In the Old Testament, God reveals himself numerous times to the prophets in physical forms (Genesis 18:1-2, Exodus 24:9, Numbers 12:8, Isaiah 6:1). But according to scripture, God is omnipresent, meaning he is already present everywhere (Jeremiah 23:24, Psalm 139:7). So what does it really mean for God to be physically present in a specific place if God is already present there?

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theophany (n.) "an appearance of God to man," 1630s, from Late Latin theophania, from Greek theos "god" (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts) + phainein "bring to light, cause to appear, show" (from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine").

The difference is not presence, but visibility, between being unseen and being seen. When God displays His glory, then we know He is real and is present.

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