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Luke 20:37 NIV

37 But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’[b] 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.

In the account of the burning bush in other narratives its clear that its God who was speaking to Moses about Abraham,Isaac and Jacob

Matthew 22:31 NIV

31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’[b]? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

Mark 12:26-27 NIV

26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’[d]? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”

But in Luke's narrative its not clear whether it was Moses telling God or God telling Moses about the Patriarchs

How can Luke.s narrative be understood?

3 Answers 3

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The important thing about Luke 20:37 is what it does NOT say. Note the reference to Ex 3:6 which says:

Then He [= the LORD] said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

That is, in the original of Ex 3:6, it is the LORD speaking. But Luke does not directly quote this verse but only alludes to it and uses indirect speech and quotes the author of Exodus, namely Moses, who records the fact that the LORD is "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"

This is quote different from the way Matthew and Mark record this; both quote Ex 3:6 and place the words directly in the mouth of God.

Thus, in Luke 20:37, "he" is Moses who records the fact that the LORD said what is recorded.

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The ambiguity may have been intentional to quickly reference both. To the Jews the impact was the same. In Exodus 3:6,15; 4:5 God spoke these words. Apparently Moses spoke these words to the children of Israel, but it isn't recorded.

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At the time of Jesus, the traditional belief of the rabbis was the Mosaic authorship of the Torah, that is the first five books of the Torah were dictated to Moses by God.

The NT depicted Jesus himself to have recognised Moses as the author of at least some portions of the Pentateuch (John 5:46–47), and the early Christians therefore followed the rabbis.

Source: Wikipedia > Mosaic authorship

So, for Luke, the he that calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ is Moses, even if Moses, as the presumed author of the Torah, is simply quoting the Lord Himself.

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