“…who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:16 (NIV).
No one can see God and no one ever has; Exodus 33:20 says so straight from God’s own words. This side of eternity, no one can see God in all His glory and live. Our minds couldn’t process Him. Our bodies couldn’t withstand Him. Yet when we see Jesus, we are seeing God. We are seeing the part of Him that is human, fully God and fully man all at once. It’s a mystery how He does that, but He does it all the same.
I think of this verse the way I think of going outside. My day job involves a lot of time staring at a laptop. I implement software and business improvements used in processing healthcare information for insurance companies. That involves a lot of online work in systems that are pretty basic to look at; white windows with black edges and writing, some grays and blues thrown in. My office at home is in a bedroom, and while there is a window in it, the sun doesn’t shine directly in. When I’m on my (current) client’s site, I work in an IT lab, in an enclosed conference room with no outside light.
All this makes going outside during the work-day a rich treat. Yet the older I get, the longer it takes for my eyes to adjust to the sun. If I don’t wear sunglasses, my eyes squint, and it takes me awhile to be able to see without them watering. Occasionally things are even blurry but that passes quickly.
Imagine looking into God the Father’s unapproachable light. Imagine the brightest light you can think of, then staring straight into it. You’d be blinded; you’d melt (sort of like that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the Nazis opened the Ark of the Covenant). You’d die.
Now imagine being Peter, James, and John and standing before Jesus when He was transfigured. His clothes were the brightest white possible. They saw Him as He truly was, in the beautiful spiritual light of perfection while clearly recognizing their friend. Their eyes weren’t burned; they lived through it. How can this be? You know the answer: because of Jesus. He made it possible for them to look on Him and live. In a flash it happened, then in a moment it was over.
One day each of us will indeed stare into God’s full light and see Him face to face. In our final day, will we be dazzled by the brilliance of it or will we be destroyed? My friend, you know the better way.
For further reading: Exodus 33:20, Psalm 104:2, 1 John 1:7, John 1:18, Romans 11:36, Mark 9:3, 1 Timothy 6:13-21.
Lord of light, You are beautiful. Heal my eyes to let me see You more so that others see You through me.