Those Who Saw God

Posted in: 2005
By Tom L. Ballinger
Mar 5, 2008 - 10:34:48 PM

February 07, 2005


The Bible records many instances in which the Invisible God takes on human form and inserts Himself into the world scene. When He did so, He still remained the Infinite God Who projected Himself into a locality in real-time. Many Bible teachers have tried to illustrate this manifestation of Deity. I have not found any of these to satisfactorily explain this phenomenon. Perhaps, it can’t be explained. I certainly cannot. But, I can believe the unexplainable. Faith is believing what God has said.

However, if John 1:18 is examined closely, we find that the word “bosom” sheds some light on the subject at hand:

“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

The word “bosom,” according to Strong’s Concordance, is kolpos; “apparently a primary word; the bosom, creek or bay; by analogy, a bay.”

A bay is generally a body of water that is an extension of a larger body of water. An example of this would be Mobile Bay in Mobile, Alabama. Mobile Bay is an extension, or projection, of the Gulf of Mexico. While it is defined as a “bay,” it remains the Gulf of Mexico. If you were to stand on the eastern tip of Dauphin Island where there is a narrow channel running between Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan, which is on the southwestern tip of Baldwin County, Alabama, you can see the flow. When the tide comes in you can see the running, or flowing of the Gulf of Mexico as the Gulf’s water flows into Mobile Bay. When the tide goes out, likewise, you can observe water from the Bay flowing back into the Gulf. This is as far as we can go as an explanation of an out-flowing of the Infinite God into human form.

“Kolpos” is translated “bosom,” five times in the King James Version, and once “creek” in Acts 27:39. However, in the NIV, it is translated “bay.”

“When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could” NIV

In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestles with a man during the night, and when the man left, Jacob said, he had seen God face to face (vs. 30).

Picking up Genesis 32 at the twenty-fourth verse;

24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." 27 The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered.

28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel [i.e. a prince of God], because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." 29 Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. (Gen. 32:24-31) NIV

In verse 28, the Man plainly identified Who Jacob had struggled with─it was with God [Elohim]. Yes, Jacob saw God, but in the form of “a man.” During His wrestling match with Jacob, God remained God with all of His essential qualities of Deity—Invisible, Infinite, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and etc. He projected Himself, as a Man, onto the world scene for the specific purpose to deal with Jacob and inform him that he was now named Israel—a prince of God.

A friend, in response to PW Online No. 93, wrote this; “The Lord can be on the earth and in the heavens at the same time. So With the Lord, nothing is Impossible.” He cited many examples in Genesis 19.

In Judges 13, we read of Manoah and his wife. They were to become the parents of Samson, the thirteenth Judge of Israel. The angel of the LORD appeared to Manoah’s wife. She was barren, but the angel told her that she would conceive and bare a child. He told her not to drink wine nor strong drink and not to eat anything unclean. She would have a son, and he was to be a “Nazarite to God.” She was also told that her son was not to have his hair cut and that he was to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines (vs. 2-5).

The woman told her husband, Manoah, that a “man of God” appeared to her and informed her that she would bare a son. She explained to her husband what the “man of God” told her. However, she said He did not tell what His name was (vs. 6-7).

Manoah prayed that the Lord might send the “man of God” again to them (vs. 8). God harkened to Manoah’s prayer, and “the angel of God” came again unto “the woman,” but Manoah was not there (vs. 9). The woman made haste, and ran to her husband saying, “Behold the man hath appeared unto me” (vs. 10). So, Manoah followed his wife back to see the “man of God” and asked, “Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And He said I AM” (vs. 11). Is the “I am” more significant than a simple answer of “Yes, it was me.” I think so.

In verse 13, the “angel of the LORD” told Manoah everything that He had told Manoah’s wife.

Manoah asked the angel of the LORD what was His name (vs. 17)? The angel told him that His name was a secret (vs. 18). Manoah then “took a kid” and made a meat-offering “unto the LORD.” Manoah and his wife watched as it came to pass when the flame from the offering went toward heaven and saw that “the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar” (vs. 20). Then, Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God” (vs. 22). Many Israelites believed if anyone were to see God, they would perish (probably because of Exodus 19:21 and 33:20).

His wife replied; “But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these” (vs. 23).

In Judges 13, the angel of the LORD is referred to as “the man of God,” and “angel of God,” and “I Am.” Finally, Manoah had progressive revelation and declared; “that we have seen God.”

What they saw was a projection of the LORD (Yahweh) in the likeness of a man. They saw a “bay” which flowed out from God, as the angel of the LORD, and then watched the “bay” flow back to God, as the angel ascended towards heaven within the flame.

The man Jacob wrestled with was God who had projected Himself as a man at “the ford of Jabbok.” Manoah and his wife talked with the angel of the LORD, Who was a manifestation, or projection of God Himself.

Tom L. Ballinger