ABC:1 Timothy 6

From BibleStrength

Verse 16 (Seeing God Patheos)

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[1]

No one has seen God the Father at any time. That it is evident a distinction is being drawn between God the Father and Jesus, the Son of God, is evident from John 1:18, as they are both mentioned separately. However, Jesus as the Old Testament Angel of the Lord has been seen, and seen consistently throughout the Old Testament. Jacob even later states that it was an Angel whom he was wrestling, and whom he called God. See Genesis 48:16, "The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." For more on Jesus as the Old Testament Angel of the Lord, see Christophanies.

Verse 16 (Seeing God Infidels)

Infidels includes on its "List of Biblical Contradictions" the question, "God be seen?" while making the following comments (italicized).[2] ThinkingAtheist also makes a similar criticism in the section "Who has seen God?"[3]

Meritt claims Exodus 33 contradicts itself by saying God spoke to Moses face to face (v. 11) but that Moses was unable to see God's face since none can see God's face and live. (vv. 20,23)

Jesus Was God

The answer to this is really pretty simple, and contained in John 1:18 - none have seen God the Father, but God the Father has declared His Son, the Word, to be God as well. This answer is also provided by Jesus. Jesus claimed to have existed with God the Father before the world itself and to have shared His Father's glory. This is repeated elsewhere as well in the Bible. (Proverbs 8:22-31; Colossians 1:17; 1 John 1:1-3) Jesus in Revelation 1:7-8 is called "the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." Isaiah 9:6 prophesied that His name would be "Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."


A number of times in the Old Testament it appears another, more tangible form of God appears, God the Son, and this is called a 'Christophany.'[4] Jesus after all said He Himself was the original God of Israel.

The book of John presents this as the God of Israel coming to His own and being rejected. Jesus spoke with sorrow of His past relationship with Israel.

The Pharisees refused to consider the eternal nature of Jesus as God's Son, and thus were puzzled by Jesus' riddle showing David's prophesies of the Messiah evidenced an eternal Creator coming to Earth as the Messiah in human form.

Jesus, Angel of the Lord

What many people don't realize is that when God spoke to Moses originally in the burning bush, to Abraham even earlier, and to Jacob, it was not God the Father speaking, but the 'Angel of the Lord' who spoke.

Other cases of apparent Christophanies in the Bible, including places where the Angel of the Lord is called God, include:

As seen above, the Angel of the Lord was referred to as God a number of times. Some of the KJV translators may have recognized this as several times they capitalized the word 'Angel.' (Genesis 48:16; Exodus 23:20,23,34; 32:34) However, whenever angels or people were called God, they said God alone should be worshiped. Therefore, it is clear from the Bible that the Angel of the Lord was no mere angel, for if so it should have denied the worship it received.


It appears thus that the first half of Exodus 33 refers to Jesus appearing as the Angel of the Lord and speaking to Moses, just as He did throughout the Old Testament to many of the patriarchs, and was called God frequently when doing so. The last half of the chapter refers to God the Father Himself speaking and saying none can see His face. Genesis 32:30 refers to Jesus, the Angel of the Lord, as God, as do many other places in the Old Testament. Thus Jesus could be seen face to face, yet be considered God, while God the Father could not be seen face to face as something in God the Father's glorious nature meant those who looked on His face would die.

Verse 16 (God's Dwelling)

The EvilBible claims a contradiction exists here, and makes the following comments.[5]


The distinction here is only apparent from examining the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament passages. Simply put the KJV translated a word as "darkness" that actually would be better translated as "storm" or "stormcloud", the Hebrew word araphel.[6] The normal Hebrew word used in the Old Testament for darkness is actually choshek which is translated "dark" or "darkness" 77 out of 80 times by the KJV.[7] Another Hebrew word sometimes translated darkness, ophel, refers to dusk, a time of day, as seen from its use in Job 3:6 and Psalms 91:6.[8]

The following is the full interlinear text of the three controversial Old Testament passages in question, I have bolded the controversial Hebrew words translated as darkness. The first and third passages are using the word araphel while the second is referring to a temporary gathering of darkness God the Father made around Him when going to rescue Jesus from Hell. I quote much of this second passage to show the context, that this was a temporary event, not a perpetual dwelling.

Meaning of Araphel

Again, the word araphel as seen from its usage throughout the Bible shows it's referring to storms and storm clouds[6], in fact of the 15 times it is used in the Old Testament, 9 of the times it is mentioned in immediate connection with the Hebrew word anan meaning "cloud"[9] (Deut. 4:11; 5:22; 1 Ki. 8:11-12; 2 Chr. 5:14-6:1; Job 38:9; Ps. 97:2; Ez. 34:12; Joel 2:2; Zep. 1:15) and 3 times in connection with the Hebrew word ab meaning "cloud" or "dark cloud."[10] (2 Sam. 22:10-12, Job 22:13, Ps. 18:9-12)

The following is a complete list of all 15 places in the Old Testament where the Hebrew word araphel is used showing that it does mean "storm" or "storm cloud", I have bolded both it and the Hebrew word anan in the passages for ease of reading.

As seen above, there are only 3 of the 15 passages (Ex. 20:21; Is. 60:2; Jer. 13:16) that don't immediately mention the Hebrew words for cloud (anan and ab) in connection with the word araphel, and 2 of those 3 do mention clouds, just not in the immediately adjoining verses. In the Exodus 20:21 passage it shows God speaking to Israel from araphel or the storm cloud, and if you look back at Exodus 19:9 and 19:16-17 it specifically uses the Hebrew word ab in saying God spoke to them from the cloud. As for Isaiah 60:2, it ends up mentioning clouds with the word ab in verse 8.

At any rate, in 14 of the 15 passages where the Hebrew word araphel is used in the Old Testament it clearly is referring to storm clouds, not just darkness in general.


In other words, God dwells with light in Heaven but surrounds Himself with dark stormclouds when coming down to meet human beings on Earth. God the Father dwells with the ultimate source of light, Jesus the Son of God, who at the end of time will be the only light source needed for the New Jerusalem. When Jesus said He was the "Light of the World" in other words He wasn't just figuratively speaking.

However, as seen from the numerous passages above, God surrounds Himself with dark stormclouds when He comes down to meet human beings (Ex. 19:9,20:21; Deut. 4:11,5:22; 2 Sam. 22:10-12; Ps. 18:9) God ultimately uses these dark storm clouds as a covering, a curtain or barrier. (Job 22:14) Thus, dark stormclouds are used to surround light.


  1. Seidensticker, P. (2018, October 20). "Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions." Patheos.
  2. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from
  3. TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from
  4. What is a theophany? What is a Christophany? Got Questions Ministries. Retrieved from
  5. Thiefe, Chris. Biblical Contradictions.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for `araphel.' The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
  7. Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for Choshek. The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
  8. Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for 'ophel.' The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
  9. Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for `anan.' The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
  10. Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for `ab.' The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.