Author Topic: Feast of the Holy Archangels - Verpers reading  (Read 192 times)

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Offline ecstoian

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Feast of the Holy Archangels - Verpers reading
« on: July 09, 2019, 09:35:51 AM »
This text of Scripture, found in Judges 6:11-24, is read yearly during the Vespers service of the Feast of the Holy Archangels:

11 And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
12 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
14 And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?
15 And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.
16 And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
17 And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.
18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.
19 And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.
20 And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.
21 Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight.
22 And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face.
23 And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.
24 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

I wonder what the text relationship is with this Feast. Did the Father/Fathers that appointed it to be read at the Feast think the expression "the angel of the Lord" relates to one of the Archangels ? Or is there another reason for its presence here ?

As for myself, I cannot resist being strongly inclined to understand "the angel of the Lord" in the text above as refering to the preincarnate Logos, as in Exodus 3:2-6, and not to some created person:

2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

And this because in both places in Scripture, the expression "the Angel of the Lord" and "The Lord" are used interchangeably, as it is also true in other texts of the Old Testament where a Christophany occurs, eg. Genesis 16:7-13, Genesis 22:1-18.

Can someone please offer me some insight on this ?

Online WPM

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Re: Feast of the Holy Archangels - Verpers reading
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2019, 09:40:36 AM »
I think its saying your prayers and contemplation practice. (Reflection upon the scriptures)
The first 5 books of the To-Rah is Genesis,Exodus,Leviticus,Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Offline ecstoian

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Re: Feast of the Holy Archangels - Verpers reading
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2019, 01:19:52 AM »
I think its saying your prayers and contemplation practice. (Reflection upon the scriptures)
WPM, I don't understand what you mean.

Offline Alpha60

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Re: Feast of the Holy Archangels - Verpers reading
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2019, 03:17:19 AM »
I think that whereas a Christological interpretation is possible, in this case, an archangelic interpretation is just as likely, and more correct, and for this reason the Church uses it.

Specifically, in Exodus, God, I think in the person of the Holy Spirit, appeared to Moses, and the Lord speaks to Moses, whereas in Judges, Gideon perceives that the person who was with him was an angel of the Lord when the latter disappears, and cries out “Alas, O Lord God!” at which time God speaks to him audibly, to reassure him that he would not die.

If you wish I can look up what the Orthodox Study Bible says on this point.

Offline ecstoian

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Re: Feast of the Holy Archangels - Verpers reading
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2019, 04:17:44 AM »
I think that whereas a Christological interpretation is possible, in this case, an archangelic interpretation is just as likely, and more correct, and for this reason the Church uses it.

Specifically, in Exodus, God, I think in the person of the Holy Spirit, appeared to Moses, and the Lord speaks to Moses, whereas in Judges, Gideon perceives that the person who was with him was an angel of the Lord when the latter disappears, and cries out “Alas, O Lord God!” at which time God speaks to him audibly, to reassure him that he would not die.

Alpha60, thank you for your response. St. Justin Martyr, in his Dialogue with Trypho, speaks about the Angel of the Lord who appeared to Moses in the burning bush as being the divine Logos. There is also an icon (commemorated in the Church on September 4th) called the "Theotokos of the Unburnt Bush", where the Virgin which bore the eternal Logos into her womb is typified by the bush into which Moses saw God, the Angel of the Lord.

If you wish I can look up what the Orthodox Study Bible says on this point.

Yes, please do.

Online WPM

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Re: Feast of the Holy Archangels - Verpers reading
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2019, 11:53:22 AM »
I think its saying your prayers and contemplation practice. (Reflection upon the scriptures)
WPM, I don't understand what you mean.

Explanation not neccessary.
The first 5 books of the To-Rah is Genesis,Exodus,Leviticus,Numbers, and Deuteronomy.