Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 73
THEOPHANIES: GOD THE SON APPEARING IN HUMAN FORM – 1
Genesis 17:1 and Various Other Scriptures
Okay, it’s good to see everybody in again this afternoon. For those of you out in television, we’ve checked and have out-of-state from all over the country with us today. We’re just praising the Lord for you and for all of you regulars. Again, we just thank you for your faithfulness.
I don’t like to repeat things unnecessarily, but for benefit of any new listeners, we’re just an informal, simple Bible study. I don’t try to get deep and get theological, per se, but on the other hand, a lot of people write and say they appreciate the deeper things. So, maybe we’re hitting a natural average or something.
Anyway, for those of you in the studio, we’re ready to look at Genesis chapter 2. Again, for the benefit of our TV audience, we’re going to do something a little different. We’re going to look at the “Theophanies.” I’ve had several questions over the years on what is a theophany. Well, it’s a great big Greek word, but it simply means—when God appeared in human form. He was the invisible God.
I should have had Sharon put my circle on the board, but I’m going to have to do it myself. Bear with me. I still think it’s the easiest way to explain the Triune God is that in the Godhead. And that’s what it’s called in Colossians chapter 2—the Godhead. We have the Father; we have the Son; and, of course, the Holy Spirit. Now, they are invisible until one or the other steps out of that invisible realm.
I think the best way we can explain that is to turn back to Colossians. I’ve done this so often over the years. I have the studio audience ready to go someplace, and then I think of something else. So, go back with me to Colossians, so that you’ll know where I’m coming from when I say that it was the invisible Godhead.
Colossians chapter 1—so that you’ll see it from your own Bible. I usually like to start in verse 12. Now, we were on this not too long ago, but some of these things can never get repeated often enough. Here, Paul is praying, of course, on behalf of the Colossi believers. He comes down to verse 12 and he says:
“Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet (or who hath prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13. Who (speaking of God the Father) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14. In whom (Now we’re talking about the Son.) we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Now, that’s not a period; it’s a colon. So the thought carries right on down to the next verse.) 15. Who…”
Now, most of you know I’m a stickler for grammar. Except, as I’ve shared with the audience, and I shared with an English teacher again today. I have one glaring error that I can’t get rid of. I’ll still say that Christ died for you and I. And I know that’s wrong, and all of you know it’s wrong. But nevertheless, I like to emphasize grammar and English because otherwise Scripture can be misinterpreted. All right, so getting back to the rule of grammar, the word “who” is a pronoun modifying the Son. Not the Father up there in verse 12, it’s modifying the Son in verse 13. All right, so it’s the Son–
“Who is (Now watch this carefully.) the image of (What kind of a God?) the invisible God,…” See that? God the Son became the visible image of the invisible God.
All right, now I just mentioned a verse since you’re in Colossians anyway, just go over to chapter 2 verse 8 and 9 and then you get the term that I referred to – the Godhead.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” You’ve heard me emphasize over and over that tradition is a bad word in Scripture. Tradition is sending millions if not billions to an eternal doom.
You know, I had one guy call one time and he said, “Les, I have to believe this way because this is what my dad believed, and this is what grandpa believed.” I said, “But what if they were wrong?” Well he says, “I guess then I’m lost.” Well, that’s a horrible way to look at it. And Scripture is constantly condemning tradition. If you’re locked into tradition, that’s wrong – break out of it! Get into the truth of the Scriptures. That’s what Paul is saying—Look out! Beware, lest you get wrapped up in the tradition after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ. Now verse 9:
“For in him (in Christ, in God the Son) dwelleth all the fullness of the (What?)… Godhead bodily.” So, He is like chapter 1 said. He is the visual manifestation of that invisible God.
All right, if I may get back to the board a minute. We’re going to show how that as time goes by and creation is now rolling, one of these members of the Godhead, predominately God the Son, is going to step out, and He’s going to become the communicator. Now, in order to make that point, since you’re back in the New Testament anyway, drop in at John’s Gospel chapter 1—God the Son, the Communicator.
