Sep 20, 2012

Metatron - The Appearance of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament

This is a re-publish of an article from last year, but it seems timely enough. Some of these article get lost in the flood of news stories, so here it is again. Theophanies (the appearance of Messiah in Old Testament times before He was incarnated in human form)occur often in the Old Testament. The Greek name for those theophanies is Metatron.

MetatronThe usual Hebrew word for angel is mal'ak (mal-awk') which is from an unused root meaning to dispatch as a deputy; a messenger; specifically, of God, i.e. an angel (also a prophet, priest or teacher) Mal'ak has a pretty wide application; and can mean either a celestial being or a human being.There are a fair number of angel sightings recorded in the Tanakh. One celestial being in particular (called Metatron in sacred Jewish literature) appears to be so high ranking, and so holy, that it is authorized to go by God's name and to be treated, regarded, received, and worshipped, as YHVH Himself. Just exactly what the story is on that angel is hard to know for sure; but in the Scripture texts it is clear that the demarcation between God and the angel (whose name is his Master's) is so blurred that the two often appear to be one and the same person.Targum authors struggled with Metatron and paraphrased the Tanakh's language in several places attempting to side step the obvious because they just couldn't cope with that angel's rank. But if we would all just let the Tanakh say what it has to say and go along no matter how disturbing it might appear.

The Impassible Chasm A being like Metatron is a necessity because it is impossible for the True God to either communicate, or associate with Man directly. He is just too holy——far beyond the dignity of royals any of us could possibly imagine. Any attempt by Man, with his puny mortal mind, to fully comprehend the lofty nature of God, would be about equal to a gnat trying to drink the ocean. It is a Bible axiom that nobody has ever seen God; not even those of whom the Scripture says they saw and spoke with God such as Adam, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets. They actually dealt with Metatron.

Ex 33:18-23 ...[Moses] said, "Oh, let me behold Your Presence!" And He answered, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim before you the name YHVH, and the grace that I grant and the compassion that I show. But," He said, "you cannot see My face, for man may not see Me and live." (1985 JPS Tanakh)

John 1:18 ... No one has seen God at any time. (NIV
John 5:37 ……You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, (NIV)

1Tim 6:15b-16 ...God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen. (NIV)

Humans are not permitted to view the unapproachable Light. They are only allowed to view its proxy: The Shekinah.
God is so immense and hulking! Solomon said that the heaven of heavens cannot contain God, much less any temple that Man might build for Him. The entire cosmos is like a child's aquarium to the True God. Even if the True God were to fill the universe with His Glory, there would still be lots left over; and The Glory is not even God's real person; it's just a glistering brilliance representing His presence! Metatron, like The Glory, was a proxy acting for God, acting as God, speaking for God, speaking as God, and standing in for God because the True God Himself can't be among human beings in person.

Gen 16:6-13 ……Abram said to Sarai, "Your maid is in your hands. Deal with her as you think right." Then Sarai treated her harshly, and she ran away from her. An angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the road to Shur, and said, "Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?" And she said, "I am running away from my mistress Sarai." And the angel of the Lord said to her, "Go back to your mistress, and submit to her harsh treatment."

...And the angel of the Lord said to her, "I will greatly increase your offspring, and they shall be too many to count." The angel of the Lord said to her further, "Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son; you shall call him Ishmael, For the Lord has paid heed to your suffering. He shall be a wild ass of a man; his hand against everyone, and everyone’’s hand against him; he shall dwell alongside of all his kinsmen."

...And she called the Lord who spoke to her, "You Are El-roi," by which she meant, "Have I not gone on seeing after He saw me!" (1985 JPS Tanakh)

The JPS rendering of 16:13 is more or less an educated guess because the Hebrew in that verse is very difficult. She could have said: "Have I here seen him who sees me?" In other words; The all seeing God is in THIS place!?! I can appreciate her surprise. You might expect to see God in a grand cathedral, but certainly not along a road in the middle of nowhere.

