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the angel of Jehovah. "And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto him (Moses) in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush." In Judges 2: 1, it is said, "And an angel of Jehovah came up from Gilgal to Bochim and said (to the people) I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you into the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you, * * but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?" It is perfectly obvious that this angel of Jehovah is the same Being who announced Himself to Moses as the God of their father's, the I AM, JEHOVAH, and God Almighty, as we have before seen. His being called Jehovah's angel or messenger, does not weaken the evidence of his being the I AM, as He declared He was; for, the doctrine of the trinity being true, (and our author has no right to assume that it is false) it is perfectly competent for the Father to send the second person of that Trinity as his messenger or angel.
Who then is this messenger of Jehovah and yet Jehovah Himself? Christ, we answer most surely. Who is the great messenger of God to a lost world but Christ? He was ordained such before the world was put upon its foundations. He abundantly declared that He was God's messenger to the world, whose will He came to do. In Mal. 3: 1, Christ is called the messenger of the Covenant. In Isa. 63, He is called also the angel of God's presence. Jacob, in blessing Joseph, Gen. 48: 16, calls his redeemer from all evil" the angel;" and this same angel he calls the God of his father Abraham and Isaac, the God who had fed him through his whole life.
Again, Paul in sketching the travels of the Israelites under their Almighty Leader from Egypt to Canaan, says, 1 Cor. 10, "For they drank of that Spiritual Rock that accompa nied (akoloutheses) them: and that Rock was Christ." There is no Being in the history known by the name of Christ, but the Being who delivered, accompanied and sustained them was JEHOVAH, I AM, ELOHEIM, &c. He gave them spiritual food, and caused the rock to give forth waters to slacken their thirst; and this rock and water Paul recognizes as a type of their great Leader: and surely, by Christ in his epistle he can mean no one but that JEHOVAH who was their Leader and guide through the wilderness. He further says in this same connection, "Neither let us tempt Christ as some.of them also tempted and were destroyed of serpents." We un derstand the apostle to mean that the Israelites tempted Christ,
and were for this destroyed of serpents. But it was their great Leader whom they tempted, and he sent his judgments upon them. Thus does Paul plainly identify the Jehovah of the Old Testament with the Lord Jesus Christ of the New..
Again, Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews, speaking of Moses as the human leader in the Exodus of the Israelites, says, that he "chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt." But who was the Christ known to Moses, and whose reproach he preferred to the treasures and honors of Egypt? Plainly it was no other than the same JEHOVAH Who called him and appointed him to go in before Pharaoh and bring out his people from bondage. It was for Him he forsook the treasures and honors of Egypt. For Him alone he suffered reproach. The JEHOVAH of the Old Testament was, then, the pre-existent Christ of the New.
This is not a new opinion. Justin Martyr asserts that it was Christ who appeared to Moses in the bush, and who also appeared to Abraham under the oak of Mamre, and that the person there called JEHOVAH was no other than Christ.
Irenæus also says, Christ spoke to Moses in the bush, and afterwards refuted the doctrine of the Sadducees concerning the resurrection of the dead.
Tertullian declares that it was the Son of God who spoke to Moses, and that no other God conversed with men, beside the Word who was afterward to be made flesh.
Our author objects that Christ's being called God, Jehovah, &c., no more proves that he is really so, than the fact that he is called angel, proves that he is an angel.
If the objection has any force, we reply that Christ was an angel in the very sense intended. He was a messenger; and this is the meaning of the word when applied to him. It is no more used to describe his nature, than the names “sun,” “shield," "rock," &c., are so used. Not so with the names I AM, JEHOVAH. They evidently designate his nature, and not some office or relation which he may sustain in the universe.
We think we have again identified the supreme God of the Bible, and the Lord Jesus Christ, as the same essential being.
Our author's mode of evading this point of our argument, we scarcely deem worthy of notice. We are sure it will
greatly amaze our readers. He maintains that the being who revealed himself to Moses was but the representative of God! There is everything in the circumstances to forbid such a supposition. Mark how simple and straightforward their conversation with each other. It is infinitely important for Moses to know who is addressing him. He asks who he is, not whom he represents, that he may tell the people. He puts the direct question. The answer is equally direct-I AM THAT I AM, the I AM, the God of the fathers, thrice repeated. The speaker also takes to himself the more sacred, and as yet unrevealed name of JEHOVAH. There is no intimation that he is the representative of God, in the whole passage.
