Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight is study #2 of Genesis, chapter 18 and we are going to read Genesis 18:1-3:
And JEHOVAH appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 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, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
I will stop reading there. In our last study, we were looking at verse 1 and we saw that JEHOVAH God was making an appearance unto Abraham in the plains of Mamre where Abraham had pitched his tent for some time. Abraham sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. We looked at Scriptures related to the “tent door” or door of the tabernacle. We saw that offerings were made at the door of the tabernacle and it identifies with the cleansing or ceremonial washing of Aaron and his sons, the priest, before they could go about their priestly duties. We learned that the door has to do with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the door and Christ cleanses or washes those He saved before they entered in to their role as spiritual priests to do service to God through the sharing of His Word.
We also saw the phrase, “the heat of the day,” which related to 2Samuel, chapter 4 where Ishbosheth, a son of King Saul, was lying on his bed at “noon” in “the heat of the day.” He was slain upon his bed at that time, so God linked together “the heat of the day” with the word “noon.”
Then we went to the New Testament parable in Matthew 20 where we found that some laborers had labored in the vineyard of the householder from early morning at 6 a.m. until the end of the work day, but others labored only from the 11th hour and, yet, each received equal pay, a penny. Then those that labored all day protested, saying, “These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.” We gathered that the first 11 hours had to do with the church age and that was the largest period of time that God had the door of salvation open, but the last hour of the work day, from the 11th to the 12th hour (from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.) tied in with the Great Tribulation when God would complete His salvation program.
So, “the heat of the day” is related to “noon” in one place and is related to the “church age” in the parable of the 12-hour day in which work was to be done.
We also saw that in Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal, the prophets of Baal prophesied until noon and even after noon they were cutting themselves and desperately trying to call down fire from heaven.
We saw these tie-ins with the word “noon” and the phrase “the heat of the day.” I do not know if we can pinpoint a specific time and be able to say that “the heat of the day” or “noon” only identifies with the church age or with this period or that period. One reason I do not think we can be that specific is because we find “noon” is mentioned in Amos, chapter 8. In Amos, chapter 8 God is addressing Israel of old and faulting them for their unfaithfulness. The Israelites said (and this was sin to them) in Amos 8:5-6:
Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?
Since this has to do with the new moon and selling corn on the Sabbath and desiring the Sabbath to be over so they can go about their evil business, it has to do with Israel of Old and the New Testament churches that they represent. The people of the world are not concerned about keeping the Sabbath or new moon or the ceremonial feast days that are spoken of in the Bible, so God is speaking of those that had identification with the kingdom of God, Old Testament Israel and the New Testament churches.
Then it goes on to say in Amos 8:7-10:
JEHOVAH hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works. Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord JEHOVAH, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day: And I will turn your feasts into mourning,
and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.
For a long time, we have looked at this passage, as it goes on to speak of the famine of the hearing of the Word of the Lord, as tying in with the Great Tribulation when God ended His relationship with the New Testament churches and congregations. At that point, the Spirit of Christ that had dwelt in the midst of the candlestick departed out, leaving the churches in darkness. As the “sun” pictures God Himself, it means that the sun is darkened as Christ departed out of the midst of the corporate church. But, we see that it also says, “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord JEHOVAH, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day,” and this would relate to when the Lord Jesus Christ was upon the cross. It says in Matthew 27:44-45:
The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
Again, when was the “sixth hour”? The day started at 6 A.M. and Jesus said, “Are there not twelve hours in a day?”, even though we are accustomed to thinking of a day as 24 hours. But as far as daylight is concerned, there are 12 hours and the Bible kept track of time according to the hours of the day, so the “sixth hour” would be noon. So, there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour or from noon to 3 P.M.
Then it says in Matthew 27:46:
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Shortly after that, it says in Matthew 27:50-51:
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
So at the point of the Lord Jesus crying out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”, He yielded up the ghost and the veil of the temple was rent in twain. The darkness was from noon until 3 P.M. and then the veil of the temple was rent. We understand that this was the time that God ended His relationship with national Israel. When Christ gave up the Spirit and the veil of the temple was rent in twain God ended His relationship with them and they would no longer represent the kingdom of God on earth. It was over and done with, so that ties in with what we read in Amos where it said, “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord JEHOVAH, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day: And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation.” In other words, immediately at that point all of Israel’s ceremonial laws or any sacrifices they might perform would no longer be in effect. They were all over and done with, just as when God departed out of the churches and the ceremonial laws of water baptism and the Lord’s Table were over and done with in that very moment.
