Exodus 12:23, “For YHWH will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, YHWH will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.”
Some translations choose to use the phrase “The Angel of Death” instead of “the destroyer”, which isn’t at all what the Hebrew actually says. The desire of religious tradition to remove YHWH from the direct role of “destroyer” is understandable. We’d much prefer the titles of “Creator” or “Father” when we picture Him. I know I sure do. It’s so much easier to mentally connect the more comforting aspects of YHWH to Yeshua. Don’t judge, don’t cast stones, love your enemies and all that. That’s not as easy to do when you see how hands-on YHWH can be with deadly judgement.
YHWH does use proxies often enough. It’s not uncommon for a third party, such as an angel, to speak on behalf of YHWH, even using a “first person” voice (Genesis 16:10). There are other examples of such a stand-in, such as the character named “Wisdom” in the book of Proverbs, described as a flesh and blood female (Proverbs 1:20) though other passages tell us that YHWH alone is the source of Wisdom (Proverbs 2:6). The Holy Spirit is referred to as a “he” (John 14:26) although the Spirit is as inseparable from YHWH Himself as wisdom and love are.
In another narrative, King David’s sin triggers judgement upon Israel, and there’s a “death plague” very similar to the Pesach event. Like in Egypt, YHWH is clearly in full control of the destruction, but unlike Egypt, He isn’t the direct agent of death. The root word for “destruction” below, is the same word as in Exodus 12:23, shachat (Strongs H7843).
2 Samuel 24:14-17, “…YHWH sent a pestilence on Israel from the morning until the appointed time. And there died of the people from Dan to Beersheba 70,000 men. And when the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, YHWH relented from the destruction and said to the angel who was working destruction among the people, “It is enough; now stay your hand.”
In the Book of Revelation, it’s the same pattern. Clearly YHWH is the one behind the scroll that is being unsealed and is the one who filled the bowls with wrath. He is clearly the Sovereign behind the final destruction of Babylon. However even in this final act of creative destruction, YHWH assigns angels the task of pouring out His judgment and blowing the trumpets that signal the end of the age. It’s not YHWH that opens the seven seals, it’s the Lamb who YHWH declares is worthy to open up the scroll.
It’s important to realize that the night of Pesach is unique. This night is as personal and as intimate as it gets, and fittingly YHWH is doing the dirty work Himself. As He said to Pharaoh in Exodus 9:15-16, “For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” YHWH is not proclaiming the name of any of his servants, angels or arch-angels. This is His night, and He doesn’t want us to forget it.
Both Jews and Christians always seem in a hurry to transfer credit away from YHWH to their respective heroes. Every spring I hear the misleading expression, “Moses freed the Jews from Egypt”. Close, but no cigar. Moses is my hero too, don’t get me wrong, but it was YHWH who passed over our houses and it was YHWH who struck our enemies down. It’s even more common to think of Yeshua as our “Savior” when pointing to the events of this same night in Jerusalem. Yeshua is crucial to YHWH’s plan but even Messiah “…was in the form of God, but did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but instead emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phillipians 2:6-8)
In the first century, there was a notorious heretic named Maricon of Sinope who was actually responsible for canonizing the first prototype of the “Christian” bible. Bible v1.0 was made up mostly of Paul’s letters. Marcion was the first to coin the terms “Old” and “New” Testament. Seriously, read about him here.
Marcion’s theology was that Jesus defeated and replaced YHWH, through his death on the cross.
The movie “God Is Not Dead” must have been a remake, because it’s literally the same old story. Talking about a little leaven infecting the whole loaf, many of Marcion’s false ideas still permeate the modern Church. I think it’s fair to say that this Messilife blog is only necessary due to Marcion’s continuing legacy of leaven. If I wasn’t clear enough…I am not a fan.
Most faithful “people of the Book”, both Jew and Christian, don’t even recognize the letters Y.H.W.H. Most don’t know YHWH by anything but the german title “God”, or the ubiquitous and ambiguous title “Lord”. Most don’t ever attempt to pronounce the Holy name. In Judaism, not only is it forbidden to say it, extreme measures are taken to make sure it isn’t said by accident! For those of us who truly desire to magnify His name with our lips, even we can’t be confident (if we’re honest) about how Moses first heard it at the burning bush. Despite all His efforts, we have failed to keep His name alive.
As we approach Pesach lets keep this all in perspective. When it comes to the events in Egypt as well as that bittersweet night in Jerusalem, YHWH wants full credit. The Jews didn’t kill Messiah. The Roman’s didn’t kill Messiah. It was YHWH alone who killed His Pesach Lamb. Abraham was tested with Isaac but YHWH spared them both the agony. On Pesach, YHWH went all the way, sparing our lives at the cost of His son’s. Let’s be sure to give full credit where credit is due, and not sugar-coat truth for the sake of our own preferred mythology or softer story-arch. Let’s not be like every former generation, being quick to gloss over His might and forget His Holy name.
Let’s not forget who the Destroyer was, who the Destroyer is, and who the Destroyer will be soon enough.
Hosea 13:4, “I am YHWH your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.”
Isaiah 49:26, “I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. Then all flesh shall know that I am YHWH your Savior and your Redeemer–the Mighty One of Jacob.”
Jeremiah 14:7-9, “Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O YHWH, for your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you. O you hope of Israel,
its savior in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night? Why should you be like a man confused, like a mighty warrior who cannot save? Yet you, O YHWH, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not leave us!”