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Will We See God the Father after We Are Glorified? Part 3
by Karl Kemp
3/25/2017 / Bible Studies
We continue this study here in Part 3 of this paper.
2.4. EZEKIEL 9:3a: "Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been [There is widespread agreement that Ezekiel was referring to the two cherubim in the Holy of Holies in the temple.], to the threshold of the temple." It is very significant that Ezekiel saw God leaving the Holy of Holies in the temple as a first step in His leaving the temple and Jerusalem because of all of the sin, and that without repentance. We will see His departure continue in chapters 10-11. I'll quote what Charles H. Dyer says here ("Bible Knowledge Commentary - Old Testament" [SP Publications, Inc., 1985], page 1245): "Similar wording in [Ezek.] 10:4 dramatically illustrated God's departure from Jerusalem. Because this was a vision, events could happen in an otherwise unusual sequence. Thus one minute God was personally guiding Ezekiel through the temple while the next minute He was seated on the cherubim in the holy of holies or on His throne chariot."
In Ezekiel chapter 9 God the Father cried out in Ezekiel's hearing, giving instructions to six angelic beings and to "a certain man clothed in linen with a writing case at His loins" (9:2), who were to judge Jerusalem (and Judah) starting at the temple. The "man clothed in linen" was the One with the primary authority. That judgment involved using Babylonian armies. I believe, in agreement with many, that the "man clothed in linen" was the preincarnate Son of God, which really makes this interesting. He often appeared in the Old Testament as the Angel of Yahweh, not a created angel, but the One through whom the angels and everything else were created. He also appeared in Daniel chapters 10 and 12 as the man clothed in linen (Dan. 10:5-6; 12:6-7). (I believe this "man" also appears in Dan. 8:15-16.) All of these verses in Daniel, and the Angel of Yahweh/the man clothed in linen, are discussed in my book, "Mid-Week Rapture." See chapter 11 of that book for a start, and see my paper "The Name Yahweh and God the Father and God the Son" and on Revelation chapters 7, 8, and 10 in my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10 (both papers are located on my internet site; Google to Karl Kemp Teaching).
2.5. EZEKIEL 9:4; 10:2. God the Father gave two special assignments to the man clothed in linen in Ezekiel chapters 9 and 10. The first special assignment is given in EZEKIEL 9:4: "The LORD ["Yahweh," God the Father] said to him, 'Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark [a mark that would protect these believers when the super-imminent judgment fell] on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.' " (I believe it is the same person, the Son of God, who seals the end-time remnant of Israel before the end-time shakings begin, as pictured in Rev. 7:2-4.) The second special assignment is given in 10:2-3, 6-8. I'll quote EZEKIEL 10:2: "And He [Yahweh, God the Father] spoke to the man clothed in linen and said, 'Enter between the whirling wheels under the cherubim [the cherubim who were supporting God's movable throne] and fill your hands with the coals of fire from between the cherubim and scatter them over the city.' [This would initiate God's judgment of the city. (I believe it is the same Person, the Son of God, who will scatter coals of fire to initiate God's end-time judgment of the world, as pictured in Rev. 8:5.)] And He entered in my sight."
2.6. In EZEKIEL 10:1 we see the empty throne of God: "Then I [Ezekiel] looked, and behold, in the expanse [I would translate "on (or, above) the platform."] that was over the heads of the cherubim something like a sapphire stone, in appearance resembling a throne, appeared above them." This was God's movable (movable-at-a-very-high-rate-of-speed) throne. In Ezek. 10:4 we see God leave the Holy of Holies in the temple. This was a very sad day for the people of Judah/Israel. Because of the super-serious sin problem, without much repentance, of so many of the people of Judah/Israel, God showed Ezekiel that He was leaving the temple and Jerusalem, but this didn't mean that God would totally abandon them. For one thing, God was working in some of the Jews who had been exiled to Babylon, including Daniel and his three friends and Ezekiel. (And there was Jeremiah, who had not been carried into captivity. Jeremiah, and those who were sealed in Ezek. 9:4, were, at least to some significant extent, faithful to God.) And many Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity after seventy years, as Jeremiah had prophesied, to rebuild the temple and Jerusalem and the nation.
