Angels go back to the dawn of time, whether in physical or metaphorical form, they seem to have run the gamut from the truly celestial to the falling, the redeemable and the incomprehensible. Messengers on a divine route or a sometimes circuitous trajectory and perhaps even unwilling missions. There are angels and there are angels. The problem with getting hung up on angels is they are a bit limited, and tend to be more form conscious than content oriented: they are pre-programmed with not much freedom of choice and are trapped in a consistent level of spiritual consciousness.
When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. (Genesis 22:24-31)
Of course, Jacob was a special case. Another one of these you have to be a little bad to be good. After all Esau had a point. He deceived him by taking his birthright and then he grabbed his blessings. At this point, do you think he would want them back? Say a little role reversal for a millenium or so. In Jacob’s place, immortality was also synonymous with a tortured personality, the lowliest aspects of his own character and a hostile environment, the existential struggle that required stealth and to be furtive in his dealings to outfox those who attempt to trap him. So, a threatening environment, his own shortcomings and negative inclinations, he seemed unable to transcend the condition of his humanity: the born to toil syndrome and life is a series of events that serves to challenge one’s integrity.
So, what we see is that the Land of Israel was not holy in the times of the Patriarchs,it was a real wild west, which is why the patriarchs could leave the Land on a number of occasions. The question always is why were the angels not allowed to leave? The answer being that in heaven the land had always been desired; always associated with holiness. Of course, writers like Harold Bloom have always had a field day with this, interpreting angels as a debasement of ancient gnostic images on a similar basis with prophetic dreams, messianic trances, speaking in tongues and alien abductions:
( see link at end) …Yes, but another oddity of the book is that I point out that, contrary to what we normally think, Judaism, what we call Judaism, is a younger religion than Christianity. St. Paul did not inaugurate Christianity. He was converted, probably in Aleppo, though he says his experience was in Damascus, by a Hellenistic, probably Jewish-Christian community to a doctrine that already existed. He became the apostle or great propagandizer of it, the traveling salesman for it, as it were.
But what we call Judaism does not begin until the second century of the common era, with the rabbis clustered around Akiba and Tarfon and Ishmael, and the great sages.
I am curious about your use of the term Yahweh to refer to the Jewish god. Again, something that is not normative.
I am talking about the actual text of the Tanakh. There are thousands and thousands of times in that text the name Yahweh occurs. It became a tradition very early on among normative Jews that this was the unspeakable name of God. But nevertheless, that is the name, and the name seems to have been inaugurated by the J writer or the Yahwist, when Moses is going to be going down into Egypt rather reluctantly and says, “They’ll laugh at me. Who shall I say has sent me?” and gets the massive punning answer, “Say that ehyeh asher ehyeh has sent you,” which is invariably translated as “I am that I am” but actually means “I will be that I will be”–or to put this into English so icoherent, “I will be present wherever and whenever I choose to be present.”
And as I grimly keep repeating throughout the book quite deliberately, that necessarily also means, “And I will be absent wherever and whenever I choose to be absent.” And there’s a lot more evidence in the last 2,000 years for the absence of this personage than the presence.
Yahweh certainly doesn’t come across as a sympathetic character…
You have to be absolutely a bad reader or crazy or so bound by Judaic tradition of that kind which produces Satmars or Orthodox… how can you possibly like him? He’s very bad news.
Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Books/2005/12/Cons-Who-Rule-A-Ruined-World.aspx?p=2#ixzz1stfCrysc