The angel that spoke with Hagar spoke for the Lord: "For the Lord has paid heed to your suffering" and it also spoke as the Lord: "I will greatly increase your offspring"
According to verse 13, the angel was actually YHVH. Hagar herself didn't know who it was at the time and so gave The Name a name of her own: El-roi: the god who sees.
According to ancient Judaism, the angel who spoke with Hagar was God's word—— The Memra'.

And she gave thanks before the Lord whose Word spake to her, and thus said, Thou art He who livest and art eternal; who seest, but art not seen! (Targum Jonathan)

And Hagar gave thanks, and prayed in the Name of the Word of the Lord, who had been manifested to her, saying; "Blessed be You, Eloha, the Living One of all Ages, who has looked upon my affliction." For she said; "Behold, You are manifested also to me, even as You were manifested to Sara my mistress." Wherefore she called the well: The Well at which the Living and Eternal One was revealed. And, behold, it is situate between Rekam and Chalutsa. (Jerusalem Targum)

Gen 18:1-2a ……YHVH appeared to him by the terebinths of Mamre; he was sitting at the entrance of the tent as the day grew hot. Looking up, he saw three men standing near him. (1985 JPS Tanakh)
It soon becomes very apparent in the story that these three male human beings (Hebrew: ’’iysh) are not only angels, but that one of them is YHVH. Abraham never called the angel that, but when speaking to the three, he did use the plural version of ’’adonai, with a final long vowel—— a version of "lord" which is usually reserved in Scripture to be used only for God.

Gen 18:3-5 ……he said, "My lords, if it please you, do not go on past your servant. Let a little water be brought; bathe your feet and recline under the tree. And let me fetch a morsel of bread that you may refresh yourselves; then go on—— seeing that you have come your servant’’s way." They replied, "Do as you have said." (1985 JPS Tanakh)

The three men all sat down and ate Sarah's home cooking.
Gen 18:8 ……He took curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared and set these before them; and he waited on them under the tree as they ate. (1985 JPS Tanakh
Some people, aghast at the idea of angels with natural functions like eating food, have proposed that they only made motions of eating, i.e. they faked it. But these angels were ’’iysh—— male human beings—— fully functioning mortals, not androids.
It is very difficult to tell if Abraham knew at first that these men were angels. But if he didn't, I have no doubt he caught on later when one of them, speaking in the first person, predicted Sarah's impending pregnancy.

Gen 18:9-10 ……They said to him, "Where is your wife Sarah?" And he replied, "There, in the tent." Then one said, "I will return to you next year, and your wife Sarah shall have a son!" (1985 JPS Tanakh)

The "one" who spoke up and made that prediction was YHVH.
Gen 18:13-14 ……Then YHVH said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘‘Shall I in truth bear a child, old as I am?’’ Is anything too wondrous for YHVH? I will return to you at the time next year, and Sarah shall have a son." (1985 JPS Tanakh)
Genesis 18 is very informative. It reveals that YHVH is able to associate with human beings as one Himself—— fully functioning and perfectly normal.

Gen 22:9-18 ……They arrived at the place of which God had told him. Abraham built an altar there; he laid out the wood; he bound his son Isaac; he laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to slay his son.
...Then an angel of the Lord called to him from heaven: "Abraham! Abraham!" And he answered, "Here I am." And he said, "Do not raise your hand against the boy, or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your favored one, from Me."

...When Abraham looked up, his eye fell upon a ram, caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son. And Abraham named that site Adonai-yireh, whence the present saying, "On the mount of the Lord there is vision."

...The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, "By Myself I swear, the Lord declares: Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your favored one, I will bestow My blessing upon you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands on the seashore; and your descendants shall seize the gates of their foes. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, because you have obeyed My command." (1985 JPS Tanakh)

The angel that spoke with Abraham followed a very similar format to the one it used speaking with Hagar. It spoke for God, it spoke about God, and it spoke as God. In this instance, it spoke that way within the very same sentence——the second half of verse 12: "For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your favored one, from Me."

