DISMANTLING ANOTHER ANTI-TRINITARIAN SMOKESCREEN
In this post I intend to refute a typical claim by anti-Trinitarians that all throughout the Hebrew Bible there are angelic creatures, which are identified as Jehovah due to their being God’s authorized emissaries.
The assertion is made that a created angel whom Jehovah sends to speak on his behalf can refer to himself as Jehovah God. This is not because the spirit creature is Jehovah, but because he has been authorized to speak on behalf of Jehovah.
I will prove that this is not what the inspired Scriptures teach since it is not a group of angelic creatures that speak as Jehovah God, but rather it is one unique Messenger that does so. And the reason why he does is because that particular Angel is not a spirit creature but the eternal Word and Son of God in his prehuman existence.
Unless indicated otherwise, I will be employing the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition).
CREATED ANGELS ARE NOT IDENTIFIED AS JEHOVAH
In the proceeding examples, the readers will see that not a single angelic creature identifies himself as Jehovah God, nor do the people who behold these created spokespersons describe them as such. Rather, they are either referred to by their own names or are clearly distinguished from the God whom they represent:
“While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and seeking to understand it, suddenly I saw standing in front of me someone who appeared to be a man. Then I heard the voice of a man in the midst of the Uʹlai, and he called out: ‘Gaʹbri·el, make that one understand what he saw.’ So he came near to where I was standing, but when he came I was so terrified that I fell facedown. He said to me: ‘Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.’ But while he was speaking with me, I fell fast asleep with my face to the ground. So he touched me and made me stand up where I had been standing. Then he said: ‘Here I am causing you to know what will happen in the final part of the denunciation, because it is for the appointed time of the end.’” Daniel 8:15-19
“While I was still speaking and praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request for favor before Jehovah my God concerning the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was yet speaking in prayer, the man Gaʹbri·el, whom I had previously seen in the vision, came to me when I was extremely weary at about the time of the evening gift offering. And he gave me understanding, saying: ‘O Daniel, now I have come to give you insight and understanding. When you began your entreaty the word went out, and I have come to report it to you, because you are someone very precious. So consider the matter and understand the vision. There are 70 weeks that have been determined for your people and your holy city, in order to terminate the transgression, to finish off sin, to make atonement for error, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and the prophecy, and to anoint the Holy of Holies.’” Daniel 9:20-24
“Now as he was serving as priest in the assignment of his division before God, according to the established practice of the priesthood it became his turn to offer incense when he entered into the sanctuary of Jehovah. And the entire multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of offering incense. Jehovah’s angel appeared to him, standing at the right side of the incense altar. But Zech·a·riʹah became troubled at the sight, and he was overcome with fear. However, the angel said to him: ‘Do not be afraid, Zech·a·riʹah, because your supplication has been favorably heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to name him John. You will have joy and great gladness, and many will rejoice over his birth, for he will be great in the sight of Jehovah. But he must drink no wine or any alcoholic drink at all, and he will be filled with holy spirit even from before birth, and he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to Jehovah their God. Also, he will go ahead of him with E·liʹjah’s spirit and power, to turn back the hearts of fathers to children and the disobedient ones to the practical wisdom of righteous ones, in order to get ready for Jehovah a prepared people.’ Zech·a·riʹah said to the angel: ‘How can I be sure of this? For I am old, and my wife is well along in years.’ In reply the angel said to him: ‘I am Gaʹbri·el, who stands near before God, and I was sent to speak with you and to declare this good news to you. But look! you will be silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their appointed time.’” Luke 1:8-20
