What is a Theophanie?

What is a "Theophanie"?

By Rev. Jack Barr
A Theophanie is a Pre-Incarnate (Old Testament) appearance of God the Son in angelic or human form. That is, God the Son , the second person of the Holy Trinity (Jesus), appeared to men in a form that they could see. He also appeared by Manifested Glory (Exek. 1) and in a manner not described (Gen. 17.1) These appearances are most times shown by the terms "the Lord" (Gen. 12:7; 18:1-2, 17, 22, 33; ), "Angel of the Lord" (Gen 16:7-13; Jud. 2:1); "Angel of God" (Gen 21:17); Angel of His Presence" (Isa. 63:9); and probably "Messenger of the covenant" (Mal.3:1).

He is clearly identified with the Lord Himself in His self-manifestation to men. Let us look at a few of the scriptures that prove this.

In Gen 18: 1-16, one of the three angels clearly and definitely identifies himself with Jehovah. Compare chapter 19 where it is seen that only two of the angels have come to Sodom; the other has remained behind.

Gen. 18:22 tells who this angel is.

"And the men turned their faces from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham stood yet before the Lord"

In Gen. 22:11-12 we find the "Angel of the Lord" says " seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thy only son from me."

In Gen. 31:11-13 the angel said to Jacob, "I am the God of Bethel,"

In Ex. 3:2-6 the same angel said to Moses, "I am the God of thyfather, the God of Abraham".

Let us look at some additional scriptures.

Numbers 22:32 Here the Angel of the Lord identifies actions as being sickening to Himself.
32 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because [thy] way is perverse before me:

Judges 2:1 The Angel of the Lord identifies the covenant with Israel as being made with Him.
1. And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

Judges 6:18 Here we see that the Angel of the Lord is accepting worship. Several places in the Word of God we are shown that regular angels always refuse worship by man and command men to worship God only.

18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set [it] before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.
19 And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought [it] out unto him under the oak, and presented [it].
20 And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay [them] upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.
21 Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that [was] in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.
22 And when Gideon perceived that he [was] an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.
23 And the LORD said unto him, Peace [be] unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.

Judges 13:17 The Angel of the Lord declares that His name is secret. This same Hebrew word is translated as "Wonderful" in Psalms 139:6, and we see that the one of the names of Jesus is "Wonderful". (Isa. 9:6).

17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What [is] thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?
18 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it [is] secret?

Judges 13:20 The Angel of the Lord now accepts an offering of worship in 13:19 then in the flame of the offering.

20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on [it], and fell on their faces to the ground.

Psalms 34:7 The Angel of the Lord protects and has the power to deliver.
7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

Zechariah 3:1 The Angel of the lord has the power to take our iniquitys (sins) away from us. Cleansing us. An act that only God can do.

1. And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: [is] not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.
4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.

It is clear from this sampling that the term "Angel of the Lord" in the Old testament, denotes deity. The term "the" angel of the Lord, and "an" angel of the Lord , seems to be used interchangeably. Compare Jud. 6:21 and Jud. 6:22; Jud, 2:1 with Jud. 2:4.

This is only a sampling of the many times Jesus appeared to men in forms that they could see, before the Incarnation, that is, before the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, when God the Son came down and became man also. As you read your Bible, you will see many other like these. May you now understand them just a little better now.

God Bless All of You! Rev. Jack Barr

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