If Abraham had followed through on God's command to kill Isaac, his son would have been reckoned an offering to the angel; because that is how the angel spoke about it in verse 12: "you have not withheld your son, your favored one, from Me."
In verses 15 and 16, the angel, this time speaking for YHVH, told Abraham of YHWH's intent to bless him for offering his son.

Gen 22:15-16 ..."The angel of YHVH called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, "By Myself I swear, YHVH declares: Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your favored one," (1985 JPS Tanakh)

YHWH's preface to the oath left out the angel's previous words: "from Me." So it is strikingly evident that Abraham was blessed for offering Isaac to the angel, not to its Master.
It is most puzzling how that angel can be an ambassador speaking for God, and speaking about God, and yet at the very same time speak as God and receive the worship of a burnt offering unless the angel of the Lord is actually some sort of proxy manifestation of YHVH Himself.

Relating to people in a creature's form would permit God to keep His distance from human beings—— thereby protecting His sanctity and dignity—— while at the same time allow The Almighty to associate with them in a limited way without endangering their lives.

Gen 31:10-13 ……"Once, at the mating time of the flocks, I had a dream in which I saw that the he-goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled, and mottled. And in the dream an angel of God said to me, ‘‘Jacob!’’ ‘‘Here,’’ I answered. And he said, ‘‘Note well that all the he-goats which are mating with the flock are streaked, speckled, and mottled; for I have noted all that Laban has been doing to you. I am the God of Beth-el, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now, arise and leave this land and return to your native land." (1985 JPS Tanakh)

That *angel sighting* occurred in Jacob's sleep, in a dream, and is not the first time an angel of God appeared to Jacob by this method because he saw the very same angel before in another dream when he "anointed a pillar and made a vow to Me."

Gen 28:10-22 ……Jacob left Beer-sheba, and set out for Haran. He came upon a certain place and stopped there for the night, for the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of that place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. He had a dream; a stairway was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky, and angels of God were going up and down on it.

...And YHVH was standing beside him and He said, "I am YHVH, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac: the ground on which you are lying I will assign to you and to your offspring. Your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your descendants. Remember, I am with you: I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."

...Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely YHVH is present in this place, and I did not know it!" Shaken, he said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven."

...Early in the morning, Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He named that site Bethel; but previously the name of the city had been Luz. Jacob then made a vow, saying, "If God remains with me, if He protects me on this journey that I am making, and gives me bread to eat and clothing to wear, and if I return safe to my father’’s house——YHVH shall be my God. And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, shall be God’’s abode; and of all that You give me, I will set aside a tithe for You." (1985 JPS Tanakh)

That very same angel is the God to whom Jacob gave credit for protecting him all his life.

Gen 48:15-16 ……And he blessed Joseph, saying, "The God in whose ways my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my shepherd from my birth to this day——The Angel who has redeemed me from all harm——bless the lads. In them may my name be recalled, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they be teeming multitudes upon the earth." (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Jacob worshipped The Angel as God because he believed it was YHVH. And he had good cause to. It spoke for God, it spoke about God, and it spoke as God. Genesis identifies its name as God when, in Jacob's dream, he said: "And YHVH was standing beside him." And the Scripture also reports The Angel as saying for itself: " I am YHVH, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac"

Gen 32:23-31 ……That same night he arose, and taking his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven children, he crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After taking them across the stream, he sent across all his possessions. Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.

...When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he wrenched Jacob’’s hip at its socket, so that the socket of his hip was strained as he wrestled with him. Then he said, "Let me go, for dawn is breaking." But he answered, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me." Said the other, "What is your name?" He replied, "Jacob." Said he, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with beings divine and human, and have prevailed."

