In the second study we saw that throughout the Old Testament God (Yahweh) has revealed Himself as a visible and as an invisible God. There 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. When we look at both 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, the eternal Yahweh who was side by side and yet the same as Yahweh and one with Him made flesh at His incarnation. (John 1:14) 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)
We also saw how the Old Testament scriptures revealed “the Double Yahweh” and that “The Name” was also His presence. Where His name is that is where He is and He is his name. Now we need to look at two more things concerning Yahweh who is invisible and yet visible.
1. The Angel of the LORD.
(Judges 2:1-2) “The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed Me.”
Here in this text we see that the Angel of the LORD is speaking and refers to His covenant. Whose covenant was it? Here we see that the Angel of the LORD identifies himself as Yahweh. This is the same angel of whom God said that his name was in him and that he had the power to forgive sin. Notice also that He says “You have disobeyed me” (he speaks in the first person). God clearly defines the covenant as “His Covenant.” (vs.20) Once again we see that the Angel of the LORD is Yahweh the Son because men looked at Him and in Him saw Yahweh face to face and yet did nor die.
(Genesis 31:10-13) “In breeding season I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled or spotted. The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.’”
The Angel of the LORD spoke to Jacob in a dream and clearly identified Himself as Yahweh when He said “I am the God of Bethel.” Clearly He identified Himself as the “visible” Yahweh.
(Genesis 48:14-16a) “And Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands (for Manasseh was the firstborn). And he blessed Joseph and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys;”
When the aged Jacob was blessing the two sons of joseph he asked that God would bless them and as he pronounced the blessing He clearly identifies the invisible and visible Yahweh. He says “The God” and “the Angel” and the “He” is given in a singular verb format identifying the Angel with Yahweh Himself. Once again we see the invisible and visible Yahweh revealed in the text. God spoke directly to Jacob in the Angel of the LORD. This is why Jacob and others in the Old Testament could say they had seen God’s face and yet lived to tell about it. The Angel of the LORD was the image of the invisible Yahweh and the exact representation of His being. We see this fact fully revealed in the Lord Jesus who was Himself “the image of the Invisible God and the exact representation of his being.” (Colossians 1:15) (Hebrews 1:3) Added to this Jacob refers to the Angel as the one who has redeemed him from all evil clearly a reference to the redemptive work of the Messiah which would occur centuries later through Jacob’s Messiah, the invisible Yahweh manifested as a fully human being.
(Judges 6:11-16) “Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valour.” And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
Once again in the case of Gideon the Angel of the LORD spoke to Gideon (vs.12). We also see that the Angel of the LORD speaks as God where we read “and the LORD turned to Him and said” (Vs.14) and again we read “And the LORD said to Him, But I will be with you” (Vs.16). So once again we see the visible Yahweh speaking as the invisible Yahweh. The Angel of the LORD is Yahweh Himself in a form that men could see because no one on earth in the flesh can see God face to face and live. (Exodus 33:20) Once the LORD had spoken to Gideon he wanted to bring a present to the LORD so we are told that “he went out and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so. Then the Angel of the LORD reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight. Then Gideon perceived that he was the Angel of the LORD. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face.” But the LORD said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. (Vss.19-24)
There is no doubt that Gideon, in speaking with the Angel of the LORD, was speaking with God Himself.
