|Who is the "angel," referred to in Exodus 23:20-23?
|Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
As we grow up, we like to think of ourselves as becoming smarter and brighter with each passing year. As a race or a country we like to think the same thing, that we are better than those that preceded us 200 years ago. Surely this must be the case; we have all the latest high tech to prove it!
But is this the true measure of whether we are actually wiser? When we realize where people actually surf on the Internet and what they listen to on their iPods and what is watched on the high definition plasma TV, we might have to come to a completely different conclusion in many cases.
As we look at the world around us today, we see that we have legalized abortion, accepted homosexuality, glorified promiscuity, condoned murder and worshipped materials. The list goes on, just fill in the blanks….
The reality is that most are currently taking part in a degenerative movement. The reason for this is simple — we no longer retain God in our knowledge! God is being removed from the institutions of learning and therefore, children and young adults are without the right foundation. God has been all but squeezed out of the lawmaking and judicial process, so much so that a right way of life and true justice is becoming hard to find. Because of this, God has allowed the carnal, reprobate mind within mankind to prevail (Romans 1:28). It is a corrupt mind that resists God and any part of the Truth (2 Timothy 3:8).
As we move further and further from God, the condition of our collective minds will become worse and worse. This is an immutable law. It is imperative that we seek out and find God while He may be found and call upon Him while He is near (compare Isaiah 55:6). Psalms 14:2 states, “The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.” This understanding and knowledge comes from following God’s way (compare Psalms 111:10).
Are we living by every Word of God; are we growing in the knowledge of God, OR are we opting to be a part of the devolutionary process? The choice is up to us!
This Week in the News
Earthquakes in Japan — and Their Dire Consequences
As the reports came in regarding the terrible earthquakes in Japan and the radio-active damage they caused, it became more and more obvious how it was originally attempted to suppress and hide the full truth. This abominable conduct shows the length to which man in his greed is willing to go. It also showed the incredible dangers we are all facing–in spite of “assurances” from some “scientists”–that such a disaster could not happen in Europe or the USA.
Let us review HOW the devastating disaster in Japan was reported by the international media, based on the information that it had received from Japan:
Reuters stated on July 16:
“Nearly 8,000 people spent an anxious night in evacuation centers in northwestern Japan after a strong earthquake flattened hundreds of houses and killed at least seven people… water, gas and electricity supplies were cut by the 6.8 magnitude quake… which also caused a SMALL radiation leak and fire at the world’s biggest nuclear plant…
“Aftershocks from the mid-morning quake continued into the night. The country was rattled late in the evening by a deep tremor under the Sea of Japan estimated at magnitude 6.6 to 6.8 that swayed buildings in Tokyo, but there were NO immediate reports of FURTHER DAMAGE. Japan is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries…
“Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said 1.5 LITERS of water containing radioactive materials had leaked from a unit at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant — the world’s largest. The contaminated water had been released into the ocean and had had NO EFFECT on the environment, the company said in a statement, adding that the quake was stronger than its reactors had been designed to cope with.”
Late Partial Admissions
The Associated Press added on July 16:
“The leak was NOT ANNOUNCED UNTIL THE EVENING, MANY HOURS after the quake. That fed fresh concerns about the safety of Japan’s 55 nuclear reactors, which supply 30 percent of the quake-prone country’s electricity and have suffered a long string of accidents and cover- ups.
“About 315 GALLONS of water apparently spilled from a tank at one of the plant’s seven reactors and entered a pipe that flushed it into the sea.”
AFP reported on July 16 about a “SECOND nuclear scare following a deadly earthquake”:
The article continued that “About 100 SEALED BARRELS filled with contaminated clothes and gloves tipped over at the massive Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Monday’s 6.8-magnitude quake… The lids of several barrels opened up inside the plant.”
The article concluded:
“Japan, which has few natural energy resources of its own, relies on nuclear power for nearly 35 percent of its needs, the second highest figure among Group of Eight industrial nations after France. Government plans to build more nuclear plants have often met public opposition in Japan, which is particularly sensitive about nuclear leaks as it is the only country to have been attacked with atomic weapons.”
