Let’s begin by looking at some Scriptures that seem to be contradictory.
Genesis 18:1 And the Lord appeared unto him (Abraham) in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.
This wasn’t the only time that the Lord appeared unto Abraham. Genesis 12:7 and 17:1 also state that the Lord appeared unto Abraham. The Lord also appeared unto Isaac (Genesis 26:2, 24) and Jacob (Genesis 35:9). But John 1:18 says that no man has seen God. Then Jesus, in John 8:56, said that Abraham rejoiced to see His day, and he saw it and was glad. How do we account for this? The Scriptures say that the Lord had appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And then it seems to say the very opposite in John’s Gospel. No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. The Holy Spirit says here that no man has seen God and that He is declared by the Son. In other words, God is revealed through a declared Word.
There are many scriptures concerning the coming of the Lord, which is commonly called the Second Coming, because He first appeared in a fleshly body as Jesus the Nazarene. One passage of Scripture that is often referred to concerning His coming is Revelation 1:7. Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. I’ve heard a number of preachers say that because of modern technology the coming of the Lord can be televised so that every eye can see Him. John, who wrote the Book of Revelation, also gives us some information concerning the coming of the Lord in his Gospel. Philip said unto Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us. Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me, Philip? He that has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, Show us the Father? John 14:8-9. What is Jesus saying here? Is He saying that He is the Father? There are some verses that just don’t seem to line up if you’re thinking about it with the natural mind. Jesus is called the Son of God. But Isaiah prophesied calling Him, “Father.” For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6. How are we to understand this?
No man has seen God. Yet, Philip was quite willing to ask Jesus, “I haven’t seen Him; show Him to me.” And Jesus answered, “Have you been with Me all this time, and you don’t know Me? If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” Had Philip seen Jesus Christ? Philip had walked with Him during the days of His ministry. He had seen the miracles, followed Him, touched Him, spent nights with Him. They had spent at least three years together. Had Philip seen Him? He had seen the outward man, Jesus the Nazarene. But God was in Him! Is that right or wrong? Was God in Him? For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Colossians 2:9. The Father that dwells in Me, He does the works. John 14:10. So, if all you can see is the outward man, Jesus the Nazarene, then you are missing God. Paul explains this a little more in his epistle to the Corinthians.
I Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard…
He is talking about your natural eyes and ears. In other words, the man. No man has seen God. The term “man” refers to the natural senses, and the natural senses cannot detect God.
I Corinthians 2:9 …Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.
Man cannot see God, and neither can he know the things that God has prepared for them that love Him.
I Corinthians 2:10-11 But God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the
Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.
The light should be coming on by this time. Eye has not seen and ear has not heard; man cannot know the things of God. God is Spirit! And He is revealed spiritually. That is what Jesus was talking about with Philip. “Philip, you’ve been with Me all this time and you haven’t discerned the Father in Me? You don’t know who I am?” John 1:11 says that He came unto His own, His own people, those that belonged to Him, but they received Him not. In other words, they saw Jesus the Nazarene, but they didn’t see the Divine Being in Him. They had no awareness of His real identity.
Jesus had no shortage of disciples after He fed the five thousand (John 6). But they had second thoughts about following Him when He started talking about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. They couldn’t accept that. The Scripture says that they “went back and walked no more with Him.” They went back! They went back to the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses was easy; it was on the natural realm. They didn’t need spiritual discernment to follow the Law.
God is Spirit! Many Christians seem to think that God is a man, and somewhere way up in the heavens there is a real throne where He sits and looks down upon us. Several years ago while ministering the Word in a particular church I mentioned that there were no mansions up there, and a lady in the congregation got very upset. “No!” she said, “the Bible says that God’s throne is up there, and we are going to live in mansions when we get to heaven!” She was quite angry.
