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A Look at Verses in Malachi and Judges

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I decided to re-post something that I’d previously posted on Rabbi Blumenthal’s blog.  It concerns questions about the Angel of the LORD and issues with Judges 13.  I’ve left out the questioners names.

I’ve tried to also address some points that others have brought up without explicitly stating what was written by them. It saves a lot of time.

To answer one of your first questions, I don’t take issue that in the case of Malachi 2 the text can be read as the messenger of YHWH being that of the priest. There’s no proving that it can’t be because it can. What I’d like to point out is that we can’t just do away with the instances and verses where grammar indicates that the two are to be taken as one word to identify a specific person because of a couple where they aren’t. In that verse the object and person spoken of is the priest. The priest isn’t doing any speaking for himself and especially not speaking as the LORD.

The focus of 1-7 is that of the original covenant. It went from God to Moses to the elders and to the priests. I’m not standing with lead feet on that one verse in Malachi. In fact there are two other instances where the conjunction is not to be confused with “the” Angel of YHWH. On the one hand it can be read simply as the priests being the messengers of the original covenant without looking any further into the implications of it. The verses that better demonstrates a broader understanding is found in the next chapter in Malachi 3:

Mal 3:1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD.

Question: — “Here is the point. PROVE to me that judges 13 CANNOT be understood as it’s words simply connote – an interaction with an emissary distinct from and subservient to God, albeit angelic.”

We could go back and forth on this one but I’m sincerely interested in looking at it “as it’s words simply connote.” No slight of hand or cards up the sleeve. 🙂

Concerning Judges 13, I’ll lay it out as efficiently as I can. There was obviously already a well known tradition of a particular Angel being peculiarly different from all others and that he was not an ordinary messenger. Previously, in Judges 2, we have this same Angel speaking in the first person to the people of Israel. The text reads:

Jdg 2:1 Now the angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? 3 So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.” 4 As soon as the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the people of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept.

I don’t think Joshua was surprised by meeting this particular Angel again as he’d encountered him before and was in his presence in the wilderness. Although the second encounter with this Angel was when he was introduced to him as the captain of the LORD’s army before the battle of Jericho. He was told the same as Moses; “Take your shoes off for you’re standing on holy ground.” The Angel wields the sword of YHWH. Many texts tell us that the Father says, “I did this” and “I did that..” when we know it’s the Angel who did it. They are at times so thoroughly interchangeable that unless they “are” both YHWH then what’s written can’t possibly be true. On occasion this Angel is separate from God and in other instances he’s indistinguishable from God. Sometimes he’s recognized as God and others not. I believe the Bible was written by inspiration from God.

Before I get to Judges 13 I want to look at what happens prior to that. In Jud. 6 we have a similar exchange and the Angel is speaking as the LORD. There’s no introduction such as, “Thus says the LORD, or, “This is what the LORD says.” Nothing like that. The Angel just launches into first person language as he did in Jdg. 2 (and many other places in the Torah); he speaks as God. This would have been the perfect opportunity among many for him to say he was there representing God but he doesn’t. He could have said any number of things to alert his audience as to who he “wasn’t.” Judges 6 is one of those hard to initially grasp chapters in that we go from interchangeable back to separate from. The Angel is talking as the LORD, then he’s seemingly separate from and then once more identified as YHWH. If this isn’t deliberate language used then the author really missed the mark. What I understand is that it’s meant to bring to mind the age old tradition beginning with the Patriarch’s that Israel’s God is sometimes seen interacting with mankind on earth. He’s not just a messenger with God’s name he actually is known to be the LORD that is seen of men when he chooses to be. It’s in line with previous encounters and verses that relate the same idea of God. The Angel of the LORD doesn’t just come in the Name of the LORD he embodies the Name of the LORD. His essence is the same as that of the LORD. He is the manifest presence of God and Scripture tells us the same. Where did Gideon get the idea that he would die because he’d seen an angel? No where. It’s seeing God’s face that strikes that fear in people yet there he is shaking in his boots. I don’t mean that there weren’t others who thought the same just that it’s nowhere stated that you will die upon seeing an angel.

Jdg 6:12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.”

