Monday, January 05, 2015

Who was the Interceding Angel?

“O Jehovah of armies, how long will you withhold your mercy?!”

The account in Zechariah 1:12-13 presents us with “the angel of Jehovah” beseeching Jehovah as an intercessor for His people. By his words he is clearly anxious and expressing keen desperation![1] This does not go unnoticed by God, for he then consoles this angel with ‘pleasant and compassionate’ words. (The angel then relays Jehovah’s comforting message to Zechariah in verses 14-17.)

The reader could simply use this account as a lesson in God answering a righteous plea for help with warm compassion—and that is a fine application. However the human mind may also want to know if this angel can be identified with anyone else in the Bible.

Ironically, even though Trinitarians may be resistant to identify Jesus Christ as an angel, in the sense of being a heavenly messenger, or as the archangel Michael, a number of Trinitarians have identified this “angel of Jehovah” as none other than Jesus Christ in his pre-human existence, or “pre-incarnate” existence in imprecise[2] Trinitarian jargon. By saying this though, they must overlook the rather obvious fact that their pre-incarnate Christ didn’t have the benefit of his weak and ignorant human nature. If their incarnate Jesus was nescient about his Father’s will and distressed due to his human nature, as is usually argued, then why is it that their pre-incarnate Christ was the same (nescient about his Father’s will and distressed) without his human nature?

The Nelson Study Bible has this comment:
“The prophet overhears a conversation between the Angel of the LORD and God. This may be a conversation between the pre-incarnate Jesus and the first Person of the Trinity, God the Father (see Ps. 110). It is certainly an allusion to Jesus’ role as Intercessor. As the author of Hebrews states, Jesus lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25) at the right hand of the Father.”
The KJV Bible Commentary (p. 1797) says:
“This verse records a most wonderful truth—the intercession of the angel of the LORD (the Second Person of the Trinity) with the LORD of hosts (the First Person of the Trinity) on behalf of His people, Israel!”
The Keil and Delitzsch commentary claims:
“The circumstance that the angel of Jehovah addresses an intercessory prayer to Jehovah on behalf of Judah, is no more a disproof of his essential unity with Jehovah, than the intercessory prayer of Christ in John 17 is a disproof of His divinity.”
How interesting it is that the Trinitarian scholars responsible for these comments overlooked the obvious problem of how their pre-incarnate Second Person of the Trinitarian Godhead was ignorant of the modus operandi of the First Person of the Trinitarian Godhead and needed comforting from Him. This is problematic since the persons of the Trinitarian Godhead are clearly supposed to be all equal in knowledge and power! (Saying in response that Jesus was prophetically imitating his incarnate life reeks of ad hoc, of making things up as you go along to get out of a tough spot.) Trinitarianism further claims that later during the incarnation Jesus needed comforting from angels due to his weak human nature even though in reality he never ceased being their Second Person of the Trinity and could have comforted his own human nature infinitely more than an angel.

Luke 22:43

Therefore, intellectually sober people can clearly see that Trinitarianism has painted itself into a corner over the identity of this angel due to its illogical and convoluted explanations.

Lastly, if this “angel of Jehovah” is the pre-human Christ, then there is a documented case that he was nescient about his Father’s will and distressed, as well as documenting an expression of Jehovah’s love and care for him.

[1] Regarding his reference to the 70-year desolation, the Keil and Delitzsch commentary explains:
“The words, “over which Thou hast now been angry for seventy years,” do not imply that the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity predicted by Jeremiah (Jer 25:11 and Jer 29:10) were only just drawing to a close. They had already expired in the first year of the reign of Cyrus (2Ch 36:22; Ezr 1:1).”
The first regnal year of Cyrus was 538-7 BCE.

[2] “Imprecise” as incarnations are materializations which by definition are not born like Jesus was, from Mary (Galatians 4:4). Defenders of the incarnation draw attention to the expression at John 1:14: “resided [Greek skayno-o, literally, “tented”] among us,” and claim this shows Jesus was, not a true human, but an incarnation. However, the apostle Peter used a similar expression about himself, and Peter was obviously not an incarnation. (2 Peter 1:13, 14) The bottom line is that people who are born, like Jesus was, cannot by definition be incarnations.

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