The Commander of Yahweh’s host (Josh 5:13–15): angels as executors of God’s judgement and war
LE3 .A278 2022
Master of Arts
Acadia Divinity College
Yahweh, God of Israel, is the Most High King of gods and peoples. He delegates authority to celestial servants so they can work his will and govern his creation (Deut 32:8–9). Some of those heavenly beings do not do what Yahweh desires: instead, they champion injustice, oppression, and wickedness (Ps 82). As a result, there are times when God’s people face abuse, maltreatment, and war from the nations around them and the patron deities of those groups. The whole earth is thrown off-balance by this wickedness. However, Yahweh of hosts will not permit injustice to remain unchallenged. As the absolute sovereign over creation and God of the gods, he tasks his faithful angelic servants with waging war against rebellious spiritual beings, presumptuous kings, and wayward nations (Dan 4; 10–12; Josh 22:22; 2 Sam 24 // 1 Chr 21, etc.). In this thesis, I will examine Old Testament depictions of King Yahweh’s angelic warriors, including commanders who lead armies and govern people groups (Josh 5:13–15; Dan 10–12); chariots and horses of fire, piloted by angelic warriors (2 Kgs 6:17–18; Ps 68); destroying angels, pestilence, plague, and even the astral bodies (which represent the gods) who accompany Yahweh in battle. At times, God prevents these celestial warriors and executioners from harming the faithful (Exod 12:23; 2 Sam 24:16–17 // 1 Chr 21:14–16; Hab 3:5–11; Ps 78:49; 91:6; 121:6–7). At other times, the heavenly army wreaks havoc upon humans who oppose Israel while remaining unseen by their enemies (Judg 6:14–16; 7:7–25; 2 Sam 5:22–25; 2 Kgs 7:5–7; 19:35; 2 Chr 32:21). Whether visible or hidden, the existence of Yahweh’s heavenly army with its officers and loyal warrior angels should inspire the faithful in every trial: no matter what wicked god and systematic oppression is temporarily allowed to exert its influence, Yahweh is still King and no force on earth, in heaven, or beneath the earth can long oppose him. Justice will come, the wicked gods will be overthrown, and Most High God will use his angelic warriors to make it so.
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