Much More Dangerous Than Initially Reported
The International Herald Tribune reported on July 17:
“The Japanese authorities on Tuesday SHUT DOWN a nuclear power plant after a radiation leak and OTHER DAMAGE from an earthquake in the nation’s northwest raised new concerns about the safety of Japan’s nuclear industry.
“Tokyo Electric Power, which operates the nuclear plant near the city of Kashiwazaki, said it had found MORE THAN 50 PROBLEMS that had been caused by the earthquake Monday. MOST were minor…”
The Associated Press added on July 18:
“The company that operates an earthquake-ravaged nuclear plant said Wednesday that a radioactive leak was BIGGER than first reported but still below danger levels, escalating the showdown over a long list of problems at the facility. The company also said about 400 BARRELS containing low-level radioactive waste were knocked over as a result of Monday’s quake, REVISING an earlier figure of 100…
“Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced that a leak of radioactive water into the Sea of Japan was actually 50 PERCENT BIGGER THAN INITIALLY ANNOUNCED Monday night after the deadly 6.8-magnitude quake.”
What Does It All Mean — For Man?
Such irresponsible conduct–first the insufficient design of the reactor; then the attempt to hide the nuclear spill; followed by the initial most questionable and dubious assurance that the leak “had no effect on the environment”; and the belated grudging admissions that the radioactive damage was much bigger than originally announced, causing the shut-down of the power plant– shows how man’s greed and foolishness WOULD ultimately LEAD to the destruction of our planet, if it was not for Christ’s intervention to prevent such man-made insanity (compare Matthew 24:21-22; Revelation 11:18).
The dangers stemming from nuclear power plants are by no means limited to areas like Japan. Even though some optimistic and perhaps business-oriented or financially supported U.S. “experts” were quick to point out in the press or on Television that such damage could not occur in the USA, let us not forget that the Japanese power plant in question was reportedly built WITH THE HELP OF OR BY THE USA. To say that comparable damage could not happen in the USA is extremely naive–to say the least. Critics point out that a strong earthquake close to San Francisco ( which is an extreme likelihood) WOULD cause leaks in a power plant situated in the area.
Please read our next article on nuclear power plant problems in Germany, and about the approach which is similar to what we experienced in Japan; which is, to HIDE from the public the DANGERS involved and the DAMAGE caused by defective nuclear power plants:
Nuclear Power Plant Problems in Germany
Der Spiegel Online reported on July 16 about recent problems with Germany’s nuclear power plants:
“The company at first said it was just a small fire. But the blaze at Vattenfall’s Krümmel reactor has since become a political wildfire. Now, Germany’s pro-nuclear energy politicians have gone into hiding…
“Whereas most of the some 130 reactor incidents reported annually in Germany are minor and go unnoticed, smoke pouring out of a transformer as happened in Krümmel tends to attract attention. It took the fire department hours to extinguish the blaze. Even worse, the plant operator’s claim that a fire in the transformer had no effect on the reactor itself proved to be A LIE… the frequency of problems occurring at Germany’s aging reactors is on the rise…”
Russia’s Lust For Power
Russia Provokes–and America Is Being Blamed
On July 15, the New York Times reported the following:
“President Vladimir V. Putin, angered by American plans to deploy a missile shield in Eastern Europe, formally notified NATO governments on Saturday that Russia will suspend its obligations under the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, a key cold war-era arms limitation agreement.
“The decision ratcheted up tensions over the missile shield plan, but also reflected a trend of RISING ANTI-AMERICANISM and deep suspicion toward the West here as Russia’s March presidential elections approach… the decision is a strong indicator that the smiles and warm embraces between Presidents Bush and Putin just a few weekends ago at the so-called lobster summit in Maine did little to soften the Kremlin’s pique over proposals to build two American missile defense bases in former Soviet satellite states, Poland and the Czech Republic…
“The European Union called the treaty suspension ‘regrettable.’ Cristina Gallach, spokeswoman for the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said in a telephone interview: ‘We appeal to everyone to start talking. This treaty is fundamental for the stability and security of Europe.’
“In Germany, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Russia’s decision ‘was a real cause of concern.’ Some members of Germany’s governing coalition have repeatedly CRITICIZED THE AMERICAN MISSILE SHIELD PLAN, saying it could lead to just such a move by Russia.”
