Today, I would like to cover what should be a simple topic and that is seeing Jehovah. However, as you know, nothing is ever easy when we add in Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Let’s dig right in.
Let’s look at things from Charles Taze Russell’s perspective:
Thus also it will be in the Millennial day, when the complete Christ--the Priest --is revealed; he will be revealed only to those that look for him, and only those shall see him. They will see him, not by physical sight, but as we now see all spiritual things--Jesus, the Father, the prize, etc.--by the eye of faith. Men will not see the Christ by physical sight, for the same reason that they will never see Jehovah; because on a different plane of being-- one spirit, the other flesh. But we (the little flock) shall see him as he is, for we shall be like him.--`1 John 3:2`.
Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. September 1890 Reprints p. 1237
However, twenty years later in 1910 we have the proverbial “new light”:
From that same moment he was the Lamb of God slain --his life given up to the doing of the Father's will. We looked at the picture of this given in the book of Revelation. There we saw Jehovah upon his throne with a scroll in his hand, written in the inside and on the outside, and sealed with seven seals. No one had yet been found worthy to execute or even to be made acquainted with the Divine Purposes.
The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. July 1, 1910 Reprints p. 4641
So here, the fascination with the book of Revelation comes into play as it often does with this organization that doesn’t have a correct foundational understanding of the first 65 books of the bible, how can they properly understand the last one? Regardless, we have one instance of seeing Jehovah.
Let’s bring it much closer to present day and set conditions as to who won’t be able to see with the following:
Consequently, when those nations will have destroyed Babylon the Great and then threateningly turn against these called, chosen and faithful anointed ones, they will be taking ungodly action against “ambassadors for Christ,” against citizens of God’s city, “the heavenly Jerusalem.” In fighting against these whom they can see in their midst, they will be fighting against the Lamb Jesus Christ, the King of kings, even though they cannot see him nor see Jehovah God.
All Nations Collide. 1971 p. 25
Will all who truly have pure hearts literally see God face to face? No, only those will to whom these ‘beatitudes’ or happinesses have primary application. These are Jesus’ anointed footstep followers, to whom it is written: “Beloved ones, now we are children of God, but as yet it has not been made manifest what we shall be. We do know that whenever he is made manifest we shall be like him, because we shall see him [God] just as he is.” (1 John 3:2) How will this be possible? Because they will possess incorruptible, immortal spirit bodies, being sharers of the divine nature. Concerning them it is written: “For this which is corruptible must put on incorruption, and this which is mortal must put on immortality.” And again, “He has freely given us the precious and very grand promises, that through these you may become sharers in divine nature.”—1 Cor. 15:53; 2 Pet. 1:4.
Awake! August 22, 1971 p. 28
Do you really believe in Jehovah God?— Is he a real Person to you?—
It is true that we cannot see Jehovah. This is because he is a Spirit. He has a body that is invisible to our eyes. But he is a real Person, and he can see us.
Greatest Teacher. 1971. p. 116-117
So who will see Jehovah?
So here is what we have. The two class system has again shown itself. Only those 144,000 anointed footstep followers are the only ones able to see Jehovah. What happens to the great crowd here? They are completely left out. Also, we have more validation that the Greek Scriptures do not completely apply to you since you are not part of the new covenant. Moving along we will see the following:
NO ONE living now or who has lived on earth in the past has ever seen God with his literal eyes. Jehovah is too glorious for frail humans to endure the sight of him. However, his invisibility should not cause us to cast doubt on his existence, nor does it make it impossible for us to “see” him as a Person with the eyes of faith.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. February 1, 1976 p. 80
Notice how no one has seen God with “literal eyes.” We are going to come back to it later.
A heavenly assembly took place in the latter part of the tenth century before our Common Era. The Israelite prophet Micaiah had a vision of it. Describing it, Micaiah said to two allied kings, Ahab and Jehoshaphat: “Hear the word of Jehovah: I certainly see Jehovah sitting upon his throne and all the army of the heavens standing by him, to his right and to his left. And Jehovah proceeded to say, ‘Who will fool Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And this one began to say something like this, while that one was saying something like that. Finally a spirit came out and stood before Jehovah and said, ‘I myself shall fool him.’”—1 Kings 22:19-21.
