Shalom all, as I begin writing this article I need to remind you, the reader, to keep an open mind on these very misinterpreted chapters in the English bible. I am talking about Genesis 18 and 19. I recently watched a Benny Hinn program with Dr. Michael Brown as a guest and who made a reference to these chapters saying that YHWH and two Angels visited Abraham. I was a little shocked to say the least because Dr.Brown is a Hebrew scholar and for him to make such a statement is beyond misinformed. I know what many of you must be thinking, “But Dr.Brown is right, there were two Angels with YHWH.” But is this really true according to the Hebrew? I say no it is not and Dr.Brown like many other have ignored the Hebrew and have decided to follow tradition rather then the Hebrew bible. Let me explain, I am about to show you that not only was one messenger YHWH but also the other two messengers were YHWH as well. These two chapter are proof texts for the plural persons of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We will be looking at the English and Hebrew translation to show you the truth that has been buried with man made tradition. Dr.Brown is also guilty of this wrongful and gross misunderstanding by rejecting this view and the Hebrew that shows it.
Let us begin with Genesis chapter 18 and verse 1.
“And YHWH appeared…” (Genesis 18:1)
The Hebrew word for “appeared” means to literally be seen and to present oneself. This means that YHWH visibly appeared to Abraham but what did Abraham see?
“And he (Abraham) lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw [them], he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,” (Genesis 18:2)
We read that Abraham lifted up his eyes to see three men standing by him and ran to meet THEM and prostrated himself to the ground as an act of worship. Is this how you greet two Angels with YHWH? Abraham greeted them all the same and the next verse is astonishing.
“And said, YHWH, if now I have found favor (grace in Hebrew) in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:” (Genesis 18:3)
Your English translation will not have the name of God but will probably say, “my Lord or Lords” This is not the correct translation for this verse. The Hebrew is Adonai with the Hebrew qamets vowel which is ONLY used for YHWH and only YHWH. The Scriptures Bible translates this verse correctly with the name YHWH in the passage. Many Jewish commentaries on this verse try to explain this by saying that Abraham was only addressing YHWH and not the two messengers but as we will see that is not the case.
I need to explain that when the Hebrew bible was being written by the Masoretes they made changes to the word YHWH and replaced the name with Adonai with the vowel qamets so that when you read Adonai with qamets you were reading a place in the passage with the name of God namely YHWH. This was noted in their margins for preferred reading. These changes were noted by Jewish and Hebrew scholar Dr.Christian D.Ginsberg. In a 134 places the Scribes removed the name YHWH and substituted with Adonai with qamets. In a further 8 places the name YHWH was replaced by the term Elohim. These changes have been collected by Dr.Ginsberg in his book, Introduction to the Messorectico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible, Ktav publishing House Inc. New York. So in Genesis 18:3 you should be reading YHWH and not “my Lord or Lords”. Let us now continue.
“And THEY said,” (Genesis 18:5)
In verse 5 we read “they said” but who is the THEY? It appears that all three are speaking in one voice. This type of conversation only happens in the Bible when God or YHWH speaks. In Exodus Moses heard VOICES plural from the mountain. We see this again in verse 9 after Abraham brought THEM food and stood by THEM as they ate.
“And THEY said unto him, Where [is] Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.” (Genesis 18:9)
Here they speak again in one voice and ask for Sarah his wife. How can Angels speak in one voice with YHWH? This is unheard of in the Hebrew bible. No such thing happens. Only YHWH speaks this way in a plural voice. In verse 10 we read that YHWH speaks as a singular person as well.
“And HE said,” (Genesis 18:10)
YHWH then asks why his wife Sarah laughed when He told him that He would return when he had his son. We now know that YHWH is really present with them but again the question asked is, how many YHWH’s are there? We see so far that all three speak as one voice and at least one of them is actually YHWH who speaks. Let us now continue.
“And YHWH said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;” (Genesis 18:17)
Here we read YHWH asking a question to the other two messengers but it is only YHWH who answers himself in verse 20. YHWH then says HE will go down to Sodom and Gamorah in verse 21.
“Please! I shall descend and I shall see? (YHWH speaking) And see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.” (Genesis 18:21)
Here YHWH answers but does he answer himself or is he talking to the two messenger that HE will go down? In verse 22 the two men went toward Sodom and YHWH stood with Abraham. Why did YHWH say he was going but didn’t? Let us continue reading.
“And YHWH went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.” (Genesis 18:33)
After Abraham finished pleading and negotiating with YHWH about how many righteous people could be in Sodom YHWH went away. The only ones left where Abraham and the two messengers who left to Sodom. When the two messengers arrived at Sodom Lot did something unusual.
“And there came two messengers to Sodom at evening; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing [them] rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;” (Genesis 19:1)
Lot went to meet them and when he did he did what Abraham did, Lot bowed himself with his face to the ground and the two messengers let him. The messengers never told him to rise because they were only Angels. They excepted the worship as before with Abraham. Lot then asked them to stay as did Abraham. The two messengers then spoke as one again in verse 2.
“And THEY said, No; but we will abide in the open square all night.” (Genesis 19:2)
It isn’t until verse 13 and following were things become interesting and clear to the reader of who these two men and messengers are.
“For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is grown great before the face of the YHWH; and YHWH hath sent us to destroy it.” (Genesis 19:13)
In this verse the two messengers explain that they were sent to destroy the city by YHWH because the sins of Sodom are great before the face of YHWH. Does this verse prove that the two messengers are just messengers and not YHWH? Let us continue.
