Q & A Series:  Who are the 3 men in Genesis 18-19?

 

By Craig Bluemel

 

 

 

----- Original Message -----

From: Jarod

To: Craig

Subject: Genesis 18-19

 

Hello again Craigo,

 

Seeking your extensive studies of the scriptures, and knowing your stand related to Jesus deity, may I ask if you have already encountered an argument related to those upholding the Trinity, of those whom Abraham was talking to in Genesis 18-19? Someone I talked to, he relates this to what Jesus had declared in the New Testament being "Abraham rejoiced to see my day."

 

Who are those 3 men in Genesis 18-19?

 

Thanks for all your updates through email in addition to your site, which I frequent as a reference ever since I found it :)

 

Thanks bro,

 

Jarod

 

 

 

Craig’s Answer:

 

 

 

 

Hi Jarod!

 

Finally, you give me an easy question to answer (haha)!  This one I have written about before, but for your sake and that of all who are seeking the truth, I find great enjoyment in proliferating God’s truth in Scripture thru the simplicity of the text.  The best and only way to properly evaluate the text of Genesis 18-19 is to read the context of the passage in its entirety; no shortcuts bro… God’s way is narrow (literal Greek for ‘narrow’ means, “filled with obstacles”).  Before I answer your questions in detail it is wise to briefly explain for all readers the basic doctrinal framework of the Trinity below.

 

The Athanasian Creed was developed and written by the Roman Catholic Church in about the 8th century.  The creed is based upon the tenets of the Council of Nicea, convened at the behest of the Roman Emperor Constantine, and held in 323-326 A.D.  

 

The doctrine of the Trinity asserts that all ‘3 Persons’ in ‘the Triune Godhead’ are ‘co-equal’ in every way (e.g. all 3 Persons are co-omniscient (all knowing), co-eternal (always existed together), co-omnipotent, (all powerful).

 

The doctrine of the Trinity also alleges that all “3 Persons” in the Triune Godhead are inseparable and cannot be divided.  Because the Scriptures never once mention any of the trinitarian terminology, phrases, or words, such as ‘trinity, triune, three Persons of God, co-equal, etc’, proponents frequent refer to ancient, orthodox, ecclesiastic writings for pseudo-elucidation.  Since the most notoriety of all trinitarian dogma goes to the Athanasian Creed (AC), statements from this creed best illustrate the Trinity teaching (see list of statements below; {bracketed inserts are author’s notes}):

 

(AC)  “And the Catholic faith is this: that we worship one God in a Trinity and Trinity in unity, neither confounding {confusing the identity of} the Persons {Note ‘Persons’ is plural noun), nor dividing the Substance {making the Trinity ‘persons’ inseparable}.  For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.” 

 

Notice the interchangeable use of plural nouns and pronouns that are mingled together with singular nouns and pronouns, contrary to all sound logic, contrary to all mathematical equations, and most important, contrary to all Scripture, which repeatedly describes God as ONE.

 

(AC)  “Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost…So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty.  And yet, they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.” 

 

(AC) So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, and yet they are not three Gods, but One God.  So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord and the Holy Ghost Lord.  And yet not three Lords, but one Lord.

 

(AC) “…also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ   the Son of God, is God and Man.  He is God of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance of His mother, born in the world.  Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.   

 

(AC)  Jesus Christ…  “is Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.  Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.  One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God.  One altogether; not by confusion of Substance, but by Unity of Person”.

 

Below I have included the texts in question from Genesis 18 & 19 with highlights and notes from the Hebrew sandwiched in between sections of verses.  My commentary is indented to offset and distinguish my words from the Scripture passages of Genesis 18 & 19.  Also, I have used the New American Standard version, but have inserted (Yahweh) in parenthesis where the New American Standard has mistranslated it as, “LORD.” 

 

In addition, I have also inserted key words and proper names in {brackets}; e.g. {Abraham}.  I used {brackets} to assist the novice reader for ease of identification, because he or she might be unfamiliar with the Old Testament account in Genesis.  At the end of this study, I will summarize briefly with a review that will give you the identity of the three men mentioned in Genesis 18 & 19. 

