If no one has seen the Father according to Jesus Himself

“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” ‭‭John‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭


“not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.” ‭‭John‬ ‭6:46‬ ‭

How then can the OT texts be reconciled where God was seen by multiple men over many ages and Jesus’ words remain true?


“So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭32:30‬ ‭


“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;” ‭‭Job‬ ‭42:5‬ ‭


“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord (Adonai) sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭6:1‬ ‭


“And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord יהוה sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left;” ‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭22:19‬ ‭

Would it not stand to reason that Jesus is not lying? (Obviously)

That whoever the OT men saw was God?

That whoever the OT men saw and was God was therefore not the Father IF Jesus’ statements are to be true?

That the God the OT men saw was not the Father and was therefore the Son?

“The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:21‬ ‭

Jesus has sat in the Father’s throne whilst having His own. Daniel confirms there are thrones (plural) for God (Echad)

““As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.” ‭‭Daniel‬ ‭7:9‬ ‭

Is this not also Jesus that Daniel saw and not the Father?

“and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭1:13-15‬

  • 2
    Perhaps the later Gospel account of John is not a totally reliable witness to the actual teachings/chronological events of Yeshua's ministry? - Example : John 6:4 Sep 11, 2020 at 18:54
  • 2
    Why are some books not in biblical canon? (Ex : Tobit, Judith) Sep 11, 2020 at 19:02
  • 2
    These and others about 16 books were included in the original KJV until 1880 @ctaylorgraphics, when the publishers were trying to save money so they removed them but they were included to give historical context to the canonical books and to make sense of texts being quoted from outside the canon. The Bible has many books not in the canon it recommends and the NT writers quote many extra biblical non canonical literature. I don’t understand why your question is relevant. Sep 11, 2020 at 19:32
  • 3
    No man (begotten of Adam) has seen God, the Creator (with his created eyes) at any time. But they who are begotten of him (born of water and of Spirit) see the Father with the eye of faith. He that hath seen me (by faith, not seen his human form with created eyes) hath seen the Father.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 11, 2020 at 19:43
  • 2
    @NigelJ I’m convinced you haven’t read the verses in the question. Sep 12, 2020 at 20:45

8 Answers 8


Great question that has been asked many times in various ways on this site previously. Let me quote John 1:18 according to the ESV.

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

The BSB is even more pointed. (The NIV and others have something similar).

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.

The OP's list of OT occurrences (there are many more) where people claim to have seen God face to face, simply show that they did meet God, not God the Father, but presumably, Jesus in His pre-incarnate form. The NT supports this idea many times:

  • Matt 1:23, … and they will call Him Immanuel, which means, “[the] God with us”. (This declares Jesus as ὁ Θεός.)
  • John 20:28, “Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God.’” (This declares Jesus as ὁ Θεός.) [Compare this statement with Ps 35:23, “Contend for me, my God and Lord.” See also V24.]
  • Phil 2:5-8, “…Jesus Christ: who, being in very nature God…”
  • 1 Tim 3:16, “Who was revealed in flesh …” [The antecedent of “who” is God in v15, according to NA28/UBS5, etc. The Byzantine text makes this explicit: “God was revealed in flesh …”.]
  • Titus 2:13, “…our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
  • Heb 1:8, “About the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever’”.
  • Heb 1:9, “therefore O God, Your God, has anointed You above Your companions with the oil of joy.”
  • 2 Peter 1:1, “…righteousness of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

... etc.

Further, in the OT, there are passages that discuss very interesting ideas that anticipate the NT passages above:

  • Zech 2:6-12 – the LORD (= YHWH) claims three times that He has been sent by the LORD.
  • Isa 48:11-16 – again, the LORD has been sent by the LORD.


Thus, I agree with the OP's suggestion that the "God" people record as seeing in the OT and elsewhere was the pre-incarnate Jesus the Son, and NOT the God the Father.


