Gideon, Moses and the Angel.

The Jewish prayer book, Sidûr ha-Shalem, contains a prayer read on Rosh Hashana (feast of trumpets) in which the Angel of the presence is named Yeshua. The word Angel can be synonymous with the word messenger.

“May it be Thy will that the blast from this horn should carry to the tabernacle of God by the instrumentality of our delegate Tartiel, whose name Elias -- may his memory be blessed -- has given to him, and through Yeshua the Prince of the Countenance and the Prince Metatron, and may grace be our part. Be Thou blessed, Lord of grace."

The name Yeshua appears many times in the Tanakh or old testament. Specifically in Isaiah 63. The entire prophecy points to the return of the Messiah, but in the middle of the prophecy, the writer compares the savior to the angel of the presence. So who is the angel? Isaiah continues his poem by drawing us to the memory of the exodus. 

Then he remembered the days of old,
    of Moses and his people.
Where is he who brought them up out of the sea
    with the shepherds of his flock?
Where is he who put in the midst of them
    his Holy Spirit,
 who caused his glorious arm
    to go at the right hand of Moses,
who divided the waters before them
    to make for himself an everlasting name,
   who led them through the depths?
Like a horse in the desert,
    they did not stumble.
Like livestock that go down into the valley,
    the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.
So you led your people,
    to make for yourself a glorious name.

This reference clues us into the identity of the Angel of Presence. Isaiah puts him in the Moses story, as the Elohim (God) who parted the waters. Isaiah borrows this idea straight from Exodus. 

Exodus 33
"And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest."

So let's deal with Moses and the angel of the presence. Isaiah has no problem connecting these two ideas. Well, either does Moses. 

Exodus 23
“Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him.”

YHWH tells Moses the angel of his presence and YHWH Elohim share the same name. They are one. Moses even repeats the commandment in the Shema or the Greatest commandment as Yeshua called it; “Hear, O Israel: YHWH our Elohim, YHWH is one.” 

Let us turn our attention to the burning bush story. On a cursory reading its easy to think there are two people in the scene. However, let's take another look. Exodus 3 places Moses at the base of Sinai. Here he sees a bush on fire but not consumed.  In the bush, Moses sees but the Angel of YHWH. A Hebrew names bible demonstrates the discovery of more than one person speaking. 

When Yahweh saw that Moses had come over to see it, Elohim called to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!” Exodus 3:4

Notice the two references to God? YHWH sees Moses and Elohim talks. Elohim and Moses continue talking, but as Elohim speaks, Moses to afraid to lift his head. Ironically, the Angel of YHWH is what caught Moses attention in the first place. 

Elohim said, “Don’t come any closer! Take off your sandals because this place where you are standing is holy ground.  I am the Elohim of your ancestors, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at Elohim.
Exodus 3
 
Then the text changes, YHWH talks. Notice YHWH heart for his people. He sees there misery and has something better planned for their future. 

“Yahweh said, “I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt, and I have heard them crying out because of the slave drivers. I know how much they’re suffering.  I have come to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good land with plenty of room for everyone. It is a land flowing with milk and honey. .I have heard the cry of the people of Israel. I have seen how the Egyptians are oppressing them. Now, go! I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you can bring my people Israel out of Egypt.”
Exodus 3

Notice what Moses does. He hears YHWH voice, but he does not dare argue about his new job; instead, he turns to the Angel of the Presence, who is visibly present, and begins to argue. 

“But Moses said to Elohim, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the people of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3

The next several verses, Moses and Elohim continue to discuss the details of Moses inadequacy. What's interesting that in verse 14-16, where the famous “I AM” statement comes from, the angel of the presence identifies himself with YHWH. 
 
“Elohim answered Moses, “Ehyeh Who Ehyeh ( I am who I am). This is what you must say to the people of Israel: ‘Ehyeh has sent me to you.’ Again Elohim said to Moses, “This is what you must say to the people of Israel: Yahweh Elohim of your ancestors, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever. This is my title throughout every generation.” Exodus 3

It is interesting to note, In chapter 4 of Exodus, YWHW Elohim stops interacting with Moses. However before he leaves the scene, the Angel of the YHWH connects himself to YHWH in oneness.  Therein lies the connection to the Greatest Commandment? “Hear, O Israel: YHWH our Elohim, YHWH is one.” Yeshua, when confronting the Pharisees alludes to his very passage.

