all My household; with him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of Jehovah, Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?” (Num. 12:6-8).
Jehovah went on showing himself to many people. Isaiah saw Jehovah sitting on a sublime throne, and the Seraphim with six wings over the throne (Is. 6:1-2). It would be impossible to see the invisible God sitting; and Ezekiel saw the loins of Jehovah (Ezek. 8:2).
As to the true God, the apostle Paul reveals us the following: “Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16). Paul is not saying that the creature is forbidden to see its creator, neither that man is not allowed to see the face of god and live. Paul is explaining that the invisible can never been seen. God, the Father, is Spirit, and a Spirit does not have a visible form, for it is invisible.
Someone may say: We will never see God, our Father, and also Father of the Lord Jesus? The Apostle John answers to this question: “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:18). The Apostle of Love is revealing two things:
A. Everyone who saw Jehovah in the Old Testament has never seen the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
B. It is not possible to see the Father outside Jesus. Whoever sees Jesus, sees the Father. This was Jesus’ answer to Phillip (John 14:8-9). Jesus tried to reveal this great truth to the religious men of his time, but they rejected Jesus, exactly as they do today. “And so they were saying to Him, ‘Where is Your Father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither Me, nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also’” (John 8:19). “You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form” (John 5:37).
Jesus was very clear: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6). We cannot go to the Father through the prophets, neither through Moses, nor through the angels. It is only done through Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). Jesus, who was at the bosom of the Father, and was invisible together with the Father, became visible at incarnation (John 1:14). Whoever looked at the visions of Jehovah was just as frightened as Moses (Heb. 12:16-21). But whoever looks at Jesus is amazed at the love of the Father(John 3:16-17). Those who saw Jehovah beheld hatred and evil (Jer. 13:14; 18:11; 21:10; 44:27; Amos 3:6, etc). Those who saw Jesus beheld only the love and good of the Father (James 1:17).Whoever sees Jehovah sees condemnation of the guilty and of the innocent (Ezek. 21:1-4). Whoever sees the Father in Jesus sees the salvation of the guilty and of the innocent (1 Tim. 1:15; Matt. 19:13-14). James very truthfully said: “From the same fountain we cannot drink fresh and bitter water”(James 3:10-12).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira