The Malek of Yahweh
The Hebrew word Malek simply means; a messenger, a representative for (to do) a task.
This word is used often to describe angelic beings who bear a message and/or assigned to do task for God. Angelic beings are described as Cherubim (Ezekiel 10:1-15) and Seraphim (Isaiah 6:2-3). Angelic beings bear messages (Matt 1:20) and do task (Matt 28:2). They also sing, and use musical devices. There are archangels too and they have ranks.
Since Cherubim and Seraphim do task and proclaim messages, they are called Maleks (Messengers) in the bible. The word when used does not always mean angelic beings and this is where people become confused. Malek's are also used of human beings who bear a message.
1 Samuel 11:3-4 states that, The elders of Jabesh said to him, "Give us seven days' respite that we may send messengers (Maleks) through all the territory of Israel…4 messengers (Maleks) came to Gibeah of Saul, they reported the matter in the ears of the people, and all the people wept aloud.
These were human Maleks and not angelic beings. Therefore, every where the Hebrew word Malek is used, it does not in all cases mean angelic beings. The word Malek is a generic term for any type person or being that bears a message and does a task. It is unfortunate that people do not understand this and think of Maleks only in angelic terms and definitions. The important thing to note about Maleks is that they speak!
It is how the word Malek is used in the sentence and contextual flow of bible passages is how a person can tell the difference if a Malek is human, angelic, or divine. The word Malek is also used of God himself being a proclaimer of a direct message as well. Yes, Yahweh can be a Malek himself (not an angelic being but the word (John 1:1-14).
The Malek of Yahweh
In the Old Testament you will notice the phrase the angel of the LORD. When this phrase is used, it does not always mean an angelic being but rather reads like this: The Malek of Yahweh.' This indicates that God himself speaking — not an angelic representative as interpreted by some. Again, it is the context of the bible passages where this phrase is found is how to correctly interpret the use of the word malek.
Simply applying the definition of an angel everywhere malek is used creates error. Theme, context, and continuity as well as homiletic is the best way to come into an understanding of scripture text. This avoids great errors and heresy.
What we will look at, is how the word Malek relates to God himself.
Notice that The Malek of Yahweh speaks as God does. Representatives in the bible state things like, 'thus sayeth the Lord,' hear the word of the Lord', etc, as a qualifier. Let's look at how the Malek of Yahweh speaks as only God can speak:
Genesis 16:7-11, The Malek of Yahweh (the LORD) found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai." 9 The Malek of Yahweh (the LORD) said to her, "Return to your mistress and submit to her." 10 The Malek of Yahweh (the LORD) also said to her, "I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude." 11 And the Malek of Yahweh (the LORD) said to her, "Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because Yahweh (the LORD) has listened to your affliction."
Notice that I removed the word angel from these passages and used malek instead and replaced -the LORD- with the actual word used in their place which is God’s identifying name - Yahweh. Now look at and notice that in verses 10 this Malek can only do what God can do. (Note - Romans 4:17 and Isaiah 44:7 state that only God can call things that be-not as though they were.)
Genesis 21:17, And God (Elohim) heard the voice of the boy, and the (Malek) of God (Elohim) called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God (Elohim) has heard the voice of the boy where he is.
Notice in this verse God (Elohim plural noun) heard. Then the messenger (Elohim) called out because Elohim heard. Do you see it? Can you get past the angel thing as well as look a the grammar of this on your own for now (note the word of is actually implied - Malek of God = grammar-- Malek Elohim) Here the Malek speaks as only God can.
Now look who Hagar in Genesis 16:13 identifies as the Malek of Yahweh: "So she called the name of Yahweh (the LORD) who spoke to her, "You are a (El) God of seeing," for she said, "Truly here I have seen him who looks after me."
Why would Hagar call a mere angel - Yahweh? She saw him who looked after her! Yes, people can see God and live (Ex 24:9-12); however, one cannot see the full manifested glory of God (His totality) and live (Ex 33:18-23). People in the Old Testament did encounter and see each of the separate persons of the Godhead so they could live and proclaim his name.
Do not believe me?
Genesis 22:1518, And the Malek (of) Yahweh (the LORD) called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, "By myself I have sworn, declares Yahweh (the LORD), because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice." Notice - my voice - and what John 1:1 mentions...
The Malek of Yahweh (of is implied and added into English translations) and called to Abraham a second time and stated that He (the Malek Yahweh) by himself sworn to Abraham (verse 17) what God sworn in Genesis 12:1-3, 15:5, 17:5-6. 18:18. If this were but a mere angelic being representative - how could such a malek have sworn an oath that only God can swear by?
Hebrews 6:13-14, For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, "Surely I will bless you and multiply you."
Notice also how many times God spoke in Genesis 22:1-18 — a total of three distinct times! First in Gen 22:1, then in verse 11(Gen 22:11) and in verse 15 (Gen 22:15) You could say, the Father spoke first and the Son spoke twice and also the proper name Yahweh is also mentioned in verse 16 (Gen 22:16) and could very well denote the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as one. Thus you have God confirming his own oath as Hebrews 6:13-14 states!
Elsewhere in the Bible
In Numbers 22:35, 38, And the angel (Malek) of (Yahweh)the LORD said to Balaam, "Go with the men, but speak only the word that I tell you." So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak
In verse 38 identifies who the Malek of Yahweh is:
38 Balaam said to Balak, "Behold, I have come to you! Have I now any power of my own to speak anything? The word that God (Elohim - plural noun) puts in my mouth, that must I speak."
Again in Judges 2:1- and Judges 6:11-16 the Malek speaks as only God could.
Judges 2:1, "And the angel (Malek) of (Yahweh) the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said: '...I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I swore unto your fathers; and I said: I will never break My covenant with you..."JPS
Judges 6:11-16, And the Malek of Yahweh (the LORD) came, and sat under the terebinth which was in Ophrah, that belonged unto Joash the Abiezrite; and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Malek of Yahweh (the LORD) appeared unto him, and said unto him: Yahweh (the LORD) is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.' JPS
13 And Gideon said unto him: 'Oh, my lord (adoni), if Yahweh (the LORD) be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where are all His wondrous works which our fathers told us of, saying: Did not Yahweh (the LORD) bring us up from Egypt? but now Yahweh (the LORD) hath cast us off, and delivered us into the hand of Midian.' JPS
Note who turned toward him - was not this the same person who sat under the tree?
Judges 6:14-16, And Yahweh (the LORD) turned towards him, and said: 'Go in this thy might, and save Israel from the hand of Midian; have not I sent thee?' 15 And he said unto him: 'Oh, my lord (adoni), wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.' 16 And Yahweh (the LORD) said unto him: 'Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. JPS
The adoni Gideon uses in his speech should be capitalized to indicate the LORD and not a lord as verse 15 clarifies because Yahweh is speaking - the Malek Yahweh was speaking — Note John 1:1-14.
In fact in Gen 31:11-13 the Malek identifies himself as El (God)in verse 13:
Then the angel (Malek) of God (Elohim) said to me in the dream, 'Jacob,' and I said, 'Here I am!' Gen 31:12 And he said, 'Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that mate with the flock are striped, spotted, and mottled, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the (El) God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now arise, go out from this land and return to the land of your kindred.'"
Look at Exodus 3:2 -6:
And the angel (Malek) of (Yahweh) the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, "I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned." 4 When (Yahweh) the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God (Elohim) called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." 5 Then he said, "Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." 6 And he said, "I am the God (Elohim) of your father, the God (Elohim) of Abraham, the God (Elohim) of Isaac, and the God (Elohim) of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God (Elohim).
Again the Malek of Yahweh identifies Himself as God in verse 6 after all - who is directly speaking? A representative when such speak on God’s behalf they state a hearty, 'thus says the Lord' or 'hear the word of the Lord' or 'God says' qualifying they are not God. Not so in the burning bush account! There will be more on Moses and the burning bush in next installment. You all have enough to make your head to spin for today.
John 1:1-3, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
Remember a Malek speaks and performs task! The 2nd person of the Trinity is such one that speaks and carries out task! Does He not?
(Note all Bible quotes from ESV unless otherwise cited)
Science is man's invention - creation is God's
(by B. W. Melvin)
Old Polish Proverb:
Not my Circus....not my monkeys