Who’s got your back?

For the Lord did not draw Ishmael and his sons and his brothers and Esau near to himself, and He did not elect them because they are the sons of Abraham, for He knew them. But He chose Israel that they might be a people for Himself. And He sanctified them and gathered them from all of the sons of man because there are many nations and many people, and they all belong to Him, but over all of them He caused spirits to rule so that they might lead them astray from following Him. But over Israel He did not cause any angel or spirit to rule because He alone is their ruler and He will protect them and He will seek for them them at the hand of His angels and at the hand of His spirits and at the hand of all of His authorities so that He might guard them and bless them and they might be His and He might be theirs henceforth and forever.

Jubilees 15.30–32

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2 Responses to Who’s got your back?

  1. We can learn much from Jubilees I suppose – I did read some of Kugel’s work on it – lessons in how to read. I suppose I am glad that I don’t have to worry about who’s got my back – there are adequate promises in both TNK and NT that preclude any such interpretation of the spirits of the nations. It seems to have a parallel in the seven letters in Revelation – so one could identify spirit with tradition – :)

  2. It’s a really interesting book. And this belief in the various nations each having an angel goes way back. You’ll find it in Daniel for instance. I’ve always found it fascinating. Within the Judean/Christian worldview, it provided answers to a number of questions:

    1.) Why do the nations have different gods? Note that they didn’t deny that these beings were supernatural creatures, but that they denied them supreme divine authority, reckoning them as fallen angels. Paul is explicit on this point (1Cor 8.5-6 and Gal 4.8-9). This makes sense of things like the oracles and epiphanies in these other cultures. They were considered to be real supernatural events, but that the beings perpetrating them were masquerading as true gods, knowing that they were only (fallen) angels.

    2.) How do we make sense of the implications in the OT that there are other gods besides the God of Israel? With number 1 above, the worship of God is then seen not as monolatry, but true monotheism, and the divinities of other nations serve at his behest. This even appears in Psalm 82. They are only gods by proxy, intermediaries with God the only true divinity, the God of Israel.

    3.) Why are the laws and mores of other nations so different? Because they were given by those fallen angels in order to lead those nations astray.

    All of these ideas are reflected not only in Jubilees and Enoch, but in the later literature when it touches on the subject in the Qumran documents and in the Christian and Rabbinic writings.

    I love this stuff!

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