Truth Seeker
  Scriptural Harmony
Because of the obvious differences and different types of approach employed by many in their approach to the interpretation of the scriptures, an important subject to be explored is how I interpret the scriptures:

Index (Links embedded below): How to Interpret the Bible?

How to Interpret:

The scriptures contain four principles that guide me in my approach to how I interpret the scriptures:
#1 is, that all scripture is inspired by God and is useful or beneficial for teaching the word of God. (2 Tim 3:16)

#2 is, that God cannot lie. (Tit 1:2)

is, that God is not a God of disorder but of order. (1 Cor 14:33)

is, that we need to distinguish between what is to be taken symbolic and what is to be taken literally. (Matt 13:10)

From the above, the four principles stated give us what may be named the Interpretation of Harmony, or Harmonious Interpretation.

Accepting that God inspired all of the Holy Bible to be one harmonious integrated set of writings prevents all seeming paradoxes by realizing that God knew what was said before, and what is said now, and that they therefore have to harmonize even though it seems that they do not.

Interpretation Dos & Don'ts:

#1 The truth, it says sanctifies; what does that mean? (John 17:17-19)

sectism should be avoided, our devotion is not to men. The teachings of sects or denominations should not be accepted without having been examined impartially in the light of what the Bible itself teaches.  This means than an exhaustive effort to gather Bible truths affecting a certain dogma should be pursued.

Galatians 5:19-21, Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, 20Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, 21Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God. (DRC)
#3 We strive to understand the undiluted, unpolluted (by sects/denominations) word of God so as to please God, not men.
Galatians 1:9,10 . . .If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema. 10For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. (DRC)
Galatians quoted stresses that we must strive to please God, not men. Unfortunately, it is my experience that those belonging to churches, as nearly all do, strive to cling, to defend tooth and nail their church teachings no matter the illogic and paradox they encounter. This cannot be pleasing God and does not lead to the truth.   Thus it is clear that clinging to teachings of men is idolatry and pollutes.  In this manner, the unadulterated truth of God sanctifies.  One is cleansed of being followers of men, of idolatry which leads to damnation.

Staying on Topic:

When people from different backgrounds discuss a Bible topic, I have found that discussing the Bible is very much like opening a can of worms. One topic cannot but have a number of side-issues. Rarely is there consensus about these, and it makes staying on topic nigh impossible. Of course, staying on topic is preferable.

When side issues pop up, they could be noted for further discussion.  At times, these, however, derail the original topic because they take priority over it.  There is no telling when this happens, and it cannot be helped.

Examples  of  Harmonious Interpretation

Stephen’s vision: 
Acts 7:55, But being full of Holy Spirit, having gazed into heaven, he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. (ACV)

Stephen specifically stated that he saw BOTH God and JesusIt cannot be argued that both of the ones Stephen saw were just one person, Jesus!

Comment: Here we see a topic emerging from the consideration of Stephen's vision. The belief that Jesus is God is here clearly counter indicated. This is also brought out in Matthew chapter four where Christ specifically quotes from the OT with Jehovah’s name, showing Jehovah to be different from himself.   Some will say,  'my  Bible says Lord!'  Yes, but the quotes came from the OT where we  read Jehovah instead of Lord.  That Jesus  would have used these quotes correctly we are assured of when he later stated that he had made known God's name to the Jews. (an example of a necessary topic change)

The above clearly reveals that Stephen saw God's glory not God himself; instead, he saw some representation of God's glory.

Ezekiel, Daniel, John

Ezekiel saw God riding his glorious heavenly chariot.

Ezekiel 1:1 . . . I saw the visions of God.. . . (DRC)

Daniel (chp 7)
had a vision of God, the Ancient of days, to whom a Son of Man was presented. 13I beheld therefore in the vision of the night, and lo, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and he came even to the Ancient of days: and they presented him before him. (DRC)
John, in Revelation, had a vision of God and the Lamb taking a scroll from God’s hand. (Chp 5)

What is a vision? Well, if 500 people are standing waiting for the president, king, or queen’s parade to pass them and they do see this spectacle – we wouldn’t say that they had a vision of this.  Rather, one could say that they witnessed it since everyone shared a common visual, real-time experience.  A dictionary has defined a vision as being mystical, as if one saw with one's eyes but in reality sees not with physical eyes.

Stephen’s experience was a vision since nobody else shared it. So, just as the prophets just mentioned, he too saw God in a vision. The Bible nowhere shows this to be prohibited; rather, it is an event that a few extremely favoured personages may experience.

The only word possibly applied to his experience is Vision.
This actually harmonizes beautifully with the principle of Harmonious Interpretation.

Jacob’s Encounter: Genesis 32 and Hosea 12

In Genesis chapter 32, Jacob saw God’s encampment of angels there. However reading further in 32 this was not what caused him to say, “I have seen God face to face.”(30) In fact, the wrestling match that he had with the ‘man’ caused it. This demonstrates several things in view of Hosea 12 & Gen 32.

First, Hosea demonstrates that the wrestling was with an angel; that this in Gen is referred to first as a ‘man’ tells us that angels when materialized are having human bodies and resemble men.
When after Jacob finished wrestling with this angel, (24) the angel asks for Jacob to let him go. Here Jacob’s intent with wrestling this heavenly messenger of God comes out. The intent demonstrated is to receive a blessing from God’s angel. (26)

The angel’s blessing pronouncement is immediately followed by Jacob’s statement of “
30And Jacob called the name of that place Peniel; for, he said, I have seen God face to face, and my life was preserved.” (AB)

From the two texts, Hosea & Genesis, it is then apparent that the seeing God face to face refers to that angelic encounter and blessing. That the encounter was angelic and not with God, Hosea settles in regard to Jacob being thus exposed to physical contact with an angel, to personal communication, to personal viewing of this heavenly angel. It was indeed to Jacob as seeing God face to face.

