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Study 1 Picture Study 10: Angels and Israel
10-1 Angels and Israel || 10-2 The Angel Michael || 10-3 Angels At The Exodus || 10-4 "The Angel of His presence" || 10-5 The Angel In The Temple || 10-6 The Sar ha-olam || 10-7 Angels And Assyrians


10-1 Angels And Israel

The Angels are especially sensitive to affairs relating to Israel. The Angel-eyes of the Lord are ever upon the land of Israel. God likens those who oppress Israel to someone touching His eyeball ("the apple of Mine eye", Zech. 2:8). The Angels as God's eyes are thus very sensitive to Israel's natural and spiritual state. The reason for this especial emphasis on the Angels' care of Israel is twofold; firstly to show what great involvement they have in the affairs of the new Israel, and secondly to teach us how we may watch over mortals in the Millenium and perhaps beyond, when we take over the Angels' role.

"The vineyard of the Lord of Hosts (Angels) is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant: and He looked for judgement but behold oppression" (Is. 5:7). God looking for judgement implies the use of His eyes- the Angels. In passing, it seems worth querying whether this verse indicates Angelic preference for Judah as opposed to Israel, as if they were a favourite plant of the Angel husbandmen. How do we feel at the idea of Angelic preference being shown according to our spirituality?

Further evidence of the strong connection between Angels and Israel is found in the Asaph Psalms, especially 73-83. They are full of Angelic language, and seem to go through the history of Israel from Egypt to the captivity with reference to the Angels' work. Mal. 1:9 indicates that the Angels even associate themselves with Israel's sins, such is their closeness to them: "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts (Angels). . Beseech God that He will be gracious unto us". Dt. 33:2,3 RVmg. bring out the solidarity between the Angels and Israel by describing them both as thousands of saints / holy ones.

It seems to me that God's intention was that His people Israel were to develop their nation into the world-wide Kingdom of God on earth- a calling they miserably failed to achieve in the past, even though the prophets speak of the wonderful way it will come true in the future. Their territory would have literally been "to the ends of the earth"- and perhaps that's why there's the ambiguity in the Hebrew word eretz, which can mean both 'the land / earth' of Israel, and the whole planet earth. Further, the 70 Jewish elders appointed in Ex. 24:9-11were what the New Testament letter to the Hebrews calls a reflection of the things of Heaven on earth- for there were 70 Gentile nations within the eretz / land promised to Abraham (tabulated in Genesis 10), and I suggest that these 70 elders were intended to ultimately rule over them. This would explain the enigmatic Dt. 32:8, which speaks of the boundaries / differentiation of the Gentile nations being set according to "the sons of Israel", or (LXX) "the Angels of God". Putting the evidence together, it would seem that there were 70 Gentile nations in the eretz / land, represented in Heaven by 70 Angels, who in turn were represented on earth by the 70 elders of Israel. It was God's intention that His people should rule over the nations- and yet they as it were marred the reflection of what was in Heaven, the pattern of things in Heaven became ignored. And yet the day is yet to come when men will eagerly take hold of the skirts of a Jew and go with him to worship the true God. From all this I see yet again all the potentials God has made possible for us in our age... and how, despite the fact He may foreknow that we'll waste them, He still sets up those potential possibilities for us. We are too are chosen to be king-priests over this world (Rev. 5:10), we too have a representative Angel in Heaven beholding God's face... yes, you, and me. We have an Angel there. It's for us to go ahead and reflect the pattern of Heaven here on earth.

The Promises

The promises which form the basis of the "hope of Israel" were made by Angels- many of them were given in visions, which were strongly associated with Angels. Thus the Lord "brought (Abraham) forth abroad and said, Look now toward Heaven, and tell the stars. . . (after a silent pause) So shall thy seed be. . . I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land" (Gen. 15:5-7). It must have been an Angel that led Abraham out of his tent to a suitable spot and made those promises. The Angel which brought Israel out of Egypt to the land promised to Abraham is frequently described as bringing Israel out of Egypt to give them the land  in similar  language to which the 'Lord' in Gen. 15 speaks of giving Abraham the land. Gen. 17:3 says that "Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him", making the promises. Men often fell on their faces in the presence of Angels, and God talking with Abraham seems similar to the Angel talking face to face with Moses later. In Gen. 18:1 "the Lord appeared" to Abraham regarding the future of Sodom in the form of an Angel, we are told later in the chapter. The same phrase "the Lord appeared" is also used to introduce the giving of the promises to Abraham in Gen. 17:1. Even clearer, "the Angel of the Lord. . . said. . . in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of Heaven" (Gen. 22:15-17). The Angel that appeared to Moses in the bush said that He was the God of the patriarchs who had appeared to them and "established My covenant with them. . . I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham. . . " (Ex. 3:2-9 cp. 6:2-8). Similarly the Angel that made the promises to Abraham could say to Hagar "I will multiply thy seed (as well). . that it shall not be numbered for multitude" (Gen. 16:10).

The lead up to the promises to David is full of Angelic hints, as if it was an Angel who made the promise:

2 Sam. 7:2: "I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God (i. e. God) dwelleth within curtains"- it was the Angel who dwelt over the ark and in the tabernacle (see later).

v. 6 "I have . . . walked in a tent and in a tabernacle"- the Angel "walked" in the sense that the Israelites physically walked, carrying the tent and tabernacle on their shoulders, with the associated Angelic presence in them.

"I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt"- the Angel did this.

v. 8 "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts"-Angels

v. 9 "I took thee from the sheepfolds. . . I was with thee withersoever thou wentest"- Angelic care of David, His physical presence  through the Angel being very closely with David.

v. 10 "I will. . . plant. . . My people Israel"- the Angel planted Israel as a vine (Ps. 80:8; a Psalm which has many Angelic references).

Verses 12-14 go on to make the promise to David. David's response was to praise "The Lord of Hosts. . the God of Israel" (2 Sam. 7:26), both of which are Angelic titles, as if David felt that the  Angels  had  given him the promises.