If you know anything of Scripture at all, how does God always accomplish what He wants done? In other words, at Creation what did He do? He spoke the word. And all through Scripture, the things that have been kept secret, Deuteronomy tells us that once He speaks it, it’s no longer secret, now it’s for the human race. But it can’t be applied until it is spoken. All right, so this is my basis for calling God the Son the communicator. If you’ve got John chapter 1, you all know the verse.
“In the beginning…” And again, it doesn’t bother with telling us when. It doesn’t matter. You know, I told someone the other day, you ask a geologist digging for oil or natural gas if he ever stops to consider whether the world’s a million years old or ten thousand? Do they care? It doesn’t make a bit of difference where they drill. But you see people get all hung up on some of these things—is this old universe millions upon millions of years old, or is it a few thousand years old? You know what I say? What difference does it make? God knows. And that’s why He doesn’t see fit to tell us. It doesn’t say ten thousand years ago. It doesn’t say one million years ago. What does it say? “In the beginning…,” and leave it at that.
“In the beginning (whenever it was) was the Word, (capitalized) and the Word was with God, (Contrary to the Jehovah’s Witness Bible; keep reading.) and the Word was God. 2. The same was in the beginning with God. 3. All things were made (or created) by him; (Now don’t forget who we’re talking about—the Word.) and without him was not anything made that was made.” Because He alone would speak the word and things could happen. Now come down to verse 14, and that just puts the frosting on the cake, doesn’t it?
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” So, what person of the Godhead is the Word? Well, God the Son. God the Son stepped out of the invisible Godhead and became the Communicator representing the whole. He spoke the word out of which came Creation as we know it and all these other revelations from Scripture and so forth.
Now, we’re not going to ignore the Holy Spirit. We’re going to touch on Him in, hopefully, a later taping. I don’t think I’ll get that far this afternoon. But, anyway, in the New Testament—we have to realize that in the New Testament we do not have theophanies because it’s no longer necessary, because God the Son has taken on human flesh never to have that abrogated.
But back in the Old Testament economy, He still has not taken on flesh. He has not become the incarnate Son of God. So, whenever God the Son had to communicate, like with Adam and Eve and Abraham, as we’re going to see now in the coming moments, it was through a theophany. He would appear in human form. And evidently it was such a form that probably didn’t look the same two times in a row. Because I don’t think Abraham recognized Him as such, even the second go around.
So, whatever we have to take on this is that He appeared in human form, and then after He finished what needed to be done, He simply went back into the invisible Godhead. And whenever it was time for Him to reappear to someone, He would step out and He would be another theophany.
We’re going to look at these this afternoon throughout the Old Testament, remembering that when He appeared in the flesh at Bethlehem, no more theophanies. Now, it’s always the appearance of the incarnate Word, God the Son, who has taken on human form or human flesh.
All right, now if you’ll come back with me to Genesis chapter 2, and I kind of hedge on calling this a theophany, because the Scripture lacks the word appeared. But on the other hand, logic tells me that He must have looked and appeared to Adam first and then later on to the two of them in a human form. All right, now let’s go back to Genesis chapter 2 and start at verse 20. Now again, we don’t know the time element. I don’t even venture a guess as to how long it was from the time that God created Adam—and then the part that really throws people when I put Eve in Adam, but it has to be—until He takes Eve out of Adam and brings her to him. I don’t know how long a period of time. Everybody’s got their own guess, and I don’t even try. But here in verse 20 we have come far enough beyond Adam’s creation that he is naming the creation.
“And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an helpmeet for him.” Now don’t forget, where is Eve? Well, she’s in Adam. That goes back to Genesis 1:26. She had to be. She had to be because of these next verses, as well as the theological concept. Because you see, Adam is the Federal Head of the whole human race, not just the male element. He’s the Federal Head of the whole human race, male and female.
Now stop and think logically. Had Eve not been created within Adam, back there in Genesis 1, then the female of the species would need a separate redeemer. It’s just logical, because Adam would not have been the Federal Head of the women. But he was. Romans tells us that “by one man sin entered and by sin death.” So we have to come back and theologically understand that Adam is the Federal Head of the whole human race, male and female, lest none of them escape the Fall. The same way as the Second Adam then, Jesus the Christ was capable of bringing redemption for all. The two offset each other.
