The Son Appeared to Abraham in the Plain of Mamre…Genesis 18

This is the third in a series of posts on the Old Covenant appearances of the Son of God.  These events relate to a significant point that Christ makes in John 3:13.   He says that “no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven.”   Christ is making the point, long before He was resurrected, that there is only One person who has ascended to heaven and it is that One who came down from heaven.  What is significant is that He speaks of this ascension into heaven as though it has happened in the past.  And in fact it did – many times – these Old Covenant events we are discussing are some of those times that the One who came down from Heaven ascended back there.

In Genesis 18 the Son of God gets up off the throne that He shares with the Father and comes down to visit with Abraham in the plains of Mamre.  This is a relatively long passage.  I’ll just make a few comments and then let you read through it.  In this event, the Lord appears to Abraham as a man along with two angels who also appear as men[1].  The sequence of events is that first the Lord and the two angels speak to Abraham and Sarah, then the three separate and the two angels continue on to Sodom.  The Lord speaks alone to Abraham for a time and then goes His way. 

The passage begins by saying specifically in verse 1 that the Lord appears to Abraham.  As you make your way through the passage more and more detail is added consistent with the idea that one of the three is God Himself. 

In verse 17, the Lord continues to speak in the first person: shall I hide from Abraham the thing that I do?  In verse 22, the three men separate and two of them head toward Sodom, but Abraham stood yet before the LORD (the one who stayed).  In verse 25, the Lord identifies Himself as the judge of the whole earth: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?  In verse 27, Abraham recognizes that he is talking to God: Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord

Gen 18:1  And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

Gen 18:2  And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

Gen 18:3  And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

Gen 18:4  Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:

Gen 18:5  And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

Gen 18:6  And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.

Gen 18:7  And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.

Gen 18:8  And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

Gen 18:9  And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.

Gen 18:10  And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

Gen 18:11  Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

Gen 18:12  Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

Gen 18:13  And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?

Gen 18:14  Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

Gen 18:15  Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

Gen 18:16  And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.

Gen 18:17  And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

Gen 18:18  Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Gen 18:19  For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

Gen 18:20  And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

Gen 18:21  I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

Gen 18:22  And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

Gen 18:23  And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

Gen 18:24  Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

Gen 18:25  That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Gen 18:26  And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

Gen 18:27  And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:

Gen 18:28  Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.

Gen 18:29  And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.

Gen 18:30  And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.

Gen 18:31  And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.

Gen 18:32  And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.

Gen 18:33  And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

Gen 19:1  And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

If we are willing to just listen to what God says then it is evident that God appeared in the form of a man and spoke to Abraham in this passage. Since we know it is the role of the Son to descend from heaven and speak to men face-to-face, then it follows that this is the Son who appeared to Abraham.

[1] It is not uncommon for angels to appear as men in the scriptures.  See Daniel 9:21 and Hebrews 13:2.


3 Responses to “The Son Appeared to Abraham in the Plain of Mamre…Genesis 18”

  1. 1 Mark June 28, 2009 at 6:01 am

    Interesting viewpoint- I don’t disagree with you that the Son of God preexisted in heaven before the incarnation. However, when you say “If we are willing to just listen to what God says then it is evident that God appeared in the form of a man and spoke to Abraham…” Do you believe he ‘changed forms’ so to speak- just for the visit-taking on the appearance of a Man? Or did he simply appear in his natural form?

  2. 2 hayesrod July 1, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Good question. Tne answer is He appeared in His natural form. When He came down to visit Abraham He physically got up off the throne of God in Heaven and came down to earth. Jesus is the Firstborn of Every Creature. What this means is that He was manifested in a physical way before any other physical being. He wasn’t created, rather as He said, he “proceeded forth and came from God.” The thing to undertstand is that this happened first before there was a creation. In this event, God who is Spirit and who is eternal, manifested Himself in a physical way and became a Father and a Son. See my post on the Son of Man.

  3. 3 Mathews W.Opwora August 9, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Today I got this track from Rev Roddley (not sure of spelling) Bungoma IGC church-KENYA.I was a visitor in that church today and I really enjoyed his teaching.He said he comes from Florida -USA currently he is visiting Uganda too.He mention about his book WHY I BELIEVE JESUS CAME FROM HEAVEN had his e-mail address.I didnot have opportunity to get this copy nor his e-mail address.I understand he continues teaching tomorrow but I cannot meet him as I have gone back where I stay Nandi North.I was amazed of the revealation that JESUS was the first borne of all creation and He proceeded from God.My request I want his e-mail contact I wish to communicate with him and establish such teaching in my church.If possible invite him. My e-mail address Postal address P O BOX 169,KABIYET (KENYA)

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