At Genesis 22:1, "Now it came about after these things that "GOD" tested Abraham. At verse 2, "And He/God said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you."

Verse 9, Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there, and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood." Verse 10, "And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son."

Verse 11, "But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am. Verse 12, "And he said/the angel of the Lord, "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." At verses 13-14 the Lord provides a ram for Abraham to sacrifice.

Verse 15, "Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, vs16, and said, (the angel of the Lord is speaking), By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, vs17, "indeed I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies."

Verse 18, "And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed MY VOICE." The following is a list of verses where God Himself calls out from heaven. Genesis 21:17, Exodus 20:22, Deuteronomy 4:36, Nehemiah 9:13, Daniel 4:31 and other in the Old Testament.

Here are some in the New Testament. Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22, John 12:28, 2 Peter 1:18, Revelation 14:2 and Revelation 12:10. There are also others in the NT. Since God had no problem speaking from heaven numerous times, why does the angel of the Lord call out to Abraham from heaven two times at Genesis 22:11, and at Genesis 22:15 claiming to be God?

This is confirmed by the writer of the book of Hebrews at Hebrews 6:13-14, "For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, HE SWORE BY HIMSELF, vs14, saying, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply you."

  • 1
    There are a number of questions on Stack Exchange - Biblical Hermeneutics regarding the Angel of the Lord, such as this one Why-does-exodus-3-refer-to-the-angel-of-the-Lord.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 15, 2021 at 22:42
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    @NigelJ I fully understand that and in fact I have started various threads on this issue. My question is why does the angel of the Lord call out from heaven two times to Abraham instead of God who has called out from heaven on numerous occasions Himself talk to Abraham? Or to put it another way, why did God assign the angel of the Lord to tell Abraham not to slay his son?
    – Mr. Bond
    Apr 15, 2021 at 23:16

1 Answer 1


OK, a response for consideration. Not necessarily one you are looking for, but one for consideration.

Genesis is a book, written not just ‘in’ Hebrew, but ‘by’ a Hebrew. And, for an audience who were Hebrews. And it is important to understand this, so that when we read it, we don’t read it from a ‘western’ perspective. An example...

GENESIS 38: 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord killed him.

‘We’ read this, and it ‘says’ that the Lord killed him. That’s what it says - in ‘our’ reading. But, to a Hebrew listener/reader, they would be interpreting this from their worldview. And they would instinctively/naturally ‘read/understand’ this passage in this way. .....

This firstborn child was killed, [by someone] because they were ‘wicked’. God is sovereign. Therefore if this person ‘killed’ the firstborn, God must of allowed it. Because this man was wicked. - Therefore The Lord killed him.

So, when God ‘speaks’, it is not necessarily God speaking directly. It will be a representative. BUT when this representative ‘speaks’, it will be as if God is speaking. And importantly - important for ‘westerners’ to ‘know’, itwillbe written as if God (The Lord) is speaking, even though it is a representative.

So we have ..

EXODUS 3: 7 And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows

Note - Who is speaking. Note how the ‘author of Genesis’ (Moses, a Hebrew, writing to Hebrews, not westerners!) says it is the Lord. Here, the Lord is speaking to Moses. And now note who Moses responds to .....

EXODUS 3: 11 But Moses said to God ...

But, here is the crucial aspect. The point. Exactly who was in the Burning Bush? ‘We’ would say it was God, or the Lord. But, we don’t need to answer this, the Bible tells us .... at the start of this story ..... clearly!

EXODUS 3: 2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush.

Now, in ‘western thinking’, we have a crowd in that bush. More than one entity. But - in Hebrew thinking we have an angel. A messenger. A representative. An ‘entity’ representing God, but [importantly] it is as if it were God himself! And in any account of this incident, it would be ‘written/related’ as if it were God.

‘Westerners’ struggle with this concept of representation. A Hebrew wouldn’t. So we ‘look’ for ways to resolve this, example by calling this a ‘Christophony’. Note- I am not saying this can’t be, or wasn’t a pre-incarnation. I am showing, outlining the ‘thinking’ behind how this was written..... because.....

.... This answers your query. That it wasn’t (just/only) an angel who called to Abraham, as far as Abraham would have ‘seen/heard’ this, to him - even though that’s the way it was written - it was God. And in fact, all those ‘other’ incidents throughout the Old Testament that ‘say’ it was God, it would have been a representative (angle/the angel/a prophet/etc.).

God has only ever worked [on earth] through a ‘representative’, example Jesus, and these days, the Holy Spirit.

  • Thanks for your reply! Yes, I do understand the different "nuances" in the various languages etc. In fact, the Greek language in the NT is one of the most precise languages in the world. Do you know what a shaliach is? Or the Law of Agency. Where a person acts as the agent or direction of another, the principal. In this case the angel of the Lord acting on behalf of God. The Hebrew word for angel is "malak." How the word is used depends on the context. Malachi 3:1 is a good example. So my question to you (I want to be clear as to your position). Is the angel of the Lord God Himself?
    – Mr. Bond
    Apr 17, 2021 at 21:04
  • @Mr. Bond “Is the angel of the Lord God Himself.” - No! - But, it is as if it were God himself. RE: “shaliach” - I admit this is new term for me. I have had an understanding of the Hebrew concept of representation for quite some time. Recently in discussion someone applied this term to what I outlined - as if it was a term ‘everyone’ applied to this Hebraic concept - and I’d just somehow missed this. So I put this term in brackets in case it helped.
    – Dave
    Apr 17, 2021 at 23:20
  • Thanks for your honesty. The purpose of my thread was to demonstrate that the angel of the Lord is God. Many believe (like you) that the angel of the Lord is just that, an angel. And many like you say the angel is speaking for God as if he were God, the shilach principle which I have studied extensively. This principle (according to the Jewish virtual Library) deals with laws of mamonot, commercial law, divorce, sacrifices etc. The law has limitations. An authorized agent cannot swear an oath on behalf of a principal. If the angel of the Lord is just that an angel, he could not swear the oath
    – Mr. Bond
    Apr 18, 2021 at 0:00
  • Cont. Genesis 22,has the angel of the Lord doing the talking by himself. At Genesis 22:16, TAOL, "and said, By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord because you have done this thing and have not withheld your only son, vs17, indeed I will greatly multiply your seed etc. At Genesis 16:10 TAOL multiplied Hagar's descendants. Only God does the multiplying. Only God can make a covenant. Genesis 17:1-2. I quoted Hebrews 6:13, For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, HE SWORE BY HIMSELF, vs14, saying, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply you."
    – Mr. Bond
    Apr 18, 2021 at 0:12
  • @Mr. Bond Appreciate your ‘snippet’ re:’shaliach’. It actually leads to thinking that this term is probably not appropriate for use as a term to portray my understanding. Because in my understanding, this one angel who represents God - can fully represent him, even in an ‘oath’. (Christophany?). Either way, it’s clear that this angel is in all respects unique. Exodus 23 says he has ‘Gods name’ in him’. But, the Hebrew makes it clear that this angel is both unique, and distinct from God. Anyway, let’s leave this here. Appreciate your feedback!
    – Dave
    Apr 18, 2021 at 0:26

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