Holy,Holy,Holy

Will We See God?

'Oneness' Pentecostals ask, what will we see when we gather at the throne?  Their answer is the slogan, 'There's one throne in heaven and Jesus is sitting on it!'

What then of the great Bible truth that the God in whose presence believers will spend eternity is triune?  That's the promise of His word: "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month.  The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.  They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads." (Revelation 22:1-4).



How does God see?

How will we see God?  Will it be after the manner of carnal, earthly sight, which works by light rays reflected off opaque solid objects and gathered by the lens of the eye?  It cannot be so.  God's word promises that we will see as we are seen, we will know as we are known:

"For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12);
"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2).

A moment's thought makes clear that this promised mode of sight cannot be the earthly variety, mediated by physical light.  The sight with which we are familiar 'works' by gathering physical light rays reflected off solid material objects. But the promise is that we will know as we are known; and is this, after all, the way God knows us,— by peering at us through a telescope?  Some are so childish as so to believe.  With touching naivete, these fools imagined God could not see them through a dense cloud, or in the dark!: "And you say, 'What does God know?  Can He judge through the deep darkness?  Thick clouds cover Him, so that He cannot see, And He walks above the circle of heaven.'" (Job 22:13-14).  And indeed this would be so if God saw us by means of imaging reflected light. Must God await clear skies and the sunrise to find out what's going on?

"And though it is with free deliberate judgment that they have imbibed the mischief, yet they dare to handle the holy thing, and think that the eye of God sees nothing but the outer world through the co-operation of the sun. They do not know that He surveys the unseen even before the seen, for He Himself is His own light. For the eye of the Absolutely Existent needs no other light to effect perception. . ." (Philo Judaeus, On the Cherubim, Chapter XXVIII, p. 67 Loeb edition)

Are these scoffers prudent to make creaturely 'seeing' the archetype for God's perception, leaving a helpless God blinded by low-light conditions? A moment's reflection on the Bible will banish this idea:

"You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off." (Psalm 139:2).
"For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him." (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Nor is God's apprehension of us mediated through verbal abstraction or vague symbolism; He knows us intimately, immediately, personally:

"But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." (Matthew 10:30);

So of these two suggested modalities of sight: collecting light rays reflected off material objects and conceptual abstraction,— neither is adequate to God's sight even as a first approximation.  Yet this is how we will know God in the life to come: just as He knows us.

Here in this life we walk by faith, not by sight:

"Jesus said to him, 'Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'" (John 20:29);
"...that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes...may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love.  Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:7-9).

In this life, all the important things are hid from our sight: "For our light affliction...is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).  Only a few visionaries have seen beyond the veil; our earthly sight hides, it does not reveal.  In the life to come, faith will be lost in sight, and we will see God as He is — as Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

The worldly philosophy of materialism assumes that only material things are real, and only material things can be seen.  But the Bible does not respect this human philosophy, because the Bible promises that we will see God, "then face to face."  God is Spirit: "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24).  He is illimitable, infinite, and unbounded:

"But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You.  How much less this temple which I have built!" (1 Kings 8:27);
"Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than heaven - what can you do? Deeper than Sheol — what can you know?" (Job 11:7-8).

Christian tradition understands God as infinite and incorporeal. Dissenters remain to this day, principally among the followers of Joseph Smith: ". . .since man is the inheritor of the physical form and, to some extent, the attributes and characteristics of Deity, it follows that Deity has the same form and the fulness of the attributes enjoyed by men. . ." (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 39). Elijah Muhammad of the Nation of Islam derided the traditional conception as 'the spook god of the Christians', but it's altogether Biblical, as shown in the footnotes to the Westminster Confession:


  • “There is but one only, (a) living, and true God:(b) who is infinite in being and perfection,(c) a most pure spirit,(d) invisible,(e) without body, parts,(f) or passions,(g) immutable,(h) immense,(i) eternal,(k) incomprehensible,(l) almighty,(m) most wise,(n) most holy,(o) most free,(p) most absolute,(q) working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will...”

