Sunday Sermon Notes: January 28, 2018

Title: Images, Form and Spirits

Text: Gen. 3:8-9

God is spirit and so are we− that was demonstrated when God first created Adam out of the dust of the ground, and then breathed His breath of life into the man (Gen. 2:7-8). We also know that we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Christ, so clearly, we are both physical and spirit; the Scripture references of this are familiar to us all. That we are embodied is also obvious to all; what is not obvious is whether or not God has a form, a body, and appearance.

There are two theological terms I have used many times, that describe visual appearances of God. What’s more, there is a third theological term that is used to refer to comparisons of human references to describe or explain God’s attributes. These terms are:

Theophany: A temporary and visible manifestation of God in a human or other form.

Christophany: A pre-incarnation appearance of Christ.

Anthropomorphism: The attribution of human characteristic to God in order to explain or express His attributes. (Theological definition, there are other applications in science).

It stands to reason, does it not, that if we have theological terms about the “appearance” or visual manifestation of God, that God has an appearance, and if human attributes can be used to describe the attributes of God, that humans do indeed carry His image or likeness in some way. The only thing is, is the “form” in which God appears temporary… or does He have a permanent form?

Let’s look at some texts:

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Gen. 3:8-9)

These verses come in the story of the fall and its aftermath (Gen. 3:1-24); both Adam and Eve had disobeyed God, and now they sought to hide from Him, and they “heard the sound” of God

walking in the Garden. God is Spirit, of that we can be certain, but on that fateful day, He was walking through the Garden, a physical act, making noise that could be heard by the physical ear, and spoke in language with a voice that could also be physically heard by humans. The text also implies that the sound of God walking through the Garden was recognized as Him walking, as though this was not unusual, and if it wasn’t unusual, then why were the two hiding? Why wouldn’t God relate to Adam this way when Adam was in his sinless state? God had a form and appearance in the physical sense in the Garden.

Shall we try another text?

Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, he said, “Listen to my words:

“When there is a prophet among you,     I, the LORD, reveal myself to them in visions,     I speak to them in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses;     he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face,     clearly and not in riddles;     he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid     to speak against my servant Moses?”

Numbers 12:5-8 (full context Num. 12:1-16)

Who can forget the time when Miriam and Aaron were called out for daring to oppose Moses?

For our purposes, did you notice that God seems to think that He has a visible form?  With other prophets, God deals in visions, dreams and riddles, but He gets with Moses face to face, in person.

The Hebrew word used is temuna (H8544) which means “form, image, likeness, representation, semblance” and is found ten times in the Old Testament (Ex. 20:4; Num. 12:8; Deut, 4:12, 15, 16, 23, 25, 5:8; Job4:16; Ps. 17:15) with consistent meaning and application.

It is beginning to be clear to me that God does in fact have a form, and He may from time to time, at His sole discretion, choose to be seen by humans, and it is also becoming clear to me that we cannot discount this as though it were some sort of a fluke. Yes indeed, God is Spirit, that fact is not in despite, but as I’ve long suspected, it is beginning to appear as though our understanding of what that means has been a bit short-sighted. Ask yourself a question: How many times have we read passages of Scripture in which someone saw an angel of the Lord? Angels are also spirit beings, and yet when the occasion arises, they too can be seen to have a form in Scripture.

I don’t know about you, but I’m intrigued. Let’s continue to follow this trail; there are more passages to examine…

Take a look at Exodus 33:18-21:

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” 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. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.  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.  Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” At this point in his experience, Moses wanted to see God, but that was not permissible, for no one could see God’s face and live. In order for this to be true, wouldn’t God need to have a face? So, God decided to let Moses see His back… Wouldn’t He need to have a back? Of course, it would also appear that He had a hand, since He was going to us it to cover Moses’ eyes…

The real question presented by these two verses is: What happened between Exodus 33 and Numbers 12 that made it possible for Moses and God to talk face to face? Nothing in our discussion thus far negates the fact that God is Spirit, nor does anything negate the fact that humans also have a spirit:

Humans as we know already have both form and spirit, and if God also has both form and spirit, then there is more significance for us in the here and now of being created in His image, than there would be otherwise, for it results in far-reaching implications.

 

The Image of God and the Western Mind

So far our journey of exploration has found that God’s image, and our having been created in His image, runs headlong into the inescapable conclusion that it covers the whole package of human existence, body, soul and spirit. For many people, the idea of God having a form is a tough one to grasp, leading to difficulty in understanding that His image is also reflected in our human form. Certainly, there are many who would argue against this notion, and yet looking at Scripture, it’s hard to miss.

