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But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He 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.”

So I would like to know why then would Abraham disobey God thus choosing to listen to the angel instead and then directly disobeyed what was commanded of him by God by not sacrificing his son as an offering?

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    Up-voted +1, for you have (perhaps unwittingly) discovered that Abraham knew exact;y who the 'Angel of the Lord' is and why Abraham gave Him as much obedience as he gave to God.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 20 at 14:49
  • @DennieBurns Hi Dennie, welcome to BH-Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. Please be sure to take the site tour and read our code of conduct. Thanks! Aug 21 at 11:25
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The question contains the implicit assumption that the Angel of the LORD is distinct from the the LORD. This is not necessarily true - see the appendix below. In the case of Gen 22 we have the following data showing that the Angel of the LORD is the LORD Himself:

  • V12 - "you have not withheld you son from Me"
  • V15-18, the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time, saying, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will multiply your descendants like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will possess the gates of their enemies. And through your offspring all nations of the earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

Note that as the Angel of the LORD speaks to Abraham, He speaks in the first person as the LORD Himself.

Thus, Abraham was clearly obeying the voice and instruction of the LORD because such instruction came directly from the LORD God.

APPENDIX - Angel of the LORD

The following passages make it clear that the “Angel of the LORD” is almost always, the LORD (Jehovah) Himself, probably Jesus in particular. Gen 16:7-13, 22:11-17, 32:24-30, 48:16, Ex 3:2-6, 32:34, Num 22:22-35, Josh 5:13-15, Judg 2:1-4, 6:11-23, 13:3-23, Isa 63:9, Dan 3:25, 28, Hos 12:4, 5, Zech 3:1-7, Mal 3:1.

A closely related phrase, “Angel of God” who is clearly God as in Gen 6:13, 8:15, 9:8, 17, 15:13, 17:3, 4, 21:12, 16-21, 35:1, 10, Ex 4:3-8, 6:2, 23:20, 21, Deut 1:6, 1 Kings 12:22, etc. See also Acts 10:3, 4, Gal 4:14.

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  • Regarding Acts 10:3,4 and Galatians 4:14 you should know that "The" angel of the Lord never appears in the New Testament. Some have said it was the angel of the Lord who appeared to Joseph at Matthew 1:20-21. Luke 1:19 says Gabriel appeared to him. At Acts 10:3 Cornelius saw "an" angel of God, not "the" angel of the Lord. This angel at vs4 says, "Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God." At Galatians 4:14, Paul is saying the believers received him "as if they were angels themselves and even as Christ Jesus Himself."
    – Mr. Bond
    Aug 21 at 18:44
  • @Mr.Bond - huh? what Bible are you reading? "Angel of the Lord" appears in many places like: Acts 5:19, 12:7, 8:26, 7:30, In any case, we are not discussing the NT - the OP's question is about the OT.
    – Dottard
    Aug 21 at 21:24
  • I use the NASB, what Bible do you use? As I said, "The" angel of the Lord never appears in the New Testament. There is no need since He now has incarnated permanently in the flesh. The verses you gave me say all say, "an" angel of the Lord. And yes, Stephen before his death at Acts 7:30 did say, "An" angel appeared to him/Moses in the wilderness and the burning bush. At vs38, Stephen uses the word "the" angel who was speaking is identified as "the" angel of the Lord in the burning bush at Exodus 3. If were are not talking about the NT then why quote NT verses in your answer above?
    – Mr. Bond
    Aug 22 at 18:41
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Ha-Elohim הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים | The-God tests אַבְרָהָ֑ם Avraham in [Genesis 22:2] with a strange task :

"Please take your son, your only one, whom you love, yea, Isaac, and go away to the land of Moriah and bring him up there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains, of which I will tell you." ( קַח־נָ֠א אֶת־בִּנְךָ֨ אֶת־יְחִֽידְךָ֤ אֲשֶׁר־אָהַ֨בְתָּ֙ אֶת־יִצְחָ֔ק וְלֶ֨ךְ־לְךָ֔ אֶל־אֶ֖רֶץ הַמֹּֽרִיָּ֑ה וְהַֽעֲלֵ֤הוּ שָׁם֙ לְעֹלָ֔ה עַ֚ל אַחַ֣ד הֶֽהָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֖ר אֹמַ֥ר אֵלֶֽיךָ )

