Several people in the Bible encountered God and were able to describe it. They say God’s appearance was like a brilliant light and a consuming fire. In addition to that, they provided more information regarding the scenery that surrounds His throne.
Since there is no darkness in God, the Bible describes His appearance as a brilliant light, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all,” (1 John 1:5). His perfection, purity, and beauty are described in this passage. God is entirely good and pure. His unrivaled excellences are also a manifestation of his strength and grandeur. **
It’s no wonder that when Moses asked to see God’s glory, he was told that no one could see His face and live. But because God had already chosen Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, he was given a special privilege. He was allowed to stand in the cleft of a rock while God passed by.
As Exodus 33:20, 23 says, “He said, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live. There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
The Bible contains many descriptions of God, each of which provides us with valuable insight into His character. For instance, some people say that God is like fire, which means He has a lot of energy and passion, “For our God is a consuming fire,” (Hebrew 12:29). This helps us to understand that God is not an emotionless being or an impersonal spirit, but rather a passionate and zealous being who deeply cares for His people.
Additionally, the Bible mentions that people who have seen God also describe His throne. This tells us that God is the creator and ruler of everything and helps emphasize His power and might. Finally, the description of the rainbow that surrounds God’s throne reminds us of His mercy and faithfulness. These various descriptions give us a much better understanding of who God truly is.
What Do These Things Mean for Us?
The Bible is full of references to what God looks like. From His glorious appearance on Mount Sinai to His humble incarnation as a human being, we are given many glimpses of the divine. These descriptions of God’s appearance not only provide us with insight into who He is but also into His character. For example, when Moses sees God’s backside, he is given a glimpse of His glory and goodness, “Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen,” (Exodus 33:21-23).
This experience reminds us that even though we may not be able to see God directly, we can still catch a glimpse of His greatness. Similarly, when Jesus is transfigured before His disciples, they are given a glimpse of His glory as well:
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead,” (Matthew 17:1-9).
This event reminds us that despite the struggles and pain of this world, there is still hope for us because of who Jesus is. The Bible’s references to God’s appearance are not just interesting facts, but they also serve to strengthen believers during difficult times.
How Does the Book of Revelation Describe God?
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the Bible, and it gives a detailed account of John’s encounter with God. John was a disciple of Jesus Christ and was imprisoned on the Island of Patmos for his faith. In Revelation, John records a physical description of God that fits in well with how He relates to the world. He stated this on Rev. 4:2-6, declaring the following:
2At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.
3And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.
4Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.
5From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings[a] and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.”
Therefore, John’s description makes it clear that God is an all-powerful creator and that nothing can beat His sovereignty. He is also a great provider who radiates light in every direction. The resemblance of jasper and carnelian stones to His physical appearance indicates the incomparable splendor and beauty He possessed.
Many people who have encountered God report feeling as though they were surrounded by light. The book of Daniel describes an encounter that Daniel had with God, in which he saw a great light or one similar to lightning, “His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude” (Daniel 10:6).
In Ezekiel 10:4, we see a similar description of God being surrounded by “bright flashes of light.” “The glory of the LORD had moved off the cherubim to the temple’; the temple was filled with the cloud, the whole court brilliant with the glory of the LORD. The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far as the outer court; it was like the voice of God Almighty speaking.”
Why is light such a significant part of these encounters? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that, as Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:16, God Himself dwells in unapproachable light, “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.” In other words, His very nature is full of light. Psalm 104:2 puts it this way: God is like a person who wraps Himself in light. He is crystal clear and brilliant in His purity. “The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent.”
What Does It Mean That God is Light?
When we think about light, we think about the sun. The sun is an excellent example of something that is constant and pure. It rises in the morning and sets in the evening. It gives light and life to everything it touches. In the same way, God is light. This means He is pure and constant in His goodness and purity. He knows what is best for us and wants to give us good gifts (James 1:17).
In the Old Testament, Aaron, the priest, prays over the people of Israel and ask for God’s blessing, including the light from God’s face to shine on them. This is an illustration that God plays a crucial role in shining our lives from darkness. It reminds us that we are never alone because He is always with us.
Additionally, the Book of Revelation says that we will live in the light of God. There is no night there, and since God Himself is the light, we won’t need a light source like the sun. This means no more darkness nor separation from Him. So, we will be able to enjoy His presence forever.
God as a Consuming Fire
In the Bible, John describes God’s appearance as sardius, or deep red precious stone, also known as carnelian. Some commentators believe that the sardius may also be comparable to a ruby in appearance. This speaks to God’s fiery desire and energy, burning passion, and zeal for justice, righteousness, and holiness.
