ANGEL OF L-RD 1

OW Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to the moun­tain of God, unto Horeb.” [1] 

 

Rick ‘Aharon’

Chaimberlin

     The Rabbis say that God never gives a man an exalted office unless he is first tested in small things (Rabbi J. H. Hertz). Accord­ing to Midrash, Moses saw a lamb escape from the flock, and followed it to a brook, where the lamb quenched its thirst. Moses said to the lamb, “Had I known that you were thirsty, I would have taken you in my arms, and carried you here.” The Heavenly Voice resounded, “As thou livest, thou art fit to shepherd Israel.”

     Some may debate the historical accuracy of the above story. How­ever, it is only one verse after Exodus 3:1 that we read the follow­ing: “And the angel of YHWH appeared to him in a blazing flame out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.” [2]

     This was God’s perfect timing. The Israelites had been enslaved for 400 years in Egypt. No doubt they would have preferred to have been slaves a considerably shorter period of time. Yet they went into Egypt as a "nation" of only 70-some people. Our Heavenly Father was building them into a mighty nation of close to 3 million during those years of slavery. I doubt that 70 souls would have had a great deal of success in conquer­ing the land of Canaan. More likely, they would have assimilated into the idolatrous nations that inhabited the land.  In YHWH’s perfect timing, he brought them out of Egypt, using Moshe (Moses), a Hebrew who had been schooled by the teachers of Egypt. When we want God to do something for us “now,” perhaps we could learn a little lesson in patience from these Hebrews who waited 400 years!

     The burning bush is often taken as a symbol of Israel, small and lowly among the nations, often “burned,” yet indestructible. Why? Because the Divine Spirit dwells within Israel. As YHWH promised, as long as the sun shines by day, and the moon and stars shine by night, then Israel shall continue to be a nation forever.[3] Israel shall con­tinue for as long as heaven and earth continue. Am Yisrael Chai (The People of Israel Live)!

WHO IS THE ANGEL?

There are many Scripture ref­erences to “the angel of the LORD,” more properly translated, “the angel of YHWH.” Just who, or what, is this “angel of YHWH”? In this passage from Exodus, we read that “the angel of the LORD (YHWH) appeared to him (Moses) in a blazing flame..”[4] Then a couple verses later, we read that “God called to him from the midst of the bush." This is one special angel indeed!

     In Genesis, we read that Hagar fled into the wilderness, pregnant with Abram’s child, escaping the wrath of Sarai. The angel of YHWH appeared to her, and told her, “Behold, you are with child, and you will bear a son, and you will call his name Ishmael (‘God hears’), because YHWH has given heed to your affliction. And he shall be a wild ass of a man. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him.”[5] This prophetically foretells with incred­ible accuracy the fate of the Arabs, who are descended from Ishmael. As this prophecy indi­cates, there is not much likelihood of “peace” in the Middle East, at least not until Messiah returns.

     “Then she (Hagar) called the name of YHWH who spoke to her, ‘Thou art a God who sees,’ for she said, ‘Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?’”[6] So what’s going on here? First we are introduced to “the angel of YHWH,” then Hagar recognizes the angel as being YHWH, or “the God who sees.” Did this poor Egyptian girl misunderstand? Was she completely befuddled? No, I believe she understood perfectly.

     We read in Genesis 19 the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, for their wickedness. (Are we far behind?) The text tell us that “the LORD (YHWH) rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD (YHWH) out of heaven.”[7] It seems apparent that there is a reference to two YHWH’s here, one on earth and one in heaven. It is interesting to note that the Jewish translators of the Tenakh (O.T.) recognized the "problem" of two YHWH’s. They translated the Tenakh into Greek, a translation called the “Septuagint,” from the Greek for “70” in reference to the 70 translators. They made the following changes in the Greek translation from the literal inter­pretation (Included are the rab­binic reasons for the changes):

     "I will make Man" instead of "We will make Man" lest it be said that God is dual in nature.

     "With an image and a likeness" instead of "In our image and like­ness"…lest the creature be com­pared to the Creator.

     "Male and female He created him," instead of "Male and female He created them"…lest it be said they were originally created with two bodies.

     "Come, I shall go down and con­fuse their languages," instead of "Let us go down and confuse…" lest it be said that God is dual in nature.”  [8] 

     By the way, the Talmud accuses the early Messianic Jews of believing in two Gods, not three. The concept of Trinity was promulgated and made official by the Council of Nicea (a Gentile church council) in 325 CE (“A.D.”).

Even in the Akedah ("Binding of Isaac"), we see further evidence that the "angel of YHWH" is also identified as being YHWH.[9] Gen. 22:11-16. I believe that the angel of YHWH is none other than the pre-incarnate Yeshua. (See John 17:11-12.) Yeshua and his Father are both YHWH. They are echad (one).[10]  They share the same family name—YHWH.[11]

If we travel a bit further on in Scripture, we find that “the angel of YHWH” visits with Gideon,[12] who eventually led the armies of Israel against the Midianites. The “angel of YHWH” is identified as being “YHWH” in Judges 6:14.

 

 

The Angel of YHWH Visits the Parents of Samson

In Judges 13, we find the Philistines (“Palestinians”) are oppressing Israel. I guess some things never change! The “angel of YHWH” visits with the wife of Manoah, who was barren, having no children. The “angel of YHWH” tells her that she shall give birth to a son, who shall be a Nazirite from the mother’s womb, and that her son would begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines. She ran and told her husband about the encounter, identifying the man as “the angel of God.” Manoah is slightly skeptical, and prays for the “man of God” to come again to confirm the message that his wife received. After the prayer, the “angel of God” again appears to his wife. She called for Manoah, who came and spoke, saying, “Are you the man who spoke to the woman?”[13] The man said, “I am.” (This reply isn’t proof positive of the man’s divinity. However, one of the names of God, in Exodus 3:14, is “I am.”). The “man” confirmed all that had been told to Manoah’s wife earlier. When Manoah inquired of the man’s name, the man said, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” It is interesting to note that in Isaiah 9:6, one of the names of the Messiah is “Wonderful (Peilei).”

We read, “So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto YHWH, and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.  For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of YHWH ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.[14] But the angel of YHWH did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of YHWH.  And Manoah said unto his wife, ‘We shall surely die, because we have seen God.’[15] But his wife said unto him, ‘If YHWH were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have showed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.’ And the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson, and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.”[16]

THE GOD OF THE LIVING

Yeshua the Messiah also makes interesting use of the Torah por­tion from Exodus, as he gives his own little rabbinic commentary.

     Yeshua was approached by some Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead. (That is why they are sad, you see.) They attempted to "trick" Yeshua with the hypotheti­cal question of a man who died, leaving no offspring. According to the Law of Moses, it would be the duty of the dead man’s brother to raise up a son for the dead brother.[17] Deut. 25:5. However, in this story, each of seven brothers take this woman to wife, and each in turn dies without leaving an offspring. The Sadducees then ask the question (no doubt with a smirk): “In the resurrection, when they rise again, which one’s wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife.”[18]

     Yeshua replied, “When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels of heaven.” In other words, marriage is only temporary: It’s only for a lifetime. Then He said, “But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, say­ing, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Exodus 3:6)’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the liv­ing.”[19] In other words, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob weren’t just laying around waiting for some future day of resurrec­tion; they were already among the “living” during Yeshua’s day!

  

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