Holy Spirit-The Force Behind the Coming New World Order. 1976. p. 23
The pure in heart who accepted Jesus as Messiah and listened to him gained deep insight into God’s personality. By exercising faith in Jesus’ sin-atoning sacrifice they gained forgiveness of sins and a relationship with God and were able to render acceptable worship before his throne. (Eph. 1:7) Seeing God in this sense will reach its pinnacle for spirit-anointed Christians when they get to heaven, for there they will actually see God and Christ.—1 John 3:2; 2 Cor. 1:21, 22.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. March 1, 1978 p. 4, 5
With this quote we have further reinforcement that only the anointed are allowed to see Jehovah. Further, we have to ask yet another question, is there a difference in exercising faith to gain forgiveness between the great crowd and the anointed? If so, what is the scriptural difference in this? However, what we have are those who are in spiritual bodies and perhaps with the Watchtower’s methodology, this is how they can see Jehovah-on the spiritual plane only.
So, too, those called to be joint heirs with Christ in the heavens, in due time, see Jehovah God.—1Jo 3:1-3.
Insight on the Scriptures-Volume I. 1988. p. 801
Yet another case of further reinforcement that seeing Jehovah is reserved for a select group.
So can Jehovah be or not be seen? We get this answer below in the form of a question:
16, 17. (a) Why can we not see Jehovah, and why should that not surprise us? (b) In what sense is Jehovah more real than anything we can see or touch?
Draw Close to Jehovah. 2014. p. 15
Now let’s look at scripture since the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has nothing but Bible based: For this let’s first look back to an account in Genesis.
Afterward, Jehovah appeared to him among the big trees of Mamʹre while he was sitting at the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing some distance from him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them, and he bowed down to the ground. Then he said: “Jehovah, if I have found favor in your eyes, please do not pass by your servant. Please, let a little water be brought and have your feet washed; then recline under the tree. Seeing that you have come here to your servant, let me bring a piece of bread so that you may refresh yourselves. Then you may go on your way.” At this they said: “All right. You may do as you have spoken.”
Genesis 18:1-5 New World Translation
The person whom Jehovah appeared to is Abraham. What we have here is very interesting. Jehovah appeared as three men. Remember Deuteronomy 6:4 which says, “Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah” (New World Translation). Abraham bowed to all three and collectively addressed them all at the same time. Let’s contrast this with the earlier statement:
NO ONE living now or who has lived on earth in the past has ever seen God with his literal eyes.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. February 1, 1976
So which is correct, the statement within the Watchtower magazine or the New World Translation? Let’s read on a bit and let’s reiterate from Isaiah 6:1:
In the year that King Uz·ziʹah died, I saw Jehovah sitting on a lofty and elevated throne, and the skirts of his robe filled the temple.
New World Translation
We have here is a vision that Isaiah had. Regardless, let’s look at what the words of Jesus are found in John 1:18:
No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is at the Father’s side is the one who has explained Him.
New World Translation
So now we are left in a conundrum. The Watchtower under Russell said you couldn’t, yet in Knorr’s era it was reported you could. Biblically speaking, Jehovah appeared, was seen, and yet Abraham lived. Then Jesus himself said no one has seen the Father at any time.
So we are left with this, who was seen? If one could not have seen the Father, the next logical person would be Jesus. Being one who fully believes that Jesus is fully God yet also fully man who did these people see? It was called a Christophany-a visible manifestation of a pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. This is part of what is considered to be a theophany as defined here. That is the most logical conclusion. If you want to know more, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org on this website.
Wrapping everything up, what will you go with? The Watchtower has said various things at various points within its history. Ultimately, according to the Watchtower Society quotes above, you have the best chance of seeing Jehovah if and only if you are of the anointed even though there have been times where you haven’t been able to. Or you can listen to the bible. What will you decide?