 

 

Genesis 18

 

Genesis 18:1-5 Now the LORD (Yahweh) appeared to him {Abraham} by the oaks of Mamre, while he {Abraham} was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day.  2 And when he {Abraham} lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men (iysh) were standing opposite him {Abraham}; and when he {Abraham} saw them (plural pronoun), he {Abraham} ran from the tent door to meet them (plural pronoun), and bowed himself to the earth, 3 and said, "My Lord (‘Lord’ = Adonaay, the singular, emphatic Hebrew noun adon), if now I {Abraham} have found favor in your (singular pronoun) sight, please do not pass your (singular pronoun) servant by.  4 Please let a little water be brought and wash your (singular pronoun) feet, and rest yourselves (plural pronoun) under the tree; 5 and I will bring a piece of bread, that you (singular pronoun) may refresh yourselves (plural pronoun); after that you (singular pronoun) may go on, since you (singular pronoun) have visited your (singular pronoun) servant.”  And they (plural pronoun) said, “So do, as you have said.”

 

In Genesis 18:3, Abraham addresses only one of the three men as, “My Lord.”  As he continues speaking in verses 4-5, he offers hospitality to all three men.  If we read only Genesis 18:1-5 without reading further to determine the overall context, it would be impossible to delineate the three male personages sent to Abraham by Yahweh. 

 

Genesis 18:1 says ‘Yahweh’ appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre as he was sitting.  Because of the ambiguous identity of the three men in the first few verses, supporters of the false doctrine of the Trinity typically use only Genesis 18:1-5 to bolster their argument that “the triune Godhead coexists in the Old Testament as three distinct Persons of God.”

This flawed method of hermeneutics is also known as ‘selective interpretation.’  Trinity supporters use the technique to make known the identity of the three men as the ‘3-in-One’ Deity.

 

By limiting the identification process to the first five verses of Genesis 18; thereafter, they ‘pick and choose’ verses that agree with the flawed interpretation.  The reason our interpretation would be flawed if we read only Genesis 18:1-5 is because singular and plural pronouns are used back and forth in the context (e.g. he, his, him, them, he, them, My Lord, your, I, yourselves, you, etc). 

 

However, we DO have substantially more Scripture that follows in the remaining verses of chapter 18 and 32 verses of Chapter 19.  Before proceeding further, I will make known the identity of all three men up front, and then provide evidence for my interpretation by using only the Scripture passage itself, including some key words in the text. 

 

·        Two of the men are actually angels or literally ‘messengers’ sent from Yahweh Elohim to rescue Lot from Sodom.  The third man in the trio is Yahweh manifested in His human form messenger. 

 

·        The text of Genesis Chapters 18 & 19 makes clear the demarcation between the two angels that were assigned to rescue Lot in Sodom and the third male personage that is speaking directly AS Yahweh.

 

·        Unlike the two men later identified as angels, the third messenger is never identified as an angel per say (in the context of Genesis 18 & 19).  Regarding the third man’s identity, we must not assume what the Scripture does not say.  It is a reasonable premise, based on the overall tenor of the Hebrew Old Testament, to assume he is the angel of Yahweh, a figure seen throughout the entire Old Testament in situations and events involving Yahweh’s direct intervention.

 

The Hebrew words for ‘angel of Yahweh’ are ‘mal'ak Yahweh’ and below is a sampling of literally dozens of identical mentions of him.  The Hebrew word mistranslated as “‘angel” of Yahweh is mal'ak; this noun simply means “a messenger, human or divine.”  The verse used below are examples from Abraham’s life BEFORE and AFTER the events in Genesis 18 & 19 and establish a precedent for conclusions made by this author concerning the identity of the third man.