To interpret the passages you need to apply the correct hermeneutics. In the Old Testament, the Hebraic concept of ‘representation’ needs to be taken into account. That is, if a representative of an High standing official is standing before you, it is as if that person themselves is there - and if there was a written account of the meeting, it would be written as if that High standing person themselves stood there. Example, the multiple references to ‘the Lord’ is often a reference to the ‘angel of the lord’ - and, angels are representatives. The point is, that where you ‘read’ the ‘Lord’, this needs to be correctly interpreted.

Example, Exodus chapter 3 verse 2 clearly says the angel of the lord was in the burning bush - but further down the account (e.g. verse 7) it simple says ‘the LORD. And elsewhere is says it was God himself, (in verse 4 -‘God said .....’). Where as all these were the Angel - a representative.

Same with Moses receiving the 10 commandments on Sinai, the Old Testament says Moses received them from the LORD, which many read as God’, but nevertheless every single reference to this event in the New Testament clearly says Moses received the 10 commandments from Angels.

You need to apply the ‘correct’ hermeneutics - which unfortunately traditional interpretation does not. So for example, learning that the 10 commandments came via angels challenges many - they have issues with those New Testament references.

Second, some of the references you quoted were visions. And God can be ‘seen’ in a vision. Just as he could be seen in ‘a cloud’. Or, ‘felt’ as a presence. (Shekinah Glory.)

The point being, all those references you alluded to (and the numerous others.) can easily be ‘correctly interpreted’ so as to maintain the integrity of “no one can nor has ever seen God.”.

  • Representation does not excuse the representative from receiving worship on behalf of the represented, your whole theory crumbles all too quickly @Dave Sep 12, 2020 at 0:07
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    Was for your consideration. You’ve received a reasonable number of other responses to consider. As for representation being a ‘theory’ - Jesus said ‘if you have seen me, you have seen my father (God). And that’s exactly how people see God today, ‘in’ or ‘through’ believers. (That is - ‘see’ God via representation.) For reference re: the Hebraic ’view’ of representation, search on ‘drmsh.com’.
    – Dave
    Sep 12, 2020 at 1:16
  • once again the representative is not entitled to receive worship on behalf of the represented yet Jesus receives worship Sep 13, 2020 at 3:30
  • 1
    @Dave a useful and appropriate answer considering the nonsensical input that others have provided by reading more into the text than is warranted or just making stuff up.
    – Steve
    Sep 25, 2020 at 13:36

The function of the Logos is to link the mind of man to the mind of God so that man might be able to think the way God thinks: to reason the way God reasons. (Bearing in mind of course, this is only after a limited fashion. After all, man is still a finite creature). What will be needed on the part of man is the realization that his thinking and reasoning processes are veiled in the darkness of intellectual blindness; not just about God, but about his own place within the eternal continuum, and even his relationship to the natural world of which he is a part. In verse 18, John says, “no man has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” The word “ἑώρακεν” that is translated here as ‘seen’ in most of the English translations is third person singular of “ὁράω” which, according to Thayer, has three basic definitions. First, it means to see with the eyes. Secondly, it means to see with the mind, to know, to perceive. Thirdly, it means to become acquainted with through pragmatic experience (The 1981 New Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon, p 451).

If John is arguing from the first definition, this needs to be understood in the light of pragmatic Old Testament examples. We know from the many examples of theophonic manifestations in the Old Testament that God has repeatedly presented himself to man in a number of ways. At times, God availed himself only to man’s auditory senses. He spoke to Adam, to Cain, to Noah, to the Hebrew patriarchs, to Moses, to the prophets, and to others. Sometimes he visited himself upon man in the form of dreams or visions as to the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah chapter six. Other times, he appears as objects such as the cloud or the pillar of fire that went before Israel in the wilderness. Still, there are other times when he visited man in human form. There are some eight accounts of this type of theophany found in the Old Testament.

