About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Verse 1 tells us that the
Lord appeared to Abraham one day during the heat of the day while he was
sitting at the entrance of his tent.
It was the custom of the day because it would have been too hot
Verse 2 tells us that
three men appeared before Abraham. Verse
1 says that the Lord appeared, and now verse 2 says three men appeared.
We learn from Genesis 19:1 that two of the men were angels.
Most scholars feel that the third man was the Lord who is
mentioned in verse 1, who is in fact the pre-incarnate Jesus.
Also in verse 2 we see
that Abraham left his tent in a hurry, ran to them, and bowed before
them. There is an eastern
tradition of bowing before your guests.
The entertaining of guests in this culture was a very high
priority, that is why Abraham ran. It
is also why, as you will see, that Abraham acted as he did towards his
three guests. Without this
understanding you might wonder why Abraham seemed so frantic in trying
to help and serve these guests.
Some might suggest that
because Abraham ran to these guests, and served them as he did, tells us
that this was something special. Maybe
he knew these men were angels. I'm
not convinced of this. Abraham
might have thought something was special about these guests, but I don't
think you can say that due to his actions alone.
Verse 3 might confirm
that Abraham thought these three men were heavenly visitors.
He said "if I have found favour in your eyes my lord, do not
pass me by". First of
all we need to understand the difference between the word "lord'
used here and the word "Lord" used in verse 1.
The verse one "Lord' with a capital "L" refers to
God. The word "lord'
with a small "l" in verse 3 is more of a word of respect, as
in the word "sir". At
the least, we can safely say that Abraham for one reason or another
respected these visitors, especially one of them, who he called lord.
Beyond that, I would not be surprised that Abraham believed that
the one special visitor was a manifestation of God, or else a real
In verse 4 and 5 we see
that Abraham had water and food brought to them. We also learn in verse
5 that Abraham viewed himself as a servant to these men.
Once again, Abraham viewed these men, and especially one of them
as being special, if not heavenly. These
were not ordinary men in the sight of Abraham.
In verse 6 Abraham rushes
into see Sarah and told her to be quick.
He obviously wanted things done in a hurry.
He did not want to make these very important men wait.
To me, it's almost as if Abraham was running on nervous energy.
He had Sarah get "30 seahs of fine flower" to make
bread. That's about 20
quarts of fine flour, not just ordinary flour.
That's a lot of flower and a lot of bread.
In verse 7 Abraham
continues in this nervous energy. He
ran to his herd and made his servant hurry and prepare tender a calf for
the visitors to eat. Abraham
seems frantic at this point. Although
people in those days ate meat, it was not a daily occurrence, so this
was a special meal for the three visitors.
In verse 8 we see that
Abraham brought the three visitors this great feast to eat.
We notice that Abraham did not eat the meal with the three men.
He stood a short distance away, as if he was indeed their servant
as he said he was. At this
moment in time Abraham himself had gathered quite a large community of
people around him. In one
real sense of the word, Abraham was an important man, but to these men,
he was their servant. These
were special men. IN fact,
one was God in human flesh. That's the pre-incarnate Jesus.
One might ask, if these
were angels and the pre-incarnate Jesus, why would they need to eat.
Well, they appeared as men, so they behaved as men.
Jesus ate after He rose from the dead and while He lived in His
glorified body. So just
because these men ate food does not mean that two were angels, and one
was the pre-incarnate Christ.
We don't know all of what
the conversation was about but in verse 9 we do know that
"they", meaning, all three, asked Abraham where Sarah was.
He answered by saying that she was in the tent.
I'm sure that the three knew where Sarah was, but as is often the
case, God wants us to verbalize our thoughts.
He wants us to converse with Him so He asks us questions that He
already knows the answer to.
Verse 10 confirms that
one of these men is "the Lord'.
The text says, "then the Lord said…"
So we know that one of these men was God in human flesh, and we
also know that the other two were angels from chapter 19, verse 1.
