The Angel of the Lord

 

Is He God?

 

Sami Zaatari

 

 

 

If anyone has ever read the Bible they would see that there is a certain figure in the Bible who is known as the Angel of the Lord. Trinitarian Christians contend that the Angel of the Lord is God himself, and that the angel of the Lord is also the pre-incarnate Jesus, basically the Angel of the Lord is Jesus before he took on the flesh and limited himself.

 

The missionary Sam Shamoun argues for this, you can find him making these claims in the following articles:

 

http://www.answeringislam.net/Shamoun/psalm110_1.htm

http://www.answeringislam.net/Responses/Menj/tam1.htm

 

The aim of this article is to prove that the Angel of the Lord that is mentioned in the Bible is not God, nor is he Jesus. Essentially this will also refute the false points made by the missionary in his weak articles.

 

So with that said let us first prove that Jesus is not the angel of the Lord. The proof that Jesus is not the angel of the Lord comes from the New Testament, specifically the first four Gospels. In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 1, verses 18-20 we clearly see that Jesus is not the angel of the lord:

 

18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

As you can see Jesus is NOT the angel of the Lord, Jesus is separate from the angel of the Lord, and the angel of the Lord comes to Joseph and tells him what to do with the baby Jesus! Do the Trinitarians want us to believe that there are two Jesus'? This incident that I just quoted from the Gospels is when Jesus was still in the womb of Mary, and as you can see the angel of the Lord then appeared to Joseph telling him what he should do, obviously Jesus is not the angel of the Lord.

Further proof that Jesus is not the angel of the Lord comes in the 2nd chapter of Matthew, verses 19-21:

19But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,  20Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.  21And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.

As you can see Jesus cannot be the angel of the Lord, they are two distinct and different persons. Jesus is a baby, and the angel of the Lord is coming with the commands of God telling Joseph what he should do with the baby Jesus.

Now let us move to the next point, is the angel of the Lord God himself?

Well first of all let us look at passages that Trinitarians quote to try and assert that the angel of the Lord is God, I will be quoting from the missionary:

"Now the angel of the LORD came and SAT under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, ?The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.' And Gideon said to him, ?Please, my Lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, "Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?" But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.' AND THE LORD TURNED TO HIM AND SAID, ?Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?' And he said to him, ?Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.' AND THE LORD SAID TO HIM, ?But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.' And he said to him, ?If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speaks with me. Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.' And he said, ?I will stay till you return.' So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. AND THE ANGEL OF GOD SAID TO HIM, ?Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.' And he did so. Then the angel of the LORD reached out the tip of the staff that was IN HIS HAND and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight. Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the LORD. And Gideon said, ?Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face. ' BUT THE LORD SAID TO HIM, ?Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.'" Judges 6:11-23

 

"Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And THE ANGEL OF THE LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, ?I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.' When THE LORD SAW that he turned aside to see, GOD CALLED TO HIM OUT OF THE BUSH, ?Moses, Moses!' And he said, ?Here I am.' Then he said, ?Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.' And he said, ?I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God." Exodus 3:1-6

 

"Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him. But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out," Exodus 23:20-23

So the Trinitarians contend from these passages that the angel of the Lord is God himself.

Now something Trinitarians are very bad off is not understanding context, by context I mean they don't understand how terms and sayings were applied and understood by the Jews and the people of the time. They always interpret passages in the Bible to their own flimsy interpretation and eyes, yet this is not how it is done. For instance when Jesus preached to the Israelites he preached according to their understanding, not to modern day Christian theology, nor to Church Fathers who came after he left. The same goes with the Old Testament, we cannot read a text from the OT and then simply interpret it with modern methods, rather we must interpret it by seeing how these verses applied to the understandings of the time. Basically the Trinitarian is very inconsistent.

So therefore with that said, we must now look at the understanding and concept of the angel of the Lord back then, how it was understood. So therefore let us see what the encyclopedia of the Jewish religion has to say concerning this matter:

Agent (Heb. Shaliah): The main point of the Jewish law of agency is expressed in the dictum, "a person's agent is regarded as the person himself" (Ned. 72b; Kidd. 41b). Therefore any act committed by a duly appointed agent is regarded as having been committed by the principal, who therefore bears full responsibility for it with consequent complete absence of liability on the part of the agent.

It is as simple as that! This is how it worked according to Jewish understanding, according to the Israelite prophets, and the concept of the time. Not a single one of them believed the angel of the Lord was God, rather when the angel of the Lord was carrying out the exact commands of God, and saying I will do it, they all understood that the angel was not God.

