Angel of the presence

In some Judeo-Christian traditions, the Angel of the Presence / Face (lit. "faces", Hebrew: malak ha'panim, מלאך הפנים) or Angel of his presence / face (Hebrew: malak panayu, מַלְאַךְ פָּנָיו) refers to a type of angel, a singular entity variously considered angelic or else identified with God Himself.

The phrase occurs in

In the Book of Jubilees, the Angel of the Presence explains to Moses the history of Israel.[3] Jubilees depicts this entity as one of God's special agents and does not provide him with a specific name.[4] In the Testament of Judah, Judah states that he has received blessing from the Angel of the Presence.[5] The Second Book of Enoch identifies Uriel as the Angel of the Presence or else as one of the Angels of the Presence.[6]

Bible

A related term is "angel of his Presence" used just once, in Isaiah 63:9. There it says that throughout the history of Israel, God has loved and been merciful to that nation and shared in its distresses, saving Israel with "the angel of his presence".[7]

Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence (מַלְאַךְ פָּנָיו) saved them:

Some theologians believe that the Septuagint translation (ἄγγελος ἀλλ᾽ αὐτὸς κύριος) demonstrates that "angel of his presence" is simply a way of referring to God, not a regular or created angel. "Not an elder or an angel, but the Lord Himself saved them..." is a current Septuagint translation.[8]

Second Temple period

In the Pseudepigrapha, in the Book of Jubilees, the Angel of the Presence explains to Moses the history of Israel.[9] Jubilees depicts this entity as one of God's special agents and does not provide him with a specific name.[10] In the Testament of Judah, Judah states that he has received blessing from the Angel of the Presence.[11] The Second Book of Enoch identifies Uriel as the Angel of the Presence or else as one of the Angels of the Presence.[12]

In the Book of Jubilees, angels of the presence and angels of Sanctification are the two highest orders of angels. They were created on the first day, already circumcised, so that they could participate in the keeping of the Sabbath with God in heaven and on earth. God instructed one of these angels (thought to be St. Michael), to write the history of creation for Moses. The angel took the tablets of history and law, and in a long revelation, recited them to Moses with instructions to write them down. In the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Judah, one of the 12 sons of Jacob and Leah, testifies that he was blessed by an angel of the presence.

Kabbala

In Kabbala Angels of Presence are high-level angels also known as "angels of the face". Other angels usually identified as angels of presence are Metatron, Suriel, Sandalphon, Astanphaeus, Sarakiel, Phanuel, Jehoel, Zagzagael, Uriel, Yefefiah, Sabaoth, and Akatriel. The angels of presence are also equated with the angels of glory. In rabbinic tradition, there are 70 tutelary angels called angels of presence. According to the Zohar, the angels of presence revealed the "mystery" (purpose) of God to people, and thus were expelled from the divine presence.

See also

References

Further reading

Charlesworth, James H., ed. The Old Testament Pseudepigriapha. Vols. 1 and 2. New York: Doubleday, 1983, 1985.

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