 

Genesis 16:7a And the messenger of Yahweh found her … Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible 

 

Genesis 16:9a And the messenger of Yahweh said to her…  Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible 

 

Genesis 16:10a And the messenger of Yahweh said to her…  Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible

 

Genesis 16:11a And the messenger of Yahweh said to her…  Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible 

 

Genesis 22:11 Then called out unto him the messenger of Yahweh, out of the heavens, and said, Abraham, Abraham! And he said, Behold me!  Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible

 

Genesis 22:15 Then called out the messenger of Yahweh, unto Abraham, a second time, out of the heavens.  Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible

 

Ambiguity in any text of Scripture must never be used to bolster support for ANY doctrine, whether true or false.  My apologetic experience with trinitarian advocates is that they sell themselves and others short by manipulating the text and embellishing their own misguided identification of the three characters.  They make pseudo-claims that Abraham’s three male visitors are “the best example of the Old Testament Trinity.”  Some trinitarian scholars refer to the three men as, ‘a triune theophany.’ 

 

Let’s play along with the ill-fated logic of the Trinity for a moment; as we continue to read the remaining verses in Genesis 18:6-22, and then read even further into the final phase of the passage in Genesis 19:1-30, here’s what happens:

 

1.      the ‘three-in-one’ Godhead (i.e. the Trinity) soon becomes fragmented.

 

2.      2/3 of the triune-God split away from 1/3 of the triune-God, in order to rescue Lot in Sodom, while 1/3 of the Trinity stays behind with Abraham at Mamre continuing a conversation with him.

 

3.      After 1/3 of the Trinity, finishes his chat with Abraham, he does not join the 2/3 of the Trinity that are now in Sodom, but instead, abandons them and returns to heaven.  Later, 1/3 of Deity is seen in heaven raining fire and brimstone down upon Sodom and Gomorrah (see Genesis 19:24, 29). 

 

4.      Sound confusing?  That’s why they say you must throw away your logic and simply, “accept it by faith.”  Hogwash.  This may seem sarcastic, but sometimes it takes an up front approach to break thru the fog of confusion.

 

In Genesis 18:2 the Hebrew for “men” is ‘naashiym,’ which is the plural form of ‘iysh, a masculine noun meaning ‘a man’ or ‘an individual.’  It is also used to mean ‘male’ or ‘husband.’  Unlike the Hebrew word adam, the word naashiym does not indicate humankind but the male gender in particular.  Its feminine counterpart ishshah is a woman or wife.  In Hosea 2:16 this word iysh describes God's special relationship to Israel.  He will be their protective husband (iysh), not their master.  Curiously, the word iysh is also used of animals (Genesis 7:2), referring to a male and his mate. 

 

In some later passages of Old Testament Scripture 'adam is difficult to distinguish from iysh because the terms are oftentimes used interchangeably.  However, proof that Genesis 18:2 is NOT a Triune theophany’ as purported by the doctrine of the Trinity, consider this powerful proof from Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man (iysh), that he should lie; neither the son of man (adam), that he should repent..."

 

In Genesis 18:3 the word spoken by Abrahammy Lord’ is the Hebrew singular noun ‘Adonaay’ (OT: 136); Adonaay is a singular, emphatic form of the Hebrew noun ‘adon’ (OT: 113).

 

Contrast Abraham’s use of the singular Adonaay, “My Lord,” in Genesis 18:3 with his nephew Lot’s words in Genesis 19:2 when he greets the two angels in Sodom by calling them, “my lords (plural).”  This proves beyond doubt that Abraham was speaking to only ONE of the three men (Yahweh); because only one man is Yahweh, and Yahweh claims to be “one” all throughout Scripture, we conclude the other two men are subservient angels.

 

In fact, so adamant is Yahweh about existing as “one” He makes this statement as the greatest of all His commandments, according to the Lord Jesus (Mark 12:29-30), who quotes from Deuteronomy 6:4-7, “Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, the Yahweh is one !  And you shall love the Yahweh your God {as one} with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

 

Being in the emphatic form, Adonaay is often used in place of the divine name Yahweh (OT: 3068), which was held by later Jewish belief to be too holy to utter.  This designation points to the supreme authority or power of God.

