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The Lord YHVH
There are numerous places in Scripture where there is reference to the first of the three divine personalities. The usage of "the Lord YHVH" is so frequent that there is no need to devote further space to it; a great many of the Messianic prophecies (already discussed) serve as examples of this.
The Angel of 'Jehovah'
The Expression Malach YHVH
The second divine personality is the Angel of 'Jehovah' - but who is He? The Angel of 'Jehovah' is not to be taken as a title, but, following Hebrew grammar, it always functions as a proper name. This individual is always considered distinct from all other angels and is unique. It never appears in the plural. Nowhere in Scripture are the phrases "the angels of 'Jehovah'" or "the angels of the God," used but, rather, there are three, and only three, different expressions used:
1. the Angel of 'Jehovah' - Malach YHVH, always singular.
2. the Angel of the God - Malach Ha-Elohim, always singular with the definite article.
3. the angels of God - Malachei Elohim, plural, and is never used with a definite article.
The third of these expressions is used in general terms of ordinary angels. The first two expressions are both used to describe a very special and distinct individual - the Angel of 'Jehovah'. We can see this in Judges 6:20-21, where the same Person is described first, in verse 20, as "the Angel of the God" and then, in verse 21, as "the Angel of 'Jehovah'." This is also brought out in Judges chapter 13; in verse 3, there is a reference to "the Angel of 'Jehovah'" and later, in verse 9, this same individual is called "the Angel of the God."
Consistently, throughout the Hebrew text, there is a distinction made between ordinary angels and this unique Person referred to as both "the Angel of YHVH" and "the Angel of the God." The Angel of 'Jehovah' is clearly revealed as being different in stature, nature, person and essence from ordinary angels.
The Angel of 'Jehovah' is 'Jehovah'
The Hebrew word male'akhe (mal'ak), occurring in the following references, can be translated either "angel" or "messenger." When we examine the text in each case we find that the Hebrew grammar is trying to show is that this unique individual is in fact God Himself. In virtually every context in which He appears, He is referred to as both the Angel of 'Jehovah' and 'Jehovah' Himself. There are many examples which show this:
16:7 the angel of Jehovah found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. 8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai's handmaid, whence camest thou? And whither goest thou? And she said, I am fleeing from the face of my mistress Sarai. 9 And the angel of Jehovah said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. 10 And the angel of Jehovah said unto her, I will greatly multiply thy seed, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 11 And the angel of Jehovah said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son. And thou shalt call his name Ishmael, because Jehovah hath heard thy affliction.12 And he shall be (as) a wild ass among men. His hand (shall be) against every man, and every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell over against all his brethren. 13 And she called the name of Jehovah that spake unto her, Thou art a God that seeth. For she said, Have I even here looked after him that seeth me? 14 Wherefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi. Behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered. (ASV)
There are four references here to the Angel of 'Jehovah', in verses 7, 9, 10 and 11, but then in verse 13 the reference is to 'Jehovah' Himself, and so she names the place "You are a God that sees."
Gen 21:17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.
Clearly, 'the angel of God' who promises to make 'a great nation' of the lad is 'Jehovah'! For how could a mere angel make such a promise? The language makes it clear that 'Jehovah' is speaking.
22:9 And they came to the place which God had told him of. And Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11 And the angel of Jehovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham. And he said, Here I am.12 And he said, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him. For now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me. 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, behind (him) a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt- offering in the stead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh. As it is said to this day, In the mount of Jehovah it shall be provided. 15 the angel of Jehovah called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said, By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, ... (ASV)
Twice here He is called the Angel of 'Jehovah' (verses 11 and 15), but in verse 12 He is referred to as God and in verse 16 He is called 'Jehovah'. Clearly, the 'angel' is 'Jehovah'!
31:11 And the angel of God said unto me in the dream, Jacob: and I said, Here am I. 12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the he-goats which leap upon the flock are ringstreaked, speckled, and grizzled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 13 I am the God of Beth-el, where thou anointedst a pillar, where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy nativity. (ASV)
In verse 11, the reference is literally to "the Angel of the God," but when He speaks in verse 13, He says, "I am the God of Bethel." Jacob's experience in verse 13 is accepted by the WBTS, for they have (NWT):
'I am the ['true' is inserted in the NWT] God of Bethel ...'
And He clearly tells Jacob that 'thou vowedst a vow unto me:'! Clearly, we do not make vows to mere angels. The vow Jacob made to the 'true God' is found in Genesis 28:
Gen 28:20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, Gen 28:21 So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God ['Jehovah will have proved to be my God' - NWT] : Gen 28:22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
So the angel of God of Genesis 31:11 is again none other than 'Jehovah'!
32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him. 26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 27 he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 29 Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. 30 Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for, (said he), I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. (ASV)
This is the famous passage which describes Jacob wrestling with the Angel of 'Jehovah'. But with whom is he really wrestling? In verse 28 it states, .... . for thou hast striven with God..." After this, in verse 30, Jacob declares, "I have seen God face to face." The angel that he wrestled with is recognized to be God Himself.
