Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
July 29, 2002
Last Updated :
June 9, 2013
Elohiym Also Means Angels So Jacob Saw An Angel And Not God, Joshua And The Captain Of The Lord's Host, Moses And Burning Bush, Angels Ministering Spirits And Flames Of Fire, Manoah's Angelic Messenger, Daniel And John Are Touched By Celestial Beings, Apostle Peter's Angelic Liberator, Joseph Receives Instructions From An Angel Who Speak To Him In His Dreams, Jesus Appears To Over Five Hundred Of His Disciples Following His Resurrection From The Dead, Thomas And The Risen Christ, More Blessed To Believe Without Having Seen, A Resurrected Jesus Partakes Of Food With The Apostles, Our Resurrection Bodies, Closing Remarks, Suggested Reading Resources List
So how can we reconcile what is written in the KJV Bible with what actually appears to be intended? This issue is not quite as difficult as you may believe. As I explain in the series called "Ken Maley's New New Testament and the Jesus Seminar", based on information in the Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Hebrew Aramaic English Lexicon, while in the King James Bible the Hebrew word "elohiym" is more often than not translated as "God", this is not its only definition. It likewise means, Divine Ones, Godlike Ones, and Angels. This seems to confirm my belief that what Jacob was really stating is that he saw and wrestled with an Angel that night, and not with God the Father. Common sense dictates that Jacob would not have been able to really win a wrestling match against the Creator of the Universe.
In other words, I believe that inserting "God" in that verse was a translational error. In my view, "elohiym" should have been translated as "Angel", or maybe as "Divine One" instead. I honestly don't know why the translators chose to use "God" in that verse, but as I said, it just confuses the reader.
In the case of Joshua -- the son of Nun who was the successor to Moses -- the Scriptures inform us that as he and his army were in the process of besieging the city of Jericho, Someone very significant stood near Joshua, appearing in the form of a regular man, with a sword drawn in his hand, and ready to do battle for the Israelites, as we see by these verses:
"And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so."
Joshua 5:13-15, KJV
While at first glance we may be inclined to believe that this Entity was a great Warrior Archangel such as Michael, I have my doubts about this. To my knowledge, nowhere in the Bible do we find Angels requiring worship. They always point to God instead. For example, I am reminded of the following verses which are found in the Book of Revelation where John attempts to worship the Angelic Messenger who has been sent to him:
"And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
Revelation 19:10, KJV
"And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God."
Revelation 22:8-9, KJV
As you can see, John's Angelic Messenger absolutely refused to receive any kind of worship from the Apostle. So it is for this reason that I am not persuaded that Joshua saw an Angel, because Joshua's Celestial Visitor did the exact opposite. He said the ground was holy, and told Joshua to remove his shoe. If we consider the similarities between the story of Joshua and the account of Moses and the Burning Bush, I am inclined to think that this may have been another cameo appearance by Jesus in the Old Testament. With the previous verses in mind, consider now what was said to Moses as well:
"And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."
Exodus 3:2-5, KJV
What makes the previous verses difficult to understand is the fact that we are told that "the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire". However, then we are told that it is God who actually calls to Moses out of the midst of the bush. So was it really God the Father, or Jesus, or was it an Angelic Messenger who was simply speaking on God's behalf? If we consider that Angels do not demand worship, then it seems more likely that Someone greater than an Angel spoke to both Joshua and Moses. Yet at the same time, there still remains a possibility that it really was one of the Archangels of God who spoke to Moses on that day. After all, allow me to remind again how they are described in the Book of Revelation and elsewhere:
"And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God."
Revelation 4:5, KJV
"And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush . . . This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:"
Acts 7:30, 38, KJV
"And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire."
Hebrews 1:7, KJV
As you can see, the Seven Archangels of God are described as "lamps of fire" and "a flame of fire", and that is precisely what Moses saw in the bush which did not burn. I will leave it at that, because I cannot provide you with a definitive answer regarding this issue.
Moving forward in the Old Testament, the next Angel story we are going to discuss concerns Manoah and his wife, who were the parents of Israel's strongman and judge, Samson. As with the previous accounts, in this case, the Angel refused to be worshiped by the couple. Rather, he told them that if they were going to offer a burnt offering, then they should offer it unto the LORD. While Manoah offered to prepare a kid for their Angelic Guest, for reasons which are not made clear, he refused to eat. Keeping in mind the previous verses regarding how Angels are referred to as "lamps of fire" and "a flame of fire", consider the amazing feat which was performed by this Angel as he disappeared from their sight:
"And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee. And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD. And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour? And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret? So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God."
