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Will We See God the Father after We Are Glorified? Part 9

by Karl Kemp  
3/31/2017 / Bible Studies

We continue with the study of James 5:7-8 with 5:1-12 here in Part 9 of this paper.

6.4. I'LL QUOTE AND/OR MENTION A SMALL PART OF WHAT DOUGLAS J. MOO SAYS REGARDING JAMES 5:4, 7-8, 10-11 ("James" [Eerdmans, 1985], pages 163-173). He takes 5:4, 10, and 11 of God the Father and 5:7 and 8 of the Lord Jesus. On 5:4 he says regarding the "Lord of hosts." " 'Hosts' translates 'Sabaoth'...which is itself the transliteration of a Hebrew word that means 'army.' The title 'Lord of hosts' thus pictures God [God the Father] as the almighty, powerful leader of a mighty army. [As I mentioned, the Old Testament often speaks of God the Father coming to judge, or just judging.] ... More often it is the heavenly host [armies of angels] that God is pictured as leading. It was 'the LORD of hosts' whom Isaiah saw in his famous vision (Isaiah 6), and the title became a favourite one of his. He uses it often in description of the judgments that God will bring upon Israel and the nations.... ...." 

I'll quote part of what Moo says on James 5:7: " 'Parousia', 'presence' or 'coming,' became a technical term in the early church of the expected return of Jesus in glory to judge the wicked...and deliver the saints.... [[At least we can say that parousia was used quite a few times in the New Testament for the coming of the Lord Jesus, but there is no basis to say that this noun could not, or should not, be used for the coming of God the Father, which it apparently is a few places. (I demonstrated that ancient Jewish documents, written in Greek, often spoke of the coming of God [God the Father; they didn't believe in the Son of God, or that the Messiah would be deity]; sometimes they used parousia for His coming, which should not come as a surprise at all.) The apostle John only used this word one place (1 John 2:28) in all of his writings (Gospel of John; 1, 2, 3 John; and the Book of Revelation), and I prefer the view that he used it for the coming of God the Father at the end of this age in 1 John 2:28, as we have discussed. 2 Peter 3:12 uses parousia of "the coming of the day of God [undoubtedly referring to the day of God the Father], because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!" And, to repeat a very important point, the book of Revelation emphatically emphasizes the coming of God the Father to save and to judge, using words other than parousia. I believe the evidence seems to rather strongly favor taking "Lord" here in James 5, verses 7 and 8 to refer to God the Father.]] This tradition strongly suggests that 'the Lord' here is Jesus rather than God the Father (though cf. 2 Pet. 3:12 [I appreciate Moo's caveat here. As I just mentioned I believe parousia in 2 Pet. 3:12 speaks of the coming day of God the Father.]). 

6.5. SOME OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES THAT SPEAK OF GOD THE FATHER COMING TO JUDGE, OR JUST JUDGING, AT THE END OF THIS AGE, AND ALSO SOME OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES THAT, WHEN READ IN THE LIGHT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, SPEAK OF THE SON OF GOD COMING TO JUDGE, OR JUST JUDGING. When we read the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament, it is very clear that God the Father will use His Son in a very substantial way in His end-time judgment of the world. We have already mentioned, or discussed, many New Testament passages that speak of the Son of God judging at the end of this age. 

I'll list several passages from the Old Testament where the Son will be quite active in the end-time judgment of the world: Psalms 2 and 110 (These psalms are discussed as chapters 18 and 19 in my book, "Mid-Week Rapture"); Isaiah chapter 11 (This chapter is discussed in my paper on Isaiah on my internet site); Isa. 63:1-6 with Rev. 19:13-21 (especially note His garments dipped in blood in Rev. 19:13 and His treading the wine press in 19:15; see pages 27-29 of my book, "Mid-Week Rapture"); Zech. 9:9-10; 14:3-5 (Zechariah chapters 9-14 are discussed in chapters 13-15 of "Mid-Week Rapture"). 

DANIEL 7:9-14. (These super-important verses are discussed in chapter 6 of "Mid-Week Rapture.") God the Father comes to judge in these verses at the end of this age. He is called the "Ancient of Days" in verse 9. These verses are all the more important in that the Son of God comes on the scene in 7:13; He is called the "Son of Man." He is given authority/dominion over the nations. It is clear, I believe, that all the members of God's true Israel, which includes all true believers from Old Testament days and all true Christians, will be reigning (reigning includes judging) with the Son of Man (see Dan. 7:18, 22, 27). These saints may be included with the Son of God in the title "Son of Man" here, but this title is often used of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus, by Himself, in the New Testament. 

