Monday, 6 July 2009

The Angel is God - The Son in Exodus 3

Moses met God in the burning bush, but which person? Let's have a look.

Exodus 3:1-6 (HCSB)
1 Meanwhile Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 Then the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed. 3 So Moses thought: I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn't the bush burning up?

4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, "Moses, Moses!"

"Here I am," he answered.

5 "Do not come closer," He said. "Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." 6 Then He continued, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.
Moses sees the Angel of the LORD in a bush and goes and investigates. The LORD sees Moses and God calls out from the bush and says that he's the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God tells Moses to take his sandals off, for this is holy ground he's on. Moses realising who he's looking at hides his face as he, at the very least, thinks that the Angel of the LORD is God. He isn't rebuked for that action.

Is Moses mistaken the Angel of the LORD for God? Or is the Angel of the LORD the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

Let's see what Jacob says:
Genesis 48:15-16 (HCSB)
15 Then he blessed Joseph and said:
The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,

16 the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm —
may He bless these boys.
And may they be called by my name
and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they grow to be numerous within the land.
The God of Jacob, whom he says his father and grandfather saw and walked with, is 'the Angel'. The Angel of the LORD, according to Jacob and Moses is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

What about the request to take sandals off? Here's the only other time this request is made:
Joshua 5:13-15 (HCSB)
13 When Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua approached Him and asked, "Are You for us or for our enemies?"

14 "Neither," He replied. "I have now come as commander of the LORD's army."

Then Joshua bowed with his face to the ground in worship and asked Him, "What does my Lord want to say to His servant?"

15 The commander of the LORD's army said to Joshua, "Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.
The commander of the LORD's army is Joshua's Lord - that doesn't mean much though, what's more interesting is the worship - is it because the Commander is God? This strange figure also gives Joshua the same order as God gave Moses. Is this also the Son?

Finally, let's hear who the Angel of the LORD says he is:

First, Exodus 3:16-17 (HSCB)
"Go and assemble the elders of Israel and say to them: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me and said: I have paid close attention to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt.
Moses has seen God - but it was TAOTL in the bush that he saw - Moses has found out the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacobs's name - the LORD, Yahweh (they are the same word rendered differently). There's some plurality of God here - how can the LORD, and something 'of the LORD': the Angel of the LORD both be God - a singular? How can they be the same. You need some form of plurality and unity at the same time.

Secondly, Judges 2:1 (HCSB)
The Angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, "I brought you out of Egypt and led you into the land I had promised to your fathers. I also said: I will never break My covenant with you.
Who brought the people of Israel out of Egypt?

Exodus 20:2-3 (HCSB)
2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.

3 Do not have other gods besides Me.
The LORD brought them up about of Egypt and the first command is that the LORD, the God who is theirs, who brought them out of Egypt is the only God they should have. If so, how come the Angel of the LORD says he did. Also, what about that promise: Exodus 6:8 (HCSB)
I will bring you to the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD."
I think you'll agree with me that the The Angel of the LORD is claiming to be God, doing the things that God does. Either he is God, everything is very odd or the Angel of the LORD isn't 'of the LORD' but a blasphemer.

Jesus as God wasn't made up by those at Nicea in the early 4th Century. If it was made up at all, and not true, it was made up by Moses as he wrote Genesis, or even Abraham himself! This makes the Pharisees' claims of following Moses to be utter rubbish, this vindicates Jesus' claims about the Law and Abraham witnessing to him.

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