He Must and Shall Appear
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 numerous, vast land would be theirs, and God would be with them. Therefore, it was time for God to reveal His true plan through Abraham by supplying him with a child with his own wife. Once the Lord told them they would have a child together named “Isaac”, Sarah laughed in jest. In Genesis 18, we see another theophany. Abraham and Sarah encounter The Three Visitors, who may have possibly been an incarnation of the Trinity. Sarah was reminded that she laughed at God, and so the name “Isaac” fittingly means “he laughs.”
It was through Abraham’s younger son Isaac that God was going to display His will and even a revelation. It has been well documented that Abraham was obedient and righteous, and the time came for Abraham to endure a near-impossible test – the sacrifice of his own begotten son. While it’s safe to say that Abraham was torn from within to do this to his own flesh and blood, the angel of the Lord stopped him at just the right time. Another theophany was accounted for, as God called onto him from Heaven and instructed him to cease the sacrifice of his innocent son. Not only did Abraham pass the test, he named the mountain “The Lord Will Provide”. This would serve a great deal of truth, as this was a...