Who Has Seen God?
One of the arguments against the deity of Christ raised by Jehovah's
Witnesses is that Jesus cannot be God because men have seen
Christ but John 1:18 says, "No man has seen God at any
time." (New World Translation) So how can Jesus be God? They may also quote 1 John 4:12.
A practical tool for rebutting this and other objections of
the Witnesses is to take their prooftext and use it as the
starting point of a chain of references that will answer their
objections. Write down a note in the margin of your Bible at John 1:18 that
will remind you of the answer to give when this verse is quoted.
Point out that the rest of the verse says, "...the only-begotten
god who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one
that has explained him." (NWT) Because the verse makes a distinction between the God who has
been unseen and Jesus who declares Him, then the Father is
the one spoken of as being unseen. Jesus is the manifestation of God, but He is not the Father.
Also in the margin at John 1:18 write John 5:37. That verse
says about the Father, "Ye have neither heard his voice
at any time, nor seen his shape." (KJV) Again, it is the Father who is not seen.
At this reference mark your margin to go next to John 6:46. This verse says, "Not that any man hath seen the Father,
save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father." Again, the same point as above.
Next, mark your margin to go to John 14:8, 9. This verse says, "Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the
Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been
so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?
he that hath seen me hath seen the Father...." There are just two things to point out here. Jesus is not saying
he is the Father, but rather to see him is the same as if you
had seen the Father. It shows Jesus' equality of nature with the Father, something
no created being could say.
Next, mark your margin to go to 1 Timothy 6:16. Paul says, "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light
which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can
see...." The undimmed glory of God is so great that man is unable to
look upon him. Yet men have seen God, even face to face. In those instances God has turned down the power, so to speak,
so man could bear it.
Next mark your margin to go to Hebrews 1:3. This verse says of Jesus "Who being the brightness of his
glory, and the express image of his person..." Dr. A.T. Robertson says, "It can mean either reflected brightness,
refulgence (Calvin, Thayer) or effulgence (ray from an original
light body) as the Greek fathers hold. Both senses are true
of Christ in his relation to God as Jesus shows in plain language
in John 12:45; 14:9" (Word Pictures, Vol. V, pp. 335,
Isn't it interesting that Jesus is the "brightness"
of God's glory, but Jehovah said in Isaiah 42:8 that He would
not share His glory with another?
What follows is a list of passages in the Old Testament which
you should chain reference in your Bible to show that God was
seen of man although not in His full glory. These appearances are actually of the pre-incarnate Christ. Note that the "Angel of the LORD" does not mean that
the being called "angel" is actually an angel by nature
but is a messenger. Jesus is both the "LORD" and "Messenger of the covenant"
in Malachi 3:1 which is a prophecy of Jesus'coming.
At Hebrews 1:3 mark the margin of your Bible to go to Genesis
18 and mark verses 1, 2, 13, 17, 20-22, 26, 31, and 33.
In chapter 9 mark verses 24 and 27. This is an appearance of
the LORD to Abraham, but in 19:24 the LORD reigns down destruction
from the LORD out of heaven which indicates plurality
of Persons in the Godhead.
The rest of the verses in order are; Genesis 22:11-18; Genesis
32:28-30 (compare Hosea 12:4,5); Exodus 3:1-14 (compare Acts
7:30-34); Exodus 24:9-11; Exodus 33:11, 18-23; Numbers 12:1-8;
Joshua 5:13-15 (compare Exodus 3:1-8; Revelation 19:10; 22:8,9);
Isaiah 6:1-9 (compare John 12:37-41 and Acts 28:25-27).