Posted in theology

They saw God … and lived?

By Elizabeth Prata

When Isaiah was brought up to the Throne Room of heaven and saw God in His glory, he fell down and said,

“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5).

Being in the presence of God induces that kind of reaction, and not just in Isaiah. In everyone who encounters Him.

So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” (Genesis 32:30).

Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees me”; for she said, “Have I even seen Him here and lived after He saw me?” (Genesis 16:13)

When Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, “Oh, Lord God! For I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” (Judges 6:22)

So Manoah said to his wife, “We will certainly die, for we have seen God.” (Judges 13:22).

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, And I repent, sitting on dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6).

But when Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8).

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, …” (Revelation 1:17).

Over and over and over again in the word of God, we see peoples’ reactions to being in the presence of God. Even in the presence of glory, Moses was commanded to take off his sandals, for he was standing on holy ground (at the burning bush).

Yet over and over and over again, we hear of people claiming to have been in the presence of God or Jesus and have had casual conversations with Him. Have gone on with their business as if nothing untoward has happened. See this, for example, from Beth Moore:

Recently God spoke to me about capturing what He and I are calling “Sabbath moments.” … “My child, in between more intense rests, I want to teach you to take Sabbath moments.” … Christ seemed to say, “Let’s go play.” God and I had a blast! from The Beloved Disciple by Beth Moore.

There are many other examples over Beth Moore’s career, too, where she claims to have had casual conversations with an alleged Jesus, with nary a mention of His glory and her certain death that He had spared just by being in His presence.

Joseph Smith claimed to have seen Jesus, and the ‘new revelations’ he allegedly gave Smith formed an entire false religion: Mormonism.

Televangelist Jesse Duplantis claims that not only does he see Jesus and have casual conversations with Him, but Jesus asks for Jesse’s opinion. (Source).

This mania of “I’ve seen Jesus” is everywhere, not just from the (in)famous:

John MacArthur related this story:

A man said to me, “Sometimes when I’m shaving, Jesus comes in the bathroom and puts His arm around me in the morning and talks to me.” I said, “You mean the real Jesus?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “And He puts His arm around you and you see Him?” He said, “Yes.” And I just had one question: “Do you keep shaving, or do you fall on your face in the ground in terror because you’re in the presence of a holy God? If you keep shaving, it wasn’t Jesus.” He said, “Do you believe that?” I said, “No, I don’t believe it. But what’s worse, I believe you believe it.” That’s mysticism: it’s nothing, but you believe it’s something.

You can tell a false teacher from their description of their reaction to being in the presence of a Holy God and comparing it to the Bible. Would you rather believe the words of Manoah, Matthew, Moses, Jacob, Isaiah, Hagar, etc., or the claims of Duplantis, Smith, Moore, and the others who said they shave with God, play with God, hear from God, and give opinions to God?

The rampant problem of Christians who teach and preach that personal visitations from God are the normative experience are actually chipping away at the foundational truths from the Bible – which is the ONLY revelation now. (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Further Resources

How should a Christian respond to people who claim, “I saw Jesus”?

Strange Fire Conference archive of sermons and Q & As. This conference addressed the faults and false doctrines of the Charismatic Movement.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.