Yahweh, Invisible Yet Visible Study 2.

In the first study we saw that throughout the Old Testament God (Yahweh) has revealed himself as a visible and as an invisible God. They is one God yet in the Hebrew text we see Him revealed in another one who is exactly the same as He is Himself and equal with Him in every divine attribute. The word “Elohim” in the singular usage of the word in Hebrew refers to the one and only God or the supreme and eternal “Elohim” who has no beginning and no end and the one who created everything there is. In the Hebrew Bible we also find other “Elohim” mentioned and these are created spirit-beings called “the sons of God” (Job 1:6; 2:1) they were around at creation. (Job 38:7) However, they were also among the ‘sons of god’ some who left their position in heaven and rebelled against God and came to earthy to have sexual relations with human women. (Genesis 6:1-4) (Jude 1:6) (2 Peter 2:4) (1 Enoch 6-11)

When we look at both the New and the Old Testaments together in this matter we see that the second Yahweh figure in the Old Testament text turns out to be the Lord Jesus in the New Testament. He was the eternal Yahweh who was side by side and yet the same as Yahweh and one with Him from all eternity. As the Lord Jesus Himself said; “I and the Father are one.” (John 10; 30) This was an affirmation that He was God and equal with God and the same as God. (John 14:9-10)

The whole idea of “a double Yahweh” is completely consistent with the Old Testament. The Lord Jesus Himself had a belief in “the Two Powers of Heaven.” He knew about this because He spoke of God as being His father and being one with Him in every way and in every divine attribute. He also spoke about His eternal relationship with the Father when He said; “No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven— the Son of Man who is in heaven.” (John 3:13) Clearly He identified Himself as the Yahweh of heaven. He was the visible manifestation of Yahweh on earth who is known as the invisible Yahweh living in heaven and yet filling the whole universe by His Spirit who is Himself also God (Yahweh the Spirit) and the third member in the Tri-Unity of the Godhead. (Psalm 139:7-10)

In this study we will now look at some scripture passages in the Old Testament that clearly reveal “the Double Yahweh.”

1. The “Double” Yahweh

(Genesis 19:24) “And the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.”

In this text when God (Yahweh) destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah He did it through the other Yahweh out of heaven who actually sent the brimstone and fire. They were both involved yet acting as one (Echud)

(Amos 4:11) “I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you all became as a brand plucked out of the fire: yet not even thus did you all return to Me, says the Lord.”

In this text God himself (Yahweh) speaks to the spiritually backslidden Israelites in regards to what He did to Sodom and Gomorrah through “the other Yahweh.” Yahweh (God) Himself speaks in the first person of Himself but then in the third person He also addresses Him as Yahweh (God) who was the one that actually sent the brimstone and fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Once again we see “two” acting as one (Echud) in the same passage of scripture. This reminds us of what the Lord Jesus said. “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and again He said; “Truly, truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself, unless He sees the Father doing it. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does.”(John 5:19) He also said; “If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me. But if I am doing them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works themselves, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.”(John 10:37-38)

For saying these things the religious leaders wanted to stone Him because He was saying to them in effect that He was equal with God. Of course He was because He was God in heaven manifest in flesh on earth and by saying what He did was proving that He had always existed in, and with, and side by side with his Father as one God (Echud) yet within that oneness as two. Clearly He was telling the religious Jewish leaders “I am the Yahweh in the Old Testament who was with Yahweh from all of eternity. He was declaring himself to be the visible Yahweh on earth of the invisible Yahweh in heaven, hence we see Him addressing His equal in heaven as Father.

Indeed Paul’s theology as a leading Jewish Rabbi and believer in the Messiah clearly says that the Lord Jesus “…is the image of the invisible God.”(Colossians 1:15) and again he writes to the Colossians concerning the Lord Jesus; “For in the Messiah all the fullness of the Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9) The writer to the Hebrews also a Jewish believer in the Messiah writes; “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, upholding all things by His powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3) The Lord Jesus knew who He was and where He had come from. In His entire ministry He never once acted independently from His Father or from the Holy Spirit for that matter because from all eternity the three were all Yahweh (Echud)

(Genesis 18:1-3, 22) “And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favour in your sight, do not pass by your servant…The men turned away and went toward Sodom. But Abraham remained standing before the Lord.”

