Who appeared to Moses in the burning bush?20-11-2013 - Posted by Andre Piet
When Moses, in the desert near Mount Horeb, was herding the sheep of his father-in-law, Jethro, then appears to him the messenger of YAHWEH in a flame of fire in a bush (Exo.3:2). Surprised and curious he goes up to it (3:3) and then Elohim speaks to him and says (3:6):
I am the Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac and the Elohim of Jacob
Moses hides his face because he feared to look toward the One, Elohim (3:6). In the conversation which then followed, it continually shows that the One, Elohim speaks to him. The question which confronts us is this: Who was it who appeared to Moses? Was it the One, Elohim, Himself, as we learn from the conversation or was it an messenger? The latter is what is said, centuries later, by Stephen:
***And, at the completion of forty years, A MESSENGER was seen by him in the wilderness of mount Sinai, in the flame of a thorn bush fire. -Acts 7:30-
This same phenomenon we encounter, later, when YAHWEH leads the people in the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire (Exo.13:21) and elsewhere we are assured that it was a messenger sent to lead them (Exo.23:20-23; Judges 2:1). Thus we read that YAHWEH gave the law to Moses and the people of Israel (Ex.19:20; 31:18 34:29), but also that the law, through messengers, was given to the people (Acts 7:53; Gal.3:19; Heb.2:2). How do we solve this apparent contradiction? How can we do justice to both groups of Scriptural data? The answer is simple: it was YAHWEH who appeared by means of a messenger. A messenger, occasionally received the authority to speak and act on behalf of YAHWEH. Hence, the identification. The messenger who appeared in the bush or went before the people in the desert, had authority to represent God. Only in this way can we understand why John, centuries later, correctly could explain:
God no one has ever seen. -John 1:18-
The appearances of God in the O.T. are appearances of messengers, who were allowed to act and speak as God. Such messengers were sent with the highest conceivable mandate. But how ever high the position of these messengers were (identification with God), they cannot even stand in the shadow of the only begotten Son of God. He is not a messenger, but a Man (1Tim.2:5). Begotten by God Himself in Mary, and by God He was raised from the dead. He, the Son of God, is “the Effulgence of His glory” and “the Emblem of His assumption” (Heb.1:3).
For to whom of the messengers said He at any time, “My Son art Thou! I, today, have begotten Thee”? -Heb.1:5-
As in the past it were messengers representing God, so now is God represented by the Son. And when YAHWEH will appear to the Jewish people on the Mount of Olives in the future, then that is through none other than the Son (Zech.12:10, 14:3,4, Acts 1:11). For whoever sees Him has seen the Father (John 14:9). He has received from God a name of above every name. JESUS, which means YAHWEH is SAVIOUR! Every tongue will confess Him as Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil.2:9-11).