The difficulty that many of us have in seeing this is that most of us are Western in our orientation, and this makes quite a lot of Scripture hard to understand, for the Scriptures were not written by Western minds or in a Western mindset; they were written from an ancient Hebrew perspective, which is quite different.

In the early years of the church, the dominant mindset was Hebrew; even the Gentile believers learned to view things in the Hebrew manner, but as time moved forward, and Christianity became more and more populated by Gentiles, and Christianity became dominant in Europe, there came an impetus to move in a direction more akin to the traditions of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and away from that of the Jews. With time, even pagan ceremonies and observances were incorporated into the church because the church had become part of the State, beginning with Constantine making Christianity the State Religion of the Roman Empire.

By the time of the Reformation, Christianity was dominated by Western thought, and many of our doctrinal traditions of today came out of this period when some of the greatest theologians of all time wrote from an entirely Western point of view, including such names as Luther and Calvin. To the Western mind, God is most notable for His free exercise of power, while to the Hebrew, God is most notable for His restraint. The Western mind sees the physical realm as fallen, corrupt and depraved, while to the Hebrew it is God’s perfect creation. To the Western mind, the human body is inherently evil, to the Hebrew the human body is inherently good; God’s own image. To the Western perspective, a spirit having a form is hard to conceive of, but for the Hebrew mind, it is a given.

The Scriptures are more difficult for those of us who were raised and trained in the West; we miss things like the proper role of covenants, the nature of our own beings and how to understand apocalyptic texts; we even understand writers like the Apostle Paul as Western, when in fact, Paul was a Pharisee among Pharisees, trained by Gamiliel; the intellectual antithesis of Greek philosophy. I think we need to follow this trail for a bit, so when we come back, I think we need to take a look at a few things Paul wrote about that will shed some more light on this line of thinking as we continue in this series.

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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10 Responses to Sunday Sermon Notes: January 28, 2018

  1. gaustin00 says:

    It is really important for us as westerners to read scripture as if we were in that culture and seeing life as “they” saw it…and to understand their thinking and their way to God. This is really important and we westerners often forget to do that. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. I do have to disagree, a bit, with part of your blog,

    “a direction more akin to the traditions of the ancient Greeks and Romans,”

    Greeks and Romans were of two different mindsets, Greeks representing the Eastern thought, Romans the Western. This was largely responsible for the schism between East and West, as understanding of Scripture, and theological terms, was vastly different between the two, culminating in the different understanding in the procession of the Holy Spirit, though there were many other disagreements between the two. These differences are part of the reason why, in our modern world, there are so many problems between East / West relations, and why the East refuses to accept Western solutions to their problems.

    • Don Merritt says:

      I think we’ve had this conversation before. Please recall that I mean ancient Greeks and Romans who, while having differences, when compared to Hebrew thought, also had certain similarities. When I saw “Western” I am referring to modern Western thinking, not ancient Western thinking, and in no case should “Greek” be understood to refer to any part of Eastern Orthodoxy. I hope that helps 🙂

  3. Pingback: Sunday Sermon Notes: January 28, 2018 – Re-theologizing

  4. Citizen Tom says:

    I find this topic a bit confusing. I understand the Gnostics teach that the matter is bad and the spiritual is good. Yet Christianity does not denigrate the physical world. We are fallen both physically and spiritually. However, without providing an explicit explanation, the Bible speaks of the weakness of the flesh and the superiority of the spiritual. Yet Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again in a physical body. That body could not have been evil. If so, because Jesus too was a man, neither is our body inherently evil.

    So what is Bible talking about when it speaks of a conflict between the flesh and the spiritual (see Galatians 5:13-26, for example). What I think the flesh refers to making this existence — this life — all about satisfying our earthly desires. What I think the spiritual refers to is striving for eternal goals.

    Appreciate your thoughts.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Paul makes the case in all of his writings that we as Christians must turn away from our old manner of living so that we can live in a new way for Christ. In doing so he uses several metaphors to illustrate his point, including the new man vs. the old man, the law of sin and death vs. the law of life, and of course… life according to the flesh vs. life according to the Spirit.

      All of these refer to a need to live a new kind of life in Christ, but sadly some choose to take the latter illustration literally and teach that the physical body is bad which misses Paul’s point entirely.

