Stephen said in Acts 7:52-53 KJV "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it."
Young's Literal Translation of verse 53: "who received the law by arrangement of messengers, and did not keep it.".
We see that a bible translation called "Young's Literal Translation" (YLT) says "messengers" instead of angels. Why? And is that more correct?
I'm not going to immediately give you a complete, simple answer. Instead, we must throughly examine all of the relevant bible verses and also study what the ancient words for "angels" mean. As we go through this study together, please do not assume anything immediately. Let's truly study this deeply and sincerely allow the truth to guide us, rather than our assumptions and opinions.
The Greek word used for angels in Acts 7:53 is aggelos. It is Strong's Concordance Greek word #32. Strong's Concordance is basically a dictionary for almost the entire bible. It's not completely accurate but it is extremely well accepted as a very important bible study tool.
According to https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G32&t=KJV aggelos means a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God. A messenger; especially an "angel"; by implication, a pastor or messenger. Therefore, what we see is that despite popular belief, the word "angel" does not always mean an angelic being with wings that lives with God in Heaven. But rather, it can sometimes also mean a pastor, prophet, apostle or other person sent as a messenger of God. We see this perfectly in the following verse:
Revelation 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
The same Greek word #32 is used in this verse. But it doesn't make any sense that John would be instructed to write to angels. The letters to the 7 churches in chapters 2 and 3 were to the pastors of those churches, not to angels. It is the pastors that would have received those letters. Therefore, it's impossible to know whether the word aggelos is referring to a human or to what we traditionally think of as angels, without looking at the context and cross referencing all related verses in the bible. All bible translations in English have the same problem, and this problem also still existed in the ancient Greek and Aramaic bible manuscripts!
Therefore, to determine whether Stephen meant that the law was given by angels or pastors/messengers, we must compare all relevant scriptures.
Galatians 3:19 (KJV) Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him?
7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Hebrews is the key to whether Galatians 3:19 and Acts 2:53 is referring to angelic beings or to human messengers. Notice every time that I have put the word "angel" in bold in Hebrews chapters 1 and 2. The context in Hebrews is very clearly angelic beings that we traditionally think of as spirit beings that fly in Heaven. But to make it more confusing, Hebrews 2 also says "at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him". Was it confirmed to us by angels or human prophets? We know that it was confirmed to us through human prophets and apostles. But Hebrews 2:2 seems to say that it was also given to us through angels. Verse 2 speaks of "transgression and disobedience" as if it is talking about the law as mentioned also in Galatians 3:19 and Acts 2:53. Therefore, I would have to confess that Stephen in Acts 2 and also Paul who wrote Galatians and also the unknown writer of the book of Hebrews, all believed and taught that angels were involved in the giving of the law. But our study is not over!
Remember that I said that we must sincerely study this deeply and examine all of the relevant verses. If angels were involved in the giving of the law, then we must look in Exodus and other Old Testament scriptures to see where, when and how the angels were involved. Our study can not be complete without examining that!
Deut. 33:2 He said: “The LORD came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes.
Both of the above bible verses only mentions the presence of the angels. But they don't say anything about angels speaking, teaching or writing. But let's examine more verses.
20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name (authority) is in him.
22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
The "angel" in Exodus 23:20-23 is actually referring to Moses as a messenger, prophet and servant of God. Many people also claim that this is referring to Jesus coming as the Messiah. Either way, it's not talking about angels.
Judges 2:1 And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.
The "angel of The LORD" in Judges 2:1 is not a human. But neither is it what we traditionally think as an angel. The "Angel of The LORD" here is the same as in Exodus 3:2 when The LORD appeared to Moses in the burning bush.
1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
It's easy to understand that "the angel of The Lord" in Exodus was actually God Himself! Not an angel and not a messenger. Therefore, it really shouldn't be translated as "angel", but rather "the manifestation of The Lord", or perhaps even "the vessel of The Lord".
Since 2015, I've been working on restoring the original scriptures and translated them into English. In this process, I've come to learn that all of our English bibles use traditionally incorrect translated words. Most people do not understand that the study of the ancient bible languages is not yet perfected among archaeologists and bible scholars. There is still yet much debate among the experts about how to write and pronounce the ancient bible languages and what the words really mean. The definition of the word "aggelos" is definitely not yet perfected among the so called experts. And the exact same is true for the Assyrian Babylonian Aramaic word "malak" (H4397) used in the Babylonian Targum translation of the bible in Exodus 3, which was the foundation of the King James Bible.
What I have come to learn through the translation work and guidance of The Holy Ghost (the soul of Jesus that died but came back to life) is that "aggelos" refers to any instrument or vessel (like a body or container or manifestation such as in the form of water, fire, wind/breath) used by God to interact with humans. It can be Cherubim that we usually think of as angels, or human messengers or a manifestation of his own self in some visible form. Many times in the Old Testament, "the angel of the Lord" is actually a visible manifestation of God, and not Cherubim. We must always look at the context to determine the true meaning of aggelos and its Aramaic equivalent, malak.
So far, none of the Old Testament verses mentioned declare anything about real angels (Cherubim) giving the law. But rather, we must now look at what the Old Testament says really happened, and even what Jesus said happened.
Exodus 32:15-16 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.
Exodus 34:1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.
Over and over again in the Old Testament, it declares that God spoke the 10 Commandments directly to the people and wrote the 10 Commandments with his own fingers; and that God spoke directly to Moses concerning the ordinances which were added, and Moses wrote those down. There's not any Old Testament bible verse even slightly indicating that angels were involved at all, other than just being present around God's presence. Notice in the New Testament as well:
19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.
