In the Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion, we have a definition of “Agent” (Shaliach) and it says, “The main point of the Jewish law of agency is expressed in the dictum ‘A person’s agent is regarded as the person himself’ (Ned 72b; Kidd 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. A number of results stem from this basic premise. The agent must be of the same legal status and standing as the principal. The appointment of a minor, imbecile, or deaf mute as an agent is invalid, as is any appointment by them (Bava Kamma 6.4). Similarly, the death of the principal automatically voids the agency. Betrothal or divorce by proxy is affected by appointing the proxy as an agent. The agent is regarded as acting in his principal’s interest and not to his detriment, and in any dispute as to whether the agent exceeded the terms of his agency this consideration is taken into account. The only exception to the plenipotentiary powers of the agent within the terms of his agency is the rule that ‘One cannot be an agent for a transgression’ (Kidd 42b); the law of agency applies only to legal acts, and a person committing a crime as the agent of a principal is held responsible for his act.'” In other words, it also means that the agent can even be called by the name of the principal.
In our understanding of an “agent” we think about a person who represents a sports figure or an actor, but they are not looked at as the person they are representing. Nobody thinks that every word coming out of the agent’s mouth is the “word” of the player or actor. The agent has the power to negotiate deals, but that power was limited by the say-so of the one represented. However, in the Jewish concept of agent, Nehemiah had the full authority of the Persian king to accomplish his task. He was Jewish and his enemies did not like that.
The “angel of the Lord” is another example of this concept. Does God have a body? No, he is spirit. When he sends a “messenger” to speak for him to the people, they are called the “angel of the Lord.” In other words, the “shaliach or agent” of the Lord. Everything he says is seen as coming directly from God. Many times it will say “angel of the Lord” over and over again and then it will say “the Lord said.” Was there a voice out of heaven? No, the angel (messenger) is seen as the “agent” or “shaliach” of the Lord and what he says is what God says, no more, no less.
In an example found in Gen 22.11-18, we find the “angel of the Lord” speaking in the first person “I” and says “by myself I have seen, declares the Lord” and it goes on. In Josh 5.13 through 6.2 we have the “Captain of the Host” talking to Joshua and the passage says, “The Lord said.” The messenger’s of the Lord can be called “The Lord” because they are the “Agent, the Shaliach, the messenger, the apostle.” In another example, Gen 18.1-33 has the account of Abraham and the three angels. The three angels are the messengers of the Lord, the Shaliachim or “agents.” A person’s agent is regarded as the person who sent them (Gen 18.1). When you read these passages you will see the agent talking and it will say “and the Lord said.” That is a different understanding than most people have of an agent.
So, Moses is the “agent” or “shaliach” of the first redemption. When he speaks, it is not Moses speaking, but God through Moses. Here is where confusion comes in. When the angel of the Lord comes he is not God, but a “shaliach from God.” When he is called the “angel of the Lord” he is speaking the words that came from God. He is not speaking his owns words. This can be hard for people to understand. In our society, we view an agent as one who can express the “wishes” of the one he represents “in his own way.” He can inject his own personality and views into what he says, even his emotions.
However, that was not the way of the “shaliach” and how it was done in the Scriptures or in Israel. The people understood that the “angel of the Lord” was not the Lord, but the words he spoke were from the Lord. That is how they viewed Moses. His words were the words of the Lord. When did Moses get into trouble? In Num 20.8-12. Moses was to speak to the rock and water would come forth, but Moses did not do that. He got mad and started yelling at the people and struck the rock. He is acting as the “shaliach” and his actions and words were not the words of the Lord. At that point, he is not acting as the “shaliach.” When he went before Pharaoh, even if Aaron was speaking, these were the words of the Lord. That’s what a shaliach in the scriptures really is. Yeshua was a “shaliach” who spoke the words of God in his role as the Messiah.
The “apostles” were “shaliachim” and they were sent out, but they were not speaking the words of the Lord unless they were under the direction of the Ruach ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit). There are many examples of Moses being sent (Exo 4.28, 5.22, 7.6; Num 16.28-29, 20.16; Deut 34.10-11). So, we see from the Torah that Moses was the sent one from the Lord. All the signs and wonders were done by God through Moses to back up what Moses had said because they were the words of God himself. In Exo 7.16 it says, “Let my people go (“send my people out” literally) that they may serve me.” The Lord will show them how to “serve” him over the next 40 years.
From the Gospels we learn what Yeshua said about himself, who he was and what he was doing there (Matt 10.40, 15.24; Mark 9.37; Luke 4.18, 4.43, 9.48, 10.16; John 3.34, 4.34, 5.23-24, 5.30, 5.36-38, 6.38-39, 6.44, 6.57). In John 5.1 it says there was a festival and he says six times he was sent by God. In John 6.4 it says the Passover was at hand, another festival, and four times he says he was sent by God. He does the signs of Moses in this chapter by feeding the people in the wilderness, and he showed dominion over the water like Moses. This is alluded to in Gen 1.2.
In John 7.1-2 it is the festival of Sukkot, another festival. Five times he says God sent him in this chapter (7.16,18,28-29,33). In John 8 we are at Shemini Atzeret, the eighth day of Sukkot. We have five references in this chapter (8.16,18,26,29,42). In John 9.4, no festival is mentioned, but he again says God sent him. In John 10.36, Yeshua says that God sent him and the people thought he blasphemed when he said he was the “Son of God.” This term means “a king” and it is based on Psa 2.7, which was read at the coronation of a Judean king. Who was the first shaliach? It was Adam, and there was nobody he answered to except the Lord, much like Joseph in Egypt to Pharaoh. He was the shaliach of God till he sins. In Luke 3.38 Adam is called the “son of God.” He was the first man, ruler of the earth as king. Kings were the “sons of God” (1 Chr 28.5-6). Yeshua was the “Son of God” (John 1.49). Angels were called “sons of God” (Job 1.6). Believers are called “sons of God” (Rom 8.14; Hos 1.10).
In any case, Adam was called the “son of God” and Yeshua was as the “second Adam.” In the Gospels and Epistles, when we see Yeshua as the Son of God, some picture this little baby as the “son” of God. But, he was seen as “King Messiah” by the Jewish people. In John 1.49, Nathanael says, “You are the Son of God, you are the king of Israel” in what is called a Hebrew parallelism. In John 12.49, we have what Yeshua is to say and speak as the shaliach. In John 13.16 we have Yeshua saying that the shaliach is not greater than the one who sent him. Other verses where Yeshua is the shaliach are: John 13.20, 14.24, 15.21, 17.3,8,18,21,23,25, 20.21. In Acts 3.26, Peter says Yeshua was sent by God to bless the people. Gal 4.4 and 1 John 4.9-10,14 says that Yeshua was “sent” also.
As we can see, Yeshua definitely claimed to be the shaliach of God over and over again. He is called this more than he is called the Messiah. But, we have to understand the Law of the Agent and how what he says would be received and heard by the people. We have a similarity, therefore, between Moses in the first redemption and Yeshua in the second redemption. Could we say they were “equals?” No, Yeshua will be much greater than Moses, and the Messianic Redemption will be greater than the Egyptian Redemption. But, we do have a “pattern” that is happening.
In Part 9, we will pick up here and start with the goal of the Egyptian Redemption and how that relates to the goal of the Messianic Redemption