Sunday 13 October 2013

More on the Angel of the Lord

As people have may have gathered from my articles, I often quote Sam Shamoun, James White and others in my writings in relation to the Trinity. Not to mention going to the scripture as well.

A while back, I did contemplate on some points but one point that bugged me was what Stephen said about the angel who spoke to Moses. We know in Exodus 3 the angel of the LORD is YHWH but is not the Father in heaven, but I thought initially that Stephen was talking to an ordinary angel. So I thought I might check with Sam Shamoun in another private discussion and of course one again the Assyrian Encyclopedia blew me away. So the next day, I looked at the referrences in context according to Acts 17:11 to check what he was saying. Now I am even more convinced of what was brought to my attention. With that, let's talk through what I was going to say.

"30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’[f] Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.
33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’[g]
35 “This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness.
37 “This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.’[h] 38 He was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living words to pass on to us.
39 “But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’[i] 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and reveled in what their own hands had made. 42 But God turned away from them and gave them over to the worship of the sun, moon and stars. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets:
“‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
    forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
43 You have taken up the tabernacle of Molek
    and the star of your god Rephan,
    the idols you made to worship.
Therefore I will send you into exile’[j] beyond Babylon.
44 “Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.[k] 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:
49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
    and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me?
says the Lord.
    Or where will my resting place be?
50 Has not my hand made all these things?’[l]
51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”"

The following on screen is taking from Acts 7 where Stephen was brought before the Sanhedrin regarding Jesus. It is interesting to note in the passage that Stephen mentions that the rightous one was killed by the Pharisees. Remember also that an angel in Hebrew doesn't always refer to a creature, the word simply means messenger. Let's take a look at Exodus 3:1-6

"3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God."

So we also know back in Exodus 3 the angel of the LORD appears to Moses in the Bush, yet the text later on says God called to him from within the Bush. The argument from agency will not work here considering the Apostles were the agents of Christ, but they could not say that they are Jesus Christ who died for you. The angel could not because he is a mere agent, but because he is YHWH. There is another thing to consider as well, Remember what God requests, take you sandals off, you are standing on holy ground and when we read Joshua 5:13-15-6:2, we see the commander of the LORD telling Joshua to take of his sandals in the same way that YHWH did.

"13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord[e] have for his servant?”
15 The commander of the LORD army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
6 Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men."

Why is a mere angel telling Joshua to do this? Unless the angel or the LORD and the Commander of the LORD's army are the same entity. Furthermore, Within the book of Revelation, an angel in Revelation 19:9-10 and 22:8-9 tells John not to bow to him and only worship God. Yet the angel is being bowed to here and Joshua humbly calls himself his servant, which would contradict Hebrews 1:14 where it says "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?". Yet in the context, the commander states clearly he is NOT on anyones side at all and that he doesn't fight for anyone nor serve anyone. Interestingly enough, Revelation 19 has the commander of God's armies referred to as the Word of God.

"11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”[a] He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
king of kings and lord of lords."

What is even more interesting is his identification as the Word of God can be found in John 1:1 where it says:
"1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

There are many videos that deal with John 1:1 in depth including such talks by Edward Dalcour and James White which be found on youtube, so feel free to check those out. But to summarise John 1:1, it is one of the strongest texts for the Deity of Christ despite the violence that is done to the text by Unitarians, especially in the debate that Dalcour had with muslim apologist Osama Abdallah. But I think we know that the Rider in Revelation 19 and the commander speaking to Joshua 5 are the same person who lead the army of God. *.

Remember verses 7 and 14 in the book of Hebrews say the following.
"7 In speaking of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels spirits,
    and his servants flames of fire.”
14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?"

The only angel not bound by the parameters is the angel of the LORD who is Jesus, Because in 

Hebrews 1 Christ's throne lasts forever
"8 But about the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
    a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom."

The subject of Hebrews 1:8-9 and the angel of the Lord will be covered in depth in another article. If the Deity of Christ is not found in Psalm 45:7-8 and is speaking of an anointed king, this means that the whole point about Jesus not being the angel of the Lord falls flat on it's face. *

Additionly, the child in Isaiah 9:6 is another factor that plays an important role here:
"6 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this."

Another thing to note is that the phrase Mighty God or El Gibbor, is used of none other but YHWH himself in Chapter 10:21-23
"21 A remnant will return,[b] a remnant of Jacob
    will return to the Mighty God.
22 Though your people be like the sand by the sea, Israel,
    only a remnant will return.
Destruction has been decreed,
    overwhelming and righteous.
23 The Lord, the Lord Almighty, will carry out
    the destruction decreed upon the whole land."

There are those like Sami Zaatari who try and say well people are called gibborim or el in the Bible, however, NO ONE, Not even Hezekiah is called Mighty God. In fact His name would be YHWH is my strength so that argument doesn't fly. To point of fact Hezekiah didn't have an    everlasting dominion. The prophets said that the coming One is actually God, the Angel of God who becomes the Son of David, and therefore the Messiah, According to Acts 7:52 as well Daniel 7:13-14 which is alluded to by Jesus at least 3 times explicitly, I have already alluded to Daniel 7 in other articles so I needn't labor that point. Nakdimon316 goes into detail about various titles used of God alone in his response to Sami Zaatari which is indeed a series worth checking out.

I also hope if the Lord Wills to provide a defense for Isaiah 9:6 speaking of Yeshua and his deity in another article in detail.

Moreover, Stephen confirms that the Being who appeared to Moses as YHWH God and who gave him the oracles was actually the Angel, not the Father in heaven, which I did think was the case and Sam confirmed it for me. According to the Trinity, The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit and the Spirit is not the Father.