 

Though three men appear to Abraham, he only addresses one of them as, “my Lord.”  This is significant because Adonaay is only used to address Yahweh in the Hebrew Old Testament.  This means two of these three male beings are not in actuality ‘deity’ as alleged by many trinitarians.  Instead, the other two men are angelic beings, as later in the text will reveal.

 

Genesis 18:6-9 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it, and make bread cakes.”  7 Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf, and gave it to the servant; and he hurried to prepare it.  8 And he took curds, milk, and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.  9 Then they said to him {Abraham}, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he {Abraham} said, “Behold, in the tent.”

 

Note the plural pronouns “they” and “them” because these show that more than one of the men were talking to Abraham.  This too is significant, for in the next verse (10) there is only ONE of the three speaking.  The one, lone man who speaks is Yahweh; He promises to return and visit Abraham and Sarah at this same time next year.

 

Abraham tells Sarah to prepare ‘three measures of flour’ and make bread ‘cakes’, so we know for certain that these three men were manifestations of Yahweh incarnate; albeit two of the three are later identified as ‘angels’ and the third man as ‘Yahweh.’ 

 

Genesis 18:10 And He (Yahweh; singular pronoun) said, "I (singular pronoun) will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son."  And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him (singular pronoun).

 

Unlike verse 9, where more than one of the three men is speaking at the same time (18:9 - Then THEY said to him {Abraham}, “Where is Sarah your wife?”), Genesis 18:10 reads: And HE said, “I (singular pronoun) will surely return to you…”  This distinction between plural pronouns in 18:9 and singular pronouns in 18:10 is not accidental.  ALL Scripture is given by inspiration and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof and correction of errors (See 2 Timothy 3:14-17).  Therefore, we ought to use this Scripture passage to ‘reprove’ trinitarian doctrines and to establish correct ‘doctrine’ by using only the tenets of Scripture (instead of manmade dogma).

 

Notice also the entire verse 10 is consistent in its use of singular pronouns (e.g. ‘HE said’ & ‘I will’ & ‘behind HIM’).  Only one of the three is speaking and this is positive proof that only one of these three male personages is Yahweh (manifest in human form).  Whenever Yahweh reveals himself in human form, this is known as an ‘anthropomorphism,’ which is from the Greek word for humankind ‘anthroópois.’

 

Some people cannot conceptualize how Yahweh makes Himself known in human form, which men eat and drink like ordinary humans.  If Yahweh created mankind from the dust of the earth, is it really a stretch to say He manifests Himself in and thru anthropomorphisms?

 

Another pronoun key appears when Abraham’s wife Sarah stand’s behind “Him” (Yahweh) as He speaks.  Notice the text does NOT SAY, “behind them,” as trinitarian dogma alleges.  Little does Sarah realize her close proximity to ‘Him’ enables her words and reaction of laughter.  The single pronoun ‘Him’ proves once again that only one man represents Yahweh. 

 

If Yahweh is ‘three-in-one as alleged by the doctrine of the Trinity, then the text would have read, “Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind THEM” (but alas, it doesn’t).  The final proof for one man speaking as Yahweh in verse 10 is his assurance to return at this same time next year to bear witness to the fulfillment of His promise (about Sarah giving birth in her old age to a son).

 

Genesis 18:11-15 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing.  12 And Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord (adon) being old also?”  13 And the LORD (Yahweh) said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’  14 Is anything too difficult for the LORD (Yahweh)?  At the appointed time I (singular pronoun) will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”  15 Sarah denied it however, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid.  And He (singular pronoun) said, “No, but you did laugh.”

 

In Genesis 18:12 Sarah laughs nervously and speaks to herself calling Abraham her “lord.”  The Hebrew word that she uses for “lord” is “adon” (OT:113); adon is a masculine noun meaning ‘lord’ or ‘master.’ 

 

Though adon is sometimes used in the Hebrew Old Testament to denote the authority of Yahweh, its most frequent usage is of a human lord.  This example in the context demonstrates the need to make careful distinctions in how certain key Hebrew words are used and/or translated into the English text. 

