11. You have neither heard His voice nor seen His form

Jesus said that He was the speaker for the invisible God

In John 8, when the Jews said to Jesus, “Who are you?” (John 8:25) Jesus replied, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning.”

He referred to the first conversation He had with the Jews regarding His relationship with God, in John Chapter 5.

In John 5:19, Jesus told the Jews that He was the image of the invisible God: “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”

Then in verse 37, referring to the Father, Jesus said, “You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor (have you) seen His form.” By this He meant that the prophets did not actually hear God’s voice, but His own, and the prophets did not see God, they saw Christ.

“You have neither heard His voice at any time . . . ”

Here, we want to look at several more verses that show Christ spoke for God in the Old Testament. Though Christ speaks on behalf of God, perhaps more than 90% of the time, there are cases when He clearly is speaking on behalf of Himself, for example, Exodus 6:3 and Zechariah 12:10.

Christ spoke for the invisible God, so the verbs, adjectives, and pronouns are usually singular, except in the first three verses:

Genesis 1:26

Let Us make man in Our image.”

Here, Christ as the only begotten God, spoke as the invisible God, announcing the plan of God to make man in His image. However, Christ Himself is the image of the invisible God, the image in which man will be created. So He must use the phrase “Us,” since He is speaking on behalf of the invisible God, and referring to Himself.

In the next verse (verse 27), we see that the only begotten God, made man in His image. “So God created man in His image.”

The first part of verse 27 refers to the physical image of ELOHIM (Christ): “So ELOHIM (Christ) created man in His image.”

The second part of verse 27 refers to the spiritual image of God: “in the image of God, He created them, both male and female.” James tells us that man was made in the similitude of God, the invisible God. We can also read this in Genesis 5:1: “ELOHIM created man . . . in the likeness of God.”

In Genesis 2 and 3, we learn that Yihvah ELOHIM was in every way in human image. A theme of Genesis 1 is that every creature bore offspring after its own kind.

The invisible God has no image, other than Christ, and therefore the true meaning of the statement “Let Us make man in Our image” is God’s plan to make man in His spiritual image. God chose us before the foundation of the world, “to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:4).

Genesis 3:22

“Behold, the man has become like one of Us,
to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand
and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.”

The spiritual purpose of God is taken one step further. Man has now become like God, and like Christ, “knowing good, and evil.” So God uses the expression “Us.”

God will put man out of the garden lest he “eat of the tree of life” described in Revelation 22:2 and “live forever.”

God continued the message of His spiritual plan that He will accomplish through Christ.

Genesis 11:6-7

“Indeed the people are one and they all have one language,
and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose
to do will be withheld from them. Come let Us to go down
and there confuse their language,
that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

Christ, speaking as the invisible God, must use the phrase “Us” because it is Christ Himself, as the Image of God, who must go down to the earth. This we read in the next verse, “So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the earth.”

This is also of great significance in God’s plan of salvation. So here we see another “Us” statement. By breaking people into language groups, God separated out the Israelites, to bring about His salvation plan. “The Nations” is a significant theme expressed in the Great Commission of Christ and in the Book of Revelation.

Psalms 110:1

Yihvah said unto my Lord,
“Sit thou at my right hand,
until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

In this verse, Yihvah is the Father who speaks to Christ.

This may be the most famous of our verses, because Christ Himself quoted it to the Pharisees. He told us that “in spirit” David referred to Him as his Lord.

Jesus asked, “How then does David in spirit call Him ‘Lord?’” (Matthew 22:43).

The Lord Jesus Christ was actually the Lord whom David communicated with on a daily basis. The one who talked to him, on behalf of the invisible God.

Zechariah 13:7

“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My Companion,”
Says Yihvah of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered.”

We know the Shepherd is Christ, for Jesus quotes this verse (Matthew 26:31), but is the Spirit of Christ speaking against Himself? Except for a few occasions, He always spoke “as the invisible God.”

Malachi 1:6

“A son honors his father,
And a servant his master,
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honor . . .”
says Yihvah of hosts.

Here, Yihvah of hosts is obviously speaking “as the invisible God,” as the Father.

God, through Christ, in the last Book of the Old Testament, speaks of Himself as the Father in preparation for the gospel message of Christ and the Father.

Psalms 45:6-7

Your throne, O ELOHIM, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
Therefore ELOHIM, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

Here, the invisible God speaks to “the only Begotten God.” This verse was quoted in Hebrews 1:9.

Within the context of the day, as written to the King, it shows that the term ELOHIM was not just used for God. Therefore, Jesus was correct in saying, “does it not say in your law, ‘I said you are gods’” (John 10:34).

“Nor have you seen His form”

There are several truths in the statement “nor have you seen His form” (John 5:37) that are worth reflecting on, for they are thematic throughout the Bible.

Men have not seen the form of the Father

John told us, “No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12).

Through the Bible, the Father is represented as glory, and rarely is any image of God seen.