2.7. EZEKIEL CHAPTER 43 (I'll quote a few verses from this chapter as we continue, under 2.10) prophesies of God's ultimate return to the temple, but I believe that prophecy deals with a time after Judah/Israel has fully begun to partake of new-covenant salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, at the end of this age. Israel eventually learns that the "Anointed One," the "Messiah," is the Son of God, through whom they, and everything else that had ever been created, were created. I don't believe that salvation will include a literal temple at Jerusalem, or anywhere else. And it is clear that there won't be any need for sacrificial offerings of animals after His One super-important, all sufficient Sacrifice. Some speak of memorial sacrifices. I don't believe there will be any such memorial sacrifices either, but a detail like that (or other issues of secondary importance) should not cause any disunity, or lack of respect, among Christians. Revelation 21:22 demonstrates that there won't be a literal temple in Jerusalem in the eternal state that follows the millennial kingdom.
2.8. I'll quote EZEKIEL 10:4 and then 10:18, which mentions God's going on from the threshold of the temple (having already departed from the Holy of Holies) to His movable throne, and then 10:19. "Then the glory of the LORD [Ezekiel probably was still seeing the appearance of a man, but this scene was dominated by the glory of God.] went up from the cherub [referring to the two cherubim in the Holy of Holies; there is widespread agreement on this point] to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud and the court [the inner court of the temple at Jerusalem] was filled with the brightness of the glory of God." And EZEKIEL 10:18: "Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood [on the platform with the throne] over the cherubim." And I'll read EZEKIEL 10:19: "When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still [temporarily] at the entrance of the east gate [the outer east gate] of the LORD's house."
2.9. In EZEKIEL 11:22-23 they have moved on out to a location over the mountain which is east of the city, the Mount of Olives. That's as far East as Ezekiel saw them go. When the Lord Jesus returns, He comes from the east. As we know from the New Testament, the Lord Jesus will come back to the Mount of Olives [Zech. 14:4], from which He ascended [Acts 1:9-11]). However, Ezekiel chapter 43 undoubtedly speaks first and foremost of the coming of God the Father. He is the One who leaves the temple in Ezekiel chapters 10-12. I'll quote EZEKIEL 11:22-23: "Then the cherubim lifted up their wings with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them [hovered over them in that they were supporting the platform on which was God, with something of His great glory being manifested, and His throne]. (23) The glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city."
I'll quote most of what Charles H. Dyer says under Ezek. 11:22-25 ("Bible Knowledge Commentary - Old Testament" [SP Publications, Inc., 1985], page 1249): "God's glory then continued its departure. 'The glory of the LORD...went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it.' As God's glory left Jerusalem, it passed over the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives. This departure signaled Jerusalem's doom. [But it is clear, and I'm sure that Dyer agrees, God wasn't totally abandoning the people of Judah/Israel from that time until the time that the Lord Jesus returns to the Mount of Olives at the end of this age. For one thing, as I mentioned, God had plans for many Jews to return from the Babylonian exile to rebuild of the temple and the city of Jerusalem.] The city would be devoid of God's blessing to a significant extent till the glory will return via the Mount of Olives (cf. 43:1-3). It is no coincidence that Christ ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9-12) and promised to return to the same place (Acts 1:11; and see Zech. 14:4)." And as I mentioned, God the Father will return at that same time, the time of the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, which will sound, I believe, right in the middle of the seven-year period that is sometimes called Daniel's 70th week. See my books, "Mid-Week Rapture," and my newer book "Introduction to the Mid-Week Rapture," which is easier to read but doesn't include much of the information that is included in the first book. The first book has verse-by-verse studies on key chapters of Daniel, Zechariah, Micah, Psalms 2 and 110, etc.
It is very important that Ezek. 11:14-21, especially verses 19-20, which prophesy of the ultimate full salvation of Judah/Israel, which includes being sanctified through new-covenant salvation (see, for example, Ezekiel chapters 36-37 and much of Jeremiah chapters 30-33). The end-time remnant of Israel/Judah will not begin to participate in new-covenant salvation until they submit to God the Father, His Son, and new-covenant salvation. I believe, as I discuss in my books, that they will not repent and submit to this salvation until right after the mid-week rapture. However, this salvation became available in a full sense to believing Jews and Gentiles when the Spirit was poured out starting on the Day of Pentecost, some fifty days after the resurrection of the Lamb of God.
