Thursday, May 10, 2018

"for my name is in him": Exodus 23:21 and Later Reflections on YHWH and the Angels

"Be attentive to him and listen to him. Do not defy him, because he will not forgive your acts of rebellion, for my name is in him" (Exodus 23:21 CSB).

While the name of God is said to reside in the angel escorting Israel, it does not appear that any angel mentioned in the canonical literature of Judaism is exalted to the extent that Yahoel or Metatron are: the latter angel is called "the lesser YHWH" in 3 Enoch. And one encounters this passage in Apocalypse of Abraham 10:

"I am called Jaoel by him who moveth that which existeth with me on the seventh expanse upon the firmament, a power in virtue of the ineffable Name that is dwelling in me."

Andrei Orlov explains that "the peculiar designation 'Yahoel' (Slav. Иаоиль) in itself reveals unequivocally the angelic creature as the representation of the divine Name. It is no coincidence that in the text, which exhibits similarities with the Deuteronomic Shem theology, the angelic guide of the protagonist is introduced as the Angel of the Name."


Now the Apocalypse of Abraham was written after Philippians and Hebrews: its terminus ad quem is probably the end of the first century CE. Moreover, 3 Enoch is quite late in relation to the GNT although the ideas contained in the work must have an earlier inception date. Of course, the DSS are relevant since 11Q Melchizedek uses Elohim, but the exalted figures of apocalyptic Judaism still possibly exceed what the canonical Jewish texts allow ad litteram.

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