According to "The Jewish Encyclopedia," it describes the "Jewish Law of Agency." The Law of Agency deals with the status of a person (known as the agent) acting by direction of another (the principal), and thereby legally binding the principal in his connection with a third person.

The person who binds a principal in this manner is his agent, known in Jewish law as sheluach or sheliach (one that is sent); the relation of the former to the latter is is known as agency (shelichut). This principal is enunciated thus: A man's agent is like himself.

Genesis 17:1-2 states the following. "Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him. "I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless, Vs2, And I will multiply you exceedingly." God appears to Abram and says He will multiply Abram descendants.

At Genesis 22 God test Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son, his only son Isaac. At vs10, "And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son." Vs11, BUT the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am."

Vs12, And he said, (the angel said) 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.

Vs15, "Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, vs16, and said, "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 bless you and 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." Vs18, "And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed My voice."

So getting back to my question? "Can an angel swear an oath on behalf of God Himself?" Would the Jewish Law of Agency be applicable here? I ask because Hebrews 6:13-16 says, "For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could not swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, vs14, saying, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply you."

Vs15, "And thus, having patiently waited he obtained the promise. Vs16, For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute."

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    The angel of the Lord is quoting God Almighty when he says. ”By myself I have sworn because you have done this thing.....I will bless you and multiply your seed....because you have obeyed my voice.” The angel of the Lord is not swearing at all.
    – Kris
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 22:34
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    @Kris How do you know he's quoting God Almighty, from where? Secondly, the angel of the Lord is speaking in the first person. Thirdly, why does the angel of the Lord call out from heaven two times? At Exodus 20:22, the Lord says to Moses, "You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven." Fourthly, at Genesis 17:1-2 God Almighty physically appears to Abram and says He will establish His covenant between Him and Abram and will multiply Abram exceedingly." At Genesis 17:22 it confirms that God appeared to him physically. "And when God finished talking, God went up from Abraham."
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 1:00
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    I know because vs 15 -16 says the angel of the Lord called to Abe and said By myself I have sworn ”declares the Lord”
    – Kris
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 1:06
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    biblehub.com/text/genesis/22-16.htm. Read the verses here to see that YHWH Yahweh is how the Original Hebrew reads instead of Lord. This clears the confusion. The angel of YHWH says to Abe “by myself I have sworn declares YHWH ......”. So it is Yahweh who is swearing on himself and it is the angel of Yahweh who tells Abe what Yahweh declares.
    – Kris
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 1:16
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    @Kris At Genesis 22:1-2 was the angel of the Lord quoting God in those two verses or was God Himself speaking? Your also missing other very important points. If you witnessed a crime and had to testify in court you would not send someone else to testify for you. Even you could not appear in person the judge would send someone to "depose" you. According to the uniform Law on Notarial Acts one person may not take an oath or affirmation for another, this act being highly personal commitment of conscience. As stated at Hebrews 6 an angel or anyone else is not greater than God Himself, that's it.
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 1:44

1 Answer 1


Malachi makes clear that there is a malak (messenger/angel) that is 'the Lord himself'.

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. [Malachi 3:1 KJV]

There is a messenger/malak who is John the Baptist. And there is a messenger/malak who is the Lord himself, come to his temple, who is the Messenger of the Covenant. Or, as Hebrews has it, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus.

Jesus adjusts the septuagint by one letter (my face to thy face) and adds clarity.

For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. [Matthew 11:10 KJV]

Mark follows Jesus' words and also states 'thy face':

As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. [Mark 1:2 KJV]

making clear that the Messenger of the Covenant is the Lord himself (in the Person of the Son).

The oath is made by the malak. And there is a malak who is the Lord himself.

Therefore if the malak who sware is Lord himself, then, yes, that malak may sware on behalf of the Lord.

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    Plus 1. Good job! The Hebrew word "malak" simply means messenger/angel as you pointed out. Depending on the context the word can refer to an actual angel like Michael or Gabriel, or it can refer to a human being like John the Baptist. In fact the prophet, "Malachi" who wrote the book, well his name is from the Hebrew word "malak." I don't think him or John the Baptist were angels, except maybe to their mothers!
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 21:14
  • John 3:16 sets the precedent that a messenger is inferior to the one who sends him. So no “Malak” is God.
    – Kris
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 11:55
  • @Kris . . . . . or an only begotten Son possesses (by a divine begetting in One Holy Spirit) the same divine life as the Father, and is thus equal deity in divine nature, yet still a faithful, filial servant in divine relationship. (But I have the most strange feeling of deja vue that you and I have been here many times before, sir.)
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 14:46
  • The idea of a messenger being sent by God to speak with authority granted to him by God is something people living in pre trinitarian times would understand. Only after you absorb the coequal coeternal.consubstantiality homoousian theory of the creeds does one find the need to contort simple concepts into special unique meanings, thus saying sometimes a Malak is actually the Lord who sent the Malak.
    – Kris
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 19:15
  • @Kris Not true at all. I know, you and your organization blame the creeds, the hypostatic union and just in general it's all the Trinitarians fault. If you knew your Bible by doing YOUR OWN homework (not JW stuff) the first "shilach was Abraham at Genesis 24. He sent a servant (the agent) to find a wife for his Son Isaac where Abraham is the "principal." Read: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaliah And btw, John 3:16 has nothing to do with the "shaliach" princple. Jesus Christ as the Son is equal in nature to His Father. Just like your equal in nature to your father. Are you inferior to him?
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 22:42

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