Judges 13:15-22, KJV
No doubt you will notice again that just like Jacob, Manoah says "we have seen God". However, throughout this story, we are clearly told that Manoah and his wife are visited by an Angel of the LORD. In fact, in every case where "angel" is used in the previous verses, the Hebrew word that is used is "malak", which we know means messenger or envoy. It is only in the final verse where "elohiym" is used. Thus, once again the KJV translators translated it as "God", when in reality Manoah and his wife saw an Angel, and not literally God.
We have already seen how God's Angels possess the ability to fully materialize in flesh and bone bodies. They can eat and touch and be touched as well. They have physical substance. With the Prophet Daniel and John the Revelator, we are told that they had to be physically touched and helped to their feet by their Messengers, because the experience was simply too overwhelming for their weak mortal flesh. Consider these verses:
"Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands."
Daniel 10:8-10, KJV
"And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,"
Daniel 10:15-18, KJV
"And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:"
Revelation 1:17, KJV
Please notice that in Revelation 1:17 above, this is not an Angel. It is in fact Jesus Himself who is appearing to John in His true Celestial Body. This is made evident by the fact that He states "I am the first and the last". This point is confirmed by the surrounding verses as well. Even though the Lord is in His true Celestial Form, He is able to physically touch John. Exactly how such Beings can be in the Spiritual Realm, and yet still physically interact with objects and people on our own earthly plane is beyond my comprehension. Perhaps someday we will all come to understand it.
We find another clear example where Angels can physically interact with our own plane of existence in the Book of Acts. In this particular case, the Apostle Peter has been thrown into prison by evil King Herod. If you take the time to read the opening verses of Acts chapter twelve, you will see that Herod has already beheaded James, the brother of John, and that he apparently has Peter scheduled to be his next victim. However, contrary to wicked Herod's plans, God is not quite done using Peter yet. Thus, we are told that as Peter lay sleeping in his prison cell, an Angel suddenly appeared in the presence of a light, hit Peter on his side in order to wake him up, got him to his feet, and told him to get his clothes on. Having safely led Peter out of the prison, the Angel then causes the iron gates of the city to open so that Peter can enter therein, and then the Angel disappears:
"And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him."
Acts 12:7-10, KJV
As I mentioned earlier, it seems that our Heavenly Father has sparingly used Angelic Messengers throughout human history. Physical manifestations of Angels is not a common everyday occurrence, as far as I can tell. Peter was a central pillar of the First Century Church. That is why God chose to spare him in this manner. In short, if someday you find yourself in a prison cell because you were boldly preaching the Gospel on a city street, and raised the ire of nearby business owners, please don't expect an Angel of the Lord to arrive to set you free, as occurred with Peter, because more than likely, it probably will not happen. Just try to remain positive, and be thankful that you have been found worthy to suffer persecution for His Name's sake. I encourage you to read my series called "Civil Disobedience and Christian Persecution".
Concerning Joseph -- the stepfather of Jesus -- the Gospel of Matthew seems to indicate that he had Angelic Visitations on at least three different occasions: once when he was told to take Mary to be his wife; once when he was warned to flee to Egypt in order to escape the wrath of King Herod; and once when he was informed that it was safe to go back to Israel because wicked King Herod was dead. Consider the following verses:
"But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost . . . Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:"
Matthew 1:20, 24, KJV
"And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him . . . But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,"
Matthew 2:13, 19, KJV
"For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man."
Job 33:14-17, KJV
While there are other examples in the Scriptures which I can present in this series, allow me to conclude with the example with which most people are probably familiar; and that is the Resurrected Christ. As I mention in the series entitled "Ken Maley's New New Testament and the Jesus Seminar", following His Resurrection from the dead, Jesus appeared to more than five hundred of His followers at various times, for a period of forty days. This important fact is confirmed for us by the testimonies of Mary, of the Apostles, of the Apostle Paul and of over five hundred other of the Lord's Disciples. Not only did they speak to the Lord, but some of them also touched Him and ate with Him. In addition to Jesus' multiple appearances which are recorded in the Gospel of John chapters twenty and twenty-one, consider the following additional verses which reveal the resurrected Christ:
"The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me . . . And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."
