Parshas Vayera Genesis 18:1 – 22:24 appears to be conveniently misunderstood by Christians / Messianics

Tres vidit, et unum adoravit

Noticing an article recently linked to a website called “Hebrew Perspectives”, claiming it’s “Rabbinical sources” which I found interesting after reading the Torah portion on Genesis 18, it was in reality Orthodox Catholic Doctrine. Clearly this was not a Hebraic interpretation of Genesis, but one from the early church Fathers that formed Nicene Christianity theology of the Trinity.

The writer states: “There is no clearer example in the Hebrew Scriptures of God taking on human form.”(?)

Perhaps he used Messianic/Christian/Catholic sources? I have included a number of Rabbinical sources from Torah scholars (see “What is a Torah scholar?” below) in hopes to shed some enlightenment on this heretic error born in the 4th century by the Nicene Counsel of 325CE. 

Note: The account of Abraham greeting three guests at the Oak of Mamre in Gen. 18 is seen as disclosing the doctrine of the Trinity: tres vidit, et unum adoravit, “he saw three, and worshiped one,” as Augustine put it (Maxim. 2.26.7)

Didymos, sees in the three men who visited Abraham a symbol of the Trinity, but in two angels, types of the Son and the Spirit, who according to scriptural test accompanied the Lord, that is, the Father.

Christophany: The Doctrine Of The Manifestations Of The Son Of God Under The Economy Of The Old Testament

The Rublev Trinity: The Icon of the Trinity by the Monk-painter Andrei Rublev

Hebrew Perspectives?

*Genesis 18:1, 3. “Then the LORD appeared to him [Abraham] by the terebinth trees of Mamre [Hebron], as he was sitting in the tent door…Three men were standing by him…he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, and said, ‘My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant.” 

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it andwas glad…Before Abraham was, I AM.”
John 8:56, 58

*There is no clearer example in the Hebrew Scriptures of God taking on human form; He “appeared” to Abraham. When Abraham sees Him and runs to greet Him, it is to Someone he recognizes (remember, God had “appeared” to Him at least three times before—Acts 7:2; Gen. 12:7; 17:1). By this time he had also certainly come to recognize the sound of the “Word of the LORD” coming to him (Gen. 13:14; 15:1).

Abraham approaches the three men, but to One he says, “My Lord…” But, instead of using the normal Hebrew word Adoni (Lord/Master/Sir), the vowel points of the text show that he used the word Adonai—a pronunciation used only for Deity! And in the ensuing conversation, both with Abraham and with Sarah, it is made abundantly clear that it is the LORD with whom they are speaking (the other two ‘men’ are obviously angels, who will soon release destruction on Sodom and Gomorrah).
MJBI

“Yes, God is close. He is closer than the very air we breathe. This is true to such an extent that the Torah states, “Ein od milevado—there is no other besides Him” (Deuteronomy 4:35), and “Ein od—there is nothing else” (ibid. 4:39). Nonetheless there is a paradox here. The truth is that we may say this only when we understand that God is NOT the air we breathe, not an idea, not a physical or even spiritual quality or entity, not limited by matter, energy, time, space, or anything. God is the Creator of all these fundamentals of existence, and is therefore not defined or limited by any of them. They are all things that God created; they never can and never will define, confine, constrain, or contain God.”

Parshas Vayera
Genesis 18:1 – 22:24

My Master

By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

The parsha study is a lesson on the weekly portion (parsha) of the Torah specified for study by our sages. Each week of the year is assigned a particular portion for study by the Jewish people. It is an essential element of Judaism meant for the upliftment of Kal Yisroel.

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Donald Wayne Belk and Mr. Gary Lee Belk, may they rest in peace.