Further Confrontations Between Europe and Russia
AFP reported on July 16:
“Britain said Monday it will expel four Russian diplomats over Moscow’s refusal to extradite a key suspect in the murder of ex agent Alexander Litvinenko… British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he made ‘no apologies’ for the decision, and that the government was ‘not prepared to allow a situation of lawlessness to develop in London as a result of a failure to act.’
“The expulsions… are the first in over a decade and come amid rising tensions between Moscow and the West fuelled by Litvinenko’s radioactive poisoning in London last year. In response, [a] Russian foreign ministry spokesman… warned the sanctions ‘cannot but lead to the MOST SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES in British-Russian relations as a whole’…”
And so, The Associated Press reported on July 19:
“Russia said Thursday it will expel four British diplomats and suspend counterterrorism cooperation with London, the latest move in a mounting confrontation over the radiation poisoning death of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko.”
Russia’s New Cold War
Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 18:
“Russia seems to be doing all it can these days to flex its foreign policy muscles. The ethnic Albanians of Kosovo have become the most recent victims of Moscow’s posturing against the West… Russia on Monday night rejected a new draft resolution on the Serbian province, despite its European-American authors having included a Moscow demand that negotiations continue for another four months…
“Center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday writes:
“‘… Putin is following a broader STRATEGY OF CONFRONTATION because he wants… Russia to regain its place in the world as a foreign policy heavyweight.’
“Financial daily Handelsblatt likewise takes a closer look at Russia’s motives:
“‘Whether Russia’s (obstruction) tactics come out of pure friendship with the Serbs is extremely doubtful, because the new draft resolution… calls for the current UN peacekeeping mission in Kosovo to come to an end. Security duties would then be taken over by the European Union and NATO. For Moscow, that would mean a further expansion of the West — an expansion that is to be hindered at all costs.’
“Center-right daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Wednesday takes a broader look…
“‘Moscow’s strict refusal to extradite former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi — who is the British authorities’ main suspect in the murder case — fits perfectly into Putin’s strategy of showing off to the West RUSSIA’S RETURN TO POWER. There is a straight line from the threat of using the ‘energy weapon’ against Ukraine and Georgia, to the Russian position in Iran and Kosovo, to the new tiff over the missile shield and Moscow’s freezing of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, to the obstruction strategy when it comes to the Litvinenko investigation.
“‘The entire picture reminds one of the events from a previous era that the West, under the chapter called “Cold War,” would love to leave to the historians. But there are more and more indications that Putin isn’t afraid of a relapse.'”
Explosion in New York–A Grim Reminder of September 11, 2001
The Associated Press reported on July 19:
“A massive geyser of steam and debris that erupted through a midtown Manhattan street left asbestos in the dust that settled, but city officials said Thursday that tests indicated the air was safe of the carcinogen. Tests were continuing, but the city’s Office of Emergency Management said in a statement that long-term health problems were ‘unlikely.’ “Streets around the crater left after the 83-year-old steam pipe ruptured near Grand Central Terminal were still closed Thursday morning, creating near-gridlock. Streams of New Yorkers walked down Park Avenue, some wearing masks to filter the air… The loud, rumbling eruption broke windows and rattled buildings as the broken pipe spewed steam, dirt and debris into the air…
“On Thursday, asbestos contamination was the main lingering health concern, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. Some of the pipes that pump steam beneath the city to heat and cool thousands of buildings are wrapped in asbestos, which can cause fatal lung disease with prolonged exposure. Officials quickly ruled out terrorism after the blast, but for some witnesses, the explosion, dust and chaos were frighteningly reminiscent of the scene on Sept. 11, 2001…
“City engineers also warned that up to six feet surrounding the giant hole might be in danger of further collapse… Officials said the pipe might have exploded under pressure caused by an infiltration of cold rainwater, or might have been damaged by a water main break.”
