Isaiah 63:9,10 – The Messenger of His Presence

Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bore them, and carried them all the days of old.
Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled, and grieved his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, [and] himself fought against them. — World English

In all their distress [He is] no adversary, And the messenger of His presence saved them, In His love and in His pity He redeemed them, And He doth lift them up, And beareth them all the days of old. — Isaiah 63:9, Young’s Literal

Isaiah 63:9,10 is sometimes presented as proof of the trinity, although there is actually nothing at all in these verses about a triune God.

The word “presence” in the phrase “the angel of Yahweh’s presence” probably refers to the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of light by night, that covered the tabernacle for 40 years. (Exodus 31:22,24) There are scriptures that do indicate that an angel who was connected with this cloud, as we read in Exodus 14:19-24. In Exodus 16:9,10, we read that the glory of Yahweh could be seen in the cloud; thus, the connection with the presence of Yahweh being represented in the cloud and the fire that led Israel. We further read in Exodus 40:34-38 that this cloud is associated with the glory of Yahweh. When the cloud moved, the Israelites would move with it, and when the cloud remained still, the Israelites would camp at that point. The indications of the cloud were considered commandments from Yahweh. (Numbers 9:15-23) Numbers 10:34 refers to it as “the cloud of Yahweh”. Thus, the conclusion is that the cloud, and possibly the angel associated with the cloud, is what Isaiah was referring to as the angel of Yahweh’s presence, that is, the angel whom Yahweh was using to lead the fire and the cloud, which represented the presence of Yahweh.

The Holy Spirit of Yahweh is Yahweh’s figurative finger (in action, power), or his figurative mouth (in words given). God’s holy spirit is likened to God’s finger (as the power of God). (Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:20) As the revealment of truth, the holy spirit appears to likened to God’s “mouth”. (1 Kings 8:24; 2 Chronicles 6:4; 36:12,21; Ezra 1:1; Isaiah 1:20; 40:5; 45:23; 48:3; 58:14; 62:2; Jeremiah 9:12,20; Ezekiel 33:7; Micah 4:4; Matthew 4:4; Mark 12:36; Acts 1:17; 28:25; Hebrews 3:7; 9:8; 10:15,16; 2 Peter 1:21) To provoke Yahweh’s mouth is to provoke Yahweh himself; likewise, to grieve Yahweh’s holy spirit is grieve Yahweh himself. There is nothing in this that means that Yahweh’s holy spirit is a separate and distinct person of Yahweh.

Exodus 33:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, “Depart, go up from here, you and the people that you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your seed.’
Exodus 33:2 I will send an angel before you; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:
Exodus 33:3 to a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of you, for you are a stiff-necked people, lest I consume you in the way.”

Some would claim that this “angel” that went before Israel is Jesus and that this “angel” is the same “angel” that is mentioned in Isaiah 63:9. Some cite 1 Corinthians 10:4 as proof that this angel of Jesus, although 1 Corinthians 10:4 says that Christ followed them, not that Christ went before them. Usually, these would claim that “the angel of his presence” means that the angel is in the presence of Yahweh, rather than being the messenger representing the presence of Yahweh. Many claim that the “angel of the his presence” corresponds to “the angel of Yahweh”, who, they claim, since he is addressed as “Yahweh”, must be Yahweh. Assuming that this “angel of Yahweh” is Jesus, then they further claim that this has to mean that Jesus is Yahweh, or, in the case of trinitarians, they have further imagine and assume that this means that Jesus is a person of Yahweh. This line of reasoning usually assumes that there is only one who is designated “the angel of Yahweh”. Actually, the Hebrew is not definite; there is no definite article to correspond with “the” in the Hebrew. Thus, it is not “the” angel of Yahweh, but “an” angel of Yahweh. The Bible speaks of many “angels of Yahweh”, and one is mentioned by name, that is, Gabriel. Garbriel is most definitely not Jesus. Although it is possible that Jesus, in his prehuman existence, may have appeared as an angel of Yahweh, there is no scripture that definitely shows that he did. Likewise, we do not know that the “angel” who went before Israel in the cloud representing the glory of Yahweh was Jesus, although we do believe that the cloud may be seen as providing a type of Jesus in that Jesus makes manifest the glory of Yahweh.

Nevetheless, to get “triune God” out of Isaiah 63:9, one would have imagine and assume several things. One would have to imagine and assume that “Yahweh”, spoken of in Isaiah 63:8, and the one referenced as “his” in Isaiah 63:10, is not the triune God, but rather one of the persons of the triune God. One would have to imagine that “angel/messenger” of Yahweh’s presence, refers not to the triune God, but rather to a person of the triune God. One would have further imagine and assume that Yahweh’s Holy Spirit that is referred to in Isaiah 63:10, is not the triune God, but rather a person of the triune God. In actuality, there is no scriptural reason to force such imaginations into the verses.

See our studies:
Angel of Yahweh
The Rock Was Christ

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