The Apostle Paul said, “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”

But the Pure in Heart can see God

Only the pure in heart can see God, through spiritual eyes.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”(Matthew 5:8).

And again, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God” (John 6:46).

Moses could see God, even though God said to him, “no one can see My face and live” (Exodus 33:20).

“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 Yihvah.”

Number 12:7–8

For the pure in heart, God is everywhere. He is “in all and through all and in you all.” His invisible attributes are clearly seen through the beauty and wonder of His creation (Romans 1:20).

Christ is the visible appearance of God in the Bible

God often appears as glory next to the image of Christ, in both the Old and New Testaments.

Jesus Christ has been the image of the invisible God since the beginning. He was the speaker of God’s words, and the image of God who appeared to Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob and Moses.

Through Christ, God has revealed Himself with a human image: walking in the garden with Adam (Genesis 3:8), appearing as a man to Abram (Genesis 18:1), showing Moses His back (Exodus 33:23), and sitting before the 70 elders (Exodus 24:9–11).

God has been reluctant to identify Himself with any image. Normally, God’s image in Christ has taken the form of fire, or smoke, or a cloud; a form that could not be replicated and made into a graven image. God strictly forbid the making of idols in the Ten Commandments to prevent men from representing Him with graven images.

God is love, and the image of Christ on the cross is His true image.

For this reason, Paul said only, “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). To know Christ on the cross, is to know God.

The appearance of God with Christ in Daniel and Revelation

Some might challenge the idea that Christ is God’s image, because Christ appeared beside God, in the Books of Daniel and Revelation. The first of these famous scenes is in Daniel 7:13, where the Son of Man is seen coming toward the Ancient of Days. The other famous scene is in Revelation 5, where the Son of Man takes the scroll out of the right hand of God who sits on the throne. The appearance of God on the throne in the Book of Revelation was very similar to the appearance of God on the throne in the Book of Ezekiel, where God was also surrounded by four living creatures, and His voice was “as the sound of many waters.”

If Christ is the image of the invisible God, how can Christ and God appear together?

We must understand that the Spirit of Christ was only “manifest in the flesh” in Jesus Christ. The Trinity doctrine said that the Spirit of Christ “became” the man Christ Jesus when Christ was born. This comes from the ideas of pagan religion.

The Spirit of Christ was “manifest” in the man Christ Jesus, in the same way that the Spirit was manifest as an Angel or Messenger. The Spirit did not “become” an Angel in the Old Testament, but only appeared as an Angel. Likewise, the Spirit of Christ did not become the man Jesus Christ, He was only “found in appearance as a man” (Philippians 2:8). Christ was fully “a man” and fully “the Spirit of Christ.” Paul called this a “great mystery—Who was manifest in the flesh” (1Timothy 3:16). We will discuss this more in Chapter 19.

The Spirit of Christ appeared as both the image of the invisible God and the man Christ Jesus in Daniel and Revelation. This is proved in Revelation 1:13–14 and 10:1. In Revelation 1:14, the Spirit of Christ appears as both the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man. In Revelation 10:1, the Spirit of Christ as an Angel appears with “the rainbow over His head,” to prove that He was the appearance of God in Revelation 4 and 5.

If the Spirit of Christ was trapped in the body of the man Jesus Christ, how could Christ say, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them?” (Matthew 18:20).

Jesus proved that His Spirit did not only exist in His own body, when He breathed His Spirit into His disciples, saying, “receive the Holy Spirit, he whose sins you forgive are forgiven” (John 20:22).

Daniel, Ezekiel, and John emphasized that they had only seen a vision of God. The Bible emphasizes that God has no real physical body. He is Spirit. The appearances of God in the Bible are only to help us understand the spiritual relationships of the unseen world.

God was definitely seen only as “an image” by Ezekiel and John. Ezekiel said He was “like a man,” and described God as only a “vision” of color and fire. Ezekiel described God as “the appearance of fire all around and within it . . . the appearance of fire with brightness all around” (Ezekiel 1:27). Irenaeus, in 180, in Against Heresies (Book 4:20, 10) emphasized that Ezekiel used the word “likeness” several times, to prove that Ezekiel did not actually “see God,” but only the “likeness” of a throne and “a man.” Both John and Ezekiel used the words “appearance” and “vision” to emphasize that even the color was a vision. John used the Greek word ὁράσει to describe the appearance of the color of God in Revelation. A better translation of Revelation 4:3 would actually be, “And the One sitting like a vision of sardius and jasper stone.”

When we fully understand Jesus’ statement, “You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form” (John 5:37), we will understand that the invisible God never communicates directly with His creation, but only through a Spirit. Even the voice that was heard from heaven when Jesus was baptized, was by way of a Spirit, was also the Spirit of Christ. “No one knows the Father, except the Son” (Matthew 11:27). A good proof of this is in Revelation 10:11, where Christ as the Angel, and the voice of God are heard simultaneously speaking together.

The message of the Bible is that no one has ever seen God or heard His voice.