Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 5

In Exo 3.2-6 we have something in this passage that mentions “the angel of the Lord.” Then later in the passage it says “the Lord saw”, “God called” and “he said.” This is all being said by the same individual. To understand passages like this, we need to understand the concept of the “Shaliach” or “agent” who speaks the words of God and is regarded as the Lord speaking himself.

In the book “The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion” by Werblowsky and Wigoder, there is an article called “Agent (Hebrew Shaliach).” You can also get this article on the internet. The article says, “The main point of the Jewish Law of Agency is expressed in the dictum ‘A person’d agent is regarded as the person himself (Negarim 72b; Kiddushin 41b). Therefore, any act committed by a duly appointed agent is regarded as having been committed by the principal, who therefore bears full responsibility for it with consequent complete absence of liability on the part of the agent.”

Two other examples of the “angel of the Lord” and God speaking can be found in Gen 18.1-33 where the three angels appear before Abraham. The other is Gen 22.11-18 where an angel (shaliach) is speaking for the Lord. In our passage in Exo 3.2-6, the “angel of the Lord” is an example of the Law of the Agent. Does the Lord have a body? No, he is spirit. When he sends a “messenger” (Hebrew “malak” or angel) to the people, they are “the angel of the Lord.” The angel is the “agent” and the Lord is the “principal.” In other words, the angel is the shaliach and is regarded as the Lord himself. That is why it says of this angel, “the Lord said” and so on.

It goes on to say “I am the God of your fathers” in verse 6. But, it is the angel of the Lord in the burning bush who is speaking (verse 2). Moses answers, “Here I am” which is a very common expression in the Scriptures. In Gen 22.1 God calls to Abraham and Abraham says, “Here I am.” In Hebrew, the expression is “Hineini.” Frequently when the Lord calls to us and gives us a task, we say “What do you want.” But there is a vast difference between “what do you want” and “here I am.” Hineini means “I am here to do whatever you ask of me.”

There is a caution to this because very often people believe that they have heard from God and they go out and act before they have confirmed that they have really heard from the Lord. If God is speaking to you, he wants you to know he is speaking to you and he will confirm that he is speaking, so don’t act rashly.

The Lord, through the angel of the Lord, says in Exo 3.5, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place you are standing is holy ground.” This is only the second time in the Torah the word “holy” (kodesh) is used. The first time was in Gen 2.3 when he sanctifies the Sabbath. Many times they translated the word “chasid” (pious) as “holy” in English. However, there is a difference between the two words and they do not have the same meaning. The words in Hebrew in Exo 3.5 is “adamat kodesh” or “holy ground.” So, at this point, we have Mount Sinai as “holy ground.” That is a point we must remember because it will be important later.

In Exo 3.7-8, we have the Lord saying he will deliver the people from Egypt, and he will bring them into the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perrizite, the Girgashite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. It will be a “land flowing with milk and honey.” This expression means a land that is uncultivated or devastated by war, or both (Isa 7.12-25). When you look at the names of these people, we will see they are the characteristics of all the people we will encounter when we “come into the land” of faith and Torah in our spiritual walk. SO, let’s look at these names.

The Canaanite (Merchant, trafficker) alludes to those who are in the faith for money, to sell their books, tapes and CD’s for money. They will join a congregation if they think they can use it as a platform to sell insurance or get you to invest with them. The Hittite (terror) are those who try to get you to fear spiritually. The Amorite (sayer/talker) are those who are all talk and no action. They volunteer but don’t do anything. The Perizzite (rustic squatter) are those who think they are born again but really aren’t. They are just there in a group, squatting, and involved somewhat, but don’t understand anything. The Girgashite (stranger drawing near) anre like the Perizzite, they are just around, filling seats, but they don’t understand anything and don’t really try. The Hivite (liver) and those who tell others about “life” but aren’t born again themselves. The Jebusite (trodden down) are those who trod down upon the good things of the Lord, and were against peace in Jerusalem.

