8. The Messenger appears to Moses

I am the Gods of your Father

Moses’ encounter with the Angel at the burning bush revealed the relationship between Christ and God in the Old Testament.

In Exodus 3:2-6, we read that the Angel, the Messenger, appeared to Moses from the midst of the bush, and ELOHIM called to him from the midst of the bush. But Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look on ELOHIM.

The Messenger had already been called ELOHIM in Genesis 16:13, 31:13, 32:28, and 48:15.

Speaking for the invisible God, the Messenger said “I am the ELOHIM of your father, the ELOHIM of Abraham, the ELOHIM of Isaac, and the ELOHIM of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6).

God used the plural form ELOHIM to introduce Himself. Literally He said “I am the Gods of your father.”

What is His name?

Then Moses asked, “when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, the ELOHIM of your fathers has sent me to you and they say to me “what is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”

In His reply, God, introduced two Gods: Himself, and the Messenger, who was His image.

To understand God’s reply, we need to know that the expression “I AM” in verse 14 is actually “I WILL BE” and the word LORD, in verse 15, is actually YHVH, which means “He WILL BE.” This is very basic Hebrew grammar. The text has only been changed, because of the confusion that was created by the real meaning of it.

Speaking through the Angel, God said:

“I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE, therefore you shall say to the Children of Israel, “I WILL BE” has sent me to you.”

Then He spoke in the third person, to introduce the name of the ELOHIM:

“Moreover, you shall say “HE WILL BE” the ELOHIM of your fathers has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:15).

Then, God spoke again in the first person, saying…”this is My Name forever.” Here, God contrasted His own name as “He WILL BE” with the name of the Messenger as “He WILL BE,” for the Messenger would become “I AM” when Christ became a man.

He WILL BE…has appeared to me

Finally, God said: “gather the elders of Israel together and say to them ‘He WILL BE’, the ELOHIM of your fathers has appeared to me” (Exodus 3:16).

The Hebrew verb RRA-AH “to see” distinguishes the visible God, from the invisible God. The Spirit of Christ, the visible God, appeared to Moses. God sent His Messenger, Christ who was the Word, to speak on His behalf.

I appeared … as “God Almighty”

After Moses returned from Pharoah, He met with God’s Messenger, again, who said to him: “I, YHVH, appeared to Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob, as ‘God Almighty’ but by my name YHVH I was not known to them” (Exodus 6:3).

The Messenger explained that He appeared to people as God Almighty. But He was only a Messenger.

We know the Messenger was speaking of Himself, because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did know that the name of God was YHVH. Abraham called the place where He offered Isaac, “YHVH provides.” God spoke to Jacob in a dream saying “I am YHVH the God of your fathers,” and Jacob called on the name of YHVH in his prayers in Genesis 28 and 32. But no one knew the name of the Messenger, until God told Moses at the burning bush.

God explains the meaning of ELOHIM

Finally, God arranged a little play for Moses and Aaron, so they could understand the meaning of an ELOHIM.

God sent Moses to see the Pharaoh, saying: “I will be your mouth… and you shall be ELOHIM to him” (Exodus 4:12;16).

“You shall speak all that I command you.”

“See, I have made you as ELOHIM to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet” (Exodus 7:2).

God said to Moses:

Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your rod, and strike the dust of the land, so that it may become lice..” (Exodus 8:16).

Here, Moses played the part of ELOHIM and Aaron, was his prophet.

Moses became the speaker for the invisible God, and was speaking as “Gods” to Pharaoh.

Through this adventure, Moses and Aaron understood the meaning of an ELOHIM. One God who speaks for another.