 

Earlier in Genesis 18:2, Abraham greets one of the three men by calling him, “Adonaay,” which is the EMPHATIC form of the same Hebrew word adon.  His greeting with ‘Adonaay’ makes it obvious that only one of the three men present is highest authority and speaks as Yahweh’s direct envoy.

 

In Genesis 18:13 and Genesis 18:14 the text again uses only singular pronouns because Yahweh alone speaks.  While the other two men remain silent, the chief man (Yahweh) says He will return to visit Abraham and Sarah at this same time next year to see the fulfillment of His word (i.e. the birth of a son).  This ought to be proof enough to silence the three-in-one trinity doctrine, but there’s much more proof ahead!

 

Genesis 18:16 Then the men (plural) rose up from there, and looked down toward Sodom; and Abraham was walking with them (plural) to send them (plural) off.

 

Trinitarian doctrine claims ‘the men’ in Genesis 18:16 refers to all three persons in the Trinity.  However, this claim falls apart in light of Genesis 19:1-23 because 19:1-2 specifically says that only TWO of the three men rose up from there and journeyed Sodom.  The third man (Yahweh) stayed behind and continued His conversation with Abraham.

 

Genesis 18:17-19 And the LORD (Yahweh) said, “Shall I (singular) hide from Abraham what I (singular) am about to do, 18 since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?  19 For I (singular) have chosen him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD (Yahweh) by doing righteousness and justice; in order that the LORD (Yahweh) may bring upon Abraham what He (singular) has spoken about him.”

 

Genesis 18:17-19 is another powerful proof that only one of the three men is Yahweh by using a singular noun ‘Yahweh’ (i.e. ‘the LORD (Yahweh) said’) and singular pronouns ‘I’ and ‘He’ (i.e. Genesis 18:18 “Shall I (Yahweh; singular) hide…what I (Yahweh; singular) am about to do.”  Also, the same occurs in Genesis 18:19 “For I (Yahweh; singular) have chosen him {Abraham}…the LORD (Yahweh; notice ‘LORD’ is singular, not ‘LORDS’ plural)…He (singular) has spoken about him {Abraham}.”

 

Genesis 18:20-22 And the LORD (Yahweh) said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.  21 I (singular) will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me (singular); and if not, I (singular) will know.”  22 Then the men (plural) turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD (Yahweh).

 

These three verse have typically been problematic for Trinitarian and Oneness camps alike because in verse 18:20 the LORD (Yahweh) said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great…” and in verse 21, “I (singular) will go down now, and see… and if not, I (singular) will know.” 

 

The construction of verses 20-21 gives us the outward evidence for assuming that Yahweh Himself is going to Sodom & Gomorrah.  However, this assumption is contradictory to what verse 22 says: Then the men (plural) turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD (Yahweh).  So what’s up?

 

The answer lies in two explanations:

 

1.      It is obvious only two men (angels) went to Sodom, while the third man (Yahweh) stayed behind and talked further to Abraham.

 

2.      The reason the text in verse 21 refers to a lone individual (i.e. Yahweh) saying, “I (singular) will go down,” lies mainly in the fact the text does NOT say, “And now, WE (plural) will go down…”  Because there is only ONE man speaking (the LORD, not the LORDS), we must conclude this lone individual (Yahweh) holds a position of rank that is higher in authority to that of the other two men.  To illustrate this point, recall earlier in verses 18:2-3, Abraham greets one of these three visitors as, “My Lord (Adonaay),” and does not use the plural pronoun, “My lords.” 

 

Trinitarians argue against this logic by countering it with circular reasoning using verse 21 as supposed proof of the “triune coequality.”  They follow-up this argument by foolishly concluding Yahweh’s statement meant the three persons of the Trinity went down to Sodom, otherwise Yahweh would not be able to verify the degree of wickedness in these cities.  They say singular pronouns demonstrate “trinity in unity.”  How silly.

 

This argument is handily tossed in the old round file by the fact that only two men went to Sodom.  Their assumption that Yahweh is somehow limited in his knowledge of mankind’s sin if he is not a Trinity of three persons is absurd. 

