CHAPTER 11: ANGELS AND THE RESTORATION
11-1 Angels In Jeremiah
There is much reference to Angelic language in the prophecies of
Israel's return from captivity in Babylon, which also points forward
to the part Angels play in the present and future regathering of
Israel. It is significant that Ezra and Nehemiah speak of the "God
of Heaven" whilst Zechariah speaks of the "God of the earth" or
'land' of Israel, perhaps because the Angel of Israel literally
went to Heaven when the glory departed from Jerusalem, and returned,
in a sense, at the restoration- to depart again at Christ's
death ("Your house is left unto you desolate"; of the Angel that
once dwelt in the temple). "I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your land" (Mal. 3:11) sounds as if there was an Angel called "the devourer" at the time of the restoration, as there was one called "the destroyer" at the Exodus. He was given command to destroy Judah's harvests due to their lack of commitment to God's house; yet He could be rebuked or restrained by God, implying the Angel focused on fulfilling what He was told to do without taking into account any other factors- until God overrode or restrained Him.
The following commentary on the relevant passages highlights the
main uses of Angelic language and the implications that follow.
The latter day application of Jeremiah and Ezekiel have possibly
been emphasized to the neglect of their primary reference to the
Babylonian captivity and restoration. This is no doubt due to a
(correct) reaction against the critical school of thought which
assigns a vague primary application to much Bible prophecy and then
proceeds to mutilate the text.
23:3 "I will gather the remnant of My flock"- the Angel of Israel
is likened to a shepherd in Ps. 80:1; Is. 63:9-11 etc.
v. 4 "I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them"-
rulers who would genuinely care for Israel like the master
shepherd, the Angel, did. Jeremiah was frequently moved to lament
the false shepherds of Israel, which is understandable if the
Angel shepherd of Israel inspired Jeremiah. He would have been
deeply hurt at his flock being left to ruin by those to whom He
had delegated His shepherding role (cp. how in Is. 63:9-11 both
the Angel and Moses appear to be the shepherd that led Israel).
v. 5 "I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and a king
shall reign and prosper". Zech. 6:12 interprets this as a reference
to Zerubbabel: "the man whose name is the branch. . . shall
build the temple of the Lord". Zerubbabel being
a king-priest was in the kingly line, and thus can correctly be
called a king in the line of David (Matt. 1:12; Lk. 3:7; 'Sheshbazzar'
of Ezra 1:8 is the Babylonian equivalent of 'Zerubbabel'; Ezra
3:8 describes his brothers as "priests and Levites"). Great prince
Nehemiah humbly entered Jerusalem incognito on an ass (Neh. 2:11-15)-
it is a wild speculation that Zerubbabel did the same, and thus
provided a primary basis for Zech. 9:9 "Thy king cometh unto thee
(also unrecognized, in the case of Jesus entering spiritually
ruined Jerusalem). . . lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon
a colt the foal of an ass".
v. 7,8 "They shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought
up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord
liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of
Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither
I had driven them" (primarily fulfilled by the Babylonian policy
of scattering their captives among other nations they conquered-
hence the existence of the Samaritans in Israel). The Angel brought
Israel out of Egypt- and was also responsible for their regathering
v. 11 The Babylonian captivity was to be because "in My house
have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord". The Angel that
dwelt in the temple could call it "My house".
v. 14 "They are all of them unto Me as Sodom, and the inhabitants
thereof as Gomorrah"- both of whom were visited and destroyed
by Angels. Similarly the Angels would bring judgement on Jerusalem
v. 15,16 "The Lord of Hosts "(Angels). This title of God is common
in these prophecies.
v. 1 "Two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord";
one representing the apostate Jews who remained in the land, and
the other those who went to Babylon and later revived spiritually.
We have seen that an Angel dwelt literally in the temple. This
vision of two groups of Jews standing before an Angel is probably
the basis of the vision of Zech. 3, where Joshua and the Jews
eager to rebuild Jerusalem stand before the Angel, with
the satan standing there too. 'Satan' is often associated with
apostate Jews in the New Testament.
v. 5 "The God of Israel" (Jacob)- Angelic language.
v. 6 "I will set Mine eyes (Angels) upon them for good"
v. 7 "I will give them an heart to know Me"- the Angels acting
directly on a man's heart.
v. 10 "The land that I gave unto them and to their fathers"-
done by the Angel.
v. 11 "This whole land shall be a desolation". The Angels of
Zech. 1:11 reported that "all the earth (land- of Israel) sitteth
still and is at rest" (cp. also Jer. 30:10), indicating that they
were responsible for the state of the land.