The Lord told Abraham
that He'd return to him in about a years time, and at that point, Sarah
would have had a son. This
is a promise of God. This is
a promise because Sarah was way too old to have children.
This is an important fact in Jewish history, in Biblical studies,
in prophetic history, and in the story of salvation.
It's my thinking that by
now, or at least because of these words from the Lord Abraham knew who
he was talking with.
Some people might wonder
at the timing here. Women
are pregnant for nine months. The
Lord does not say, as some might think, that in one year Sarah will have
a baby. What He does say is
that He will return in a year, and when He returns. She will have
already had a baby born to her.
Verse 10 also states that
Sarah was listening to the conversation.
I can picture Sarah hiding behind the tent doorway, with her ear
up to a crack trying to hear every word that was being said by these
Verse 11 confirms the
fact that both Sarah and Abraham were past the age of having children.
Throughout our Genesis study we have been noting the ages of
people declining from nine hundred plus years downward.
We're now down to the average age as being around one hundred to
one hundred and twenty years old.
Verse 12 says that
"Sarah laughed to herself".
This suggests to me that this was not a loud laugh.
She laughed quietly because she laughed to herself. She probably
didn't want the men to know that she was listening to their conversation
so that is why she laughed to herself.
After Sarah laughed she
says, "after I am warn out and my master is old will I now have
this pleasure." We note
a couple of things here. Sarah
calls her husband "her master", something that is completely
foreign to western society today.
I've seen two ways of the
word pleasure being understood from well meaning scholars.
Some say this is the pleasure of the baby making process while
others say it is simply the pleasure of having a baby that she has never
had. I lean to the second
way of thinking.
In verse 13 the Lord
asked Abraham why Sarah laughed and asked what did she say, as if He
didn't know . Either the
Lord supernaturally knew Sarah laughed, or else Sarah laughed loud
enough and talked loud enough for all to hear, but once again, I don't
believe Sarah laughed loud enough for the men to hear her.
I'm not sure why the Lord asked Abraham that, and why He didn't
call Sarah out of the tent to ask her directly, other than she was not
included n the discussion, and the culture of the day would not have
included women into such a conversation. Abraham
might not have even known that Sarah laughed.
The Lord doesn't seem to
give Abraham a chance to answer. I
don't really think the Lord expected, or even wanted Abraham to answer
because the Lord knew that Abraham didn't know his wife laughed.
He only asked the question in the first place to make a point
which is seen in the next verse.
In verse 14 the Lord
tells Abraham that He will return next year, and in the "appointed
time" Sarah will have a son. This
was a very specific promise God made to Abraham. God fulfilled His
promise. Note the words
'appointed time". It's
my opinion that God does everything according to His "appointed
time", and He is neither early or late, but right on time.
A serious study of the gospels in the New Testament makes this
very clear. God has a
timetable. For example, He
knows exactly when He will send Jesus back to earth.
There is an appointed time. Not
everyone believes this way, but I do.
Fore example, there is an exact day, and exact hour, and an exact
minute when Jesus will return to earth.
In verse 15 we see that
Sarah was now afraid. She
actually lied and said that she did not laugh.
Fear often produces sin. This
fear made Sarah lie. She did
laugh and the Lord knew it. Even
in the very presence of God, people can still lie.
I wonder if people will lie on the day of judgment.
At this point Sarah might
well have understood that the man talking with Abraham was really the
Lord. I say this because she
was afraid. This was not the
first time the Lord told Abraham that they'd have a son, although this
time, the promise is very specific concerning the time line.
Abraham would have talked about these things to Sarah before so
when the Lord says what He says here, I think Sarah knew it was the Lord
We know that she lied in
the presence of the Lord because the rest of the verse says, "yes,
you did lie," and these words were spoken by the Lord.
We don't know just where Sarah was standing at this point.