...Jacob asked, "Pray tell me your name." But he said, "You must not ask my name!" And he took leave of him there. So Jacob named the place Peniel, meaning, "I have seen a divine being face to face, yet my life has been preserved." (1985 JPS Tanakh)

According to Hosea, the "man" who wrestled Jacob was an angel.
Hos 12:4-5a ……In the womb he tried to supplant his brother; grown to manhood, he strove with a divine being, he strove with an angel and prevailed—— (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Hosea goes on to say the angel met with Jacob at Bethuel.
At Bethel [Jacob] would meet him, there to commune with him. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

The meeting took place. However, in the Genesis text, it wasn't an angel who is said to have met with Jacob at Bethuel, but God.

Gen 35:1 ……God said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel and remain there; and build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau." (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Gen 35:6-7 ……Thus Jacob came to Luz——that is, Bethel——in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. There he built an altar and named the site El-bethel, for it was there that God had revealed Himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Gen 35:9-10 ……God appeared again to Jacob on his arrival from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him. God said to him, "You whose name is Jacob, you shall be called Jacob no more, but Israel shall be your name." Thus He named him Israel. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Gen 35:15 ……Jacob gave the site, where God had spoken to him, the name of Bethel. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

So by combining Hosea and Genesis, it becomes very obvious that the "man" Jacob wrestled with at Peniel was an angel of God who spoke for God, spoke about God, and spoke as God. And actually, the literal rendering of Hosea——saaraah 'et-'Elohiym——means Jacob strove with God and won. He actually beat The Almighty in a wrestling match!

Jacob named the site "The Face Of God" because he believed it was God who wrestled with him there face to face on that occasion. Many years later, the old boy reminisced about his experiences with God's angel.

Gen 35:15 ……And he blessed Joseph, saying, "The God in whose ways my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my shepherd from my birth to this day——The Angel who has redeemed me from all harm—— bless the lads. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

For all intents and purposes then, The Angel was Jacob's God. Therefore, that angel——whenever it appears as a human being——truly is a divine mortal representing God; and it has to be respected, and worshipped, and treated, as God Almighty.

Ex 3:1-6 …… Now Moses, tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, drove the flock into the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. An angel of YHVH appeared to him in a blazing fire out of a bush. He gazed, and there was a bush all aflame, yet the bush was not consumed. Moses said, "I must turn aside to look at this marvelous sight; why doesn’’t the bush burn up?"

...When YHVH saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him out of the bush: "Moses! Moses!" He answered, "Here I am." And He said, "Do not come closer. Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. I am," He said, "the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

This is the first of many encounters Moses experienced with YHWH's angel. In this scene, the angel wasn't hiding in the blazing fire—— the blazing fire was it; which concurs with Psalm 104.

Ps 104:4 ……He makes the winds His messengers, fiery flames His servants. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

The word for "messenger" in that verse is mal'ak (mal-awk'); the common word for angel. So YHWH's angels are not always human——sometimes they are a blazing fire as in this encounter. When God visits Man, He can assume a variety of natural shapes and textures——even as wind.

This blazing fire is expressly identified as God. It speaks as God, it speaks about God, and it speaks for God. The site it chose for an encounter with Moses became holy ground during its presence. In every sense of the word, this angel is God Almighty and Moses reacted to it in just that fashion. He hid his face from the flame because he was afraid to look at God. It is especially notable that the angel did not rebuke Moses nor tell him in no uncertain terms that it was not God in the bush. Exodus identifies the angel in the bush as God.

Ex 3:4 ……When YHVH saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him out of the bush: (1985 JPS Tanakh)
That angel had been the God of the patriarchs all along, right from day one.

Ex 3:6 ……I am," He said, "the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." (1985 JPS Tanakh)

In the end, the angel not only commissioned Moses to return to Egypt and rescue the people from slavery, but clearly, and without ambiguity, it revealed its name as not only YHVH; but also as the unique, and the only, Self Existent One.