The LORD appeared to Abraham and with Him was two others of the divine council and they all had the form of men. One was the Lord Himself, the visible Yahweh and Abraham knew who he was. After Abraham had conversed with the Lord the other two ‘men’ went down Towards Sodom but the third one stayed behind and we read where Abraham remained standing before the Lord. After this Abraham actually bargained with the Lord for Sodom because in his mind he knew that Lot was in the city. Once again we see in this encounter the visible Yahweh appearing to His servant Abraham in a human form. Now let’s continue…

(Genesis 22:1, 11-12) “Sometime later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you… Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

In this passage of scripture the Angel of the Lord (not just any angel) identifies himself as Yahweh when He speaks and calls himself “me” clearly identifying Himself as Yahweh. God talks to Abraham but the Angel of the LORD speaks out of heaven. Who was speaking to whom? The Angel says “I know you fear God (speaking of God in the third person) because you have not withheld your son from Me” (Speaking of Himself as God in the first person) In the Hebrew the Angel of the LORD has a definite article meaning that He is no ordinary angel but one who is unique and different from all of the other angels because He is the visible manifestation of Yahweh and when people saw this Angel of the LORD they knew they were looking at Yahweh Himself in visible form.

Having said this we know that no man on earth can see the invisible Yahweh face to face and live to tell about it. As the Apostle John writes; “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” (John 1:18) When people were looking at the Lord Jesus they were seeing the invisible God face to face because in the Bible we are told “For in the Messiah all the fullness of the Deity dwells in bodily form.” (Colossians 2:9) In the Old Testament people saw the Angel of the LORD and afterwards declared that they had seen God face to face and lived to tell about it. (Genesis 32:30) As the Lord Jesus said to Thomas “He that has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9) In the New Testament we see no reference to the Angel of the LORD (with the definite article) because He had become a human being in the person of Jesus the Messiah.

We can further identify the “Second” Yahweh revealed in the Old Testament.

(Job 16:19) “Even now my witness is in heaven, and my advocate is on high!”

In the midst of his terrible suffering, Job saw His advocate pleading his cause before Yahweh. In the New Testament we see clearly who this was. It was none other than the only mediator between God and man the Lord Jesus himself. (1Timothy 2:5) Even in the Old Testament we see Him mediating between God and men as the Angel of the Lord. Job’s “advocate” can also be translated as “umpire” and we know that an umpire mediates between two opposing parties that need to be reconciled to each other. The fact that the Lord Jesus has an eternal priesthood clearly shows that even before his incarnation He was the intermediary between Yahweh in the heavens and His saints on earth. (Hebrews 7:24-25) Right now we have an advocate in the heavens, one who is the same as Yahweh and equal with Him in every way and in every divine attribute and is face to face with Him. As bond-slaves of the Lord Jesus we have in Him one who pleads our cause in the Council chambers of His father Yahweh in the royal courts in the heavens. (1 John 2:1) In the case of Job he saw his advocate on high and this revelation came through the blessed Holy Spirit.

(Exodus 3:2-4, 6, 14) “The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, “I must turn aside now and see this marvellous sight, why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am… He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God… God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

In this account the Angel of the LORD appears to Moses out of the burning bush. Moses turned aside to see why the bush burned but was not consumed but just kept burning. Once he had turned aside to look at the bush God Himself spoke to Moses out of the bush. We clearly see two characters in the burning bush. One is the Angel of the LORD and the other is God (Yahweh) Added to this God says His name is “I AM.” In the Gospel of John at least seven times the Lord Jesus actually says that He is the ‘I AM’ clearly identifying Himself with Yahweh and equal with Him and also showing that He was the Angel of the LORD because He was there with Moses and present in the burning bush. Moses hid his face because he was looking at a visible manifestation of the invisible God. Indeed the apostle John writes; “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and Only Begotten Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified concerning Him. He cried out, saying, “This is He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’” (John 1:15)

Once again the word “begotten” signifies that the Son of God was unique. There were other ‘sons of God’ that were spirit beings in the unseen spiritual world but they were created spirit beings but the Son of God Himself was not created but existed from all of eternity as the ‘second’ Yahweh being God, being one with God and yet face to face with God and equal to Him in all of his divine attributes. No wonder people on earth who had the revelation of Him from the Holy Spirit worshipped Him as God incarnate. The writers of the New Testament saw this from the Old Testament scriptures because that was the only Bible they had and they were all Jewish, except Luke who was a proselyte (a convert to Mosaic Judaism) but a believer in the Messiah and who knew what the Old Testament taught about Him.

