Abraham Rejoiced to See My Day
There are some who think, that the God of the Old Testament is a single “Person”, Namely, the Father; and that it was the Christians who invented the theology of “Trinitarianism”, which is the teaching that there is One Godhead, of Three distinct, but equal Persons, The Father and The Lord Jesus Christ, and The Holy Spirit. It is clear, however, from these three chapters in the First Book of the Holy Bible, Genesis, that there are Two distinct Persons, Who are Yahweh. This shows that the Jewish concept of God, is proven to be wrong from their own Book, and that the teaching that God is “Unitarian”, is false, and totally unbiblical.
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” The Jews replied, “You aren’t fifty years old yet, and you’ve seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple” (John 8:56-59)
I have no doubt that Jesus is here referring to His Appearing to Abraham in the 17-19 chapters of Genesis.
I am using the New World Translation of the Bible, which is published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, to show that their own version of the Bible, actually shows that there are TWO Distinct Persons in these chapters in Genesis, Who are YHWH.
Genesis 17, 18, 19 –
“ When Abram got to be ninety-nine years old, then Jehovah appeared to Abram and said to him: “I am God Almighty...With that God finished speaking with him and went up from Abraham... Afterward Jehovah appeared to him among the big trees of Mamre...there three men were standing some distance from him...Then he said: “Jehovah, if, now, I have found favor in your eyes, please do not pass by your servant...Let a little water be taken, please, and YOU must have YOUR feet washed. Then recline under the tree...Then he himself kept standing by them under the tree as they were eating...Then Jehovah said to Abraham: “Why was it that Sarah laughed, saying, ‘Shall I really and truly give birth although I have become old? Is anything too extraordinary for Jehovah? At the appointed time I shall return to you, next year at this time...Later the men got up from there and looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham was walking with them to escort them. And Jehovah said: “Am I keeping covered from Abraham what I am doing?... Consequently Jehovah said: “The cry of complaint about Sodom and Gomorrah, yes, it is loud, and their sin, yes, it is very heavy. I am quite determined to go down that I may see whether they act altogether according to the outcry over it that has come to me, and, if not, I can get to know it... but as for Jehovah, he was still standing before Abraham*. Then Abraham approached and began to say: “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked?...Then Jehovah said...But Abraham went on to answer and say: “Please, here I have taken upon myself to speak to Jehovah...But he continued: “May Jehovah...Please, here I have taken upon myself to speak to Jehovah...Finally he said: “May Jehovah...Then Jehovah went his way when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place... Then Jehovah made it rain sulphur and fire from Jehovah, from the heavens, upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah...Now Abraham made his way early in the morning to the place where he had stood before Jehovah”
Some argue that this is not an actual Visit from Yahweh to Abraham and Sarah, but a “dream”, or “vision” that Abraham had.
However, it is very clear from this passage, that Yahweh actually Visited Abraham in “Person”. In verse 2 we read, “The three “men (אֲנָשִׁים masculine, plural, “male persons”)” stood by Abraham, and he runs out to “meet” them, and “bowed himself toward the ground”. Then we read in verse 8, “they were eating”, the food that was given to them. We also read in verse 16, that, “Abraham was walking with them to escort them”. In verse 22, the reading adopted in the NWT, “but as for Jehovah, he was still standing before Abraham”, in 23, “then Abraham approached”. All this is clear, that Yahweh was actually present with Abraham and Sarah.
In chapter 19, verse 24, we have one of the clearest verses in the Old Testament, of TWO distinct Persons, Who are Yahweh.
“And the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire, from the Lord, out of heaven” (Leeser Version)
“From the Lord”, is “מֵאֵת מִן”, literally, “from with Yahweh”, as someone Who is distinct.
One “Yahweh” was on earth with Abraham and Sarah, and He calls on another “Yahweh”, Who is in heaven, to take action against Sodom and Gomorrah.
The Jewish Targum Neofiti reads:
“And the Memra (Word) of the Lord made sulphur and fire come down upon Sodom and Gomorrah from before the Lord, from the heavens”
The Jerusalem Targum reads:
“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”
Clearly that we have TWO distinct Persons, One Yahweh, Who is also “the Word”, Who Visited Abraham and Sarah, in “Person”; and the Other Who is called on, Who is in Heaven, Who is also Yahweh.
In the Jewish Targums, which are Aramaic paraphrases on the Old Testament Books, there is clear evidence that the God of the Old Testament, is not “IniPersonal”, or “Unitarian”. We have in many places, “the Memra, or Word”, of God, Who is a distinct Person to Yahweh, but Who is also Himself Yahweh. “The Word” is not in these passages, the “Spoken Word of God”, but Personal, as can be seen from many of the references. These passages are clear, that the God of the Old Testament is not a single “Person”, as here we have TWO Who are equally called Yahweh.