All right, back here in Genesis chapter 2 Adam gives names to all the cattle. We don’t know how long even that took, or how long it’s been since he was created, but—and I always make the point when I teach this—can you get the mind of Adam? I’m sure God did it just like He did at the flood. I think every creature came with its mate. I think, without apology, that everything was coming to be named with its mate. Why wouldn’t it?
All right, so what was within the mind of Adam? Everything’s got a mate, why haven’t I? And now God recognizes it. That’s exactly what He said up in verse 18. You’ve got to go to that.
“And the LORD God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make an helpmeet for him.” Someone who is called alongside to be equal with him. All right, so after naming all the animals and impressing again, like I said, on his mind, why does everything have a mate and I’m alone? Now then, verse 21:
“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; (Of course, I call this the first anesthesia. God put him to sleep and did surgery.) and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;” So, God took the Eve that was implanted when Adam was first made. I’d better go back and show you. Because you know, this has thrown people a curve. They just can’t get it through their heads that when God created Adam, only Adam appeared. But on the other hand, Eve was also there. Go back to Genesis 1 verse 26.
“And God said, Let us (The Triune God, that’s why it’s a plural pronoun.) make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them (mankind) have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27. So God created man in his own image,…” Now we always have to stop there.
Did that mean that God already had the features of a human being? No. God has been invisible. So, what part of God was passed on to Adam? The invisible. The personality. I had to go over this on the phone yesterday. When a lost person dies—don’t you believe these false teachers who say that’s annihilation. That they don’t—no. Every human being was created in the image of God, and that human being is going to live as long as God lives. And how long is that? Forever. No human being will ever die spiritually. They can’t. They are eternal, because God is.
That’s why we have to stipulate that the Lake of Fire is not just for a short period of time. It’s not annihilation. The Scripture says over and over that it’s forever and ever. It has to be, because man is eternal and will last forever.
All right, back to Genesis chapter 1. So, “God created man in his own image.” In the area of the invisible. That part of us that’s invisible—the mind, the will, and the emotions. We know they’re real. They’re there. You’ve got a mind or you wouldn’t be here today. You’ve got a will or you wouldn’t be here today, because the will has to make you make the move to get where you’re going. And you’ve got a seat of emotions. I know you do, because some of you smile and some of you don’t. Why? You’ve got a different set of emotions. But it’s the human makeup. So has God.
In fact, I’ve told people over and over. You go back through your Scripture and study, and you will find that God the Father has a mind, has will, and has emotion. God the Son has mind, will, and emotion. God the Spirit, believe it or not, has mind, will, and emotion. So, they are all three personalities, and the human makeup is patterned after that.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” But now you’ve got to be logical. How could he create Adam and Eve, both living beings, when way back later Adam’s already named all the animals and he’s still alone? Doesn’t add up. So, Eve was not a visible helpmeet until, now go back to chapter 2, until God puts Adam to sleep. Anesthetizes him, does surgery on him and brings the female out and makes her a fellow human being. All right verse 22:
“And the rib, (I like the Hebrew word much better – the Tselaw, which better translated is a side chamber and so the Tselaw) which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” Now, is that so hard to understand? He just took something out of Adam that He had placed there at the day of creation, and with it He formed the female of the species, the woman. All right? And this is much later. He has already named all the creatures of creation. And don’t tell me he did that in a split second of time. I just won’t buy that.
All right, now in verse 23 Adam wakes up. What’s the first thing he sees? Well, it doesn’t say it, but good grief, use a little imagination. What’s the first thing he sees? That beautiful woman! And don’t tell me she wasn’t beautiful. God had a way with making women beautiful in the Old Testament. Do you know that? There dear old Sarah was 90 years old and she was still so beautiful that the king of Egypt wanted her in his harem. So don’t ever try and tell me God wasn’t interested in beautiful women back here. So I know that Eve was something to behold. That’s the first thing he sees. And now look what he says in verse 23.