There are many passages that speak of the Father coming to judge, or just judging, at the end of this age, but I'll just mention a few passages from Psalms and Isaiah that are discussed in my eschatological papers on Psalms and Isaiah that are on my internet site. See Psalms 9; 46:5-11; 47; 96-98 (His "coming to judge the earth/world" is mentioned in 96:13 and 98:9) and Isaiah 2:10-22; 13:6-13; chapter 24; and 66:15-16.


7. REVELATION 22:3-5, ESPECIALLY VERSE 4, IS AN IMPORTANT PASSAGE THAT CONFIRMS THAT WE WILL SEE GOD THE FATHER AS HE IS. These verses deal with the eternal state that follows the millennial kingdom, but I assume we will be able to see the Father as He is from the time we are glorified. 

REVELATION 22:3-5. "There will no longer be a curse [nothing but blessing]; and the throne of God [God the Father] and of the Lamb will be in it [in new Jerusalem], and His bond-servants will serve Him [The "bond-servants" of God the Father (and of the Lamb [cf., e.g., Rev. 1:1]) will be made up of all the members of God's true Israel, which includes all true Christians and all the believers from the days of the Old Testament. What a privilege to be "bond-servants" who will serve Him; but we will also be sons of God who will be reigning with Him forever (22:5). On the '"throne of God [God the Father]," compare, for example, Rev. 3:21; 4:2-4; 22:1]; (4) THEY WILL SEE HIS FACE [[my emphasis (This double bracket goes on for three paragraphs.); the face of God the Father. (We will also see the face of the Son of God.) I'll quote part of what John Gill says under Rev. 22:4 (taken from "Gill's Bible Expositor" on Bible Hub; Gill, AD 1697-1771, a theologian, was an English Baptist; he preached in the same church as C. H. Spurgeon over one hundred years earlier): "And they shall see his face.... The face of God [the Father], so as he is not to be seen now; they shall see him as he is; not only the angels, who always behold the face of God, but all the saints, risen and changed, being pure in heart, and perfectly holy; they shall see him face to face, they shall have intimate and familiar communion with him; they shall enjoy his favour, and have the freest and largest discoveries of his love; and they shall see the face of the Lamb; they shall behold Christ and his glory both with the eyes of their understanding, and with the eyes of their [glorified] bodies [It is possible, I suppose, that Gill didn't believe that we will see God the Father with the eyes of our glorified bodies.]; and this is a very desirable sight, and will be very glorious and delightful; it will be fully satisfying, and will make the saints like unto him; it will be free from all darkness and any interruption, and will always continue." 

I'll quote what George E. Ladd says here ("Commentary on the Revelation of John" [Eerdmans, 1972], page 288):  "This is the hope and the goal of individual salvation throughout the Scriptures; the beautific [making blissful or blessed] vision of God. Throughout all redemptive history, God's presence was mediated to men in different ways. In the Old Testament it was mediated through the prophetic word, theophanies, dreams, angels and the cult. [As I have mentioned, I believe that sometimes they were actually seeing God the Father in a very real, but in very limited sense.] To come face to face with the living God meant death (Exod. 33:20). Jesus in his incarnation brought the presence of God to men in his own person (Matt. 1:23); to see and know Christ was to see and know the Father (John 14:7, 9; 17:3). [The Son came to reveal the Father (cf. John 1:18).] This vision of God was a mediated vision, realized only in faith. In the age to come, faith will give way to sight (Ps. 17:15; Matt. 5:8; I John 3:2)." He seems to believe that we will literally see God the Father. 

Beckwith, a commentator says: "cf. Psalm 17:15; Matt. 5:8; 1 John 3:2.... [I believe all three of these verses speak of our literally seeing God the Father after we are glorified.] In these last verses [Beckwith is referring to Rev. 22:3-5], what for the saints forms the supreme felicity is reached, immediate presence with God and the Lamb." I believe the saints will enjoy this glory on a high level from the time of our glorification. I should mention that I am not totally sure that Beckwith believes we will literally see God the Father. Some commentators speak of being in the immediate presence of God, but don't believe we will literally see the Person of God the Father. Some speak of seeing the Father in the face of Christ, for one thing. As we have discussed, many Christians believe that God the Father is everywhere equally present and cannot have a spiritual body. Some (or many) Christians who believe in the Trinity emphasize the oneness of God to such an extent that there is no room to literally see two Persons. And, of course, there are many who deny the Trinity and believe there is only one Person. They speak of our seeing Jesus, the one Person.]] and His name will be on their foreheads [The "name of God the Father" is undoubtedly referred to here. For one thing, the Father has a preeminent role in the Trinity (see my paper that deals with that topic). Revelation 14:1 speaks of the names of the Father and the Son being written on the foreheads of the raptured saints.]. (5) And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them [I believe that God the Father is referred to here, but Rev. 21:23 shows that the Lamb (God the Son) will illumine new Jerusalem too.]; and they will reign forever and ever." I cannot imagine a higher destiny for the sons of God than to reign forever and ever. For one thing, we will reign over "the nations," who are pictured in Revelation chapters 21 and 22. However, by the time we reach the eternal state, after the millennium, there won't be any more sin and rebellion in the hearts of the peoples of the nations that will have a place in God's eternal kingdom. The peoples of the nations will be distinct from the people of God's true Israel, who will be reigning.  