“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.” John 8

The Pharisees picked up stones to kill him, the punishment for blasphemy. They knew he was claiming oneness with YHWH, the same way YHWH Elohim connected himself to the God of Abraham.

The bible writers love to play off the Torah stories when introducing new characters. The masterful retelling draws echoes back to Moses. When Gideon graces the scene, the same pattern unfolds. How many people were talking in the burning bush story? There are three figures. How many people are in the Gideon scene?

"When the people of Israel cried out to Yahweh for help because of what the Midianites had done to them, Yahweh sent a prophet to them. He said, “This is what Yahweh Elohim of Israel says:
I brought you out of Egypt.
I took you away from slavery.
I rescued you from the power of the Egyptians
and from the power of those who oppressed you.
I forced people out of your way.
I gave you their land.
I said to you, ‘I am Yahweh your Elohim.”
Judges 6. 

Notice the pattern? YHWH hears his people suffering, and YHWH responds. The writer of judges repeats the story.  The Angel of YHWH is hanging out among the foliage, again. 

“The Angel of Yahweh appeared to Gideon (under an Oak tree) and said, “Yahweh is with you, brave man.”The Angel of Yahweh appeared to Gideon and said, “Yahweh is with you, brave man.” Gideon responded, “Excuse me, sir! But if Yahweh is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracles our ancestors have told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘Yahweh brought us out of Egypt?’ But now Yahweh has abandoned us and has handed us over to Midian.” Judges 6

Anyone see Moses lurking in the shadows?  Pay attention to Gideon’s response, “If YHWH is with us…?” Gideon does not believe that he is talking to YHWH. However, the writer begins to blur the line between YHWH and the messenger. Moreover, if the pattern of Moses and the bush repeats, who should speak next? 

“Yahweh turned to him and said, “You will rescue Israel from Midian with the strength you have. I am sending you.” Gideon said to him, “Excuse me, sir! How can I rescue Israel? Look at my whole family. It’s the weakest one in Manasseh. And me? I’m the least important member of my family.” Yahweh replied, “I will be with you. You will defeat Midian as if it were only one man.” Judges 6

Gideon, according to the writer, is talking to YWHW.  The reader knows it is the Angel of YHWH. The writer, however, is blurring the distinction. However, Moses has already demonstrated that the Angel of YHWH is the same as YHWH Elohim. If We read further, Gideon is the only person who has no idea whom he is presenting his offering.

"And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.” So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. And the Angel of Elohim said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so. Then the Angel of YHWH reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes." Judges 6

Notice the blurring between YHWH and Elohim? This time, in the story, the Angel of the LORD (YHWH), is the angel of God (Elohim). If the reader is paying attention, this blurring of roles is intentional. It should shock the reader, and Gideon’s reaction confirms this. He thinks he is going to die. In presenting his offering, he realizes he is dealing with God, face to face. (Think Moses)

“Then the Angel of YHWH reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the Angel of YHWH vanished from his sight. Then Gideon perceived that he was the Angel of the YHWH. And Gideon said, “Alas, Adonay (Lord) Yahweh! For now I have seen the angel of YHWH face to face.” Judges 6

Now observe. The Angel of the Presence is gone. He has vanished. Gideon no longer sees the figure sitting under the Oak, but the dialogue continues. 

“But YWHW said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the YWHW and called it, The YWHW Shalom.” Judges 6

So how was Gideon able to see the face of God and live? Remember when YHWH told Moses he would pass before him? Does the bible contradict itself or is there a mediator interacting with these two unlikely heroes of faith?

“Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘YWHW.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” Exodus 33

Gideon lived because the Messenger of the Presence was the acting intermediary for YWHW and man. The Angel of the presence is Yeshua. So to show how interconnected the bible is, consider John chapter 1.

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Yeshua the Messiah. No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” 
 
John understands this connection and repeats it throughout his Gospel.

“Yeshua told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you have known me, you will also know my Father. From now on you know him and have seen him.” John 14

Moses, Gideon, they both saw Yeshua. 

In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old

Isaiah 63