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White Horse Inn: Conversational Theology

Appearances of Christ Before His Incarnation

Christmas is the time we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Word who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14). But as it turns out, this same Word, who was with God and was God (Jn 1:1-2), actually made a number of appearances throughout Israel’s history. On this episode the hosts will take a look at these “theophanies” or manifestations of God in human or angelic form as they conclude their series on The Incarnation (originally aired 12-25-16).

Show Quote:

In Genesis 18, the Lord appeared in human form to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre. This wasn’t some kind of vision because Abraham actually prepared a meal for the Lord and brought water for him to wash his feet (Gen 18:4-5). Then in verse 10 the LORD says, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” So what seems to be the clear implication of this passage is that before the time of his incarnation, the eternal Son appeared to his great, great…grandfather to announce to Abraham that he will have a son, from whose lineage, He, the speaker — that is, Yahweh himself — will one day come. That is mind-boggling!

Michael Horton


Appearances of the Son of God: in the Old Testament

Author: John Owen

In 1668, the famous Puritan John Owen began publishing his magnum opus. Twenty-two years in the making, this first volume contained twenty-four “exercitations,” preliminary practices to help the reader understand what is coming in his magisterial study of the book of Hebrews. The tenth of these was titled, “Appearances of the Son of God Under the Old Testament.” It contains a precious discussion on Christ, especially as he appears as the Angel of the LORD, an actual person and character who appears time and again from Genesis to Malachi.

The Angel of the LORD: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Study

Author: Douglas Van Dorn & Matt Foreman

In the early books of the Old Testament, the mysterious “Angel of the Lord” repeatedly appears—visibly, audibly, even physically—to the Patriarchs, to Moses, to the Prophets. Who is this Angel? Exploring the biblical texts, the testimony of church history, and the insights of Systematic Theology, Matt Foreman and Doug Van Dorn argue that the answer is beyond doubt: the Angel of the Lord is a manifestation of God the Son.

The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ

Author: Daniel Boyarin

In this powerful, groundbreaking work, Boyarin guides us through a rich tapestry of new discoveries and ancient scriptures to make the powerful case that our conventional understandings of Jesus and of the origins of Christianity are wrong. Boyarin’s scrupulously illustrated account argues that the coming of the Messiah was fully imagined in the ancient Jewish texts.

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