2. The Language of Angels
Certain phrases and words seem to have definite Angelic connections, and when such phrases occur together in a passage they imply God's actions are to be understood very much in terms of Angels. Some passages very clearly associate a certain phrase with Angels, but later uses of it are hard to fit into a specifically Angelic context. This may be due to our limited insight, or because the phrases refer to God manifestation in several other ways apart from through Angels. For example, Ex. 31:18 tells us that the law was written with "the finger of God", whilst elsewhere it is evident that Angels gave the law and probably wrote it physically on the stones. However, it is hard to consistently interpret the "finger of God" as a reference to the Angels.
Also relevant at this stage is the question of whether 'Elohim' is a title of God in person or of God manifest in the Angels. The linguistic arguments either way are contained in correspondence in 'The Testimony' magazine 1947 p. 420 and nearly every month in 1948.
2. 1 THE LORD OF HOSTS
This is a key identification tag to the language of Angels. "The Lord of Hosts" basically points to God being manifested through a mass of beings, with the implication in the word 'Hosts' ('armies') that they are organized in a hierarchical, military way in order to achieve set objectives. This mass of beings may refer to:
- Natural Israel
- The saints (surely 'Yahweh Elohim' is more relevant to them?)
- Gentile armies used under God's close control
The vast majority of references can only sensibly apply to the Angels. This opens up a huge field of Bible research, seeing that the titles of God are used so meaningfully in Scripture. Is there any other conclusion to be drawn than that in most places where "The Lord of Hosts" occurs there is an Angelic context? If this is not accepted, then the question has to be faced- who are the "hosts" referred to?
Many of the Angelic contexts considered in this book include "The Lord of Hosts"; the cumulative weight of evidence is just too great to be ignored. Many times when the title is used it is in conjunction with other Angelic language. The more obvious connections between Angels and "The Lord of Hosts" are listed below:
- "And Jacob went on his way, and the Angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host" (Gen. 32:1,2). The word for "host" here is almost identical in meaning to the normal word for "hosts"; this former carries the additional implication of an encampment.
- The Angel that met Joshua described Himself as "the captain of the Lord's Host" (Josh. 5:14,15)- the host of Angels that would go before Joshua and Israel to fight their battles.
- Elijah addresses himself to the Angel as to “the Lord God of hosts…the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant…slain thy prophets” (1 Kings 19:10). He perceived that Angel as the Lord God of hosts.
- Neh. 9:6 "the Host of Heaven worshippeth Thee"- hard to apply just to literal stars
- The Angel cherubim of Ezek. 1 moved with "the voice of an host" (1:24)
- The Angels watching Christ's birth were "a multitude of the Heavenly host" (Lk. 2:13)
- "Bless the Lord, ye His Angels. . . bless ye the Lord, all ye His hosts. . praise ye Him all His Angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts" (Ps. 103:20,21; 148:2)
- "The Lord gave the word (to enter Canaan): great was the company (same word "hosts") of them that published it. . even thousands of Angels" (Ps. 68:11,17).
The Army Of The Lord
David’s host increased, until it became “a great host”, “like the host of God” (1 Chron. 12:22)- the parallel between David’s men and the Angelic hosts is clear. Significantly, the Angelic armies that destroyed the Syrians are called ‘a great host’ in 2 Kings 7:6. Asa and his army defeated the Ethiopians- and it’s described as them being “destroyed before the Lord and before his host” (2 Chron. 14:13). Again, the hosts of Israel become the hosts of God. When Israel finally return to the Lord, their hosts will be “as the mighty one” [Heb. gibbor], a title of God. They shall fight, because the Lord will be with them (Zech. 10:5,7). The “mighty ones” [again, Gibbor] shall “come down” at Jerusalem to defeat Israel’s invaders- referring to Christ’s return with the Angels (Joel 3:11). But surely the Angels will work through the ‘mighty ones’ of the feeble remnant of Israel. That remnant, physically weak and scarcely armed, hemmed in within Jerusalem, will become the mighty ones through which the mighty Angels will work. In that very context, as Israel’s enemies make themselves strong, so the weak shall become “strong”- again, gibbor (Joel 3:10). I take this as a reference to the repentant and feeble remnant of Israel becoming strong, rather than [as it is often read] weak Gentile nations becoming strong in the last days. Thus there will be a standoff between the ‘mighty men’ of the Gentiles (Joel 3:9) and the ‘mighty ones’ of God, the Angelic hosts working through the feeble remnant on earth whom they will make into ‘mighty ones’. Hence the many references in the prophets to the ‘mighty men’, the gibborim of the Gentiles, being slain in the last day. It will be the final showdown, screened world-wide, between the hosts of God and those of men- although we live it all out, we see it all, in our daily experience now. And we today are just as capable of being used as the hosts of the Lord, if we walk in step with the Spirit. We have to learn the lesson of Israel, who preferred to trust in the hosts of mighty ones of their own strength and their Gentile friends, rather than upon God (Hos. 10:13). When Israel walked with God, “The hosts of the children of Levi” were actually called “the host of the Lord” (1 Chron. 9:18,19 Heb.).
Note how the Angelic ‘hosts’ of God are contrasted with the ‘hosts’ of the enemies of God’s people (2 Sam. 5:24; 1 Sam. 17:45,46; Is. 37:36). David and Goliath is the great example- David came to the hosts of the Philistines in the name of the God of Angelic hosts. And hence his faithful confidence that “the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Sam. 17:47). This is a comfort not only in times of physical danger but in realizing that in any situation, there are far more with us than with our opponents. In every ‘battle’, we of course should be ‘on the Lord’s side’- and the battle is His, and ultimate victory assured. Perhaps these things are the reference of the enigmatic Song 6:13, which speaks of the dance or company of the two hosts- those of Angels and the corresponding hosts on earth?
The Angelic elohim “helped” Uzziah in his battles; and yet within the same context we read that his human armies “helped” him (2 Chron. 26:7,13). Again, the Angelic armies in Heaven are seen reflected in the human armies of Israel upon earth. The human armies are described as helping Uzziah with “mighty power”, a phrase elsewhere used about the mighty power which God alone gives (the same two words occur in this context in Dt. 8:18; Zech. 4:6). And David learnt all this in practice, when he reflected how human armies alone lack this ‘mighty power’- all human strength is not strength at all unless it’s operating in tandem with God’s Angelic strength: “There is no king saved by the multitude of a host: A mighty man is not delivered by great strength” (Ps. 33:16).