The theophany is a central focus in the Old Testament. Theophany is a Greek term, meaning “Appearance of God”. Because God is transcendent and above all things spiritually, He needed to reveal Himself to His creation physically in various ways. God would appear before men of His choosing in order to bless them and have His will be done on Earth.
A major theophany takes place with Abram in the book of Genesis. At this time, he is successful but has no children. The Lord told him, “’Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed, you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ (Genesis 15:5).” Abram wanted assurance that his descendants would take possession of the land, so God instructed him to bring certain animals and cut them in halves opposite each other. When the darkness loomed over the earth, God revealed Himself in flames of glory. “A smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed through the pieces (Genesis 15:17).”
Abram was still without a son and decided to produce a child with his wife’s maidservant, Hagar. While he felt that this would satisfy God, he later realized that he was wrong, as their son Ishmael would become the father of the Arabs. The angel of the Lord was correct in ascertaining that the nation of Ishmael would produce great quarrels; centuries later, a prophet would come and devise a revolting religion designed to undermine God’s will on earth (salvation through the Son), while achieving the schemes of his political agenda.
We saw proof that this is not what God wanted, so He established a covenant with Abram. Not only did He change his name to “Abraham” but also assured him that his descendents would be numer...
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...m and bless him, for it’s through this man that the Son of Man would become the Lamb of God. The Lord appeared to Moses to use him to achieve a great goal: breaking the chains of slavery and entering the Promised Land, also a symbolic revelation of the Son breaking the chains of sin and offering eternal life in the Promised Land. Elijah was the great instrument of God who showed the Baals the power and might of God. Because Israel and Judah were being disobedient, He commissioned prophets to warn these kingdoms to change their ways or face punishment. Each and every theophany was unique and served the purpose of fulfilling the Lord’s will on Earth through people God has chosen and blessed.
McKay, John. A History of Western Society. 7th ed. Massachusetts: Houghton Miflin, 2003.
NIV Study Bible. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.
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