Genesis 17:1, Targum Neofiti, which dates from about the 1st century AD, reads
“When Abram was ninety-nine years, the Memra of the Lord was revealed to Abram and said to him: “I am the God o f the heavens. Serve before me in truth and be perfect in good work”
17:2, Targum Onkelos, Palestinian Targum:“and I will set a covenant between My Word and thee, and I will multiply thee exceedingly much”
17:3, Targum Neofiti, “And Abram prostrated himself upon his face and the Memra of the Lord spoke with him saying”
17:7, Targum Onkelos, Palestinian Targum: “And I will establish My covenant between My Word and thee”
17:10, Targum Onkelos, Palestinian Targum: “This is My covenant which you shall keep between My Word and you and thy sons after thee”
17:11, Targum Onkelos, Palestinian Targum: “and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between My Word and you”
17:22, The Samaritan Version reads: “the Angel of the Lord ascended up from Abraham” (J. W. Etheridge; Targum Onkelos, note 79)
18:17, Targum Onkelos, Palestinian Targum: “And the Lord said, with His Word, I cannot hide from Abraham that which I am about to do”
On the reading in Genesis 18:22, “but Abraham still him standing before Yahweh”
We have very early evidence, before the time of the Hebrew Masoretic Text, by the Jewish Rabbinic scholar, Shimon ben Paz, who wrote between AD 290-320, of certain “corrections” that were made to eighteen passages, in the Old Testament, made by the men of the Great Synagogue, who changed the text because it showed lack of respect to God. One of theses passages, is Genesis 18:22.
“[The angels] went to Sodom and Abraham remained standing before the Lord” – Rabbi Simon says: “This is a correction of the scribes (tikkun soferim), for the presence of God was waiting for Abraham.”
According to Rabbi Simon’s statement, also cited by Rashi (ad loc.), verse 22 originally read “the Lord remained standing before Abraham.”
Rabbi Simon’s statement is part of a tradition about “scribal corrections” that exist in the biblical text. According to this tradition, there are up to eighteen biblical verses that underwent scribal correction (tikunay soferim). These verses were “corrected” to remove any possible anthropomorphisms or disrespect towards God. The potential disrespect in the “uncorrected” reading of verse 22 is that it appears that God is subservient to Abraham; therefore, our source tells us that the verse was modified by the scribes to read as it does now: Abraham remained standing before the Lord. (https://www.thetorah.com/article/gods-appearance-to-abraham-vision-or-visit)
“BUT ABRAHAM STOOD YET BEFORE THE LORD — But surely it was not he (Abraham) who had gone to stand before Him, but it was the Holy One, blessed be He, Who had come to him and had said to him, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great” and it should therefore have written here, “And the Lord stood yet before Abraham”? But it is a variation such as writers make to avoid an apparently irreverent expression (Genesis Rabbah 49:7) (which our Rabbis, of blessed memory, altered, writing it thus)” (Rabbi Shlomo bar Yitzchak (Rashi) Commentary on Genesis. 11th century AD)
It is clear that even the Jewish Rabbis in the early centuries, believed that God actually Visited Abraham and Sarah, in “Person”. For the reading, “the Lord stood yet before Abraham”, is clear that God had to have been present with Abraham.
It is interesting, that the New World Translation, reads “but as for Jehovah, he was still standing before Abraham”. Which shows that Yahweh was Personally with Abraham.
The Personal “Word” is clear from these passages, and there are many others.
22:1, Palestinian Targum: “and the Word of the Lord at once tried Abraham, and said to him, Abraham! And he said, Behold me”
30:22, Jerusalem Targum: “And the Word of the Lord remembered Rahel in His good compassions, and the Word of the Lord heard the voice of her prayer”
31:9, Jerusalem Targum: “And the Word of the Lord hath taken away”
31:34, Targum Onkelos: “The Word of the Lord will observe between me and thee”
31:50, Targum Onkelos, Palestinian Targum: “the Word of the Lord is witness between me and thee”
35:9, Jerusalem Targum: “And the Word of the Lord blessed them, and the Word of the Lord said to them, Be strong and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it”
38:25, Jerusalem Targum: “In that hour the Word of the Lord heard the voice of her supplication and said to Mikael”
Exodus 3:13, Jerusalem Targum: “And the Word of the Lord said to Mosheh, He who spake to the world, Be, and it was; and who will speak to it, Be, and it will be”
Exodus 19:17, Targum Onkelos: “And Mosheh led forth the people out of the camp to meet the Word of the Lord”
A note on the Bible cross-references used by the New World Translation in Genesis 18
For verse 1, “Afterward, Jehovah f appeared to him”, the letter “f” used here, is referenced to Genesis 16:7, which reads, “Later Jehovah’s angel found her”; and Judges 6:11, “Later Jehovah’s angel came”.
Verse 22, “At this point the men turned from there and got on their way to Sodom; but as for Jehovah,e he was still standing before Abraham”, has the letter “e”, with references to, Genesis 31:11, “Then the angel of the true God said to me in the dream”; and 32:30, “So Jacob named the place Pe·niel, for he said, “I have seen God face-to-face, yet my life was preserved”. This was after Jacob had wrestled with “a man” (verse 24).
It is clear from the Jehovah’s Witnesses own Bible translation, that “The Angle of Yahweh”, Who is distinct from Yahweh, is Himself Yahweh!
Only those who reject the Bible’s clear teaching, that God is not “Unitarian”, will dismiss or ignore the evidence that shows in the chapters from Genesis, and elsewhere, that there is more than one Person Who is Yahweh.