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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

BeShalach 16-3

When (he) sent

Exodus 14:15-25

Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them... During the last watch of the night the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion.

Ex. 14:19, 24 NIV

Who was in the pillar of cloud?

In this text, the Torah reveals that the pillar of cloud was caused by an angel of the Almighty. In another instance, it is written that the Eternal was in front of them in a pillar of cloud (13:21). Then, who was in the pillar of cloud? The Eternal or His angel? The answer is: both of them.

The Eternal is outside of this creation. He is not a man or an angel or part of the creation. He is greater than all that is created. Therefore when He reveals Himself in the creation, He does through people or objects that can represent Him to a certain degree. When He relates to creation, He does through mediators. He cannot move, go up or down, nor be present somewhere and absent somewhere else. He is outside of this creation. He is not part of this world, nor part of the world of spirits. He is outside of everything, beyond everything, but at the same time, He is present in everything. Not being part of the created things, but keeping watch on all, keeping them together with His word, evaluating and directing everything according to His purpose.

In this way, He can manifest His presence in a more specific and clear manner, in different places, times, people and objects. However, this doesn't mean that He is limited to this - only that He decided to reveal Himself through these means. All created things reveal something of His way of being, but none of them is He.

There are though, specially created emissaries and objects that reveal His presence and intervene directly in world history in the name of the Invisible One. An angel is an emissary. As we've said before, an emissary represents the emisor, so when the emissary acts on behalf of the emisor, it is the latter who acts. This is the way of understanding these texts.

So, when the Torah says that the Eternal looked down at the Egyptian army from the pillar, it was actually the angel as His representative. The Eternal didn't have to look from the pillar of cloud because His vision is unlimited - He is omnipresent. The angel was in the cloud and thus, the Eternal's manifested presence was there through His representative.

In the same way, we cannot mix a person sent by the Eternal with the Invisible One. The Eternal is not a human being, nor can He be one. But He can indeed reveal some of His presence through a man, but not all of it, because He is greater than the heaven and the heavens of the heavens. When He reveals Himself through the Messiah, He does in a limited manner, even if the fullness of the deity now dwells in him, bodily. It is not the same to "dwell in” as it is to be. HaShem dwells in Yeshua but He is not Yeshua. Yeshua represents the Invisible One but he is not the Invisible One. By seeing the representative of the Invisible One, we can "see" the Invisible One. The one who sees an emissary also sees the emisor, but not in full glory. No one can see the full manifestation of the Almighty and live. It is too great for us.

May the Eternal open our minds to understand His greatness.

Light and glory,


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