Who were the 3 visitors of Abraham.

It is claimed by many Christians that 1 of the 3 men that appeared to Abraham was the pre incarnate Jesus known as a Christophany.

The story in question is found in chapter 18 of Genesis.

Abraham is visited by 3 men. They stay with Abraham a while, before heading towards Sodom.

It is verse 22 specifically that is used as evidence that the man was Jesus.

Genesis 18- 22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

We are told that while 2 of the men leave 1 remains behind and it is stated that Abraham stood yet with the LORD.

The LORD here being the Hebrew יְהוָֽה YHWH otherwise known as the tetragrammaton

So it is claimed that one of the men, the man that remained with Abraham was actually Jesus.

Obviously the verse does not say that  this was Jesus but YHWH.

Now we know that no man has ever seen God

John 1-18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Those that claim that this is Jesus will point to the fact that it is the son who declares him and so this must have been Jesus.

There are many problems with this understanding

The first being that this clearly states YHWH and not Jesus or the son. Jesus is never referred to as YHWH.  The son is being read back into this verse based on the belief that the son is part of God.

Of course we also have the problem that we are told nobody has seen GOD, it does not say nobody has seen the father. Jesus is meant to be God and so how can Jesus be seen if Jesus is God and yet nobody has seen God.  The son declares GOD, he does not declare the father.

Also this is before Jesus had been “incarnated” in his human body so we must ask as to which body Jesus was using here. If it is another body then he was incarnated before his incarnation. If it is the same body that died and resurrected then we have the body literally existing before it existed.  

However i believe that the text itself disproves the understanding and when we analyse the story in more detail we find that this postulation just doesn’t add up.

It is very clear that Abraham speaks to the man who remains with him as if he were indeed YHWH.

Genesis 18-  23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

The man also speaks to Abraham in the first person as YHWH.

Genesis 18- 26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes

However, while Abraham is talking to the LORD the LORD tells him of his plan to destroy Sodom. The LORD very clearly and specifically states that HE will go to Sodom.

Genesis 18-  21I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

Now we know that the other two men who were with Abraham were the ones who actually went to Sodom.

Just as the man who remained talking to Abraham represented YHWH talking to Abraham the 2 men who were with Abraham who left to go to Sodom represent YHWH going to Sodom.

While the men were at Sodom they declared that THEY were going to destroy the city having been SENT by YHWH to destroy it.

Genesis 19-  13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it

So the correct understanding here is that men destroying the city having been sent by YHWH to destroy it was as if YHWH himself would destroy the city.

And this is exactly how Lot understood this declaration. He understood perfectly that the men declaring that they intended to destroy the city having been sent by YHWH meant that it was YHWH who would destroy the city. He told his family that it was YHWH who was going to destroy the city even though the men had stated that it was THEM that would destroy it.

Genesis 19- 14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

Then we see that YHWH rained fire from YHWH out of heaven.

Genesis 19- 24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;

The men who were representing YHWH are referred to as YHWH and they rained brimstone and fire out of heaven from YHWH who was in heaven. There are not 2 YHWH’s here. There is the actual YHWH and his representatives.

Furthermore we also know that 2 of the men who were with Abraham, the 2 men who went to Sodom were in fact not really men at all but rather they were angels.

Genesis 19- 1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; 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;

The word angels here is הַמַּלְאָכִ֤ים ham-mal-’ā-ḵîm from  מֲלְאָךְ malak which is angel (messenger). They are 2 messengers from God.

The 2 angels are again referred to as men when they ask Lot a question

Genesis 19- 12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place:

The 2 visitors being referred to as both angels and men interchangeably. The 2 angels were obviously in the form of men but clearly angels.

Although the man who stayed and talked to Abraham is never directly referred to as an angel there is absolutely no reason to assume that he was in any way different than the other two men who were angels yet also represented YHWH.

At the beginning of the story we are told that the LORD appeared to Abraham

Genesis 18-1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

We see that the appearing of the LORD to Abraham was in the form of 3 men.

Genesis 18 –2 And he 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,

Abraham understood straight away that these 3 men represented the LORD. Abraham ran to meet THEM.  

Abraham bowed to the men.

Bowed being the Hebrew שָׁחָה shachah

As already stated it is claimed that only one of the men was in fact YHWH.  It is claimed that Abraham only bowed to one of the men, the one who talked to Abraham after the other two men left for Sodom.

However the claim that Abraham only bowed to one of the men is never stated in the scriptures, it is only assumed because of the preconceived belief that one of the men was Jesus.

The claim is totally disproved when we see that the other two men were in fact also bowed to, by Lot when he greeted them at the gates of Sodom.

Genesis 19-1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; 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;

This also is the Hebrew שָׁחָה shachah

Even if we say that Abraham bowed only to one man.

Lot bows to the other 2 men in the same way that Abraham bowed.

Abraham calls the men his Lord and he also refers to himself as THY SERVANT and that you have come to your servant.

Genesis 18-  3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant.

The word Lord as to which Abraham refers to the 3 men is the Hebrew אֲדֹנָ֗י ’ă-ḏō-nāy, ,

When Lot addressed the angels directly he also called them Lord

Genesis 19- 18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord:

Again we see that lot referred to the 2 man as יאֲדֹנָ֗י ’ă-ḏō-nāy,

Unlike what is claimed by those that say just one man was YHWH it is very clear from this passage that Abraham entreated the 3 men as being YHWH his Lord.  He made no distinction between the 3 men, neither did he speak to just one or refer to only one of them as YHWH or Lord.

Abraham also addresses the one man alone as Lord

Genesis 18-  27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:

Again Abraham uses the word  אֲדֹנָֽי ’ă-ḏō-nāy.

When correctly understood the passage only further highlights that those who represented YHWH were referred to as YHWH, being YHWH in representation.

All three men are referred to as being YHWH.

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