In Genesis 18:1 Hashem {singular} appears to Avraham in the groves of Mamre in the heat of the day. Avraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent in great pain from the bris mila, circumcision, three days earlier. Did Avraham actually see Hashem? No! G-d is a Spirit. G-d cannot be seen as men are seen. Avraham did not see a physical image of Hashem. It does NOT exist! How then did Hashem appear to Avraham? Illumination… Enlightenment… Revelation…

Understand this, Hashem has a way of connecting with each of us. Dreams… Visions… Prophecy… Voices… Each Illuminate… Enlighten… Reveal…

While Hashem was visiting Avraham three men {angels} were standing by him. They suddenly appeared. He did not see them coming even though he was watching for visitors. They were revealed to Avraham while he was engaged in a vision of Illumination… Enlightenment… Revelation… from Hashem. Now, why else would Avraham apparently leave the presence of Hashem to greet three angels? Avraham knew these angels were sent from Hashem. He knew they were messengers. At first they were standing near him in his vision. He did not greet them. Then, in a flash they were gone. {One second? One minute? One hour?} Avraham could see them departing. It would seem that He left the presence of Hashem when he ran to greet them! However Avraham knew Hashem’s presence is everywhere. Hashem’s presence accompanied Avraham.

In Genesis 18: 3 Avraham addresses the three angels. He said, “’Ah-Do-Naw’ (meaning ‘My Master’) if I have found favor in your eyes, please do not bypass Your servant.” Was Avraham worshiping angels? No! Was one of these angels disguised as G-d? No! What’s going on?

The oldest text discussing this issue compiled over fifteen hundred years ago states, “Abraham was addressing the chief of the three men who came towards him: according to Midrash they were the angels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.” Avraham was speaking with Raphael. Avraham’s comment was profane. The reference was not to G-d.

Avraham’s comment has caused quite a stir among Christian / Messianics. They believe it to be a Christophaney or a Theophaney, which they believe to be a revelation of Jesus in the Tenach. This is NOT possible. Let’s examine why.

This passage appears to be conveniently misunderstood by Christians / Messianics who teach one of the three angels was G-d {Jesus} because the word “’Ah-Do-Naw’ means ‘My Master’. This is an attempt to alter the truth of this passage as we shall soon see.

In all other instances there are no distinguishing differences in this passage between the angels and the one Christians / Messianics claim to be Master here. This inconsistency is very important to notice and follow. If G-d were disguised as an angel {and He is not} … and if it had been revealed as such then whoever was acquainted with that fact would from that point forward address G-d as G-d. One would not acknowledge G-d in the disguise of an angel and then after that awareness treat G-d or address G-d on the level of one of His creations, the angels! This would have been extremely disrespectful to the Creator of the universe by Avraham our patriarch.

In actuality we have Hashem, plus one angel whose mission was to inform Avraham of the pending birth of Yitzchok, plus a second angel whose mission was to heal Avraham, plus a third angel whose mission was to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, plus Avraham. In other words, there are five involved in a discussion. This is simple. It’s not difficult to understand.

And Hashem appeared to {Avraham} in the plains of Mamre. {Avraham} sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. {Avraham} lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three {Angles} stood by him; {”The Angel Michael to announce the good news concerning Sarah, the Angel Gabriel to overthrow Sodom and the Angel Raphael to heal Avraham.” Rashi} when {Avraham} saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the ground,

And {Avraham} said,
“My Lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, pass not away, I beseech you, from your servant; Let a little water, I beseech you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and you comfort your hearts; after that you shall pass on; seeing that you are come to your servant.”

And they {all three angels} said,
“So do, as you have said.”

Abraham hurried to the tent to Sarah, and said,
“Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes.”

And Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it to a young man; and he hurried to prepare it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they ate.

And they {all three angels} said to {Avraham},
“Where is Sarah your wife?”

And {Avraham} said,
“Behold, in the tent.”

And he {The angel Michael speaking as an agent of Hashem} said,
“I will certainly return to you at this season; and, lo, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” {The angel Michael would not return to him, Hashem would.}

And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well advanced in age; and it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am grown old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

And Hashem said to Abraham,
“Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old? Is any thing too hard for Hashem? At the time appointed I will return to you, at this season, and Sarah shall have a son.”

Then Sarah denied, saying,
“I laughed not; for she was afraid.”

And he {the angel Michael} said,
“No; you did laugh.” {In other words if Hashem said you laughed then you did laugh.}

And the {angels} rose up from there, and looked toward Sodom; and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.

And Hashem said,
“Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of Hashem, to do justice and judgment; that Hashem may bring upon Abraham that which he has spoken of him.”

