“Therefore behold, I am going to make them know—this time I will make them know My power and My might; and they shall know that My Name is Yahweh.” (Jeremiah 16: 21)
Katie and I are traveling in Israel and gathering information for SnyderTalk. While we are there, I am posting excerpts from His Name is Yahweh in SnyderTalk.
The message in the book is important. Please take the time to read it.
The message in chapter 5 of His Name is Yahweh is especially important. This SnyderTalk post includes chapter 5 in its entirety.
The Messiah is the human form of Yahweh. He has made appearances many times throughout history.
Yahweh has a Human Form
Yahweh has appeared to men and women in human form many times since the creation to declare His Word and to make certain that all of His promises are fulfilled. The first time we know Yahweh appeared in human form was when He walked in the Garden of Eden with Adam.[i] The Bible refers to Yahweh’s human form as the Angel of the LORD. It refers to Him in other ways as well, but the fact that He has appeared in human form is evident from what He did and said and from people’s reactions to Him. Further, since He never changes, Yahweh always has had a human form.
Later, I’ll show that the human form of Yahweh is the Messiah, but in this chapter, I simply want to establish beyond any shadow of a doubt that according to the Bible many people throughout history have met with and spoken to Yahweh in Person. Abraham, Moses, and many others even shared meals with Him. If you believe God’s Word, you’ll find this information very compelling and impossible to refute.
There is some overlap between this chapter and the next one which deals with Yahweh’s covenants and promises. Since Yahweh appeared in human form to make them, eliminating the overlap would have been virtually impossible, and besides, the Bible repeats Yahweh’s covenants and promises over and over again. I can think of no better example to follow.
Yahweh Appears to Abraham
Before Yahweh gave Abraham circumcision as a sign of the covenant, his name was Abram and his wife’s name was Sarai. Later, He changed their names to Abraham and Sarah. I will refer to them by those names.
Abraham was born in Ur in the land of the Chaldees. Abraham’s father took him, his wife Sarah, and his nephew Lot, and they went to Haran, a city that is located in Turkey. While he was in Haran, Yahweh told Abraham to take Sarah, Lot, and all his possessions and go to a land He would show him.[ii] Abraham obeyed Yahweh, and when he arrived in the land of Canaan in a city called Shechem, Yahweh appeared to him in human form and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.”[iii]
Yahweh was talking about the land we know today as Israel, and that is why we call Israel the Promised Land. Yahweh promised to give Israel to Abraham and his descendants as a permanent possession. Although Abraham did not obey God perfectly, his heart was right before Him, and God used Abraham to bless all the nations of the world.
Yahweh Appears to Hagar
When Yahweh made the covenant with Abraham, Sarah had no children. She was desperate to have a child, and she asked Abraham to have intercourse with her maid, Hagar, so Hagar could give birth to a child for her. Abraham agreed. He had intercourse with Hagar, and she became pregnant.
When Hagar realized she had conceived, she despised Sarah and created a serious problem for Abraham. Evidently, Abraham was giving Hagar special attention because she was about to become the mother of his child (this child’s name would be Ishmael), and Sarah believed Abraham’s behavior was responsible for her attitude. She was furious, and she told Abraham,
“May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May Yahweh judge between you and me.”[iv]
Not knowing exactly what to say, Abraham simply told Sarah that Hagar was still her maid and that she could do with her as she pleased. Afterwards, Sarah treated Hagar so harshly that she fled to the wilderness. Along the way, Yahweh appeared to her by a spring and said,
“Hagar, Sarah’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?”[v]
She told Him she was running away from Sarah, and He said,
“Return to your mistress and submit yourself to her authority[vi] ….Moreover…I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they shall become too many to count[vii]….Then she called the Name of Yahweh who spoke to her, ‘You are a God who sees (El Roi); for have I even remained alive after seeing Him?’”[viii]
Did Yahweh actually appear to Hagar? Yes. First, He told her that He would greatly multiply her descendants. What angel can do that? Only Yahweh can. Furthermore, Hagar knew she had spoken directly to God. She called Him El Roi, the Strong One who Sees, and she seemed to be surprised that she did not die after having seen Him. Also, Hagar called the well at which He appeared to her “the well of the Living One who Sees me.”[ix] Yahweh did appear to Hagar, and she talked with Him in Person.