Understand what I am saying. God is Spirit! And the Scriptures are concerning things of God, things of Spirit. But many Christians, when reading the Scriptures, tend to only relate to them on the natural plane. God is not “x” number of miles away from us. He is Spirit, and He is omnipresent. It is strange how people will often admit that He is Spirit and that He is omnipresent, and still think of Him as very far away. God is Spirit! Spirit is another plane, another realm, and it is all around us. But your eyes and ears do not naturally detect things of Spirit. Spirit is a higher plane, but not higher in natural distance.
Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
The Lord dwells in the high and holy place and also in the heart of the humble one – high and low. God is Spirit! He is on a much higher plane than we are. So when we want to approach God our spirit has to ascend. We don’t go anywhere, but we ascend to a higher plane spiritually. The Scriptures talk about ascending and descending, going up and going down, being caught up, etc. It is movement from one plane of spirit to another. You say, “Well, Jesus will come and we’ll be caught up in the air.” I don’t have to go anywhere to be in the air. In fact, if I start going up literally, I will be leaving the air.
God is Spirit! And when He wants us to know that He is King, that He has all authority in heaven and in earth, then the Scriptures picture Him on a throne. The throne represents Kingly authority. He is King! No one has more authority than He does. It doesn’t mean that He is high up in the literal heavens sitting on a literal throne. It is a word picture that presents His Kingship.
If God comes down to man, He is descending spiritually. If we approach God, we are ascending spiritually. So, you see, ascending and descending is a matter of moving from one plane of spirit to another. If we are growing spiritually, then we are ascending. As we ascend we become more aware of the Lord; we are entering His presence.
John 14:9 Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me, Philip? He that has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, Show us the Father?
If Philip had really seen Jesus, that is, seen His Spirit, he would have seen the Father. So we understand what the Scripture means when it says that no man has seen God at any time. God is not detected with the natural senses of man. He is spiritually discerned.
John 14:21 He that has My commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves Me: and he that loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.
The Lord will manifest Himself to the one that really loves Him. That doesn’t mean He is going to appear in a bodily form, but He will make Himself known. You love Him from your heart, and He will be revealed to your heart.
John 14:22-23 Judas saith unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that You will
manifest Yourself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and will make our abode with him.
We love the Lord. So does that mean He is going to come down and live in our house with us? Of course not! That isn’t what He is saying. He is talking about living in us. He is Spirit! He will make His abode in those who believe him and love Him (II Thessalonians 1:10). Judas had the revelation. He understood what Jesus meant. So he asked, “Why are you going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus didn’t correct him by saying, “Wait a minute! I’m going to be manifested to the whole world; every eye will see Me.” He didn’t say that. What He said was, If a man loves Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and will make our abode with him.
John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world sees Me no more; but you will see Me: because I live, you will live also.
Did you hear what He said? The world sees Me no more!
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away…
It is for our benefit that He goes away. Where is He going? In John 14:28, He says, I go unto the Father. Is Jesus confused? He told Philip, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). Now He is saying, “I go to the Father, for My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). One time He says that He is the Father; another time He says that He is going to the Father. His body, the Nazarene, was not the Father; the Spirit in Him was. So He says that it is expedient for us that He goes away. Then He says that He is going to the Father. Who or what is the Father? The Father is God, and God is Spirit (John 4:24). So He is really saying, “I go to Spirit. The world will not see Me anymore, for I go to Spirit.” When He ascended He entered another realm. He entered the Spirit realm; He is Spirit. And the next Body He comes forth in is the many-membered Body of Christ (II Thessalonians 1:10).
We have to do something with the Scriptures that seem to be contradictory. We can’t accept some and reject others. We have to find a way for them to work, because all the Scriptures are true. God does not lie. If there is a problem, it is with our understanding. It isn’t with Him. God is always right. He is Spirit, and His Word is Spirit (John 6:63)! If we try to interpret the Scriptures with our human reasoning, they will often seem contradictory. For this reason we need to learn how to not lean on our own understanding, but to be taught by the Holy Spirit. After all, it is His ministry to lead us into all the truth. When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. John 16:13.
Copyright © 2001 by Henry DuBose