The word ‘theophany’ is derived from two Greek words, “Θεὸς” meaning God and “φαινέιν” meaning to bring to light, appear, or show. A theophany then is an appearing of God. Theophonic experiences in scripture assume many forms, yet all seem to have a singular function. They communicate the will of God to man. They provide man with a point of reference that man can comprehend. In so doing, God is demonstrating compassion for the limitations of the human mind to understand things that are beyond his ability to comprehend. In some theophonic experiences, God will accommodate only man’s sense of hearing. One only heard the voice of God. God speaking to Noah in Genesis 6 is just such an example. Another is Genesis 12 where God spoke to Abraham. Sometimes, these theophanies would be accompanied by some type of material phenomenon such as fire, wind, or earthquake as in the cases of Moses in Exodus 3, the nation of Israel in Exodus 13 and Elijah in 1Kings 19. Each of these accompanying natural phenomena would appeal to a broader range of physical senses as God sometimes chose to speak in these things. Still, at other times, God chose to assume an anthropomorphic form as in Genesis 18 when he appeared to Abraham in the company of two angels, all in human form. For further reference, one might examine these examples of anthropomorphic theophanies. What appears in each of these is the repeated phrase “The Angel of Jehovah” 22:15-18; 31:11-13; 48:15-16, Joshua 5:13-15, Judges 6:11-24, and Judges 13:15-23.

In each example where the phrase “The Angel of Jehovah” is used, God is represented as the messenger of Jehovah. The phrase “The Angel of Jehovah” is only used to describe the spokesman of deity. This term is never applied to anyone else in scripture. He is always functioning as the spokesman of the divine triad. In each case, this is deity appearing in human form. In every example, those to whom The Angel of Jehovah appeared always understood, at some point, that he was God and they honored him as such. The Angel of Jehovah will always assume divine authority in each of these Old Testament exemplars. He will always be seen serving as the agent of communication, hence the term “The Angel of Jehovah.” He is angelic not in nature but in function. In nature, he is God. In function, he is the messenger in the triadic unity.

The apostle Paul points out in 1Corinthians 10:1-4 that Jesus was the Rock who followed Israel through the desert. Therefore, scripture shows us that man has after a limited fashion, experienced God in varying degrees at the sensory level. He has seen and heard God. However, if what John is talking about in verse eighteen is experiencing the essence of God, it is certainly true that man has never looked upon the unshielded essence of the Almighty. Of all men, Moses seems to have been granted the most intimate privilege of experiencing the presence of God in his essence. In Exodus chapters 33 and 34, God allows all of his goodness to pass before Moses while shielding him in a rock and covering him with his hand. After God had passed by and declared the name of Jehovah, he then removed his hand and the text says that Moses was allowed to see his back or hind parts. Perhaps more properly, he saw what was behind him. The LXX translation of this text reads “καὶ τότε ὄψῃ τὰ ὀπίσω μου” – “and then you see the back, behind, or after me.” The ὀπίσω does not refer to anything anthropomorphic but suggests the element of time. Moses would see only where God had been after he had passed by.

If “ἑώρακεν” is to be understood as an intellectual limitation, this would seem to fit better with the closing statement of this prologue. “He has explained him.” The Greek word “ἐξηγήσατο” means to set forth in detail, to set forth in language, to make known or to reveal (George V. Wagram’s Analytical Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, 1983). This is the etymology of our word ‘exegete’. In other words, “No man has understood or comprehended God at any time. The only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he has EXPLAINED him.” The Logos presents God to the mind of man through the medium of human language in such a way that man is now able to understand something of the nature and character of God that he could never know from his observation of the natural world. Only the one who came out of the very presence of God could have done this.

In the 1980 printing of The Expositors Greek Testament on the gospel of John p 692, the expositor makes an interesting observation in contrast to Meyer. He says that “ἐξηγήσατο” refers to the “work” which Christ accomplished while he was on earth. This emphasizes a particular function of the Second Position. Having come from this eternal intimate relationship with the Father, he is thus “equipped” to translate the mind of God to the mind of man. The linking of these two minds is intended to create an isomorphic state of thinking. As we see in verses 10-12, this response on the part of man would be both positive and negative. As man begins the process of learning to think and reason as God, he will learn to re-symbolize his relationship both to God and to the natural world. He will have to learn to think differently, to speak differently, and to behave differently. Reality will take on a new definition. This would not be met favorably among the majority of humanity, not in that generation nor in this one.


From John 1:16 the "fullness" of God could not be known through any ordinary man. It must come through the One who possesses the nature of God. At John 1:18 the word "God" is stated first and is without the definite article.

