Archive for February, 2023

YHWH Embodied, Multipersonal in the Old Testament

February 15, 23

In the Old Testament, we find YHWH often being embodied (taking physical human form) and multipersonal (being more than one person at the same time). If God does not change, we would expect this to continue on into the New Testament – hence, Jesus as God.

Here are just a few of the more prominent examples:

1) Adam & Eve hear the sound of YHWH walking in the garden – implying He has actual feet. (Gen 3:8)

2) YHWH appears as a man who eats food with Abraham and has His feet washed. (Gen 18:1-8)

3) YHWH on earth calls down fire from YHWH in heaven. Jewish commentators took this as a part of the Two Powers in Heaven doctrine. (Gen 19:24)

4) The Angel of YHWH identifies Himself as YHWH. Take note of this, because this is a recurring theme. (Gen 22:1-2 versus Gen 22:11-12)

5) God in the form of a man physically wrestles with Jacob (Gen 32:24-30). This same event is described as Jacob meeting the angel (Hosea 12:4). Jacob recounts this and uses the singular form of ‘bless’ to refer to both God and the angel, indicating that the two are one (Gen 48:15-16).

6) In the burning bush is both/and YHWH and the Angel of YHWH, who is/are the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. (Exo 3:2-6)

7) Joshua encounters YHWH as the Commander of the Army of YHWH, in the form of a man. Take note of the same ‘take off your sandals’ command as was spoken to Moses at the burning bush. (Josh 5:13-15)

8) The Angel of YHWH is identified as YHWH by Gideon. (Judg 6:11-12,22)

9) The Angel of YHWH is identified as YHWH by Samson’s parents. (Judg 13:3,22)

So it has been established repeatedly that the Angel of YHWH = YHWH Himself. Yet the Angel is also at the same time, distinct from YHWH.

10) For example, YHWH sends the Angel ahead of the Israelites. (Exo 23:20-21)

11) The Angel of YHWH and YHWH have a conversation. (Zech 1:12-13)

12) The Angel of YHWH defends the high priest by invoking YHWH. (Zech 3:1-2)

So what has been demonstrated? YHWH in the Old Testament can take physical human form, is one yet more than one, and His multipersons often engage in conversation with one another.

Sounds very similar to what Christians say about Jesus, no? Jesus came into the wrold in human form, is God yet is not the Father, and often spoke with and prayed to the Father. In fact, some Christians identify the Angel of YHWH as the appearance of Jesus before the Incarnation.

And one last one:

13) One like the Son of Man appears before the Ancient of Days and receives what is due to God alone (Dan 7:13-14). This is another key text of the Jewish Two Powers in Heaven belief. This is why when Jesus identified Himself as this Son of Man coming on the clouds, the high priest called it clear blasphemy – any Jew knew that this was a claim to being YHWH. (Mark 14:61-64)

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