Yahweh Appears to Abraham Again
When Abraham was 99 years old, Yahweh appeared to him[x] and said,
“I am El Shaddai; walk before Me, and be blameless. I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly.”[xi]
When Abraham saw Yahweh, he knew immediately that he was in the presence of the Almighty God, and he fell on his face before Him.[xii]
Yahweh told Abraham that circumcision would be the sign of the covenant between them and that his wife Sarah would have a son through whom the covenant would pass to future generations. Abraham fell on his face and laughed[xiii] when God told him Sarah would have a son because Sarah was about 90 years old at the time—well past childbearing years. Ishmael, Abraham’s son by Hagar, was 13 years old at the time, and Abraham asked Yahweh to fulfill His promise through Ishmael instead. But God said,
“No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him….”[xiv]
Yahweh made it clear that His covenant would not pass through Ishmael. He was the product of Sarah’s desire to have a son, Abraham’s willingness to oblige Sarah, and Hagar’s consent to become the mother of Abraham’s child. They simply took it upon themselves to solve Sarah’s problem. It is possible, even probable, that Abraham thought he needed to take matters into his own hands to fulfill Yahweh’s promise to give the Promised Land to his descendants.
Isaac’s birth was a miracle—a gift from God, and Yahweh spoke to Abraham face-to-face to emphasize that everything pertaining to the covenant was, and is, based on His promises and His desires. All God required from Abraham was faith in Him and obedience to His Word.
Although Yahweh made it clear that Isaac was the child of the covenant, He made several promises to Abraham about Ishmael:
“As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac….When He finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham.”[xv]
Can there be any doubt that Yahweh appeared in Person to make these points? No.
Yahweh Tells Abraham about Isaac’s Birth
Later, Yahweh and two angels appeared[xvi] to Abraham near Hebron, a city in present-day Israel. Abraham invited Yahweh to stay and share a meal with him, and He agreed. While they were eating,[xvii] Yahweh told Abraham that He would return in a year, and by that time Sarah would have a child.
Sarah was inside the tent listening, and she overheard the conversation. When she heard Yahweh say she would have a child, she laughed to herself saying,
“After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”[xviii]
Yahweh knew Sarah’s thoughts, and He said,
“Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’ Is anything too difficult for Yahweh? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”[xix]
Once again, Yahweh confirmed that He would fulfill His promises through Isaac—a child who had not been born yet. He concluded His conversation with Abraham by asking a question that every one of us should remember because the question is actually a statement. “Is anything too difficult for Yahweh?” The answer is NO.
Yahweh Appears to Isaac Twice
There was a famine in the land of Canaan, and Isaac was tempted to go down to Egypt where food was in abundant supply. But Yahweh appeared to Isaac in Person to confirm His promise and said,
“Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My Laws.”[xx]
Later, Isaac experienced problems with his neighbors who were concerned that his wealth was a threat to their security. They made life difficult enough for him to make him move on, and Isaac kept moving until he found a place where he and his family could live in peace. That place is called Rehoboth, and it means “plenty of room.”[xxi]
From there Isaac went to Beersheba, and Yahweh appeared to him in human form and said,
“I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you, and multiply your descendants, for the sake of my servant Abraham.”[xxii]
God told Isaac, “Do not fear.” That statement suggests Isaac was afraid and that he needed reassurance from Yahweh. Thus, God appeared to him and repeated the message He has been giving His children since the beginning: “I am Yahweh, and I will watch over my Word to perform it. You can have faith in Me, and I will bless you if you obey Me.”
Yahweh Appears to Jacob in a Dream
Isaac’s first-born son, Esau, was willing to trade his birthright for a meal.[xxiii] Since his birthright included the promise of the coming Messiah, in effect Esau traded the honor and privilege of being in the Messiah’s lineage for a single meal because for a brief moment he was hungry. Self-gratification and sensual pleasure motivated Esau to trade away his part in the greatest gift ever bestowed on mankind, and God hated him for it before he was born.[xxiv] Furthermore, God would not allow Esau to obtain the birthright of the first-born even though he wept bitterly when the time came for Isaac to bless his sons.[xxv] Obviously, he still wanted the blessing of the first-born, but he had treated it so lightly when he was younger that God would not allow him to have it.
Isaac loved Esau and intended to bestow the blessing of the first-born on him contrary to Yahweh’s desire.[xxvi] Rebekah, his wife, and Jacob, his second son, intervened to secure Isaac’s blessing for Jacob. Many people have said that Rebekah and Jacob deceived Isaac and stole Esau’s birthright, and maybe they did. But they did it with the blessing of God, and they kept Isaac from making a tragic mistake.
Before her sons were born, Yahweh told Rebekah that Jacob was the child of the promise,[xxvii] not Esau. Consequently, Rebekah helped Jacob obtain the blessing of the first-born over Isaac’s objections. When Esau learned what had happened, he was furious and threatened to kill his brother. Thus, Rebekah and Isaac urged Jacob to flee to Haran, to her relatives, and to take a wife from among her relatives. He obeyed his parents, and along the way he stopped to sleep at a place called Bethel. This Bethel is very likely Mount Moriah in Jerusalem,[xxviii] not the town of Bethel in Israel today—a town about 12 miles north of Jerusalem.