Mal'ak YHVH מַלְאַ֤ךְ יְהֹוָה֙ | Angel of YHVH ends God's test of Avraham in [Genesis 22:11-12] stating :

"Do not stretch forth your hand to the lad, nor do the slightest thing to him, for now I know that you are a God fearing man, and you did not withhold your son, your only one, from Me." ( אַל־תִּשְׁלַ֤ח יָֽדְךָ֙ אֶל־הַנַּ֔עַר וְאַל־תַּ֥עַשׂ ל֖וֹ מְא֑וּמָה כִּ֣י | עַתָּ֣ה יָדַ֗עְתִּי כִּֽי־יְרֵ֤א אֱלֹהִים֙ אַ֔תָּה וְלֹ֥א חָשַׂ֛כְתָּ אֶת־בִּנְךָ֥ אֶת־יְחִֽידְךָ֖ מִמֶּֽנִּי )
  • But if Avraham was "God-fearing" why would he listen to an Angel of YHVH, instead of completing his task that The-God commanded?

Does an Angel of the Lord | Mal'ak YHVH have more authority than The-God | Ha-Elohim?

  • No. - The Angel served God by mercifully offering a ram to Avraham in exchange for his intended offering of יִצְחָ֣ק Yitschaq.

Genesis 22 reveals The-God | Ha-Elohim הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים will test the obedience of Noachides like Avraham & will use Angels to remind Noachides that human sacrifice is detestable.

שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם

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Sarah wanted to get rid of Ishmael, Genesis 21:

11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son [Ishmael]. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman [Hagar]. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.

God made it clear to Abraham that more descendants would come through Isaac.

In the next chapter:

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

Abraham obeyed.

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

Abraham had hope that God would perform some kind of miracle concerning the sacrifice.

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

Abraham recognized the angel of the Lord.

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

The angel of the Lord spoke on behalf of God. So Abraham obeyed not to sacrifice Isaac. The angel also revealed the purpose of this as a test to see if he would fear God. Abraham passed the test. Immediately, there was a confirmation of the miraculous power of the angel:

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram a caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son

This confirmed Abraham's previous inking. The angel was also confirmed as the Lord:

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed because you have obeyed me.”

Genesis 22:9-13 Why did Abraham disobey?

He didn't. He obeyed God and the angel of the Lord who spoke on behalf of God.

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  • "Abraham had an inkling that God would perform some kind of miracle concerning the sacrifice." This suggests that Abraham outsmarted Elohim by giving all the appearance of fearing the latter regardless of Abraham's true state of mind. If I have an inkling that I got nothing to lose by following an order, I'll just do it. Same with Abraham, if one subscribes to that theory of inkling. The conclusion that "the angel of the Lord [...] spoke on behalf of God" sounds more consistent with the consensus about this passage. Aug 20 at 19:53
  • Good point. I changed the wording. Thanks.
    – Tony Chan
    Aug 20 at 20:02
  • "Abraham had hope that God would perform some kind of miracle concerning the sacrifice." What passage(s) of Genesis reflect Abraham's hope? The idea of killing one's own child is repugnant to most parents, but neither that sentiment or the opposite follows from Genesis in regard to Abraham. Abraham's answer in Genesis 22:8 seems aimed to prevent giving Isaac an incentive to flee or oppose the task, but it reveals nothing as to Abraham's true state of mind. Abraham could have construed the order as an indication that sacrificing Isaac is better than [hoping for] a [miraculous] substitute. Aug 21 at 9:17
  • You could be right :)
    – Tony Chan
    Aug 21 at 13:23
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Abraham did "NOT" disobey God nor did he disobey the angel of the Lord. Let's look at the context starting at Genesis 22:1. "God tested Abraham and (He God) said to him, "Abraham!" Vs2, "Take now your son, your only son, (Abraham had Ishmael before Isaac) to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering."