2.10. EZEKIEL 43:1-4 don't give us any more information about the appearance of God, but it is extremely important that God is returning to the end-time remnant of Israel/Judah at the end of this age. As I mentioned, this is new-covenant salvation through, and in, the Lord Jesus. I'll quote these verses: "Then he [an angelic being] led me [Ezekiel] to the gate [the outer gate in the wall on the eastern side of the temple, the side toward the Mount of Olives] facing toward the east; (2) and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. (3) And it was like the appearance of the vision which I saw, like the vision which I saw when He came to destroy the city [in Ezekiel chapters 8-11]. And the visions were like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar [in Ezekiel chapter 1]; and I fell on my face. (4) And the glory of the LORD [Yahweh] came into the house [referring to the temple pictured in Ezekiel chapters 40-48] by the way of the gate facing toward the east." Exactly how to interpret Ezekiel chapters 40-48 isn't easy, but it seems clear to me that some symbolic language is being used in these chapters. It is necessary to see that these chapters deal with Israel after they are saved through the Lord Jesus. This passage is prophesying of glorious new-covenant salvation in union with the Lord Jesus, but written in words that are taken from an old-covenant form of worship (with the temple, sacrificial offerings, etc.) that would be familiar to ancient Israel, (It is necessary to see that these prophetic words were written to some extent for the people of Israel/Judah who were living back then (Ezek. 43:6-12; 40:4). As I mentioned, I don't believe they will even have a literal temple after they become Christians, and they certainly won't have sacrificial offerings after the Lamb of God has been slain, and I don't believe that they will have memorial sacrificial offerings either, which some Christians speak about. Differences on topics like this should not cause Christians to disrespect one another.
3.0. WE WILL LOOK AT QUITE A FEW OTHER PASSAGES, BESIDES THOSE IN EZEKIEL, WHERE GOD THE FATHER HAS BEEN SEEN IN SOMETHING FAR LESS THAN A FULL, CLEAR SENSE (IN VISIONS, THEOPHANIES). The first two passages listed here are especially relevant because the context confirms that God the Father, not the Son of God, was the Person who was seen. Several of these New Testament passages are controversial, so we will stop and discuss them in some detail. I am not being dogmatic, but I am confident that we will see God the Father face to face after we are glorified, which will continue forever. From my point of view, whether God the Father is invisible, or not, is one of the important things we should know about Him. Will He really be invisible to us forever? To me that would be a major disappointment, but if it should happen that way, which I very seriously doubt, I will be smart enough to not complain.
3.1. DANIEL 7:9. (Daniel chapter 7 is discussed verse-by-verse in my book, "Mid-Week Rapture.") Daniel was permitted to see God the Father in this prophetic vision that deals with His coming to save and to judge the world at the end of this age (As I indicated above, we will speak more of the important point that God the Father, and not just the Son of God, is coming to judge at the end of this age.) "I kept looking Until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days [God the Father is the "Ancient of Days" here; THE FACT THAT THE SON OF GOD APPEARS UNDER THE TITLE "SON OF MAN" AS THIS VISION CONTINUES CONFIRMS THAT THE ANCIENT OF DAYS REFERS TO GOD THE FATHER HERE.] took His seat; His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames." It is clear to me that Daniel saw God the Father, but I am equally sure that He, like Moses, Isaiah, and Ezekiel, etc. saw Him in a very limited way. Also, a detail like "the hair of His head was like pure wool" could be symbolic and not reflect the reality that we will see when we see Him face to face in the near future.
3.2. REVELATION 4:2-3 (with 5:7). "Immediately I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. (3) And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance." THE FACT THAT THE LORD JESUS COMES ON THE SCENE IN REV. 5:6 AND TAKES THE SCROLL FROM GOD THE FATHER IN 5:7 CONFIRMS THAT GOD THE FATHER IS THE ONE ON THE THRONE IN 4:2-3. The apostle John, who had not yet been glorified, didn't see God the Father in any very definite way in this vision, but he knew that He was seeing God the Father on His throne, and he saw something of His glory. I have to assume that he saw something of the appearance like that of a man on the throne. He didn't see Him face to face as he will after he is glorified and reigning with Him and the Lord Jesus. Then person to Person (not in a vision) he will see Him face to face. See Rev. 22:3-5, which deals with the eternal state after the millennium (we will discuss these verses later in this paper).