Man-Made Disaster in Brazil
Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 18:
“At least 195 people have been killed in what is believed to be Brazil’s worst-ever plane crash. The crash, however, appears to be a product of a country with an air travel infrastructure that has been plagued by chaos in recent years and which has failed to keep pace with Brazil’s rapid growth…
“The Airbus A-320, which was operated by the Brazilian airline TAM, skidded off the runway after touching down. It collided with a number of cars and plowed through a gas station before crashing into a TAM maintenance building and going up in flames… The Sao Paulo crash will likely turn out to be the biggest in Brazilian history. It will also mark the tragic pinnacle of a series of accidents, mishaps and scandals that have made flying in South America’s biggest country a potentially DEADLY ADVENTURE…
“Last September, a Gol airlines Boeing 737 collided with a private jet over the Amazon, claiming 154 lives. The investigation into the crash is still ongoing, but a number of hair-raising details have already been leaked. But that doesn’t even begin to provide insight into the CHAOS of the Brazilian skies. Flight controllers are poorly trained, overworked and under-paid. Many barely speak English. The radar technology in the Amazon is also aging and often defective.
“The country’s air travel infrastructure has been unable to keep up with Brazil’s fast economic growth… The government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has also shown itself to be INCOMPETENT in the face of the air traffic chaos… For years, experts have considered the Sao Paulo airport to be a safety problem.”
Germany’s Schizophrenic Approach
Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 18:
“Over the past few days Berlin and the surrounding region have been gearing up for the shooting of ‘Valkyrie,’ which stars [Tom] Cruise as the doomed hero. Old World War II-era planes with swastikas painted on the sides have already been practicing scenes in the skies above Brandenburg, the state surrounding Berlin, and workers have been hammering away, building a replica of the ‘Wolf’s Lair,’ Hitler’s Eastern Front military headquarters near the small village of Klein-Köris, 60 kilometers south of Berlin. Stauffenberg’s failed attempt to kill Hitler with a briefcase bomb on July 20, 1944 took place at the original Wolf’s Lair, now in present-day Poland.
“Although Cruise has been turned away from a number of key locations in the German capital, he has been given permission to shoot in a building adjoining Berlin’s iconic Tempelhof Airport. The Nazis used the ‘Columbia Haus’ from 1934 as a prison and torture center for political prisoners, including future East German Eric Honecker.
“There has been no end to the controversy over the film about one of Germany’s relatively few wartime heros because of Cruise’s membership of Scientology, which is viewed with deep skepticism in Germany. It is OFFICIALLY MONITORED BY GOVERNMENT INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES and has been under increased scrutiny since it opened a major new center in Berlin in January.
“The government has a somewhat SCHIZOPHRENIC APPROACH to the Cruise film. The actor has been refused permission to shoot at a Berlin police premises and at the Bendlerblock, a government building in central Berlin, where Stauffenberg hatched his plot and where he and several others were executed after it failed. But at the same time the government is also funding the shooting of Cruise’s film, with the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) giving it €4.8 million ($6.5 million) in subsidies…
“… veteran German actor Armin Müller-Stahl, who has made a career as a character actor in Hollywood, has also thrown his support behind Cruise. The 76-year-old asked those in Germany who are judging the superstar to calm down, calling them ‘inhibited, small minded and uptight.’… Müller-Stahl said an actor should only be judged on whether he… plays a role credibly, ‘And that can only be done after the film is finished — and not before.'”
France vs. Germany?
Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 15:
“French President Nicolas Sarkozy is challenging German Chancellor Angela Merkel for LEADERSHIP IN EUROPE. But she’s hoping to slow down France’s new hyperactive leader to ensure German influence on the Continent — while avoiding an open confrontation between Paris and Berlin… Only eight weeks in office, he’s angling to strip Merkel of her title as EUROPE’S TOP LEADER… Both are aware that the European Union can’t function if Paris and Berlin are at odds with each other.
“But at the moment the relationship is deeply strained. The new administration in Paris is doing its utmost to PROVOKE BERLIN… Sarkozy is looking for a fight wherever he can… A showdown appears unavoidable… But Merkel has no interest in butting heads. She doesn’t want to duel with Sarkozy, who certainly has a better mastery of such political hand-to-hand combat… The new man in Paris cannot expect the German compliancy of the past. At the same time, Merkel will humor NO CHALLENGE TO HER LEADING ROLE IN EUROPE — especially not from Sarkozy…
“The government in Berlin has flagged several economic and foreign policy issues where huge conflicts with the French could develop… Nerves in Berlin are so frayed at the moment that even the surprise trip Sarkozy’s wife Cecilia made to Libya last week caused a commotion.