This indicates first, that the emphasis is on the word "God," and second, the nature of God should be the object of our focus. The statement is not referring to the impossibility of a vision of God, i.e (a theophany), but rather to His qualities.

"Hath seen" (heoraken) is in the Greek perfect tense indicating a past action of seeing which is held in the mind so that it may be related to others. The utter inability of "no man" is stressed in opposition to God who revealed himself in the Only Begotten.

I happen to use the NASB and many of the ancient manuscripts read "only begotten God" indicating that Jesus is both God and only begotten or unique, one of a kind. This is backed up by John 3:16.

Now, going to John 14:9 we read Jesus saying to Philip, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say show us the Father?" (This does not mean that Jesus Christ is the person of God the Father and is verified by John 14:10.

"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works."

So what is the point that Jesus is making? The Father has no separate manifestation from the Son. The Son is the only manifestation and REVELATION of the Father. What is known of the Father is revealed through the Son. to see the Son is to see the essence of the Father. (John 1:1, 18; 10:30; 12:45; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3.

So, when we get to the Old Testament and read verses like Genesis 17:1,2, "Now when Abraham was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. Verse 2, And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly."

This is a physical appearance of God Almighty to Abraham. How do I know that it's physical? Genesis 17:22, "And when He/God finished talking with him/Abraham, God went up from Abraham."

At Genesis 18:1, Now the Lord appeared to him/Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting a the tent door in the heat of the day." What we have in this chapter is the Lord God appearing to Abraham along with two angels. Also from verse 9 the Lord has a discussion with Abraham about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Notice at verse 18:33, "And as soon as He/God finished speaking to Abraham the Lord departed; and Abraham returned to his place. I suspect the Lord departed straight up North. At Genesis 19:1 the two angels make their way to Sodom.

Going back now to Genesis 16:7 we see the appearance of the angle of the Lord as the angel of the Lord. He says to Hagar, verse 8, "Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from and where are you going? And she said, I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai."

Verse 9, Then the angel of the Lord said to her, Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to here authority." Verse 10, Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, "I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they shall be too many to count." At verse 11 the angel of the Lord tells her she is with child. At verse 12, the angel of the Lord said her son will be like a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, and everyone's had will be against him; And he will live in the east of all his brothers." (who do you suppose these people are?)

Hagar says at verse 13, "The she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, "Thou art a God who sees"; for she said, Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?"

Here's a question that I feel needs to be addressed? Is the angel of the Lord who multiplied Hagar's descendents the same "being" at Genesis 17:1-2 that multiplied Abraham descendants?

I say yes because I am convinced the angel of the Lord (who can be physically seen) is the preincarnate Jesus Christ who as I said is the only physical manifestation and revelation of God the Father.

Just as I said that Jesus Christ is not God the Father from John 14:9 in the New Testament, the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ is not an actual angel like Michael or Gabriel in the Old Testament. In fact, the angel of the Lord never appears in the New Testament as the angel of the Lord, although he is mentioned.

  • I only object to your interpretation of Gen18 that it was the Lord and two angels and not the Lord in the form of three men. But thank you Sep 13, 2020 at 4:25

God, who was invisible, had become visible and had been seen by his people in various ways (anthropomorphic visions, angelic visits) in sundry times in the Old Testament. All appearances of God in the Old Testament was related to Jesus Christ, the image of the invisible God.

In the New Testament, it was revealed that only Jesus Christ had seen the invisible God (cf. John 1:18, 6:46). Seeing the Father means ability to do the same things as the Father: "The Son does whatever he sees the Father is doing (John 5:19)." Here the action of the Father is being imitated by the only begotten Son who sees exactly what his Father is doing and the only begotten Son does what the Father does in like manner. Τhis relationship shows the Son is omnipotent and of the same nature with the Father whom he can see and imitate. The prologue of John tells us that Jesus Christ in his pre incarnate state was both God and through whom all things came into being (John 1:1, 1:3).