“In her sixth month, the angel Gaʹbri·el was sent from God to a city of Galʹi·lee named Nazʹa·reth, to a virgin promised in marriage to a man named Joseph of David’s house, and the name of the virgin was Mary. And coming in, the angel said to her: ‘Greetings, you highly favored one, Jehovah is with you.’ But she was deeply disturbed at his words and tried to understand what kind of greeting this might be. So the angel said to her: ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And look! you will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus. This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as King over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end to his Kingdom.’ But Mary said to the angel: ‘How is this to be, since I am not having sexual relations with a man?’ In answer the angel said to her: ‘Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. And for that reason the one who is born will be called holy, God’s Son. And look! Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son, in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her, the so-called barren woman; for no declaration will be impossible for God.’ Then Mary said: ‘Look! Jehovah’s slave girl! May it happen to me according to your declaration.” At that the angel departed from her.’” Luke 1:26-37
“There were also in the same region shepherds living out of doors and keeping watch in the night over their flocks. Suddenly Jehovah’s angel stood before them, and Jehovah’s glory gleamed around them, and they became very fearful. But the angel said to them: ‘Do not be afraid, for look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have. For today there was born to you in David’s city a savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this is a sign for you: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: ‘Glory in the heights above to God, and on earth peace among men of goodwill.’ So when the angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another: ‘Let us by all means go over to Bethʹle·hem and see what has taken place, which Jehovah has made known to us.’” Luke 2:8-15
“While they were perplexed about this, look! two men in shining garments stood by them. The women became frightened and kept their faces turned toward the ground, so the men said to them: ‘Why are you looking for the living one among the dead? He is not here, but has been raised up. Recall how he spoke to you while he was yet in Galʹi·lee, saying that the Son of man must be handed over to sinful men and be executed on the stake and on the third day rise.’… ‘Moreover, some women from among us also astonished us, for they went early to the tomb and when they did not find his body, they came saying that they had also seen a supernatural sight of angels, who said he is alive.’” Luke 24:4-7, 22-23
“After he had said these things, while they were looking on, he was lifted up and a cloud caught him up from their sight. And as they were gazing into the sky while he was on his way, suddenly two men in white garments stood beside them and said: ‘Men of Galʹi·lee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was taken up from you into the sky will come in the same manner as you have seen him going into the sky.” Acts 1:9-11
“About the ninth hour of the day, he saw plainly in a vision an angel of God come in to him and say: ‘Cornelius!’ Cornelius stared at him, terrified, and asked: ‘What is it, Lord?’ He said to him: ‘Your prayers and gifts of mercy have ascended as a remembrance before God. So now send men to Jopʹpa and summon a man named Simon who is called Peter. This man is staying as a guest with Simon, a tanner who has a house by the sea.’ As soon as the angel who spoke to him left, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who were his attendants, and he related everything to them and sent them to Jopʹpa… They said: ‘Cornelius, an army officer, a righteous and God-fearing man who is well-reported-on by the whole nation of the Jews, was given divine instructions by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say…Then Cornelius said: ‘Four days ago counting from this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour; just then a man in bright clothing stood in front of me and said: “Cornelius, your prayer has been favorably heard, and your gifts of mercy have been remembered before God. Therefore, send to Jopʹpa and call for Simon who is called Peter. This man is a guest in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.” I then sent for you at once, and you were kind enough to come here. So now we are all present before God to hear all the things you have been commanded by Jehovah to say.’” Acts 10:3-8, 22, 30-33
“When Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping bound with two chains between two soldiers, and guards in front of the door were keeping watch over the prison. But look! Jehovah’s angel was standing there, and a light shone in the prison cell. Hitting Peter on the side, he woke him, saying: ‘Get up quickly!’ And the chains fell off his hands. The angel said to him: ‘Get dressed and put on your sandals.’ He did so. Finally he said to him: ‘Put your outer garment on, and keep following me.’ And he went out and kept following him, but he did not know that what was happening through the angel was real. In fact, he thought he was seeing a vision. Going past the first sentinel guard and the second, they reached the iron gate leading into the city, and this opened to them by itself. After they went out, they made their way down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. And Peter, realizing what was happening, said: ‘Now I know for sure that Jehovah sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s hand and from everything that the Jews were expecting to happen.” Acts 12:6-11