Then notice that it said in Amos 8:10, “…and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.” And, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ was the only Son of the Father, the only begotten. So, in the first instance, it is tied in with Christ’s departure from Israel when He died on the cross and the darkness that overtook Israel, but the deeper spiritual meaning is what would happen at the end of the church age when God, once again, would depart out of the midst of the corporate body. The corporate church immediately entered into darkness. We find language in Revelation, chapter 8 where it speaks of the “third part” being smitten and that would relate to the end of God’s salvation program within all the churches of the world because it required the Spirit of God to save through the light of the Gospel. The “daily,” which identifies with the Light of the Gospel, was taken away and the “abomination of desolation” was set up in the holy place. We know from the Biblical calendar that this occurred on May 21, 1988 when the church age ended.
Let us go on to Genesis 18:2:
And he lift up his eyes and looked…
This is speaking of Abraham. He was sitting in the door of the tent in the heat of the day and he lifted up his eyes and looked. Then it says in Genesis 18:2:
… and, lo, three men stood by him…
You know, it is interesting that it does not say that three men were approaching from a distance. He did not see three men coming down the street, but he lifted up his eyes and, suddenly, there are three men that were standing by him. That would be a little bit unnerving for someone not used to communicating directly with God. Of course, Abraham had been communicating with God and God had been breaking the barrier of the supernatural to communicate with him in times past, so we do not read that Abraham was startled or that he asked questions like, “Who are you? Where did you come from? What do you want?” Remember, it said back in verse 1 that JEHOVAH appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre. Then the next thing we are told in verse 2 is that he “lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him.” Where was JEHOVAH? He appeared in the form of three men and this is what the Bible is revealing and teaching us.
JEHOVAH God made an appearance to one of His servants, Abraham, and JEHOVAH God is revealing Himself in the form of three men. It was not four men or two men, at this point, but three men. Of course, we know why this was, because God opened up this truth to His people quite some time ago: “Hear, O Israel: JEHOVAH our God is one JEHOVAH,” and, yet, He reveals Himself as three distinct personalities on the pages of the Bible. There are three Persons, but One God and this is beyond our ability to comprehend. The Bible reveals this in various places. For instance, we read of God the Father throughout the Bible and in numerous places we read of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And in other places, but not as numerous, God emphasizes that the Spirit also is God, so we can discern that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all spoken of as God. The Bible insists that there is One God, so we can gather that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all that One God. Of course, there is much more evidence than that. For example, remember what God said when He created man, in Genesis 1:26:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…
The word for “God” is the plural word for God, “El-o-heem.” If the Bible did not insist that there is only one God, it would read as “singular,” but the King James translators translated it correctly and God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” with both “us” and “our” being plural pronouns, not singular. If it were as Jehovah’s Witnesses or Muslims want it to be, then it would not be a plural name for God and it would have said, “Let me make man in my image, after my likeness.” But it is not written that way. God wrote the Bible and He wrote this verse at the very beginning with the first verse of the Bible and He revealed this specific fact in Genesis 1:1:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
God used the plural word “El-o-heem.” We know that God uses many names for Himself and many of them are “singular,” but He chose the plural name “El-o-heem” to reveal the incredible truth that must be received by the elect child of God. It would be received that way, of course, by all the elect, but if anyone thinks they are truly saved, they must receive this point of doctrine. God would not have any person He has saved to err on this particular point. It is a very central doctrine and it is as important as knowing that the Bible is the Word of God and it must be understood. Failure to understand it is proof that an individual has not come to the truth – they have not been guided by the Spirit into this most basic of Bible truths. God is One God, but three Persons. In the New Testament, this is stated emphatically in 1John 5:6:
This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Here, Christ is called “the Word,” but we also see “Father” and “Holy Ghost” or “Holy Spirit.” What would have long been realized through the reading of the Bible in many places is revealed here. For instance, there is God the Father speaking from heaven and God the Son being baptized and the Holy Spirit descending upon Him. There are three, but one. And, here, it is plainly stated that these three are one.
So, it is really not surprising that JEHOVAH God is said to appear to Abraham and Abraham’s reaction: “And JEHOVAH appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 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.” He is bowing, just as many bowed the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ when He walked upon earth.
You know, we run across people that say, “Oh, Jesus never said He was God.” A lot of people like to say that and, yet, again, and again, He declared Himself to be Eternal God, especially when people would bow to Him and worship Him. The Bible says that and Jesus never refused the worship, but received worship of men. It was an outright declaration that He was the great I AM, JEHOVAH in the flesh.
And in the year 2068 B.C. (over 4,000 years ago), three men stood by Abraham and he ran to meet them and bowed himself to the ground in a very appropriate response.