Is it an Angel, or is it God?

There are any number of examples in the Bible, most of which are found in the Tanakh, where we read of an angel talking to someone, but then it suddenly seems to be God doing the talking.

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For example, in Judges 2:1-4:

“Now the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, ‘I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you…'”

Here we are told this is an angel, yet he is talking in the first person singular, as if he was God.

In other words, we are told this is an angel, but he is talking as if he were God; I say this because God made the covenant with the people and God brought them out of Egypt, and only God did the other things referenced in that passage.

So, was it really an angel, or was it God?

Often we hear Moses go from “The Lord says…” to “I have told you..”

So, even though we are told it is Moses speaking, is it really God?

And these are just a few examples- there are many others, too numerous to list, where we read that it was an angel speaking, but the angel speaks as if he is God.

So how can that be?

I think the answer is simple: angels are the messengers of God, so when they speak, it is no different than if it was God, himself, because they are repeating what God said they should say.

The prophets are in the same boat: they repeat what God says using the first person, singular, but they (obviously) aren’t God: what they are doing is quoting God.

When I was in the Marine Corps, I served as the Executive Officer for the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion Headquarters and Support Company. I was not the CO, I was the XO- that means I was 2nd in command. As such, when I was performing administrative duties, I often had to sign documents that were supposed to be authorized by the CO.

So, when I did that, I signed my name, and underneath my signature I wrote, “By direction of the Commanding Officer”, or sometimes I just wrote “By Dir”.

That meant that even though I was the one giving the order or signing the document, it was no different than if the CO, himself, did it.

This is, I believe, why we read about angels speaking as if they were God, but all they were doing was using their “By Dir” authority.

So don’t be confused- unless the Bible clearly says it is God (as in Genesis 18), when angels talk as if they are God, it is just an angel speaking “By Dir”.

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That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

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