2. “The Name” is His Presence

In the Bible names define character. For example David means “beloved of God” and there is no doubt that this was true of David, a man after God’s own heart and one who had a living and vital relationship with Yahweh. Another example is the Archangel Michael whose name means “He who is like unto God.” His character is seen in his stand for and defence of Israel in the last days. (Daniel 12:1) Another example is the Archangel Gabriel who was the special messenger of God and whose name means “God is my strength.” These mighty angels had names that conveyed differing aspects of God’s nature and character. Now when God chooses to put His name somewhere He is signifying that His Divine presence will also be there. “The Name” defines who He is. Another word used in Hebrew to designate God is the word “HaShem” or “the Name” speaking directly about God Himself. His Name is Him and He is His name. Remember He told Moses that His name was “I AM.” So when we see the name of the LORD being designated in a certain place it is also designating His divine presence in that place. Let’s look at this…

(Exodus 23:20-23) “Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him. But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. For My Angel will go before you…”

Once again we see the Angel of the LORD with authority to lead the Israelites through the desert and He is no ordinary Angel because God calls Him “My angel.” Now this angel has the authority within Himself to pardon sin and God’s name is in Him. The fact that God’s name is in Him identifies the very presence of God in the Angel.  What man or angel for that matter has ever been able to pardon sin as God does? Only the Son of Man had authority on earth to forgive sin when He walked this earth, why? Because He was Yahweh in the flesh and according to scripture only God Himself can forgive sin. (Mark 2:10)

(Deuteronomy 12:4-6, 11) “But you shall seek the place that the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes There you shall go, and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock… then to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make Hs name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the Lord.”

We see this when the Children of Israel were led through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land when they saw the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night hovering over the tabernacle located right in the centre of the Tribes of Israel. In fact you had the 12 tribes with three located on the North side of the Tabernacle, with three tribes located on the south side of the tabernacle, with three tribes located on the eastern side of the tabernacle and with three tribes located on the western side of the tabernacle, all together forming the shape of a cross and of course the Tabernacle was at the centre of this cross formation of the Tribes of Israel.

The Lord Jesus tells us that He was the true Temple of God and the apostle John tells us that it was Yahweh, who became flesh and tabernacled among us as a man. (John 2:21) (John 1:14) When we see the Lord Jesus driving the money changers out of the Temple we see the visible Yahweh driving them out of His own temple. Looking at the text in Deuteronomy again notice what God says to the people of Israel; “to put His name and make His habitation there.” (Vs. 4) When God chooses a place of worship He chooses to not only put His name there but also his presence which is possible through the presence of His Holy Spirit who is also Yahweh the Spirit. In the Bible when the people of Israel were bringing their offerings to the place of worship signified that they were coming into the very presence of Yahweh Himself to worship Him in His temple and to give to him the offerings they had brought into his dwelling place. When His name was there He was also there. It is no surprise then that when Yahweh the Son entered the Temple and saw the money changers that He drove them all out and totally ruined their businesses!

(Psalm 20:1, 7) “May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!.. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

Here we see that “the Name” (HaShem) is the same as the LORD (Yahweh) and associated with the name is Him acting on behalf of his people. To trust His Name is the same thing as to trust Him to do what He says He will do and count on Him to do it even when there is no outward and visible evidence that anything has changed in the natural. This is the kind of faith that pleases Him and that he rewards. (Hebrews 11:6) He is the great “I AM” and He is the great I AM “who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20) It is also written that “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10) “The Name” (HaShem) is Him and He is His name and where His name is he is also there. You cannot separate the name of the LORD from Him. This is one reason why God holds the person culpable who takes His name in vain.