While he was sleeping, Yahweh appeared to Jacob in a dream and said,
“I am Yahweh, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you.”[xxix]
Yahweh Appears to Reassure Jacob
Many years later when Jacob returned to Canaan with his wives, his children, and all his belongings, he was afraid that Esau would still hold a grudge against him and kill his entire family. His faith in Yahweh at that time was not strong. He did everything that was humanly possible to protect his family from Esau, but he was still afraid that it would not be enough.
The night before he met Esau, Jacob separated himself from his family, and “a man wrestled with him until daybreak.”[xxx] The Bible tells us that the Man was Yahweh and that He used this occasion to change Jacob’s name to Israel.[xxxi] Jacob knew that he had had a personal encounter, a wrestling match, with Yahweh, and he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”[xxxii]
Yahweh allowed Jacob to win the wrestling match that night and said,
“….you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.”[xxxiii]
At that moment Jacob, whose name was now Israel, knew that God was on his side. If Yahweh had wanted to win the wrestling match, He could have with no trouble at all, but He was making a point. He was showing Jacob that he had nothing to fear because God was with him. If Yahweh is involved, we can, and should, be fearless.
Yahweh Appears to Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and 70 Elders of Israel
After Yahweh gave the Ten Commandments, He instructed Moses to bring his brother Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and 70 elders from Israel up to meet with Him on Mount Sinai. They climbed to the top of the mountain, and they looked upon Yahweh[xxxiv] while they ate a meal in His presence.[xxxv] The Tanach describes Yahweh’s appearance this way:
“They saw the God of Israel, and under His feet was the likeness of sapphire brickwork, and it was like the essence of the heaven in purity. Against the great men of the Children of Israel, He did not stretch out His hand—they gazed at God, yet they ate and drank.”[xxxvi]
This depiction is almost identical to the description of the Messiah in the book of Revelation.[xxxvii] The significance of this fact will become apparent later when I discuss the Messiah.
Yahweh Appears to Balaam
When Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, they were a very large group. At the very least there were 2 or 3 million people, and there may have been as many as 6 million people, traveling with Moses. The people in the nations through which the Children of Israel walked along with their herds and flocks were terrified. A group that large easily could consume virtually all the vegetation in the land and drink most of the available fresh water. The people in those nations did not know that Yahweh miraculously provided food and water for His children.
As they marched toward the land of Moab, which is in Jordan today, they fought with and defeated the King of Arad, the King of the Amorites, and the King of Bashan. When they reached Moab, the Moabite King, Balak, sent for Balaam because he was known far and wide as a man who possessed the ability to bless or to curse. Balak wanted Balaam to curse Israel and to destroy them. Yahweh appeared to Balaam in Person and said,
“You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”[xxxviii]
However, Balak had offered to pay Balaam a large sum of money if he would curse the Children of Israel so he tried his best to get permission from Yahweh to curse them. Eventually, Yahweh appeared to Balaam with a sword in His hand ready to strike if Balaam did not change his mind.[xxxix] Balaam went on to bless the Children of Israel to the disappointment of Balak, but Yahweh never forgave him for his evil intent and for his deceit and lustful desire to destroy God’s chosen people for money.[xl]
Yahweh Appears to Joshua
Before the Children of Israel conquered Jericho, Yahweh appeared to Joshua.[xli] Based on what the Bible says, I am certain that Yahweh is the Person Joshua met and talked with at that time, but if you read the KJV, NAS, NIV, or the Tanach in English, it may not be crystal clear. However, if you understand Hebrew (or if you use a Strong’s Concordance) it is as plain as day. According to the NAS,
“Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man was standing opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand, and Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are you for us or for our adversaries?’
He said, ‘No; rather I indeed come now as Captain of the host of Yahweh.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to Him, ‘What has my Lord to say to His servant?’ The Captain of Yahweh’s host said to Joshua, ‘Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.”[xlii]
The first clue we have about the true identity of the Person Joshua met that day is the title the Man used: “the Captain of the host of Yahweh.” The KJV also uses this title, but the NIV and the Tanach use another title: “the Commander of the host of Yahweh.” The Hebrew word translated as “captain” or “commander” in this passage from Joshua is “Sar,” but in Isaiah 9: 6, “Sar” is translated as “Prince” and refers to the Messiah as Prince of Peace, or Sar Shalom. Joshua’s reaction when he learned the Man’s identity is the next clue: he “fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down…”
The Man Joshua met gave us the final clue when He told Joshua to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. That is what Yahweh told Moses to do at the burning bush, so there is no doubt that Joshua met and talked with Yahweh in Person.
