Recently, a copy of J. Oliver Buswell's A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion (in one volume) came into my hands. He discusses briefly a subject that has long interested me: Theophanies. Specifically, I wonder how many there are in the Old Testament, or Hebrew Scriptures, and where they are? Here is what Buswell says on the subject: Theophanines differ in their nature from visions and from anthropomorphic metaphors. In Genesis 32:24-30, we are told that God appeared as a man to Jacob, and wrestled with him, and Jacob said (v. 30), "I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved." This is a most astonishing incident. In this experience of Jacob's, and in other theophanies, we are to understand that it is the Second Person of the Trinity who appears thus in human form. A principle involved is that stated in John 1:18, "No man hath see God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." The One of the three who is called LORD, or Jahweh, in the incident recorded in Genesis 18, is to be taken to be the Second Person of the Trinity. It is He "whose goings forth have been from of old, even from everlasting" (Micah 5:2), who appeared to Joshua as "the Captain of the Lord's hosts" (Josh. 5:13-15). It was none other than He, the fourth Man in the fiery furnace, who walked with Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego (Daniel 3) "and the form of the fourth [was] like the son of God" (Dan.3:25)....For our present purpose, it is sufficient to point out that the essential and eternal nature of God is incorporeal and spiritual and that manifestations of Himself at particular times and places in history, most important of which is His incarnation, are not inconsistent with His essential incorporeality and spirituality.* * The Incarnation differs from all other theophanies in that when He "was born in Bethlehem," when He "became flesh," He took to Himself, permanently, a genuine human nature, wholly apart from sin. In the Old Testament theophanies He appeared as man in specific times and places without actually becoming a member of the human race.