is the first person in the history of mankind to actually see YHWH
in a human form as "the Angel of the LORD." YHWH appears
to this Egyptian woman, who has been banished to the wilderness
to pay for another's mistake.
Christian theology commonly interprets "the Angel of the LORD"
as Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity, who "became flesh
and dwelt among us." I wantedto depict Him expressing His love
and care. His greatest act of love was to hang from nails on a cross
so every human could have a relationship with YHWH. This is why
I have depicted "the Angel of the LORD" showing Hagar
the nailprints in His hands. While this act is not recorded in the
story, it symbolizes the kind of sacrificial love He was expressing.
YHWH do that? I think so. He is infinite and exists outside our
time-space continuum and our three-dimensional cosmos.
also took the liberty to give "the Angel of the LORD"
wings. Western art routinely gives angels wings. But I discovered
that, in the Bible, the only winged heavenly creatures are the cherubim,
who had many wings and many eyes. No angels have wings in the Bible.
They all look just like humans.
the other hand, many Bible verses describe YHWH as having wings.
With the exception of one passage describing the cherubim, the Bible
supports wing-imagery for God only.
I think of Hagar's plight in the wilderness, and YHWH's protective
intervention, Psalm 91:4 comes to mind:
shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you shall
had given Abram a promise. "Now the LORD had said to Abram:
'Get out of your country... to a land that I will show you. I will
make you a great nation; I will bless you... and you shall be a
blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those
who curse you, and in you all the peoples of the earth shall be
faith in YHWH was tested when YHWH asks for Isaac, the child of
His promise. How could Abraham's descendants grow into a nation
through which "all peoples would be blessed" if the only
son of Abraham and Sarah was sacrificed?
As Abraham and Isaac made their way to Mt. Moriah, Isaac observed
"My father... behold the fire and the wood, but where is the
lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham replied, "My son,
God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering."
Then Abraham proceeded to build the alter and place the wood in
order. And when no lamb appeared, he bound Isaac and laid him on
the alter and took the knife to slay his son at YHWH's bidding.
the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham,
Abraham!" So he said "Here I am." Then YHWH said
"Do not lay your hand on the lad... for now I know the your
fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son from
Me." Then Abraham looked, and there behind him was a ram, caught
in a thicket by his horns. So Abrahan took the ram, and offered
it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
Abraham called the place "Jehovah Jireh: the LORD will provide."
our depiction of this difficult story, David Bair and I agreed that
YHWH's provision, the ram, needed to be in the foreground. David
chose to depict the Angel of the LORD as a dove, which is a symbol
of the Holy Spirit, and a symbol for peace. In David's scene, the
knife is on the ground already, as Abraham celebrates YHWH's provision
with his son.