What kind of relationship did Moses have with Yahweh?
Jeff A. Benner
Return to index of articles
I am going to propose that when Moses spoke, it was Yahweh speaking. But before I can explain what I mean by that, I will need to provide some background. Let’s start with second part of this verse.
...and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. (Exodus 12:23b)
Who is the one who will prevent the “destroyer” from killing the first-born? I think we can all agree that it is Yahweh (written as “LORD” in most Bibles). Now let’s read the first part of this passage carefully.
For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians... (Exodus 12:23a)
And also this verse.
And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. (Exodus 12:29)
Now, who is the “destroyer?” Yahweh! But wait a second; this makes it sound like there are two Yahwehs. Next, let’s read the first part of Genesis 19:24.
Then the LORD rained) upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire…
Where is Yahweh (LORD) at this time? In Genesis 18:2 we read that three men approached Abraham and in verse 3 Abraham calls to them and says, well the KJV has, “my lord,” but the Hebrew is adonai, which means “my lords.” The Hebrew word adon (the singular form of this word meanign “lord”) is used for mean of authority as well as for God. So, at this point, we only know that these three men were “men of authority.”
Then in verse 8 Abraham feeds them and in verse 9 they ask him where Sarah is. In verse 10 one of them says that Sarah will have a child. But then in verse 13 we find out that the one who was speaking in verse 10 is in fact Yahweh himself when the text says; “And the LORD said unto Abraham…”
And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. (Genesis 18:22)
Note that it just says “the men turned… and went toward Sodom.” It does not say how many of the men, but I assume it is two, because the third man, being Yahweh, remains with Abraham. This is confirmed by Genesis 19:1 when it says, “And there came two angels to Sodom at even…” The Hebrew word for angels is m’la’akhiym, which means “messengers,” not necessarily angels (see how this word is used and translated in Genesis 32:1 and 32:3).
Over the remaining verses in Chapter 18, Abraham bargains with Yahweh for the lives in Sodom and then in verse 33 Yahweh leaves Abraham. Genesis 19:1–23 is the story of these two men, Lot, Lot’s daughters and Lot’s family’s escape from Sodom.
Then, in the beginning of the following.
Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire … (Genesis 19:24a)
We are not told where Yahweh came from, but I assume he left Abraham and went to Sodom, just as the other two men did. And upon arriving at Sodom he destroyed it, and Gomorrah, with brimstone and fire. And where did Yahweh get this brimstone and fire? Let’s read the rest of verse 24.
…from the LORD out of heaven; (Genesis 19:24b)
So, Yahweh got it from Yahweh. From the text, it would appear that there are two Yahwehs again, one on the ground and the other in the heavens?
Just a few more verses to complete this background information.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: (Exodus 33:1)
And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: (Exodus 33:2)
Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way. (Exodus 33:3)
According to these verses, Yahweh is saying that he is not going to go with the Israelites to Promised Land, otherwise he will kill them. So he is sending an “angel” (again, in Hebrew, this word means “messenger.”) to go before them.
Yahweh repeats this in the following verse.
And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. (Exodus 33:14)
The Hebrew word for “presence” is paniym, which literally means “face.” Yahweh has clearly stated that he will not go with them into the wilderness, if he did, he would kill them. So instead, he sends his “face,” which could be interpreted as a “messenger.”
However, throughout the story of the Israelites travels through the wilderness we are told that Yahweh is with them, but if Yahweh did not go, but his “face” did, then that “face,” or “messenger” is Yahweh. Two Yahweh’s again? Hmmm
Some of you might say at this point, “but Yahweh is not a messenger, he is God!” Okay, what about this?
And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. (Genesis 48:14)
And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, (Genesis 48:15)
The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. (Genesis 48:16)
According to these passages, God (Yahweh) is an angel, but don’t forget, this word literally means “messenger.” Also, let’s not forget who Moses met at the burning bush.
And the angel of the LORD (messenger of Yahweh) appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. (Exodus 3:2)
Now let’s get to the heart of my answer by closely looking at the following passages from Deuteronomy 29.
1. These are the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.
2. And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land;
I think we can all agree that Moses is speaking to the Israelites about Yahweh.
3. The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles:
4. Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.
Again, I think we agree that Moses is still speaking.
5. And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. 6 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that…
Moses is still talking right? But now look at what Moses says next.
I am the LORD your God.
What is going on here? I propose to you that Moses was so inseparable from Yahweh, and so inter-connected with him, that when he spoke, he was speaking the mind of Yahweh. And he was not the only one, evidenced by, what appeared to be, the two Yahwehs we saw in the other passages in the Torah. And, there is going to be another one to come who would be just like Moses.
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee (Moses), and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. (Deuteronomy 18:18)
This may help to explain the meaning of the following passage from the book of John.
I and my father are one. (John 10:30)
AHRC Book Recommendation
(see our other recommendations)