Saturday, December 3, 2016

Genesis 12:7 - Jehovah's Appearances in Genesis

All scriptures are quoted from the
American Standard Version of the Bible
unless otherwise stated. 
And Jehovah appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto Jehovah, who appeared unto him. - (Genesis 12:7)
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, Jehovah appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be thou perfect. - (Genesis 17:1)
And Jehovah appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; - (Genesis 18:1)
And Jehovah appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt. Dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of. - (Genesis 26:2)
And Jehovah appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father. Fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake. - (Genesis 26:24)
And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, who appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. - (Genesis 35:1)
And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. - (Genesis 35:9)
Genesis 48:3 - And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
The scriptures above (and a few more) are often presented by trinitarians as proof that their idea of a trinune God is found in the book of Genesis. Obviously, however, there is nothing in any of these verses about a triune God. Indeed, it is never stated anywhere in either the Old Testament or the New Testament that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is more than one person, What is often imagined, assumed, added, and read into, these scriptures, however, is that the God of Abraham is more than one person, and it is being further imagined and assumed that it is only one of those persons that cannot be seen, and it is thus further being imagined and assumed that the alleged second person of their imagined and assumed triune God can be seen, and thus it is being further imagined and assumed that "Jehovah" in the above scriptures must be the imagined and assumed second person of Jehovah. And thus all of this that is imagined and assumed is added to and read into what is stated.

Actually, no scripture at all identifies Jesus as being any of the angels that appeared to the patriarchs. The idea is added to the Bible to accommodate the trinity preconception.

The scriptures do not directly tell us HOW God appeared to the patriarchs, nor is it actually necessary that we know how he made each appearance. By comparing spiritual revealing with spiritual revealing when can draw some reasonable conclusions, at least in a general sense, without setting forth our conclusions in a dogmatic sense.

And he said, Hear now my words: if there be a prophet among you, I Jehovah will make myself known unto him in a vision, I will speak with him in a dream. - (Numbers 12:6)

Scriptures show that there are three general ways that Jehovah appeared or spoke to his prophets. 1) by means of one or more of His angels (Genesis 16, 18, 19); 2) in a vision (Genesis 15); 3) in a dream. -- Genesis 28:20-19.

When Jehovah appears by mean of one or more of his angels, often the angel, speaking for the one who sent him, may speak as though he himself is Jehovah, and may be addressed as such. Because of this, many have drawn to the conclusion that an angel of Jehovah is Jehovah, or at least one of the alleged persons of Jehovah. One need not draw the conclusion that the angel sent by Jehovah is Jehovah. Similarly, these angels often appeared as men, and the scriptures spoke of them as though they were men. If one insists that their being spoken of as Jehovah means that they are Jehovah, then, if one is consistent, their being referred as men would mean that they are actually men, and if they are actually Jehovah, then, if consistent, it would mean that Jehovah is "man". In reality an angel of Jehovah is sent by Jehovah is not actually Jehovah, nor is he actually a man. Furthermore, the Bible is fully at harmony with itself without creating all that has to be assumed in order to "see" trinity in the Bible.

One objects that when the Bible says that Jehovah appeared to someone, it refers to a Hebrew term that means a visible manifestation, not a feeling, not a dream, not a vision, nor something spiritual, but something objective that could be historically recognized. What is the Hebrew term being referred to? It is forms of the word that Strong gives the number 7200, often transliterated as "raah". What does it mean? The Brown-Driver-Briggs' definition is:

1) to see, look at, inspect, perceive, consider
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to see
1a2) to see, perceive
1a3) to see, have vision
1a4) to look at, see, regard, look after, see after, learn about, observe, watch, look upon, look out, find out
1a5) to see, observe, consider, look at, give attention to, discern, distinguish
1a6) to look at, gaze at
1b) (Niphal)

1b1) to appear, present oneself
1b2) to be seen
1b3) to be visible
1c) (Pual) to be seen
1d) (Hiphil)
1d1) to cause to see, show
1d2) to cause to look intently at, behold, cause to gaze at
1e) (Hophal)
1e1) to be caused to see, be shown
1e2) to be exhibited to
1f) (Hithpael) to look at each other, face

It is true that the word does not directly convey the idea of seeing by means of a vision, nor seeing by means of a dream. However, it would be incorrect to think that the word is used exclusively as seeing something physically with fleshly eyes. Indeed, in Isaiah 30:10 one would have a difficult time trying not to apply it as meaning seeing a vision. It is often used in the sense of experience or learning to know something. (Genesis 20:10; Deuteronomy 1:19,31; 11:2; 33:9; Job 11:11; Psalm 16:10; 49:10; 89:49; Ecclesiates 5:17; Jeremiah 5:12; 14:13; 20:18; 42:14; Zephaniah 3:16) It is used of "seeing" -- recognizing -- by outward signs. (Genesis 42:21) It is used of spiritually seeing in Deuteronomy 29:3; Isaiah 6:10; 29:18; 42:18. No, there is nothing in the Hebrew term that would forbid its use as discerning or seeing  by means of a vision, or through a dream.

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