3.3. PSALM 11:7 (with 11:6): "Upon the wicked He [God the Father] will reign snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. (7) For the LORD [Yahweh] is righteous; He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face." I'll quote part of what Derek Kidner says here ("Psalms 1-72" [Inter-Varsity Press, 1973], page 74): "...to behold His face is a goal in which only love has any interest. [It is also true, of course, that nobody wants to be cast into the torment of outer darkness, or the lake of fire, away from the presence of God, but the Bible shows that many never will repent, submit to God, and live for Him in His truth and righteousness by His grace.] The psalmists knew the experience of seeing God with the inward eye in worship (e.g., Psalms 27:4; 63:2); but there is little doubt that they were led to look beyond this to an unmediated vision when they would be ransomed and awakened from death 'to behold (His) face in righteousness' (cf. Psalm 16:8-11; 17:15 [I'll quote this verse next.]; 23:6; 49:15; 73:23ff.; 139:18)."
3.4. PSALM 17:15: "As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake." I'll quote part of what Derek Kidner (see under 3.3) says here (on his pages 69-70): "The significance of 'righteousness' for seeing God face to face is not purely judicial. Only like can communicate with like: cf. Titus 1:15 with Matthew 5:8. The promise that 'we shall see him as he is' not only ensures that 'we shall be like him' (1 John 3:2; cf. 2 Cor. 3:18) but already, in measure, presupposes it. To know God face to face and see His form was the supreme privilege of Moses (Deut. 34:10; Num. 12:8) [but with very definite limitations, as we will discuss as we continue with passages from Exodus], and since he saw Him not in dreams but waking (Num. 12:6f.) some expositors [Kidner has a footnote: "E.g., Kirkpatrick, Weiser. For the contrary view see, e.g., Briggs, Dahood."] suggest that the words 'when I am awake' meant to the psalmist no more than this. But a variety of strong expressions in the psalms (see on 16:9ff., and the references listed at 11:7) support the view that 'awake' is used here of resurrection [with an emphasis on glorification.], as it undoubtedly is in Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2. It is a climax which abundantly answers the prayer of verse 7, 'Wondrously show thy steadfast love.' "
3.5. EXODUS 24:9-11 (also see Ex. 24:1-2): "Then Moses went up [up on Mount Sinai] with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu [two sons of Aaron], and seventy of the elders of Israel, (10) and they saw the God [[Hebrew "Elohim"; undoubtedly referring to God the Father; for one thing, I would expect God the Father, not the preincarnate Son, because of the passages we have considered already and some passages that we will discuss as we continue. Also, this was at Mount Sinai, the place where the old covenant was established between God and Israel. As we discussed in my last paper, God the Father has the preeminent role in the Trinity. We also must understand and believe in the full deity of the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, through whom all things, including all beings, were created, and who became the God-man to save us and to overthrow the devil and all who continue to follow Him, all in accordance with the plan of God the Father. There is perfect love between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit! There is zero competition! The primary goal of the Son of God is to glorify the Father, not compete with Him, and God the Father has as a primary goal to see the Son glorified.]] of Israel, and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire [compare the platform that supported God's throne in Ezek. 1:26; 10:1], as clear as the sky itself. (11) Yet He [God the Father] did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel [even though they saw Him, but surely they saw Him in a very limited way that did not include seeing His face, for example], and they saw God [Hebrew "Elohim"], and they ate and drank."
3.6. EXODUS 33:18-23. (This also took place on Mount Sinai.) "Then Moses said, 'I pray You, show me Your glory!' (19) And He said, 'I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD [Yahweh] before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show My compassion on whom I will show compassion.' (20) But He said, 'You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live.' (21) Then the LORD said, 'Behold there is a place by ["with"] Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; (22) and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. (23) Then I will take My hand away and you will see My back, but My face shall not be seen." Moses did see something of God the Father, but in a very limited way. For one thing, Moses was covered with the hand of God until His great glory had passed by. Moses probably saw enough to recognize that he was seeing something like the appearance of a man, but it isn't clear what Moses saw here. Moses had asked to see the glory of God (33:18), and it seems clear that God revealed/manifested something of His goodness and character. The issue here wasn't at all limited to seeing the appearance of God, but I assume that was included (see, for example Ex. 24:9-11, the verses we just briefly discussed. Moses wanted to be in the presence of God to the fullest extent possible (cf. Ex. 33:2-6, 12-17).