Now with that said let us prove that the angel of the Lord is NOT God.

What Trinitarians don't tell you is that the angel of the Lord never refers to himself as God! For instance notice the passages I quoted for you, the ones that Trinitarians bring up, no where in those verses does the angel of the Lord call himself God, he always refers to God in the third person.

For instance in Genesis chapter 16 verses 10-11 we see this:

10And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 11And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.

Notice the angel of the Lord says that Jehovah has heard Hagar's cries, yet if the angel of the Lord was Jehovah himself then why didn't the angel of the Lord say "I have heard your cries"? The angel of the Lord did not say I, rather he referred to Jehovah in the third person, Jehovah has heard your cries, not I the angel of the lord!

We also read in Genesis chapter 22 verses 10-12:

10And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.  11And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.  12And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

Notice the angel of the Lord again refers to God in the third person, he says now he knows that Abraham fears God, not that he now fears ME! The Christian will then quote the end of the verse where the angel of the Lord says that Abraham didn't hold his son from him, yet that doesn't prove their case at all, remember according to Jewish understand the agent of the person is the person himself, for instance if I send a messenger to speak for me and do things for me, according to Jewish understanding that messenger of mine is myself.

The most crucial point is that the angel of the Lord does not refer to himself as God; he always refers to God in the third person. This is not a mere coincidence that the angel of the Lord does this, even though he is the agent of God, he is still making it explicitly clear that he is not God by referring to God in the third person He does this un purpose just to make sure people don't confuse the matter, and does it un purpose to be able to refute heretics such as Trinitarians who would later come in the future and confuse the matter!

In fact one of the verses that Trinitarians quote is evidence that the angel of the Lord is not God:

"Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him. But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out," Exodus 23:20-23

This is the verse that Trinitarians quote to try and prove that the Angel of the Lord is God. Yet this verse is the complete opposite! Notice the angel is under God's direct command and orders; here we see that God SENDS the angel. The passage goes further and proves my contention, that the angel of the Lord is God's agent and representative, notice God warns the people not to rebel against the angel, this is the same with prophets, whoever rebels against a prophet is rebelling against God himself. In fact the Quran says this:

Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel-for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by Allah's will, a confirmation of what went before, and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe,-Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and messengers, to Gabriel and Michael,- Lo! Allah is an enemy to those who reject Faith. (2:297-298)

So as you can see Allah warns the disbelievers that those who are enemies to God's representatives then God is an enemy to them as well, it doesn't mean that his representatives are Allah himself.

So as you can see from Exodus 23, the angel is subservient to God, and is under God's commands and rules.

In fact the best piece of evidence that puts everything I said together comes from Zechariah chapter 1 verses 10-15:

 10And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.  11And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.  12Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?  13And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.  14So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.

These verses really end the Trinitarian case. Notice the angel of the Lord is subservient to God; the angel of the Lord asks God how long will God go without showing mercy to the people. If the angel of the Lord was God would he talk like this? If there was a Trinity and they were equal then why does the angel of the Lord show that all power and mercy rests in God's hands?

Then we see that God talks to the angel of the Lord, and then in verse 14 the angel of the Lord conveys what God says! This shows our contention was right all along, that the agent is basically the person himself because the agent is representing his master, and is saying what his master has told him to say. God talks with the angel of the Lord, and the angel of the Lord then conveys that message to the people. This is what we see in Exodus, Genesis, and Deuteronomy.

For instance a Trinitarian would quote this part as proof that the angel of the Lord is God:

14So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.

They will say see the Angel of the Lord refers to himself as the Lord of hosts, yet right before that we see this:

12Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?  13And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.

So as you can see the angel of the Lord is conveying what God told him, he is not speaking from himself! He is God's representative hence he speaks what God told him.

So to summarize:

-The angel of the Lord speaks with Joseph while Jesus is a baby

-Hence the angel of the Lord is distinct and separate from Jesus

-Hence Jesus is not the angel of the Lord

-The angel of the Lord never calls himself God

-The angel of the Lord always refers to God in the third person

-The angel of the Lord is subservient to God

-The angel of the Lord is under the command of God

-The angel of the Lord is sometimes identified as God and Lord as according to Jewish understanding the agent, messenger, and representative of the master is the person himself

-The angel of the Lord conveys what God tells him, hence when the angel of the Lord says I will save you, or I will do this or that for you, it is essentially God speaking and the angel of the Lord is simply passing that message on

So in conclusion the angel of the Lord is not Jesus, nor is the angel of the Lord God himself, Trinitarians have no case at all.

And Allah Knows Best!

www.muslim-responses.com