Jdg 6:13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

Jdg 6:14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”

We have a transition in the space of 2 verses with the Angel speaking first and then it turns into the LORD who (turning to Gideon) is now speaking. Which is it? The author doesn’t seem to be phased by the wording. The tradition was well established by now that the Angel of the LORD was also known to be the visible manifestation of YHWH and that’s why people thought they would die. There’s no other angel that allows people to believe he is YHWH Himself. This Angel is sometimes exchanged for YHWH while in other instances he’s distinquished from YHWH. Can we have it both ways? Apparently the authors of Scripture believed we can and should. Although this doesn’t lead us to a trinity it does rather show the dual aspect of God as seen and not seen as is clearly established beginning with Genesis. The LORD again speaks to Gideon and in the next verse he asks for a sign that he’s not just an ordinary messenger:

16 And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
17 And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me.
18 Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.”

The LORD is speaking and He promised to stay put until Gideon prepared his offering. Gideon returns with his sacrifice. 19 “So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them.”

Now the Angel is in place of YHWH again. 20 “And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so.”

21 “Then the angel of the LORD reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight.”

The offering is accepted by the Angel and then he vanishes. Gideon now comes undone at the realization that it was Mal’ak YHWH that he had just put to the test! 22 “Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the LORD. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.'” Why would anyone be afraid of seeing an angel “face to face?”

The author then tells us that it is the LORD speaking with him and yet his life is spared. 23 “But the LORD said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.'” 24 “Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it, The LORD Is Peace.”

Back to Judges 13. I’m going to break it down in order to keep it short. In verse 1-2 we have the introduction to Manoah and his wife. Verse 3, the Angel of the LORD appears with a statement to Monoah’s wife that she’s barren but will conceive a son. Verse 4-5, are instructions concerning the vow of the Nazarite and the promise of redemption from the Philistines. Verse 6: “Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, and verse 7 is a repeat of what was told her earlier. Verse 8-14, Monoah prays that the man would return and he does by showing up in the field where Manoah’s wife is. She runs to her husband and they both come to enquire as to whether or not he was the one who appeared to her. He says he is and goes over the instructions with them again. Verses 15, 16 and 17 are interesting. They offer to prepare a sacrifice to honor the man who came to them. They, as yet, had no idea that he was “the” Angel of the LORD is what it says. Verse 16 “And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the LORD.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the LORD.)” I’m left thinking that the Angel knew what was in Manoah’s heart and that Manoah thought he was an ordinary messenger in which case Manoah was mistaken in offering sacrifice to one he thought was an ordinary man. He tells him he won’t eat his food which leads me to believe he wasn’t being impolite or rude he was merely steering him in the right direction. “Offer your sacrifice to the LORD”. 17 “And Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?'” 18 “And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is secret?” (or too wonderful to comprehend)

Why is it that this one Angel has a name that some believe we don’t know from the book of Genesis all the way through to the time of the Judges? Does that strike anyone else as really odd? What’s the big secret? I submit it’s because this Angel’s Name is also YHWH and that’s not something to be glossed over and taken lightly. This Angel possesses God’s Sacred Name! I’ve more to say on that when I pick up on my own blog. Sometime or other…

Judges 13:19. “So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the LORD, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching 18 And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the LORD went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground. 20 The angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD.”

They now know he was Mal’ak YHWH. Whenever I hear of fire associated with God I can’t help but think back to the other instances of the occurance, which I believe we’re supposed to do. The text doesn’t say anything like, “The LORD has accepted your offering” instead the Angel steps into the fire from the altar and disappears. Fire goes with Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19:24 and the burning bush of Exd chapter 3-4:17. Pretty lengthy conversation with someone standing in a burning bush unless I’m mistaken about the length of the conversation. 🙂 There’s also Sinai, Judges 6 and now Judges 13. I probably missed a couple. The Angel, YHWH, both God in the burning bush and now the Angel within fire again.

22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.”

Very clear language.

23 But his wife said to him, “If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.”

As in many other instances of the people involved in these types of exchanges we never hear of anyone being rebuked as though they were mistaken in their identification of who they had just entertained. The precedent of YHWH interacting with the people of Israel began with Abraham to whom He appeared back in Genesis. That’s beyond the scope of our conversation right now but needs to be further explored perhaps another time.

Isaiah 48:12 says, “Harken unto Me O Jacob and Israel, my called, I am He. I am the first. I also am the last.” “My hand has also laid the foundation of the earth.” This is clearly the creator speaking. We can’t say it was the prophet or Cyrus that is spoken of here. The one being sent is the creator and has the attributes of God, he is the first and the last, his hand laid the foundation of the earth. The one being sent by the Lord GOD is the creator. We have the Lord GOD “and” His Spirit sending someone who is also divine and who is also God:

“Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together. All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things? The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans. I, even I, have spoken; yes, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous. Come near to me, and hear this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, has sent me.” (Isaiah 48:13-16)

I have a question myself, “How do the Orthodox understand the Holy Spirit?” I am not as clear on that aspect of God. The Scriptures say God is Spirit yet at times He sends the Spirit. How do you understand that?

