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Theophany

 

(Gen 32:30 KJV)  And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

 

Let’s begin with a simple definition of Theophany.

 

“From the Greek, theophaneia which translates "appearance/showing of God", theophany means an appearance of a god to man, or a divine disclosure.”

 

Now I want to start right at the beginning and take this all the way forward to each of us today and the relevance that this word has for us. If we are to believe in a Theophany at all, we must first believe in the “theo” part, which is G-D. There are basically three positions that you can have on this idea, and that is one of an atheist who does not believe in a god of any type all, and then you have the agnostic who really just is not sure what to believe, and finally you have those of us who believe. Interestingly in the last survey that I heard taken, over 90% of the people in the U.S.A. believed in some type of higher power or G-D. That is at least a start. The Atheists are not really my concern today, because they are really bent on doing anything and everything they can, to prove something that can in no way be proven, and that is that there is no G-D. The proponents of the “Big Bang theory” would rather believe that; and I quote:

 

“that our universe simply evolved out of nothing, by means of a "quantum fluctuation in the primeval state of nothingness."

 

I love that “ The quantum fluctuation in the primeval state of nothingness.” In other words everything that exists came into existence out of nothing by nothing. So in other words what they have to stand on is…. Nothing! And yet they will spend their lives in the intellectual pursuit of…. Nothing! For them, I am sad.

 

So it is the other two groups that I am speaking to today. The agnostics, who either have too much pride to think that they might be wrong with any decision that they would make concerning faith, so they have decided not to make any decision, or they just don’t care. In most cases I have found it is the latter of the two that causes one to call themselves an agnostic.

 

The third group, the believers, are still in great need of  a better understanding of  this idea of Theophany, for far too many are just going on their own imaginations as to who or what G-D is.  So I chose Jacob to open our discussion to this topic because of his wonderful encounters with the L- -D and the many times that he was visited by Him. Personally I counted six Theophanies that Jacob had, yet I have been told that there are at least eight such occurrences documented in the Bible.

 

And I really have to clear up what so many people at this point will jump in and try to find as some kind of contradiction in the Bible, because they have read that the Bible says that no man can see G-D and live. And it is true, that is exactly what the Bible says:

 

(Exodus 33:20 KJV)  And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

 

So how can the Bible tell us that no man can see G-d and live, yet at the same time tell us that men have seen G-D face to face?

 

Even Jesus tells us that no man has seen the Father:

 

(John 6:46 KJV.)  Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

 

In fact Jesus answers this question of contradiction in the 1st chapter of John:

 

(John 1:18 KJV.)  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

 

Let me give you that verse in another translation to help clarify this whole thing.

 

(John 1:18 The Message)  No one has ever seen God, not so much as a glimpse. This one-of-a-kind God-Expression, who exists at the very heart of the Father, has made him plain as day.

 

In other words it is Jesus, the Son of G-d, the very image of G-d that has revealed G-d to the world.

 

Without spending any more time on this clarification of a reasonable objection the fact is that the face of G-D that Jacob saw was in fact the face of Jesus. No one can see the omnipotent, all powerful creator of the universe, but the creator can manifest himself as a man so that another man might see his image.

 

We know that it was not just Jacob that saw G-d and lived, but Abraham and Isaac before him. Moses spent time with G-d upon the mountain. Job said that he had heard of G-d, but now he has seen him, “face to face.”  Isaiah saw the L- -D high and lifted up.  And the list goes on and on. In fact G-D has been reveling Himself to man since the creation of man, and He continues today, it is us who need to open our eyes to see Him.

 

The first chapter of Romans  the Bible tells us how G-D has been reveling Himself to all of mankind through all of His creation.

 

(Romans 1:20 KJV)  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

 

The fact is G-D desires to revel Himself to you. The reason that we can not clearly see His is because of the fact that sin can not exist in His presence. His light would extinguish the darkness and we would be no more. Because the simple truth is we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of G-D.

 

I think that is one of the problems I have with the holiness movement, which would have you believe that once you “really” except Jesus, you will not sin anymore. You know I really don’t care how “holy” any of you are, if you are walking around saying that you have no sin, then you are a liar. If you don’t realize you are a sinner then you won’t realize your need for forgiveness. That is why I see so many of the people who were at one time real bad sinners, being so on fire for G-d, because they know from whence they came. I am not talking about being condemned, I am talking about conviction.  You have to know the difference, and you have to not be callus to the conviction knowing that you are not condemned.

 

Look, we at one point have to admit that we can not understand it all. How can a man know G-D? Yet, all creation declares His glory. How can a sinful man stand in the presence of the one true all powerful holy G-D and live to tell about it?  We know the answer to be that G-D himself took the penalty of our sin so that we could be set free to be in His presence. And He did it all because He loves you. And right, now all you have to do is to receive that love. That 1st chapter of John tells us that everyone that receives Him, is given the power to be the children of G-D.

 

(John 1:12 KJV)  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

 

So now let’s move forward to tomorrow. What is this Theophany going to mean to you?  How is all of this relevant to us in this time of financial struggles and physical and emotional pain?  Some of us are really hurting. Some of us are really having a hard time believing in the blessing. Some of us are in the midst of a whirl wind of confusion. The relevance of it all can be found in the lives of all those who came before us that actually had a real Theophany, a real encounter with the one true living G-d in the image of His only Son.

 

Jacob was changed. Not only was his name changed from Jacob to Israel, but his live was changed from a selfish man who cheated and connived his way through life, to a man who lived into his old age to pass on the reality and the blessing of who G-D is.

 

Before Jacob died he lived through some hard times. He had been led to believe that his son had been killed. His wife died, the land was in a terrible drought. And the fact is there was nothing that he could do about it. It was G-D who made all things right. It was G-D who took what the enemy meant for evil and turned it around for the good.

 

The question I want to ask you today is what difference does your faith make in your life? Do you have a faith that fails you in the times of drought?  Do you have a faith that lets you down when things start to get hard?  Put yourself in the shoes of those who came before you and relies the blessings that are yours.

 

We need to grab onto the reality of who G-D is in our lives and not sit there looking at the storm, but hang on, knowing that there is a silver lining on the other side.

 

There came a point in Jacob’s struggle with G-D that everything changed. It was the point where He stopped fight G-D and held onto Him.  It is when we stop fighting that we receive the blessing.  You might be on the top of the world right now, or the whole world might be crumbling all around you, but one thing remains constant, and that is the L- -D. We have been created to know Him, and to be loved by Him.  It is His desire that you have your own personal Theophany. He wants to reveal Himself to you today and when he does you will never be the same. 

 

When you finally see Him high and lifted up, you will know without a doubt that all things are possible through Christ Jesus.

 

Stop fighting Him today and hang on because you are about to be blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

      

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