  • (a) Deut. 6:4; I Cor. 8:4, 6.
    (b) I Thess. 1:9; Jer. 10:10.
    (c) Job 11:7, 8, 9; Job 26:14.
    (d) John 4:24.
    (e) I Tim. 1:17.
    (f) Deut. 4:15, 16; John 4:24, with Luke 24:39.
    (g) Acts 14:11, 15.
    (h) James 1:17; Mal. 3:6.
    (i) I Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23, 24.
    (k) Ps. 90:2; I Tim. 1:17.
    (l) Ps. 145:3.
    (m) Gen. 17:1; Rev. 4:8.
    (n) Rom. 16:27.
    (o) Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8.
    (p) Ps. 115:3.
    (q) Exod. 3:14."


  • (Westminster Confession)

Yet it's promised that we will see Him "face to face", we will know as we are known.  Without a doubt, God sees us: "Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, 'Have I also here seen Him who sees me?'" (Genesis 16:13).  Recall, He does not see by gathering light rays reflected by solid objects; if He did, darkness would veil His vision as it does our own, and opaque objects would block His line of sight.  One could, in short, hide from God.  But this cannot be: "'Am I a God near at hand,' says the LORD, 'And not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him?' saith the LORD. 'Do not I fill heaven and earth?' saith the LORD." (Jeremiah 23:23-24).

The wicked foolishly thought that God saw by means of earthly light, enduring all the indignities and imperfections of that mode of sight.  But darkness is no obstacle to His sight: "If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall fall on me,' even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You." (Psalm 139:11-12).  And it's this mode of sight: seeing as we are seen, knowing as we are known — which we will enjoy in the life to come. We will know Him as He is, which is how John can promise we will know Him as triune.

This promised vision of God is called the beatific vision.  It is of such beauty and power that looking upon God will conform us to His likeness: "we will be like him".  John doesn't say 'we will be like the physical body of Jesus of Nazareth', which is all that could be seen if the materialists are right.  Rather, he and Paul say that we will see God, as He is, and know Him just as we are known.  We will know Him as triune, because that is His nature, which is why John offered this vision as entry-way to eternity: Revelation 22:1.  The Bible categorizes this way of encountering God as 'sight' because sight presents its objects immediate, not built up piecemeal like 'touch'; the object gazed upon stands complete, directly before us.

But this beatific vision is not subject to the limitations of earthly sight.  In this life we only see the skin of things, we do not know as we are known.  If we saw God by means of physical light, one standing to His left would see something different from one standing to His right; neither would see Him "as he is".  God Himself will not only be the object of the beatific vision, but also its medium and vehicle: "The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it.  The Lamb is its light." (Revelation 21:23).

This mode of sight is not fully available to us in this life, but some have received a foretaste.  When the Bible speaks of 'seeing', it's a mistake to compress that 'sight' down to the least common denominator of materialism.  The angels are "ministering spirits": "And of the angels He says: 'Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.'" (Hebrews 1:7).  If it were credible that angels 'materialize bodies' in order to be seen, as some say, then why would they be visible to some, but not all?:

"And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, 'Alas, my master! What shall we do?' So he answered, 'Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' And Elisha prayed, and said, 'LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw.  And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." (2 Kings 6:15-17).

In speaking of 'opening his eyes', the Bible intimates there are different modes of sight.  Reducing Biblical 'sight' to the materialists' sole mode of collecting light rays reflected from material objects inverts the natural order of things; in fact, it's the materialists' 'sight' which is a pale imitation of the real thing, not the other way around.  Gehazi was not experiencing a hallucination, seeing things that weren't there; he was seeing what was there.  Our everyday, quotidian way of seeing, by gathering reflected light, hides more than it reveals.  Nor did God work a Wizard of Oz special-effects show by manipulating the creature to produce what Gehazi saw.  If that were how it's done, all observers would see the same thing.

But they don't.  Balaam's blameless ass saw the Angel of the LORD blocking the way, when rebellious Balaam did not: "And when the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam's anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff. Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, 'What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?'...Then the LORD opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face." (Numbers 22:27-31). Again, Balaam wasn't hallucinating what was not there, but rather had his eyes opened to what was there.

Prosopon

Is the Question Legal?

