lsayre wrote: ↑
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:28 am
It seems that there is another (an angel) to whom the name above all names has previously been bestowed:
“Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him.
“But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
“When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces. You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you.
I find it interesting that this angel is to be the Lord and God of the Hebrews, as instructed by the God who has placed his name within this angel. The Hebrew God is therefore an angel. Is he also Joshua?
This passage is interesting, but I think the angel is an angel and not God and not Joshua. But I think you may be very right in bringing up this passage, and there may be a connection seen by the Christian/Jewish interpreters with Joshua and with the Phil. Hymn, IMO.
The Israelites definately get all kinds of angelic help throughout the whole exodus-story (something that was apparantly amplified in Jewish tradition; also Mark 1:13c) and this angel here apparantly has something special about him. I don't think the angel refers to God himself, because even though an angel might be helping the Israelites in their conquest (under Joshua) of Canaan, that doesn't mean automatically that it is also this figure that they must worship. It can be an angel that helps with the conquest and still be God that is to be worshipped.
There is the whole issue here in the Book of Exodus of whether or not God is actually going to travel along with the Israelites into the promised land, being with them, among them, with his blessing presence. The issue is part of the whole conflict between God and the hard-hearted Israelites in the desert, when they continually question God and 'put him to the test' and question whether "God is with us?" (the 'immanuel' motif). And it is taken up explicitly after Moses' first revelation on Mt. Sinai in the Golden Calf episode (Ex 32:1-29), where God says to Moses afterwards in his infinite mercy, 'ok ok, I'm not gonna kill off Israel, I'll just smite them with some good plague, but I'm not gonna go with them now, but I'll send my angel in front of them when you bring them to the land' (32:30-33:6). Eventually Moses convinces him to go with them anyway, so that his "presence" will be with Israel, and this happens after the very peculiar epiphany where Moses has a close encounter with God where two things happen:
1) God's "presence", i.e. Hebrew "face", comes before Moses and passes by Moses; but Moses must not see it (for then he will die).
2) God pronounces his "name" before Moses as he passes by him; Moses apparantly hears God pronouncing his own name.
After that episode everything is fine and well again and God says he will travel along with Israel into the promised land (despite the Golden Calf failure). God being with the Israelites is formulated as "his presence" being with them, i.e. in Hebrew "his face" being with them. After his encounter Moses receives the Law anew in the cloud on the mountain with God's glory (Ex 34:10-28) and he comes down from Sinai with his face(!) shining. I can't help but think that this shining face of Moses' is meant to represent the fact that God is now with Israel - that they can't see God's face, but they can see the glory of his face reflected in the face of Moses. And the reason Moses' face reflects God's glory is not because Moses has seen God's face, because he hasn't, but because God transferred his "presence", the glory of his face, to Moses by pronouncing the name before Moses in that epiphany. So that it is the power of the name that transfers the glory of God to Moses and confers his authority upon Moses.
So God will be with Israel through his name, and this is why the angel spoken of in Ex 23 has God's name "in him". But when the Israelites then make the Golden Calf God will not go with them himself after all, which means, then, that he will send an angel (Ex 33:2), but his name will not be in the angel, as he had promised at first. It is only after Moses' face/name-epiphany that God decides anew to go with Israel himself, i.e. also in the form of his name which holds his power. And that power, the power of God's name, is understood to be visible in the glory reflected in the face of Moses who had heard God pronounce the name when he made his "presence"/"face" pass by Moses. So that God's "presence" among Israel is intimately connected with God's "name", and his "presence" is visible in the "face" of Moses.
Now, when Jesus is transfigured at the mountain and the voice of the cloud proclaims that "this is my son! Hear him!" this is most likely a reference to Deut 18:15-18, "the Prophet" that God will raise up from among the Israelites. In the context of Deut 18 it refers to Joshua, who "speaks in my name" (Deut 18:19). Also the Transfiguration has Jesus change into shining form, which is arguably both a reference to Jesus' resurrected and exalted state of being as well as a reference to Moses' shining face after he had been in the cloud and heard the name of God. Also, the two persons present with Jesus, Elijah and Moses, are the two persons that have been on the mountain of God in the presence of God, for Elijah has his own parallel experience to Moses, where God "passes by him" (1 Kings 19:1-18). (For the same reason I think it can be argued that Mark 6:45-52 is to be understood as a foreshadowing of the resurrection appearance, cf. Jesus wanting to "pass by", 6:48.)
Just like in Phil 2:9-11 the Transfiguration shows Jesus' exaltation where he has God's authority (cf. also Matt 28:16-20). At the Transfiguration the motif with God's presence with Moses and Elijah at Mt. Sinai/Horeb is used. In the Phil. Hymn the motif of God's 'name' as his power and authority is used, but isn't it all connected?
1. The story of Moses on the mountain in Ex 24/33-34 was understood as showing God, despite the scandal of the Golden Calf that almost ended the whole adventure, being present among the Israelites by his authority and power, mediated by his 'name', which is in the helping angel (Ex 23:20-25; 33:2; etc.) but also physically visible by God's glory reflected in the face of Moses (who talks to God 'face to face').
2. So, the motif of Moses' shining face was understood in connection with God's "name" being among the Israelites, i.e. his authority conferred upon Moses (as well as the angel), when he "passed by" Moses.
3. Jesus' shining appearance on the mountain also points to his authority from God, who says from the cloud "Hear him!" in reference to the promised prophet of Deut 18:15 ("Hear him") who will "speak in my name" (Deut 18:19). The exalted shining Jesus on the mountain is to be understood as Jesus having received the authority that is in God's name.
4. The Phil. Hymn says that "God endowed him with the name that is above every name". This can now be understood within the same conceptual frame as the Transfiguration: The Jesus who shines with God's 'glory' like Moses' face, has received the authority of God which is in his name, in the same way as Moses, and so now God says "hear him!" because he now speaks in God's name.