 

First of all, I have already given Numbers 23:19, “God is not a MAN (iysh) nor the son of man (adam),” to prove that the one man speaking as Yahweh in Genesis 18 is simply a messenger in human form, not the total essence of Yahweh’s spirit.  Furthermore, John 4:23-24 says, “God IS spirit,” and in the Psalms 113:4-6 we learn that, “The LORD (Yahweh) is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens.  Who is like the LORD our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in heaven and in the earth?” (also see 1 Kings 8:27 & Isaiah 66:1). 

 

These passages and hundreds more like them prove Yahweh is not limited; the one man speaking as Yahweh to Abraham says, “I will go down (to Sodom & Gomorrah)… then I will know of their sin…” because His two angels were His messengers.  Besides, Yahweh is still everywhere, even when He’s speaking thru a male (iysh) anthropomorphic being in this one man.

 

Genesis 18:23-25 And Abraham came near and said, "Will You (singular) indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?  24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You (singular) indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it?  25 Far be it from You (singular) to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike.  Far be it from You (singular)!  Shall not the Judge (singular) of all the earth deal justly?”

 

Genesis 18:26-29 So the LORD (Yahweh) said, “If I (Yahweh; singular) find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I (Yahweh; singular) will spare the whole place on their account.”  27 And Abraham answered and said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord (Adonaay), although I am but dust and ashes.  28 Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You (Yahweh; singular) destroy the whole city because of five?”  And He (Yahweh; singular) said, “I (Yahweh; singular) will not destroy it if I (Yahweh; singular) find forty-five there.”  29 And he {Abraham} spoke to Him (Yahweh; singular) yet again and said, “Suppose forty are found there?”  And He (Yahweh; singular) said, “I (Yahweh; singular) will not do it on account of the forty.”

 

Genesis 18:30-33 Then he {Abraham} said, “Oh may the Lord (Adonaay; singular) not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?”  And He (Yahweh; singular) said, "I (Yahweh; singular) will not do it if I (Yahweh; singular) find thirty there.”  31 And he said, "Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord (Adonaay; singular); suppose twenty are found there?”  And He (Yahweh; singular) said, “I (Yahweh; singular) will not destroy it on account of the twenty.”  32 Then he said, “Oh may the Lord (Adonaay; singular) not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?”  And He (Yahweh; singular) said, “I (Yahweh; singular) will not destroy it on account of the ten.”  33 And as soon as He (Yahweh; singular) had finished speaking to Abraham the LORD (Yahweh; singular) departed; and Abraham returned to his place.  New American Standard Bible

 

SUMMARY OF GENESIS 18:23-33 – It may seem overly redundant to read these verses with the many parenthetical insertions (e.g. Yahweh; singular), but it serves an invaluable lesson.  From the beginning of Genesis 18:1 thru the end to verse 33, Yahweh speaks to Abraham as ONE male personage, and never as ‘three persons’ of the ‘Trinity.’ 

 

The irrefutable proof for this interpretation is the consistent use of SINGULAR nouns and pronouns whenever Yahweh is speaking or described in the text of chapter 18.  Finally, this point is punctuated strongly in the very last verse (33) which reads, “And as soon as He (Yahweh; singular) had finished speaking to Abraham the LORD (Yahweh; singular) departed; and Abraham returned to his place.” 

 

Some may wonder where Yahweh “departed” to when “He” finished speaking to Abraham.  This verse simply means the male personage that was speaking as Yahweh departed from Abraham’s presence. 

 

Technically, Yahweh cannot “depart” from His own presence, which fills the “heavens” and the “earth” to behold everything and everyone that is in the universe.  Later in Genesis 19:24, we do see that Yahweh is raining “fire” as judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah from “out of heaven” (NOTE: In the original Hebrew text of Genesis 19:24, Hebrew for “brimstone” means, “judgment”). 

 

Therefore, when He departs from speaking to Abraham, speaking after the manner of man, Yahweh returns to His abode in the spiritual, unseen to human eyes dimension or realm we refer to commonly as ‘heaven.’

 

Genesis 19

 

 

Genesis 19:1 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.  When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.

