How Many YHWHs?!

Tonight, we continue our look at the Genesis passages in relation to the Trinity and we will be looking at Genesis 19. This is the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We get so caught up in the debate on homosexuality in this chapter, (Which I do think that was one of the reasons the cities were destroyed) that we miss out on some of the actions that are taking place. 

As we left chapter 18, the visitors of Abraham were looking down on Sodom. Although not explicitly stated, the figure known as the LORD stayed behind to talk with Abraham while the other two went ahead to the city. Genesis 19:1 tells us that the two angels came to Sodom, indicating that their other traveler was elsewhere. Keep him in mind. (Considering who he is, let us hope you do.)

Now I’m going to grant that most of us know the story. I’m not going to describe it until we get to the part where fire and brimstone begin to rain down. I’m sure you’ve read the passage, but I wonder how many readers have actually caught what is said in verse 24.

 24 Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens.

So now we return to that one visitor of Abraham’s as the people Lot meets are addressed as lords. However, there is a distinction made between them and the LORD. It is not until verse 24 that we see him again. He is referred to throughout Genesis 19, but here we see him in action.

But not only do we see the LORD in action, we also see the LORD in action.

No. I’m not repeating myself.

Notice that there are two persons being addressed in this passage, however, both of them are called LORD. If we were reading it literally, we would take out the word LORD and replace it with YHWH so the passage would read:

 24 Then the YHWH rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the YHWH out of the heavens.

There’s two persons called YHWH? Is this a contradiction? Only if you want to presume that Moses was an idiot. If you’re a unitarian, you can have a difficult time with this passage. If, however, you are a Trinitarian it makes perfect sense.

This gets me back to the identity of the man addressed as the LORD in Genesis 18. I find further confirmation that we were dealing with God the Son there since we have a reference to another YHWH here and he must be one other than the Son. Since the Spirit normally manifests in spiritual gifts and the shekinah glory in the Old Testament, I take this one to be the Father.

Trinitarian thought has no problem here. The Son and the Father are there together in relationship. Two persons and as we will see as we go on, one YHWH, for Moses is no doubt a monotheist and the Jews who interpreted the Torah for ages even before the time of Christ saw Moses as a monotheist. This is a reason this is one of my favorite passages to use on unitarians.

When we continue this series, we shall look at the offering of Isaac and see what happens there.

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