Yahweh Speaks to the Children of Israel in the Promised Land
Yahweh told the Children of Israel to destroy all the inhabitants when they entered the Promised Land to avoid being perverted by them, and there were many groups of people already there when they arrived. Each group worshiped false gods, and many of them performed ritualistic sacrifices to their gods that included human sacrifices. It would be fair to say that the early inhabitants of the Promised Land had a smorgasbord[xliii] of gods from which to choose. Some people interpret this fact to mean that all the people living at that time were pagans, including the Israelites, because they performed sacrifices to many gods. But Yahweh is not a god. He is the One true God, and He does not require human sacrifices.
There is another way to interpret this information, though. You can conclude that Yahweh had been speaking to many people all along and that none of them understood His message correctly. All of them seemed to realize that God requires a sacrifice, but the sacrifices Yahweh required the Children of Israel to make were symbolic of the sacrifice He would make on our behalf.
The people living in the Promised Land when the Children of Israel arrived were so deluded that they were beyond hope. Yahweh told them to clear out the inhabitants so they could build a solid foundation for the nation of Israel based on faith in Him alone.
After they had been in the Promised Land for a number of years, Yahweh appeared to the Children of Israel and said,
“I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you, and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done? Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall become as thorns in your sides and their gods shall be a snare to you.’”[xliv]
Yahweh is telling the Children of Israel what will happen to them because of their lack of faith and their failure to obey Him. It makes no sense for anyone, especially a Christian, to ignore Yahweh’s commands because He expects us to honor Him and His Word. Please keep this fact in mind as you think about the Messiah because He is Yahweh, and He told us to tell the world about Him by Name.
Yahweh Appears to Gideon
Just as Yahweh told them He would do, He removed His protective hedge from around the Children of Israel because of their sins. They had not obeyed Him so they had to defend themselves. During Gideon’s day, God allowed Midian to invade Israel and steal their crops and flocks. Things were so bad in Israel that Gideon was forced to hide his wheat to keep the Midianites from taking it.
Yahweh appeared to Gideon in Ophrah. He sat down under an oak tree and said, “Yahweh is with you, O valiant warrior.”[xlv] He meant it literally because He was with Gideon in Person at that moment, but it took Gideon by surprise since he was not a warrior. However, Yahweh saw what Gideon would become and declared that he was, in fact, a warrior.
Gideon did not realize he was talking to Yahweh in Person, and with a skeptical tone in his voice he asked,
“O my lord, if Yahweh is with us, why has all this happened? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about…?”[xlvi]
Yahweh simply looked at him and told him to go and deliver Israel. Then He said,
“Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”[xlvii]
Gideon remained doubtful, but he did not want to offend the Man so he invited Him to stay and share a meal. Yahweh accepted his invitation, and He waited patiently while Gideon prepared meat and bread. When Gideon brought the meal to Yahweh, He told him to place it on a nearby rock. Then Yahweh touched the food with the end of His staff, and fire came up out of the rock and consumed it. Immediately Yahweh vanished.
At that moment, Gideon knew he had been talking with God Himself, and he said, “Alas, O Adonai Yahweh! For now I have seen Yahweh face to face.”[xlviii] Then Gideon heard Yahweh say these words: “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.”[xlix]
It took Gideon a little time to understand what Yahweh wanted him to do, and he needed constant reassurance. However, eventually Gideon delivered Israel from Midian under the miraculous guidance of Yahweh, and he turned the hearts and minds of the Children of Israel back to their God.
Yahweh Appears to Manoah and His Wife (Samson’s Parents)
The Children of Israel reverted to evil ways again and again. During Manoah’s time, Yahweh gave them over to the Philistines for 40 years, and they were so oppressed that they turned back to Him. Yahweh heard their pleas, and He came to Manoah’s wife and told her that she would have a son who would “deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”[l] Excitedly, she ran to tell her husband, and he prayed for God to return the Man who had spoken to her. God complied with his request and appeared again to Manoah’s wife. Once more, she ran to get her husband.
When Manoah met the Man, he asked Him if He was the same Person who had spoken with his wife earlier, and He said, “I Am.”[li] Then God repeated the message He had given her the first time He appeared, and Manoah asked Him His Name.[lii] Interestingly, Yahweh had alluded to His Name already because Yahweh means “I Am,” but Manoah did not catch the subtle hint. Thus, God said, “Why do you ask My Name, seeing it is wonderful?”[liii]
Some Bible translations of this verse use the word “hidden” or “secret” instead of “wonderful,” and they read this way: “Why do you ask My Name, seeing it is ‘hidden’?” or “Why do you ask My Name, seeing it is ‘secret’?” But the correct translation is “wonderful.”