  5. JUST SCAN. YOU’LL GET THE IDEA.

    33. Jesus’ Life
    Before He Was “Born”

    Some people conclude, “You Christians claim Jesus was God and God is one. In that case, there was no God before Jesus was born. In fact, when Jesus died on the cross, once again there was no God.”
    These are good thoughts. They seem to come from logic. But this logic is based on partial knowledge. A person has to look at the facts.
    In the Qur’an, it says God appeared to Moses in a burning tree, and spoke out of that burning tree. (The Bible has the same story, except it was a burning bush.) Here is the Qur’an version:

    When he saw a fire, he said to his family: “Wait! Verily, I have seen a fire; perhaps I can bring you some burning brand there from, or find some guidance at the fire.” And when he came to it (the fire), he was called by name: “O Musa (Moses)! “Verily I am your Lord! So take off your shoes; you are in the sacred valley, Tuwa. (Surah 20:10-12)

    (Remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his household: “Verily I have seen a fire; I will bring you from there some information, or I will bring you a burning brand, that you may warm yourselves.” But when he came to it, he was called: “Blessed is whosoever is in the fire, and whosoever is round about it! And glorified be Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists). “O Musa (Moses)! Verily it is I, Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. (Surah 27:7-9).

    Then, when Musa (Moses) had fulfilled the term, and was traveling with his family, he saw a fire in the direction of Tur (Mount). He said to his family: “Wait, I have seen a fire; perhaps I may bring you from there some information, or a burning fire-brand that you may warm yourselves.” So when he reached it (the fire), he was called from the right side of the valley, in the blessed place, from the tree: “O Musa (Moses)! Verily I am Allah. (Surah 28:29-30)

    Would it have made sense for the other trees to say, “God never entered us and spoke out of us, so we do not believe God really entered and spoke out of that other tree”? Furthermore, would it make sense to say that before that tree was planted, God did not exist; and after that tree died and was blown away, God did not exist?
    We could ask the same questions about the fire. Should all other flames of fire say that, since God did not speak out of them, God did not speak out of that fire either? Should all other flames of fire say that, before that particular flame of fire came into being, God did not exist; and after that particular flame of fire was blown out, God went out of existence?
    If your answer to both questions is “No, it wouldn’t make sense,” then it does not make sense to deny God put his words in the human body of Jesus just because he didn’t put his words in your human body or any other human body.

    JESUS ALWAYS EXISTED

    John 1:1-3, in the New Testament half of the Bible, says, Jesus is God: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made [spoken into existence]; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
    In John 17:5, Jesus said he had glory with God before the world began.
    King Solomon, the son of David, wrote this about Jesus, the Word: “The Lord brought me forth [possessed me] as the first of his works before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began. When there were no oceans, I was given birth [brought forth], when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth [brought forth], before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world” (Proverbs 8:22-26).
    “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible….He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead” (Colossians 1:16-18).
    “Christ Jesus who, being in very nature God…made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man” (Philippians 2:5-8).
    “He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory” (1st Timothy 3:16)
    “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful Word. After he provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven ….About the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever.” (Hebrews 1:3, 8).
    “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared” (1st Peter 1:20)
    “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God” (1st John 4:15).
    Well, how can Jesus be eternal and be created too? Your mind has always existed. Your mind is the father of your words. Any time God thought in Words, that was Jesus before he became Jesus. Any time Jesus spoke in Words, that was Jesus before he became Jesus
    Therefore, whenever Jesus said he had to do the will of his Father, he was saying the Words had to obey the Mind.
    This also assures us there is only one Word of God.

    WHAT JESUS WAS

    In the New Testament of the Bible (written for Christians), Jesus’ apostle John said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only [there is only one Word of God] who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1 & 14).
    This same apostle wrote in the very last book of the Bible this: “His name is the Word of God….On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:13 & 16).

    WHENEVER GOD SPOKE,
    THAT WAS JESUS

    To understand the Word, it helps to understand the Spirit, for we run into the term Holy Son and Holy Spirit both. You have a mind that is the originator of all things you say and do. You have a spirit within you that keeps you alive; when someone dies, we say their spirit left them. And we’ve already discussed words.
    The part God’s Spirit plays is brought out in Genesis 1:1-2 that says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” This is followed in the rest of the chapter with God saying, “Let there be” and something came into existence.
    Here we have God, the Mind, speaking something into existence (Jesus, the Word), and God the Spirit making it happen. (For a further study of the Holy Spirit, I have The Holy Spirit in 365 Scriptures, which can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.)