3.7. I should mention that EXODUS 33:11a says, "Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as when a man speaks to his friend." (Compare Deut. 34:10.) Exodus 33:20 and 23 (quoted above) and other verses make it clear that the wording of 33:11 must be qualified one way, or another: I don't have all the answers (I don't believe God has given us all the answers), but It seems clear that Moses did not literally see the face of God the Father when they spoke together in a friendly manner. (We know that it was the Angel of Yahweh, the Son of God, who appeared to Moses "in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush" [Ex. 3:2] in Exodus chapter 3.) There was a very definite limit to what Moses was able to see. (But Num. 12:8 indicates that Moses used to "[behold] the form of the LORD" when they met together. Numbers 12:6-8 are briefly discussed as we continue.) I believe it will be very different when we see and know God the Father face to face after we are glorified (cf., e.g., Matt. 5:8; Heb. 12:14; 1 John 3:2; Rev. 22:4).
This passage, like so many other passages, doesn't fit the idea that God the Father is invisible, but it is clear that there is a very definite limit to what extent fallen man can see Him, even after we become born-again Christians. When we read all that the Bible has to say on this topic, there was/is no way that we can directly or fully see Him before we are glorified. However, it seems clear to me that God was clearly, on purpose, communicating the idea that He is visible; He was not communicating the idea that He is invisible, and especially not after the sin problem is fully solved and we are glorified.
3.8. We should consider NUMBERS 12:6-8, words that God spoke in the context of the rebellion of Aaron and Miriam against the authority of Moses, at which time Miriam became leprous: "He [Yahweh] said, 'Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. (7) Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; (8) With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form [Hebrew "temunah"] of the LORD. Why then were you [Aaron and Miriam] not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses?' "
Moses had a very special relationship with God, but he did not directly or fully see Him in Old Testament days; however, He wasn't invisible to Moses either, and how much more directly and fully will Moses see God after he is glorified?
3.9. ISAIAH 6:1-5. "In the year of King Uzziah's death [739 BC], I [Isaiah] saw the Lord sitting on a throne [In Isa. 6:3 and 5 God the Father is called "the King, the LORD (Hebrew "Yahweh") of Hosts (of armies)." There is widespread agreement that "the LORD of Hosts" refers to God the Father in the Old Testament. John D. W. Watts ("Isaiah 1-33") points out that many manuscripts read Yahweh here in verse 1. God the Father is sitting on His throne in several key passages that we discuss in this paper, where He allows some of His people to see Him to some very limited extent, including this passage in Isaiah.], lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. [As I mentioned, I am confident, without being dogmatic, that Isaiah saw God the Father here, but (as in the other visions/theophanies that take place before we are glorified) he saw Him in a very limited way. He surely didn't see His face. However, it is very significant that he was seeing God, the God of Israel, Yahweh, and that he knew He was seeing Him. He probably saw something like the appearance of a man, along with the glory, as Ezekiel and others did.] (2) Seraphim stood above Him [The Father was sitting on His throne.], each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. [The cherubim, which are comparable with, but not identical with the seraphim (for one difference, the cherubim have four wings, not six) are often mentioned in the Bible. The seraphim are only mentioned in Isa. 6:2, 6.] (3) And one called out to another and said, 'Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.' (4) And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke [smoke that goes with the glory of God (cf. 1 Kings 8:10-11)]. (5) Then I [Isaiah] said, 'Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.' "
These glorious verses are tied to the commissioning of Isaiah to his prophetic ministry. I believe Isaiah saw God the Father when He was commissioned to be a prophet, even as Ezekiel saw Him when He was commissioned to be a prophet. (Isaiah came before Ezekiel.) As we have discussed, there was a very definite limit to how much of God the Father His people could see back in those days. They didn't see Him face to face, but very often they could tell He had something of the appearance of a man. After we are glorified we will be able to see Him. Much of what I have said above in this paper, and much that will follow, supports the viewpoint that Isaiah saw God the Father here.
We will finish this discussion of Isaiah 6:1-5 in Part 4 of this paper.
© Copyright by Karl Kemp
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.
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