By Roland Smyth
Continued - 3
Although conventional wisdom is adamantly convinced that Jehovah was an ethereal sort of god whom nobody had ever seen face to face, the fact is that he was, at times, highly visible to more than just a few observers. The reason he is thought to have been ethereal--or, more to the point, invisible--is because Jesus taught that the Father was invisible. The Father, not "the LORD."
Anyway, there are a number of very explicit, down-to-earth appearances of Jehovah recorded in the Old Testament, but the best example of all occurs in Chapter 18 of Genesis.
In this scene Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent one fine day (around 1900 BC), when three men approached on foot. Something about them must have clearly indicated their high-ranking position, for Abraham immediately ran out to greet them with the utmost measure of respect.
Once the preliminary formalities were taken care of, he asked the men if they'd care to honor him by staying for a meal. They accepted the invitation. Wash water was provided for them to freshen up with, and then Abraham hurried off to make the necessary culinary arrangements--which included the slaughtering of a tender young calf.
Meanwhile, the three men rested in the shade of a nearby tree. One of these men, according to the text, was Jehovah. The other two, as it later turned out, were "angels."
That didn't ruin their appetites, though. Abraham soon returned with platters of veal, yogurt, and freshly baked bread. Plus there was milk to wash it all down with. And sure enough, the two angels and "god" went to work on it all.
During the meal, Jehovah promised Abraham's wife, Sarah that she would soon provide her husband with a child. She didn't believe a word of it, for she had been barren all her life anyway. Jehovah insisted he knew how to arrange these things. What could Sarah say? She didn't know about the marvels of genetic engineering.
The meal ended and the men prepared to leave. They had pressing business to take care of down in Sodom and Gomorra - two cities which, from Abraham's place in the hills, were visible off in the distance. A two or three hour hike away.
Abraham decided to accompany them for the first part of the hike. After a while the two angels went on ahead while Jehovah and Abraham paused for a confidential discussion.
Abraham knew what plans his guest had in store for the cities below, and he tried his darndest to dissuade "the LORD" from acting too rashly. Jehovah decided to think about it. Then he departed, and Abraham returned home.
So endeth Chapter 18 of Genesis. For the ensuing destruction of Sodom and Gomorra (Abraham's dissuasions of course, had been of no use) by all means refer to Chapter 19. (Either the city's inhabitants were unbelievably immoral to deserve such harsh punishment, or Jehovah was just being his usual, ornery self. I suspect it was mostly his orneriness.)
In any case, that's my formal introduction of Jehovah. Interesting dude, eh? I can just picture him munching away on that tasty meal and, between mouthfuls, giving Sarah a hard time with his extraordinary promise regarding her upcoming pregnancy.
Naturally I've liberally paraphrased the entire story to render it more cogent and entertaining, but if you consult your Bible, I'm sure you'll find I never once deviated from the plain facts.
Now for some analysis.
First, a reminder that the account attributes to Jehovah certain traits which aren't normally associated with him. He was, according to the text, a man. Moreover, he behaved like a man! He washed, he walked, he talked, he rested in the shade of a tree, he ate and he drank. And, not to forget, he was anything but invisible.
All of the above also holds true for the two angels. They too were "men." No mention of wings or halos or anything like that.
You begin to wonder if all three guests were basically similar in appearance and mannerisms. The text definitely conveys that impression, and nowhere does it indicate, for instance, that Jehovah ("god") displayed any attributes noticeably dissimilar from his companions -- save that he did most of the talking, that is.
Well, if they all looked alike and behaved in much the same manner, and if two members of the trio were designated angels (Chapter 19), might not Jehovah be designated a bonafide angel too? The Chief Angel, perhaps? You know, it just might be worth checking into...