“This night an angel of the God to whom I belong and to whom I render sacred service stood by me and said: ‘Have no fear, Paul. You must stand before Caesar, and look! God has granted to you all those sailing with you.’” Acts 27:23-24
Moreover, these created emissaries refuse to be worshiped since they claim to be nothing more than slaves of the one true God:
“At that I fell down before his feet to worship him. But he tells me: ‘Be careful! Do not do that! I AM ONLY A FELLOW SLAVE of you and of your brothers who have the work of witnessing concerning Jesus. Worship God! For the witness concerning Jesus is what inspires prophecy.’” Revelation 19:10
“Well I, John, was the one hearing and seeing these things. When I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing me these things. But he tells me: ‘Be careful! Do not do that! I AM ONLY A FELLOW SLAVE of you and of your brothers the prophets and of those observing the words of this scroll. Worship God.’” Revelation 22:8-9
Now contrast this with the testimony of Revelation that every created being throughout the entire creation grants Jesus the exact worship which God the Father receives:
“When he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb, and each one had a harp and golden bowls that were full of incense. (The incense means the prayers of the holy ones.) And they sing a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought people for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.’ And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders, and the number of them was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, and they were saying with a loud voice: ‘The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.’ And I heard EVERY CREATURE in heaven and on earth and underneath the earth and on the sea, AND ALL THE THINGS IN THEM, saying: ‘To the One sitting on the throne AND TO THE LAMB be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.’ The four living creatures were saying: ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshipped.” Revelation 5:8-14
The foregoing cases refute the notion that spiritual creatures representing Jehovah can be called Jehovah God.
JEHOVAH’S ONE AND ONLY DIVINE MESSENGER
This brings me to my next point. The God-breathed Scriptures know of only one spiritual Envoy that is both distinguished from the God whose Angel/Messenger he happens to be, and is also identified as being Jehovah God Almighty appearing in a visible form of some kind in order to be seen:
“Later Jehovah’s angel found her at a spring of waters in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said: ‘Haʹgar, servant of Sarʹai, where have you come from and where are you going?’ To this she said: “I am running away from my mistress Sarʹai.’ Jehovah’s angel then said to her: “Return to your mistress and humble yourself under her hand.’ Then Jehovah’s angel said: ‘I will greatly multiply your offspring, so that they will be too numerous to count.’ Jehovah’s angel added: “Here you are pregnant, and you will give birth to a son, and you must name him Ishʹma·el, for Jehovah has heard your affliction. He will be a wild donkey of a man. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him, and he will dwell opposite all his brothers.’ Then she called on the name of Jehovah, who was speaking to her: “You are a God of sight,’ for she said: ‘Have I here actually looked upon the one who sees me?’ That is why the well was called Beʹer-laʹhai-roi. (It is between Kaʹdesh and Beʹred.)” Genesis 16:7-14
“Moses became a shepherd of the flock of his father-in-law Jethʹro, the priest of Midʹi·an. While he was leading the flock to the west side of the wilderness, he eventually came to the mountain of the true God, to Horʹeb. Then Jehovah’s angel appeared to him in a flame of fire in the midst of a thornbush. As he kept looking, he saw that the thornbush was on fire, and yet the thornbush was not consumed. So Moses said: ‘I will go over to inspect this unusual sight to see why the thornbush does not burn up.’ When Jehovah saw that he went over to look, God called to him out of the thornbush and said: ‘Moses! Moses!” to which he said: ‘Here I am.’ Then he said: ‘Do not come any nearer. Remove your sandals from your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy ground.’ He went on to say: ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ Then Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at the true God… But Moses said to the true God: ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your forefathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, “What is his name?” What should I say to them?’ So God said to Moses: ‘I Will Become What I Choose to Become.’ And he added: “This is what you are to say to the Israelites, ‘I Will Become has sent me to you. Then God said once more to Moses:” Exodus 3:1-6, 13-15
Notice how the Angel is clearly identified as the Jehovah God who sees what takes place and who is able to create life and grant individuals’ numerous offspring.
