Christian Churches of God
The Angel of YHVH
(Edition 1.1 19940514-19980513)
This work develops the identity of the Angel of YHVH or Yahovah in the Old Testament. The result has some disturbing implications for the teachings of modern Christianity.
The Angel of YHVH
This work develops the identity of the Angel of YHVH in the Old Testament. The Bible teaches there is only One True God.
There have been teachings in the twentieth century that asserted that the YHVH - Yahovah of the Old Testament referred only to Jesus Christ, that Christ came to reveal the Father’s existence, that the “Word” always existed alongside the Father, and thus Jesus Christ, as the Word, had no beginning. It follows, from these assertions, that there were Two God Beings from eternity. But Scripture, which cannot be broken, says otherwise. There is only one True God (Jn 17:1-3, 1Cor 8:6, 1Tim 2:5).
It was taken for granted in the New Testament that God the Father was the God of the Old Testament, the God of Israel, and that He had sent His Servant, Jesus, to us (Acts 2:22-24; 3:13). God the Father must have been known to these men, otherwise these statements would not have made any sense.
Jesus was the Son of God (Luke 1:30-35, 9:35), the Chosen of God (Luke 23:35), the Servant of God (Mat 12:18). God spoke through His Son (Heb 1:1-2).
It is plain in the O.T. that YHVH did not exclusively refer to the one who became Christ. There are many passages where the Hebrew YHVH is translated as LORD, and can only refer to God the Father (e.g. Deut 18:15; cf. Acts 7:37, Acts 2 and 3; Psa 2:2,7; 110:1, 45:6,7.
In the Songs of the Servant from Isaiah 42:1-9; 49:1-13; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12 it is clear that YHVH must refer to God the Father. Also read Zechariah 13:7. Thus to say that Christ came to tell the people about a God unknown to them is quite presumptuous.
A foundational principle is that there is only one True God, whom no one has ever seen or heard (Jn 17:3; 1Tim 6:16; Rev 15:4; Jn 1:18; 1Jn 4:12; Jn 5:37, 6:46).
The term “angel” has created problems with our thought processes. The Hebrew is mal’ak which means “messenger”, and the Greek word is aggelos which also means “messenger”, and can be used of both humans and spirit beings. In Revelation 21:17 the terms “man” and “angel” become synonymous.
In the O.T. mal’ak denotes messengers, sent from God or sent by humans (Gen 32:1-3). The messenger was a representative of the one who despatched him, and honour to him signified honour to the sender (Jn 5:23).
The point is, an “angel” is a “messenger”.
So in the O.T. the one designated Mal’ak YHVH or the “Angel of the LORD” and Mal’ak Elohim “the Angel of God” is the most significant and relevant to this paper. This Messenger bore the Presence of God. He carried the Authority of God (Ex 23:20-23) and the name of God.
The Angel of YHVH meets the fleeing maidservant, Hagar (Gen 16) and refers to YHVH in the third person. Thus we see how the Angel of YHVH carries the title YHVH but also speaks on behalf of his YHVH, whom he represents (Gen 16:7-13). In Genesis 21:17-20 the Angel of God (elohim) is speaking on behalf of God (elohim).
So it can be seen that YHVH is a distributed title, and in the Genesis18 account of Abraham and the three angels (messengers), they are interchangeably called men, angels, YHVH. In Genesis 19:24 the angels, termed YHVH rain fire down from YHVH in heaven. So YHVH is not an exclusive title to the one who became Christ, as was taught by some churches.
The Angel who prevented Abraham from slaying Isaac said “now I know”, which shows he did not know the outcome of the test, and therefore cannot be the God Almighty who knows the end from the beginning.
This is exactly the case with Christ. Even after His resurrection and exaltation He was given revelation from God Almighty which He passed onto John in the Book of Revelation (Rev 1:1). Mark 13:32 shows Christ was not omniscient as a man.
Later Abraham showed he understood the distinction between YHVH, God of Heaven, and the Angel or Mal’ak who was this YHVH’s messenger (Gen 24:7,40,48). Similarly Jesus fulfils a similar role of leading, protecting, blessing and representing God (Mat 28:18-20).
The Angel who appeared in a dream to Jacob (Gen 28:11-21) and again in Genesis 31:11-13 is called Mal’ak HaElohim, which is the Messenger of THE God. He is also God of the House of God – El Bethel. He is equated to God who led Jacob all his life (Gen 48: 15,16) and is called the Angel of Redemption. Christ is our Redeemer (Gal 3:13 - 4:5).
Jacob also wrestled with a “man” and he said “I have seen God (elohim) face to face”. So this man bore the Presence of God in himself. Christ represents the “face of God” to us (Jn 14:9; 2Cor 4:6; Col 1:15).
The Church of God from the first century has accepted that the Angel who spoke to Moses from the burning bush, who gave the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai, who led Israel through the wilderness, and the One who conversed with Moses in the first person, was Christ before his human birth (1Cor 10:1-4), and understood Christ to be the Angel of God (Gal 4:14).
Stephen’s address in this regard must be studied (Acts 7, especially vs. 30-38).
This paper addresses many other headings such as the Angel in the Bush, and Angel in the Cloud, the Angel as the Giver of the Law, the Angel as the Presence of God and so on.
Thus, the conclusion is there is coherency and unity between the Old and New Testaments. God the Father is the one True God of both collections of Scripture. Christ is His mediator, and agent of redemption, the one who reveals His will to humanity.
This paper also has 7 appendices which more extensively cover aspects of the content.
Was Christ the Son of God before his Birth
Christ and Melchizedek
The Exaltation of Messiah and his Titles
Commentaries on the Angel of YHVH
Early Church Views on Angels and Christ
Worship in the New Testament