Terminology Tuesday: Theophany

The definition of theophany is a visible manifestation of God found in the Old Testament. God had appeared as an angel, Genesis 16: 7-14 (NASB):

7 Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. 8 He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” 9 Then the angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.” 10 Moreover, the angel of the LORD said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.” 11 The angel of the LORD said to her further,
“Behold, you are with child,
And you will bear a son;
And you shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.
12 “He will be a wild donkey of a man,
His hand will be against everyone,
And everyone’s hand will be against him;
And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”
13 Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”; for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
Many scholars say that the above scripture has many similarities to add to a conclusion that the angel of the Lord is actually a manifestation of Jesus.

Also God had appeared in many visions and dreams; Genesis 15: 1-21, and in Isaiah 6: 1-13.

God Bless
Brian Mason

4 thoughts on “Terminology Tuesday: Theophany

  1. That’s the NASB, The New American Bible (Catholic version), has a different take on verse 13:

    Coming from a culture that had many gods and godlings, Hagar felt she was in the presence of a god, but not knowing which one, simply referred to him by a word or phrase that meant, ‘Thou seest me,’ or, ‘You see me.'”

    The New American Bible offers a slightly different translation of the verse:

    “To the Lord who spoke to her she gave a name, saying, ‘You are the God of Vision’; she meant, ‘Have I really remained alive after my vision?'”

    TNAB informs us that the statement regarding remaining alive was based on an ancient belief that anyone seeing god, died.

    One must bear in mind, of course, that this was written at least a thousand years after the alleged event allegedly occurred – who knows what, in a thousand years, they’ll be writing about things that were said today?

    I use alleged as William G. Dever, son of a fundamentalist preacher and a biblical archaeologist in Palestine for 35 years, writes in his book, What Did the Biblical Writers Know, and When Did They Know It:

    “While the Hebrew Bible in its present, heavily edited form cannot be taken at face value as history in the modern sense, it nevertheless contains much history.”

    He adds:

    “After a century of exhaustive investigation, all respectable archaeologists have given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob credible ‘historical figures.'”

    I can only assume that that would include Hagar, as well.

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