PAUSE

And Hashem said,
Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry, which has come to me; and if not, I will know.

And the men turned their faces from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before Hashem. {Michael returns to the Ha Shaymium, the heavens… Gabriel and Rafael journey onto Sodom. ALL THREE ANGELS LEAVE!}

And Abraham drew near, and said,
Will you also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Perhaps there are only fifty righteous inside the city; will you also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous who are in it? Be it far from you to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked; and that the righteous should be as the wicked, be it far from you; Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

And Hashem said,
“If I find in Sodom fifty righteous inside the city, then I will spare the whole place for their sakes.”

And Abraham answered and said,
“Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak to Hashem, I who am but dust and ashes;
Perhaps there shall lack five of the fifty righteous; will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?”

And {Hashem} said,
“If I find there forty five, I will not destroy it.”

And {Avraham} spoke to him yet again, and said,
“Perhaps there shall be forty found there.”

And {Hashem} said,
“I will not do it for forty’s sake.”

And {Avraham} said to him,
“Oh let not Hashem be angry, and I will speak; Perhaps there shall thirty be found there.”

And {Hashem} said,
“I will not do it, if I find thirty there.”

And {Avraham} said,
“Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak to Hashem; Perhaps there shall be twenty found there.”

And {Hashem} said,
“I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.”

And {Avraham} said,
“Oh let not Hashem be angry, and I will speak yet but this once; Possibly ten shall be found there.”

And {Hashem} said,
“I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.”

And Hashem went his way, as soon as he had left talking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place. {It was Hashem who went His way, NOT an angel! All three angels were already gone.}

Genesis Chapter 19

And there came two angels to Sodom at evening; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom; and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face to the ground;

And {Lot} said,
“Behold now, my lords, turn in, I beseech you, to your servant’s house, and remain all night, and wash your feet, and you shall rise up early, and go on your way.”

And they {the Gabriel and the Rafael} said,
“No; we will stay in the street all night.”

And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in to him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both old and young, all the people from every quarter;

And they {the men of Sodom} called to Lot, and said to him,
“Where are the men who came in to you this night? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”

And Lot went out the door to them, and closed the door after him, And said,
“I beg you, my brothers, do not do so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me, I beg you, bring them out to you, and do to them as is good in your eyes; only to these men do nothing; seeing that they have come under the shadow of my roof.”

And they {the men of Sodom} said,
“Stand back.”

And they {the Men of Sodom} said again,
“This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he wants to be a judge; now will we deal worse with you than with them.”

And they pressed hard upon the man, Lot, and came near to break the door. But the {angels} put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and closed the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great; so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

And the {angels} said to Lot,
“Have you here any one else? Sons-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whoever you have in the city, bring them out of this place; For we will destroy this place, because their cry has grown great before the face of Hashem; and Hashem has sent us to destroy it.”

Lot went out, and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said,
“Arise, get out from this place; for Hashem will destroy this city.”

But to his sons-in-law it seemed that he was joking.

At dawn the angels tried to make Lot hurry, saying;
“Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you will be swept away in the iniquity of the city.”

But he lingered, and the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; Hashem being merciful to him; and they brought him out, and set him outside the city. And it came to pass,

When they had brought them outside, that he {the angel Gabriel} said,
“Escape for your life; look not behind you, nor stay in the plain; escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed.”

{Notice from here until the destruction is completed only one angel speaks. That is Gabriel whose mission was to destroy. Rafael accompanied him but did not participate in the destruction. It was not his mission.}

And Lot said to them,
“Oh, not so, my Lord; Behold now, your servant has found grace in your sight, and you have magnified your mercy, which you have shown to me in saving my life; I can not escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me and I die; Behold now, this city is near to flee to, and it is a little one; Oh, let me escape there, is it not a little one? and my soul shall live.”

And {the angel Gabriel} said to him,
“See, I have accepted you concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there; for I can not do any thing till you come there.”

Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.

Then Hashem rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Hashem out of heaven; And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

But his {Lot’s} wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he stood before Hashem; And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

And it came to pass, when G-d destroyed the cities of the plain, that G-d remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot lived. And Lot went up out of Zoar, and lived in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to live in Zoar; and he lived in a cave, he and his two daughters….