Did not the Lord Jesus Himself say; “I and the father are one” (John 10:30) and again we read what He said to Philip; “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” (John 8:7-11)
For this kind of statement and others the Lord Jesus made along the same lines the religious Jews wanted to stone Him because He was making Himself equal with God. The irony of this is that the Jewish Rabbis and theologians knew from the Old Testament scriptures that the invisible Yahweh revealed Himself in a visible Yahweh. Around 100 AD this thinking was declared by the religious Jews as heresy and rejected even though it was in their own scriptures. The Lord Jesus knew about this concept of the two powers in heaven that the Jewish scholars acknowledged and knew He was the visible image and manifestation of the invisible God in a flesh and blood body. He was the living Word of God made flesh and the eternal one who tabernacled among us. (John 1:14)
John and the other writers of the New Testament understood this great scriptural truth. As John writes; “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, He has made Him known.” (John 1:18) So we can see that the Angel of the LORD was the pre-incarnate only Begotten (unique) Son of God who was at the Father’s side and one with Him and yet face to face with Him from all of eternity. (John 1:1-2) In the Book of revelation we see this truth clearly that God the Father and God the Son are co-equally eternal in nature. (Revelation 1:8, 18)
2. The Word of the LORD
(Genesis 15:1, 4) “The Word of the LORD came to Abram (later called Abraham) in a vision…. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him:”
God had already spoken to Abraham when he lived in Ur of the Chaldeans and told him to leave his home with his family and go to a land that He would show him and Abraham had obeyed. (Genesis 12:1) When he arrived in the land of Canaan we are told that the LORD appeared to Abraham again. The LORD appeared in a form that allowed Abraham to see God face to face and not die. In Genesis 15:1 we see the Word of the LORD coming again to Abraham. This is the eternal and living Word of God Himself about whom the apostle John writes. (John 1:1-2) Abraham not only heard the Word of God but saw Him and conversed with Him. As the Lord Jesus later said of this man; “Abraham was overjoyed to see My day. He saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56)
The Lord Jesus was always around in the Old Testament as the visible Yahweh but of course was not a human being as this would happen at the incarnation when He would enter into this world as a fully human being through the portal of Mary’s womb. The fact that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit tells us that He is fully divine and that the Holy Spirit himself is also God. The Holy Spirit has the ability to create things as He is the co-creator with the Father and with the Son through whom God made the world. (John 1:3, 10)
We read in Genesis that the Holy Spirit was hovering over the dark and formless earth waiting to create at the command of God the creator. The same word “to hover” is used in the New Testament when the Holy Spirit hovered over the womb of Mary. When we see Sarah Abraham’s wife conceiving it was through Abraham of course but it was God who opened her womb enabling her to conceive.
(1 Samuel 3: 10-11) “And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle…”
Samuel was a little boy when the Lord appeared to Him. Twice the Lord spoke to little Samuel in the Temple and h had thought it was Eli calling him. The third time Samuel not only heard the Lord’s voice but saw Him. The Lord had stood calling to Samuel before but apparently he little boy had not seen the Lord standing there when He spoke twice before to the boy. The third time Samuel had a “face to face” encounter with the Lord. This was the Word of God himself. The visible Yahweh appeared to Samuel personally and spoke to him. Whenever we read that the Word of the Lord came to a prophet it was the Word Himself who spoke to them.
Peter the Apostle speaks about this when he writes; “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who foretold the grace to come to you, searched and investigated carefully, trying to determine the time and setting to which the Spirit of the Messiah in them was pointing when He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they foretold the things now announced by those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.” (1 Peter 1:10-12) This clearly tells us that the Old Testament prophets who wrote the Old Testament interacted with the invisible Yahweh through the visible Yahweh who appeared to them individually and personally and spoke with them face to face. The prophets also saw the future atoning work of the Messiah for those who were to come to believe in Him centuries later. One outstanding example of this is Isaiah 53 where the prophets saw through the revelation of Yahweh the Spirit the future suffering and resurrection of the Messiah Himself our Lord Jesus, the invisible Yahweh made a flesh and blood human being. (John 1:14)
(Jeremiah 1:4-9a) “Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.” Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth…”
Once again we see the Word of the Lord is a divine person. It was the same one of whom the apostle John writes about. (John 1:1-2) Jeremiah did not hear a voice out of heaven as such but heard the very eternal Word of God Himself speaking personally to His servant Jeremiah. Added to this we see the Word Himself stretching ou His hand to touch Jeremiah’s mouth.
We also see the hand of the visible Yahweh reaching out to Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel. They were interacting with their Messiah, seeing Him in all of His divine glory with and in the Father before He became a man. (Ezekiel 8:2-4) (Jeremiah 1:9) (Daniel 10:5-11) This is He who is called the Living Word of God and His name defines Him. (John 1:1) (Revelation 19:13) He is “HaShem. (The Name”) fully revealed as a flesh and blood man.
So then we can see that the Word of God was an eternal spirit being who appeared in human form in the Old Testament who interacted with men and who was Himself Yahweh the Son and equal with Yahweh and one who was one with Yahweh and face to face with Yahweh from all eternity and the one who took upon Himself a flesh and blood body in the person of the Lord Jesus our Lord and Messiah. This is the one John writes about and testifies to throughout his gospel and his three epistles. This is the one testified to by Moses, the Old Testament saints, by the prophets and by the apostles who wrote the New Testament.
3. “He who rides through the heavens.”
