Life of Moses: The Conquering Angel of God

Peter Barnes: Exodus 23:20-33

(12 May 2019)


It is common to hear claims that God as Trinity appears suddenly in the New Testament, but there are hints all through the Old Testament.

1. The presence of Christ.

– 23:20-21. What do we make of this? See Ex.3:1-6; 14:19. Most of the angels in the Bible are created beings, just angels. But there is a figure who appears throughout the Old Testament who is a divine figure e.g. Joshua 5:13-6:2.

– Psalm 110:1; Isa.9:6; Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6. ‘My name is in Him’ (Ex,20:21). He protects and He forgives sin, and He has the divine name ‘Yahweh’. The name of God is the character of God, all that God is, so this is a pre-incarnation appearance of the Son of God.

2. God’s warnings.

– 23:23-24. The NIV has ‘worship’ but the idea is more like ‘serve’.

– 23:32-33; idolatry can ensnare us, almost before we realise it. There can be trade alliances and the like e.g. 2 Sam.5:11.

– Exodus 32. God does not demand freedom to worship Him, but that we worship Him, and worship Him alone. Ex.34:12-16.

3. God’s promises.

(a) protection and victory – 23:22-23, 27-28; see Josh.2:11. Remember Gen.12:3. This would not take place in one hit – Ex.23:29-31.

(b) provisions and care – 23:25.

(c) increase in number – 23:26. The Canaanites engaged in temple prostitution, supposedly to make the crops grow, and child sacrifice to please the god Molech especially (Lev.18:21).

The divine angel warns and promises.