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GLIMPSES OF THE MESSIAH IN THE PENTATEUCII-ANGEL
AND THE LORD WHOM YE SEEK, SHALL SUDDENLY COME INTO BIS TEMPLE, EVEN THE MESSENGER (ANGEL) OF THE COVEXANT, WHOM YE DELIGHT IN. - Malachi 3:1.
NO MAN HATH SEEN GOD AT ANY TIME, THE ONLY BEGOPTEN Son, which is IN THE BOSOM OF THE FATHER, HE HATH DECLARED HIM.—John 1:18.
The Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, are exceedingly explicit in maintaining the invisibility of the DIVINE BEING. The following texts are in point : viz.“ There shall no man see me and live.” “So he goeth by me, and I see him not; he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.' “No man hath seen God at any time." " Ye have neither 'heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” “For the invisible things of him (are) his eternal power and Godhead." "Image of the invisible God." “He (Moses) endured, as seeing him who is invisible." "Whom no man hath seen nor can see.”
Now with these positive declarations of God's invisibility before us, what are we to do with that numerous class of texts found in the Old Testament, in which God seems to
place himself within the scope of human senses, causing both his voice to be heard and his shape to be seen? We might indeed suppose that such language was made use of to express a spiritual appearance of God, did not the circumstances connected with such manifestations utterly forbid the supposition, and make it apparent that there was indeed a visible form or an audible voice.
Of the epithets applied to such manifestations, we select for present examination the expression Angel of Jehovah, which, in our English version, is rendered Angel of the Lord, and is evidently used with reference to some manifestation of God, which suggests itself to the natural senses
In our discussion we lay down the following propositions :
I. The term Angel of Jehovah, is used with reference to some manifestation of God, suggesting itself to the natural senses of man. In the examination of this appellation, we shall consider its import as used in the Pentateuch, and then trace it through the other historical and prophetical books.
The first time this form of speech occurs, is where the Angel of Jehovah found Hagar by a fountain of water in the wilderness. Gen. 16: 7. This Angel is represented as conversing with her in such language as she could understand, and which elicited an answer from her; commanding her to return to her mistress ; promises to multiply her seed ; tells her that Jehovah had heard her affliction ; and foretells the character and habits of her progeny. But the name Hagar gave to the God that talked with her, is just what we might expect from one who had been taught to believe in the in
visibility of the Divine Being. 66 And she called the name of the Jehovah that spake unto her, thou God of visibili
The reason why Hagar gave the Jehovah that talked with her this name, is thus given: “For,” she said, " and have I also here looked upon the back parts of the visible ?" It is worthy of notice that we have here the same form of expression which occurs in Exodus 33 : 23, where God said to Moses, “Thou shalt see my back parts." The name Hagar gave the well, according to some eminent scholars, signifies the well of the Invisible God.t And with this idea accords the most ancient versions, which read as follows :-“For I have openly seen him that appeared unto me.” I “Lo, I begin to see, after that he appeared unto me.”|| "Lo, I have beheld a vision, after he beheld me.''S “Even here I have seen, after his seeing me.''T “Behold here is revealed the Divine Majesty after the vission."**
From a candid examination of this subject, two things are quite evident: 1st. Hagar saw a visible appearance
of God. 2d. Having previously regarded the Divine Being as invisible, she is struck with astonishment and exclaims,
thou God of visibility!"
* This rendering is, according to Broothroid, given by Le Clerk, Houbigant, and Michaelis, and it certainly accords with the usus loquendi. See 1st Samuel 16:12, Job 33: 21, and Nahum 3 : 6, where the same form of expression occurs.
† Boothroid thinks that this expression has been corrupted, and should read alhe or haal, instead of lahe, as it stan in the editions of the Hebrew Bible. Without such a reading, the paronomasia is destroyed.
[Greek. || Chaldee. Syriac. (Arabic. **Targum of Jonethan.
2. The appellation Angel of Jehovah, next occurs in Genesis 22:11—" And the Angel of Jehovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham.” That this Angel was identical with God himself, is clear from the following considerations :
1. He was the one who commanded the sacrifice, and hence he says, “Thou hast not withheld thine only Son from me;" and the first, second and third verses say, that God tempted Abraham and commanded him to sacrifice his
Of this same Angel, it is said, in verses 15, 16 and 17—" And the Angel of Jehovah called unto Abraham, out of heaven, the second time, and said, “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord ; for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing, I will bless thee, and in multiplying, I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven," &c. Now it is evident that no ordinary Angel could have sworn to bestow such blessings as are here promised ; and the fact that Abraham calls the one who swore to him, the Lord God of Heaven, in Genesis, 24: 7, fully identifies this Angel with the Supreme God. The name Abraham gave to the place, and the remark he made on the occasion, seems to be designed to commemorate the fact that he had at this time enjoyed a visible interview with God. And Abraham called the name of the place, Jehovah shall see, or differently pointed, it might have a passive signification, Jehovah shall be seen. * " As it is said to this day, in the
*This reading is favored by the Septuagint which reads, “ As it is said to this day in the mount the Lord will appear, and by this means the paronomasia is preserved.
mount, the Lord will appear.” This saying had become a proverb in the days of Moses, and hence would, of course, continue a long time after him; and some have regarded them as prophetical, pointing to the erection of the temple upon this spot; which idea is favored by the Chaldee Paraphrase. In that temple God was pleased to manifest himself to men; not unfrequently to the natural senses; and the texts which represent Him as dwelling in “his holy mountain,” in “his holy temple," are numerous.
2. The same Being is represented as appearing to Isaac, in Genesis 26: 2, and commanded him to go down into Egypt, on account of the famine. He promises Isaac to give him the country, and to perform the oath which he swore unto Abraham his father. The Jehovah who swore to Abraham we have just seen, was identical with the Angel of Jehovah which commanded the sacrifice of Isaac.
4. The same Being appeared as a man, Genesis 32: 24; but Hosea calls this man the Angel: “Yea, he had power over the Angel and prevailed, and he made supplication to him : he found him in Bethel and there he spake with him; even the Lord God of hosts, is his memorial.'' Now the prophet, in the last clause of the passage, refers to the second appearance, when Jacob had come out of Padanaram, as recorded in Genesis 35 : 9–15, to which Being, called a man, when he wrestled with Jacob at Penuel, the Angel, the Jehovah God, and the Jehovah, by Hósea, is applied the names God, and God Almighty, and He is represented as confirming the promise He made to Abraham, and Isaac. He is called Jehovah in Genesis