What is interesting about this Angel is that, unlike the other angels this particular Messenger refuses to give out his name due to it being too wonderful for human comprehension:
“So the true God listened to Ma·noʹah, and the angel of the true God came again to the woman while she was sitting in the field; her husband Ma·noʹah was not with her. The woman quickly ran and told her husband: ‘Look! The man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.’ Then Ma·noʹah got up and went with his wife. He came to the man and said to him: ‘Are you the man who spoke to my wife?’ He said: ‘I am.’ Then Ma·noʹah said: ‘May your words come true! What will be the child’s manner of life, and what will be his work?’ So Jehovah’s angel said to Ma·noʹah: ‘Your wife should keep herself from everything that I mentioned to her. She should not eat anything that the grapevine produces, she should not drink wine or anything alcoholic, and she should not eat anything unclean. Everything that I commanded her, let her observe.’ Ma·noʹah now said to Jehovah’s angel: ‘Please stay, and let us prepare a young goat for you.’ But Jehovah’s angel said to Ma·noʹah: ‘If I stay, I will not eat your food; but if you wish to present a burnt offering to Jehovah, you may offer it up.’ Ma·noʹah did not know that he was Jehovah’s angel. Then Ma·noʹah said to Jehovah’s angel: ‘What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?’ However, Jehovah’s angel said to him: ‘Why are you asking about my name, seeing that it is a wonderful one?’ Then Ma·noʹah took the young goat and the grain offering and offered them on the rock to Jehovah. And He was doing something amazing while Ma·noʹah and his wife were looking on. As the flame ascended from the altar heavenward, Jehovah’s angel ascended in the flame from the altar while Ma·noʹah and his wife were looking on. At once they fell with their faces to the ground. Jehovah’s angel did not appear again to Ma·noʹah and his wife. Then Ma·noʹah realized that he was Jehovah’s angel. Ma·noʹah then said to his wife: ‘We are sure to die, because it is God whom we have seen.’ But his wife said to him: ‘If Jehovah wanted to put us to death, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hand, he would not have shown us all these things, and he would not have told us any of these things.’” Judges 13:9-23
“Finally Jacob was left by himself. Then a man began to wrestle with him until the dawn broke. When he saw that he had not prevailed over him, he touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was dislocated during his wrestling with him. After that he said: ‘Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.’ To this he said: ‘I am not going to let you go until you bless me.’ So he said to him: ‘What is your name?” to which he said: “Jacob.’ Then he said: ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel, for you have contended with God and with men and you have at last prevailed.’ In turn Jacob inquired: ‘Tell me, please, your name.’ However, he said: ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ With that he blessed him there. So Jacob named the place Pe·niʹel, for he said, ‘I have seen God face-to-face, yet my life was preserved.’ And the sun rose upon him as soon as he passed by Pe·nuʹel, but he was limping because of his hip. That is why to this day the sons of Israel are not accustomed to eat the thigh sinew, which is on the socket of the hip joint, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip joint by the thigh sinew.” Genesis 32:24-32
The proceeding texts affirm that the Man that Jacob wrestled with and identified as the God whom he beheld face-to-face was the Angel:
“Jehovah has a legal case against Judah; He will call for an accounting against Jacob according to his ways, And he will repay him according to his deeds. In the womb he seized his brother by the heel, And with his vigor he contended with God. He kept contending with an angel and prevailed. He wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethʹel, and there He spoke with us, Jehovah the God of armies, Jehovah is his memorial name.” Hosea 12:2-5
“Once when the flock got into heat, I raised my eyes and saw in a dream that the he-goats mating with the flock were striped, speckled, and spotty. Then the angel of the true God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob!’ to which I said, ‘Here I am.’ And he continued, ‘Raise your eyes, please, and see that all the he-goats mating with the flock are striped, speckled, and spotty, for I have seen all that Laʹban is doing to you. I am the true God of Bethʹel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now get up, go out of this land, and return to the land of your birth.’” Genesis 31:10-13
This Angel is even described as the Messenger of Jehovah’s Face who is sent to redeem God’s covenant people:
“For he said, Surely, they are my people, children that will not deal falsely: so he was their Saviour. 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 63:8-9 American Standard Version (ASV)
The expression “Angel of His presence” denotes the fact that this Messenger embodies the very nature/essence of God, since the Hebrew term for presence refers to God’s nature, to his infinite Being. As such, this Messenger completely partakes of the very essence of God, which is precisely what God himself stated in regards to the Angel:
“I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you on the way and to bring you into the place that I have prepared. Pay attention to him, and obey his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgressions, because my name is in him. However, if you strictly obey his voice and do all that I say, I will show hostility to your enemies and oppose those who oppose you. For my angel will go ahead of you and will bring you to the Amʹor·ites, the Hitʹtites, the Perʹiz·zites, the Caʹnaan·ites, the Hiʹvites, and the Jebʹu·sites, and I will annihilate them.” Exodus 23:20-23
To have God’s name within oneself is simply another way of saying that this divine Messenger possesses the fullness of Deity, since the Holy Bible employs the term “name” in respect to the characteristics, nature, and/or authority of an individual.
