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A supernatural agent through whom God appears and works in the world. English translations call them “angels,” but this suggests ethereal figures with wings, wearing diaphanous white dresses. Aides are humanlike figures; hence it is possible to give them hospitality without realizing that this is who they are (Hebrews 13). They have no wings, hence their need of a stairway or ramp between heaven and earth (Genesis 28). They appear in order to act or speak on God’s behalf and represent God so fully that they can speak as if they are God (Exodus 3). They thus bring the reality of God’s presence, action, and voice, without bringing such a real presence that it would electrocute mere mortals or shatter their hearing. That can be a reassurance when Israel is rebellious and God’s presence might indeed be a threat (Exodus 32–33), but they can themselves be means of implementing God’s punishment as well as God’s blessing (Exodus 12)...

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