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The Lord's angel

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posted on Apr, 24 2020 @ 05:00 PM
What is the Lord’s angel?

The fundamental meaning of the Hebrew word is “messenger”.
In the Old Testament, then, we frequently find the Lord sending an angel when he wants to speak to people.

The very first example is the angel that finds Hagar in the wilderness (Genesis ch16).
Part of his message is the promise “I will greatly multiply your descendants” (v10).
A very revealing way of putting it, because of course that “I” means God. The angel does not speak as a separate identity, but speaks the words of God in the first person, like a translator at a meeting.
Another revealing moment comes when Hagar says “Have I seen God…?” (v13).
As John’s gospel rightly tells us (ch1 v18), nobody has ever “seen” God in the real sense. In any reported “vision” of God, what men see, at the most, is an image, a symbolic form accommodating itself to our understanding, The angel in the wilderness will have been one of those images.

As I see it, the angel relates to God in the same way that the image on a television screen relates to the man in the studio.
When the President stands in front of a camera and says “I will build a wall”, then the image on the screen says “I will build a wall”, and the viewers believe they can see the President. Yet the image is not really the President at all- just a network of electronic impulses.
In the same way, the angel is not God himself, but represents God as speaking to his people.

The angelic speech is just as ambiguous in the later appearances.
The angel that interrupts the sacrifice of Isaac says “You have not withheld your son from me“- Genesis ch22 v12.
The angel that summons Gideon (Judges ch6) begins with “The Lord is with you, but a few verses later the narration is “The Lord turned to him and said…” and “The Lord said to him”. When Gideon understands that he has “seen the angel of the Lord face to face”, he feels the alarm that is appropriate to meeting God face to face. And in fact he did see God, to the extent that men are capable of seeing God.
Then Manoah, the father of Samson, has exactly the same reaction;
“Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord.
And Manoah said to his wife; We shall surely die, for we have seen God” (Judges ch13 vv21-22).

In short, the angel of the Lord is not a separate existence, but simply the medium through which God makes himself heard, an image on the screen of human life.

In other instances, the angel of the Lord represents the fact that God acts in power to assist his people.
So Abraham tells his servant (Genesis ch24) that the Lord will “send his angel before you”, to prepare the ground for Isaac’s marriage. In other words, God will help him.
When Jacob is blessing the sons of Joseph, he calls God “the angel who has redeemed me from all evil” (Genesis ch48 v16). This should not be taken as meaning that God is “only an angel”. Jacob means the reverse; “God’s angel” is only a way of describing God in action, an alternative to expressions like “by God’s hand”.

We may understand in the same way references to the angel’s role in the Exodus;
“He sent an angel and bought us forth out of Egypt…” (Numbers ch20 v16).
This was the angel who appeared to Moses in (or as) the flame of the burning bush.
“Behold, I send an angel before you, to guard you on your way, and to bring you to the place which I have prepared” (Exodus ch23 v20).
This might have been fulfilled by the appearance of the “pillar of fire”, but this kind of angel does not always need to be visible. It may be just a way of saying “God did this”.
Again, it is “the angel of the Lord” that destroys the Assyrian army (2 Kings ch19 v35).
And when Isaiah says “the angel of his presence saved them” (ch63 v9), he seems to be referring to the general history of Israel before the exile.

The power of God may be expressed more vigorously by the appearance of angels in large numbers, as a “host”.
Jacob saw them travelling up and down between earth and heaven (Genesis ch12). By implication, they are God’s agents in managing the world, a visible representation of what we would now call “the laws of science”.
Meeting the angels of God on his way back to Canaan, he recognised them as God’s army, sent to support his own host, and he therefore called the place Mahanaim, or “Two armies” (Genesis ch32 vv1-2).
When he wrestled with a man at Peniel, that was an individual figure representing God’s power (“For I have seen God face to face”- Genesis ch32 v30). But the man who meets Joshua near Jericho calls himself “commander of the army of the Lord” (Joshua ch5 v14).
By the time the kingdoms are established, the host of the Lord (like the human armies of Israel) has been equipped with chariots;
“So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (2 Kings ch6 v17).

This image of God’s power as “a large host” is well represented in the Psalms;
“With mighty chariotry, twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands, the Lord came from Sinai into the holy place” (Psalm 68 v17)
They call him “the Lord of hosts”.
His angels are the mighty ones who do his word (Psalm 103 v20) and they praise him (Psalm 148 v2), like the rest of his works.
And when it is said that “the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him” (Psalm 34 v7), the angel who “encamps around” can hardly be an individual. Evidently the term is representing the all-embracing power of God.

Although two angels were required to rescue Lot’s family from Sodom, the individuality of angels does not really develop until after the Babylonian Exile.
The first signs are in the book of Daniel, where the Lord’s angel as “communicating with his people” is given the name Gabriel, and the Lord’s angel as “power to help his people” is given the name Michael.
The apocryphal book of Tobit goes further, introducing a named individual angel and also a named individual demon (Raphael and Asmodeus).

