After God created man and put him in Eden, the Bible shows how God would come to the garden in the cool of the day to visit with Adam and Eve. One day, however, he found man hiding after sinning and that changed everything. From then on, Man was banished from God’s presence and the direct encounters become less common – but they still happened throughout scripture. So, what exactly are supernatural encounters with God in the Bible?
A supernatural encounter with God is an experience beyond natural or human explanation. God dwells in the supernatural realm from where he interacts with man. As such, supernatural encounters with God occur when we witness or experience God personally, i.e., God speaking directly to us. It can also be through dreams or visions.
Examples of Supernatural Encounters in the Bible
Jacob had two meetings with God – one at Bethel (Genesis 28) and the other at Peniel (Genesis 32). In the first encounter, Jacob dreams of a ladder or staircase that reaches heaven, and the angels of God go up and down on it. The LORD stood above it, spoke to him, and reiterated His covenant with Abraham.
Jacob went on to have another supernatural encounter with God when he wrestled Him all night, and during daybreak, he requested a blessing, meaning he knew it was God. This encounter with God gave Jacob a new identity.
His name changed from Jacob to Israel. In this supernatural encounter, God appears as a man who refers to himself as “God” (verse 28). Jacob also knew he had wrestled with God when he called the place Peniel, meaning, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
Elisha and The Invisible Army
In the book of 2 Kings 6, the Bible describes how God used horses and chariots with fire around them to protect the prophet Elisha and his servant Gehazi. Prophet Elisha was in danger because he could predict what Aram’s army planned.
During this time, the Ancient Aram was at war with Israel. So Aram’s king sends a large group of soldiers at night to capture Elisha. The following morning, Gehazi notices a large army around the city, and he panics. But Elisha prayed to God to open the servant’s eyes, and he saw the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
When Aram’s army came against Elisha, he prayed to the LORD to strike them with blindness, and God answered Elisha’s prayer. When the army entered Samaria, Elisha asked God to open their eyes, and it was done. The protection around Elisha that Gehazia saw and turning Aram’s army blind are all beyond human ability. Instead, they can be explained as supernatural incidences or God doing the impossible.
Moses and the Burning Bush
Before Moses led the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, he was tending the flock of Jethro on Mount Horeb when he saw a burning bush. Upon getting closer, God called Moses and instructed him to remove his sandals because he stood on holy ground. God then told Moses he was to go and bring the Israelites out of Egypt, but he did not believe he was qualified for the job. So he asked:
What if they do not believe or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” (Exodus 4:1). God went on to perform two miracles to prove to the Hebrews that God truly was with Moses:
- The Lord turned Moses’ staff into a snake and back into a staff.
- God made Moses’ hand white with leprosy and then healed it.
While the Burning Bush is mentioned elsewhere in Deuteronomy 33:16, Mark 12:26, Luke 20:37, and Acts 7:30-3, identifying that kind of bush in which God appeared to Moses is impossible. The unconsumed bush with the fire and God’s voice speaking and giving instructions is a supernatural encounter with God.
Moses and the Cloud
God spoke to Moses several times through a pillar of cloud, the same one that went before the people of Israel when they left Egypt (Exodus 19). Apart from that, he had spoken to God through a burning bush. When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, the people of Israel had a supernatural encounter with God when they saw Him as a thick darkness (Exodus 20).
In addition, when Moses went to get the tablets of stone containing the law and commandments, the clouds covered the mountain, and God’s glory settled on the mountains. To the Israelites, the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain (Exodus 24:12-17).
The Disciples and the Transfiguration
A week after Jesus prophesied to his disciples that he would be killed and raised (Luke 9:22), He took Peter, James, and John up a mountain to pray. While praying, His appearance changed into a glorified form. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became dazzling white. Just then, Moses and Elijah started talking with him, and a bright cloud overshadowed the three disciples. A voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
When the disciples heard the voice of God, they were terrified (Matthew 17:6). Even after Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples never forgot that supernatural experience that happened that day on the mountain. Peter even went on to say, “We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain” (2 Peter 1:16-18).
Many of us have experienced things or events that could not be explained by science or nature; that is a supernatural encounter with God. The supernatural realm is filled with limitless possibilities. It’s where man encounters God, and miracles such as healing occur. The numerous stories in the Bible where people have supernatural encounters with God prove that nothing is impossible for God.