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Angels and Other Divine Beings

Angels and Other Divine Beings

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Published by glennpease

DIVINITY with the Hebrews was practically synonymous with Yahweh, and yet the two ideas were not altogether conterminous. In the earlier period of their history the Israelites did not deny the existence of other gods, and after they had begun to assert the sole deity of Yahweh they still believed that there were other super natural beings who like Yahweh were invisible and spiritual, and in this sense divine.

DIVINITY with the Hebrews was practically synonymous with Yahweh, and yet the two ideas were not altogether conterminous. In the earlier period of their history the Israelites did not deny the existence of other gods, and after they had begun to assert the sole deity of Yahweh they still believed that there were other super natural beings who like Yahweh were invisible and spiritual, and in this sense divine.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 27, 2012
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AGELS AD OTHER DIVIE BEIGS
BY ALBERT C. KUDSODIVIITY with the Hebrews was practically synonymous with Yahweh, and yet the two ideas were not altogether conterminous. In the earlier period of their history the Israelites did not deny the existence of othergods, and after they had begun to assert the sole deity of Yahweh they still believed that there were other supernatural beings who like Yahweh were invisible and spiritual, and in this sense divine. To this group belong especially the angels. They were subordinate to Yahweh, butpartook of his nature and served a distinct purpose in thedivine economy.In the strict sense of the term W. H. Bennett is probably right in defining an angel as "a subordinate superhuman being in monotheistic religions," and consequentlyin holding that "in the earlier periods of the religion oIsrael ... the idea of angel in the modern sense doesnot occur." 1 But the distinction between a subordinatesuperhuman being in a monotheistic and in a monolatroussystem is at the most slight, and may in our discussionbe disregarded. There is, furthermore, no date or evenperiod which can be fixed upon with certainty as markingthe transition from monolatry to monotheism. The development was a very gradual one and was brought aboutalmost unconsciously. We may, therefore, use the term1 Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. ii, 4f.192
 
AGELS AD OTHER DIVIE BEIGS"angel" freely to designate a subordinate supernaturalbeing referred to during any period of Israel s history.The common Hebrew word for "angel," malak, means"messenger," and in this sense is used of men 2 as well asangels. The angels are also spoken of as "ministers" 3They are designated "sons of El o him" 4 and "sons of Elim." 5 They are described as "holy ones" 6 and watchers," 7 and are referred to as the "host" or "hosts" of heaven, of God, of Yahweh. 8 The term "host" was alsoapplied to the stars. 9 Between the stars and angels therewas supposed to be a close connection. 10 Whether theangels were spoken of as Elohim, "gods," as well assons of Elohim is a question. In Psa. 8. 5. Elohim iscommonly rendered "angels," n and it is quite possiblethat the term was used in this sense; for in several instances it has the general meaning of "a godlike being," 12and an angel may very well have been so designated.But in this particular passage Elohim probably meansneither "angels" nor "God" exclusively, but both. It isdivine beings generally, than whom man has been madebut a little lower.These different terms applied to angelic beings may bedivided into two groups, those that define the nature oangels and those that describe their office or function. To2 Gen. 32. 3, J ; um. 21. 21, E ; Hag. i. 13 ; Mai. 2, 7.3 Psa. 103. 21.4 Gen. 6. 2, 4, J ; Job. i. 6 ; 2. i.
 
8 Psa. 29. i ; 89. 6.8 Psa. 89. 5, 7 ; Job 5. i ; Zech. 14. 5.7 Dan. 4. 13, 17.8 1 Kings 22. 19; Psa. 103. 21 ; 148. 2; Isa. 24. 21 ; Dan. 8. 10.9 Deut. 4. 19 ; Isa. 34. 4 ; 40. 26 ; Jer. 33. 22.10 Job 38. 7-11 Heb. 2. 7.12 1 Sam. 28. 13; Exod. 4. 16; 7. i.193RELIGIOUS TEACHIG OF OLD TESTAMETthe first group belong the terms "sons of God" and"holy ones." "Sons of God" is not to be understood ina physical or genealogical sense. Like the analogous expression "sons of the prophets," it denotes membershipin a guild, in this case the divine guild. The "sons of God," or "sons of the gods," were divine beings conceived as forming a class or fraternity. They partook of the divine nature, were spirits, belonged to the Elohimworld. It was in this sense probably also that angels werespoken of as "the holy ones." Holiness, as we have seen,was a unique characteristic of Deity, and in it the angelsas divine beings shared. Indeed, "holy" as applied tothem was hardly more than a synonym for "divine." Itmay be that they were also thought of as "holy" in the

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