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in the bush, gave the law from mount Sinai; and that the Angel, who performed this was not a created angel, but was Jehovah. Moses states expressly, that Jehovah descended upon the mount in fire; that Jehovah conversed with him; that God spake all these words, viz. the words of the law. It is necessary therefore to reconcile the account, which Moses gives of the publication of the law, with the account which Stephen and the apostle Paul give of it. The first states that God spake all the words of the law; the latter states that it was received by the disposition of angels; that it was ordained and spoken by angels.
There can be no doubt that God was the Author and prime Communicator of the law. That he employed angels on mount Sinai on the important occasion of promulgating the law, is abundantly evident. Moses, before his death, blessed the twelve tribes of Israel. In the introduction of his blessing, he says, "The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he, shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints; from his right hand went a fiery law for them," Deut. 33:2. The Psalmist, describing the majesty of God, saith, "Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel," Ps. 68:8. "The Lord gave the word; great was the company of them that published it," ver. 11. "The chariots of God, are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels; the Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the holy place," ver. 17. From a view of these texts, and from a general view of the subject, it appears that that uncreated Angel, who spake with Moses in mount Sinai, and was repeatedly called Jehovah, was attended with a host of angels on Sinai; and that he employed them as subordinate agents in promulgating the law. But there is no evidence that they personated Jehovah, saying, I am the Lord God.
The Lord, to encourage Moses on his way to the land of promise, says, "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,' Ex. 23:20, 21. In this description of the Angel, there are characteristic marks of divinity. It was required to obey his commands, and not to excite his anger; and the reason assigned is, "he will not pardon your transgressions." We are ready to adopt the language of the Jewish doctors of the law, and inquire, "Who can forgive sins but God only?" Forgiveness of sin is the prerogative of him, against whom it is committed. God says of the Angel, whom he sent, "my name is in him." The Angel is called by his name. He is called Lord, God, Jehovah, I AM. The name of a thing is frequently used as synonymous with the thing itself. The name of God is often used for God. When Christ prays, "Father, glorify thy name," his request is, that the Father would glorify himself. In many other places in the scriptures the word name, is used in the same manner. From this it is inferred, if God's name was in the Angel, God himself was in him. This phraseology, while it conveys an idea of a distinction between God and the Angel, also conveys an idea of a most intimate union; a union, which authorizes the same names to be applied; and the same operations to be attributed to each. The original word, rendered, in him, is of greater force than the translation, and expresses the inmost, or most intimate part of. any thing; the inner or inmost part of man, his mind, heart, or inmost thought." Park. Lex. No word, perhaps, could express a more intimate union between God and the Angel, than this.
This Angel is called "the Angel of his (i. e. God's) presence." He saved Israel.. "In his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old," Isaiah 63:9. The name, Angel of his presence, or as it may be accurately translated, Angel of his face, imports that he manifested the presence of God; that where he was.
there was the face of God. That it was God, whe saved and redeemed Israel, is not doubted. But this salvation is attributed to the Angel; and there is no intimation given that he did not do it by his ow power.
He is called the messenger, i. e. Angel of the cove nant. This name imports that he communicated the covenant; or that he was a contracting party in the covenant; or that he was the leading subject of it. Either of these significations implies that he is the Lord. Besides, he is called the Lord in the same text, in which he is called the Angel of the covenant. See Mal. 3:1.
Three men called on Abraham, in the plains of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. They were travelling toward Sodom. Abraham respectfully addressed them; and courteously invited them to stop and take refreshment. In the course of their conversation with this pious man, one appears to be much more eminent than the others. He not only takes the lead in conversation, but he appears to speak with independent authority. When he speaks to Abraham, the sacred historian states that it is the Lord, (') who speaks to him; and this he does repeatedly. At length "the men turned their faces from thence and went toward Sodom; but Abraham stood yet before the Lord." It appears evident that one of those three men, who appeared to Abraham, was the Lord, who conversed with him. They were called men, because they were in the appearance of men. While they were conversing with the patriarch, without intimation of a new speaker, one in the character of Lord, i. e. Jehovah, addressed him. This one remained with Abraham, while the others went their way. It is evident, or at least, it is in the highest degree probable, that he, who remained, was one of the three. Because, at even, two angels, and two only, are named, went into Sodom to destroy the place.
Divine honors were paid to the Angel of the Lord. Jacob, a short time before his death, commanded that the sons of Joseph should be brought unto him, that he might bless them. When their father presented them before him, "he blessed Joseph and said, God, before whom my fathers, Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God, which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel, which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads." In this passage there is a supplication to the Angel, as well as to God; and as the verb, bless, (in the original) is in the singular number, he made no distinction between them, or rather he addressed them as one, or distributively. Of course, prayer was addressed to the Angel; and it was addressed for a blessing, not verbal, but real, which divine power only could bestow.
"And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door; and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door," Ex. 33:10. It cannot be supposed that they paid homage to the pillar of cloud; but to him, that was in it. The scriptures are express, that it was the Angel, who was in the cloud, and guided Israel. It appears therefore, that they worshipped the Angel.
"And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there stood a man over against him, with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, nay; but as Captain of the host of the Lord, am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship; and said unto him, what saith my Lord unto his servant? And the Captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy; and Joshua did so," Joshua 5:13,14,15. This man, who appeared to Joshua, was undoubtedly the same, that appeared to Jacob and wrestled with him. But after
ward Jacob said he had seen God face to face. This man is called Captain of the Lord's host. The Israelites were called the host, or the armies of the living God. The Captain, who led this host was the Angel who went with them in the pillar of cloud. If Joshua's falling on his face to the earth and worshipping, do not prove that he gave him divine reverence, the command to loose his shoe from off his foot, because the place where he stood was holy, implies it. When God called to Moses out of the bush, he commanded a him to put off his shoes from his feet, because he stood on holy ground. This was commanded as an expression of respect to the divine Majesty. It is presumable that no creature would claim this homage, which God claimed for himself. (Hoc exemplo sacerdotes Judaici calceas exuunt in templo ministrantes. Pool in loco.)
In the history of Gideon we find that the Angel of o the Lord appeared to him. In the course of the history he is called the Lord. Gideon, unconscious who he was, prepared a present, and offered it to him. The Angel, not needing the sustenance of mortals, appropriated it as a burnt offering. Thus Gideon unwittingly sacrificed unto him; or rather the Angel caused him to make this sacrifice unto himself.
From what has been said respecting the Angel, whose appearances are recorded in the Old Testament, it appears that he was not a created angel, but that he was divine. But it is objected that it is absurd "to suppose that a certain being, may send a messenger on an errand to transact a particular business, and yet be that very messenger, who is sent;" or that God and the Angel of God are the same. However great is this absurdity, we are not answerable for it; for we neither invented, embraced, nor shall we attempt to defend it. But when we find in the inspired writings, that the Angel of God assumes the highest of divine titles, that he performs divine works, and that divine.