The Lord Jesus understood this as the visible Yahweh on earth when He said to His disciples that they should pray in His name to His Father in heaven because the name of Jesus (Yahweh the Son) has the same authority and equality on earth as the name of the invisible Yahweh in heaven. (John 14:13; 15:16; 16:23-24) Once again when we see the Lord Jesus only saying and doing what He saw his Father saying and doing we see the “Double Yahweh” operating as the one God (Hashem/Yahweh) He who was one with His Father and equal to Him but yet living as a man on earth in communication with God living in heaven. Clearly you have the “Double Yahweh” revealed. This is perfectly consistent with both Testaments. The Old Testament is Yahweh the Son concealed and the New Testament Yahweh the Son revealed. While the father dwelt fully in the Son the Father was still in heaven. The Lord Jesus in the flesh was not the Father, if He was then to whom did He pray to?

(2 Samuel 6:1-2) “David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts (HaShem) who sits enthroned on the cherubim.”

The Ark of God was also called by His name (HaShem) and His presence hovered over the mercy seat located on top of the Ark of the Covenant. The two cherubim were the two angels with their wings spread out towards each other that sat on the lid of the Ark overshadowing the mercy seat. The Ark was associated with God himself because once a year the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies to offer up the blood of the spotless lamb on the mercy seat in the presence of God. His divine presence sat on the mercy seat of the Ark. After Jesus’ resurrection two spirit-beings in human form whose garments gleamed like lightning, were seen at the empty tomb. (Luke 24:4)

(Isaiah 30:27) “Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar, burning with His anger, and in thick rising smoke; His lips are full of fury, and His tongue is like a devouring fire;”

In this verse the name sounds like a person or one who has the marks of personality because He speaks. “The Name” (HaShem) speaks as if He is a person. As we have seen God’s name was in the Angel of the LORD and people saw God face to face in the Angel Himself. Because no one can look at God face to face and live God revealed Himself in ways that He could be discerned by humans. We see this in the Pillar of Cloud and the pillar of fire and in the burning bush and in one of the three messengers that visited Abraham. Often Yahweh would visit people in human form and although He took the form of a human He was not flesh and blood. Another appearance on earth of Yahweh was Melchizedek who appeared to Abraham and brought him bread and wine. Melchizedek was the High Priest of Salem (Jerusalem) and we are told that this ‘man’ was identified with the Lord Jesus. He brought bread and wine to Abraham. We see the Lord Jesus at the last supper breaking the bread and offering the wine to His disciples who, by faith, were descendants of Abraham.

We also see that Melchizedek was the High Priest and in light of this fact we see the Lord Jesus who was the perfect High priest who offered up his bruised, striped and lacerated body and shed blood as the perfect Passover Lamb and whose own blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat before His Father in heaven. We are also told that Melchizedek was; “…without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he (Melchizedek) continues a priest forever.” (Hebrews 7:3) There is no doubt that Melchizedek was the visible Yahweh on earth and the exact image of the invisible Yahweh in heaven. Melchizedek had no beginning or end so he was eternal in nature as God is eternal in nature.

(Daniel 3:24-25) “Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counsellors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God (a son of the gods).”

When the three faithful Hebrews went into the furnace a fourth one was walking around with them and there is no doubt that it was Yahweh in human form. King Nebuchadnezzar was a pagan king and yet he acknowledged that the one he saw resembled “a son of the gods” or as the KJV says “Like the Son of God.” Undoubtedly He was in a human form because he was described as” a fourth man” and so He had a human form. When we see this and other situations where Yahweh appears in human form to the Old Testament saints we see that the visible Yahweh communicated and interacted with His people.

(Deuteronomy 4:35-39) “To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides Him. Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might discipline you. And on earth He let you see His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire. And because He loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with His own presence, by His great power, driving out before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day, know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.”

God was with the Israelites as they left Egypt to go through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. They had the Angel of the LORD in whom God’s name resided and the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night and out of these Yahweh spoken to Moses as He had spoken from out of the burning bush. As we have seen the Angel that led the Israelites was Yahweh manifest in a human form because at other times the Angel of the LORD visibly appeared to men on earth. God’s very presence dwelt above the mercy seat and the Ark and the Tabernacle were His sanctuary on earth. So then, Yahweh in heaven brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt by the hand of Yahweh on earth namely the Angel of his Presence. As the prophet Isaiah writes; “In all their affliction (the Israelites) He (Yahweh in heaven) was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence (Yahweh on earth) saved them.”(Isaiah 63:9) So then “the Name” is His presence. As He said to Moses; “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14)

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