Now after reviewing these conversations we CAN SEE the clear separation between the three angels, Hashem and Avraham, etc. We also notice that Lot addressed the remaining two angels as ‘Ah-Do-Nah’ twice, meaning “Masters”. So this is not what Christians / Messianics claim. It is NOT a Christophaney or a Theophaney.

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

2. And he lifted his eyes and saw, and behold, three men were standing beside him, and he saw and he ran toward them from the entrance of the tent, and he prostrated himself to the ground.
בוַיִּשָּׂא עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה שְׁלֹשָׁה אֲנָשִׁים נִצָּבִים עָלָיו וַיַּרְא וַיָּרָץ לִקְרָאתָם מִפֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ אָרְצָה:
and behold, three men: One to bring the news [of Isaac’s birth] to Sarah, and one to overturn Sodom, and one to heal Abraham, for one angel does not perform two errands (Gen. Rabbah 50:2). You should know that [this is true] because throughout the entire chapter, Scripture mentions them in the plural, e.g., (below verse 8): “and they ate” ; (ibid. verse 9): “and they said to him.” Concerning the announcement, however, it says (ibid. verse 10): “And he said: I will surely return to you.” And concerning the overturning of Sodom, it says (below 19:22): “For I will not be able to do anything” ; (ibid. verse 21): “I will not overturn” (Gen. Rabbah 50:11). And Raphael, who healed Abraham, went from there to save Lot. This is what is stated:“And it came to pass when they took them outside, that he [the angel] said, ‘Flee for your life.’” You learn that only one acted as a deliverer.
והנה שלשה אנשיםאחד לבשר את שרה ואחד להפוך את סדום ואחד לרפאות את אברהם, שאין מלאך אחד עושה שתי שליחיות. תדע לך שכן כל הפרשה הוא מזכירן בלשון רבים (פסוק ח) ויאכלו, (פסוק ט) ויאמרו אליו, ובבשורה נאמר (שם י) ויאמר שוב אשוב אליך, ובהפיכת סדום הוא אומר (יט כב) כי לא אוכל לעשות דבר, (שם כא), לבלתי הפכי. ורפאל שרפא את אברהם הלך משם להציל את לוט, הוא שנאמר (שם יז) ויהי כהוציאם אותם החוצה ויאמר המלט על נפשך, למדת שהאחד היה מציל:
were standing beside him: Heb. עָלָיו, lit. over him. Before him, like (Num. 2:20):“And next to him (וְעָלָיו), the tribe of Manasseh,” but it is a euphemism in reference to the angels.
נצבים עליולפניו, כמו (במדבר ב כ) ועליו מטה מנשה. אבל לשון נקיה הוא כלפי המלאכים:
and he saw: Why is וַיַרְא written twice [in this verse?] The first is to be understood according to its apparent meaning [i.e., and he saw], and the second means “understanding.” He observed that they were standing in one place, and he understood that they did not wish to burden him. And although they knew that he would come out toward them, they stood in their place out of respect for him, to show him that they did not wish to trouble him, and he went out first and ran toward them. (This is the reading in an old Rashi ms.) In Bava Metzia (ad loc.) it is written: “standing beside him,” and then it is written: “and he ran toward them!” When they saw that he was untying and tying [his bandages], they separated from him. Immediately, “he ran toward them.”
ויראמהו וירא וירא שני פעמים, הראשון כמשמעו והשני לשון הבנה, נסתכל שהיו נצבים במקום אחד והבין שלא היו רוצים להטריחו ואף על פי שיודעים היו שיצא לקראתם, עמדו במקומם לכבודו ולהראותו שלא רצו להטריחו, וקדם הוא ורץ לקראתם. בבבא מציעא (פו ב) כתיב נצבים עליו, וכתיב וירץ לקראתם, כד חזיוה דהוה שרי ואסר פירשו הימנו, מיד וירץ לקראתם:
3. And he said, “My lords, if only I have found favor in your eyes, please do not pass on from beside your servant.
גוַיֹּאמַר אֲדֹנָי אִם נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ אַל נָא תַעֲבֹר מֵעַל עַבְדֶּךָ:
And he said, “My lords, if only I have, etc.”: To the chief one he said this, and he called them all lords, and to the chief one he said,“Please do not pass by,” because if he would not pass by, his companions would stay with him. According to this version, it (אִדֹנָי) is profane (Shev. 35b) (i.e., it does not refer to God). Another explanation: It (אִדֹנָי) is holy, and he was telling the Holy One, blessed be He, to wait for him until he would run and bring in the wayfarers. And although this [“Do not pass by”] is written after, “and ran toward them,” the statement [to God, “do not pass by”] preceded it. It is customary for the verses to speak in this manner, as I explained in reference to (above 6:3): “Let My spirit not quarrel forever concerning man” [the decree that God would wait 120 years before bringing the Flood] which was written after (5: 32):“And Noah begot.” But it is impossible to say otherwise than that the decree preceded the birth [of Japhet] by 20 years. And the two interpretations [of אִדֹנָי as being profane and holy in this context] are in Genesis Rabbah . [2]
ויאמר אדני אם נא וגו‘: לגדול שבהם אמר, וקראם כולם אדונים ולגדול אמר אל נא תעבור, וכיון שלא יעבור הוא, יעמדו חבריו עמו, ובלשון זה הוא חול. דבר אחר קודש הוא, והיה אומר להקב”ה להמתין לו עד שירוץ ויכניס את האורחים. ואף על פי שכתוב אחר (פסוק ב) וירץ לקראתם, האמירה קודם לכן היתה, ודרך המקראות לדבר כן, כמו שפירשתי אצל (ו ג) לא ידון רוחי באדם, שנכתב אחר (ה לב) ויולד נח, ואי אפשר לומר אלא אם כן קודם גזירת מאה עשרים שנה, ושתי הלשונות בבראשית רבה (מח י):
Rashi: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael not Jesus. (Three angels)