8. A BRIEF DISCUSSION OF SEVERAL NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES THAT MIGHT SEEM TO DENY THAT GOD THE FATHER CAN EVER BE SEEN (JOHN 1:18; 6:46; COLOSSIANS 1:15; 1 TIMOTHY 1:17; 6:16; AND HEBREWS 11:27). I don’t believe that any of these passages deny that God the Father made Himself visible in very limited ways in Old Testament theophanies/visions, or that any of these passages were intended to deny that we will literally see Him in a very full way after we are glorified. It is clear that no one in their natural bodies can see God the Father apart from Him revealing Himself to them in some very limited ways. The all-important coming of the Son of God to become the God-man, followed by His all-important sinless life, ATONING DEATH, and resurrection and ascension has made a GIGANTIC difference. There is a very big difference between being a believer under the old covenant and being a born-again believer under the new covenant: We have been set free from spiritual death and bondage to sin and the kingdom of Satan and his evil angels and demons and darkness. And a VERY BIG CHANGE will take place when we are glorified at the end of this age. The Biblical evidence is more than sufficient to convince me that we will see God the Father as He is, which includes knowing Him as He is to the fullest extent possible for us after we are glorified. The passages that I briefly discuss here are also discussed in the article mentioned in the next section of this paper (9). 

8.1. JOHN 1:18. "No one has seen God [God the Father] at any time; the only begotten God [referring to the Son of God; I prefer "the unique Son" instead of "the only begotten God"; see my paper on John 1:1-18 on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching)] who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him ["has made him known" NIV; ESV]." I don't believe that the apostle John intended to deny that some believers saw God the Father in theophanies, visions in the Old Testament. However, as we have discussed, those believers only saw Him in very limited ways. Those theophanies, visions certainly did not make Him known. Everett Harrison in the "Wycliffe Bible Commentary" points out that "Theophanies do not reveal his essence." Also, God the Father did make Himself known in some significant ways through His Word in the Old Testament, but the incarnate Son of God was able to make the Father known on a deeper, more personal (Person to person) level. The fact that He was/is the unique Son of God, Himself deity, through whom all things were created, and who is "the radiance of [the Father's] glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power" (Heb. 1:3) gives Him an ability far beyond any other being in the universe to make the Father known: 

For one super-important thing, Jesus, after He had completed the all-important work He needed to do on the earth, enabled us to receive the Spirit of God, the Spirit of life and holiness, to dwell in our hearts in a very significant way. Before long, all those who are united with the Son (and through Him with the Father) through new-covenant salvation, which includes the outpoured, indwelling Spirit of God, will be glorified and see and know God the Father as He is, face to face, on a totally full level that is beyond our ability to adequately comprehend now. For one thing, Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6).      

8.2. JOHN 6:46. "Not that anyone [The apostle John is speaking of humans in this context, not the cherubim, angels, etc.] has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father [As I mentioned under John 1:18, I don't believe John meant to deny that some, including Moses and Ezekiel, had seen the Father in very limited ways in the Old Testament. The Son of God's seeing the Father included a lot more than just seeing something of the appearance of a man and seeing something of His glory. He saw and knew Him in a total way! He, being God the Son knew, and knows, the Father on a level beyond what we can ever experience, but we will be more than super-abundantly satisfied with our experience!]." 

The God-man, who was/is the Son of God has always had a super-imminent, super-loving relationship with the Father, is fully qualified to make God the Father known. And all the more so since that is part of what He was sent to do: He was sent to save all who would repent and submit to the Father's new-covenant plan of salvation and to take them to eternal glory, the dimension that God the Father inhabits. 

The Lord Jesus is the only One qualified to take us to the Father and eternal glory (e.g., John 14:6). God draws, convicts, teaches, etc. (cf. John 6:44-45), but we must repent and submit to the gospel by faith and we must continue to run the race by faith until the end of the race. See my "Paper on Faith," and see on John 6:44-46 in my paper on "John Chapters 5-8," that is on my internet site. 

