Search related sites

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gen. 19:24 ("Jehovah rained down fire ... from Jehovah")

Gen. 19:24 ("Jehovah rained down fire ... from Jehovah")

                                                     (From the RDB Files)

        "Then the LORD rained down upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven." - KJV.
        This one seems too ridiculous to even bother with, but some trinitarians appear to be serious about it.  It goes this way: when we read Gen. 19:24, we find there are two different persons who have the only personal name of God, "Jehovah," (or "LORD" in some mistranslations).  Therefore these two different persons with God's personal name show the "plural personality" of that one God.
        Even if we assume this to be a correct translation, it seems obvious that it can be honestly interpreted as a simple repetition of the same person's name.  That is, the very same person who produced the brimstone and fire, Jehovah, is also the one who rained it down upon these cities.
        The explanatory note by trinitarian Dr. Young in Young's Concise Critical Bible Commentary, Baker Book House, for this verse states: "JEHOVAH...JEHOVAH, i.e. from Himself."
        If that is the correct explanation, then this scripture might provide a somewhat parallel example: "And King Solomon gave to the Queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked besides what was given her by the bounty of King Solomon." - 1 Kings 10:13, RSV.  (Cf. KJV.)  Even though this is a very literal translation of the original manuscripts and the one personal name of King Solomon is actually used twice, we surely don't believe there were two different persons making up the one King Solomon!  Wouldn't we interpret this as Dr. Young (and others) have done with "Jehovah" above?   That is obviously how the Living Bible, NIV, MLB, NASB, etc. have interpreted it.   ("King Solomon gave her everything she asked him for, besides the presents he had already planned." - LB.)
        Another honest explanation for Gen. 19:24 given by trinitarian scholars themselves is that the use of the phrase in question ("from the LORD out of heaven") is in doubt.  The very trinitarian New American Bible, 1970 ed. (Catholic) encloses the last part of Gen. 19:24 in brackets: "the LORD rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah [from the LORD out of heaven]."  And the preface to the NAB tells us: "Doubtful readings ... appear within brackets." - p. 45, St. Joseph Edition.
        That is why these trinitarian Bible translations have actually omitted that doubtful portion: NEB, REB, AT, Mo, LB, and GNB.  (E.g. "then the LORD rained down fire and brimstone from the skies on Sodom and Gomorrah." - New English Bible.)  And others, like the NJB, have rendered it "[Jehovah] rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire of his own sending."  Certainly no trinitarian Bible translation would do this if it could possibly be used as honest trinitarian evidence! 


Here is another 'proof' which is similar:

Is. 45:11 - "Thus saith Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:" - ASV.

Any time there is a chance of confusing the antecedent of a pronoun to make a trinity 'proof,' someone will take it. The idea here, of course, is that Jehovah has another person who is His maker!!

But Is. 45:11 is speaking of YHWH (LORD/Jehovah) as the creator of Israel:

"The LORD is the Holy One of Israel. He made them. He says to them," NIRV.

"This is what the LORD says— the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:" - NIV, Cf. AT; CSB; CEB; CEV; ERV; EHV; EXB; HCSB; LEB; TLB; NCV; NRSV; TLV.

Any time you can find so many trinitarian scholars and translators who agree that a trinity 'proof' verse is NOT accurate, you can be assured that it is NOT a valid 'proof.'


Anonymous said...

Is there a connection with the account in the proceeding chapter where Abraham meets the three travellers one of whom the text states is Jehovah?

Jesus said no one has seen the Father yet Gen. 18 states that Jehovah appeared to Abraham and Abraham walked with him to a mountain overlooking Sodom where he negotiated for the inhabitants of the district. If the Father is Jehovah and hasn't been seen by man and Abraham met with Jehovah who was one of the three by the mamre trees then who is that Jehovah? And is that the Jehovah connected with this text in Gen. 19?

Elijah Daniels said...

The Angel of Jehovah often speaks as Jehovah and is even called ‘Jehovah’ by those to whom he speaks when he is representing Jehovah:

It is not uncommon for a trusted servant to actually represent his master in dealings with others. “What a servant says or does is [sometimes] ascribed to the master.” And, “The language of the MESSENGER frequently glides into that of the SENDER, e.g., - Gen. 16:10 [16:10-13].…” - Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, “Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation,” Eerdmans Publishing, 1978 printing.

“ANGEL OF THE LORD, ... is represented in Scripture as a heavenly being sent by God to deal with men as his personal agent and spokesman [‘word’] .... In the NT [which trinitarians agree explains and amplifies the OT] there is no possibility of the angel of the Lord being confused with God. .... mostly when appearing to men he is recognized as a divine being, even though in human form, and is [sometimes] addressed as God” - p. 38, New Bible Dictionary, Tyndale House (trinitarian), 1984 printing.
“The Angel of the LORD.... Traditional Christian interpretation has held that this ‘angel’ was a preincarnate manifestation of Christ as God’s Messenger-Servant. It may be ..., the angel could speak on behalf of (and so be identified with) the One [Jehovah] who sent him” - footnote for Gen. 16:7 in the highly trinitarian The NIV Study Bible by Zondervan Publishing, 1985.

[Even the person speaking to Moses from the burning bush was an angel! Even though he spoke Jehovah's words and seemed to Moses to be Jehovah, we know that it was an angel speaking and acting for Jehovah: Acts 7:30, 38.]