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus Christ himself sent his message through an angel. Thus, the angel stands in the place of Jesus Christ as a representative. This might be the case in the many instances of God appearing to men in the form of a man and was called an angel in the Old Testament. They had seen the shaliach (agents) of the Word who was both God and only begotten God (John 1:1, 1:18).

It is also noteworthy that the Father is depicted as unseeable in the book of Revelation and that only Jesus was visible (as the Lamb) on the throne of the Father.

Justin Martyr in the second century C.E. spoke of the angel who appeared to ancient Israel in the form of a man to be the pre incarnate Jesus Christ. Yet Justin also explained that it was not the person of Jesus Christ himself but the one who has the name "Jesus" in him, quoting Exodus 23:21. Hence, the angel who claimed to be God in the form of a man was representing God the Son, Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, God appearing in anthropomorphic visions like in Isaiah 6 was deemed to be the pre-incarnate vision of Jesus Christ himself according to John. Isaiah saw his [Christ's] glory.

In the Gospels, Jesus Christ himself acknowledged that he was the "one who is like the son of man" in Daniel 7. In the Old Greek (OG) of Daniel 7:14, the son of man was described as "coming as the ancient of days" which identified the son of man as the LORD God himself. If this were the case, Jesus Christ must also be the LORD God who appeared to Ezekiel in the form of a man (Ezekiel 1:26).


The angels of Jesus Christ , the only begotten God, who appeared representing him in the form of men on his behalf in the Old Testament and in the book of Revelation should not be confused as the same person as him. Jesus Christ having a Shaliach angel shows that Jesus was the God of gods, the Most High, like the Father.

We do have many clear instances of Jesus Christ himself appearing as a man (theophany) in visions in the Old Testament. In these visions, Christ himself in glory appears in the form of a man. In the Old Testament, visions of the LORD God (YHWH) were visions of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the New Testament, Jesus was God manifest in the flesh permanently. In him all the fullness of deity (θεοτης) dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9).


God the Father appeared neither in the Old Testament nor in the New Testament. God the Father never took on a visible form either through emissaries or visions or incarnation. Only God the Son appeared visibly in both testaments and he appeared various ways in sundry times with the incarnation as his final and permanent theophany.

  1. Christ sends an angel as his emissary and had his name in him (Exodus 23:21).
  2. Christ appears in visions (in the form of a man or a lamb etc.).
  3. Christ took on flesh and revealed himself in the flesh at the incarnation

Note that God the Holy Spirit himself appeared , at least once, in the bodily form (ειδος) of a dove at the baptism of Christ. This is another theophany.


It is literally true that no man could see God and live. As a spirit creature Christ is “the image of the invisible God” and “the exact representation of his very being”, yet a partial revealment of his glory was so intensely brilliant that it blinded Saul of Tarsus, and sight returned only after a miracle of God. (Acts 9:1-18; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3, NW) A full view of “the Father of the celestial lights” would be more than human flesh could endure.—Jas. 1:17, NW.

When the Bible speaks of Moses or others as seeing Jehovah God it means that they see a manifestation of his glory, and this is usually given by means of an angelic representative of the Almighty. Hence it is that Exodus 24:16 speaks of “the glory of the LORD” abiding upon Mount Sinai, rather than Jehovah himself, when Moses and others were reported as seeing “the God of Israel”. This “glory of the LORD” was due to the presence of one of Jehovah’s angels, for his glory and his angel are associated together, as at Luke 2:9 (NW) when announcement of Jesus’ birth was made to the shepherds: “Suddenly Jehovah’s angel stood by them and Jehovah’s glory gleamed around them.”

We have direct testimony that Jehovah personally did not come down to Mount Sinai and appear and talk to Moses and deliver the Law to him. That Jehovah appeared and spoke only representatively is shown by the following scriptures. “You who received the Law as transmitted by angels but have not kept it.” “It was transmitted through angels by the hand of a mediator.” Paul referred to the Law as “the word spoken through angels”. (Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2, NW) Because at Sinai God did not speak with his own voice but by that of his angelic representative, Exodus 19:19 states: “Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.” The foregoing also enlightens us that it was the back of Jehovah’s angel or glory that Moses saw, and not Jehovah himself, as recorded: “When my glory passes by . . . I will take away my hand, so that you may see my back, while my face shall not be seen.”—Ex. 33:22, 23, AT.