“But one leading German foreign policy expert has advised officials in Berlin to remain calm despite Sarkozy’s COUNTLESS PROVOCATIONS. Former foreign minister Joschka Fischer has pointed out that Sarkozy’s predecessor Jacques Chirac took office in 1995 in [a] far more explosive fashion — with a nuclear bomb test in the South Pacific.”
Ethiopia’s Further Push Against Western Values
AFP reported on July 16:
“Ethiopia’s high court on Monday sentenced 35 opposition leaders to life imprisonment for inciting rebellion, after the prosecution had asked for the death penalty… The London-based rights watchdog Amnesty International protested the sentences and called for the defendants’ release.
“‘On the basis of the information we have, most — if not all — of those sentenced today are prisoners of conscience imprisoned on account of their opinions, who have not used or advocated violence and should therefore be immediately and unconditionally released,’ Erwin van der Borght, Director of Amnesty’s Africa Programme, said in a statement.
“Prosecutors last week had requested the death penalty for 38 of the defendants… News that prosecutors had requested the death penalty earned the US-backed regime of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi a WARNING FROM WASHINGTON… The Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) had also expressed great concern last week and described the prosecutors’ requested sentence as ‘outrageous.’
“‘By demanding the death penalty for members of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, the prosecutor has confirmed to the international community that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government is TRYING TO STIFLE ALL POLITICAL OPPOSITION,’ RSF said in a statement last week.”
No Evidence That Transcendental Meditation or Yoga Boost Health
Health Daily News reported on July 12:
“There’s no evidence that [Far Eastern] meditation eases health problems, according to an exhaustive review of the accumulated data by Canadian researchers.
“‘There is an enormous amount of interest in using [Far Eastern] meditation as a form of therapy to cope with a variety of modern-day health problems, especially hypertension, stress and chronic pain, but the majority of evidence that seems to support this notion is anecdotal, or it comes from poor quality studies,’ concluded researchers Maria Ospina and Kenneth Bond of the University of Alberta/Capital Health Evidence-based Practice Centre, in Edmonton.
“They analyzed 813 studies focused on the impact of meditation on various conditions, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and substance abuse. Released Monday, the report looked at studies on five types of meditation practices: mantra meditation [better known as Transcendental Meditation, or TM, and its related Indian practices]; mindfulness meditation; yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
“Some of the studies suggested that certain types of meditation could help reduce blood pressure and stress and that yoga and other practices increased verbal creativity and reduced heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol in healthy people. However, the report authors said it isn’t possible to draw any firm conclusions about the effects of meditation on health, because the existing studies are characterized by poor methodologies and other problems.”
Whether or not these practices boost health is not really the issue. Especially “mantra meditations”–such as TM–are based on thinking silently of a mantra which is repeated continuously for many minutes or–in some cases–many hours. These mantras are derived from Indian “holy writs” and designate the names of Indian “gods”–many of which are admittedly believed to be a mixture of good and evil and therefore in some way demonic in nature. Let the reader beware!
Who is the "angel," referred to in Exodus 23:20-23?
Exodus 23:20-23 reads, in the Authorized Version:
“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.”
Much has been speculated as to the identity of the “Angel.” We should note, first, that these words are spoken by “the LORD” (compare Exodus 20:22). The Hebrew word for “angel” is “mal-ak” and means “messenger.” It can have reference to a human messenger, an angelic being, or God Himself, depending on the context. In Malachi 3:1, “the LORD” is referred to as the “Messenger of the covenant.” The specific reference in that passage is to Jesus Christ–not God the Father. The designation “LORD” can refer to both God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son–again, it is a matter of context. In most cases, the Hebrew word for “LORD” refers to Jesus Christ–but not always.
In Hebrews 1:10, Paul cites an Old Testament Scripture, speaking of Jesus Christ, the Son, and calling Him “LORD.” On the other hand, Peter cites an Old Testament Scripture in Acts 2:34, speaking of God the Father and calling Him “LORD.”