Ex 3:13-15 ……Moses said to God, "When I come to the Israelites and say to them ‘‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’’ and they ask me, ‘‘What is His name?’’ what shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh." He continued, "Thus shall you say to the Israelites, ‘‘Ehyeh sent me to you.’’" And God said further to Moses, "Thus shall you speak to the Israelites: YHVH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: This shall be My name forever, this My appellation for all eternity. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Ex 13:18b-22 ……Now the Israelites went up armed out of the land of Egypt. And Moses took with him the bones of Joseph, who had exacted an oath from the children of Israel, saying, "God will be sure to take notice of you: then you shall carry up my bones from here with you." They set out from Succoth, and encamped at Etham, at the edge of the wilderness. The Lord went before them in a pillar of cloud by day, to guide them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, that they might travel day and night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

It is truly amazing how many forms God can assume as an angel. In previous passages He appeared as a male human being, a wind, a blazing flame——and now a cloud. That the cloud was God is obvious from these next passages:

Ex 14:19-20 ……The angel of God, who had been going ahead of the Israelite army, now moved and followed behind them; and the pillar of cloud shifted from in front of them and took up a place behind them, and it came between the army of the Egyptians and the army of Israel. Thus there was the cloud with the darkness, and it cast a spell upon the night, so that the one could not come near the other all through the night. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Ex 14:24 ……At the morning watch, YHVH looked down upon the Egyptian army from a pillar of fire and cloud, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

God is very versatile. Although YHVH was down on the earth leading the people of Israel at that time, He didn't actually have to leave heaven to do it. By His angels, The Almighty can be anywhere at any time doing any task imaginable down here on the planet.

Ex 23:20-22 ……I am sending an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have made ready. Pay heed to him and obey him. Do not defy him, for he will not pardon your offenses, since My Name is in him; but if you obey him and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

That phrase: "pay heed to him and obey his voice" can only apply to God. In all the forty years of wanderings, no other celestial beings issued marching orders to Moses nor led the people of Israel in the right direction. And when it was time to start conquering Canaan, My Name showed up as a male human being and reminded Joshua who his boss was.

Josh 5:13-15 ……Once, when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing before him, drawn sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and asked him, "Are you one of us or of our enemies?" He replied, "No, I am captain of the Lord’’s host. Now I have come!" Joshua threw himself face down to the ground and, prostrating himself, said to him, "What does my lord command his servant?" The captain of the Lord’’s host answered Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

The Hebrew word Joshua used to address the man is a form of "lord" used only of God in the Tanakh. It is very notable that the man did not rebuke Joshua for worshipping him. And just like Moses' experience with the blazing fire, the man ordered Joshua to remove his shoes because his presence made the site holy just as the blazing fire's presence at the burning bush made that site holy.

Judg 6:11-13 ……An angel of YHVH came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was then beating out wheat inside a winepress in order to keep it safe from the Midianites. The angel of YHVH appeared to him and said to him, "YHVH is with you, valiant warrior!" Gideon said to him, "Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this befallen us? Where are all His wondrous deeds about which our fathers told us, saying, ‘‘Truly the Lord brought us up from Egypt’’? Now the Lord has abandoned us and delivered us into the hands of Midian!" (1985 JPS Tanakh)

At first, Gideon, unaware of the true identity of the visitor, starts off by calling him the common, polite form of "lord." Soon he will discover that when the angel said: "YHVH is with you" its words were truly literal.

Judg 6:14 ……YHVH turned to him and said, "Go in this strength of yours and deliver Israel from the Midianites. I herewith make you My messenger." (1985 JPS Tanakh)

At this point, Gideon began to suspect who the visitor really was and switched over to the Hebrew form of "lord" that is reserved for God only.