There are, of course, more examples of Mal’ak YHWH first person narratives but, again, they’re beyond what I can squeeze into one post.

Abraham and the LORD

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Abraham is said to be a friend to God.  I always thought that was a really great thing to be said of anyone and so I definitely wanted to get to know Abraham better.  Abraham has an interesting relationship with Almighty God that is in some ways more casual and personal than anyone other than Moses.  Moses is also said to be someone very special to the Lord, though in a much different way than Abraham and it’s no wonder with all the years they spent together in the wilderness.  Forty years is plenty of time to get to know someone very well and we see plenty of signs of the close relationship between Angel-YHWH (the LORD) and Moses.  That will have to wait for another time though.

A Friend of God's

A Friend of God’s

Concerning Abraham, we can piece together the special relationship he shared with the Lord, God, and then follow it through with what is not written but surely took place as we do have some hints of it here and there in Scripture.  Nowadays most people are so far removed from the nomadic lifestyle of the Patriarchs that we probably don’t give much, if any, thought to the everyday happenings within a large troupe of migrant shepherds.  The dynamics of the interaction between Abraham’s family and his servants was no doubt so much closer than any of us share even with our extended families today.  They were probably together pretty much 24-7, 365 days a year!  Plenty of time to sit around the camp fire and exchange stories.  Lots and lots of stories were told and re-told throughout the generations of all their families.  That’s how information was stored.  People remembered the telling of events and they kept the stories alive from one generation to the next.  It would’ve been like having a walking, talking data bank of information concerning each other that was passed on to the next generation and added to and some maybe left off with time.  I wouldn’t think any stories as awesome as Abraham’s were would be left out for ages to come.  I’m thinking maybe after about 400 yrs. the interest and memories would wane and begin to fade somewhat with maybe only a handful of people left who told the old stories still.  Probably only the elderly passed them around and kept them alive for posterity.  That’s why they’re respected, after all, because they store all the information, wisdom and memories needed for the next generation to succeed.  They retained their identity as Israelites through the efforts of the elders.

The Patriarchs of Israel, I believe, were some of the most important elders in the world–on second thought, they were “the” most important.  They have their own revelation of God to tell of, 400 years before Mt. Sinai.

Stay tuned…

Nothing biting but turtles.

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Annie Lou at the lake.

 

Turtle soup anyone?

Turtle soup anyone?

Makes sense to me!

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I’ve decided to come at this blogging thing from a completely different perspective. I’m going to write for myself and forget about impressing anyone. I mean, if I happen to, that’s good, but if it takes me a while to find my grove that’s OK too.

So, my plan is to just post what I have written up at the time rather than try to accumulate masses of perfected grammar, spelling and sentence structure, having rewritten everything twice and still not posting any of it! I know–it’s my mother’s fault… Not really. Anyway, that’s my impromptu plan and I’m sticking to it! See, somehow, sticking to an impromptu plan makes sense to me! 🙂

“Two Power’s in Heaven…” is available at Amazon.

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The long time coming reprint of Alan Segal’s book, is finally available at Amazon.com.  If you didn’t pre-order, there were a few left to buy, I checked the price.  It’s 39.95. 

“Shroud of Turin Presentation by Russ Breault”

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The following post is from Dan Porter’s “Shroud of Turin Blog” (condensed):

“Now’s Your Chance to check out one of the greatest mysteries of the ages!

Russ Breault has studied and spoken on the Shroud of Turin for decades.

“On September 29th, 2012 Russ is bringing his two-hour presentation, the Shroud of Turin Education Project to the First Baptist Church of Matthews. The presentation begins at 4:00 PM; doors open at 3:30. More info. call office at 704) 847-9150, Charlotte, NC.”

So Cool, it’s a wonder someone of Russ’ expertise is near enough for me to get to the presentation! I’m really looking forward to hearing everything else the television documentaries leave out when editing.