The Hebrew word for “wonderful” used in this verse is “piliy,” and it comes from the prime root word “pala”—a Hebrew word that means wonderful beyond description. “Pele,” another derivative of “pala,” appears in Isaiah 9: 6 as a Name for the Messiah:
“For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His Name will be called Wonderful (Pele), Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of Yahweh will accomplish this.”[liv]
Can we be certain that Yahweh was the Man talking with Manoah? Yes.
Manoah invited the Man to share a meal with them, and Yahweh said,
“Though you detain Me, I will not eat your food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to Yahweh.”[lv]
For some reason, Yahweh would not eat their food, but He would accept it as a sacrifice. Manoah prepared a goat and grain for a burnt offering to Yahweh, but neither he nor his wife knew that Yahweh was with them in Person at that moment. As he prepared the sacrifice, the Man “performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on.”[lvi] When he placed the offering on the altar, fire burst forth from the rocks, and the Man “ascended in the flame of the altar.”[lvii] Instantly Manoah said, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.”[lviii] But his wife said,
“If Yahweh had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have let us hear things like this at this time.”[lix]
Although we do not know what Yahweh told them, since He used the Name “Wonderful” it is reasonable to assume that He told them about the Messiah and about their own son—Samson. In a short while, Samson was born, and Yahweh delivered Israel from the Philistines through him. Even though Samson was a flawed human being, as we all are, Yahweh used him in a mighty way to bless His children.
Yahweh Appears to Samuel
Samuel was the last judge in Israel before God allowed the Jews to have a human king, and his birth was a miracle. His father, Elkanah, had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Hannah had no children, but Peninnah had many sons and daughters.
Each year Elkanah took his family to Yahweh’s Tabernacle at Shiloh to worship and make sacrifices. The family’s yearly pilgrimage to Shiloh, which should have been a festive occasion, was for Hannah a miserable experience. Year after year, Peninnah taunted and ridiculed[lx] Hannah because she had so many children and Hannah had none. Finally, one year Hannah went into the Tabernacle and poured out her heart to Yahweh. With tears in her eyes,[lxi] she pleaded with Him to give her a son:
“O Yahweh Sabaoth, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to Yahweh all the days of his life, and a razor will never come on his head.”[lxii]
Yahweh honored her prayer and gave her a son, and Hannah called him Samuel which means “the Name of God.” When the boy was weaned she took him to the Tabernacle at Shiloh, dedicated him to Yahweh, and turned him over to Eli the priest to live out his years as God’s servant.
Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were also priests who served at Shiloh, and they were “worthless men” who “did not know Yahweh.”[lxiii] Routinely, they stole sacrifices people made to God,[lxiv] threatened to use force against them if they refused to surrender their sacrifices,[lxv] and had sex with the women who served at the doorway of the Tabernacle.[lxvi] Eli knew about all of this and instructed his sons to change their ways, but he did not take appropriate steps to make sure they abandoned these repulsive practices.
Hophni and Phinehas ignored their father’s warning, and one day Yahweh appeared to Samuel while he was in the Tabernacle and gave him this message for Eli:
“I am going to do something in Israel which will make the ears of all who hear of it ring. I shall carry out that day against Eli everything that I have said about his family, from beginning to end. You are to tell him that I condemn his family for ever, since he is aware that his sons have been cursing God and yet has not corrected them. Therefore—I swear it to the family of Eli—no sacrifice or offering shall ever expiate the guilt of Eli’s family.”[lxvii]
Yahweh was true to His Word, as He always is. Eli’s sons were killed in a battle with the Philistines, and the Philistines took the Ark of the Covenant from Israel. When Eli learned that his sons had died and that the Ark of the Covenant had been taken, he died immediately, and his lineage was cut off.
Yahweh Appears to King David
David became a very successful king in Israel. He was Yahweh’s anointed one,[lxviii] and God blessed him mightily. The greatest blessing He bestowed on David was the promise that the Messiah would be One of his descendants. In fact, one of the Messiah’s Names is Messiah Son of David. However, David behaved in sinful ways when Israel became prosperous.
One day Satan inspired David[lxix] to think about all the wealth and power he had accumulated, and he asked Joab, his military leader, to conduct a census of the people in his kingdom. According to Jewish tradition, David wanted to know how many troops he had,[lxx] as if it really mattered. Yahweh had put him on the throne, and everything he possessed was a result of God’s blessings. It was sinful for David to think about those blessings as if they were the fruit of his own labor and to believe they could protect him in times of adversity. Joab knew he was asking for trouble and advised against it, but David insisted on the census anyway so Joab performed the count.
