Tuesday, July 25, 2006

God's Strange Angel III: Looking for Evidence of the Trinity in the Tanakh

The Angel in Genesis

Genesis 16:7-14

In the book of Genesis, we continue to see the angel of the LORD.

7The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the
spring on the way to Shur. 8And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai,
where have you come from and where are you going?" She said, "I am
fleeing from my mistress Sarai." 9The angel of the LORD said to her,
"Return to your mistress and submit to her." 10The angel of the LORD
also said to her, "I will surely multiply your offspring so that they
cannot be numbered for multitude." 11And the angel of the LORD said to

"Behold, you are pregnant
and shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
because the LORD has listened to your affliction.
12He shall be a wild donkey of a man,
his hand against everyone
and everyone's hand against him,
and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen."

13So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, "You are a
God of seeing," for she said, "Truly here I have seen him who looks
after me." 14Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies
between Kadesh and Bered.

The angel of the LORD who spoke to Hagar in verse 9 is simply "the LORD who spoke to her" in verse 13.

Later, Hagar has another encounter with an angel, described as "the angel of God."

Genesis 20:15-20

15When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about
the distance of a bowshot, for she said, "Let me not look on the death of the child." And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and
wept. 17And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear
not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a
great nation.
" 19Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
20And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow.

This angel promises to make Ishamael into a great nation, which is the promise given to Abraham in chapter 12.

Compare with Genesis 12:1-2
1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
 2 "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

When Abraham sacrifices Isaac, we see the angel of the LORD speaking on behalf of God with promises to bless Abraham's offspring.

Genesis 22:11-18

11But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." 12He said, "Do not lay
your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from
me." 13And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and
took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called the name of that place, "The LORD will provide";
as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided."

15And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16and said, "By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will surely bless you, and I will
surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of
his enemies, 18and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice."


Blogger Sultan Knish said...

angels speak purely the words of G-d, unlike human beings, with no distortion of message and are often refered to as G-d

7/26/2006 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Angels and the "Angel of the Lord" are not the same thing.

7/26/2006 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

To follow up with what Rich said, this angel is called HaShem. God's personal name. Not "God", but HaShem.

7/26/2006 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Sultan Knish said...

when an angel speaks as a literal vessel for G-d's word he is an angel of the Lord

7/27/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

Actually I fail to see the differecne between a Angel and the Angel of the Lord. Often throughout Torah Satan is referred to as an Angel of the Lord who does HaShem's work. Many other Angels are mentioned in this context as well. The three angels that were sent to Avraham were speaking for HaShem and are not considered a part of HaShem.

7/27/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

the Angel of the LORD is also referred to as HaShem in many cases. That would be the difference.

The angel who came to Daniel was not for instance.

Secular scholars have seen this as evidence that Judaism was originally polytheistic, and they tried to scrub the Torah (or what the Torah was derived from) for underlying polytheism.

We would disagree. The Torah we have has not been altered to scrub for polytheism. It is strictly monotheistic. And Trinitarian doctrine can explain those texts.

Secular scholars don't assume revelation, so they assume the above explanation.

Here is a book that goes over the secular book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0664253954/ref=wl_it_dp/102-0508317-8048113?%5Fencoding=UTF8&colid=2FMZANVH42WW3&coliid=I1918MPN1LBBPP&v=glance&n=283155

7/28/2006 08:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

Secular Scholars have also claimed that Torah justifies murder and destruction. Do Jews listen to them? I think not. What does a secular scholar know of spiritual matters any way?

7/28/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

A secular scholar does not prove anything in and of themselves. But what this does show is that noticing that something weird is going on with "the angel of the LORD" is not due to just believing in Jesus.

God's personal name is applied to an angel. People see the angel and equate it with seeing God. So much so that they are afraid they will die, based on the verse in Exodus where you can't see God and live.

The angel tells Hagar he will make her into a great nation. Does that language sound familiar?

I submit that a Trinitarian explanation is much more satisfactory than "sometimes angels are given God's personal name", especially since names convey something about a person's being in a Jewish context.

7/29/2006 12:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

As for people thinking an angel is G-d; I believe there some truth to that for the overawed, but Jews know G-d like no other people. WE are the only group to hear HaShem's voice and accept his commandemnts without even knowng what they are. NO other group can claim to have heard G-d's voice. Of course it depends on ones take of Torah. Reform Jews consider it a man made, divinly inspired document (I know I am dating one) So no miracles at a literal level. I suspect if I met an angel I would feel a divine presence, but would not mistake it for HaShem. I know Torah and I know angels are expected to behave a certain way and I know prophets are to behave a certain way as well.

7/30/2006 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Well, it seems Moses mistook the angel of the LORD for HaShem (Exodus 3-4) as well, since he wrote the Torah.

As Rich said there is a difference between an angel and "the angel of the LORD".

7/31/2006 12:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

And as I have said, I see no difference. If you are an angel then you are automatically an angel of HaShem. How can it be otherwise? And am I to take that G-d now has another physical form, besides Jesus? You guys sure you haven't picked up so polytheistic practices?

7/31/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

No. The angel of HaShem which is also referred to as HaShem is none other than HaShem. The angel is a preincarnate appearance of Y'shua.

8/01/2006 11:18:00 AM  

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