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I had the “joy” of seeing another fallacy christians make about God’s emissaries.
I read an article written by Jews who had rejected the Torah to adopt idolatry, Jews for Jesus. In it, they claim that there is an entity known as “the Angel of the Lord,” which is a special deputy that, because this representative of God has the rights an representative would have, speaking God’s word in his authority, they mistake for being God Himself. This “Angel,” according to these people, appeared a number of times to people like Hagar and Gideon.
Now I already stated that Jesus never claimed he was this angel. He never gave these acolytes and devotees authorisation to force his identity on the emissary that appears in the Jewish Bible. So their claims are pure unauthorised speculation. I also showed that, if Jesus is God as they claim, then since it is called “God’s angel/deputy” in the text, it is as much an angel of Jesus as it is an angel of the father. So it makes no sense to have this emissary of Jesus actually be Jesus.
But with all that aside, these people make another unwarranted assumption when they force this special deputy into existence.
In the text of the Jewish Bible, God has many “angels.” In Genesis 19, two of His emissaries arrive to save Lot. Multiple emissaries meet with Jacob in Genesis 32. God assembles many angels in Job 1. So God has many supernatural agents.
Whenever this “THE Angel of the Lord” is mentioned in the Jewish Bible, there is never a definite article in the text in the Hebrew. It may say “malakh HaShem” (I’m not going to transliterate God’s special name so that’s why I use the substitute word “HaShem”), or “malakh elohim.” Both of these could just as simply be understood as “an angel of God” or “an angel of the Lord.” There is no definite article in the Hebrew to say THE angel of the Lord.
So knowing that God has many angels, the question comes up, what clear and explicit piece of evidence shows that the deputy of God that appeared to Hagar is the same one that appeared to Gideon or the one that appeared to Abraham and Jacob? It’s not that many angelic appearances have an emissary speaking for God because that’s what a representative or a messenger does. Any supernatural messenger would have that connection to Deity. Any messenger saying “ I’m gonna bless your offspring” is still a messenger conveying the message of the Sender. Any messenger saying “you didn’t withhold your only son from me” is still a messenger conveying a message from the Sender. Any deputy has the authority of the person who sent him. Any emissary has the authority given to him by the one who commissioned him. A representative … represents.
And these messengers don’t normally have names. So it’s not like this is a messenger saying to Hagar, “Hey, I’m Nigel, the ONLY special Angel (with a capital A) from God,” and then this same messenger comes to Abraham and says “hey, it’s me, Nigel again,” and then appears to Gideon saying, “Don’t be afraid because it’s me, Nigel again.” There is no such explicit evidence.
So again, where is the evidence from the text of the Hebrew Bible that this is one and the same angel?
There is no such evidence. This is a speculating christian once again forcing a claim in the text that isn’t even there. A king with a myriad of messengers isn’t limited to sending one or giving his authority to one.
So like many of these christian claims, this claim of a singular “The Angel of the Lord” is without foundation in the Jewish Bible.
A victim of the christian insistence that Jesus must be in the Jewish Bible is the angel. Claims are made that because the angel seems to be equated with God when the text is read superficially, somehow that angel becomes a pre-existent Jesus.
Two facts make this claim baseless. There are other scriptural facts that make the claim nonsensical, but here, to save me writing an essay, I’ll just focus on two.
Firstly, what does the term “angel” mean in its original Hebrew context? It should be made clear from now that the English word “angel” adds a distortion to the meaning of the word. The Hebrew word “mal’akh” does not have a supernatural or religious aspect inherent in it like the term “angel.” It doesn’t inherently mean “a spiritual being.” The term means “a deputy, an emissary, a messenger, representative.” The idea is of one sent to do a particular job or to act or speak in the place of the sender. Moses sends melakhim, kings send melackhim, and God sends melakhim.
Immediately there is a separation between the deputy and the sender, the representative and the person he is meant to represent. Based on the terms, a messenger is not the sender. An emissary can speak with the authority of the person who sent him and the words of the messenger are the words of the one who sent him. But based on the word itself, one sent, the person sent is not the person who sent him.
Therefore, the messengers of Moses are not Moses. But when they speak, it is Moses speaking.
In the same way, when a messenger of the Lord says “I tell you that I will do X,” logically, it is the word of God, not the messenger. When the representative of God says “you haven’t withheld your son from me” he is saying is speaking God’s words, not his own.
Secondly, Jesus never claimed to be such a messenger as the ones mentioned in the Jewish Bible. There is not one passage in the new testament that makes the claim that Jesus was the angel of God.
This is extremely important because when a christian starts trying to paint the identity of Jesus onto the angels in the Jewish Bible and in the Torah, they are doing so without his permission, without his say so. They’re making a case based on their own personal agenda with nothing really based on the text of the new testament. And it is based on speculation, not some fact in the text. As Jesus never claimed to be that angel, the whole belief is based on speculation.
Someone tried to tell me that the emissary in the Torah points to the Trinity, but with knowledge of what an emissary is and the fact that Jesus gave no permission for christians to paint his identity where it never was, the argument is a baseless, fruitless one.
Well, did he? Did Jesus add to God’s law?
Why is this important? Because according to Deuteronomy 4 and 13, it is forbidden to add to or take away from God’s Law to Moses. No exception is given to this law, not for priests or anointed kings/messiahs.
So did he add to it?
What did Jesus in the gospels teach? No man gets to God except through Jesus, except through accepting Jesus. He teaches that if a man denies Jesus, that man will be rejected by God.