This chapter stresses the Angelic title "Lord of Hosts" (v. 8,17,21,25)
v. 10 "I will visit you" (God manifestation through the Angels)
"after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon". Notice the further
similarity with the visiting of the Jews by the Angel at the Exodus.
The use of Exodus language in both Isaiah and the other prophets
regarding the return from captivity creates a link between them
and Isaiah. This means that Isaiah has a dual application to both
Hezekiah's time and also the restoration (how else can the Cyrus
passages be satisfactorily understood?). For more evidence of this,
see the appendix.
The similarity of language makes the equation look like:
Angel visiting Israel in Egypt= Angel saving Judah from Assyria
in Hezekiah's time= Angel saving Judah from the Babylonian captivity.
v. 12 "Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto
Me, and I will hearken unto you"- prayer to God manifest in the
v. 14 "I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the
places, whither I have driven you, saith the Lord: and I will
bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried
away captive". All this was the work of the Angel.
v. 19 "They have not hearkened to My words, saith the Lord, which
I sent unto them by My servants the prophets"- Angels inspiring
the word of God.
v. 28 "Like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to
break down, and to throw down, and
to destroy, and to afflict, so will I watch over them, to
build, and to plant, saith the Lord".
The interpretation of Jer. 1:11 in 'Angels and the word of God'
in Chapter 8 shows that the watchers here are Angels.
v. 31 "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and
with the house of Judah". Will the future covenant with Israel
be made through Angels? Or is this regarding the new covenant
that the Angels arranged in Christ? See 'Angels and the end of
the Law' in Chapter 12 for details of how separate groups of Angels
instituted both the Law and Christian dispensation.
v. 32 "Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers
in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the
land of Egypt". This covenant was given by the Angel at Sinai.
"Which My covenant they break; and should I (therefore) have continued
an husband unto them?" (AVmg. ). This associates the Angel with
marrying Israel, and would explain the passages in Ez. 16,20 and
elsewhere which speak of God falling in love with Israel and being
flattered by their love. The implication in these passages is
that God made an emotional decision in 'proposing' to Israel at
Sinai. Such language is far better suited to Angels than to God
Himself. The Angel here in v. 32 seems to be saying that His divorcing
Israel would be justified- and as we see later in Hosea, God did
divorce Israel. This contradicts- apparently- God's personal abhorrence
of divorce. The situation appears less contradictory if it is
recognized that the Angels actually divorced Israel, with God
looking on and accepting the reason for the Angel's action. Mal.
2:14 brings this out: "The Lord hath been witness between thee
and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously:
yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant". This
"wife of thy youth" cannot be God Himself- seeing that He is witnessing
between Israel and this other party. It is fitting if she therefore
represents the Angel, whom Israel married in her national youth
at Sinai, where the Angel made the covenant with Israel to constitute
Himself "the wife of thy covenant". It should be remembered that
Malachi was prophesying in the same context of the restoration
as Jeremiah. The Jeremiah passage shows that just before the captivity
God, manifest in the Angel, considered divorcing them, and He
thought similarly after the restoration too, according to Malachi.
"The God of Israel. . . the Lord of Hosts (Angelic titles) saith
that if He hate here, put her away" (AV: "The Lord hateth putting
away". The ambiguity here seems designed)). This is the same idea
as Jer. 31:32- the Angel saying He would be justified in divorcing
Israel, although He did not want to.
v. 33 "I will put My Law in their inward parts". The Law was
given by Angels; again, notice the action of Angels on the human
heart. The word is soon to be placed in Israel's stony hearts-
and the power of the Spirit Angels will be operative in this.
". . and will be their God". The Angel will still be "the God of
Israel" in the Kingdom; or will He be replaced by Christ?
v. 36 "If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord,
then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before
Me for ever"- the Angel of Israel will always preserve them.