Genesis 18:1 - 33
ESV - 1 And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth
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When you study the scripture from Genesis 18:1-24 you will understand God himself was accompanied by two Angels that came to visit. God refused to hide anything from Abraham. He called him his friend. Verse 1, 10-16 tells us who did the speaking. 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; 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. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13 And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 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. 15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. 16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom:and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
From the beginning of the Bible, God revealed Himself as a Trinity or Triune God. He is 3 divine Persons in 1 God. We see this principle in the creation of man, God said, "Let US make man in OUR image," Genesis 1:26. When man sinned, God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of US," Genesis 3:22. In Genesis 11:7, after the rebellion of Nimrod, God said, "Come, let US go down and there confuse their language." It was not unusual for the Triune God to reveal Himself, and so He did to Abraham in Genesis 18. God revealed Himself in three persons, and even said "I will go down to Sodom", yet only 2 appeared as angels. Why? Because was also with Abraham. God is not limited to one place like we are for He is omnipresent. These appearances, theologically, are called "theophanies" meaning God showed Himself in either a human or angelic form, for no man can see God directly and live.
Although the Bible does not say who the men were, I would suppose them to have been angels. After ministering to Abraham they turned towards Sodom and Gomorra, possibly to minister there.
The 3 strangers were Christ and 2 of His angels (Gen. 18:1, 22; 19:1). Abraham and Sara were entertaining angels unawares (Hebrews 13:2). Here is a great example for us to follow of showing hospitality to strangers!
The two must have been angels. Some have argued that one of the three was the pre-incarnate Christ but that assertion is debatable.
I feel like all three were angels, and God simply took the form of an angel, or they could have possibly been three normal men, just filled with the Holy Spirit and God was speaking through the one. This is one of those passages that is extremely difficult, likely even impossible, for us to understand.
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