So, I’m very excited about it and it’s going to be great! After I was saved by the blood of Christ, and I saw the man on the cloth – I wept for an hour it was that vivid and obvious to me who it was. And the face I thought looked like the very early art depictions of Him. (I studied Fine Art in college) The cost of the presentation (2 hours long) is only 7.50, hard to believe that but the church is only charging to cover the cost of getting Russ there. What a blessing for the audience!

If you’re anywhere around the Charlotte, NC area on September the 29th I sincerely hope you’ll be there to check it out! (I’ll be one of the ones sobbing, somewhere near the front) It’s the most profound mystery I’ve ever heard about. That and the mystery of Christ, Himself; “my Lord and my God.”

BTW, I’m not in cahoots with anyone at all affiliated with the presentation in any way. I’m just a very interested Christian who thought this would make a great witness to my niece, who’s I hope is going with me because my sister-in-law is already saved. Praise God for that! There’s many others though I need to try again to reach. This would make a wonderful witness and I don’t understand why more Christians aren’t interested in it.

Oh! Now I remember. The radio carbon dating. Well, give it up because Sue Benford and the Scientists from Los Alamos Lab. showed the re-weaving of the cloth done in the exact place they chose for the samples! Ohm; they couldn’t have picked a worse place to date it from “IF THEY HAD TRIED!” Not saying…I’m just sayin’… ya know?

An interesting fellow brother in Christ.

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There’s a series of videos, for those interested in the subject, on how the New Testament Jews would have understood Jesus according to the First Testament Scriptures. I believe there are four in total with Michael Heiser teaching classes at Grace Church Bellingham that are recorded on Vimeo. Well worth watching, especially since you can skip the background noise of Youtube. That’s a very good thing indeed! Heiser’s explanations are clear and very easy to understand and listen to. Heiser’s personal biography will show you that he doesn’t take himself too seriously, although he’d be justified in doing so. In fact, he’s probably a down right fun scholar to learn from. He’s certainly admired by me!…and we share a common interest as listed below.  Heiser’s Vimeo Series is available here.

Heiser has also tackled the subject of UFO’s. You heard me right. UFO’s were once something I followed closely. Well, to say once sounds like I watched a few specials or Youtube videos. No, I spent decades, as in close to two, chasing everything I could find about the subject. My thoughts–Ufo’s are real–they are interdimensional–and they are from God. Whether we could call them good angels or bad angels is not for me to decide. They’re just there working God’s will and that’s good enough for me. I don’t see an alien antichrist who’s going to take over the world in a one world government conspiracy—no alien invasion. You can check out Heiser’s opinion, part of his Bio, interests and other credentials here.

Heiser’s Personal Biography.

“This do in remembrance of Me.”

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“This do in remembrance of Me.” Did you partake of the Lord’s Supper this year?

Easter Bunnies–No. Passover Lamb–Yes!

Although it’s very hard to do, I made myself watch “The Passion of the Christ” yesterday and I cried and cried with heartache and humility. It’s the story of God’s love for His creation and for that I am eternally grateful! It does have a happy ending and I’ll be celebrating it tomorrow!

I believe the Church has matured enough to realize that no one “took” Jesus life, as He testifies to Himself.

Jhn 10:17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.

Jhn 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

Thank you, Lord, for laying down Your life for me and thank you for the resurrection unto life!

Odd Turn of Phrases

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“A rolling stone gathers no moss”

What’s wrong with a little fungus? Ever heard of Penicillin?

 

“The road less traveled”

Is usually a long detour full of pot holes.

 

“Though this be madness, yet there is method in it”

I prefer a sound mind over methodology.

 

“You’ve lost your marbles”

The kids probably picked them up to play with.

 

“Read between the lines”

So that’s why I had so much trouble in history class.

 

“It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”

You just described my state of mind.

 

“Many a true word is spoken in jest”

Do I look like I’m laughing?

 

“Milk of human kindness”

Got milk? It does others good.

 

“Paddle your own canoe”

Because mine’s full of holes and sinking.

 

“A picture is worth a thousand words”

Sometimes one word says it all.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand dollars!

 

“A place for everything and everything in it’s place”

I haven’t been to a museum in a very long time.

 

“Play fast and loose”

It’s the only way to keep the ping-pong ball in play.

 

“Pot calling the kettle black”

Spoon calling the fork silverware.

 

“Preaching to the choir”

With your back to them? How rude!

 

“Put a sock in it”

But once it goes in the dryer you’ll never see it again!

 

“Putting the cart before the horse”

Wouldn’t it take a lot longer for him to push it?

