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In the first of these two appearances of the Angel of the Lord, he speaks as God himself. He addressed Abraham in the same manner, and, to appearance, with the same authority, with which God had before addressed him. The offering of Isaac was to be made to God. But mark the words of the Angel. "For now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me," Gen. 22:12. The conclusion is, that it was the same thing to offer his son to God, or to the Angel of the Lord. The second time the Angel called to Abraham, he speaks not his own words; but addresses him in the words of the Lord. But these words are precisely the same in effect, which the Angel had before spoken. The Angel said to Abraham, "seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son." The Lord said by the Angel, "because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son." The Angel passed his word respecting Ishmael, "I will make him a great nation." The Lord passed his word with an oath to Abraham, by the mouth of the Angel, "I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven." While a certain distinction is made between the Angel of the Lord, and the Lord himself, there is such a union manifested, that the Angel declares, upon his own authority, that a certain important purpose shall be accomplished. He then communicates the declaration of the Lord, to the same or similar effect. The offering of Isaac to God, according to his command, was not withholding him from the Angel; and it was also not withholding him from the Lord. It is hard to conceive that there should be such union, such intimacy, such equality between the Creator and a
When Jacob was on his way from Laban to his own country, he was left alone; "and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day." This man changed his name, blessed him, and told him that he had power with God and with man, and that he
had prevailed. "And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel; for I have seen God face to face," Gen. 32:30. The prophet Hosea tells us who this man was, with whom Jacob wrestled. Speaking of Jacob he says, "By his strength he had power with God; yea, he had power over the Angel, and prevailed; he wept and made supplication unto him; he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us; even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial," Hosea 12:3 -5. The prophet testifies that the man, with whom Jacob wrestled was the Angel. He was probably called a man, because he assumed the appearance of a man. The prophet goes on and says, that Jacob found him, i. e. the Angel, in Bethel. We find that he, whom the patriarch found in Bethel, was the Lord, who said, "I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac,-And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not," Gen. 28:13, 16. The prophet calls this Angel "the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial." It has been It has been objected, that "when the scripture informs that it was the Angel of the Lord, who said, I am the God of Abraham," &c. the account is equally plain to the understandings of men, that he spake not his own words, or in reference to himself, but the words of Jehovah, or in the name of God.* If this objection were valid against what the Angel said of himself, it would not lie against what the prophet said of him. If a created angel could personate his Creator, by what figure of speech, by what license, could the prophet call him the Lord God of hosts; and say that "the Lord (i. e. Jehovah) is his memorial?"
When Moses kept the flock of his father-in-law at Horeb, "The Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire; and
the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burned. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses, and he said, Here am I. And he said, draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover, he said, I am the God of thy 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 upon God," Ex. 3:2-6. During the interview between Moses and him who was in the bush, the Lord said unto him, "I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt," ver. 10. Moses then inquired of God, by what name he should call him, when he should go with his message to the children of Israel. "And God said unto Moses, I am that I am; and he said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you," ver. 14.
In this history we find that the Angel of the Lord appeared unto Moses. There is no mention that any other appeared to him in the bush. He that was in the bush called unto him; and we are informed by the inspired historian, that it was God, who called to him. It is a natural conclusion, therefore, that this Angel was the God who spake, who called himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; who called himself I AM, a name implying self-existence.
Stephen, in his answer to the council, before whom he was accused, gave a brief history from the time of Abraham to the time of Solomon. In this epitome he mentions the extraordinary appearance of the burning bush. Speaking of Moses, he says, "The same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel, which appeared to him in the bush." The immediate agent who sent Moses, is, therefore, the Angel. In the history which Moses gives, we find but one agent, i. e. the immediate agent,
introduced, the Angel of the Lord. In the course of the history, we find, that, without any change of the subject, the Lord saw that Moses turned aside to see; God called unto him out of the midst of the bush; he said, I am the God of thy father; I will send thee to Pharaoh; I am that I am. The subject, and the only subject to which all these names refer, is the Angel of the Lord, ver. 2. Consequently, the names, Lord, God, and I AM, are applied to him. But if he were merely a created angel, and said and did nothing on this occasion, he is introduced to great disadvantage; and his appearance does not seem to answer any important purpose. But the fact is, he did send Moses to deliver the children of Israel; and we have divine testimony that God sent him.
After the Israelites had departed from Egypt, God led the people through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. "And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light," Ex. 13:21. When the Israelites had travelled as far as the Red Sea, and the Egyptians pressed hard upon them, it is recorded that, "The Angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them," Ex. 14:19. By a comparison of these two representations we find that he, who went before the children of Israel in a pillar of cloud to the Red Sea, was called the Lord. (M) But on the shore of the Red Sea, he that was in the cloud changed his position, and went from before the camp of Israel, and stood behind them; and the cloud moved in like manner. He is here called the Angel of God. It is evident that he, who went before them, is he, who removed and went behind them. It follows, of course, that the Angel of God is the Lord himself.
Jehovah promised Moses that his presence (or his face) should go with him. We find that the divine
presence in the cloud, did accompany him and the people, during their journeyings in the wilderness. But we learn by Stephen, that it was the Angel, that was with Moses in the church in the wilderness. It follows, of course, that the presence of the Angel was the presence of Jehovah.
God, in his preface to the decalogue, addresses his servant Moses thus, "I am the Lord thy God, which 1 have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." He then proceeds to give him the law. But who was it that brought Moses out of Egypt? It was the Angel, who appeared to him in the bush, who styled himself I AM; and sent him to Pharaoh, to let Israel go; it was the Angel, who went before him in a pillar of cloud, to the bor1 ders of the Red Sea; and went behind him through the deep, to protect him from the Egyptian host; it 1 was the Angel, who was with him in the wilderness, J who protected, guided, and supported him.
Angel was called Jehovah; and I AM was his memorial. Stephen, speaking of Moses, testifies to the same effect. "This is he that was in the church in the wilderness, with the Angel, which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers; who received the lively oracles to give unto us," Acts 7:38. From this testimony it appears that the Angel, who was with Moses in the wilderness, spake the law to him; and it has been shewn that that Angel was the Lord Jehovah.
But the same Stephen testifies thus, "Who have received the law by the disposition of Angels," Acts 7:53. The apostle Paul, writing to the Galatians concerning the law, says, "It was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator," Gal. 3:19. To the Hebrews he says, "if the word spoken by angels was steadfast," &c. From these declarations, it has been inferred that angels gave the law from Sinai. Enough has been said to shew that he, who led Israel out of Egypt, guided them in a pillar of cloud, and appeared