As Jacob returns to the promised land in Genesis 32, he’s attacked in the middle of the night. As the two men struggle until the breaking of day, it slowly begins to dawn on Jacob that there’s something special about his wrestling partner. In fact, by the end of the encounter it’s revealed to Jacob that he’s actually been “striving with God.” Many commentators suggest that the patriarch wrestled with God in order to receive a divine blessing, but is that really what’s going on here? At what point does Jacob even realize this man’s true identity? Shane Rosenthal discusses this mysterious passage with Matt Foreman and Doug Van Dorn, authors of The Angel of the Lord.
It’s interesting to note that Jacob encounters an encampment of angels both when he is exiled from the promised land (Gen. 28) and the moment he returns twenty years later (Gen. 32). This fits with the language that we find throughout the Old Testament that the land of promise is to be thought of as a kind of new Eden (Gen. 13:10). Essentially, the borders of this region were being clearly defined for Jacob as “God’s country.” In the new covenant, however, we no longer need to seek God on this mountain or that because Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of a new international temple that he is building, which is why those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth (Jn. 4:21-25, 2Pet. 2:4-6).Shane Rosenthal
The Angel of the Lord
Authors: Matt Foreman & Doug Van Dorn
In the early books of the Old Testament, the mysterious “Angel of the Lord” repeatedly appears—visibly, audibly, even physically—to the Patriarchs, to Moses, to the Prophets. Who is this Angel? Exploring the biblical texts, the testimony of church history, and the insights of Systematic Theology, Matt Foreman and Doug Van Dorn argue that the answer is beyond doubt: the Angel of the Lord is a manifestation of God the Son. Even more, they argue that this Angel appears more often than people realize, because he appears under different titles, including: the Word, the Name, the Glory, the Face, the Right Hand, even the Son. They show that even some of the ancient Jews spoke of a Second Yahweh in the Old Testament. Christian theologians throughout history have taught this same understanding. Christians today need to be taught again how the Person of Jesus appears throughout the Bible and how he speaks to us today.
Echoes of Exodus
Authors: Alastair Roberts & Andrew Wilson
The exodus―the story of God leading his chosen people out of slavery in Egypt―stands as a pivotal event in the Old Testament. But if you listen closely, you will hear echoes of this story of redemption all throughout God’s Word. Using music as a metaphor, the authors point us to the recurring theme of the exodus throughout the entire symphony of Scripture, shedding light on the Bible’s unified message of salvation and restoration that is at the heart of God’s plan for the world.