 

“Get off your high horse”

He’s headed straight for that low hanging limb!

 

“Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day”

Better make it thirty then.

 

“Give up the ghost”

Never! Run, Casper, and don’t ever let them see you here again!

 

“Go out on a limb”

Remember though, make the cut in front of you, not behind you!

 

“Graveyard shift”

Make heap-big headstones crack.

 

“Goody two-shoes”

I had no idea what happened to one of them; found it packed in my other suitcase!

 

 

Think about it, Jesus must have had opportunity to laugh!

 

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Powers in Heaven A. Segal

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Hey,

This is for anyone interested in pre-ordering a paperback edition of Alan Segal’s classic book, “Two Power’s in Heaven,” which is now available for you to pre-order at Amazon.  I added the link on my blog. 

It’s cheap at 32. dollars and some change!

 

 

God as He revealed Himself to the Patriarchs and the Israelites pt. 3

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We left off at Genesis, chapter 18. The two angels who were with Abraham and the LORD have gone on ahead to Sodom and Abraham and the LORD have concluded their conversation. We’re looking at Genesis, chapter 19 with the angels arriving at Sodom in the evening.

Gen 19:1-3 “The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.”

These are the same two angels who accompanied the LORD to Abraham’s dwelling place and spent the day in his company. Remember that they had dined with Abraham and yet here they’re getting ready to eat again. Either their visit with Abraham wasn’t a that short a visit or they walked a good distance to Sodom arriving just at evening time. If anyone knows where Abraham was and how far Sodom would be from there please leave me word.  These two angels appear to Lot as men who need to wash their feet and take shelter for the night. It’s reasonable that Lot knew they were angels but that’s not explicitly stated. The text tells us they were angels. Eastern hospitality is such that strangers are welcomed to take shelter and provision as they travel. Lot doesn’t dare let them spend the night in the town square as he knows full well the perverted happening going in the city he chose to reside in. Scripture doesn’t tell us why he chose to stay so we can’t even speculate. Well, we could speculate but we’re not going to. So Lot strongly persuades them to come into his home and he prepares a feast and bakes unleavened bread and they eat again.

Gen. 19:4-11

Before they all lay down to sleep, the men of Sodom surround the house and want Lot to bring the new kids on the block outside so they can get to know the strangers intimately let’s say… Not only is that desire a gross violation of the natural order that God ordained, it’s also a gross injustice to strangers who have taken shelter for the night. God has full knowledge of the wickedness going on and it seems the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain had “reached it’s full measure of wickedness” and their destruction was already decreed. These two strangers are no ordinary men as they strike the townsfolk blind in an instant and pull Lot back inside the house.

Gen 19:12-14 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place.  For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”  So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the LORD is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

In the previous chapter, 18, we heard the LORD saying to Abraham “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.” The angels go ahead of the LORD but He will “go down to see” for Himself. The language used in chapter 18 should sound familiar as it is very reminiscent of the tower of Babel incident. The LORD says to Abraham that He’s heading down to Sodom and now we have the angels saying to Lot that the outcry against the citizens of Sodom is great before the LORD and they are about to destroy it. I’m not sure what took place in between the time that Lot went out of the house to his sons-in-laws in order to save them, but the next we hear dawn is breaking and time is running out!  Perhaps he was packing up what he could.  We know from later verses that they had wine so I imagine they escaped with provisions.

Gen 19:15 As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.”

Gen 19:16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.

Gen 19:17 And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”

Gen 19:18 And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords.  Gen 19:19 Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die.

Gen 19:20 Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there–is it not a little one?–and my life will be saved!”

Gen 19:21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken.

Things have begun to get a bit muddied here. It seems to me that there’s more than meets the eye going on in this discourse with Lot. In verse 19:17 we read that “one said” for Lot to escape and not to look back lest he’s swept up in judgement with them. Perhaps Lot’s to old to traverse the steep hills very well and so he requests permission to flee to a “little” town that’s nearer but still far enough away from Sodom. Lot’s probably reckoning that it’s only Sodom that’s targeted for destruction.  That’s just speculation of course.  The request is granted but by whom? The text in verse 21 says only that “He said to him.” We don’t know who He is but considering the answer given to Lot I would venture to say it’s the LORD speaking to him. Who was it that granted Lot favor in the first place? It was the LORD and He’s already whittled the number down from ten to four in Lot’s favor and then He speaks exactly what He did to Abraham: “I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. ”

It seems apparent to me that the LORD has met up with the two angels and Lot.