    JESUS’ APPEARANCES

    We have instances when God appeared as a man, but it is always explained that the man was God who had temporarily materialized.
    Whenever God’s Angel is referred to, that is Jesus. He led the Israelites across the wilderness between Egypt and the future Palestine. God told the Israelites, “Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your rebellion, since my name is in him….My angel will go ahead of you” (Exodus 23:21-23).
    Jesus is referred to as God’s Angel also in the last book of the Bible, Revelation. “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him…He made it known by sending his angel [Jesus] to his servant John. “(See Revelation 1:1-2.)
    Furthermore, whenever you read “The Angel of the Lord” (not an angel, but The Angel), in the Old Testament half of the Bible, that is Jesus. Remember, angel simply means messenger. The passages referring to The Angel always explain that it is God speaking; that is, God the Word speaking ~ Jesus.

    Abraham
    c. 2054 BC

    Abraham waited a long time to have a son. When he was finally born, he was a miracle baby, for Abraham was now one hundred years old, and his wife was ninety years old. Later, probably when Isaac was a teenager, God told Abraham to sacrifice his only begotten son to him.
    (Some ask why Abraham’s first-born, Ishmael, wasn’t considered his begotten son. Ishmael was the son of a slave woman, Hagar, and that made Ishmael a slave too. He was not legally recognized as a son.)
    In the Bible account of the sacrifice, it says, “But The Angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son’ “ (Genesis 22:11-12).
    Then “The Angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that, because you have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you…” (Genesis 22:15-17a).

    WHENEVER GOD MATERIALIZED,
    THAT WAS JESUS

    Abraham
    2067 BC

    When Abraham was ninety-nine years old, “The Lord appeared to Abraham….Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby….He said, ‘If I have found favor in your eyes, my Lord, do not pass your servant by….Then the Lord said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son….Is anything too hard for the Lord?’” (See Genesis 18:1-14.) We see here that Jesus announced the birth of Isaac.

    Abraham
    2067 BC

    There were some cities that were very evil and God decided to destroy them completely. “When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom….Then the Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?’…Then the Lord said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous’…The [three] men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham approached him and said: ‘Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city?…The Lord said, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for heir sake’…When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left and Abraham returned home. The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening….So, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham.” (Genesis 18:16 – 19:1, 29). We see here that Jesus materialized in the form of one of the three men who visited Abraham. When the Lord appeared to Abraham, that was who we would later identify as Jesus.

    Hagar
    2064 BC

    Sarah, the wife of Abraham, could not bear him children. So, according to the custom 4000 years ago, Sarah suggested her husband mate with her Egyptian slave, Hagar, so she could be a surrogate mother for a child for Sarah. But, when Hagan became pregnant, she began acting ugly toward Sarah and taunting her. So Sarah treated Hagar the same way Hagar had treated her, and Hagar ran away.
    “The Angel of the Lord found her and told her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” He also told her she would have a son and was to name him Ishmael. Hagar replied, “You are the God who sees me. I have now seen the One who sees me.” (See Genesis 16:9-13.)

    Jacob
    1906 BC

    Years later, Jacob returned home. By this time, he had two wives and twelve sons. He neared his homeland. “So Jacob was left alone, and the man wrestled with him till daybreak…..Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me….Then the man said, Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome….So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared’” (Genesis 32:24-30). Jacob was about to enter a hostile land that God was giving him. That night, when he wrestled all night, he proved he was a man who could stick with something longer than other men could. He had wrestled with a physical manifestation of God, Jesus.

    Balaam
    1407 BC

    A pagan prophet named Balaam wanted to prophecy against the Israelites. So, “The Angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him….the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes and he saw The Angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell face down” (Numbers 22:22, 31). We know this was not just an ordinary angel because, when an ordinary angel was bowed down to, he said it was wrong. “Then the angel said to me….At this I fell down at this feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow servant” (Revelation 19:9-10). The same thing happened in Revelation 22:8 when John was again told not to bow down before an angel.

    Joshua
    1406 BC

    After Moses died, Joshua took his place. As he led the people near Jericho, Joshua “saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. The man said, “ ‘As commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence….The commander of the Lord’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy’ “ (Joshua 5:13-15).

    Joshua & Israelites
    1375 BC

    Shortly before Joshua died, The Angel of the Lord told the Israelites, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your forefathers. I said I will never break my covenant with you.” Angels did not make covenants with people; only God did.

