Thursday, January 03, 2008

Abraham meets Three Angels (Dore)

In Genesis 18, the Lord appears to Abraham in the form of an angel.

Before the incarnation of our Lord as a man, he took on bodily form as an angel, a form by which He made many appearances.

God is a personal God. He desires a relationship with His creations. Being corporeal beings, it is easier for us to relate to other coroporeal beings, so that even before God revealed Himself in the Son, He revealed Himself as an angel.

Abraham in this story was able to share a meal with His God. It seems an incredible idea, yet this is what the Word of God tells us. If Abraham had only shared a meal with two angels it would seem remarkable, yet God also descended and ate with Abraham.

God had fellowship with Abraham. The Christian may not share a meal physically with His Lord. Yet, He is indwellt by God the Holy Spirit. He is united to Christ in heaven. He has fellowship with the Church which is Christ's body and is a temple also indwellt by the Holy Spirit. When she is raised from the dead and glorified, the Christian will ever be with the Lord, enjoying His presence for all eternity.

Note the final conversation that Abraham has with God. He negotiates with Him. He attempts to persuade the Lord of the universe to have mercy on Sodom.

God allows Himself to enter into negotiations. Instead of operating an unchangeable plan devised in eternity, He negotiates with Abraham.

So many times do we hear theologians and preachers talking all the time about the sovereignty of God. They talk about how God has set down His counsels in eternity and they will never change. Yet here God allows His plans to be influenced by Abraham.

God desires a relationship with us. God wants men and women to be included in His plans.

So many Christians strugggle with prayer. They think "If God has planned what He is going to do, why should I pray?" This emphasis on the immutability of God's plans can present an obstacle for prayer for many Christians.

Yet this story tells us that Abahams' pleas had an impact on God. God listened to Abrham and changed His plans in accordance with His negotiation with Abraham. When we pray, God hears our prayers and He will shape His purposes in accordance with them. We can have boldness to bring our requests and petitions before the throne of grace and have confidence that they have an impact.


alvin said...

Hi Matthew
Thanks for posting my comment over on UG. I appreciate both you and Antonio, I think were pretty much on the same page with our beliefs.

I'm not convinced that "the angel of the Lord" is Jesus Christ. I know the Jehovah Witnesses believe that Jesus was the angel of the Lord which they believe is Michael the archangel a created being and then became Jesus then after the resurrection became Michael again. Also the Mormons believe that Jesus is the angel of the Lord Lucifer's brother a created being. I don't believe God would have caused this confusion by being an angel. I believe Jesus has His own angel and this angel is called the angel of the Lord. And when Jesus angel speaks he represents God so when he speaks he speaks as God. Check out these scriptures and tell me what you think?

Rev 22:6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy[b] prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.

Matthew here we have "the house of David shall be like God." And is contrasting that the Angel of the Lord. We know that the house of David is not God but shall be LIKE God. So following that line of thought "LIKE the Angel of the Lord is before them. Other words the Angel of the Lord is really not God but represents God.

Zechariah 12:7 “The LORD will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. 8 In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. 9 It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

Matthew in Isaiah 37:12,13 The Angel of the Lord seems to be speaking to the Lord of hosts.

Zechariah 1:12 Then the Angel of the LORD answered and said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which You were angry these seventy years?”
13 And the LORD answered the angel who talked to me, with good and comforting words. 14 So the angel who spoke with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts:

Matthew in Zech 3:1 The angel of the Lord will not rebuke Satan but says "The Lord rebuke you, Satan. I think if the Angel of the Lord was Jesus He would rebuke him.

Zechariah 3: 1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
Matthew I cant see Jesus killing all these people like this, I could see Him having His angel do it though. It's just hard for me to imagine Jesus being the One to do this.

Isaiah 37:35 ‘ For I will defend this city, to save it
For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’”
36 Then the angel[a] of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh.

I believe that the writer of Hebrews is making clear the distinction between Jesus and angels.

Heb 1:4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
The Son Exalted Above Angels

5 For to which of the angels did He ever say:

“ You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You”?[c]

And again:

“ I will be to Him a Father,
And He shall be to Me a Son”?[d]

6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:

“ Let all the angels of God worship Him.”[e]

7 And of the angels He says:

“ Who makes His angels spirits
And His ministers a flame of fire.”[f]

8 But to the Son He says:

“ Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”[g]

10 And:

“ You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
11 They will perish, but You remain;
And they will all grow old like a garment;
12 Like a cloak You will fold them up,
And they will be changed.
But You are the same,
And Your years will not fail.”[h]

13 But to which of the angels has He ever said:

“ Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?[i]

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

blessings alvin

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Alvin, thanks for visiting.

I do not think the Angel of the Lord is necessarilly always God, but there are some passages, such as this one, where it is hard to escape the conclusion that a theophany has occurred in angelic form.

Every Blessing in Christ