“Bear in mind, the Jewish Scriptures were written in Hebrew, not in seventeenth century King James English. What has made Christian believers so vulnerable to Bible tampering is that almost none of them can read or understand the Hebrew Bible in its original language.

Virtually no Christian child in the world is taught the Hebrew language as part of a formal Christian education. As you and countless other Christians earnestly study the Authorized Version of the Bible, there is a blinding yet prevailing assumption that what you are reading is Heaven-breathed. Tragically, virtually every Christian in the world reads the translation of men rather than the Word of God. On the other hand, every Jewish child in the world who is enrolled in a Jewish school is taught to read and write Hebrew long before he or she even heard the name of Luther.

Unbeknownst to you and parishioners worldwide, the King James Version and numerous other Christian Bible translations were meticulously shaped and painstakingly retrofitted in order to produce a message that would sustain and advance Church theology and exegesis. This aggressive rewriting of biblical texts has had a devastating impact on Christians throughout the world who unhesitatingly embrace these corrupt translations. As a result, Christians earnestly wonder why the Jews, who are the bearers and protectors of the divine oracles of God, have not willingly accepted Jesus as their messiah.”

Essentially the concept of God’s utter otherness protects Him from us. Left to our own devices, we humans tend to create things in our own image—or distort things to fit our image and our idea of them.

This is the meaning of what Chanah said in her prayer, “There is none kadosh (beyond, holy, transcendent, separate, other) like Hashem, for there is none besides Him. There is no Creator like our God” (I Samuel 2:2). It is the secret behind countless verses scattered throughout Tanakh wherein Hashem is seen as utterly other: “He dwells in eternity on high; His name is Kadosh, the transcendent Holy One” (Isaiah 57:17). “I am Hashem; I do not change” (Malakhi 3:6). “‘To whom will you liken Me that I be an equal?’ says Kadosh, the transcendent Holy One” (ibid. 40:25). “To whom will you liken Me, or make Me equal, or compare Me, that we may be alike?…I am Hashem, and there is none else. I am Hashem, and there is none like Me” (Isaiah .)40:5,9

ָקדֹו ׁש ָקדֹו ׁש ָקדֹו ׁש ְידָֹוד ְצ ָבאֹות ְמלֹא ָכל ָה ָאֶרץ ְּכבֹודֹו:

See: worshiper of Mithras, worshiper of Sabazius or any solar deity Check the roots to your faith. Sol Invictus The unconquered sun. A late Roman sun god. The title was also used of Mithras.As the Nicene Church was establishing its official doctrines and replacing biblical Judaism with Catholicism (“Universalism”), it is a well known and easily established fact that they incorporated the teachings of many different religious systems.These early “church fathers” were attempting to establish a new and global political and religious authority in order to control every aspect of human life. Whatever their motives, the Vatican created dogmas such as ‘eternal torture’ as a powerful stick to wield against its opponents. To this end the Catholic Bishops incorporated the Roman Pagan teachings. The message to the Jewish people from Christianity has been, “Jesus is the anti-Torah; forsake your Torah and come to Christ instead.” []

Genesis 18-A Closer Look

Genesis 18’s visitation of Abraham by three angels in the form of men is a classic Biblical story. Abraham finds out that although his wife Sarah is very old, she will soon bear him a baby. In this story, many in the Messianic-Christian movement see G-d coming in a human form. In particular one of the three angels/men is believed to be G-d. However, a closer view of this story shows that this simply is not true. Not only is this not true, but by understanding one of the three angels/men to be G-d, the misinformed reader misses multiple important messages that the Bible is teaching us. At the start of chapter 18, in verse 1, we read that G-d was visiting Abraham:

“1 And the L-RD appeared to him by the terebinths of Mamre, and he was sitting at the entrance of the tent in the heat of the day”

So, why is G-d visiting Abraham? What is the importance? Abraham was just recently circumcised, at age 99 no less! This is obviously a painful experience. G-d visited Abraham in this painful time, teaching us the importance of visiting the sick. As G-d visited the sick, so should we visit the sick. Now, in the next verse is when the three angels in the form of men appear. G-d is already with Abraham prior to the angels visit, so this also demonstrates that G-d was not one of Abraham’s three guests. As we read in Genesis 18:2:

“and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and three men stood beside him and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed down to the earth”

Here we are now introduced to the angels (in the form of three men), and Abraham’s eagerness to greet them. The Torah is teaching us another important lesson here. Abraham was so willing to show hospitality, that he was literally willing to leave the presence of G-d to greet his guests. Thus the Torah teaches us the importance of showing hospitality to our guests. Jews throughout the centures have been known for their kind hospitality and have used this verse as a basis of the importance of hospitality. Again, if one makes the mistake to think that one of these three guests is actually G-d, this valuable lesson is lost. Now, verse 3-5 is where many individuals seem to be confused. Abraham says to his guests:

“3: and he said: ‘My lords, if now I have found favour in your sight, pass not away from your servant.

4: Let a little water be taken and wash your feet, and recline under the tree.

5: And I will take a morsel of bread, and sustain your hearts; after that you shall pass on; because you have passed by your servant.’ And they said: ‘So you shall do, as you have said.’

The term used in verse 3, “lords”, seems to be the term that confuses people. In Hebrew, the word is “Adonai”, spelled (in the Hebrew equivalent) A-D-N-Y. This term can be used both to refer to G-d, but also to other creatures as well. In this case, Abraham is addressing the three angels, offering them hospitality. Some individuals translate it as “lord”, with Abraham addressing the leader of the three angels. Many in the Messianic-Christian movement assume that Abraham must be talking to G-d, which as we already reviewed, makes little sense since G-d was there prior to the arrival of Abraham’s guests. We see further evidence that the term “Adonai” can be used to refer to creatures other than G-d in the very next chapter, Genesis 19. In Genesis 19:1 we read that Lot is visited by two of these three angels, and in verse 19:2 he addresses the angels, saying:

“Behold now, my lords…”

The word in Hebrew for “lords” in Genesis 19:2 is the exact same word used by Abraham in Genesis 18:3, demonstrating that this term is appropriately used for the angels. And, like Abraham, Lot offers to feed his guests. Another sticking point for many in the Messianic-Christian movement is that in Genesis 18 there are three guests, and in Genesis 19 there are two angels, so they falsely assume that Abraham’s third visitor was G-d. To understand the error, one must first understand the function of angels in this world. There are many different forms of angels identified in the Bible, such as Cherubs and Winged Creatures. The angels are created by G-d to carry out the jobs that G-d gives to them. In Genesis 18, we had three angels, but they did not have the same job. The first angel’s job was to inform Abraham of Sarah’s impending pregnancy, while the other two angels’ jobs had to do with Lot, Sodom and Gemorrah. After the first angel had informed Abraham of the pregnancy, the angel was done with the job. Hence, only two angels visited with Lot. So, we see that the third man/angel was not G-d, but an angel, who did not go to visit Lot in Genesis 19 because that was not G-d’s purpose for the angel.