“And it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind, neither stay anywhere in the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.” (Genesis 19:17)
When the two messengers took them outside the city and told Lot and his family to flee Lot answered them and addressed them by the name YHWH and said if he was THEIR servant and if he found grace in THEIR eyes then they would spare him and his family in order to make it to the mountain.
“And Lot said TO THEM, Oh no, YHWH: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:” (Genesis 19;18-19)
Lot addressed THEM as YHWH according to this verse and according to Dr.C.D. Ginsberg. This was one of the verses that was changed from YHWH to Adonai with qamets. Out of the 142 places this was one of them along with Genesis 18:3. There should be no doubt of this change since it was discovered in the margins of the MT Hebrew scripts. The two messengers reply and tell Lot that he has found grace in their eyes and that they cannot destroy the city until they arrive safely in the city called Zoar. There is NO place in the entire Hebrew bible where mere Angels or created beings can give grace like they did unless they are YHWH. This grace passage is the same one that was spoken by Abraham to YHWH and now the messengers respond with grace to Lot. Either these men are YHWH or the name YHWH has no special meaning and anyone can take the name and apply it to themselves in the bible. The very next verse tells you who these men are.
“Then YHWH rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from YHWH out of heaven;” (Genesis 19:24)
There should be little doubt that these two messengers and men were YHWH who rained down fire and brimstone from YHWH in heaven since YHWH left Abraham and went back to heaven. ALL of the evidence for three men who were ALL called YHWH is overwhelming. The Hebrew bible and the Jewish Hebrew scholar Dr.Ginsberg makes note of the changes in the MT which puts these men to be more then just Angels or mere messengers as many suggest.
FINAL NOTE: The word used in the English bibles for these men are Angels which is a Greek term and not a Hebrew word. The word literally in Hebrew is Malak and means Messenger and not Angel. The term Malak and even Angel can be used of anyone including YHWH himself in Genesis 16 by Hagar and in Genesis 22 where the Messenger of YHWH is the one who blesses Abraham and takes credit for everything Abraham is about to do and accomplish in obeying his voice. Do not let anyone tell you different in regard to who these men were who appeared to Abraham. They were YHWH as ONE and revealed themselves as men and messengers.
Jewish books written during the captivity in Babylon in 536 B.C. to the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70 taught the mystery of the YHWH based on this very passage in Deuteronomy 6:4. The Zohar teaches:
“We have said in many places, that this daily form of prayer is one of those passages concerning the Unity, which is taught in the Scriptures. In Deut. 6:4, we read first YHWH, then, our God, and again, YHWH, which together make one Unity. But how can three Names [three beings] be one? Are they verily one, because we call them one? How three can be one can only be known through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, and, in fact, with closed eyes. This is also the mystery of the voice. The voice is heard only as one sound, yet it consists of three substances, fire, wind, and water, but all three are one, as indicated through the mystery of the voice. Thus are (Deut. 6:4) YHWH our-Elohim, YHWH is one!,’ but One Unity, three Substantive Beings which are One; and this is indicated by the voice which are One; and this is indicated by the voice which a person uses in reading the words, ‘Hear, O Israel,’ thereby comprehending with the understanding the most perfect Unity of Him who is infinite; because all three (YHWH, Elohim, YHWH) are read with one voice, which indicates a Trinity.”
Genesis 19:24 – “And the Word of the Lord Himself had made to descend upon the people of Sedom and Amorah showers of favour, that they might work repentance from their wicked works. But when they saw the showers of favour, they said, So, our wicked works are not manifest before Him. He turned (then), and caused to descend upon them bitumen and fire from before the Lord from the heavens” (Jerusalem Targum, translated by J. W. Etheridge).
We also must remember that we are created (bara\shape and form) in God’s image and likeness and the Hebrew defines these words as “shape and form” These Hebrew words tell us what God looks like because we are in HIS shape and form. We resemble HIM and are in HIS figure. These words are used in the Hebrew bible to describe making idols which are in the image and likeness of the thing that is being made. Should it be a surprise that YHWH God appears in human form? We are in HIS shape and form and NOT the other way around.
THE NAME YHWH
When we look at the Hebrew name YHWH it literally means “He Exists” but in Hebrew words can be divided up to represent a deeper meaning. In Hebrew the Yod and Hey can be used for the name of God namely YHWH all by themselves. I can write, for example, the Yod and that Hebrew letter can mean YHWH or the letter Hey would do the same. Each of those letters by themselves can represent the name of God, YHWH. Just like the Hebrew letter Chet alone means “Life”. So if we separate the name YHWH we can see three YHWH in the very name, see below.
W=and in Hebrew
“Eliezer’s father said to him: Come and see the mystery of the word, Y’H’W’H: there are three steps, each existing by itself; nevertheless they are One, and so united that one cannot be separated from the other.” (Zohar, vol. iii., p.65, Amsterdam Edition)
The three letters ALL represent YHWH with the Waw in Hebrew which means “and”. YHWH, YHWH And YHWH is what we read when we space the letters. Only individuals who are deep in the ancient Hebrew will confirm what I just stated. The common practice of spacing and using letters in Hebrew even as numbers are used by Rabbi’s and scholars in Israel. They are rarely used here in the West by Hebrew scholars including Dr.Brown who is outdated in his research. If you have further questions regarding this article please feel free to contact me at the bottom for further discussion. Thank you and shalom
Al Garza PhD
The Hebrew Institute.com