She might well have come to the entrance of the tent and
conversed with the Lord herself. One
thing we know is that she lied to the Lord even though He was standing
before her. The fact that
God appeared in human form clearly made it possible for humans to
converse and see Him. That
would be the only way in which man could
actually see God.
In verse 16 we have a new
section in the NIV but in one sense of the word it is a carry-over
from the last section. When
the three men seen in the last section, that's two angels and the
pre-incarnate Christ, were leaving Abraham they all looked over towards
was located. I can imagine
this taking place. I can see
these three men in a contemplative mood as they looked towards the
The text actually says
that Abraham walked along with the men to see them on their way, so
there obviously was some conversation going on, which we see in verse
Verse 17 says, "then
the Lord said, 'shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do'?"
Here we see confirmation that one of these three men is actually
"the Lord", and most commentators see "the Lord" as
pre-incarnate Jesus. Jesus,
in the eyes of many Bible scholars makes numerous appearances to people
in the Old Testament. This is just one such appearance.
At this point Abraham's
attention must have really perked up and gotten curious.
What could the Lord be hiding from Abraham.
It must have had something to do with
Some people take this
verse and link it with others to suggest that God will speak to His
people before He makes any major judgments on earth.
These people especially use this verse in connection with the end
of this age.
Before the Lord addresses
the subject of
Some might say that since
the Lord has just spoken of certain promises he made to Abraham, what He
is now hiding from Abraham concerns these promises.
I don't see that. The
Lord already made these things known to Abraham, so He wasn't hiding
this. I think that the Lord
just wanted to reconfirm these things before the conversation turned
towards more negative things.
The Lord promised that
Abraham will be a great nation, that is, Abraham's family will turn into
a great and powerful nation. The
family will actually become a nation.
The question should be addressed, when did, or when will Abraham,
The Lord also said that
all nations of the earth would be blessed in Abraham.
I believe the fulfillment of this is seen in two ways.
I believe the ultimate fulfillment of this will take place when
Jesus returns as King of the Jews, sets His feet on the Mount of Olives,
takes the land for Himself and gives it to Israel. In that sense of the word, Abraham will finally be the great and
powerful nation that is promised here.
In verse 19 the Lord said
that "I have chosen him", that is Abraham.
God simply and sovereignty chose Abraham.
It had nothing to do with who he was, or what he did.
Beyond this, we don't know the specific reasons why God made this
choice, but He did. This is
why we call
The Lord said that He
chose Abraham for a purpose and that he would "direct his children
and his household…" You
might wonder if there is a
distinction between children and household.
There might not be, but I will throw this our for interest sake.
I'm not saying I am right on this point.
It's just a thought. Could
children refer to biological descendents, and household refer to all of
Abraham's descendents, including New Testament Gentile believers in
Abraham was to direct his
children and household to walk in the ways of the Lord in order for God
to keep His promises. We
need to note here that God will keep all of His promises He made to
Abraham despite what His descendents do or don't do.
What this verse means is that individual descendents could be cut
off from the promises if they don't walk within the boundaries of the
covenant. The apostle Paul
speaks of this in Romans 9 through 11 when he says that certain Jews
have been cut out of the tree, that represents the family of God.
This is an important
verse, because some believe that God has withdrawn all of His promises
There's a good chance
that when the Lord wanted Abraham to direct both his children and
household in the ways of God that this will actually take place once
Jesus is on earth ruling as King of the Jews.
The conversation now
It's my thinking that
angels do see what is happening on earth, and that they might well cry
out to God, both in a negative way and a positive way.
I think angels are very much interested in what happens here on
earth, probably much more interested than what we think.
They might well be very disgusted with what they see on earth,
especially in light of the fact they were around when Lucifer rebelled
against God, and he is the one behind all of the wickedness on earth.
Verse 22 states that the
men turned from Abraham and walked towards Sodom
while Abraham continued talking to the Lord.
So it is clear that when the text says "the men" headed
towards Sodom, that was only the two other men who we know are angels.