Is this message explicitly recorded in the Torah, that a man must accept Jesus to be right with God? No, numerous times in Deuteronomy, God revealed what he requires from not just his people, but everyone. He requires commitment and obedience to the instructions he gave to Moses.
So Jesus says “no, that’s not enough; you must accept him, the supposed son of God.”
So Jesus does add to Torah, he adds the necessity of believing in Jesus. That makes him one who broke the law and not some sinless person.
It is impressed upon the christian that he and she are no good, that the deeds of any person is seen as filthy rags before God. It is a necessary building block in the structure of the necessity of sacrifice, payment for sins. As Paul said in Galatians, if righteousness could come from obeying what God says (deeds of the law), if all our deeds were not filthy, Jesus would have died for nothing (Galatians 2:21).
What is the right response to this claim?
God told Cain as very early in human history that, although sin desires Cain, Cain can rule over it (Genesis 4:7). God said through Moses that obeying the law would be righteousness for Israel (Deuteronomy 6:25), that he gave Israel a choice of good and evil, and that good and life was accessible and possible by keeping God’s way of doing right (Deuteronomy 30). God showed Ezekiel that a person changing his ways to do good merits forgiveness and life (Ezekiel 18).
Again and again and again, the Jewish Bible says that the acts of a person is what is needed and sufficient. Again and again, the God who made humanity reinforces the idea that man is not helpless. God has given man the ability to come closer to him by doing what he says.
Our acts only become filthy when we reject God. Our goodness is like rags when they are wicked acts. But God tells us what is required and it is not the doctrine of Paul. God does not say that the ONLY or even the best way to come approach him is with blood. He never even says that a perfect blood sacrifice is what he wants.
How shall I approach God, to bow to the God of heaven? Shall I approach him with ascent offerings, with calves a year old? Does God find pleasure in thousands of rams, with a multitude of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my womb for the sin of my soul? It has been shown to you, oh man, what is good and what God requires of you …”
That’s Micah 6:6-8a. It’s what God is saying to any man. Does God require the death of God, or the death of a perfect man? Does Micah preach that a man can do nothing to approach God because man is but a sinner and God is so holy he can’t even look at sin? Does he preach the “altogether dirty” doctrine?
It’s been shown to you, O man, what is good and what God asks of you, if only to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
The simplicity of the Jewish Bible, the direct message of the prophets show Paul to be the deceiver he is.
Yet even up until today, people are repeatedly told what contradicts God’s foundational revelation and accept it as if God has said it. What a contemptuous doctrine Paul promulgated, one of his many sins against God!
A person earnestly prays “please, Jesus, come into my heart.” Who can refuse such innocence, the desire to reach out to one who is promised to understand, to save, to fulfil a deep need?
But after a number of years, a person can look back on that devotion and wonder why, wonder how he or she could have made such a mistake? How could such faith have been put in a man, a broken cistern, a lie? Having placed all their energy in a black hole that was believed to be a star, the victim is left hollow, angry and even casts a suspicious glare at God as the author of such confusion and delusion.
Although we can make decisions with the best intentions, when they are based on a need, rather than information, that is when pure irrefutable sincerity becomes the way that seems right to a person but the end is the ways of death.
Jesus seemed right to me. He was the answer I knew. I had given the lion’s share of my talent to his cause. But then information came. Study came. A deeper knowledge of and appreciation for God’s Law and the Jewish Bible came. The knowledge of God replaced faith in Jesus.
Israel was told not to believe in, but to know God. It was such knowledge that would protect them from idolatry and lies.
Just read the whole chapter of Deuteronomy 4 and see such statements as the following:
You have been shown, in order to know that the Lord He is God; there is none else besides Him. (v.35)
And you shall know this day and consider it in your heart, that the Lord He is God in heaven above, and upon the earth below; there is none else. (v.39)
By obeying God and knowing him that Israel would be kept safe and avoid lies, and also be an example to the peoples of the nations.
Lord, Who is my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods?” (Jeremiah 16:19,20)
Although the initial sincerity led to a deception, that of accepting Jesus as messiah and/or God, the devotion that can grow from it can also lead to the sort of attitude that causes one to delve into the Jewish Bible, thereby unlocking the potential for escape.
So although the initial sincerity can lead to the ways of death, accepting the fiction of Jesus as truth and idolatry, it can also be the gateway to finding out about God’s truth which leads one to abandon that fiction.
That’s the oddity in life: The same thing that imprisons you can end up being the key to setting you free.
So don’t be so hard on yourself if you come to realise that you went wrong and spent so long believing a lie. Sometimes humiliation must come before honour. Sometimes the humiliation is needed to make the honour more honourable. And sometimes, if you look closely, you may even see precious jewels when you look back on the “wrong” path, things you needed to go through in order to learn and to help someone else or even yourself.
Having to deal with frequent contact with christians and their things, I’ve noticed another common theme.
They keep talking about Jesus fulfilling the law, the law bring a curse, being under grace not law, yet there is a deep and far too common ignorance about what the law of God given Moses actually is and what it says.
I’ve quizzed christians to name four commandments in the law that are not in the Decalogue. I asked a whole church one time and they could barely come up with two. Not even two. Even the christian scriptures does a better job. This is not an isolated incident.
There is a reason why people accept the claims of the christian bible, that the death of a man can remove their sins and “sin nature,” and too many times, it’s not due to knowledge of what God has said before, but rather an utter ignorance of it.
It was almost inevitable that I was going to share one of these videos. I’m not a Muslim, but the way the lack of coherence and consistency in Jesus worship is highlighted by the Muslim’s questioning is too share-worthy.