James HamptonDemanding to know what we will see when we see God raises a red flag, because trying to imagine what God 'looks like' is a way of approach to Him which He had once criminalized:

"You shall not make for yourself a carved image - any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.  For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God..." (Exodus 20:4-5)
"Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth." (Deuteronomy 4:15-18).

It's precisely to avoid the dangers posed by 'dumbing down' the beatific vision to the level of material sight that Moses criminalized the question.  The pagans made active use of their imaginations in visualizing God under a material form, ending in ruin amidst a profusion of chimeras: "...because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful...Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things." (Romans 1:21-23).

Nevertheless, God promised His children that "we shall see Him as He is."  Not only that, but His servants and friends have reported seeing Him, even in this life:

"Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank." (Exodus 24:9-11).

An apocryphal work, the Martyrdom of Isaiah, offers as part of its indictment against Isaiah, the accusation that he said he had seen God: "And Isaiah himself hath said: 'I see more than Moses the prophet.' But Moses said: 'No man can see God and live': and Isaiah hath said: 'I have seen God and behold I live.' Know, therefore, O king, that he is lying." (The Martyrdom of Isaiah, 3.8-10. R. H. Charles. The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English (Kindle Locations 9051-9055). Oxford: Clarendon Press.) Not that it is likely the apostate Manasseh needed any grounds for conviction; but Isaiah certainly did see God:

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.  Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one cried to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!'" (Isaiah 6:1-3).
Temple Vision

Granted that man cannot on this earth gaze upon God in all His glory, at full amperage so to speak, but must strain to catch of a glimpse of Him veiled, shrouded, and in part: still these occurrences are real; shame on those who deny them. They include some of the most beautiful imagery in the Bible:

"On many occasions in Old Testament history it pleased God to reveal Himself to the astonished gaze of men. With mortal eyes they beheld Him, sometimes manifested in overpowering brightness and at other times in angelic or human guise. To patriarchs, judges, priests, kings, and prophets, to men and women humble yet holy, in Israel or beyond its borders, the vision was given. It surpassed every other delight in the spiritual life. No scenes in the path of these worthies of old are more instructive than those in which God appeared to them displaying glory and grace, holiness and love, power and gentleness. Yet by this very contrast, it also showed up the need and unworthiness of the men and women to whom He deigned to reveal Himself." (H. C. Hewlett, The Glories of Our Lord, p. 19).

God's children believe every word He spoke, including the promise we will see Him as He is.  Among the visions of God granted to saints and visionaries are several lethal to the 'Oneness' postulate that Jesus Christ is the Father, such as:

"But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, 'Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!'" (Acts 7:55-56)

and

"Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne... And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne." (Revelation 4:1-5:7)

At this, the 'Oneness' Pentecostals do a 180 degree U-turn away from their demand to know what we will see when we see God...and begin ridiculing with raucous mockery the very notion of seeing God!  It's true enough that if these visions of God are true to life, the jig is up for 'Oneness' Pentecostalism.  But if the 'Oneness' Pentecostals rip out all the Bible theophanies, they'll be left with gaping rents and tears in their Bibles.  They assume that only if God had a physical body could He make Himself seen, and then only if one of His votaries is thoughtful enough to shine a flashlight upon Him.  While the living God dwells in unapproachable light: "...which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power.  Amen." (1 Timothy 6:15-16),— the small 'god' of the new religions can only make himself seen under the same disabilities we ourselves labor under: he must have a material body, and some helpful attendant must shine a flashlight upon him.

Confronted by Stephen's dying vision, the 'Oneness' Pentecostals present us with the following false dichotomy: either visions like Stephen's represent material bodies seen with earthly eyes by means of reflected light rays, or else Stephen and other visionaries saw nothing at all, but only felt moved to deliver themselves of vague verbal platitudes.  But plainly Stephen saw something, and says as much; nor is there anything Biblically impossible in this.  The Bible's category of 'sight' is more comprehensive than our primitive and creaturely gathering of light rays, ranging from the beatific vision at the high end to our darkly groveling in the muck at the lower end.  Our God is the God who sees: "You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees" (Genesis 16:13),— and we shall see as we are seen, sharing in His marvellous sight.