Yahweh instructed His prophet Gad to tell David that he was about to be punished and that he could choose what the punishment would be. He gave David three options: three years of famine, three months of being swept away before his enemies, or three days of the sword of Yahweh.[lxxi]
The fact that God allowed David to choose the penalty was an indication of His love for him. David picked the third option and said,
“I am in distress; please let me fall into the hand of Yahweh, for His mercies are very great. But do not let me fall into the hand of man.”[lxxii]
And so it was. For three days, Yahweh inflicted punishment on Israel because of David’s sin. All told, 70,000 men in Israel died because of what David had done. After three days, Yahweh came to Jerusalem to destroy the city, and He changed His mind when He reached “the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”[lxxiii] This is the site where Solomon built the Temple of Yahweh several years later. Today, this site is known as Mount Moriah, or the Temple Mount, and it is the epicenter of the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.
David lifted up his eyes, and he saw Yahweh “standing between earth and heaven, with His drawn sword in His hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, covered in sackcloth, fell on their faces,”[lxxiv] and David said,
“Is it not I who commanded to count the people? Indeed, I am the one who has sinned and done very wickedly, but these sheep, what have they done?”[lxxv]
Yahweh instructed Gad to tell David to build an altar on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.[lxxvi] David built the altar exactly where God told him to build it, and when he offered sacrifices to Yahweh the punishment ceased. This is an important fact. Before he built the altar, David bought Mount Moriah from Ornan the Jebusite. He paid Ornan 600 shekels of gold for the land,[lxxvii] or about 240 ounces of gold,[lxxviii] and then he made a sacrifice for his sins.
In other words, David did not “take the land,” or using today’s vernacular he did not “occupy the land.” He purchased it for a sum certain from Ornan the Jebusite, and he had, and has, legal title to the land. Make no mistake. The Temple Mount is a very special place to Yahweh, and anyone who believes God’s Word would be foolish to ignore this fact.
Can we be certain that David saw Yahweh with a sword in His hand ready to destroy Jerusalem? Of course we can. 2 Chronicles 3: 1 talks about David’s son Solomon preparing to build the Temple of Yahweh on Mount Moriah:
“Then Solomon began to build the house of Yahweh in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where Yahweh had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”[lxxix]
2 Samuel chapter 24 provides another account of David’s sin in this matter, but in the 2 Samuel version of the incident Yahweh instructs David to purchase the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite[lxxx] for 50 shekels of silver.[lxxxi] Many Bible scholars believe that 1 Chronicles chapter 21 and 2 Samuel chapter 24 talk about the same purchase of land, but this interpretation is less than satisfactory. It is possible for a person to have more than one name. For example, Solomon is referred to by several names in the Scriptures. Thus, Ornan and Araunah could be the same person. However, it is not logical to conclude that 50 shekels of silver and 600 shekels of gold are the same. Clearly they are not equal, and gold is far more valuable than silver.
Therefore, we must conclude that David acquired two pieces of property and that he paid different amounts of money for them. From Ornan he purchased a threshing floor on Mount Moriah for 600 shekels of gold, and from Araunah he bought another threshing floor for 50 shekels of silver. On both sites, David built altars for making sacrifices to Yahweh.
In The Rod of an Almond Tree in God’s Master Plan, Peter Michas argues that Araunah’s threshing floor was on the Mount of Olives directly across the Kidron Valley from Ornan’s threshing floor on Mount Moriah. Michas says that Ornan’s threshing floor is the site where Solomon eventually built the Temple of Yahweh, a fact about which Yahweh’s Word is very clear, and that Araunah’s threshing floor became the site where the Israelites sacrificed the Red Heifer to produce ashes for purification. I bring this up to emphasize that God’s Word is accurate. We do not need to explain away or to rationalize about what might appear to be discrepancies or inconsistencies in the Bible. Our understanding is flawed—not God’s Word.
Yahweh Appears to Solomon Twice
Solomon became king in Israel after David, and Yahweh blessed him mightily. Solomon’s kingdom was unmatched in the world during his time. His wealth and power were immense, and people traveled from distant lands simply to hear him speak because of his wisdom.
Shortly after Solomon became king, Yahweh appeared to him in a dream and said, “Ask what you wish Me to give you.”[lxxxii] Since he was young and inexperienced, Solomon asked Yahweh to give him “an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil.”[lxxxiii] Obviously, God was pleased with Solomon’s request because He gave him what he asked for, but He also gave him great wealth and power that he could have asked for but did not.