The author quotes the expression, "No man hath seen God at any time," to fortify his objection. We know not that Moses saw the being who spoke to him, in the sense in which it is said that no man hath seen God. Paul says that Moses "endured as seeing him who is invisible." The eye of faith sees objects which are invisible to the natural eye. But it seems absurd to quote this passage in the absolute sense, since God told Moses on another occasion, that he should see his back parts, or in other words, as much as he could endure to see and live; and since Isaiah says, “Mine eyes have seen the King, the JEHOVAH of Hosts." The passage can only mean, that no man has seen God in the fullness of his glory. This is implied in what God says to Moses, "Thou canst not see my face, [that is, see me in my full glory,] for there shall no man see me [in this sense] and live." Moses was obliged to go into the cleft rock in order to see a small part of God's glory.
If the I AM, JEHOVAH, who revealed himself to Moses, was but a representative of God, it is easy to prove that there is no God in the Universe. There is not even a representative of God, for there is no God to be represented. This God of Moses it is declared in Deut. iv, 35, is the God beside whom there is none else.
III. But, again, we are not done with our proof on this subject. Isaiah xliv, 6. "Thus saith JEHOVAH, the King of Israel, and his [Israel's] Redeemer, JEHOVAH of Host, I am the first and I am the last, and beside me there is no God." Deut. iv, 35. "Unto thee it was showed that thou mightest know that JEHOVAH he is God, there is none else beside him. Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he showed thee
his great fire; and thou heardest his voice out of the midst of the fire. And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought them out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt. *** Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that JEHOVAH he is God, in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else." Isaiah xlv, 5, 6. "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is no God beside me: I am the LORD, and there is none else." Verse 12: "I have made the earth, and created man upon it. I, even my hands have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded." Verse 18: "For thus saith the LORD, that created the heavens, God himself that formed the earth and made it, he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited; I am the LORD, and there is none else." Verse 21: There is no God else beside me, a just God and a Savior: there is none else beside me." Verse 22: "Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else." Verse 23: "I have sworn by myself, the word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." Chap. xliii, 11. "I, even I, am the LORD; beside me there is no Savior." Verse 15: "I am the LORD, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King." Verse 16: "Thus saith the LORD, that maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters.'
In all these passages, some being, and it must be the same one in all, declares himself, some twelve or fourteen times, in the most unequivocal language, to be the one only existing God of the universe. This being, all will agree, must be the supreme God of the universe. Even our author allows that this being is not the "representative" of God, but the true God himself. He quotes this class of passages in proof of the existence of but one God. There can be but one being in the universe, to whom the characteristics which this "one God" gives himself, can possibly apply with truth. It is the especial object of the passages, to distinguish between the one true God, and all false gods; to state those things which distinguish the true JEHOVAH. The very supposition of there existing another being to whom these passages could with truth apply, would involve a contradiction of the passages. There would be another God else beside this one. No one
but he can say truthfully, "I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is none else."
But who, now, is this being, who makes these affirmations of himself in the passages quoted? Is it Christ? That it was the subsequently incarnate Savior, we have not a shade of doubt. And if this is so, then Christ is the supreme God of the Universe.
A mere glance at the characteristics which this one God ascribes to himself, at once identifies him as the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is the "King of Israel." Isaiah, in his vision, saw the King, the LORD of Hosts, and the evangelist plainly teaches that it was Christ whom he saw. When Nathaniel first saw Christ, he said, "Thou art the King of Israel." When the people sung "Hosanna," at his entering into Jerusalem, they said "Blessed is the King of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord," and the evangelist makes this ceremony of riding into the city of Zion, a fulfillment of that prophecy which says, "Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt."
Again, He was the first and the last. In Rev. i, 8, 11, 17, says Christ, to the revelator, "I am alpha and omega, the beginning and the ending." 11th, "I am alpha and omega, the first and the last." 17th, "Fear not, I am the first and the last." Our author's remark on these texts is so very amusing, that we must notice it. "And shall we infer from this that he was the very first being that ever existed? If we do, we must infer that he will be the last being that will exist, and if that should be the case, then there will be a time when every being in the universe but Christ will be out of existence. But whatever it may mean, it will not prove him to be the eternal being, because he has been dead. Surely the eternal being was not dead. If he was, who sustained and governed the universe, when the eternal God was dead?" Strange that our author, who is so keen as always to see that he has gained his argument, should not have discovered that if Christ was the first and the last, there could have been no eternal God before him, and there can be none after him. Does our author suppose that death is a cessation of existence? If not, why intimate that the eternal mind could not sustain and govern the universe after it had ceased to be in the flesh as well as before? Is the occupancy of a body essential to the execution of the laws of the physical universe?