Gen 19:22-23  Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar (little). The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar.

The LORD has done better than He had promised Abraham. Four souls were put outside the city destined for destruction.

Gen 19:24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven.

Gen 19:25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

In verses 24-25 we have the same LORD that told Abraham just the day before of His purpose to destroy the cities of the plain and here we have the LORD raining down sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. The LORD who came to render judgment who is the Judge of all the earth, the same LORD who came to Abraham in the likeness of a Man, is working in concert with the will of the LORD who is in heaven. Isn’t that exactly what the text says? The peshat is that there are two who are both YHWH. They are separate but they’re not. The will of the one is the will of the other.  There is the LORD in heaven, whose face no one can behold, and there is the LORD who manifests Himself on earth. That’s what’s written in those Scripture verses. God wants to make sure we really get it so He elaborates even more in the next verses. Regrettably we all know what happened to Lot’s wife.

Gen 19:27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD.

Gen 19:28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.

We see Abraham standing in the same place where he was the day before, the text says, “where he had stood before the LORD.” Abraham beholds the utter destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain. I have a feeling that Abraham trusted God even then that He had taken Lot and his family out first.

Gen 19:29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.

The author of Genesis wrote all that the LORD commanded him to write. The verse reads, “when God destroyed the cities…God remembered Abraham…when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.” The Man who stood before Abraham is the LORD and we see here that He is God. The LORD who is in heaven is God. The words of Jesus explain it well:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

I hope those of you reading this with scepticism will pause and ask yourselves an important question. Do our Scriptures mean what they say? Is there any reason to add to the Word of God? Is there any reason to subtract from it? Is there any reason at all to invent a artificial nomenclature to explain what the plain text is clearly saying? You won’t find “Metatron” anywhere in the peshat no matter where you look. There is no such entity. Are the statements made by Jesus any different than the chapters we’ve just looked at which outline two YHWH’s, with a clear distinction being made between YHWH in heaven and YHWH who visits mankind; yet both are God?  No. Jesus is merely expounding on what the Jews should have already known. Some did know. They recognized the truth that Jesus spoke and they went on to take the message of God’s salvation through God, the Father’s Son, to the ends of the earth! ”

Jhn 8:56-57

“Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”

“I speak the truth, Before Abraham was, I am.”

Jhn 10:30 “I and the Father are One.” 

   
   

God as He revealed Himself to the Patriarchs and the Israelites (pt. 2)

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I’ve decided not to write my posts in chronological order as they are given in the Bible. I prefer to bring out the most obvious and profound first and then we’ll look at the many others which substantiate them. I’ll come back to other accounts in the book of Genesis a bit later and then look into the revelatory Scriptures which portray the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as he is. I’ll post previous passages as well as those in the writings and the prophets. (God willing)

In Genesis 18 and 19 we have forever recorded for us the story of the LORD and two other men who dined with Abraham before the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah. The first thing we’re told is that the LORD appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent to cool off in the heat of the day. After the opening statement, the text goes on to elaborate that there are actually three men who have come to visit. Abraham, upon noticing them, runs to greet them and he bows himself to the ground before them. He naturally invites them to rest themselves while he makes preparation for them to refresh themselves and share a meal. Abraham has one of his servants dress the best of his herd as quickly as possible while his wife, Sarah, makes ready some bread cakes. When we begin reading our Scripture as it was written we are sure that this is not a case of mistaken identity. These travelers are most definitely recognized as men who need to wash their feet and they can all eat real food, so we know that they are not spirits as all three have form and substance and they all partake of refreshment, as any man would. Moses recorded that one of these men is YHWH.

Abraham sets before these men what we might refer to as yogurt with some milk together with the roasted meat and the three of them ate while Abraham stood under the shade of a tree next to them. They inquire about Sarah and they’re informed that she is in the tent.  We are told in this chapter that one of those men is the LORD who then says to Abraham, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah, your wife, shall have a son.” Sarah, upon hearing this statement from the LORD, laughs in disbelief. The LORD then speaks again; Gen 18:13-14 – The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything [wonderful] too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” The LORD then speaks to Sarah after she denied having laughed, in fact she had spoken falsely to the LORD and now she was afraid. The LORD assured her that he had heard her and he said to Sarah, “Yes, you did laugh.” 

