Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Friday, January 06, 2017

No Form

When the Ten Commandments were first given, that is, before the first set of stone tablets (and certainly before the second set) was written, they were not given in pageantry. They were given in terrifying first-person reality. These events are described in Exodus 19 three months after the Israelites left Egypt. Thirty-nine years later, Moses recalled the events that surrounded the oral declaration of the Ten Commandments (Deut. 4-5); again in Hebrews 12:18-28, the events are described in contrast to something far more wonderful.

"Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice." (Deut. 4:12)

"You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully..." (Deut. 4:15)

"You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other." (Deut. 4:35)

"Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other." (Deut. 4:39)

There are two reasons that no image, no likeness, was to be made of God: 1) He isn't like any of His physical creation, so no creation could be like Him physically: "No form." 2) He isn't like any other god, because there is no other God.

God is not like anything or anyone. When He is described, it is not as a likeness. He is described in character - holy; as the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 where His clothing and hair are described gloriously; where He dwells - "Heaven is my throne" (Isa. 66:1); what He does - "the God of Heaven who made the sea and the land" (Jonah 1:9), "Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world" (Isaiah 12:5). But these were visions of glory. They were described in such a way as to establish that there is no other.

Today, we do not make physical images, but we do make mental ones: images of form, and not of glory. These mental images are by very nature less than God.

When we think of God, let us think of Jesus Christ (and not physically):

"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer." (2 Cor. 5:16)

"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." (Heb. 1:3)

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." (Col. 1:15)

"Jesus answered: 'Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father"?'" (John 14:9)

"They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. 'Sir,' they said, 'we would like to see Jesus.'...Jesus replied, 'The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.'" (John 12:21, 23)

This is how He wants to be seen: glorified.

"And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." (John 17:5)

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