    Gideon
    1169 BC

    The Israelites settled in their land, but turned from God. Finally Gideon, a supreme judge over Israel was approached by God. “When The Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you….The Lord answered, “I will be with you.’ “ At the end of their conversation “The Angel of the Lord disappeared. When Gideon realized it was The Angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, ‘Ah, sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face” (Judges 6:12-16, 21-22).

    Samson’s Parents
    1090 BC

    At a time when the Israelites were being ruled by their enemy because of their sin, The Angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife. She told her husband, a man of God came to her who looked like an angel of God, very awesome (Judges 13:3, 6). He later appeared to both Manoah and his wife. Manoah offered to fix him a meal and he turned him down, but said he should prepare a burnt offering to the Lord. “Then Manoah inquired of The Angel of the Lord, ‘What is your name, so we may honor you when your word comes true?’ He replied, ‘Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding’ “. Then Manoah made the burnt offering to the Lord, and “as the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, The Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame…We are doomed to die, for we have seen God!” (Judges 13:12-22)

    Elijah
    858 BC

    The prophet Elijah fled from the evil queen of the Israelites, Jezebel. While he was hiding, The Angel of the Lord touched him and told him to eat because he needed to go to the desert of Damascus. He hid in a cave, then “the word of the Lord came to him” (I Kings 19:7-9).

    Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego
    603 BC

    Eventually, God allowed the Israelites to be taken captive to Babylon (today’s Iraq). There were three godly Jews among them named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They refused to bow down to a statue, so King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that they be thrown into a fiery furnace. “Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet I amazement and asked his advisors, ‘Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire…Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a Son of God’ “ (Daniel 3:24-25). Then he ordered the three men to come out of the fire, and they did. The fourth “man” disappeared.

    SOMETIMES JESUS APPEARED IN AN OBJECT

    A Stairway
    1928 BC

    After Jacob deceived his father, Isaac, and got the blessing of his older brother, Esau, he had to flee for his life. While on his way to another country, he had a vision of a stairway [ladder] coming down from heaven with angels ascending and descending on it (Genesis 28:12)
    Centuries later, Jesus explained he was that stairway. He said, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man” (John 1:51).

    A Burning Bush/Tree
    1446 BC

    The Israelites eventually went to Egypt because of a famine, but never returned home. Eventually they were turned into slaves by the Egyptians because they were another nationality that might try to take over their country. They were slaves 400 years. Then God appeared to Moses to tell him to lead them out of slavery. “There The Angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush….God called to him from within the bush…’Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’…The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out’ “ (Exodus 3:2-7).

    A Pillar of Cloud &/Or Fire
    1446 BC

    The Israelites did not know where they were going because they had been slaves in Egypt 400 years. So God led them. “Then The Angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel….During the last watch of the night, the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. (See Exodus 14:19-20, 24.)
    Later Jesus appeared in a cloud when Solomon finished building and dedicated the temple in Jerusalem. When the sacred ark (golden chest) of the covenant was brought into the temple and put in the Holy of Holies, as the priests were leaving the building though the Holy Place, a cloud filled the temple, “so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” (I Kings 8:10-11). That cloud, too, was Jesus.

    A Rock With Water
    1407 BC

    The Israelites were in the wilderness after they left Egypt and became thirsty. So God told Moses and his brother, Aaron (their high priest) to “speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community” Exodus 20:8).
    In the New Testament half of the Bible, it says they all “drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ” (I Corinthians 10:4). In fact, Jesus also said he was the water in John 4:14, also in the New Testament half of the Bible.

    ~~~~~

    So, we see in the above that the Word of God (later known as Jesus) had a fairly busy life before he was born in the body of Jesus.

    JESUS WAS THE VISIBLE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD

    The prophet Isaiah (peace be upon him), wrote that a child would be born some day who will be both the Son that is given and the Everlasting Father, and will be Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6).
    When the angel, Gabriel, appeared to Joseph to explain that Mary was miraculously pregnant, he told Joseph “they will call him Immanuel, which means “God With Us”. This had been prophesied centuries earlier when it was said, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
    “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation….For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him” (Colossians 1:15, 19).
    So, when God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8).
    Philippians 2:5-8, explains this: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.”
    So, why did Jesus become the visible image of God by going into the body of a man? Hebrews 2:11-14, “Both the one who makes men holy [Jesus] and those who are made holy [Jesus’ followers, Christians] are the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers…. ‘Here am I, and the children God has given me.’ Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil.”

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