As an important related point, G-d also states many times in the Bible that G-d is not a “man” or a “son of man.” We see this in Numbers 23:19 and Hoshea 11:9. In Psalm 146:3, we are directed not to put our hope in the “son of man.” Interestingly, Jesus is called the “son of man” throughout the Christian Bible. For instance, Jesus calls himself the “son of man” at the Last Supper in Matthew 26:24. He calls himself the “son of man” in many other places, such as in Luke 6:5, when he also declares himself to be a god. Clearly, this does not match G-d’s statements in the Jewish Bible that G-d is not a human.

What is a Torah scholar?

A. A scholar is one who studies, and the Torah is the basis of Judaism. Therefore, a Torah scholar is one who studies Torah—right? Wrong. A Torah scholar is one who approaches the Torah with the attitude of wanting to know the truth, and not for the personal enjoyment of the study. Ask an English professor or a country singer why they do what they do, and they’ll most likely tell you, “I enjoy it!” But the true Torah scholar studies not out of enjoyment or as a profession, but out of a selfless devotion to coming close to G-d by studying His Will. True Torah study is a humbling experience, one that should never be approached as a hobby. Thus, a Torah scholar could also be a plumber—the former describes his sincere, earnest will to study G-d’s Will, and the latter is merely his day job.
B. Since Torah study is the greatest Mitzvah one could perform, next to giving Tzedakah, the Torah scholar is historically the most respected personality in the Jewish community. (Torah study itself—both learning and teaching—is Positive Mitzvah #11.) However, the humility factor comes into play again, and the Torah scholar, closer to Truth than the average layman, remains humbled by its power.

C. In Positive Mitzvah #209, the Torah accords great respect to the Talmid Chacham (pronounced TAHL-mid KHAH-kham), literally “wise student,” the traditional phrase for the Torah scholar. One is to rise before him, give him front-row seats and otherwise show him honor. The classic books of Halachah advise parents to marry their children to Torah scholars, and Jewish communities seeking leaders always inquired as to a candidate’s Torah knowledge as the primary deciding factor. Devoting oneself to a Torah scholar, becoming his disciple, serving him, studying under him, and learning from him, is considered devoting one’s self to G-d, as the Torah scholar, having internalized more Torah, is more in tune with G-d’s Will than you.

…sometimes your ego gets in the way… so you need a teacher to point out when you start getting a little too caught up in your mind’s own smug conclusions

Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus

There are many reasons why Jews do not accept Jesus, and the links below are some of the better explanations on this topic. Of course, if you have questions that are not covered on the links, you can always e-mail me with your questions.

An Answer from Rabbi Stuart Federow Click Here

An Answer from Rabbi Shraga Simmons Click Here

Ask the Rabbi from Ohr Somayach Click Here

An Answer from Rabbi Tovia Singer Click Here

Countermissionary Counseling

There are a number of groups that provide Countermissionary Counseling. Here are links to a few of them:

Jews for Judaism

Alternatively, you can call them at 800-477-6631 with general questions about missionary claims.

Outreach Judaism

Torah Life and Living

Great Sites, Priceless Information

Here are a number of great sites that counter missionaries and explain the differences in belief between Judaism and Christianity/Messianic “Judaism”, including addressing the Biblical verses that missionaries try to use against the Jews and explaining why the missionaries are incorrect.

Jews for Judaism

Jewish Isaiah 53

Outreach Judaism

1000 Verses

26 Reasons

The Jewish Home

Judaism’s Answer

Isaiah 53 Truth

Teshuvah.com

Leaving Jesus

Menashe’s Blog

 

Source:
Aside | This entry was posted in Genesis 18, Vayera Genesis 18 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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