Please help to clarify who are the three men meeting Abraham in Genesis 18:1-10? They are variant answers and thus I ask. I thank you. God bless you.
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An understanding held by a lot of Bible students is that the three men mentioned in Genesis 18:1-10 are three angels. However, another view which I believe is more logical is that one of the three men was the pre-incarnate Christ and the other two were angels. I reach this conclusion after reading all of chapters 18 and 19.
Gen. 18:2 says three men were standing in front of Abraham. The fact that Abraham addressed them as “my Lord” in verse three may mean nothing more than Abraham’s recognition of the superior authority of the men being addressed. However, in verses 10 and 13 it does say “The Lord said.” Then in verse 16 it says the men set out for Sodom and Abraham started with them. Verses 17-21 makes a difference between “The Lord” and the other men.
Verse 22 says the men turned and went toward Sodom but Abraham stood before the Lord. Then we have the negotiation between Abraham and the Lord about how many righteous souls needed to be in Sodom to keep it from being destroyed. When that negotiation was over, the Lord went His way and Abraham returned to his place.
But, in Gen. 19:1, we see that two angels came to Sodom and they were thought to be men (verses 5, 10 and 12). They are again referred to as angels in verse 15. So, these two men of 18:2 were angels and the third man was the pre-incarnate Christ.
A study of angels in the Bible is interesting and helps with the conclusion I reached above. Most of the time when it says angel or angels, it is talking about the created beings that God made to help him and Christ in their work. When the phrase “the angel of God” or “the angel of the Lord” is used, one must look at the context to determine if it is just an ordinary angel or the pre-incarnate Christ.
For example, in Gen. 31:11-13, it appears the angel of God was Christ. Whereas, in Gen. 32:1, it appears these are ordinary angels. Since the words angel or angels appears 300 to 400 times in the Bible depending on the manuscript one uses, this is quite a lengthy study.
I hope this brief information is helpful with regard to your specific question.
Larry R. Coffey