Tom: We’re continuing with the Gospel of John. We are in chapter 12, and we are at verse 41. “These things said Isaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:” That was the problem that Nicodemus had, wasn’t it?
Dave: Well, I guess Nicodemus was fearful of that—that’s why he came to Jesus at night to begin with, but he “came out of the closet,” and begged the body of Jesus along with Joseph of Arimathea. That’s an interesting verse, Tom. “These things said Isaias, or Isaiah, when he saw his glory and spake of him,” and it has just been quoting from Isaiah, chapter 6, and Isaiah, chapter 6, begins, “In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord, high and lifted up…and his train filled the temple, and the seraphim….” You know, it goes on and describes the throne of God. So he is saying Jesus is God. That Isaiah, in seeing the glory of God on His throne, is talking about Jesus, which is another interesting declaration of the deity of Christ.
Tom: Now Dave, I’m going to go a little aside here because we’ve been talking about tough questions and so on, and I don’t remember if this was a child in Sunday school class or whatever, but he wanted to know if we will ever see God—if we will ever see God the Father. You know, there are verses, like Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God. Will we ever see? It says no man has yet seen God and liveth.
Dave: Well, it says, “No man hath seen nor can see…He dwells in a light that no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen nor can see.” I would take it that we will never see the Father, but Jesus said, “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.” On the other hand, you go back into Exodus, chapter 32, or thereabouts, where it says, “They saw God,” and it describes Him: “under his feet was like a jasper stone and so forth,” or Moses, in chapter 33:18, cries out, “Show me your glory.” God says, “You can’t see my face and live but I will let you see my backward parts.” I don’t know what that means. So, Tom, it is beyond my comprehension.
And then we read in 2 Corinthians, chapter 4, “The God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Now, when it says God talked to Moses face to face as a man talks with his friend when he went into the tabernacle, I don’t think that means that Moses saw His face, obviously, because God said, “You can’t see my face and live.”
So, Tom, it’s beyond my comprehension. I don’t even know what a spirit is. God is a Spirit, and on the other hand, spirits can manifest themselves, and God manifests His glory, His power—but Jesus is the manifestation of God. “Great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifest in the flesh, seen of angels,” and so forth, “believed on in the world, received up into glory….”
Tom: Dave, what about the vision of Jesus that John saw on the Isle of Patmos? This seems to be a different Jesus. Is this more figurative language? Certainly, “a sword would come from His mouth”—I know a lot of it is figurative, but it just seems to be a different image of Jesus than we are used to, or seem to be—maybe even most of it is in our imagination, what He looked like. Well, we know He was a physical man—He walked the earth, and so on.
Dave: Of course. He did not look like John saw Him. He veiled His glory, and He laid aside His glory, the scripture says. And then in John 17, He says, “Father, glorify thou me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” John is trying to describe what he sees. I mean, “a sharp two-edged sword going out of His mouth.” I mean, this is…the words He speaks are so cutting, they are so powerful, His eyes like a flame of fire! Obviously, flames of fire are not coming out, but John can’t describe it in any other way, and it is so frightening John falls at His feet as dead.
So, the glory—even though Jesus—are we seeing the Father? “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Well, you didn’t see that when He was on this earth, but now are you having, through Jesus the Man a visible revelation of the Father? And yet you are not seeing the Father himself, the Spirit, but you are seeing Him in Jesus.
Tom, I don’t know, it is beyond my comprehension. But one day, the scripture says—John tells us, 1 John, chapter 3: “When we see him, we will be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” That is seeing Jesus as He truly is. In other words, no one has really seen Him as He really is up to this point. “Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face…. We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
It’s beyond our comprehension and, of course, “see”? What do you mean by “see”? With physical eyes? The writer of the Hebrew says, “Now we see Jesus….” By faith we see Him. We don’t see Him with our physical eyes. And you say, “What kind of language is that?” Well, can’t you see? You know, we say that—you tell someone something, and then you say, “Don’t you see?” We don’t mean, “Don’t you physically see?”
Tom: We even hear it, “Don’t you see what I am saying?”
Dave: Right, yeah, “Can’t you see what I am saying?” So, Tom, I don’t know, but one day we will see Him as He is. The veil will be removed, and it is going to be fantastic. Well, we will have to have new bodies—we couldn’t stand it, His glory.
Tom: Well, I’m ready!
Dave: Well, Tom, it couldn’t happen too fast, too soon, for me.
Tom: Yeah, but back to this verse, verse 43: “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” So, yes, if they were believers, closet believers, and so on, it wasn’t just a matter of fear—it’s a little more than that.
Dave: Tom, I’m afraid the same thing is true today. Paul warned Timothy the time would come when they would heap to themselves teachers having itching ears that would turn them from the truth to myths. We have pastors, we have evangelists, and I must be very careful that I don’t fall for the same thing, although on the one hand, you would say, Who could be idiot enough to prefer the praise of men over the praise of God? Remember, way back in John 5, Jesus said, “How can you be men of faith, you who receive honor from men and seek not the honor that comes from God alone?” If we don’t seek the honor that comes from God alone, but we want it to be mixed with the praise of men, we’re going to miss the honor that comes from God. You cannot serve God and man, but there are many pastors and Christian leaders, sadly, who are more interested in being praised by men—more interested in popularity than they are in having God’s approval, and they are afraid of the disapproval of men, and therefore, they compromise with what they know is the truth. That is a great tragedy, and it’s—Tom, it doesn’t make sense to love the praise of men, which is temporary—they can curse you tomorrow after blessing you today—their opinions change. That’s temporary! And to trade that for the eternal praise of God? It’s like bartering eternity for some pleasure in this world, and Jesus said it, “What kind of bargain is this, if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?”
Tom: Dave, doesn’t it have to do with somebody’s relationship? If I’m growing in a relationship with someone, and day after day I get to know them better, love them more, then I’d live for their praise, for to please them in ways that I can. But if that grows cold, or I move away from that, then I am interested in others.
Dave: Imagine being more interested in pleasing your friends than your wife. That doesn’t make sense, but sadly, some people get to that. Jesus cried and said, “He that believeth on me, believeth not on me but on him that sent me, and he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” Tom, I think we’re going to have to defer that until next week.
Tom: Well, we have about a minute left, thirty seconds.
Dave: Can you handle that verse in thirty seconds? Well, it’s quite simple. You believe on Jesus, you believe on the Father: “He that hears my word and believeth on him that sent me, has everlasting life.” It’s a package—you can’t take Jesus without the Father, and “he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” When we get to know Jesus, we get to know the Father. I think we had better come back and talk about that in more depth.