A point that ties in with the deity of the Messiah is the New Testament application of Micah 5:2 to Jesus:
"2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times."

There is one site I recommend looking at which I will post in the description below. Feel free to look into it when you have the chance. Check it out for yourself.

Another point to go onto is this. When we read Luke 7 we find the following:
"21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you.’[b]
28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)"

The Messenger who is sent in Malachi 3 interestingly is sent to prepare the way for YHWH:
"3 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty."

Here, it mentions that HA ADON will come to his temple, the same verse, he is the messenger of the covenant or angel if you want to use the term. What makes the term HA ADON a key term here is that it is a term that is only used of YHWH God. YHWH is saying the messenger will come to the temple but who is the messenger, well you don't need to guess, it's Jesus. He is the HA ADON coming to the temple. So even here there is an identification of Jesus as YHWH God coming to his temple in flesh and blood, the incarnation. *2

In Luke 7 again, Jesus speaks about what is occuring regarding the healings and miracles that are taking place, which the OT prophecies about, particularly in Isaiah 35:5-10:
"5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay,    grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. 8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and those   has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."

Here is another point to dig your teeth into like spaghetti and meatballs, In Isaiah 40, we read the following about a voice crying:
"3 A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD[a]; make straight in the desert    a highway for our God.[b] 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”"

The New Testament application of this is obvious, this was fulfilled in John the Baptist, who is preparing the way for Jesus. This statement from Isaiah of a messenger preparing the way for YHWH, shows Christ's divinity and idenitfies him as YHWH God, though he is NOT the Father in heaven. If only unitarians would swallow their pride and accept this unfathomable truth.
But wait, I am not done yet. In Malachi 3:1 to touch upon this again, it clearly refers to the messenger of the covenant coming to the temple and when we go to Judges 2 and Exodus 23. *2
"Judges 2:1 The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? 3 And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’”
4 When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, 5 and they called that place Bokim.[a] There they offered sacrifices to the Lord."
"Exodus 20:20 “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. 22 If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. 23 My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out."

In Exodus, YHWH tells them that he'll send an angel to protect the Israelites and that the angel will not forgive them should they disobey. However, when the people disobeyed, the angel rebukes them for breaking the covenant that he had made with them. But wait, Why did the angel say HE made the covenant? isn't it clear that the angel himself possesses the Name of YHWH, not as a mere agent, but is nature YHWH God himself? Sounds like a Trinity to me.

When we read Zechariah 14:1-9. We notice in the context that YHWH has his feet on the mount of olives, Let's take a look at the passage itself.
"14 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. 5 And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
6 On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost.[a] 7 And there shall be a unique[b] day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.
8 On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea[c] and half of them to the western sea.[d] It shall continue in summer as in winter.
9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one."

I'll discuss more of the text later, but I will say an interesting note. In Acts 1:9-12 when Jesus is taken to heaven, he is on the mount of Olives when he leaves and of course he will come back the way he left just as the angels make clear to the disciples, in other words, Jesus will come to the mount of olives in his second coming, which YHWH does in Zechariah 14. Not only this, but he will bring his recompense with him in Isaiah 62:11 as does Jesus in the book of Revelation 22. Additionally, YHWH is coming with his holy ones in Zechariah 14 just as Jesus will in 1 Thesslalonians
"3:11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones."

The Holy ones both belong to the Father and the Son, hence YHWH in both OT and NT is coming with them to bring judgement to all the nations.

Moreover, Zechariah sees Joshua standing before the angel of the LORD with Satan ready to rebuke him. Notice what the angel does in the following verses.
"3 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan[a] standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand[b] plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.
6 And the angel of the Lord solemnly assured Joshua, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. 9 For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes,[c] I will engrave its inscription, declares the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. 10 In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.”"

The angel has the authority to forgive sins personnally, which is a function that only belongs to God, coupled with the fact that he is distinct from YHWH within the text itself. Another case of the angel not only being YHWH, but distinct from YHWH. Is this mere agency again? or is it an example of YHWH's triunity.

What is the conclusion regarding the angel?

  1. Jesus, like the Angel, removes our sins
  2. Jesus, like the Angel, intercedes for us and defends us against Satan's accusations
  3. Jesus, like the Angel, possesses the divine name
  4. Jesus, like the Angel, delivers and saves
One last thing to note is why the angel of the LORD doesn't appear in the NT, the answer is simple, because he had come into the world as Jesus Christ. Now some unitarians appeal to Matthew 1 to try to prove that the angel of the LORD in the OT is not Jesus, but this is silly, because the Incarnation was already going to take place, furthermore, this angel is not the same angel of the LORD that is found in the OT, so that is reading something into the text that is not there.

The subject of the Angel of the Lord will be continued in the next article. 

*10th of February 2020. See the following information on John 1:1: It is very important regarding the Jehovah's Witnesses arguments regarding John 1:1.

16th of February 2024. 
* The argument doesn’t fall flat on its face although I have to correct what I said as Psalm 45:6-7 speaks of the Supremacy of Christ though not his Deity, though Psalm 102:25-27 speaks of it there. I say this because I wrote a later article talking about three texts within the context of Hebrews 1 and I’d rather not be talking out of two sides of my mouth.

2* I don’t think Malachi 1 regarding the messenger proves the Deity of Christ anymore but most certainly it is proved elsewhere, as Jesus himself is still the angel who punished the Israelites when they disobeyed him.

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