The Bible says that God’s appearance does not only resemble light and fire but also sacred fire surrounding His throne. Seven lamps of fire and seraphim (spiritual/angelic beings whose names literally mean burning ones) are also burned before it as well. Furthermore, there is a sea of glass that is ablaze before the throne of God. All of this illustrates how passionate and zealous God is for His people. He is consumed by holy fire and will do anything to protect and bless them. These were all witnessed by Isaiah and Daniel.7:9
Isaiah 6:2-3 states: “Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.””
Daniel 7:9 declares: “As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.”
God’s Throne Is Surrounded By A Rainbow
The Bible is full of accounts of people who saw God. In addition to descriptions of His physical appearance, these eyewitnesses also reported seeing His throne and the rainbow surrounding it.
The throne represents God’s rule and reigns over all creation. It is a symbol of His purity and justice and a reminder that there is no wickedness or injustice with God. Meanwhile, the rainbow around the throne signifies God’s covenant with humanity. After He sent the flood in Noah’s time, God gave the rainbow as a sign of His endless mercy and comfort— promising people never to destroy the world by flood again. Therefore, the next time we see a rainbow, it reminds us of God’s faithfulness in His covenant with His people.
Ezekiel 1:26-28 proves the existence of God’s throne surrounded by a rainbow, saying, “26And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance.
27And wupward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were xgleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and ythere was brightness around him.
28Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking…”
Jesus: The Light That Has Come To The World
A comprehensive study of what the Bible says about God’s appearance would include an examination of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. InJohn 1:4-5, Jesus is described as a radiating light, stating, “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” This scripture makes it true as John 8:12 says, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
Similarly, Colossians 2:9 explains that in Jesus, the “whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” This implies that when people saw Jesus, they saw God (John 14:9). That’s why Jesus came to earth, to reveal God’s true nature to humanity. Christ even died on the cross to show us His love and compassion in saving our sins. And because of this Christ’s great act of love, we are now extending God’s love.
So, when you look at Jesus, you can spiritually feel God’s love—grace and mercy. Keep in mind that it was through Christ that allowed us to have access to the Father and boldly approach Him whenever we seek light in adversity.
Humans as Representations of God
Of course, we humans also have a role to play in representing what God looks like. In the Bible, there are numerous examples of people who God used to represent Him to others. Moses was one such person.
In Exodus 33:18-23, we see that Moses asked to see God’s glory, and God responded by saying that His goodness will pass in front of Moses and He will proclaim His name before Moses, but He will not let Moses see His face. This tells us that, while we cannot see God’s physical form, we can see His character through the people He uses to represent Him.
Another example is in Isaiah 40:12-31, where God tells Isaiah to comfort the people of Israel by telling them that their God is coming to save them. In this passage, we see that God is described as being like a shepherd who takes care of His flock and provides for them. This shows us that, just as a shepherd takes care of his sheep, God also takes care of His people.
Indeed, God designed us in His image, meaning we were made to reflect His character. When we live in a way that reflects Him, we act as His representatives on earth. As His representatives, it is our job to show others what He is like. We can do this by living our lives with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Although it is impossible to perfectly reflect God’s character as imperfect beings, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. So, still, we must strive to live our lives in such a way that the fruit of the Spirit is evident in us. When people see the fruit of the Spirit in their lives, they will see God’s character on display and be drawn to Him.
Below are more specific ways in which we can represent God to the world:
By loving others
Loving others will help us to reflect God’s character of love. And, when they see His love on display in their lives, they will be drawn to Him. They will also be encouraged to show love to others. This way, more people will spread God’s love because it started with YOU.
By being joyful
Joy is a fruit of the SpiritWhen we are joyful to ourselves and unto others, we are reflecting God’s bliss.This way, we are showing people that living a life with God means valuing it with worth that is priceless. Thus, more people will be encouraged to do the same
By being patient
Patience is another fruit of the Spirit but it takes time to develop. Like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
When we are patient, we can influence others to see things from God’s perspective. We allow them to trust in His timing and know that everything happens for a reason. This doesn’t mean that things will always happen how we want them to, but we can trust that God has a plan for us.
By being kind to others
Kindness is one of the things that Jesus spoke about a lot. He said we should love our enemies and pray for those persecuting us. What does this have to do with what God looks like?
Well, when we are kind to others, we reflect God’s character. We are showing that we are made in His image. And seeing us being kind gives them a call to embrace and spread kindness, too.
By being gentle with others
Gentleness is an attribute of God that is often overlooked in our society today. Just as God is gentle to us, even when we aren’t, we are called to be gentle at all times (Philippians 4:5). This way, humility and love shall prevail instead of envy and jealousy.
Ephesians 4:1–3 says, “I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Because humans are born sinners, we can only imagine the majesty of God’s appearance—we cannot physically see nor touch Him (Exodus 33:20, 23). But know that the Bible gives us clues as to what God looks like. And by strengthening our faith and living our lives holy, we can spiritually feel His love and mercy in our hearts.