God specifically promised to reveal Himself to mankind in this manner: "Then He said, 'Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream.  Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house.  I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD.  Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?'" (Numbers 12:6-8).  There's an even more astonishing set of Old Testament theophanies, involving the 'angel of the LORD', where wide-awake prophets and patriarchs saw, and even wrestled with, God.

Just before his death as a martyr to the cause of Christ, Stephen was granted the "vision" that God promised in Numbers 12:6.  As with Gehazi before his eyes were "opened", the mob gathered about Stephen did not see what he saw.  He, like Daniel and John, was granted that rarest of visions, showing the interaction, the internal trialogue, within God.

Visitation at Mamre

James Hampton: Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millenium General Assembly

Artists and Iconoclasts

The speed with which the 'Oneness' Pentecostals shift from doing theology by inventorying the furniture: 'One Throne in Heaven,'— to outright denial of any possibility of seeing God induces vertigo. Let's slow down and back up. It appears they feel the question 'What will we see?' will 'work' for them for the same reason painting icons of Jesus 'worked' for the opponents of the iconoclasts: such pictures can be true snapshots of God. Oddly enough, however, some 'Oneness' Pentecostals rid themselves of the physical human body of Jesus of Nazareth immediately upon the ascension. David Bernard gives 'the Son' a reprieve, allowing Him to cling to life up until the close of the millenium (see the 'Ending of the Sonship').  Bizarrely, he allows only the body to survive, not its tenant, 'the Son.'  Inverting the old jingle, 'John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave, but his soul goes marching on', he allows Jesus' soul-less, uninhabited body to continue as a "temple" of God.  Is an untenanted zombie what we will see when we see God "face to face"? To ask is to answer, no.

What will we see? Recall that Moses criminalized making any similitude of the living God.  Using our imagination, our fantasy, to picture what God 'looks like' shrinks God down to our size, darkening our understanding and drawing us away from seeing the living God.  God's children can rest in His promise that we will see Him as He is.  Our 'seeing' then will not be the primitive affair our 'seeing' now is.  As our 'seeing' now is, the most real things are invisible!

What does God look like? The embarrassment presented to the artistic profession by an invisible God is profound indeed: "By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:27).  If one were to try to take a snapshot of God, where would one need to point the camera? Where to focus our telescope? God is omnipresent!: "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me." (Psalm 139:7-10).

The eighth century saw a bitter conflict between the 'iconoclasts,' who smashed whatever images fell into their path under conviction that the second commandment criminalized all representational imagery, and the 'iconodules,' who, frankly and astonishingly, sought liberty to worship the images. Though there is evidently quite a patch of daylight between these two extreme views, the bitterness of the dispute squeezed out the rational middle ground. Christian art proceeded under rigid constraint. Artists sought shelter from rioting mobs of iconoclasts in images sanctified by the Bible itself, like the dove, in which the Holy Spirit appeared at the time of Jesus' baptism, and the flame, the tongues of fire at Pentecost.  The Son can be pictured, in true snapshot format, as Jesus of Nazareth: "Of old, God the incorporeal and uncircumscribed was never depicted. Now, however, when God is seen clothed in flesh, and conversing with men, I make an image of the God whom I see." (John of Damascus, On Holy Images).

Where does the line run between what is lawful and the dark side?

The Second Commandment

Images of God the Father were long avoided. A startling, but not altogether original, image was assayed by Michelangelo in his decoration of the Sistine ceiling. On first sight even a learned bishop could not quite place Michelangelo's "old man. . .flying through the air:"

"The sheer iconic status of this image of God, five centuries later, tends to blind modern viewers to its novelty. In the 1520s Paolo Giovio noted among the figures in the [Sistine] fresco 'one of an old man, in the middle of the ceiling, who is represented in the act of flying through the air'. . .The now familiar image of an old man with a beard and long robes did not actually start to develop until the fourteenth century. . .But the portrayal was still enough of a rarity early in the sixteenth century that no less an authority than Bishop Giovio — a cultivated historian who later opened a museum of famous men in his villa near Lake Como - failed to identify the 'old man' flying through the air." (Michelangelo & the Pope's Ceiling, Ross King, pp. 243-244)