Turning to the passage in Exodus 23, some claim that the “Angel” spoken of in that Scripture is the archangel Michael, the “great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people” (Daniel 12:1). Others claim that the “Angel” is identical with the “Angel of the LORD,” spoken of in many Biblical passages, for instance in Exodus 3:2, where the “Angel of the LORD” appeared to Moses in the midst of the burning bush. The “Angel of the LORD” is also referred to as the “Angel of God” in Exodus 14:19. In both cases, the reference is to Jesus Christ, the “Messenger” of the LORD, God the Father.
Let us consider who it was who accompanied the Israelites on their journey through the wilderness. We read in 1 Corinthians 10:4: “For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” We see, then, that it was Christ, the “Messenger” of God the Father, who led the Israelites. The “Angel,” as mentioned in Exodus 23, who was sent before them, appears to be none other than Christ, “the Messenger.”
It is noteworthy that Jesus said that no one has ever seen the form of God the Father, nor heard His voice (John 1:18; 5:37). However, the ancients saw the form and heard the voice of the second member of the God Family–that of the Son, Jesus Christ (Exodus 24:9-11; Numbers 12:5-8). Still, if the passage in Exodus 23:20 refers to Christ as the “Angel” or better “Messenger,” then the words which were spoken by the LORD to Moses were obviously the words of the Father, who said that He would send His Messenger, Jesus Christ, before the Israelites. But since no human being has ever heard the voice of the Father, the Father did not directly speak to Moses; rather, Jesus Christ communicated those words. He only spoke what the Father told Him to speak (compare John 14:24). Therefore, Christ communicated the words of the Father to Moses, when He told him that the Father would send His Angel or Messenger before the Israelites.
We find a similar account in the book of Revelation. We read that the Revelation came from God the Father, but He gave it to Christ “to show His servants… things which must shortly take place” (Revelation 1:1). In that case, Christ did not speak directly to John, but sent an angel to communicate the message of God the Father, which had been delivered to Christ.
Let us also remember what happened when John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ. We read in Matthew 3:17: “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'”
As we know from other Scriptures, this was not God the Father who spoke, but, in that case, an angel. However, it was what God wanted conveyed through His representative or messenger. This example shows that when God the Father is quoted, His words are spoken exactly as if He is personally being heard!
Consider as well the vision that Peter, James and John experienced with Jesus. In this account, a voice speaking in the first person is heard by these disciples: “…a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!'” (Matthew 17:5). Peter later on made reference to this experience speaking of “such a voice” and “this voice” (compare 2 Peter 1:17-18). Again, it was an angel who spoke in that instance–not the Father–but the angel communicated the exact words of God the Father.
This Biblical pattern helps us to understand the passage in Exodus 23, as in this case, God the Father’s words were conveyed by God the Son–that is “the LORD.”
Let us note how many commentaries feel that the reference to the “Angel,” in Exodus 23:20-23, is a reference to the LORD Himself.
The Scoffield Bible states in a footnote to Judges 2:1, where the phrase, “angel of the LORD,” is used:
“He is named the ‘angel of the LORD…’ (Gen. 16:7), ‘the angel of God’ (Gen. 21:17), ‘the angel of his [God’s] presence’ (Isa. 63:9), and… ‘the messenger [angel] of the covenant’ (Mal. 3:1)… He is clearly identified with the LORD Himself… In Gen. 31:11-13 the angel said to Jacob, ‘I am the God of Bethel.’ In Ex. 3:2-6 the same angel said to Moses,’ I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham.'”
However, even though many commentaries understand that the terminology “angel of the LORD,” can refer to God Himself, some don’t seem to understand that God did NOT manifest Himself in or through an angel. Jesus Christ, the second member of the God Family, dealt directly with Moses and the Israelites. Christ is not an “angel,” but the divine Messenger of, or Spokesman for God the Father.
The Ryrie Study Bible states:
“Most likely the Angel of the Lord [was] the Lord Himself, though He was represented by His leaders, Moses and, later, Joshua.”
