Home > Hermeneutics > Distinguish between things that differ: Example 4

Distinguish between things that differ: Example 4

IN view of certain passages in the Old Testament, not a few have been perplexed by that word, “No man hath seen God at any time” (John 1:18)—words once used as a stock argument by infidels to “prove that the Bible is full of contradictions.” Such verses call for the interpreter: to explain their sense, and thereby distinguish between things that differ. Some of those statements which speak of the Lord’s “appearing” to one and another of the ancient celebrities refer to His doing so as the Angel of the covenant; others were theophanic manifestations, wherein He assumed the human form (cf. Ezekiel 1:26; Daniel 3:25), presaging the Divine incarnation; others mean that He was seen by faith (Hebrews 11:26). When Isaiah declared,

“I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple” (6:1),

it signifies that he did so with the eyes of his understanding, in prophetic vision, and not with his bodily sight. God, essentially considered, is “invisible” (1 Timothy 1:17), for His essence or nature cannot be seen (1 Timothy 6:16), no, not by the holy angels nor by the glorified saints in heaven. When it is said we shall see “face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12), it imports “plainly and distinctly,” in contrast with “through a glass, darkly” (obscurely) in the former part of the verse; though the Lord Jesus actually will be seen face to face.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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