Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The personal presence of the Lord of Glory

More from Meredith Kline on Zechariah 1 (The Rider of the Red Horse):

When the apostle John received his apocalyptic vision on Patmos, the opening revelation confronted him with the figure of the Son of Man in the transfigured brilliance of heaven's glory (Rev. 1:13-16).

Similarly, Zechariah in his opening vision beheld the commanding presence of a man riding a red horse, a man who was the Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate revelation of the coming Christ.

That this man and the messianic Angel are in fact one and the same individual is brought out clearly by the pointed identification of the "the Angel of Yahweh" in verse 11 as "the one stationed among the myrtles," the phrase already used twice to describe the man-figure (vv. 8 and 10). Moreover, like this man, the Angel is the one with immediate authority over the other horsemen.

A second angel appears in this and subsequent visions, repeatedly described by Zechariah as "the angel who was talking with me" (1:9,13,14, etc.). Such an interpreting angel was also sent to other recipients of apocalyptic visions (cf., e.g., Dan. 8:16ff.; Rev. 22:8ff.).

But the Angel of the Lord is unique among the angels. He is the Lord of angels. In the course of Zechariah's visions we find the same evidence of this Angel's divine attributes and prerogatives that appears elsewhere in the Scriptures and has led to the general recognition of this figure as a form of theophany; more specifically, as a manifestation of the second person of the Trinity. One such indication of the divine identity of the Angel of Yahweh in the present context is the reference to him in verse 13 as simply "Yahweh".

In this man-Angel the coming Messiah-Lord was revealing at the very outset of these visions his immediate presence with his people. He was there with them in their historical struggle, exercising his sovereign power in their behalf (cf. Isa. 63:9 and 43:2).

That personal presence of the Lord of Glory in the midst of the covenant community on earth was the all-important reality. To make known the meaning of the presence and mission of this messianic Angel is what Zechariah's visions are all about. They are an unveiling of the secret of the covenant, an apocalypse of the mystery of the divine Presence.


James Lim said...

Thanks Martin,

This is an awesome post! Dr. Kline was my favorite prof.


Martin Downes said...

I have his book on Zechariah on order (at the moment delayed by the snow) and am really enjoying his KERUX articles on the opening chapters of the book.