Who Appeared To Abraham In Genesis 18?

The question is, who appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18? The answer to today’s question is in verse one of the chapter. But there are several clues found in chapter 18 & 19 which make it clearer. I’ll show you the clues in today’s post. Who Appeared To Abraham In Genesis 18?Who Appeared To Abraham In Genesis 18?

Chapter 18 starts much like chapter 17. Both chapters start with the Lord appearing to Abraham. In both passages, the Hebrew language makes it clear this is God. It uses the divine name of God (YHWH), not the generic word for God (Elohim) that sometimes gets used for people other than God.

That’s the big clue.

But even as Christians, this gets viewed as strange, but God is active in similar ways all through Genesis. Depending on who you talk to, some say this cannot be God appearing to Abraham, as if God has limits like this. You have some saying this is the angel Gabriel.

But what does the text say?

It says God appeared to Abraham.

This is the answer we should carry unless something big shows us otherwise. This is how you study the Bible and grow. You take the simple interpretation until something else in the text forces you to abandon it. This is the key—something in the text, NOT something outside the text.

Are The 3 Men In Genesis 18 The Trinity?

Verse 2 says Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw three men. Abraham runs to meet them and bows toward the ground. Some view this as the Trinity. I don’t.

Would Abraham bow to God? Yes. But this doesn’t mean that’s what’s happening here.

Bowing to angels in worship is not allowed. Also, the text doesn’t say Abraham even knows who these men are yet. Abraham could know it’s God right away, but the safer option is Abraham’s eastern hospitality to guests. Abraham’s nephew Lot will do the same thing in verse 1 of chapter 19.

I’ve said previously Abraham knew it was God right away, but this is the better interpretation.

The next few verses in the chapter deal with Abraham inviting the three men to a meal. He offers to wash their feet and make them feel comfortable.

Are The 3 Men Who Visited Abraham Angels?

In verse 9, they all ask, “Where is Sarah?”

Abraham says, “In the tent.”

But verse 10 changes to something different…

“And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life, and lo, Sarah, your wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him.”

One of them says he will return in the future and Sarah will have a son. This echoes what God said to Abraham in the previous chapter. In that chapter, Abraham laughed at God. This time, Sarah is the one laughing at God. This is why God tells them to call him Isaac.

Isaac means laughter.

God Appeared To Abraham As A Man

The scripture continues to show us God appeared as a man.

In verse 13, it says,

“And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?'”

The Lord is speaking here, and verse 14 continues His speech,

“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.”

God repeated what He said in verse 10.

I will return in the future and Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah now is afraid of God calling her out and says she didn’t laugh. But God corrects her lie.

There Is A Clear Difference Between God & The Other 2 Men

Now this passage gets back to the men. When you’re reading it, it’s safe to see this as God appearing with two men. Verse 1 said God appeared, and so far one person is saying the things God has said.

Verse 16 says the men got up and started looking toward Sodom. Then in verses 17-21, God is speaking. He asks in 17 if He should hide what He is doing from Abraham. In 19, God testifies to knowing Abraham, and in verse 20, God says Sodom’s sin is baaaaaad.

In 21, God says He will go down and see whether they are as bad as the complaints that come to Him.

Verse 22 is key because it distinguishes between God and the 2 angels.

“And the men turned their faces from thence and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.”

If God appeared as a man here, one of these men would be staying behind while two go on to Sodom.

From verse 23-33 is the conversation between Abraham and God.

The same way God was speaking earlier in the chapter, the same thing is happening again. Only this time, it’s only Abraham and God.

Abraham is interceding on behalf of the righteous people in Sodom, like his nephew Lot. He wants them protected from judgment. Abraham and God exchange words. But verse 33 is vital.

“And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham, and Abraham returned unto his place.”

Like they met at the tent door, this is all happening in a physical location.

Up to this point, it is clear one of the men is God appearing as a man.

The 2 Angels Arrive At Sodom

Verse 1 in chapter 19 should not shock you. It says 2 men, two angels, arrive at Sodom in the evening.

These would be the 2 men who went on while God continued to talk to Abraham. Like Abraham rose up and bowed, so did Lot. He compels them to stay the night, wash their feet, and eat food. Lot also says “my lord” too.

This is why this is likely a common address of respect, and not saying God.

The angels tell him to get out of town asap. So much so, they grab him and his family and escort him out of the firing line. Verse 16 is when we hear about the Lord being merciful to Lot. In this chapter, others have mentioned the Lord, but this is the first time Moses mentions the Lord again in the chapter.

Then in verse 17, they bring Lot out, and it says,

“He said, escape for your life unless you want to get consumed.”

God Arrives In Chapter 19

The Lord is now back. The 3 men are back together after separating for a time in the previous chapter. But in verse 18, Lot says to them,

“No, Lord.”

And this is where it can get tricky.

The question is…Is he calling all 3 men God, or is he begging God, while saying it to all 3 men?

Everything up to this point suggests one man is God, so we should follow that interpretation. Everything after this verse also agrees with this too.

Lot begs, and God responds Himself in verses 21-22 by saying,

“And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city for the which you have spoken. Quickly escape there, for I cannot do anything until you come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.”

God says He accepts Lot’s request.

Who Appeared To Abraham In Genesis 18?

He will not destroy the city Zoar Lot wants to run to, and He cannot judge Sodom until Lot is safe.

Continuing this way, verses 24-25 speak of God doing it, not the other two men…

“Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.”

Yahweh destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone from Yahweh in heaven. Who Appeared To Abraham In Genesis 18? If you follow the clear reading of the text, it’s clear God visited Abraham with two angels appearing as a man.

If you have any Bible questions you want me to break down for you, let me know. God bless.

Prefer To Watch?


He’s learning to serve the Christian community better and better each day through his teaching on the Bible (both theory and practical application for everyday life). Israel Ikhinmwin loves to share the truth of God’s Word and be an example for other Christians looking to develop your faith.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 × = forty eight