So at vs3 Abraham obeys God and at vs9, Abraham arrived at the place that God told him. 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, "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 vs13-14 God provides Abraham with a ram, and offered him up in the place of his son. Abraham called that place, "The Lord Will Provide.

Vs15, "The 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 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. Vs18, "And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, BECAUSE YOU HAVE OBEYED MY VOICE."

The first thing I want to address is the fact you cannot "assume" the angel of the Lord is an actual angel like Michael or Gabriel. The Hebrew word for angel is "malak and it means "messenger." The "context" determines how it is used.

At Malachi 3:1, "Behold, I am going to send My "malak/angel/messenger," and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the "malak/angel/messenger" of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the Lord of hosts."

The "malak/angel/messenger" who will clear the way of the Lord is John the Baptist. This is clearly confirmed at Mark 1:1-3. So John is a human with a message about the one coming to His temple.

Also, the Prophet, "Malachi" is human and his name comes from the Hebrew word, "malak." Another thing of note is why does God have the angel of the Lord call out of heaven two times? God Himself called out heaven at Exodus 20:22 and in the New Testament at Mark 1:11.

Another question that is raised is from Genesis 22:12 where it says, "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him, FOR NOW I KNOW YOU FEAR GOD etc. The angel of the Lord is doing the speaking and it's not unusual for God to speak in the third person. Genesis 19:24, Exodus 34:5-7 and Job 1:8, "And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."

I am convinced that the angel of the Lord is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. And I'm not the only one who believes this. Just google, "Who is the angel of the Lord."

But what evidence proves this? The Jews have what is known as the "Shaliach" principle. This means that an "agent" acts on behalf of a principal. In this case the angel of the Lord is acting on behalf of God. This principle will not work for the angel of the Lord if you first "assume" that the angel of the Lord is just that, an actual angel.

At Genesis 17:1-2, "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, "An I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly." In this chapter the Lord God appeared "physically" to Abram. This is confirmed at Genesis 17:22.

Here is what Hebrews 6:13-16 states referring back to Genesis 22. "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."

Even in normal court dealings today if you saw a crime you can't send someone else in your place to swear for you. In fact, even if one cannot make it to court for some reason the court will send someone to you and they will "depose" or take your deposition.

The bottom line in all of this is the fact that an actual angel cannot swear an oath on behalf of God Himself. God the Father has no separate manifestation from the Son. The Son is the only manifestation and revelation of the Father. What is known of the Father is revealed through the Son. To see the Son is to see the essence of the Father. (John 1:1, 18; 10:30; 12:45; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3.

It may surprise you to know that at Revelation 10:5-6 an angel swore his oath in the name of the One who lives for ever and ever, the Creator of everything in the universe, that is, in the name of God and the Lamb.

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This may well attract some pushback, but nevertheless it needs to be expressed. God can not directly interact with (Old Testament) man. God is ‘spirit’. And ‘man’s’ spirit separated from Gods when Adam ‘ate’.

Having said this, God can directly speak to (Old Testament) man. He does this via, or ‘through’ heavenly entities, angels. Or via a ‘man’ when that man’ ‘mouth’ is used by the Holy Spirit, ‘aka’ via Prophets. Even the Holy Spirit needs to work ‘through’ a (man’s) body, or an angels heavenly ‘body’.

Anything that wants to interact with this ‘physical earth’ or ‘man’ must do so via a ‘body’ that can. (Interact with this earth). In some respects this is termed a ‘medium’.

The point is, when Abraham’s ‘ heard’ from God, it would have always been via the angel of the Lord. The angel of the Lord was ‘as if it were God himself’. So Abraham did not disobey God. This is the Hebraic concept of representation, which is evidenced right throughout the Old Testament.

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