These comments allow for an additional possible explanation; namely, that the “Angel” or better “angel” is a reference to a human leader. Taken it in this way, God would have been telling the Israelites (Note that He used the plural word, “thee,” not the singular word, “thou”): “Provoke him not and obey his voice, because I will tell him what to say, and I will lead you into the Promised Land.”
The tragic story is that the Israelites did not obey Moses, and as a consequence, they did not enter the Promised Land. A similar incident, when the word “angel” could refer to angelic beings or human leaders, can be found in passages such as Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14. Please also note that the meaning of the name of the prophet Malachi is, “My Messenger.”
However, Clarke, in his commentary, explains the meaning of Exodus 23:20 as follows:
“Some have thought that this [reference to the Angel was a reference to] Moses, others Joshua, because the word ‘malach’ signifies an angel or messenger; but… it is more likely that the great Angel of the Covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ, is meant, in whom dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. We have had already much reason to believe that this glorious personage often appeared in a human form to the patriarchs… Nor does it appear that the description given of the Angel in the text can belong to any other person.”
Gill’s Commentary agrees with the foregoing, stating:
“Not a created angel, but the uncreated one, the Angel of God’s presence, that was with the Israelites at Sinai, and in the wilderness; who saved, redeemed, bore, and carried them all the days of old, whom they rebelled against and tempted in the wilderness; as appears by all the characters after given of him, which by no means agree with a created angel… Philo the Jew… applies the word unto the divine Logos [the “Word,” Jesus Christ, compare John 1:1, 14], and says,”he (God) uses the divine Word as the guide of the way; for the oracle is, ‘behold, I send my Angel.'”
From all the evidence, it is very likely that the reference to the “Angel” in Exodus 23:20 refers to the uncreated God being Jesus Christ–the Logos; the Son of God; the Messenger of God the Father. (However, the explanation that the “angel” could refer to a literal angel like the archangel Michael or even to human leaders, such as Moses or Joshua, has some merit, because they also functioned in “messenger” roles.)
If the terminology of “angel” or messenger” in Exodus 23:20 applies to Christ, then Christ, when talking to Moses, communicated the words of the Father, telling Moses and the Israelites that the Father would send His Son, Jesus Christ, to lead them through the wilderness to the Promised Land. The ancient Israelites failed, but the Church of God–spiritual Israel–must do better and follow their leader–Jesus Christ–to the Promised Land of the Kingdom of God, without provoking Him to anger, but rather, by obeying Him fully and completely.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
In the program, Norbert Link discusses the fact that protestants are up in arms over the Vatican’s statement that only the Roman Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ. The Church of England stated that the Pope’s claim that he is the successor of Peter, and that he speaks on behalf of God, is ludicrous and not supported by the Bible or history. Still, according to Scripture, Church unification is coming, but this will be bad news for the world. View this program on Google Video.
Our new booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Fall Holy Days,” has been printed and will be sent to our American and Canadian subscribers with the new member letter in early August– so as to give everyone an opportunity to use the booklet for meaningful preparations for the Fall Holy Day season. It will be posted on our Websites shortly.
By Shana Rank
A couple of weeks ago I was sitting outside with my son, Gideon. Often times while he and I sit outside I watch him explore and play—giving him space to learn on his own. At 14 months old, Gideon is fascinated with balls; one of his favorites is a bright yellow bouncy ball—about the size of a basketball.
One afternoon he was trying to push his yellow ball up a slight incline of grass to the patio. Since he is not yet a pro at walking, he was on his hands and knees pushing with the one hand and using the other to move forward. Three times he tried to get that bouncy ball to stay on the patio, and three times it bounced off of something and rolled back down the hill. After letting out a grunt of discouragement he looked up at me, hoping for some help. I told him he could do it, and to try again.
That day he gave up on the bouncy ball. A week or so later, he succeeded with no problem—pushing the ball with ease and control up onto the patio. Even little toddlers try hard and get discouraged, but he didn’t give up.
At first glance, Gideon’s progress might be missed or forgotten, but his small steps are a beautiful process of growing! Each of us can recall an experience that taught us courage and left us with the gift of wisdom. Gideon’s efforts reminded me that I must never underestimate the achievements of daily life—even when trying to control a bright yellow bouncy ball!
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
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