1454 theophany

1454 theophany

A temporary visible manifestation of the presence and glory of God. This may be in natural phenomena such as cloud or fire, in human form or in prophetic visionary experience.

God is manifested in nature

God’s presence in storms, thunder and lightning Ps 18:7-15; Ex 19:16 See also Ex 20:18; Job 37:5; Ps 29:3-9; Ps 77:18; Ps 97:4; Isa 30:27-33; Am 1:2; Hab 3:11; Zec 9:14; Rev 11:19

God’s presence in volcanic phenomena Ex 19:18 See also Isa 30:33

God’s presence in earthquakes Isa 29:5-6 See also Jdg 5:4-5; Ps 77:18; Hab 3:6

Specific phenomena associated with the presence of God

Fire signifies God’s presence Ex 3:2 Fire in particular represents the purity, holiness and unapproachability of God. See also Ex 13:21; Ex 19:18; Ex 24:17; Lev 9:24; Nu 14:14; Dt 4:11-12; Dt 5:4,22-26; Jdg 13:20-22; Ps 97:3; Joel 2:30

Smoke signifies God’s presence Ex 19:18 See also Ex 20:18; Ps 144:5; Isa 6:4; Isa 30:27; Joel 2:30; Rev 15:8

Cloud signifies God’s presence Ex 16:10 Cloud and smoke convey the mystery and transcendence of God. See also Ex 13:21 God speaks to Moses from the cloud: Ex 19:9; Ex 24:15-16; Ex 33:9; Ex 34:5; Dt 31:15
Lev 16:2; Nu 9:15-22; Nu 14:14; 1Ki 8:10-11; Eze 1:4; Eze 10:3-4 The transfiguration of Jesus Christ: Mt 17:5 pp Mk 9:7 pp Lk 9:34-35
Rev 14:14-16

God is manifested in human or angelic form

Ge 16:7-13 See also Ge 18:1-22; Ge 32:24-30; Jos 5:13-15

God appears in prophetic visions

God appears on a throne Isa 6:1 John interprets this verse to refer to Jesus Christ (Jn 12:41). See also Eze 1:26; Eze 10:1; Da 7:9; Rev 4:2; Rev 20:11

God appears attended by angels and other heavenly beings Isa 6:2; Eze 1:5-18; Eze 10:9-13; Rev 4:6-11

God appears like, or with, precious stones Ex 24:10; Eze 1:26; Rev 4:3

Functions and effects of theophanies

Theophanies reveal God’s glory Eze 10:4 See also Ex 16:10; Ex 24:16; Ex 40:34-35; Lev 9:23-24; Nu 14:10; 1Ki 8:11; 2Ch 7:1-3; Ps 29:3,9; Ps 97:2-6; Eze 11:22-23

Theophanies bring judgment Isa 30:27 See also Nu 12:9-10; Ps 18:13-15

Theophanies arouse the fear of God Ex 19:16; Ex 20:18-20; Isa 6:5

Theophanies commission God’s servants Isa 6:8; Eze 1:28-2:1

Theophanies authenticate God’s servants Nu 12:5-8

See also

1045God, glory of
1065God, holiness of
1310God as judge
1403God, revelation
1469visions
2595incarnation
4060nature
4140angel of the Lord
4180seraphim
4805clouds
4826fire
4851storm

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