angel of the Lord


#1

Is the angel of the Lord the Son of God or Jesus before the incarnation?


#2

I would say no, but I’m no expert.

Wasn’t the angel of the Lord simply an Angel?


#3

Hi,
Are you referring to a particular Scripture? There are places in the bible where Jesus appeared before he came as man and then there are places where angels appeared.


#4

Apart from one notable instance, in Zechariah 1:12, the angel of the Lord seems to be very much a functionary spirit, speaking in the first person as God’s mouthpiece, but otherwise demonstrating no independent will. I think that it is just a regular angel, designated at one moment as the Angel of the Lord when it is called upon to act as God’s mouthpiece.

Note also that the title “Son of Man”, which Jesus frequently employed, comes from in 1 Enoch, in which it is used to differentiate the Messiah from the angels: child of flesh versus spirit of spirit. That argues against the Messiah being one of them.

I will PM Valke2, however, to see if we can get a Jewish reading on it.


#5

Hi. Regarding Zechariah 1:12, I think your anaylsis is correct. It is just the phrase used to describe the angel that happens to be speaking in Hashem’s name. Jews do not ascribe any special significance to the term as it is used in Zechariah.


#6

I have read a few ECF’s where they saw the OT Angel representing/prefiguring Jesus.
One that comes to mind is a St Augustine commentary I randomly came over a few months ago On Psalm 34 paragraph 10b:
newadvent.org/fathers/1801034.htm
(also check out paragraph 11, very cool)


#7

Thanks.

Does that also apply to other appearances in the Scriptures? Is there anything special about the designation?


#8

Ok. I see I might have misread the references to Zecharia. But there is nothing that suggests (to jews) that the reference is to any special angel. In the Jewish scriptures, angels are considered to be messengers. Every angel has one specific mission.

I’m sorry if I can’t be more help but it isn’t an issue that gets a lot of attention in Judaism. At least not from me :). Regarding the title, Son of God, is interesting and we should look at it from the perspective of jew who was a contemporary of Jesus. In other words, without the background of Christianity. From this perspective, its meaning is not so clear. Even Paul does not actually directly equate Jesus with the Divine (although he comes close). John comes closer. But you still have to leap to get from there to “Jesus Christ is the only-begotten SOn of God…”

During the time of Jesus, “sonship” in relation to God referred to the Hasidim, Jewish sages who worked wonders, as well as other rabbis. The Talmud talks about God calling Hanina ben Dosa and Rabbi Meir (2nd century) “My son.” What this meant was that the person was particularly loved by God.

As the title is applied to Jesus however, it seems to denote something more (although some scholars have argued otherwise). Taking the Gospels at their word (easier for you to do than for me :slight_smile: ), the title clearly meant more than wonderous sage, as there is an element of woshipfullness here that Jews did not have for the sages. So, I guess the answer is that we don’t really know what the son of God meant when applied to Jesus (looking at it from a 1st century jewish perspective). It seems to have meant something more than wonderworking sage and something less than divine.

I know that one of the Gospels have Jesus saying I and the Father are one. But, just talking logic and not theology here, it is unlikely that Jesus would have announced that he was God and that only one of the four Gospels would record this. I mean, that’s a biggie.

Hope this was of interest.


#9

Jews for Jesus tend to try to make the argument that the Angel of the Lord is distintive, appeared in human form at times, etc.
I think the term is first used when Hagar is about to give up hope and an angel of the Lord speaks to her and opens her eyes.

But from what I know, and I could be wrong, Jews just view the term an referring to whatever angel is being referred to at the time.


#10

John is really quite blunt about it, calling Jesus the Word (a Greek term which indicates near-divine status in itself), saying that the Word was God (1:1), and recording Jesus as twice saying that he and the Father were one (10:30, 17:11). He also records Thomas as calling Jesus “My Lord and my God”, without a demur from Jesus (20:28). Should you wish to read them, there are lists of Gospel references to Jesus’ divinity.

During the time of Jesus, “sonship” in relation to God referred to the Hasidim, Jewish sages who worked wonders, as well as other rabbis. The Talmud talks about God calling Hanina ben Dosa and Rabbi Meir (2nd century) “My son.” What this meant was that the person was particularly loved by God.

Thank you; that was something which I had never heard before, and it makes an awful lot of sense. Are we not, all of us, God’s children?

As the title is applied to Jesus however, it seems to denote something more (although some scholars have argued otherwise). Taking the Gospels at their word (easier for you to do than for me :slight_smile: ).

Actually, being a literature student, I am trained never to take any text at its word, which is why I sometimes have trouble with all these lovely Catholics :D.

I do not believe Jesus to be God because the Gospels say so; I believe Jesus to be God because I consciously choose to believe that he is so, being the most beautiful expression of divinity that I have seen in all the religions which I have studied. I really have no proof that I am right, and I do not consider the testimony of other Christians to be any great support for it, when so many people have testified to so many other beliefs over the centuries.

I choose Jesus because I want to believe in a God like him, which is whom I also see in the Hebrew Bible: mercy first, mercy second, love always, endlessly delaying judgement because the silly mortals just will not get it right, and forever re-explaining a couple of very simple truths to people, who will never listen.

just talking logic and not theology here, it is unlikely that Jesus would have announced that he was God and that only one of the four Gospels would record this. I mean, that’s a biggie.

It is a big issue, certainly, but there are a few other factors to consider, but one of which is that the logic of literature is only ever the logic of human actions, and those are not known for their reasonability :wink: .