21 And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.
22 And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.
23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.
26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
Notice that Jesus did not deny that Moses wrote the laws/ordinances. He also declared that God himself spoke to Moses directly.
The Book of Jubilees, written in the second century B.C. is commonly quoted to teach that angels wrote the law for Moses.
Jubilees 1:26-27 "And He said to the angel of the presence: Write for Moses from the beginning of creation till My sanctuary has been built among them for all eternity."
Jubilees 2:1 "And the angel of the presence spake to Moses according to the word of the Lord, saying: Write the complete history of the creation, how in six days the Lord God finished all His works and all that He created, and kept Sabbath on the seventh day and hallowed it for all ages, and appointed it as a sign for all His works."
But there are 4 problems with quoting Jubilees to claim that angels wrote the law.
1. "The angel of presence" is not an angel, but rather God's own visible manifestation that He uses to interact with mankind.
2. Some of the writings on tablets referred to in Jubilees are "heavenly tablets" which are written in Heaven, not on Earth.
3. The Book of Jubilees contradicts scripture in several places, and perhaps many places, therefore it can not be trusted for any teaching. I will be writing about this as soon as I can.
4. Jubilees insists in Chapter 6 on a 364 day yearly calendar, made up of four quarters of 13 weeks each, rather than a year of 12 lunar months, which it says is off by 10 days per year (the actual number being about 11¼ days). It also insists on a "double Sabbath" each year being counted as only one day to arrive at this computation. Count more than one day as only one day? That's nonsense! We can't trust the books of Jubilees, Enoch or Jasper. All 3 of these books are often quoted and taught by people who have no discernment. All 3 of these books are sources of demonic teachings.
#1. In 1 Cor. 11:14, Paul said that long hair on a man is a shame and unnatural. Yet according to Numbers 6, God thinks that long hair on a man is a symbol of holiness and devotion to him. Plus, it's not unnatural for hair to grow long on a man. A man has just as much natural ability to grow his hair long as does a woman. So Paul was wrong on both accounts.
#2. In 1 Cor. 7, Paul wrote that believers should stay married to unbelievers. I believe that he only meant for a short season of maybe one year or less to give the spouse time to learn. But he did not specific for how long that they should stay married. 1 Peter 3:1-6 agrees with Paul. But in Ezra 10, the Israelites repented of their sin of marrying unbelieving wives. This repentance included divorcing the wives. The law did not allow for believers to marry unbelievers. Their repentance was divorce, and I agree fully that true repentance would be divorce after the spouse is given a few months (up to a year) to learn and accept the truth and repent. If they do not accept the truth in one years time, they are not going to ever. Therefore, both Paul and Peter were wrong to not give a limited time frame of how long to long-suffer with an unbelieving spouse who would of course be a spiritual danger to the believer.
#3. Paul and Peter both very clearly thought and taught that Jesus would return in their lifetime or at least in their generation. Paul said in 1 Cor.7:29 that "time is short". In Romans 13:11-12, Paul very clearly thought that time was so short that Jesus was about to return. He even so boldly said "The Lord is at hand" in Philippians 4:5. There's many other examples throughout scripture. Even the Old Testament prophets thought that they would see the end time arrival of the Messiah. Being a prophet or apostle does not mean that you are perfect.
This verse is often quoted to try to prove that every word in the bible is perfect, with no problems with translation and everything Paul said must had been perfect. But Paul was writing to Timothy, not about his own writings, but about the Old Testament scrolls. When Paul wrote the word "scripture" in this verse, he was not referring to his own writings, but rather to the Old Testament. He also was not referring to any English translation. Therefore to use Paul's own words in reference to the Old Testament and try to apply it to Paul's writings, is talking verses out of context. Even within proper context, Paul did not say that the Old Testament scrolls were perfect, but only that they were inspired of God and profitable. He didn't say perfect. And he didn't say that he was perfect either.
Nevertheless, the scriptures are perfect enough to give us accurate doctrine if we seek the Lord our God with all of our heart and with all our soul as we are instructed to do in Deut. 4:29 and study the bible (2 Timothy 2:15) and prove all (spiritual) things as instructed in 1 Thessalonians 5:21. God is the living word (John 1, Hebrews 4:12) and He is able to teach us all things (John 14:26), even things not written on paper by any human prophet.
I have great respect for the writings of the apostle Paul. He gave many great edifications of truth in his writings. I have great respect for the holy scriptures. I have sincerely and very carefully examined and studied this topic very in depth. I have spent lots of time praying about it and seeking The LORD. It's a very serious thing to me for me to say that Paul, Stephen and the author of Hebrews were all wrong, and even Peter when he supported Paul's teaching that we should stay with unbelieving spouses.
But the Old Testament, and even Jesus in the New Testament declares that God spoke the laws and Moses wrote it. The fact is that even apostles and prophets are humans and capable of making mistakes. Peter made many mistakes. If we really care about the truth, we must admit that Paul, Stephen and the author of Hebrews were most likely influenced by traditional false Jewish teachings about the angels involvement in the giving of the law, because of misunderstanding of the words aggelos and malak.
If I am wrong and have made a mistake about this, it has no bearing on how we live. Nevertheless, I felt that it was my responsibility that after I had come to the truth about it, that I had to share it with you as well. May we all grow in the truth in all things. And may the glory go to The Father in Jesus Name.
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Law Given By Angels? Copyright 2020 I Saw The Light Ministries