Judg 6:15-18 ……He said to Him, "Please, my [Lord], how can I deliver Israel? Why, my clan is the humblest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’’s household." YHVH replied, "I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian to a man." And he said to Him, "If I have gained Your favor, give me a sign that it is You who are speaking to me: do not leave this place until I come back to You and bring out my offering and place it before You." And He answered, "I will stay until you return." (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Gideon, overcome with excitement, runs off to prepare an offering for YHVH, who is now left under the tree, delayed by the whim of a mere mortal.

Judg 6:19-24 ……So Gideon went in and prepared a kid, and [baked] unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. He put the meat in a basket and poured the broth into a pot, and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth. As he presented them, the angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened bread, put them on yonder rock, and spill out the broth." He did so.
...The angel of YHVH held out the staff that he carried, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread with its tip. A fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the angel of YHVH vanished from his sight. Then Gideon realized that it was an angel of YHVH; and Gideon said, "Alas, O Lord God! For I have seen an angel of YHVH face to face." But YHVH said to him, "All is well; have no fear, you shall not die." So Gideon built there an altar to YHVH and called it Adonai-shalom. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

After Gideon was convinced beyond a doubt that he really was being visited by YHVH, he became very frightened. YHWH's angel in this instance is stunning. It was human, it received worship, it was visible, and it let a mortal look upon it; yet it was unmistakably YHVH himself. So why then does modern Judaism have so much trouble accepting the New Testament's report that God's word, The Memra', appeared in Eretz Israel as a human being back in Jesus' day? It's not like that was anything new. It was actually quite redundant.

John 1:14 ……And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (NKJ)

Gideon would be amazed at modern Judaism's skepticism. If people don't want to believe Jesus of Nazareth is in some way YHWH's angel, that's okay by us. But don't ever say it is impossible for God to associate with mortal men as a mortal man Himself. There's just too many examples in the Tanakh to the contrary.

It is a well known Bible axiom that no man can look upon God in person. Yet the Tanakh clearly says that on at least one occasion, Moses and Israel's leaders were permitted to see God for themselves.

Ex. 24:1-11 ...Then He said to Moses, "Come up to the Lord, with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel, and bow low from afar. Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but the others shall not come near, nor shall the people come up with him."......Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel ascended; and they saw the God of Israel: under His feet there was the likeness of a pavement of sapphire, like the very sky for purity. Yet He did not raise His hand against the leaders of the Israelites; they beheld God, and they ate and drank. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

That is one of the most astonishing passages in the Tanakh. Try as we might to spiritualize the meaning of that passage, it is so clearly evident that Moses and his friends saw the God of Israel as a real live person standing before them, not just some kind of dream or prophetic vision.

According to a story in the Talmud (b. Sanhedrin 38b) a man identified as a schismatic—— a Jewish follower of Jesus—— was talking to a rabbi about Ex 24:1. The Jewish believer was trying to argue that it seemed odd that God would say to Moses; "Come up to YHVH" instead of saying; "Come up to Me." Wouldn't that imply that there is more than one divine Person?
The rabbi answered that God was not talking about Himself but about the angel Metatron, the most powerful angel in rabbinical literature, whose name is his Master's. In other words, when God said "Come up to YHVH", He did not actually mean "Come up to Me." He meant "Come up to Metatron, whose name is YHVH." So according to classical rabbinical interpretation, Metatron and YHVH are often one and the same person. So when people in the Old Testament met with Metatron, they met with God.

Metatron's existence in the Old Testament lends a great deal of credence to the plausibility of yet another with authority to speak as God, to speak for God, and to be worshipped as God: Jesus of Nazareth.

Heb 1:1-3 ……In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (NIV)

Phil 2:8-11 ……And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death——even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NIV)

The Name, that is above every name, is the name YHVH. God granted Jesus of Nazareth the right to use The Name for himself so that he may speak for God, that he may speak as God, and that he may receive worship as God just as Metatron did in ancient times. Refusal to worship and serve Jesus as Almighty God insults the True God, and shows a gross lack of respect for The Name.