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Shaliah - An Introduction to the Law of Agency - Pg 4

 

Angelic Agency

Much of the divine intervention was performed by God through angelic agency. For the Passover, God wanted the tops and sides of the doorframes of the Israelites to be marked with the blood of lambs.[64] In Exodus 12 God says, “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.”[65] When Moses summons the elders of Israel, he tells them, “When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.”[66] God told Moses He Himself was going to pass through Egypt at midnight. Moses understood that God Himself would not literally pass through, but rather an angel acting on God’s behalf would. It is understood that the angel known as the destroyer was regarded as God Himself. The tradition that an angelic figure served as God’s agent in the exodus and subsequent events[67] is found throughout the scriptures.

In Joshua 5, Joshua had an encounter with a superior angelic agent.[68] When Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing before him, drawn sword in hand. Joshua asked him, “Are you one of us or of our enemies?” He replied, “No, I am captain of the LORD'S host.[69] Now I have come!” Joshua threw himself face down to the ground and, prostrating himself, said to him, “What does my lord command his servant?” The captain of the LORD'S host answered, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy.”[70] And Joshua did so.[71] Joshua treated this highly commissioned angelic agent as God Himself. Why would Joshua prostrate himself before an angel and remove his sandals at the angel’s request? In prostrating himself, Joshua acknowledges that this is a messenger from God.[72] Angels are always nameless until the postexilic period, though this unidentified person is identified as the archangel Michael according to Jewish tradition.[73] The man identifies himself as captain of the LORD'S host, a military figure that partakes of the imagery of the LORD as a divine warrior with commanding officers of the heavenly hosts.[74] Joshua was not committing idolatry because he understood that this angel was appearing to him on God’s behalf. In Hebrew thought, homage given to God's agent or representative is homage ultimately given to God Himself.[75]

In Acts 12 we read of Peter when he was in prison: suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in his cell. He struck Peter on his side and woke him up and the chains fell off his wrists. Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.” He went to the house of Mary and they let him in. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison.[76] Who rescued Peter from his jail cell, an angel or God? The passage says both did; but we know that the LORD sent an angel to do the actual work.[77] To the Hebrew mind, it was ultimately the LORD who rescued Peter.[78]

In Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar is furious at Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego for not serving his gods. Nebuchadnezzar threatens the three Jewish men with a fiery furnace if they refuse to worship his gods. He asked the three, “What god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” They replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.[79] Nebuchadnezzar orders that the furnace be hotter than usual and had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego thrown into the furnace. Nebuchadnezzar is amazed to see a fourth person in the furnace who looks like a son of the gods (or Divine being[80]). He orders them out and they are unharmed. Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants!”[81] Notice, in verse 17 the three tell Nebuchadnezzar that the God they serve will save them, but in verses 25 and 28 we read that an angel was sent to the rescue. God rescued his faithful servants through the means of an angel, so that glory may be given to God.

According to Genesis 32, Jacob wrestled with a man later identified as God. During the struggle, Jacob refuses to release the man from his grasp unless he is blessed. The man then says to Jacob, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel[82], because you have struggled with God[83] and with men and have overcome.”[84] Jacob’s mysterious adversary is surely supernatural, and most traditional Jewish commentators have taken him to be angelic.[85] This traditional understanding that Jacob wrestled with an angelic or divine being is affirmed in Hosea 12. The LORD has a charge to bring against Judah; he will punish Jacob according to his ways and repay him according to his deeds. In the womb he grasped his brother‟s heel; as a man he struggled with God. He struggled with the angel and overcame him;[86] and wept and begged for his favor.[87] Some may suggest that this event when God appeared to Jacob as a man would qualify as a theophany;[88] this is not the case according to Hosea 12:3-4.[89] So the one who is called both “a man” and “God” in Genesis is identified as an angel in Hosea.[90] The man refuses to give Jacob his name but blesses him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face,[91] and yet my life was spared.”[92]

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64Exodus 12:7
65Exodus 12:12-13 (Emphasis mine)
66Exodus 12:23 (Emphasis mine)
67Oxford, The Jewish Study Bible, Tanakh Translation: Torah, Nevi’im, Kethuvim (2004, pg. 128)
68Joshua 5:13-15
69I Kings 22:19 “I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left.” Zondervan, Bible: New International Version (Emphasis mine)
70Exodus 3:5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Zondervan, Bible: New International Version (Emphasis mine)
71Oxford, The Jewish Study Bible, Tanakh Translation: Torah, Nevi’im, Kethuvim (2004, pgs. 472-473)
72Oxford, The Jewish Study Bible, Tanakh Translation: Torah, Nevi’im, Kethuvim (2004, pg. 473) footnote
73Oxford, The Jewish Study Bible, Tanakh Translation: Torah, Nevi’im, Kethuvim (2004, pg. 472) footnote
74Oxford, The Jewish Study Bible, Tanakh Translation: Torah, Nevi’im, Kethuvim (2004, pg. 472) footnote
75Greg S. Deuble, They never told me THIS in church (2006, pg. 66) (Emphasis mine)
76Acts 12:6-19 (Emphasis mine)
77Greg S. Deuble, They never told me THIS in church (2006, pg. 71)
78Greg S. Deuble, They never told me THIS in church (2006, pg. 71) (Emphasis mine)
79Daniel 3:15-17 (Emphasis mine)
80Oxford, The Jewish Study Bible, Tanakh Translation: Torah, Nevi’im, Kethuvim (2004, pg. 1648) footnote
81Daniel 3:19-29 (Emphasis mine)
82In Hebrew means, “he struggles with God” Zondervan, Bible: New International Version (Emphasis mine) footnote
83“Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with beings divine and human, and have prevailed.” Oxford, The Jewish Study Bible, Tanakh Translation: Torah, Nevi’im, Kethuvim (2004, pg. 68) (Emphasis mine)
84Genesis 32:23-33 (Emphasis mine)
85Oxford, The Jewish Study Bible, Tanakh Translation: Torah, Nevi’im, Kethuvim (2004, pg. 67) footnote
86“Grown to manhood, he strove with a divine being, he strove with an angel prevailed.” Oxford, The Jewish Study Bible, Tanakh Translation: Torah, Nevi’im, Kethuvim (2004, pg. 1162) (Emphasis mine)
87Hosea 12:2-4 (Emphasis mine)
88Gr. theophaneia, a visible appearance of God or a god to man. David B. Guralnik, Webster’ New World Dictionary of the American Language (1980, pg. 1475)75Greg S. Deuble, They never told me THIS in church (2006, pg. 66) (Emphasis mine)
89Greg S. Deuble, They never told me THIS in church (2006, pg. 67) (Emphasis mine)
90Greg S. Deuble, They never told me THIS in church (2006, pg. 67) (Emphasis mine)
91“I have seen a divine being face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” Oxford, The Jewish Study Bible, Tanakh Translation: Torah, Nevi’im, Kethuvim (2004, pg. 68) (Emphasis mine)
92Genesis 32:31 (Emphasis mine)







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