3:1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Median: and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God, unto Horeb. 2 the angel of Jehovah 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. 3 And Moses said, I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4 And when Jehovah saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. (ASV)
In verse 2, it is the Angel of 'Jehovah' who is in the burning bush, but verse 4 says that, "God called unto him out of the midst of the bush."
Clearly, the 'angel' of verse 2 is actually none other than God Himself and this is confirmed in the New Testament:
Acts 7:30 And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an 'angel of the Lord' in a flame of fire in a bush.
Acts 7:31 When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him ...
Exodus 14:19 And 'angel of ['the true' - NWT] 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:
Who went before them?:
Exodus 13:21 And the LORD ['Jehovah' - NWT] 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; to go by day and night:
To the Israelites in the wilderness He appeared as an 'angel' but, again, the messenger or angel of God is the same as 'the LORD' ['Jehovah']!
In the account of Balaam, we begin with God speaking directly to Balaam:
Num 22:20 And God [NWT agrees!] came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, 'If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.'
Then there is a transition from 'God' to 'angel of the Lord':
Num 22:22 And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the 'angel of the Lord' stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.
Who stood before Balaam? None other than God! The 'angel of the Lord' is used many times in verses 23,24,25,26,31,32,34,35 and the LORD ['Jehovah' - NWT] in verses 28,31. Then, continuing in Chapter 23, God meets Balaam in verse 4 and the LORD ['Jehovah' - NWT] is mentioned in verses 5 and 16. These titles are used interchangeably, in each case referring to 'Jehovah'.
2:1 And the angel of Jehovah came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you... (ASV)
In this verse the Angel of 'Jehovah' claims to be responsible for the Exodus and for making the covenant with Israel. A comparison with Exodus 19:4 clearly shows that it was God Himself who was responsible for both these things; the two are synonymous.
Who visited Gideon later in Judges?:
6:11 And the angel of Jehovah came, and sat under the oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 the angel of Jehovah appeared unto him, and said unto him, 'Jehovah is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.' 3 And Gideon said unto him, Oh, my lord, if Jehovah is with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where are all his wondrous works which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not Jehovah bring us up from Egypt? but now Jehovah hath cast us off, and delivered us into the hand of Midian. 14 And Jehovah looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and save Israel from the hand of Midian: have not I sent thee? 15 he said unto him, Oh, Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house. 16 Jehovah said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. 17 he said unto him, If now I have found favor in thy sight, then show me a sign that it is thou that talkest with me. 18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and lay it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again. 19 Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of meal: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. 20 And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. 21 Then the angel of Jehovah put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there went up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of Jehovah departed out of his sight. 22 And Gideon saw that he was the angel of Jehovah; and Gideon said, Alas, O Lord Jehovah! forasmuch as I have seen the angel of Jehovah face to face. 23 And Jehovah said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. 24 Gideon built an altar there unto Jehovah, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. (ASV)
Four times in this passage He is the Angel of 'Jehovah' (verses 11, 12, 20, 21) and four times He is 'Jehovah' Himself (verses 14, 16, 22, 23).
13:2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. 3 And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not; but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. 4 therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: 5 for, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come upon his head; for the child shall be a Nazirite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. 6 the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of the angel of God, very terrible; and I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name: 7 he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing; for the child shall be a Nazirite unto God from the womb to the day of his death. 8 Manoah entreated Jehovah, and said, Oh, Lord, I pray thee, let the man of God whom thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. 9 God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 the woman made haste, and ran, and told her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the (other) day. 11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am. 12 Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass: what shall be the ordering of the child, and (how) shall we do unto him? 13 And the angel of Jehovah said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. 14 She may not eat of anything that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; all that I commanded her let her observe. 15 Manoah said unto the angel of Jehovah, I pray thee, let us detain thee, that we may make ready a kid for thee. 16 the angel of Jehovah said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread; and if thou wilt make ready a burnt-offering, thou must offer it unto Jehovah. For Manoah knew not that he was the angel of Jehovah. 17 Manoah said unto the angel of Jehovah, What is thy name, that, when thy words come to pass, we may do thee honor? 18 And the angel of Jehovah said unto him, Wherefore askest thou after my name, seeing it is 'Wonderful'? 19 So Manoah took the kid with the meal-offering, and offered it upon the rock unto Jehovah: and (the angel) did wondrously, and Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of Jehovah ascended in the flame of the altar: and Manoah and his wife looked on; and they fell on their faces to the ground. 21 But the angel of Jehovah did no more appear to Manoah or to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of Jehovah. 22 And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. 23 But his wife said unto him, If Jehovah were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt-offering and a meal-offering at our hand, neither would he have showed us all these things, nor would at this time have told such things as these. 24 the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and Jehovah blessed him. (ASV)
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