The naming of individual angels and demons was already an elaborate system by the time of the Qumran scrolls, and has continued, of course- mainly by the generous use of the imagination. For example, Qumran has given us the demon “Azazel”, who is nothing more than a mistranslation of the Hebrew phrase “for the purpose of sending far away”.
As a consequence of the Babylonian exile, the Jews had made the acquaintance of the Persian cultural world and the Zoroastrian belief system, which also has multiple spiritual entities ranged against one another for good and evil. So there has to be a suspicion that the angelology and demonology of later Judaism (and beyond) were inspired by this element of Persian culture, and compromising with it, just as many of the local saints of the early church were adapting the local gods of the Roman world.

edit on 24-4-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 24 2020 @ 05:02 PM
New Testament

The functions of angels in the New Testament follow on from those in the Old Testament.
Through them God communicates with men, when Jesus himself is not present.
So Gabriel appears in Luke’s nativity story (as does a praising host of angels).
In Matthew, it is an angel “in a dream” who speaks to Joseph.
The angel who rolled back the stone speaks to the women at the tomb (Matthew ch28- but Luke has two angels).
In Acts, an angel speaks to Philip (ch8), to Cornelius (ch10), and to Paul (ch27), and on two occasions (ch5, ch12)an angel brings Peter out of prison.

The angels appear in the teaching of Jesus as a host in the presence of God.
He speaks of “joy before the angels of God” about repenting sinners (Luke ch15 v10), and about believers being acknowledged “before the angels of God” (Luke ch12 v8). But these are just oblique ways of saying “before God”.
He describes the absence of marriage in the resurrection state as being “like the angels of God” (Matthew ch22 v30).
But the Son of man, as the appointed judge, will have angels of his own (or the same angels), who will be his agents to gather in the elect, on the one hand (Matthew ch24 vv30-31), and also the evildoers and the causes of sin (Matthew ch13 v41).

The Jewish tradition of the time was already developing the sense of respectful “distance” from God, one of the symptoms of which is the avoidance of his name.
Thus the bystanders said “An angel spoke to him” (John ch12 v29), where an earlier generation might have said “God spoke to him”.
This must be the explanation of the prevailing belief that the Law was delivered to Moses “by angels”. When Stephen refers to this belief (Acts ch7 v53), it is a way of saying that the Law came from God and should have been obeyed.
This argument is turned round in Galatians, where the fact that the Law was “ordained by angels, through an intermediary” (Galatians ch3 v19) is one of the reasons why the Law must be regarded as inferior to the covenant, which was received direct.

The same thought is in Hebrews; “If [even] the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation [i.e. the greater message brought by Christ]?” (Hebrews ch2 vv2-3)
Indeed, the first couple of chapters of Hebrews are focussed on putting the angels in their place, in comparison with Christ;
“For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come…” (ch2 v5).
There seems to have been a temptation, which the writer wants to correct, to elevate the status of angels almost to the point of making them semi-autonomous. That would be a natural result of the enthusiastic study of angels.

Jude thinks that this denigration of angels, “the glorious ones”, is going too far. He claims that even bad angels are above being rebuked by mere mortals, but it’s very telling that he has to go outside canonical scripture to find a text to support that view (vv7-8).
Hebrews is right to make it clear that they are nothing more than God’s agents.

The book of Revelation, as a fairly direct communication from God, is naturally filled with angels.
Angels are seen doing God’s work, like holding back the four destructive winds (ch7 v1), administering the seven last plagues (ch15 v1), and binding Satan (ch20 v1).
We hear the praising host of angels around the throne of God (ch5 and ch7), and “the armies of heaven” come down with the Word (ch19 v14).
But the most memorable angels are those transmitting the message which God wants to give.
There are the seven angels with trumpets, marking off, for John’s benefit and for his readers, the different stages of the vision.
There is the mighty angel with a scroll of ch10, soon followed by the three flying angels of ch14.

It is also in Revelation that we discover that Jesus has an angel;
“Jesus Christ made [his revelation] known by sending his angel to his servant John” (ch1 v1).
We see that angel later in the same chapter. The figure standing among the seven lampstands (vv12-20) is the symbolic representation of Jesus, speaking the words of Jesus.
In other words, his angel, just like the “angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament.

When representative speakers speak the direct words of those who send them, that can be a little confusing.
Not so much in the case of translators, because the original speaker will probably be sitting next to them.
What about a television image? If you were devoted to the film star being interviewed, might you be tempted to plant a kiss on her face? You would be certainly be surprised if the instant response was “Don’t do that, you idiot! I’m only a film of electronic energy, not the real thing.” (Though this could be managed from the studio, if they got the timing right.)
Something similar happens to John at the end of the book of Revelation, when he has seen the complete vision;
“I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed these things to me [that is, the angel of the first chapter].
But he said to me ‘You must not do that. I am your fellow-servant with you… worship God.’”
Having “broken out of character” to deliver this rebuke, the angel then returns to his function of delivering the words of Jesus;
“Behold I am coming soon… I am the Alpha and the Omega… I Jesus have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches” (ch22 vv8-16).