God tells Moses that he is going to send Moses as a “shaliach” (sent one, and this where the concept of “apostle” comes from) to Pharaoh (Exo 3.9-10). He will bring the people of the Lord out of Egypt. Joseph was the “suffering servant” but Moses will be the “conquering king role in the First Redemption. Yeshua, will fulfill both roles in the Second Redemption.

We have gone over the Jewish Law of Agency previously, but there are a few other concepts associated with this word. The Hebrew word “Shaliach” is related to the word “Shiloach” in Isa 8.6 and John 9.7. The word also means “Sent.” In Exo 3.12-15, he tells Moses that he is going to send him by using the words “sent you” and Moses responds with “sent me” three times. Six times in this chapter the Lord says he is sending Moses to the people.

Now, let’s touch on a few more things in Exo 3.14 with the term “I am that I am” in English. We have gone over this verse before, but this needs to be brought out. In Hebrew it is “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh.” Ehyeh is the first person singular imperfect of “will be”, which is a first person derivative of YHVH. It is like the Lord saying, “My name is Ehyeh (I am). Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I am (ehyeh) has sent me to you.'” Now, the Hebrew word “hayah” means “existed” and is related to “ehyeh” as you can see. Asher can be “that”, “who”, “which” or “where” in Hebrew. So, this can mean “I will (ehyeh) be that I will be.” In other words, “I will be who I will be, I will be which I will be, I will be where I will be.” All of these are accurate (“The Greatest Truth Never Told”, goccuk321.blogspot, Internet; the article “I am that I am” in Wikipedia). In other words, he tells Moses that in the Egyptian Redemption he will be whatever, whichever, and wherever Moses needs him. He will be there.

Now, how does Yeshua often refer to himself? The most common expression is “I am the shaliach (sent one) from God”, so let’s look at some examples: John 3.17, 3.34, 4.34, 5.23, 5.24, 5.30, 5.36, 5.37, 5.38. John 6 is during Passover and he will be comparing himself to the shaliach of the First Redemption and Moses: John 6.29, 6.38, 6.39, 6.40, 6.44, 6.57). We have 15 references so far in John alone that Yeshua is the shaliach (agent) of God.

In the Hertz Pentateuch and Haftorahs on p. 214, we have a commentary on the expression “ehyeh asher ehyeh” in Exo 3.14. This relates to this concept of the “shaliach” or “sent one” in regards to Moses in the First Redemption. The commentary says, “I am that I am. Hebrew Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh-the self-existent and eternal God; a declaration of the unity and spirituality of the Divine Nature, the exact opposite of all forms of idolatry, human, animal, and celestial, that prevailed everywhere else. I am that I am is, however, not merely a philosophical phrase; the emphasis is on the active manifestation of the Divine existence’ the explanation of the Midrash. To the Israelites in bondage, the meaning would be, ‘Although he has not yet displayed his power towards you, he will do so; he is eternal and will certainly redeem you.’ Most moderns follow Rashi in rendering ‘I will be what I will be’; no words can sum up all that he will be to his people, but his everlasting faithfulness and unchanging mercy will more and more manifest themselves in the guidance of Israel. The answer which Moses receives in these words is thus equivalent to, ‘I shall save in the way that I shall save.’ It is to assure the Israelites of the fact of deliverance, but does not disclose the manner. It must suffice the Israelites to learn that ‘Ehyeh, I will be (with you), has sent me unto you.'”

The concept of the shaliach in the Book of John continues with the following: John 7.16, 18, 28, 32, 33; John 8: 8.16, 18, 26, 29, 42; John 9.4 and John 10.36; John 11.3, 42; John 12.44, 45, 49; John 13.20, 24; John 14.24; John 15.21; John 16.5; John 17.3, 18 and John 20.21. Now we have 40 direct references to Yeshua being the shaliach of God. That does not include the indirect references of derivatives of “sent.” The trick is to hear it the way the audience in the first century heard when he said, not the way we hear it today.

In Part 6, we will pick up here.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

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