We then have all three men setting out on their way to Sodom and Gomorrah with Abraham walking with them. In verses 17-21, the LORD has Moses record what is either his private thoughts or those spoken to the other two men as to whether or not he should tell Abraham the reason for their going to the cities of the plain. In verse 19, the LORD elaborates on the reason he chose to do so. The man who is the LORD says of Abraham, “For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

There seems to be a grammatical error in these passages. First, we have the man standing with Abraham who speaks using the first person pronoun, “I“, yet in the same breath, in the same verse, the one speaking switches to “that the LORD may bring…what ‘he‘ has promised him.” That is curious indeed because I thought it was the LORD who was speaking, yet we have this same LORD referring to “the LORD” as bringing what “he” had promised. Not what “I” have promised but what “he” had promised. The one speaking is most definitely YHWH, yet he speaks of another YHWH who will bring about what he has promised.  It seems to me that there are two YHWH’s referenced in one sentence. I have no doubt that Moses recorded everything exactly as the LORD commanded him to write it down while they conversed at Mt. Sinai. We’ll have to save that encounter for another time.

After the LORD tells Abraham why they are headed down to Sodom and Gomorrah, we have two of the men continuing on while Abraham remains standing next to the LORD, drawing even nearer to him, they begin their conversation.

Gen 18:22 So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD.

The conversation that ensues between Abraham and YHWH is forever recorded in Scripture for all the world to read about. Abraham is reasoning with the LORD concerning the lives of the righteous, specifically for the life of his nephew, Lot, and his family. This is a real conversation with a real man who has just dined with Abraham and Sarah and this man is YHWH, as we are told he is. The text tells us what God wants us to know, which is that Abraham is standing next to a man who is also the LORD and he’s talking to him face to face. The highlights of the conversation begins in verse 23.

Abraham speaks to the one next to him, who we’ve already determined is the man, YHWH, saying, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” 

In verse 24 the countdown begins. Abraham asks the LORD, “Suppose there are fifty righteous…will you…not spare it..?”

In verse 25, Abraham is pleading with the Judge of all the earth when he says to him, “Far be it from you to do such a thing!…Far be that from you!” 

26: And the LORD said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

The exchange continues with Abraham humbling himself, yet being brave enough to speak for the sake of his family and the righteous, so he says: 

27 and 28: “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, (Adonai) I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” 

To which YHWH, who is referenced now as Adonai, responds: “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”

29: Abraham speaks: “Suppose forty are found there.”

 YHWH answers: “For the sake of forty I will not do it.”

30: Abraham says, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.”

YHWH/Adonai answers: “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.”

31: “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” 

YHWH/Adonai answers: “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.”

32: “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.”

Adonai, the same YHWH who has been conversing with him all along, answers: “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”

Verse 33 in Genesis 18 concludes the conversation between Abraham and YHWH/Adonai. It’s recorded for us like this:

“And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.”

What just transpired can only be understood as a conversation just like any other two people might have with each other. There is an exchange with questions and answers between two men speaking and communing together. These men are Abraham and YHWH. The Man, YHWH, has attributed to him “The Name” of the God of Israel, the authority to judge and the power to destroy the cities of the plain.  He is referred to by Abraham as the Judge of all the earth.  Yet we have to take into account the change that occurs in the personal pronouns.  I am not a scholar of the Hebrew language, but there seems to be a mix up in the use of them when we read it like it is written.  We have YHWH, who is speaking in Genesis 18:19, saying, “for I have chosen him” and then the personal pronoun switches and the verse reads:  “that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”  The one speaking does not say “so that I may bring to Abraham what I have promised.  Anyone?  It appears to me, and perhaps other careful readers of Scripture, that there are two YHWH’s spoken of in the same sentence. 

If anyone cares to share their understanding of the exchange, feel free to give your interpretation of what you believe it does or doesn’t say. Christians/Messianics are accused of inserting the eternal Son, Immanuel (God with us), into First Testament Scripture here and there in order to make our case, but the only way to uphold that accusation is if we blatantly deny what is written.  I would say that the ancient revelation to the Patriarchs, in this case, Abraham, “is what it is” and the Messianic Revelation of Jesus as one with the Father, as He revealed Himself to be, was believed by the first century Jews living in Jerusalem exactly because it is in keeping with Genesis 18 as well as many other Scriptures that say the same. The idea of two who are both YHWH, being distinct yet equal is not a later Christian/Messianic heretical addition to any of the texts of Scripture and that will become more evident as we proceed.