Yahweh appeared to Solomon again when he dedicated the Temple[lxxxiv] and said,
“I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My Name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”[lxxxv]
This verse should cause alarm bells to ring out in the minds of people who believe Yahweh’s Word. Anyone who thinks he can bargain with the Temple Mount is asking for trouble. Mount Moriah is not a bargaining chip. For reasons known only to Him, Yahweh chose Mount Moriah, and He made it perfectly clear that His Name will reside there forever.
God told Solomon He would bless him continually if he would simply obey His Word and follow after Him the way David had done. Wealth, power, and wisdom should have been enough for Solomon, but they were not. He turned his heart and his mind to other things, and it cost him dearly.
Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, and it describes his journey through life. He sought to discover anything that could be discovered, and Ecclesiastes is a litany of the things Solomon did and the things he learned. There was a great debate about whether to include Ecclesiastes in the Bible, but eventually it was included for only one reason, its conclusion. The last two verses in Ecclesiastes sum up what Solomon learned in his quest to know everything:
“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”[lxxxvi]
This conclusion is absolutely correct. It is a shame Solomon had to do the things he did to learn it. In 1 Kings 11: 9-11, Yahweh makes clear just how disappointed in Solomon He became:
“Now Yahweh was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from Yahweh, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what Yahweh had commanded. So Yahweh said to Solomon, ‘Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear your kingdom from you….’”[lxxxvii]
You may be wondering what Solomon did that made Yahweh so angry. The details are in the Bible:
“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonite, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which Yahweh had said to the sons of Israel, ‘You shall not associate with them, neither shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.’ Solomon held fast to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away.”[lxxxviii]
Before he died, Solomon built places of worship for Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Milcom the god of the Ammonites, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Molech the god of the Ammonites.[lxxxix] He did these things to make his wives happy and to keep peace in his household, but there is no good excuse for what Solomon did. Idolatry was commonplace in Israel, and King Solomon set the example that many people followed to their own detriment.
Yahweh was true to His Word. When Solomon died, God tore Israel into two kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Eventually, the Assyrians took Israel into captivity and scattered the people throughout the world. Today, the Northern Kingdom is known as “the ten lost tribes of Israel.” Most of the descendants of people from the Northern Kingdom are still scattered throughout the world. Later, the Babylonians took the Southern Kingdom into captivity. Most of them were allowed to return to Israel when Cyrus the Great conquered the Babylonian Empire.
Yahweh Appears to Isaiah
In about 740 B.C., Yahweh appeared to Isaiah and commissioned him to deliver His message to the Children of Israel. Isaiah’s description of Yahweh is very interesting, and you can find it in Isaiah 6: 1-4. When he saw Yahweh, all Isaiah could say was this:
“Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh Sabaoth.”[xc]
The magnificence of Yahweh’s appearance and His absolute purity were so striking that Isaiah was forced to see himself correctly. He was compelled to admit that he was a sinner and that he lived among sinners. That is exactly what each one of us must understand. Only then can we begin to appreciate who Yahweh is. He is the Holy One of Israel, the One and only God, and He will accept no blemishes.
Consider the Evidence
At the beginning of this chapter, I said that Yahweh has a human form and that He has appeared to people throughout history. The Bible provides abundant evidence to support this assertion. I also said that Yahweh intervenes in history to perform His Word and to fulfill His promises. Here again, there are many examples of God doing these things in Person, and I have discussed a few of them.
If you believe God’s Word, by now you’re convinced. Go to the Bible and see for yourself if I have misled you in any way. If you don’t believe the Word of God or if you aren’t sure it’s true, then you may not be convinced, but at least I hope I have roused your curiosity.
I also said the human form of Yahweh is the Messiah. Glimpses of that fact were evident in this chapter, but as I said, the Bible provides other compelling proofs to substantiate it. I’ll discuss them later.
Once again, there is some overlap between this chapter and the next one because Yahweh appeared in human form to make most of His covenants and promises. Redundancy is a common practice used by engineers for our safety and protection. For instance, airplanes are equipped with redundant systems so that if one fails the pilot can still land the plane safely. Yahweh used this practice in the Scriptures for our protection, so I am following a precedent established by Yahweh Himself. Because of its unparalleled importance, Yahweh’s role in the redemption and salvation of His people is the most redundant message in the Scriptures.
To see videos that explain the importance of God’s Name, click here.
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17: 22-24)
See “His Name is Yahweh”.
[i] Genesis 3: 8.
[ii] Genesis 11: 27-32.
[iii] Genesis 12: 7.
[iv] Genesis 16: 5.
[v] Genesis 16: 8.