“[The angel of Yahweh/Jehovah] is a heavenly being given a particular task by Yahweh, behind whom the angel’s personality [temporarily] entirely disappears.... He is virtually a hypostatic appearance of Yahweh, the personified help of God for Israel .... Sometimes we cannot distinguish between Yahweh and his angel.... because Yahweh’s holiness could have destroyed Israel, only his angel was to go with the people.” [See 1 John 4:12; John 6:46.] - The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 1, p. 101, Zondervan Publ., 1986.

As for Gen. 18 itself, notice how numerous Trinitarian scholars themselves do not consider any or all of the three ‘men’ as actually BEING Jehovah:

“Gen 18-- Abraham intercedes with the ANGEL for Sodom” - p. 133, Vol. 1, The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1984 printing.

Elijah Daniels said...

Calvin understood these three as angels and the major one of them as the Christ.

“2. And, lo, three men stood by him. ….

“And bowed himself toward the ground. ….
As to his having saluted one in particular, it was probably done because he excelled the other two. For we know that angels often appeared with Christ their Head; here, therefore, among the three ANGELS, Moses points out one, as the Chief of the embassy. ….

“11.Were old, and well stricken in age Moses inserts this verse to inform us that what the ANGEL was saying, justly appeared improbable to Sarah.” - Calvin's Commentary on the Bible.
“Three ANGELS, in human appearance, come towards his tent, Gen. 18:2.” - Adam Clarke Commentary.


Verse 2
“And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three (A) men stood by him: and when he saw [them], he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

(A) That is, three ANGELS in the shape of men.” - Geneva Study Bible.

“These were three heavenly beings in human bodies. Some think they were all created ANGELS; others, that one of them was the Son of God, the ANGEL of the covenant.” - Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.


Verse 2
“Three men, as they seemed to be, though indeed they were ANGELS in men’s shape.” - Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible.


Verse 2
“And lo three men - These three men were three spiritual heavenly beings, now assuming human shapes, that they might be visible to Abraham, and conversable with him. Some think they were all three created ANGELS; others, that one of them was the Son of God.” - Wesley's Explanatory Notes.

Given the fact that the Angel of Jehovah was often referred to as Jehovah himself, and that even a number of TRINITARIAN scholars don’t insist that any of the ‘men’ in Gen. 18 were actually Jehovah himself, it seems incredible that anyone would insist that they were.

Anonymous said...

Ok however. In the 14th century an Eastern Orthodox iconographer wrote what is the now famous icon of a cathedral in Russia depicting the three men (angels) as the Trinity. So at least in the East there was an understanding almost a thousand years ago that these men were actually the Triune God. Since Eastern Orthodox theology is highly Trinitarian in nature and also older than the protestant thinkers quoted in your reply I think that it represent an earlier and more "orthodox" understanding of this event.

The fact is that the text says Jehovah appeared to Abraham...where in other places it is the angel of Jehovah that appears. If Jehovah is Gods personal name then why would it be used for an angel?

I think that what you're saying here is a major stretch on the text and even of trinitarians understanding. I did a quick google search and came up with an equal number of citations from scholars and others saying the exact opposite of what you've quoted above

Elijah Daniels said...

It is never surprising that a number of trinitarians will interpret a scripture in a trinitarian way.

What should be convincing, however, is when a number of TRINITARIANS disagree with a TRINITARIAN interpretation!

T Nard said...

When the Bible says "no one has ever seen God at any time." then why try to stand against that? It's like Jesus said, "if he called ‘gods’ those against whom, the word of God came, and yet the Scripture cannot be nullified, do YOU say to me whom the Father sanctified and dispatched into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, I am God’s Son? Scripture cannot be nullified but it can be explained by other scripture and fleshed-out by people who try to understand and explain it. But I say It's not surprising that a trinity church depicting the three men (angels) as a Trinity, promoting art embellishing a pagan idea exists.

Pagan Philosophy long ago began being assimilated into the The Israelites nation and the Israelites always had to fight degraded practices and pagan ideas of the Nations around them.

The fledgling Christain Congregation after the death of the apostles had to too - also from many places on earth. The Israelites and the Christian Congregation today have always had to fight pagan ideas being assimilated as fact into their teaching from the Nations around them.

It’s Not surprising some old churches have pagan ideas painted, carved, intombed or glassed in their windows. Look at Sun god worship in all kinds of so called “Christain Church” practices and art today. Even in modern celebrations, customs and dates, false god trappings can still be found to abound.

** Many centuries before the time of Christ, there were triads, or trinities of gods in ancient Babylonia and Assyria.” (and Egypt and Asia). The Hindu Trinity: In the book “The Symbolism of Hindu Gods and Rituals” says regarding a Hindu trinity that existed centuries before Christ: “Siva is one of the gods of the Trinity. He is said to be the god of destruction. The other two gods are Brahma, the god of creation and Vishnu, the god of maintenance. . . . To indicate that these three processes are one and the same the three gods are combined in one form.”—Published by A. Parthasarathy, Bombay.

**Pictures on page 10,

1. Egypt. Triad of Horus, Osiris, Isis, 2nd millennium B.C.E.
2. Babylon. Triad of Ishtar, Sin, Shamash, 2nd millennium B.C.E.
3. Palmyra. Triad of moon god, Lord of Heavens, sun god, c. 1st century C.E.
4. India. Triune Hindu godhead, c. 7th century C.E.
5. Kampuchea. Triune Buddhist godhead, c. 12th century C.E.
6. Norway. Trinity (Father, Son, holy spirit), c. 13th century C.E.
7. France. Trinity, c. 14th century C.E.
8. Italy. Trinity, c. 15th century C.E.
9. Germany. Trinity, c. 19th century C.E.
10. Germany. Trinity, 20th century C.E.

**Above Excerpts from:
Should You Believe in The Trinity?