8.3. COLOSSIANS 1:15. "He [the Lord Jesus; the Son of God] is the image [cf. 2 Cor. 4:4; Heb. 1:3] of the invisible [Greek adjective "aoratos, on"] God, the firstborn of all creation." The words at the end of this verse, "the firstborn of all creation," are discussed in my paper that includes Col. 1:15-3:17 that is on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching). It is significant that the Greek adjective "aoratos, on," which is used five times in the Greek New Testament (Rom. 1:20; Col. 1:15, 16; 1 Tim. 1:17; and Heb. 11:27), can also be translated "unseen." (See the BAGD Greek Lexicon, for example, or the "Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament" by Barclay Newman that is located in the back of many Greek New Testaments.) The NASB translates "unseen" in Heb. 11:27. If it is translated "unseen" here in Col. 1:15, which I strongly prefer, this verse doesn't offer any solid support for the idea that God the Father will be invisible to us after we are glorified. 

It is very significant that the apostle Paul used "aoratos, on" in the very next verse (Col. 1:16) of the things that God has created through His Son that are "unseen," with all of the emphasis on the beings (cherubim, seraphim, angels, etc.) He has created, those who are submitted to God and the evil beings who are now in rebellion against Him. They are unseen by us now with our physical eyes, BUT THEY ARE NOT INVISIBLE! WE WILL SEE THEM AFTER WE ARE GLORIFIED! Essentially all Christians agree with this! And God can enable us to see them now as He wills, including in visions. I'll quote COLOSSIANS 1:16: "For by Him [John 1:1-3 shows that God the Father created all things through His Son. Note "through" toward the end of Col. 1:16.] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible [SEEN and UNSEEN (NOT INVISIBLE)], whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him." 

As I mentioned, I don't believe Col. 1:15 offers any solid support for the idea that we will not be able to see God the Father after we are glorified. I don't believe the apostle Paul, who also wrote 1 Cor. 13:12, intended to communicate any such idea. And how about the apostle John who saw God the Father on His throne in a vision (Rev. 4:2-4) and who wrote 1 John 3:2 and especially Rev. 22:4. 

I'll quote a small part of what Andrew Malone (see the following section of this paper, section 9) says under Col. 1:15, on his page 321. He rejects the view that God the Father is invisible in His being. "... Rather, we do well to follow translations which recognize here nothing more than that God is otherwise distant: Jesus 'is the image of God, who is not seen.' [He has a footnote here: "Barth and Blanke, 'Colossians,' [pages] 193, 194 (unfortunately the German original is unpublished); cf. H. C. G. Moule, 'Colossian Studies' (2nd edition; London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1900), 75; JB/NJB [Jerusalem Bible and New JB], CEV [Contemporary English Version], MOFFATT [his translation]. Malone listed these last five references, starting with Moule, because four of them translate "unseen God," and the CEV has "who cannot be seen." I have a book that seems to be the equivalent of the book Malone cited from Moule ("Colossian and Philemon Studies," 2nd edition [London: Pickering & Inglis Ltd., no date given], pages 75-76). Actually, although Moule translates "the Unseen God," he believes [based on what he says here] that God the Father is and always will be invisible. He says: "whether in the heavenly world [Moule has a footnote: "So the context indicates. The reference is not only to the visibility of the Lord Incarnate, but to His being always and everywhere, eternally, the Manifestation of the Father."], or in ours it is in Him [the Son] that the Father is beheld as He is."     

8.4. 1 TIMOTHY 1:17 AND 6:16 (WITH 6:14-15). I'll quote 1 TIMOTHY 1:17: "Now to the King eternal, immortal [not perishable], invisible [Greek adjective "aoratos, on," which is also used in Rom. 1:20; Col. 1:15, 16; and Heb. 11:27], the only God [cf., e.g., 1 Tim. 2:5; 6:15; John 5:44; 17:3; Rom. 16:27; Eph. 4:6; and Jude 1:25.], be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." As we discussed under Col. 1:15, 16, "aoratos, on" can be translated "unseen." It probably would be better to translate "unseen" here. As we have discussed throughout this paper, the evidence is quite strong that we will see God the Father after we are glorified, also that He allowed quite a few people to see Him in the Old Testament, but in very limited ways. 

This is a doxology designed to glorify God the Father. Proclaiming that He is totally exalted and totally holy, totally set apart from everything sinful and defiling, which fits His being UNSEEN now, glorifies God. However, I don't believe that proclaiming that God is eternally invisible in His being and cannot be seen by those who worship and serve Him in total holiness, very much including us after we are glorified, glorifies Him. I'll list some other doxologies: Rom. 11:36; 16:27; Gal. 1:5; Eph. 3:20-21; Phil. 4:20; 1 Tim. 6:15-16; 1 Pet. 4:11; 5:11; Jude 1:24-25.  

There is very widespread agreement that the apostle Paul was referring to God the Father here; however, Paul would insist on the full deity of the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but also that the Father has a preeminent role in the Trinity (see my paper "The Preeminent Role of God the Father in the Trinity"). 

We will start with 1 Tim. 6:13-16 in Part 10 of this paper, and we will finish this paper in Part 10. 

© Copyright by Karl Kemp 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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