 

This is absolute proof that two of the three men that visited with Abraham earlier are ‘angels’ and are not ‘theophanies’ of the Trinity, as alleged by trinitarian supporters. 

 

Even if we conceded to such a ridiculous notion that Yahweh was ‘three-persons-in-one-deity’ as alleged in the belief of the Trinity, what happened to the other ‘third person’ (i.e. 1/3 of the Blessed Triune Godhead)?  This paradoxical illustration would make any honest Christian rethink his or her trinitarian doctrines and/or beliefs.

 

Genesis 19:2 And he {Lot} said, “Now behold, my lords (‘lords’ is the plural pronoun form of the Hebrew ‘adon’), please turn aside into your servant's house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.”  They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.”

 

In Genesis 19:2 Lot greets the two men (angels) saying, “my lords,” by using the PLURAL FORM of Hebrew word adon.  In Genesis 19:2, we now contrast Lot’s words of greeting as “my lords (plural)” spoken to the two angels with Abraham’s words of greeting in Genesis 18:2 to ONE of the three men as, “my Lord (singular).”

 

Genesis 19:3-8 Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.  4 Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; 5 and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight?  Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.”  6 But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, 7 and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly.  8 Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.”

 

Once again, the text uses all plural pronouns referring to the two angels, which are the same “men” that visited Abraham earlier, minus the third man (Yahweh).  This shows just how bankrupt the doctrine of the Trinity is because trinitarian dogma teaches the three persons of God “co-exist eternally” (i.e. inseparably).  Oops.

 

Genesis 19 9-13 But they said, "Stand aside." Furthermore, they said, "This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them." So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door. 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway. 12 Then the men said to Lot, "Whom else have you here?  A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place; 13 for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD (Yahweh; singular) that the LORD (Yahweh; singular) has sent us to destroy it. " 

 

Verse 13 explains for us any lingering questions as to the identity of the three men that visited Abraham.  As they prepare to rescue Lot, the two angels ask him the whereabouts of any remaining kin, and then they tell him the reason saying, “we are about to destroy this place.”  The words, “this place,” is understood by the overall context to be Sodom and its neighboring city Gomorrah.

 

What sets apart Genesis 9:13 as the key interpretive verse is the angel’s explanation about the reason for their deadly assignment, “… because their outcry {i.e. Sodom’s wicked inhabitants} has become so great before the LORD (Yahweh; singular) that the LORD (Yahweh; singular) has sent us {plural pronoun} to destroy it.” 

 

Genesis 9:13 explains the meaning Yahweh’s (the 3rd man) words spoken to Abraham in Genesis 18:20-22, “And the LORD (Yahweh - singular) said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.  21 I (Yahweh - singular) will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me (Yahweh - singular); and if not, I (Yahweh - singular) will know.”  22 Then the men (plural) turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD (Yahweh).

 

It is obvious that the third man did not go at the same time to Sodom as his two angelic companions.  We know He stayed behind and continued speaking with Abraham, who tried to make a case for the righteous that might be living in the city and inadvertently destroyed.  By combining the facts from Genesis 18:20-22 & 19:13 we conclude:

 

 

SUMMARY CONCLUSION:

 

1.      Yahweh revealed himself as one of three men to Abraham.

 

2.      The other two men are angels sent by Yahweh to first rescue Lot, and thereafter destroy the two cities of Sodom & Gomorrah.

 

3.      Because of the use of singular nouns and pronouns assigned only to one man, while plural pronouns and nouns are assigned to the other two angels, the one man is an anthropomorphic (human form) angel that speaks directly on behalf of Yahweh.  This distinction identifies this man as the ‘angel of Yahweh’ who is seen throughout the Hebrew Old Testament as Yahweh’s direct spokesman.

 

4.      As you read on further in the text of Genesis 19, in verses 24-25, the destruction upon Sodom & Gomorrah is attributed directly to Yahweh Himself, even though we now know that He uses the two angels as His instruments of destruction to rain down fire upon the two cities.