However, it again demonstrates that no man has seen God, no man can see God directly.
(John 1:18)

When we contemplate how the OT explained this point in a manner agreeing with the testimony of the NT, the scriptures, Genesis 35:5-9, particularly verse 7 become easy to interpret. Verse 13 shows that the event described was not a vision, but that it was a real-time event. As such, in accordance with the scriptures below where it shows that even the ten commandments Moses got on the mountain were by means of an angelic representative, we would naturally interpret chapter 35 to also be by means of such angelic representative in accordance, in harmony with the stated interdiction of directly seeing God.
 Acts 7:53, In spite of being given the Law through angels, you have not kept it.' (NJB)

Acts 7:37,38, This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, A prophet shall God raise up to you out of your brethren like me him shall ye hear . 38This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers; who received living oracles to give to us. (Darby )

Hebrews 2:2, For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; (ASV)

John 6:46

Is John 6:46 talking about Jesus?
: (YLT) John 1:14 equals the Word with the “only begotten of a father.” 3:17 shows this one to have been sent from his father. 3:31-36 shows him to come from above, from heaven, God’s son whom God sent forth. 5:19-24 demonstrates how Jesus was shown things by his father and by mimicking them being able to do similar works. The whole discussion in chapter 5 shows Christ learning from observing his father and being taught by him.

Finally, in 5:37 we again see that the Father sent Christ. In 6:33-35 Christ identifies himself as the one who came down out of heaven and as being the bread of life.

33For the bread of God is he who comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world. 34They said to him therefore, Lord, always give us this bread. 35Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. (ACV)
In John 6:45-47, the identity of “he who is from God” is thus clearly being established throughout this whole gospel as being Christ Jesus. Having also identified this as having occurred before Christ’s descent from heaven, before his being sent to earth, it is obvious that John 3:13 is being reemphasized here – BY NONE OTHER THAN JESUS HIMSELF.  It then is truly in harmony with the scriptures showing all who have seen God in the OT to have seen God’s representatives, the angels as shown on the previous page.
45. . .Every man who hears from the Father, and having learned, comes to me. 46Not that any man has seen the Father, except he who is from God. This man has seen the Father. 47Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me has eternal life. (ACV)
When Isaiah says that he has seen Jehovah,  was it a real-time event or a vision?

Quote from
Isaiah 6 where Isaiah expresses fear over having seen this holy vision:
Isaiah 6:5-7, And I said, Woe unto me! for I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts. 6And one of the seraphim flew unto me, and he had in his hand a glowing coal, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar; 7and he made it touch my mouth, and said, Behold, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin expiated.  (Darby)
Comment: Again, as stated in the Stephen’s Vision subsection, it is obvious that God’s servants are permitted to have visions of God. Such are not 'real-time events' in the sense that all present are able to readily experience the event simultaneously; rather, these visions are restricted so that only a select group or person experiences the vision. One cannot therefore say that John 1:18 and 6:46 have been violated.

Once more the harmony of the scriptures is demonstrated.

Moses—Whose back did he see?

About Moses, since the scriptures quoted adequately demonstrate from whom he got the Ten Commandments, the scriptures relevant to this are quoted below. It is good to meditate particularly on these scriptures from Acts:
Acts 7:37,38, This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, A prophet shall God raise up to you out of your brethren like me him shall ye hear . 38This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers; who received living oracles to give to us. (Darby )
It is clear that Moses did not speak with God himself, but with this angel that probably was Michael the Archangel, or Jesus himself (a different subject).

The fact that the Archangel was involved in this is apparent from Jude 9 quoted below. The same is hinted at in Joshua 5:14 since here the Prince of God's army meets Joshua. From these various scriptures in Exodus, in Acts, in Daniel, in Jude, and in Joshua, it seems conclusive that the angel representing God would have to be this Prince Archangel, Michael. Daniel calls him 'your prince'; thus referring to Michael being the prince that fights for ransomed mankind or in this case the Jews.
Jude 9, Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing judgment, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

Exodus 33:11, And Jehovah spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.

Ex 33:17-23, And Jehovah said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken; for thou hast found favor in my sight, and I know thee by name. 18And he said, Show me, I pray thee, thy glory. 19 . . . 20And he said, Thou canst not see my face; for man shall not see me and live. 21And Jehovah said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon the rock: 22and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand until I have passed by: 23and I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back; but my face shall not be seen.

Ex 23:20,21, Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee by the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. 21Take ye heed before him, and hearken unto his voice; provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgression: for my name is in him. (ASV)

Acts 7:53, In spite of being given the Law through angels, you have not kept it.' (ASV) Hebrews 2:2, For if the word spoken through angels proved stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; (NJB)
I try to grasp the truth and follow Galatians 1:10. In the above I try for a harmonious, orderly understanding of a simple issue that has been greatly complicated by the will of God.  This page should provide the reader with an understanding of perhaps how to use a Harmonious Interpretation of the Bible and maybe even of this subject of seeing God directly in person, or seeing him by means of visions. 

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