In the ancient world Baal was a pagan deity “who rides through the clouds.” Of course Baal worship was a spiritual seduction engineered by Satan to get people worshipping a fallen spirit-being or “god” These idols men made were actually portals through which the fallen spirit-beings in the atmosphere gained access to the minds and hearts of humans. We see this in Genesis 6 when these fallen spirit–beings (sons of God) had sexual relations with human women and produced wicked offspring. Then in Genesis chapter 11 at the tower of Babel we see men errecting a Ziggurat and through this occult structure inviting spirit beings to invade the affairs of men on earth. In fact Both the Old and the New Testament tells us that the worship of idols is actually the worship of demons. (Deuteronomy 32:16-17) (1 Corinthians 10:20) Through these ‘portals’ spirit-being gain access to this world and can manipulate men especially in positions of power within nations.
Any form of idolatry is in fact the worship of demons. Behind the idols humans erect in their hearts are demonic forces in the unseen spiritual world that do not have anyone’s best interests at heart! When we erect an idol in our heart we licence Satan to have an inroad into our life. This is why idolatry is very dangerous spiritually speaking and why God comes down very hard on idolatry.
Baal supposedly was one who rides through the clouds, in other words one who inhabits the atmosphere above the surface of the earth. In the New Testament we are told that Satan is the prince of the power of the air and the word used for “air” is the atmosphere above the surface of the earth and this includes the clouds. Satan always twists the truth! There is a rider on the clouds and this is Yahweh and His Son. Scripture is very clear about this matter. Now let’s look at this.
(Deuteronomy 33:26) “There is none like God, O Israel, who rides through the heavens to your help, and in His majesty through the skies.”
(Psalm 68: 32-34) “Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord, to Him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens, who thunders with mighty voice.”
(Psalm 104: 3) “He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.”
(Isaiah 19:1) “See, the Lord rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before Him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.”
This chapter in Isaiah is prophetic and the rider on a swift cloud is the Lord Jesus Himself coming in great power and glory as the rider on the white horse coming in the clouds of heaven. (Revelation 19:11-16) In the Revelation text He is called “The Word of God.” At the end of this passage of scripture we see the Assyrians and the Egyptians together worshipping the Lord in the Messianic Kingdom of God on earth. The area that was originally Assyria is today Northern Iraq and South Eastern Turkey. The Jews were familiar with this idea of Yahweh riding the clouds of heaven. Satan twisted this truth and applied to Baal.
(Daniel 7:13-14) ““I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
In a night vision Daniel was taken into the eternal realm where time as we know it down here on earth does not exist and where the past, the present and the future all run together. Clearly we see the visible Yahweh coming with the clouds of heaven. Daniel is seeing the Second Coming of the Messiah and the inauguration of His Messianic Kingdom on earth after all opposition to Him and his Kingdom have been destroyed. This is consistent with the other dream that Daniel saw and interpreted where a huge rock, (the Messianic Kingdom) not engineered by any humans but established by the Messiah at his Second Coming which smashed all of the other rebel kingdoms together at the same time. After this the rock (Messianic Kingdom) filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45)
In His first coming the Lord Jesus established His kingdom in the hearts of men but it was not an earthly kingdom but a spiritual one established in the hearts of his saints. In his Second Coming the invisible Kingdom of God on earth will become the visible Kingdom on earth that will see the glorified saints co-reigning with the Messiah as redeemed sons of God on earth. God will have a family of sons on earth as He does in the heavenly realms. He has “the sons of God” on earth and “the sons of God” in the heavens. He will have an earthly and a heavenly family co-ruling with Him in His divine council handling the affairs on earth as well as administrating over the whole universe itself. Ultimately there will be a new heaven and earth that shall become one eternal realm of existence. (Revelation 21:1-4)
When the Lord Jesus was on trial for his life He was questioned by the High priest. We read about this. “Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:61b-62) The Lord Jesus was saying two things. Firstly, He was referring to the Old Testament scriptures that He was the visible Yahweh who was riding on the clouds of heaven clearly identifying Himself as God and equal with God in all of His divine attributes. Secondly He was affirming the prophet Daniel who saw the Lord Jesus coming in the clouds to establish the Messianic Kingdom on earth. No wonder the religious establishment was furious and outraged that a man should claim to be the Yahweh riding on the clouds of heaven. Of course the Lord Jesus knew He was the eternal and visible image of the invisible God and the exact representation of His being. (Colossians 1:15) (Hebrews 1:3)
The Lord Jesus also spoke about coming in the clouds when He was speaking to his followers about His Second Coming in His discourse on the Mount of Olives; “Immediately after the tribulation of those days: ‘The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.’ At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31) Notice that His Second Coming and the rapture and resurrection of all the saints comes “immediately after the tribulation (thlipsis) of those days and not before it.”