[vi] Genesis 16: 9.
[vii] Genesis 16: 10.
[viii] Genesis 16: 13.
[ix] Genesis 16: 14.
[x] Genesis 17: 1.
[xi] Genesis 17: 1-2.
[xii] Genesis 17: 3.
[xiii] Genesis 17: 17.
[xiv] Genesis 17: 19.
[xv] Genesis 17: 20-22.
[xvi] Genesis 18: 1.
[xvii] Genesis 18: 8.
[xviii] Genesis 18: 12.
[xix] Genesis 18: 13-14.
[xx] Genesis 26: 2-5.
[xxi] Ryrie, Charles. Ryrie Study Bible Expanded Edition, Moody Press, Chicago, 1995, p. 45.
[xxii] Genesis 26: 24.
[xxiii] Genesis 25: 34
[xxiv] Malachi 1: 2-3.
[xxv] Genesis 27: 38.
[xxvi] Genesis 25: 28.
[xxvii] Genesis 25: 23.
[xxviii] For a complete explanation of this interpretation, see Peter Michas’ book The Rod of an Almond Tree in God’s Master Plan, Winepress Publishing, Enumclaw, WA, 2001, p. 113.
[xxix] Genesis 28: 13-15.
[xxx] Genesis 32: 24.
[xxxi] Genesis 32: 28.
[xxxii] Genesis 32: 30.
[xxxiii] Genesis 32: 28.
[xxxiv] Exodus 24: 10.
[xxxv] Exodus 24: 11.
[xxxvi] Exodus 24: 10-11.
[xxxvii] Revelation 1: 12-16 and 4: 1-6.
[xxxviii] Numbers 22: 12.
[xxxix] Numbers 22: 23.
[xl] Jude 11.
[xli] Joshua 5: 13-15.
[xlii] Joshua 5: 13-15.
[xliii] I want to thank David Chattleton, a former student of mine, for suggesting this wording.
[xliv] Judges 2: 1-3.
[xlv] Judges 6: 12.
[xlvi] Judges 6: 13.
[xlvii] Judges 6: 16.
[xlviii] Judges 6: 22.
[xlix] Judges 6: 23.
[l] Judges 13: 5.
[li] Judges 13: 11. The capitalization of the first letter in “Am” is mine, but it is perfectly consistent with Yahweh’s Word.
[lii] Judges 13: 17.
[liii] Judges 13: 18.
[liv] Isaiah 9: 6-7.
[lv] Judges 13: 16.
[lvi] Judges 13: 19.
[lvii] Judges 13: 20.
[lviii] Judges 13: 22.
[lix] Judges 13: 23.
[lx] 1 Samuel 1: 6.
[lxi] 1 Samuel 1: 10.
[lxii] 1 Samuel 1: 11.
[lxiii] 1 Samuel 2: 11.
[lxiv] 1 Samuel 2: 14.
[lxv] 1 Samuel 2: 16.
[lxvi] 1 Samuel 2: 22.
[lxvii] 1 Samuel 3: 11-14 from The New Jerusalem Bible.
[lxviii] The meaning of the word “Messiah” is “Anointed One.” David was a type of the Messiah, and he is referred to in the Bible as Yahweh’s anointed one.
[lxix] 1 Chronicles 21: 1.
[lxx] This interpretation is from Radak and others. Radak is an acronym for Rabbi David Kimchi who lived from 1040 to 1105. His commentaries on the Tanach and the Babylonian Talmud are studied today by traditional Jews.
[lxxi] 1 Chronicles 21: 9-12.
[lxxii] 1 Chronicles 21: 13.
[lxxiii] 1 Chronicles 21: 15.
[lxxiv] 1 Chronicles 21: 16.
[lxxv] 1 Chronicles 21: 17.
[lxxvi] 1 Chronicles 21: 18.
[lxxvii] 1 Chronicles 21: 25.
[lxxviii] Ryrie, Charles. Ryrie Study Bible Expanded Edition, Moody Press, Chicago, 1995, p. 656.
[lxxix] 2 Chronicles 3: 1.
[lxxx] 2 Samuel 24: 18.
[lxxxi] 2 Samuel 24: 24.
[lxxxii] 1 Kings 3: 5.
[lxxxiii] 1 Kings 3: 9.
[lxxxiv] 1 Kings 9: 2.
[lxxxv] 1 Kings 9: 3.
[lxxxvi] Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14.
[lxxxvii] 1 Kings 11: 9-11.
[lxxxviii] 1 Kings 11: 1-3.
[lxxxix] 1 Kings 11: 5-7.
[xc] Isaiah 6: 5 from The New Jerusalem Bible.