by A.E. Knoch

"...our Lord, Christ Jesus...the happy and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Who alone has immortality, making His home in light inaccessible, Whom not one of mankind perceived or can be perceiving, to Whom be honor and might eonian! Amen!" Who is intended here - Christ or God? Certainty seems almost impossible, for the first part of the statement seems confined to Christ, but the latter part true only of God. But if we ascribe it to God it is manifestly untrue, since our Lord has deathlessness. This difficulty does not exist if we ascribe it to Christ, for God is a self-evident exception. The statement must, therefore, be applied to our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Tim.6:14-16).

But how can we say of Him, "Whom not one of mankind perceived or can be perceiving?" This is where an accurate concordant rendering supplies the key. The statement concerns our Lord in His glory, not in His humiliation. It is illustrated by the case of Paul himself. When Christ appeared to him he was not able to look. The glory was too great. It blinded him. No human being can be perceiving it. Note that it is not the indefinite - no one can perceive. That were a fact for all time. It is only our present, temporary condition. This is indicated by the Greek incomplete, -ING. We shall perceive Him when we also are glorified. If this were written of God, then it would have been in the aorist, for He is invisible. Now Christ has such a superabundance of life that its effulgence would blind us in our present humiliation.

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