Another instance where God’s Word interprets itself for us on this matter is the case of Moses and the burning bush. Exodus 3:4, 6 states that “God called unto him out of the midst of the bush” and “said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”. But Ex 3 verse 2 tells us that “the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush”. Hence Jehovah appeared and spoke only representatively.

Again, when Jacob wrestled with a man that was actually a materialized angel of Jehovah he was blessed with a new name, that of Israel. Israel means “ruling with God; soldier (wrestler) with God”; and Jacob called the location “Peniel”, meaning “face of God”, saying, “I have seen God face to face.” (Gen. 32:24-30) But actually it was only Jehovah’s materialized angel that he had seen and wrestled with, and who withheld his name, as was usual with such materialized spirit creatures. Also, when an angel of God appeared to Manoah and his wife they viewed this representative as God himself: “Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.”—Judg. 13:3-22.

The foremost representative of God is Christ Jesus, and in his case also this principle is confirmed. God is rightly referred to as the Creator of all things, yet we know from the Bible record that after he directly created his “only-begotten Son” the remainder of the creation work was performed by and through that Son, in his capacity as the Logos or Word. But since he was God’s representative and workman in this creative activity, and empowered by God to do it, God himself is spoken of as the Creator of heavens and earth. (Isa. 40:26, 28; John 1:10; Col. 1:16; Rev. 3:14) For similar reasons, and because Jesus’ course and speech on earth were so perfectly representative of God, Jesus said: “He that has seen me has seen the Father also.” (John 14:9, NW)

Spirit creatures, angels, are able to behold the brilliance of God (Mt 18:10; Lu 1:19), an experience that no human eyes could endure, for Jehovah himself told Moses: “No man may see me and yet live.” (Ex 33:20) John said: “No man has seen God at any time.” (Joh 1:18) Therefore, when Jesus told his disciple Philip: “He that has seen me has seen the Father also” (Joh 14:9), and when the apostle John said: “He that does bad has not seen God” (3Jo 11), obviously they were speaking of seeing God, not with one’s physical eyes, but with what the apostle Paul described as ‘the eyes of the heart.’ (Eph 1:18) Those who see with the eyes of the heart are those who have really come to know God, appreciating his qualities, and that is why John could say: “He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.”​—1Jo 4:8.


There are degrees in seeing. For example, one sees a game of tennis, Federer vs Nadal make one brilliant rally after another. A savage, who, say does not have any understanding of sports, would think that two men went crazy and make some idiotic useless movements. But this savage also sees something. Now, an ancient Greek man, had he seen Federer vs Nadal play, would think that this is a certain strange and ugly sport, but he will understand that this is a sport, for he knows this category from his culture. However, he will not be able to know the rules, the full intrigue and the beauty of the game unless somebody from the world of tennis, some pundit of this sport, better, a tennis player himself, would explain him. Only then he can be said to see/know the sport of tennis and enjoy fully the brilliance of strikes and rallies.

Similarly here: the prophets knew only a portion of truth about God, and this is the meaning that they both have seen God and have not seen Him, for they saw God to the limit apportioned and permitted to them by God, but they could not reach full intimacy with Him, a full knowledge of Him. For instance, some of the prophets, could know that God punishes humans for their transgressions, and this knowledge is a certain "seeing" of God; however, Jesus who fully knows God, gave a new dimension to this knowledge: to wit, that even in the punishment is revealed not hatred, but love of God, who is all-loving and is merciful to both good and evil (cf. Matthew 5:45).

Therefore, all of the prophets, even the highest of them, is less blessed than the least of Jesus' disciples, for the prophets only dreamt about and remotely wished what the disciples actually see and perceive, i.e. the Incarnate God, Jesus (Matthew 13:17).

Now, only Jesus, being God knows God the Father completely and perfectly, as He Himself is known by the Father (John 10:15), equality of reciprocal knowledge between the Father and the Son necessarily implies the equality of their divine dignity as well, for what They know, they have, and if Father knows fully the Son and vice versa, then all their divine features are fully possessed by Both, thus Both being worship-able by the believers, because we worship God for His uncreated divine features, and those uncreated divine features are equally, fully and eternally possessed by both Father and the Son, thus it is impossible to worship God without worshiping Both.

