and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. [galations 3:19b-3:20]
the law…put in place through angels?
just before death, the ‘intermediary’ moses gives a blessing to israel which records his encounter with God on mount sinai. in deuteronomy 33:2 we read:
“the Lord came from sinai
and dawned from seir upon us;
he shone forth from mount paran;
he came from the ten thousands of holy ones,
with flaming fire at his right hand.
paul is referencing something really important about the holiness of God: the law isn’t simply a man made construct–given to us by an intermediary but by an awesome God with a host of 10,000 angels! this certainly would be personal to paul, as he was present and was one of the pharisees rebuked by stephen right before stephen’s stoning:
“which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? and they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” [acts 7:52-53]
this accusation (the murder of the prophets and the Righteous One-Christ, as well as breaking the law “delivered by angels”) enrages them, and they, with saul/paul present, murder him.
God in his holiness sends angels to herald our ultimate intermediary–Christ’s–birth:
“and suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
‘glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among those with whom is he is pleased!’” [luke 2:13-14]
the appearance of angels is God’s way of indicating something really weighty and glorious is happening. we should not, as redeemed gentile christians, disregard the law, but we should recognize the role that it plays in our redemption story:
“for all the promises of God find their yes in him. that is why it is through him that we utter our amen to God for his glory.” [2 corinthians 1:20]
o! all the fulfillment of all of God’s promises can be found in the finished work of Christ! rest in the presence of the holiness and majesty of God who commands myriads and myriads of angels–who is one God in three persons, Father, Son and Spirit and does not change, yesterday, today or tomorrow–he is absolutely worthy to be praised by all angels and men! yes and amen!
~ conor eastman