 

5.      Genesis 19:24-25 reads, “Then the LORD (Yahweh) rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD (Yahweh) out of heaven, and He {singular pronoun again} overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.”  In light of the overall context, only one man (one of three angels) departed from his conversation with Abraham, and thereafter, he returned to the abode described as “heaven.” From heaven Yahweh partook in the destruction of the two cities.

 

6.      NOTE:  There are enough statements by the angels to understand they are the ones thru whom God destroys Sodom, and yet Genesis 19:24 says it was “the LORD” who overthrew the two cities.  Therefore, we understand that the LORD destroyed Sodom and the inhabitants of the surrounding cities, but He used angels as His instruments of destruction.

 

7.      Last but not least, Genesis 19:29 attributes the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah to “God.”  Genesis 19:29 reads, “Thus it came about, when God (Elohim) destroyed the cities of the valley, that God (Elohim) remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He (Elohim – SINGULAR pronoun) overthrew the cities in which Lot lived.”  Notice the last part of verse 29 uses the singular pronoun “He” to describe Elohim.  Whenever Elohim, a plural word in Hebrew, is used with SINGULAR nouns and verbs, it ALWAYS refers to ONE being, not ‘three-in-one’ as the doctrine of the Trinity teaches.

 

This further strengthens the many proofs that the doctrine of the Trinity is false and corrupt teaching.  The Hebrew word in Genesis 19:29 for ‘God’ is ‘Elohim’ meaning ‘the mightiest of the mighty.’  Elohim is a common Hebrew title attributed to Yahweh, but appears in the Hebrew plural form. 

 

Trinitarian dogma says the Hebrew plural form of Elohim points to the “Triune Godhead” of “three Divine Persons.”  If this were true, why is the word ‘Trinity’ and ‘Triune’ and the words ‘three Persons in one Godhead’ never once mention in the entire Old Testament and New Testament Scripture? 

 

However, as we have already learned, every verse in Genesis Chapters 18 & 19 that mentions “the LORD (Yahweh)” ALWAYS uses SINGULAR nouns and pronouns to describe Him!  This illustrates the total absurdity and ignorance of trinitarian teaching. 

 

In the Hebrew language, whenever Elohim is used to describe Yahweh, it means literally, “the Strongest One.”  Elohim is NOT a mathematical plurality of numbers.  Instead, Elohim in Hebrew is known as the ‘plural of majesty.’  This compares to the English languages use of words and phrases to describe hierarchal authority, such as ‘King of kings,’ or ‘Lord of lords.’

 

In closing, I leave you with a psalm that further attests to the convincing proofs that Yahweh is One God, not three in one, and that He uses His angels at times as instruments of destruction in the Old Testament:

 

Psalms 78:35-44 49 and remembered that, Elohim, was their rock, Yea, EL Most High, their Redeemer.  36 So they spake him fair with their mouth, And, with their tongue, did promise him falsely; 37 but, their heart, was not fixed with him, nor were they trusty in his covenant: 38 yet, he, full of compassion, would put a propitiatory-covering over iniquity, and not destroy, —Yea, many a time, turned he back his anger, And would not stir up all his wrath.  39  So then he remembered, that, flesh, they were, a wind departing, that returned not.  40 How often they, resisted him in the desert, vexed him, in the waste:  41 Yea they again put GOD to the test, and, to the Holy One of Israel, caused they sorrow: 42 They remembered not his hand—The day, When he ransomed them from the adversary; 43 when he set, in Egypt, his signs, And his wonders, in the plain of Zoan; 44 when he turned, into blood, their Nile-streams, and, their own rivers, could they not drink, He sent upon them His burning anger, fury, and indignation… 49 and trouble, a band of destroying angels (mal’ak; messengers).  (Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible )

 

 I hope you find this study helpful Jarod. 

 

Love in Jesus,

 

Craigo

 

Craig Bluemel

The Bible Answer Stand Ministry

1 Peter 3:15 Always be ready to give reasonable justification to anyone who asks you for an explanation of the hope that is within you,  but do it considerately and courteously.

 

 

 


 

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