Moreover, note carefully that Jehovah didn’t give the Angel his name, but rather affirms that he already possessed it, which explains why this Messenger does what only Jehovah is capable of doing, namely, forgive sinners or punish transgressors:
“And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan was standing at his right hand to resist him. Then the angel of Jehovah said to Satan: ‘May Jehovah rebuke you, O Satan, yes, may Jehovah, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this one a burning log snatched out of the fire?’ Now Joshua was clothed in filthy garments and standing before the angel. The angel said to those standing before him, ‘Remove his filthy garments.’ Then he said to him, ‘See, I have caused your error to pass away from you, and you will be clothed with fine garments.’ So I said: ‘Let a clean turban be put on his head.’ And they put the clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments; and the angel of Jehovah was standing nearby. The angel of Jehovah then declared to Joshua: ‘This is what Jehovah of armies says, “If you will walk in my ways and carry out your responsibilities before me, then you will serve as a judge in my house and take care of my courtyards; and I will give you free access among these who are standing here.”’” Zechariah 3:1-7
The final proof that there aren’t many angels who speak as Jehovah comes from the plain witness of both the Hebrew Bible and the inspired Christian Greek Scriptures that it was one specific Angel that appeared to the Patriarchs, Moses and Israel as God:
“Then he blessed Joseph and said: ‘The true God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The true God who has been shepherding me during all my life until this day, THE ANGEL who has been recovering me from all calamity, bless the boys. Let my name be called upon them and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, Let them increase to a multitude in the earth.’” Genesis 48:15-16
“Then Moses sent messengers from Kaʹdesh to the king of Eʹdom: ‘This is what your brother Israel says, ‘You well know all the hardship that we have experienced. Our fathers went to Egypt, and we dwelled in Egypt many years, and the Egyptians mistreated us and our fathers. Finally we cried out to Jehovah, and he heard us and sent AN ANGEL and brought us out of Egypt, and here we are in Kaʹdesh, a city on the border of your territory.’” Numbers 20:14-16
“After 40 years had passed, AN ANGEL appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Siʹnai in the flame of a burning thornbush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. But as he was approaching to investigate, Jehovah’s voice was heard: ‘I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ Moses started trembling and did not dare to investigate further. Jehovah said to him: ‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have certainly seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Now come, I will send you off to Egypt.’ This same Moses whom they had disowned, saying: ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge?’ is the very one God sent as both ruler and deliverer by means of THE ANGEL who appeared to him in the thornbush. This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for 40 years.’ This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel: ‘God will raise up for you from among your brothers a prophet like me.’ This is the one who came to be among the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Siʹnai and with our forefathers, and he received living sacred pronouncements to give us.” Acts 7:30-38
And since the evidence that this Angel is none other than Jesus Christ in his prehuman existence is overwhelming to present here, I will post links to the articles and rebuttals which discuss this issue in great detail.
‘I AM What I AM’: A Bible Commentary [Part 1]
THE DEBATE WITH ALAN STORKY RESPONSE