Either the Lord told
Abraham his intentions, or Abraham intuitively knew what the Lord was
going to do to Sodom and Gomorrah, but it is clear from the dialogue
that takes place that Abraham knew judgment was about to come.
He asked in verse 23, "will you sweep away the righteous
with the wicked"? Clearly,
there were some righteous people in
In verse 24 Abraham
qualifies his initial question by asking if there were fifty righteous
people "would you really sweep"
away the city. The
word "really" is used for emphases.
Note the word "sweep".
This is in fact what God does at times.
He just simply sweeps away what is offensive to Him. He sweeps
the floor clean. This is why
God brings judgment to earth.
Abraham finds great
boldness in verse 25. What
Abraham in fact is doing at the moment is interceding.
He's petitioning God on the behalf of the righteous.
This is a prayer of intercession.
He says, "far be it for you ...
to kill the wicked with the righteous … Will the Judge of all
the earth do right?"
Abraham felt that it
would be unjust for God to kill righteous people in the process of
judging the wicked. I'm not
really convinced that the Lord was thinking in these terms.
The text doesn't say God was going to destroy the righteous with
the wicked. Those words come
from Abraham's lips, not God's. This
might well have simply been Abraham's unfounded fear.
Some people might suggest
that God was in fact going to kill the righteous with the wicked by His
response in verse 26. God
said that He wouldn't wipe out
I think we need to get a
picture of what is happening here. Abraham
and the angel of the Lord are walking together and conversing with one
another, as they talk, these
things come to Abraham's mind because he has learned that God will judge
Sodom. Abraham is rightly
concerned about what will happen, even though it appears that the angel
doesn't say He will wipe out the righteous with the wicked.
I don't want to underestimate his concern.
What Abraham is doing is verbalizing his concern and the angel of
the Lord is responding specifically to each statement or question that
Abraham presents Him.
In verse 27 we see that
Abraham knows he is being very bold in talking to God in such a way.
He says that even though he is bold, he realizes that he is but
dust. This should be our
mentality as well. We can
intercede in prayer, but we must do so from a humble spirit, we are dust
So in verse 28 Abraham
lowers the number to less than fifty.
God says that if there is forty five righteous people he will not
wipe out the city.
In verse 29 Abraham
reduces the number to forty, and God responds by saying that He would
not destroy the city if there were forty righteous people.
In verse 30 Abraham gets
a little squeamish with his interceding and reduces the number to
thirty. The Lord replies in
the same way. He would not
destroy the city if there were thirty righteous people living there.
Abraham gets over the
hump in verse 31. He said,
"now that I've been so bold…"
He thought that he might as well go all the way now that he's
gone this far with the Lord. He
reduces the number to twenty and the Lord says He wouldn't wipe the city
out if there were twenty righteous people.
In verse 32 Abraham goes
one step farther and asked that the Lord would not be angry with him.
He reduces the number to ten.
The Lord had no problem with the number ten.
At that point the Lord
left Abraham and Abraham returned home.
At this point one wonders how Abraham felt.
I'm sure he knew Lot and his family lived in
We also might wonder what
this was all about. Was the
Lord going to really wipe out the righteous with the wicked?
Again, I don't think so. Paul,
in 1 Timothy 5:9 says that the righteous weren't meant to suffer God's
wrath. I think Paul would
feel that God doesn't kill the righteous with the wicked.
The dialog between Abraham and the Lord might well have been for
Abraham's benefit, not the Lord's. We
often see this event as a negotiation between God and Abraham, but I'm
not convinced it was. I'm not convinced that God would wipe out the city
if it had ten righteous people in it. I view this as being more of a
conversation than a negotiation. If
you want to make it more than a simple conversation, you might say it
was a prayer of intercession on Abraham's part, an intercession that the
Lord would certainly hear, but wasn't going to wipe out the righteous
with the wicked anyway.