In order to keep the posts more manageable, I’ll come back and look at chapter 19 another time. I hope I’ve encouraged others to read those verses for what they say, exactly as they are written without inventing any artificially contrived explanation for them.  Let the truth of Scripture speak for itself, or in this case, let YHWH speak for Himself!  God willing I’ll continue as soon as possible.

Blessing to all of you reading and contemplating the profound truth of Genesis 18 as the LORD had Moses record it for us. 🙂

Speaking of the Internet…

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A bit of humor to brighten your day!

I was prompted by a recent post on a friend’s blog to share with you something I posted on the internet, but then this would only apply to those of us who actually put our real names and identities out there.   So, the funniest thing just came to my attention.  I sometimes misspell the same words over and over again, although in this case it was the same convoluted idea of two similar words with similar meanings and spellings, I don’t know if that happens to you that often, but it sure proved to be embarrassing!   Case in point on the funny thing is that I created a written conflation and joined the ranks of Sarah Palin!  Now you would think that that’s an innocent enough mistake but when I Googled the same conflated word, lo and behold it brought up the exact URL where I had committed it to the WWW forever!   🙂  Yes indeed!  And don’t you know I was the only poor soul listed at the top of the page who ever used that particular conflation!  I’m not one in several million anymore, as I stick out like a sore thumb for all the world to see as I have my very own Palinization eternally etched in the quadrillions of bits and bites on the WWW!    So, unless we experience a phenomenal electro-magnetic pulse that wipes every bit of the circuitry clean, there I’ll be, all alone at the top of the list!  

No, I’m not going to give it out but if you ever stumble across it, please remember me kindly…you never know if you’ll be the next victim of a non-discriminatory and downright embarrassing faux pas on the WWW!  

Palinization?  Did I just do it again?!  😀

God as He revealed Himself to the Patriarchs and the Israelites (pt. 1)

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Introduction:

There is a distinct figure who makes his initial appearance in the book of Genesis and this person’s appearances only grow more complex as we progress through Scripture. We find him identified at times as the Angel of the Lord, other times he appears, at first, to be as any other man until the perception of who this person truly is is realized by those who find themselves in his presence. They acknowledge with their eyes, as the written testimony attests to in our Scriptures, that they have seen a man and often he is received as any other stranger would be. However, the progressive revelation as is recorded for us is that they soon, or shortly thereafter, realize that they have certainly entertained the LORD.

This figure appears throughout Scripture in manifestation as a Man who is also declared to be an Angel and who is ultimately understood by those who encounter Him to be none other than God. Scripture is not duplicitous and it is not meant to be one great big secret, otherwise God did not succeed in making Himself known to mankind. There is no problem in understanding the written word as God dictated it, the problem is only in the refusal of some to believe what is written and what they have read. Absolute honesty is all that’s required and is necessary in order for us to accept the implications, whatever they may be, of all that has been presented to us by those God chose to record it. What is presented is the absolute truth as God revealed it to all of mankind. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob walked, talked and dined with the Patriarchs, Moses and the Elders of Israel as well as appearing to others. He appeared in various roles and at different times throughout the early history of Israel. That He did appear in a definite form, as it is forever recorded in Scripture by His faithful servant, should be read and understood by all of us exactly as the Lord wanted it preserved. The written word of Scripture is the vehicle by which God chose to reveal Himself to all of mankind. To deny the witness of Scripture is to confess that we don’t really know Him as He truly is.

I’ll elaborate more fully soon, God willing, with the evidence based on the written word that God gave to mankind by way of the Nation that He chose to faithfully preserve the Scriptures for all of us . No doubt I’ll interject my personal musings born out of rational interpretation and critical thinking, of course.  🙂 

I want to look at the messenger of the covenant who initiated the blood covenants with the Patriarchs together with the promises to them.  Then we’ll meet the messenger of the covenant initiated with all of Israel after the exodus from Egypt.

I’ll give my thoughts on what it was that Abraham must have taught his descendants and why the Lord trusted that he would do exactly that.

There’s so much to talk about and I’m constantly amazed by all the Lord has revealed to us through His Scriptures!

Feel free to bring your own thoughts to the discussion, whether for or against, (as long as you abide by the commenting rules) and we’ll talk about it together.

To God be the Glory–great things He has done!

I’ve just committed myself to writing even more!

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Well, here goes!  I’m writing my first post on my very own blog and I’m at a loss as to what to say–never thought you’d hear that from me did you?  🙂  We’ll see how it goes as time progresses.