Ever read this passage and was confused?
Jhn 8:56 – (Jesus speaking)Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
Jhn 8:57 – “You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
Jhn 8:58 – “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!“
Many Christians don’t consider the fact that Christ the Messiah existed before His miraculous birth with Mary. Since Christ is one with God (John 1:1, John 10:30) and God has always existed that means Jesus has also always existed long before the events of the New Testament and even before time itself! Other scriptures such as Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:16, and Revelation 4:11 say that Jesus created everything at the beginning of time (Genesis 1:1) or that God created it all through Jesus. This is scriptural evidence for the trinity and diety of Christ. Now it is apparent that some say Jesus was or is an angel or some other created being however, scriptures such as John 1:1, and Hebrews 1:1-6 do not allow for such ideas as angels worship Him and Christ is described as being distinctly different and higher than the angels. Also keep in mind that God the Father is not visible but Jesus is the physical manifestation of God, no one can see God and live (Exo 33:20, Jhn1:18) but many have seen Jesus and identified Him as God.
Here’s a brief overview of some of what I believe are or could be appearances of the Son of God (Christ) before His entrance to our world at the nativity scene.
1. Jesus was in the fire with Sharach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Nebuchadnezzar said “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” In the OT Sons of God referred to angels and later Nebuchadnezzar also says”Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him”. But it could be that this was Christ in a glorified form since angel means “messenger” and Christ’s unique role is that of bringing messages from time to time (ultimately for bring the message of salvation) this could have been Christ in the fire.
2. Jesus appears to Ezekiel
In Ezekiel chapter 1 the prophet has a heavenly vision of a man sitting high up on a throne of sapphire on a foundation of cyrstal, his voice has authority, his waste up is like amber with flames of fire from from it, and he had a colorful aura like a rainbow surrounding him. Chapter 1 concludes with “This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.” We find in the New Testament that Jesus is the image or God, the representation or likeness of His glory (Heb 1:3, Col 1:15). And to connect the dots we find in the book of Revelation that John has a heavenly vision of Christ that is somewhat similar to Ezekiels:
Rev 1:13 – and in the midst of the seven lampstands [One] like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
Rev 1:14 – His head and hair [were] white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;
Rev 1:15 – His feet [were] like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;
3. Christ talked to Gideon
In Judges 6 Gideon is visited by the “Angel of the Lord” and calls Him Lord in verse 13 and 15 and in verse 14 and 16 it says the Lord replied to Gideon (not an angel). The original Hebrew word used for the speaker is Jehovah, not an angel. Many times when Christ appeared under the Old Covenant He is called the Angel of the Lord which simply means a messenger of the Lord (Jehovah). The “Angel of God” who spoke with Gideon has a staff which He used to touch an offering that Gideon brought Him and it was consumed by fire. This is unusual behavior if it were an ordinary angel. This heavenly man also promised Gideon that He would be with him in battle as he defeated the Midianites, again an statement unlikely to be spoken by an ordinary angel.
4. Christ talked to Hagar Genesis 16:7-13
After Hagar was kicked out of Abraham’s house hold by Sarah the Angel of the Lord visits Hagar in the wilderness. This “angel” says with authority “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.”
Gen 16:13 – Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”
In Exodus 33:20 God says that no one can see God (The Father) and live which is also restated in John 1:18, but since Christ is the image of God we are allowed to see Jesus and live as many have. Hagar knows it is fatal to see God the Father and so asks her strange question in verse 13.
5. Appeared at the burning bush Exodus 3:2-6
The Angel of the Lord is in the fire on the unburning bush yet God speaks to Moses from the bush it is as if God speaks through the “Angel of the Lord” exclusively. Also present is a flame of fire which is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit as seen in Acts. Here we have the trinity clearly outlined in one famous scene!