Saturday, January 21, 2017

CHRISTOPHANIES IN THE TORAH





There is a wealth of evidence for the appearances of a Messianic God person in the Five Books of Moses, the Torah.

Often, the Christophany (or Theophany) is labelled as the “Angel of the Lord.” Interestingly, in each one of His appearances, there is evidence that He is God. Take the first one:

·       The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” And the angel of the LORD said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction. He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” (Genesis 16:7-13; ESV)

Here, the Angel of the Lord is identified as the “LORD,” “Yahweh” in Hebrew. After this:

·       The LORD [“Yahweh”] appeared to him [Abraham] by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. (Genesis 18:1)

Please note that Yahweh the Father appears to no one (Exodus 33:20). Therefore, this is a Christophany, Yahweh the Son.  After “Yahweh’s” two accompanying angels went down to Sodom, Abraham petitioned Him. After this:

·       And the LORD [“Yahweh”] went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place. (Genesis 18:33)

Jacob later wrestled with a man, whom he later understood was God:

·       So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” (Genesis 32:30)

Later, Jacob identified God as the “Angel” with whom he had wrestled:

·       And he [Jacob] blessed Joseph and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys; and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” (Genesis 48:15-16)

Then the Angel appeared to Moses in the midst of the burning bush in the middle of the desert:

·       And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Exodus 3:2-4)

Notice that this Angel is also called “LORD” [“Yahweh”] and “God.” All of these appearances provide us with evidence that God or “Yahweh” is not as the present-day rabbi’s claim. Instead, these appearances of a Messianic figure provide us with evidence of the Trinity.

The Angel continually appears. He was the One who brought Israel out of Egypt:

·       When we cried out to the Lord, He heard our voice and sent the Angel and brought us up out of Egypt. (Numbers 20:16)

However, other verses claim that it was God who brought Israel out of Egypt. Again, it seems that the Angel Himself is God, but as another Person.

Likewise, God is often identified as the “redeemer of Israel.” However, at closer examination, it seems that the “Angel of His Presence” had “saved” and “redeemed” Israel:

·       In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old. (Isaiah 63:9)

Is this a contradiction? Not unless this Angel is God Himself! Here is further evidence. God the Father claimed that He could never be seen:  

·       But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” (Exodus 33:20; 1 Timothy 6:16)

Nevertheless, God was seen:

  • So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. (Exodus 33:11)

·       And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” (Numbers 12:6-8)

This sounds like a contradiction, unless Moses had seen God the Angel, the second Person of the Trinity.

Elsewhere, God says:

·       "Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him… For My Angel will go before you… and I will cut them off.” (Exodus 23:20-23)

If God’s “name” is in Him, this is the same as saying that “My essence or nature is in Him.” God the Father also makes a sharp distinction between Himself and His Angel (or “Messenger” – an alternate meaning of the same word, “malach”):

·       “And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people." (Exodus 33:2-3)

God, the Father, could not be in the presence of Israel. Therefore, He sent His Angel, the second Person of the Trinity to be with Israel.

Elsewhere, the Angel is mentioned interchangeably with God, suggesting that the Angel is also God:

·       And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. (Exodus 14:19)

·       Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians. (Exodus 14:24)

·       And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. (Exodus 13:21)

Therefore again, the Angel seems to be God Himself but in the form of another Person.

The rabbis and the various cults do not seem to want to engage this evidence. It simply will not accord with their worldview. However, these verses provide for us another glimpse of the Trinity in the Torah.

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