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Now, that this Angel of Jehovah, though sustaining (as the word imports) the office of a messenger, is nevertheless the God of Abraham and therefore the God Jehovah ; for Abraham worshipped no other God but Jehovah : thật this Angel is the God of Abraham, is abundantly clear both from his own language and from the behaviour of the patriarch. Lay not thine hand upon the lad, says the being here spoken of as the Angel of Jehovah, neither do thou any thing unto him : for now I know, that thou fearest GOD; seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from N E.' This language is very remarkable. Abraham's fear of GOD is demonstrated from the circumstance of his not withholding his son from THE ANGEL: that is to say, he is proved to be a devoted worshipper of THE TRUE GOD, because he was ready to sacrifice his son to THE ANGEL OF JEHOVAH, argument is worse than unintelligible ; if the being, who spoke to him, was a mere created angel : for, in that case, it will plainly go to demonstraté, that our best mode of proving our fealty to THE TRUE God is to perform the most solemn act of religion in honour of A CREATED SPIRIT. Hence, as God so strongly declares that he is a jealous God and that he will not give his glory to another; we are inevitably bound to conclude, unless we would make Scripture altogether inconsistent with itself, that the Angel of Jehovah, who speaks to Abraham from heaven, is no other than the true God.
! Gen. xxii. 12.
He offers up
With this conclusion both the behaviour and the words of Abraham perfectly agree. a ram, in lieu of his son, evidently to the being who had said Thou hast not withheld thy son from ME; in other words, he offers up a sacrifice to THE ANGEL OF JEHOVAH : and he denominates the place, where the transaction occurred, Jehovahjireh or Jehovah shall be seen ; in double reference, both to the apparition which he had beheld, and to a future extraordinary manifestation of Jehovah in that very place as a devoted victim similar to Isaac. Accordingly, by uninterrupted tradition from Abraham himself, if I mistake not, was established the prophetic apophthegm, which Moses declares to have been familiar even to his own day: Jehovah shall be seen in the mountain.' That very Jehovah, who appeared to Abraham in the character of an angel or messenger, shall again appear on the summit of this same mountain Moriah or Calvary, and shall exhibit in his own person that bloody tragedy of which the interrupted sacrifice of Isaac was but a scenical representation.
7. Jehovah is twice said to have appeared to Isaac: but, as we have no additional particulars, we can only say in general, that the word appeared must denote a visible manifestation ; and, as we know that the Angel of Jehovah is the person who
Gen. x.sii. 14. The passage is most unhappily rendered in our common English translation, 'In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. The Greek, save that it erroneously uses the past instead of the future tense, rightly expresses it, Ev Ta opet Κυριος ωφθη. .
thus manifests himself and that no man hath seen God the Father at any time ; we may be sure, that the same being, who conversed with Abraham, conversed also with Isaac.'
When we descend however to the next generation, we both find some of the most extraordinary appearances upon record, and have an explicit statement of the nature and character of that being who was alike manifested to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob.
8. As the last of these patriarchs journeyed to Padan-Aram, he slept at a place, which, in consequence of his vision, he denominated Beth-El or the house of God. Here he bebeld in a dream what I take to have been a four-square stair-case, similar in form to the Babylonic tower of Belus or to one of the pyramids of Egypt, and representing the holy Paradisiacal mount of God.' Its ample basis rested upon the earth, and its tapering summit appeared to reach unto the heavens. On its four sides, the ministering angels of God were ascending and descending : and upon its top conspicuously stood Jehovah himself. Now, as Jehovah was thus visible to Jacob, he must have been Jehovah the Word or the Angel : and I think it evident, that he was then revealed, as the supreme Archangel, or the lord of the inferior angels, or the captain (as he is elsewhere styled) of the host of Jeho
Gen, xxvi. 2, 24. 2 See my Origin of Pagan Idol, book' v. c. 7. $ 11. 1. (1.) book vi. c. 6. $ 1..3. (6.)
vah. In this capacity, we find him denominated Michael the Archangel : and he is represented, both as one of the chief princes, and as the great prince who peculiarly stands up in behalf of his people whether under the Levitical or under the Christian dispensation.'
Such then was the Jehovah, beheld by Jacob; such the being, who declares himself to be the Lord God of Abraham and of Isaac. But Jacob asserts, that the God both of those patriarchs and of himself was the Angel which redeemed him from all evil: and Hosea declares, that this Angel-God of Jacob, whom he found in Beth-El, was Jehovah the God of Hosts. It is plain therefore, that an Angel or Messenger of some other being was the God of the patriarchs : and yet this God of the patriarchs is positively stated to be no other than Jehovah himself; while the patriarchs are universally described, as worshipping the true God, and as abhorring idolatry. Who then was the extraordinary being, whom they adored as very Jehovah, and who yet (as his title necessarily imports) acted as the Angel or Messenger of some other being ? Christ, when permanently incarnate upon earth in a human form, claimed unequivocally to himself the character of that Jehovah, who was seen by Jacob at Beth-El on the summit of the pyramidal stair-case. Verily verily I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God
Dan. X. 13. xii. 1. Jude 9. Rev. xii, 7.
ascending and descending before the Son of man." In this passage, our Lord evidently alludes to the vision of Jacob at Luż or Beth-El. But, in that vision, the angels ascended and descended before Jehovah, who stood conspicuous in a human form on the summit of the pyramid. Christ therefore claims to be the Jehovah, whom the patriarch then beheld, and whom he afterwards pronounces to be the Angel-God of his fathers. Hence it follows, that Christ claims to be that being, who in the Old Testament is styled the Angel or Word of Jehovah, and who though sent by Jehovah is yet himself worshipped as Jehovah.
9. This last manifestation of the Word took place in a vision ; so that it was presented rather to the imagination, than to the bodily eyes, of Jacob : but, while he was returning from Mesopotamia into the land of Canaan, he literally be: held the same divine personage after a manner perhaps even yet more extraordinary.
Having on a certain night sent on his family before him, he himself was left alone, sadly musing on the probability of an attack from his brother Esau. As he was thus engaged, a man wrestled with him, we are told, until the breaking of the day: and, when the stranger found that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh and fortlıwith dislocated it. Jacob however firmly kept his hold upon his mysterious adversary; and refused to let him go, unless he
John i. 51. Gr. eme here rendered before.