“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, (Why? Because, she was taken out of him.) and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (Now, do you need any more? That’s so simple a five-year-old can understand it.) 24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
All right, now I have to feel that God did all this in human form. But, I say I shrink from it, I don’t like to call it a theophany, because the word appear isn’t used here like it is in the others, so I’m assuming, which normally I don’t like to do. But now come across, at least in my Bible, to chapter 3 verse 8. Again we still don’t have the word appear, but logic tells me that He must have been walking in human form. This is just after they’ve sinned. They’re hiding, and verse 8 says:
“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day:…” Now what’s the key word there to establish whether He’s in human form? Walking.
You know where I’ve learned little things like that? Our Jewish guide in Israel. One time he said to our tour group, do you know that this happened in the springtime? No, the Bible doesn’t say it does. Well, he says you have to learn to read between the lines. Where does he tell them to sit? Down on the grass. Now, he says, in Israel there’s only green grass for just a few months in the springtime. The rest of the time it’s brown and dry. So, you have to do that with Scripture. You have to take what you have got along with what you know and you can establish something that’s pretty solid. All right, so here we’ve got the Lord walking. An invisible Spirit isn’t spoken of as walking.
“and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God, amongst the trees of the garden. 9. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”
Now that always raises my eyebrows. Didn’t God know where they were? Of course He did! Nothing can be hidden from Him. So, why the question? Well, now I’m going to remind you of something. Do you realize that almost always in His earthly ministry, if not always, when He approached someone and opened a conversation, how did He start? With a question. Always with a question. Well, He started out that way with Adam. The first thing He says is “Adam, where art thou?”
Not because He didn’t know. So, what’s the purpose? He had to put Adam on the soapbox. Come on, Adam, tell me where you are. Speak up. And after he tells him where he is, God says, “Who told you were naked?” Well, God knew. But He wants Adam to speak it. Always remember these things. That as the Lord, especially in His earthly ministry, opens a conversation, He does it with a question. I think it’s a good lesson for us.
Iris and I have learned. You know, we’re not normally among a lot of people. We’re out there in the boondocks on the ranch. But yet we meet a lot of people in our seminars, and you know, we’ve learned. How do you break the ice and get acquainted with people? You ask a question. Just a simple question. How did you meet your spouse? When did you get saved? All these things break the ice.
Well, I take this as a lesson from Scripture that the Lord always started out with a question of one sort or another. Well anyway, here the Lord is confronting Adam and Eve after their sin. I think I’m going to spend the last two minutes of this half hour on verses 20 and 21 and 22, when once again I’m sure the Lord appeared in human form. It doesn’t say it, and I’m careful to remind you of that. But according to the details, I think He must have been in human form.
“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; (Now you want to remember, all through these chapters since she appeared it’s been “the woman.” The woman—but now, all of a sudden out of the blue, Adam calls her Eve.) because she was the mother of all living.” Well, how in the world did Adam know that she was going to be the mother of all living? All they had heard was that the day they eatest thou shall surely what? Die.
Well, dead people don’t have children. So, how did Adam understand that she was going to live to see the day of raising children? Now come on, think! God must have told them. When God tells us something, what does He expect us to do? Believe it. And when you believe what God says, He calls it what? Faith. Now, I did this not too many weeks ago. What are the prerequisites for salvation? “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission,” and “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
All right, Adam and Eve fulfilled those right here. Adam shows his faith by believing what God has said concerning the woman, and he calls her Eve because she is the mother of all living. All right, now you come over to verse 21.
“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Now goodness sakes, you know God didn’t skin those animals live, so what did He have to do? He killed them. And in the killing what do you suppose He used? The blood. Because it was a prerequisite, it was mandatory “that without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin.”
All right, so now we’ve got Adam’s faith by calling his wife’s name Eve. We’ve got God supplying the sacrificial animals; their blood was shed. Then by virtue of their saving relationship, they’re brought back into fellowship. God clothed them with what? Righteousness. Exactly. We haven’t got time to look, but you go to Isaiah 61, and I think it is verse 10, and what does it say?
“…for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” That’s what God has done. Not just for Adam and Eve, but for every believer. We’re covered. We’re clothed with His righteousness. And you know, I don’t know about you, but I know how I feel. I’m glad God doesn’t see me, but only the righteousness of Christ that covers me.