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are sufficiently confused by this to jump to the conclusion that the speaking angel IS Jesus, and consequently that Jesus himself is “only an angel”.
But that is just a failure to understand the “representative spokesman” convention.
The true lesson of the episode is the point we learned in the first chapter, that Jesus HAS an angel, who speaks in his name.

edit on 24-4-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 24 2020 @ 05:04 PM
The believer’s angel

My mother’s Infant class used to chant a little prayer when they were being dismissed at the end of the school day;
“Lord, keep me safe from harm this night,
Secure from all my tears;
May angels guard us while we sleep,
Till morning light appears.”
This was not quite the intended wording. The second line was supposed to be “Secure from all my FEARS.” However, they could never be trained out of this mistake, any more than the school’s morning assembly could be trained out of beginning the Lord’s Prayer with “Our Father, we charge in heaven”.

Coming back to “angels guard us.”
The concept of “guardian angels” is a fine old Zoroastrian tradition, but is it Biblical?
Only a couple of times, in the New Testament, do we find any suggestion that an angel “belongs to” a believer.

One example comes from when Peter was released from prison and arrived home unexpectedly (Acts ch12).
When the sceptical members of the household said “It is his angel!”, what did they mean by “his”? The guardian angel assigned to him? But why would anyone expect a guardian angel to be given the same face as the person they were guarding?
Surely the more plausible explanation is that they meant “Peter’s representative”, the angel or messenger sent out by Peter. In other words, some kind of “doppelganger”. Of course their suggestion was expressing their own beliefs and their misunderstanding of what was happening. The remark does not count as a Biblical support for belief in doppelgangers, but it throws light on what the term “his angel” might mean elsewhere.

Jesus was talking in the gospel about “these little ones who believe in me” (not just children, but believers in general), and he said;
“See that you do not despise of of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew ch18 v10).
The same question comes up- what does he mean by “their”? If these are guardian angels, what difference does it make to be told that they are in the presence of God? Surely that must be true of angels in general?
The better explanation is that he means the angels or representatives of the little ones themselves. If you are a believer in Christ, then there is something of yourself which is already, in some sense, “in the presence of God”.

The same idea, in different wording, is found elsewhere in the New Testament.
We are told in Ephesians that we have been “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (ch1 v13), and also that we have [already] been raised with Christ and made to sit with him “in the heavenly places” (ch2 v6).
The same teaching is expressed in visual form in Revelation ch7. Those who belong to God are sealed “with the seal of the living God”. Then a great multitude are seen in heaven, standing before the throne of God and praising him. This is not a distinct and separate crowd, but the heavenly presences of those who have just been sealed. “Their angels behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

Now that we have reached Revelation again, what about “the angels of the seven churches”?
There are two popular approaches to this question.
The traditionalist approach will regard them as the spiritual “guardian angels” attached to each church.
A more modern, rationalist, approach, will assume that John is addressing the human leaders of each church. Personally, I think it unlikely that every local church would already have condensed its original collective leadership into a single accepted leading figure.
Furthermore, the messages in the seven letters are clearly meant for each local church as a whole.
So my own suggestion is that the “angel” of each church represents that church as a body, just as the cartoon figure of “John Bull” represents England, and the figure of “Uncle Sam” represents the United States.
This would be in keeping with the overall explanation that the Biblical angel functions as a representation.

edit on 24-4-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 24 2020 @ 07:34 PM
Seems overly complicated op. We must remember the 4 types of spirits, and discernment is key. The almighty spirit of God. The spirits of Angels, which can only be good or evil. No in between. Then we have demonic spirits of many different levels. Then is mankind's spirit. When we encounter one, we must know in a split second what it is. This will be especially important for those who witness the end times. God bless you op, and all who read this.
edit on 24-4-2020 by Illumimasontruth because: .

posted on Apr, 25 2020 @ 05:26 AM
a reply to: Illumimasontruth
Sometimes misunderstandings must be unraveled.

posted on Apr, 25 2020 @ 01:37 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI
Even the churches are so heavily infiltrated. The most popular church is likely to aid the ultimate anti christ who will sit on the throne.

The duality seems very obvious to the truly woke of our time, in my humble opinion. Just as the dark spirits and Angels have always been here, So have God's Angels and his Holy Spirit. He promised to never leave us. You know he hasn't.

There are things we can't know for sure, at least now. I trust and feel that if we are prepared properly it will make more sense as it unfolds.

How many AHA moments have you had already? Stay blessed Brother.

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