Jesus is recorded as having said that in a chapter in which the disciples have simply disappeared. Since none of them was apparently there, it might be better to ask how come even John knew about it. Moreover, considering the references in the other Gospels to Jesus having acted in the role of God (e.g., using his own power to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, calm the seas, know people’s thoughts, etc), perhaps they did not feel it necessary to record a statement of the (to them) obvious.

If you happen to have time, I would appreciate hearing your views on Matthew’s Gospel, which is commonly regarded as having been written for Jewish Christians. (Disclaimer: I am not trying to convert you; I do not imagine that you need any more saving than I do, and so I am not in a position to offer more truth than you already have.)


#11

I’ll have to look into it and get back to you.


#12

I would disagree with the reasoning (regarding to the references of Jesus acting in the role of God), because really all those miracles he performed would not make him God to the jews of his time. Lots of healers were casting out demons in those days. Even resurrecting the dead was not unheard of. But mostly, because there was nothing in the Scriptures at that time that would indicate doing such acts would be a sign that one was God. I guess I’m saying that, giving Jesus credit for all the miracles set forth in the Gospels, it still wouldn’t be proof that he was God. Especially to the jews of his time.


#13

How about exodus 3 ? what you all make of it?


#14

Chapter 3? The miracle of the burning bush. It is a miracle that requires some particiaption from Moses. He has to actually watch the bush for a period of time before he can notice that it is burning without being consumed.

it is only when Hashem sees that Moses has turned to see the bush, that he has actually stopped to take notice of the miracle, that He speaks with Moses.

That’s my immediate reaction to that story. As for the ANgel of the Lord appearing, it is an example of God waiting for some act from us before He reveals himself.


#15

My apologies; when I said that they might not have included that particular statement because they felt it to be obvious, I did not mean that they felt it to be obvious to nonChristians. Insofar as I understand it, none of the Gospels was written for people who did not already believe that Jesus was the Incarnation. During the inevitable process of selecting some events and discarding others, the writers might not have felt that that particular one said anything to a believer which the others did not already say.

Also, while we are on the topic of the miracles, I know of Hebrew Bible examples of raising the dead and healing the sick, and there were more than a few ‘magi’ doing the same, and casting out demons, in Jesus’ time, but is anyone else credited with knowing the thoughts of others?

I am not thinking of this in terms of proof that someone was God. If God is omnipotent, then God can do whatsoever God wishes, including giving them the power to do things which only God has done before.

I just cannot recall another incidence of this.


#16

Some other miracle workers:
rabbi Hannina ben Dosa (a Galiean), according to Talmud, spoke with demons and commanded that they never again pass through places where people live. The demon begged for mercy and for some reason, he granted it, allowing demons some free reign a few nights a week. Hanina was a healer who healed the terminally ill and could even heal at a distance. He healed his master’s son without leaving his home to visit the boy. (Barachot 34b).

Then there was Honi the Circle Maker (also from Galiee). He would bring down miraculously huge amounts of rain during times of drought by drawing a perfect circle on the ground and standing in it. It started to rain but not enough. He prayed to God saying “I asked for rain to fill the cistrens” It immedately began raining so heavily that the people asked him to petition God to make it stop. (This is mentioned in Talmud and by Josephus).
Honi had two grandsons who continued this tradition.

The Baal Shem Tov stated that on the madreiga of the World of Formation, one could perceive events that would take place within a certain number of years; on higher levels, one could know the more distant future. By purifying themselves the tzaddikim become privy to divine knowledge, at least to some degree.

There are also examples of Sages who could look into a person’s eyes and know everything about them, including their thoughts. Unfortunately, I can’t recall anything specific about thiss. Maybe stillsmall can shed some light on the subject.


#17

The demons who inhabited a madman begged Jesus for mercy, wanting to avoid being cast into the Abyss, and so he allowed them to cross into a herd of pigs, instead, which they then drove to drown in the sea. It is an odd story, but the mercy element is still there.

Then there was Honi the Circle Maker (also from Galiee). He would bring down miraculously huge amounts of rain during times of drought by drawing a perfect circle on the ground and standing in it. It started to rain but not enough. He prayed to God saying “I asked for rain to fill the cisterns” It immediately began raining so heavily that the people asked him to petition God to make it stop. (This is mentioned in Talmud and by Josephus).
Honi had two grandsons who continued this tradition.

“Honi & Sons, Rainmakers, est.d 3939” ?

The Baal Shem Tov stated that on the madreiga of the World of Formation, one could perceive events that would take place within a certain number of years; on higher levels, one could know the more distant future. By purifying themselves the tzaddikim become privy to divine knowledge, at least to some degree.

New word for today: madreiga. The OED had no listing, and Google thought that I wanted ‘madrigal’, but we got there eventually. World of Formation was also new.

How orthodox, or how widely-accepted, are such kabbalistic ideas?


#18

They are not really kabbalisitic ideas so much as events set forth in the Talmud. I’m sure the orthodox community accepts them as truth. At the same time, we are aware today, that medical issues, by and large, are not caused by demons. So I’m not sure how that issue would be addressed.


#19

In Luke chapter 1, Gabriel is the angel of the Lord.


#20

St. Justin Martyr, writing about A.D. 155 in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, chapters LVI - LX, for instance, believed that the Son of God was the Angel with whom Abraham spoke under the oak in Mamre, the Angel with whom Jacob wrestled at Bethel, and the Angel with whom Moses spoke in the burning bush.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.