This once radical image of the 'Old Man in the Sky,' now a nursery-school favorite, has a Biblical pedigree to an extent: "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him." (Daniel 7:13).  The Ancient of days speaks to God's eternity: "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God." (Psalm 90:2). Michelangelo's half-naked athlete, though, does not come so much from exertion making the Ancient of days drop His "white" garment (Daniel 7:9), as from pagan prototypes: "There is, of course, no biblical authority whatsoever for this grandfatherly image. It was inspired instead by the many antique statues and reliefs of Jupiter and Zeus that could be seen in Rome." (Michelangelo & the Pope's Ceiling, Ross King, p. 244). What Michelangelo's imagery seeks to communicate is open to interpretation; at least one observer, William Blake, saw gnosticism in the artist's juxtaposition of Moses' brazen serpent with the serpent in the Garden. Most observers, however, will the image into orthodoxy.

Since the incarnation God has been seen with perfect clarity in the face of Jesus Christ: "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6).  But long before the incarnation, God was revealing Himself to prophet and patriarch, to teach and instruct.  Ezekiel saw a light show, with wheeled chariot-throne and attendant cherubim: "As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel." (Ezekiel 10:13).  Is one of these revelations to be set against the others, making the Bible war against itself? No Bible-believer will set one Bible teaching against another, or try to use God's self-revelation to undo basic Bible truth about His nature.

When God revealed Himself to Ezekiel beside the River Chebar, He was not absent from the Mississippi River, the Ganges or the Nile.  Bible-believers are careful not to misuse God's condescension to our necessity of being somewhere or another to circumscribe Him as to time and place, taking away His omnipresence and incorporeality:

"What does Isaiah say? 'And it came to pass in the year in which King Ozziah died that I saw the Lord sitting on a high and lofty throne, and the Seraphim stood round about him. Each one had six wings; with two they covered their faces and with two they covered their feet.'
"Why, tell me, do they stretch forth their wings and cover their faces? For what other reason than that they cannot endure the sparkling flashes nor the lightning which shines from the throne? Yet they did not see the pure light itself nor the pure essence itself. What they saw was a condescension accommodated to their nature. What is this condescension? God condescends whenever he is not seen as he is, but in the way one incapable of beholding him is able to look upon him. In this way God reveals himself by accommodating what he reveals to the weakness of vision of those who behold him." (John Chrysostom, The Fathers of the Church, On the Incomprehensible Nature of God, Homily III, Section 15 pp. 101-102).

Yet God-breathed visions are wholly true, exact and comprehensive, and the saints can confidently rely on God's self-revelation, pushing aside the eager rewrites profferred by the new religious movements. The information thus obtained includes the relation, and implicit therein a distinction, between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

What Will We See?

James Hampton Does God have a throne? Heaven itself is spoken of as His throne:

"And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon." (Matthew 23:22).
"Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." (Isaiah 66:1-2, quoted by Stephen in Acts 7:48-50).
"But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King." (Matthew 5:34-35).

Will we see Him on His throne? Yes, we will find sanctuary in His throne: "A glorious high throne from the beginning Is the place of our sanctuary." (Jeremiah 17:12).  We will join Him there: "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (Revelation 3:21).  A prodigious throne it must be, like Solomon's!: "He [Solomon] also made himself a throne of prodigious bigness, of ivory, constructed as a seat of justice, and having six steps to it; on every one of which stood, on each end of the step, two lions, two other lions standing above also..." (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book VII, Chapter V. 2.)  In this life we see through a glass, darkly, but in times to come we know that we will see God, clearly and distinctly, and we will live in His company, and "we shall see Him as He is".  This is the beatific vision, conforming those who see to become like what is seen.

The beatific vision is conformed to God's way of seeing, which becomes our own. Recall, the sight of the God who sees is not a metaphor for our own way of seeing, as if our maimed and inadequate sight were the real thing, with God forced to settle for the cheap imitation. Rather, our imperfect sight will be swallowed up in His own. Our sight now sees nothing of magnitude, nothing of consequence, and, readily conquered by the darkness, is forced to admit defeat when the batteries fail. But then our sight will be raised up to become like His. Then we shall see Him as He is; we shall see Him as Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

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