Acts 1:1-4, 9, KJV
"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time."
1 Corinthians 15:3-8, KJV
As you may recall, the Apostle Thomas was not present during Jesus' initial appearance to the Apostles. As a result, being human like the rest of us, he doubted that Jesus had really risen from the dead. Thus, Thomas required physical proof in order to be convinced that the Lord had actually risen as He had promised He would do. Of course, only eight days later, Jesus again appeared to the Apostles, and Thomas was present this time, and learned a valuable lesson in the process, as we see by the following verses:
"But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
John 20:24-29, KJV
Following the famous walk on the road to Emmaus which we find in the last chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Luke relates the following incident where Jesus first appeared to the Apostles. From these verses we can see that not only did the Lord allow His followers to touch Him, but He even ate fish and honeycomb before their very eyes. This again demonstrates that there is still something very physical regarding Spirit Bodies. As we discussed earlier, in some way they are able to materialize in our physical plane of existence, function exactly as we now do -- including by eating -- and then vanish as if they are made out of thin air. Exactly how this works is totally beyond me:
"And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them."
Luke 24:36-43, KJV
Whether or not Jesus' resurrected body is of the same exact composition as the body which is possessed by Angels, I am not certain. As I point out in the series "Is Jesus the Only Begotten Son of God?", we need to remember that Jesus is the Firstfruits of the Resurrection, the Firstborn among many brethren, the Firstborn from the dead, and the First Begotten of the dead. In a word, Jesus is the first in His class. He is the Progenitor of a new race of people, and a new nation of people. As you will see in just a moment, transhumanism is really nothing compared to this. Humanity may use science and technology in order to try to create a super breed of human beings, even so-called "immortal" humans, but no matter what they create, it will still be weak and pitiful compared to what our Almighty God has done through His Son Jesus Christ.
Exactly what has God done through Jesus? Brethren, this is the most exciting part of the entire story. As I already told you, Jesus was not risen from the dead for Himself alone. He in fact became the Progenitor of a new race, a new species, and a new class of people. This is where God's saved children enter the picture. For us, death is not the end of the story by any means. It is actually the beginning of the real story, as well as eternity for us. Our death, regardless of how it comes, or when it comes, will be swallowed up in victory, as I explain in the article entitled "Death: Final Battle, Final Victory"
So what do we Believers have to look forward to? What will we each be like when the day of our graduation finally arrives? What kind of bodies will we possess? As the following verses make perfectly clear, we will inherit new bodies which are just like Jesus' body. Exactly what that means, I don't know, but it will no doubt be very exciting and wonderful, because there will be no more sorrow, sickness or death. Read on:
"And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."
Daniel 12:3, KJV
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"
Romans 6:4-5, KJV
"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body . . . For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Romans 8:22-23, 29, KJV
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
1 Corinthians 2:9, KJV
"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming . . . There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
1 Corinthians 15:19-23, 40-52, KJV
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life."
2 Corinthians 5:1-4, KJV
"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."
Philippians 3:21, KJV
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature . . . And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
Colossians 1:12-15, 18, KJV
"To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,"
Hebrews 12:23, KJV
"Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
James 1:18, KJV
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
1 John 3:2, KJV
"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood . . . I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."
Revelation 1:5, 18, KJV
"These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."
Revelation 14:4, KJV
With these inspiring verses I will bring another series to a close. I trust that you have found it informative, and I pray that it has been an inspiration and a blessing in your life. Keep an eye out for Angels, because you just never know when one may appear in your life. If you happen to have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc, I would really appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this series, or which are related to this series, and which are likewise located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:
Beholding the Evil and the Good
Civil Disobedience and Christian Persecution
Death: Final Battle, Final Victory
Do You Want Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?
Faith and the Shroud of Turin
Free Will and Personal Choice
Great Cloud of Witnesses: God's Holy Ghosts?
Is Jesus the Only Begotten Son of God?
Ken Maley's "New New Testament" and the Jesus Seminar
Leviathan: An Ancient Dragon of the Sea?
Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Chastisement
Nephilim: The Giants of Genesis
Parable of the Sower: Salvation and Service
Satan: His Origin, Purpose and Future
Satan: King of Tyrus, King of Empires
Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
The Book of Enoch: Truth or Heresy?
The Faith of a Little Child
The Judgment of Angels, Demons and Men