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What does the appearance of God look like?
by Robert Randle
3/05/2012 / Bible Studies
It has been said that God made man in His own image and then subsequently, man turns around and makes God in his image. No matter how much some pious and devoted believers have been presumably "inspired" to create and fashion great works of Christian iconographic art as well as architectural wonders throughout the world, still does such human effort not violate the basic preamble to the Jewish Torah in Exodus [Shemot] chapter 20? Even so, almost all depictions of God the Father, the LORD Jesus Christ and the holy angels have European features; as illustrated by the European Anglo-Saxon Renaissance masters. Initially, though, Europeans worshipped "The Black Madonna and holy Babe," as was commonly placed in some of the oldest Cathedrals in Europe. Be that as it may, and it is not a point of argument and debate in this article but it seems that the Muslims have it right when they forbid any outward physical representations of God.
Exodus 24: 9-10; Ezekiel 1: 26-27
Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. And they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, as it were the body of heaven in its clearness. And above the firmament ("rakia") that was over their [cherubim] heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. OJB
Revelation 1: 13-15a
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps
[Gr. mastos-"breasts"] with a golden girdle. His head and hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were a flame of fire. And His feet like unto fine brass, as if they [the feet] were burned in a furnace.
NOTE: Breasts, or "paps" are associated with the female, as in the following:
Luke 11: 27
And it came to pass, as He [Jesus] spake these things, a certain woman lifted up her voice, and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps [Gr. mastos-"breasts"] which thou hast sucked.
Matthew 17: 1-2a
After six days Jesus [Yeshua] took Peter, James and John (the brother of James) and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. Jesus' appearance changed in front of them. His face became as bright as the sun and His clothes as white as light.
Exodus 33: 20
And the LORD said, "Thou canst see My face; for there shall be no man who can see Me and live.
John 1: 18a; 5: 37b
No man hath seen God at any time. You have neither heard His voice (kol) at any time, nor seen His shape (mareh-"appearance"). OJB
Genesis 1: 26a
Then YHVH Elohim said, "Let Us make man (humankind) in Our image ("tzelem"), after Our likeness (demut)." OJB
NOTE: The word ("demut") translated as 'likeness' could also be used as appearance but that would be incorrect because Adam and Eve, subsequently all humans, do not have the physical 'appearance' of deity.
Exodus 20: 4a
Thou shalt not make unto thee any "pesel" (idol or image), or any temunah (form, resemblance, likeness or representation) of any thing that is in Heaven. . . OJB
NOTE: God did not use the word 'tzelem' as in Genesis 1: 26a for image, but the word 'pesel,' because no human has seen the invisible God.
Philippians 2: 6a
Who [Christ Jesus], though existing in the likeness (demut) of the mode of 'being' ("etzem"-substance, body or bone) of JHVH Elohim (God). . . OJB
NOTE: Besides the Hebrew word "eztem" there is the Greek "morphe" which means shape, nature or form.
Colossians 1: 15a
Who [Christ Jesus] is the likeness (demut) of the invisible God. . . OJB
NOTE: Only Jesus Christ [Yeshua Mashiach] bears the "demut" (likeness, image and appearance of God the Father. The Greek words "Eiko" means copy or resemblance; and "Eikon" means likeness, profle, representaton, resemblance or image.
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February 11, 2012
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