Since 100% God became 100% man in the Person of Logos, Jesus Christ, then new dimension of intimacy between God and men was opened henceforth, which intimacy was not achieved even by the greatest of God-seeing prophets, Moses or Daniel etc., for their seeing was only limited, but now since God is already also human, humans have an incomparably greater closeness to God, so as to even have authority of becoming "children of God" (John 1:18).

  • @Down-voter Dear down-voter, instead of casting your anonymous dislike, wouldn't it be better to gain my sincere gratitude for spelling out the theological reasons for your dislike? If you have them not, but simply the theology of my post pricked your heart, which holds opposite ideas, then it is even more inappropriate to anonymously down-vote, for then this will create a hidden, smoldering feeling of self-depreciation in depth of your heart. Is not it better to open up a debate, express your objection, listen to my counter objection, etc., what can be better than such an open discussion?! Apr 29, 2022 at 14:11
  • Chill, Brother. Anonymous downvotes are a fact of life on StackOverflow sites. It is not inappropriate to downvote anonymously -- it is encouraged. There's no need to guess at what is in one's heart over it. Just asking for feedback is enough. See: hermeneutics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3135/…
    – DonJewett
    Aug 26, 2022 at 20:30
  • @DonJewett Thanks, man, for this comment. I still think that it is very wrong to down-vote anybody with giving no reason on such important issues on which eternal salvation depends. If one thinks I miss point in such important issues, let him enlighten me! Otherwise why even bother to down-vote? Aug 27, 2022 at 1:54

Other members had already given the answer that those peoples in OT who claimed to have seen the Lord was either a vision, or met the representative of the Lord.

There is one account of Moses that may help us to comprehend what may possibly be the moment a human being see the Lord.

Exodus 33:18-23 NIV

18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

21 Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.

22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.

23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

This account of Moses was possibly the closest encounter between the Lord and a human being. Nevertheless, Moses was only allowed to see the back of the Lord, couldn't be face to face.

  • Yes but. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Col 1:15. Well, either God IS invisible or He is not. If He is, then whatever may be seen is simply His glory or a manifestation, vision etc.
    – Steve
    Aug 27, 2022 at 4:01
  • Firstly, it says no one has seen the Father, Moses saw the Lord from the back, that is seeing. So whomever Moses saw could not have been the Father. Secondly Moses was not asking to see the Lord, Moses was specifically asking to see the GLORY of the Lord, and that was something that this Lord could not show. Thirdly Stephen in his speech in the book of Acts identifies that the children of Israel entered into covenant on Mt Sinai with the Angel of the Lord. Moses basically saw Jesus because He incarnated. I cannot accept your response as aligning with all of Scripture. Aug 27, 2022 at 11:29
  • @Nihil Sine Deo - this is definitely a personal perception. Angel will be more easy to perceive, but which person of the Holy Trinity presence, particular whether the Father or the Son, is more difficult to identify just within the verse. There is another scene in Genesis 18 that three men came to Abraham, two of them were angels who went to destroy Sodom, who was the third "man"? At present, my perception that the Father cannot be seen face to face due to His glory. The Son can be seen face to face as He appeared in human form. You do not need to agree with me. We just share our view. Aug 27, 2022 at 14:07
  • @VincentWong there weren’t two angels present at Abraham’s visit, all three spoke, all three received worship, all three read the mind of Sarah, it was one person visiting Abraham in the form of three persons. This is not about personal perception, it’s about what the text says and not ignoring some texts, researching all the texts and not adding personal opinion to the text. It helps to read the text in the original not the translations. If it says that NO ONE has seen the Father, we can be certain, no one at any point saw the Father, ever. Start there and don’t reinterpret what it says Aug 27, 2022 at 14:21
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    @Nihil - appreciated for your comment and the Q&A of the linked question. There is so much in Bible to explore, thank you. Aug 28, 2022 at 0:35

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