Question: Hi Bob, Regarding Exodus 24:9-11 - could you tell me if this was the Father or the Son that these men saw? Thank you as always.
Response: This vision of God which the elders of Israel see is comparable to the one seen by Isaiah (chapter 6) and the one seen by Ezekiel (passim). The image is of the Almighty God, which we might naturally take to be the Father, for so He is. However, when John writes about the vision Isaiah saw, for example, he tells us that Isaiah was beholding Christ's glory (Jn.12:41), and we understand now (with our New Testament perspective) that this was a vision of our Lord Jesus Christ in His capacity of King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the glorified ruler of the earth who has accepted the mantle of rulership from the Father (as He will return to reign until "He has placed all enemies under His feet" 1Cor.15:25). Jesus is the only way to the Father, whom "no one has seen at any time" (Jn.1:18), but if you have seen Jesus, you "have seen the Father" (Jn.14:9). So with the additional revelation provided by the New Testament, we now understand that these apparent visitations of the Father were really the Son appearing in the Father's stead as His prime representative in all things. We call these appearances "Christophanies", and they are so prominent in the case of the Exodus as to warrant special treatment. Here is what I have written about this in the first installment of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Part 1, Theology:
[from section II.C.3.f.2.d]: "Despite the fact that no one has ever seen the Father while on this earth (see above), we are told that the elders saw the God of Israel (in company with Moses and Aaron: Ex.24:9-11), and we know that Moses entered the cloud of glory and spoke with the Lord on Sinai (Ex.24:16-17) and petitioned the Lord to "show me Your glory" (a request He granted: Ex.33:18ff.). We also find in Numbers 12:8 that Moses saw "the form of the Lord" and from Deuteronomy we know that unlike any other servant of the Lord, Moses spoke with Him "face to face" (Deut.34:10). This then surely is once again the Angel of the Lord, not the actual presence of the Father, but the appearance of the One who is sent by Him, speaks for Him, and who has undertaken to fulfill His plan of salvation in this world, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, appearing in pre-incarnate Christophany."
The entire of issue of Theophany and Christophany, the "Angel of the Lord" and related topics, will be found in the Theology study as well (see the link).
Please also see these links:
Jesus Christ in the Old Testament (Christophany: Genesis 3:8).
Old Testament Appearances of Jesus Christ (in BB 4A)
Melchizedek and the high priesthood of Christ
Yours in Christ,