Angel of the Presence

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In some Judeo-Christian traditions, the Angel of the Presence / Face (lit. "faces", Hebrew: Mal'ak ha-Panim or Mal'akh ha-Panim, מלאך הפנים) or Angel of his presence / face (Hebrew: Mal'ak Panayw or Mal'akh Panav, מַלְאַךְ פָּנָיו) refers to an entity variously considered angelic or else identified with God himself.

The phrase occurs in Isaiah 63:9, which states that, throughout the history of Israel, God has loved and been merciful to that nation and shared in its distresses, saving Israel with "the angel of his presence".[1] The Septuagint translation of the Book of Isaiah emphasizes that this term is simply a way of referring to God, not a created angel.[2]

In the Book of Jubilees, the Angel of the Presence explains to Moses the history of Israel.[3] Jubilees depicts this entity as one of God's special agents and does not provide him with a specific name.[4] In the Testament of Judah, Judah states that he has received blessing from the Angel of the Presence.[5] The Second Book of Enoch identifies Uriel as the Angel of the Presence or else as one of the Angels of the Presence.[6]

Bible[edit]

A related term is "angel of his Presence" used just once, in Isaiah 63:9. There it says that throughout the history of Israel, God has loved and been merciful to that nation and shared in its distresses, saving Israel with "the angel of his presence".[7]

Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence (מַלְאַךְ פָּנָיו) saved them:

Some theologians believe that the Septuagint translation (ἄγγελος ἀλλ᾽ αὐτὸς κύριος) demonstrates that "angel of his presence" is simply a way of referring to God, not a regular or created angel. "Not an elder or an angel, but the Lord Himself saved them..." is a current Septuagint translation.[8]

Second Temple period[edit]

In the second century BCE Book of Tobit, which is regarded as a canonical by Catholics and Orthodox Christians, Raphael is described as one of the seven angels who see God's glory: "I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand ready and enter before the glory of the Lord."[9] In the Pseudepigrapha, in the Book of Jubilees, the Angel of the Presence explains to Moses the history of Israel.[10] Jubilees depicts this entity as one of God's special agents and does not provide him with a specific name.[11] In the Testament of Judah, Judah states that he has received blessing from the Angel of the Presence.[12] The Second Book of Enoch identifies Uriel as the Angel of the Presence or else as one of the Angels of the Presence.[13]

In the Book of Jubilees, angels of the presence and angels of Sanctification are the two highest orders of angels.[citation needed] They were created on the first day, already circumcised, so that they could participate in the keeping of the Sabbath with God in heaven and on earth. God instructed one of these angels (thought to be St. Michael), to write the history of creation for Moses. The angel took the tablets of history and law, and in a long revelation, recited them to Moses with instructions to write them down. In the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Judah, one of the 12 sons of Jacob and Leah, testifies that he was blessed by an angel of the presence.[citation needed]

New Testament[edit]

In the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, the priest Zechariah is visited by an angel. After Zechariah receives a prophecy about the birth of John the Baptist, the angel identifies himself: "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God. . . ."[14] Commentators have interpreted this statement to imply high rank. For example Matthew Henry writes "He is Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, an immediate attendant upon the throne of God. The prime ministers of state in the Persian court are described by this, that they saw the king's face".[15] Gabriel is not called an archangel in the Bible, but is so called in Intertestamental period sources like the Book of Enoch.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mark Bredin (2006). Studies in the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 124. ISBN 0-567-08229-6. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  2. ^ Margaret Barker (2003). The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 110–111. ISBN 0-567-08942-8. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  3. ^ Margaret Barker (1992). The Great Angel: A Study of Israel's Second God. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 85. ISBN 0-664-25395-4. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  4. ^ Andrei A. Orlov (2005). The Enoch-Metatron Tradition. Mohr Siebeck. p. 126. ISBN 3-16-148544-0. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ Gustav Davidson (1994). A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels. Scrollhouse. p. 40. ISBN 0-02-907052-X. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  6. ^ Gabriele Boccaccini; Giovanni Ibba; Jason von Ehrenkrook; James Waddell; Jason Zurawski (2009). Enoch and the Mosaic Torah: The Evidence of Jubilees. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 142. ISBN 0-8028-6409-0. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  7. ^ Mark Bredin (2006). Studies in the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 124. ISBN 0-567-08229-6. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Margaret Barker (2003). The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 110–111. ISBN 0-567-08942-8. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  9. ^ Tobit 12:15 New Revised Standard Version
  10. ^ Margaret Barker (1992). The Great Angel: A Study of Israel's Second God. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 85. ISBN 0-664-25395-4. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  11. ^ Andrei A. Orlov (2005). The Enoch-Metatron Tradition. Mohr Siebeck. p. 126. ISBN 3-16-148544-0. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  12. ^ Gustav Davidson (1994). A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels. Scrollhouse. p. 40. ISBN 0-02-907052-X. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  13. ^ Gabriele Boccaccini; Giovanni Ibba; Jason von Ehrenkrook; James Waddell; Jason Zurawski (2009). Enoch and the Mosaic Torah: The Evidence of Jubilees. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 142. ISBN 0-8028-6409-0. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  14. ^ Luke 1:19 New Revised Standard Version|publisher=American Bible Society|year=1989
  15. ^ Henry, Matthew. The Gospel of Luke - Complete Bible Commentary Verse by Verse. Bible Study Books, 2016. ISBN 8582183550. 

Further reading[edit]

Charlesworth, James H., ed. The Old Testament Pseudepigriapha. Vols. 1 and 2. New York: Doubleday, 1983, 1985.