Christophany... Theophany...
(Did people see Christ before Jesus was born?)

A Christophany is any appearance of Christ to a human. Since it is clear from Scriptures that the Son was with God in the beginning (John 1:1-2), even before He was born as the man Jesus (John 1:14), this can reference any appearance of Christ before or after His birth. A related word is "Theophany," which is defined as an appearance of God to a human.

Scriptures are clear that no living human has ever seen God in all of His glory (1 John 4:12, 1 Timothy 6:15-16), but we have seen God - in the person of Jesus Christ.

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

Colossians 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form&ldots;

Though the fullness of God dwelt in human form in the person of Jesus Christ, God limited how much of His glory would be seen. At various occasions, a few glimpses of a bit more was shown (Matthew 17:2, John 18:5-6), but at all times it remained limited so as to not consume those in attendance. In all appearances of God to humans, throughout the Old Testament (Theophanies), it is obvious that God also limited Himself, to one degree or another, for the exact same reason (i.e. Exodus 33:18-23, Genesis 18:1, 22-23). Even when Isaiah was given his extraordinary view of heaven; the appearance of God, though majestic, was limited so as to not consume him.

Isaiah 6:1-5 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty."

Through the progressive revelation of Scriptures we are told specifically who Isaiah saw. He saw Jesus&ldots;

John 12:41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus ' glory and spoke about him. (Establish context by reading John 12:37-41).

On this basis it is believed that appearances of God throughout the Old Testament were in fact pre-incarnate (before His birth) appearances of Christ. While the vast majority of such occasions specifically denote that the person saw "the Lord", there are a few places where it is strongly or possibly implied. A strong example is found in Daniel, where he saw one "like a son of man" who was clearly Christ (Daniel 7:13). A possible example is the mysterious Melchizedek, priest of God Most High (Genesis 14:18). The language of Hebrews chapter seven - speaking of him having no father or mother, or beginning or ending of life - arguably seems to point to Melchizedek as being a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. This is by no means certain and has been disputed by many good theologians throughout history. It is fair to say that if Melchizedek is not a Christophany, he is most certainly a very close type (or foreshadow) of Christ, with specific wording being employed to magnify such.