Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Angel of the Lord

There is no mention of the Angel of the Lord in the Gospels or the Epistles, and only one historical reference in the Acts (7:38). Later in his sermon, Stephen accused his audience in these words: “you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it” (7:53). With this accusation, Stephen attacks the third prong of the theology of Second Temple Judaism.

Just prior to the sermon, Stephen is appointed to be one of the administrators for the community welfare system for widows. Thus we should understand that the audience is being accused of not following the law with respect to the law of Deuteronomy requiring the people of God to be charitable to the poor, stranger, the fatherless and the widow in their midst.

Perhaps the most significance clue as to the meaning of verse 53 was provided when the members of the Sanhedrin saw that Stephen’s “face was like the face of an angel” Acts 6:15. Is the message of the sermon that we should be angelic in our application of the law?

In any event, the sermon is an attack on the legalistic interpretation of the law that allowed the temple establishment to ignore the poor, maimed, lame, blind, Samaritans and women.

This is a work in progress.

Copyrighted 2007


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