Who was “the LORD” of the Old Testament?   
Part 8


John Plunkett



In part 7, we looked at scriptures in the books of Exodus, Kings and espcially Ezekiel – scriptures that deal with the LORD and with His special angelic beings – scripture that are relative to the cloud and fire, the multiple eyes, multiple wings, the four faces, the wheels, rings and associated firmament.  


Israelite Banners?


In a recent discussion about the four fearsome faces of the living creatures/cherubim, one church member mentioned that the four banners of the four sections of the ancient tribes of Israel (to the north, south east and west of the central tent-tabernacle) bore pictures of the lion, man, ox and eagle.


I’d never heard of this before; so I promised to look into it and to mention it in today’s sermon.


Hre is the introduction to the relevant scriptures about these banners – or “standards” as the KJV calls them:


Numbers 1:

52:  And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standard, throughout their hosts.

53:  But the Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of testimony, that there be no wrath upon the congregation of the children of Israel: and the Levites shall keep the charge of the tabernacle of testimony.”

54:  And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they.

Numbers 2:

1:  And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

2:  Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch.”


I searched the scriptures; but I couldn’t fnd any mention of any pictures on these standards/banners.  So I looked these scriptures up in a couple of Bible commenatries and here’s what I found:


Albert Barnes


Standard and ensign.  The “standard” marked the division, or camp.  The “ensign” marked the family.

There would thus be four “standards” only, one for each “camp” of three tribes.


The “standard” was probably a solid figure or emblem mounted on a pole, such as the Egyptians used.


Tradition appropriates the four cherubic lion, man, ox and eagle to the camps of Judah, Reuben, Ephraim, and Dan respectively (Ref: Ezekiel 1:5-and 12 and Revelation 4:7).


John Gill


Verse 2: “Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard” or “banner,” of which there were four, under each of which were placed three tribes.


And so, every man of each tribe was to pitch his tent in the tribe he belonged to, and by the standard under which his tribe was marshalled, and in the rank that he was placed: with the ensigns of their father’s house.


Ensigns were either lesser standards or banners, somewhat different from the great standard or banner, which belonged to the camp consisting of three tribes, and which were peculiar to their several families and houses, and distinguished one from another, like flags in different regiments.


Or these were signs, as the word may be rendered, or marks in the standards or banners, which, distinguished one from another.


The Targum of Jonathan {a 2nd century compilation of spoken paraphrases, explanations and expansions of the Old Testament} mentions “the signs which were marked in their standards”; but what they {the signs} were is not easy to say.


Aben-ezra {a 12th century Spanish-Jewish commentator) observes, and Aben-dana {a Spanish/British/Jewish rabbi} from him, that their ancients used to say that there was:

·       In the standard of Reuben the form of a man on account of the mandrakes of Genesis 30:14.

{JHP: But mandrakes weren’t men!  They were plants!}

·       And in the standard of Judah the form of a lion, because Jacob compared him to one in Genesis 49:9.

{JHP: OK.  But other Israelite tribes – including Gaf and Dan – were also likened to lions in the scriptures; and a couple of times, the whole nation of Israel!}


·       And in the standard of Ephraim the form of an ox, from the sense of those words “the firstling of his bullock” in Deuteronomy 33:17.

{JHP:  Deuteronomy refers to all of Joseph including Manasseh – and not just to Ephraim!}

·       And in the standard of Dan the form of an eagle.

{JHP: Why?  Nowhere in the scriptures is Dan ever likened to an eagle!}


       … so that they might be like the cherubim the prophet Ezekiel saw in Ezek 1:10) … 


{JHP: This looks to me to be “circular reasoning” or “the tail wagging the dog”! }

… which is not very likely because such images and representations not being very agreeable, yea, even detestable to the people of the Jews in later times, and can hardly be thought to be in use with their early ancestors:


Others, as Jarchi {a 12th century French/Jewish rabbi} fancy that those standards were distinguished by their colours, as our flags or ensigns are.


But others say that the letters of the names of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were on those standards;


But rather, one would think, the names of the three tribes under every standard were embroidered on them, which would sufficiently distinguish one from another, and direct where tribe was to pitch;


But of those things there is no certainty!


Please beware of an old error – so common in Church of God circles – of misidentifying Jewish traditions with true scriptural facts!


In one of Daniel’s Visions


Let’s go now, from Jewish tradition to scriptural fact!   And let’s look now at a somewhat similar vision as Ezekiel’s in the book of Daniel.


As some aspects of what Daniel saw in this vision of his is very similar to those of Ezekiel and John, please bear with me if I repeatedly point the similarties out to you:


Daniel 10:1:
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.


All three appearances of the word “thing” here are transalted from a Hebrew word that we’ve seen before – the word “dabar” (Strong’s 1697), which is elswhere translated in the KJV as: word, matter, acts, chronicles, saying and commandment.


Many modern translations of this verse use the term “message”, which makes good sense.  Let’s substitute then:


1a:  In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the message was true, but the time appointed was long…


Please note that this was a prophetic vision that was revealed to Daniel – a revelation in a similar way as Ezekiel’s and John’s.


Later, Daniel explains more about “the time appointed” being “long” and, as we’ll see later, this is actually an end-time prophecy.


1b: … and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision.


Daniel’s understanding of the meaning of the vision must be very important, because it is mentioned anther four times in this same chapter.


2:   In those days I Daniel was mourning {or lamenting} three full weeks.


It is interesting that, in verse 1, this account starts in the third person singular – “he”; but then, here in verse 2, the narrative changes to the first person singular I”:


3:   I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.


Wow!  A three-week semi-fast!  And without “anointing” himself – apparently without taking a shower!


4:  And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel.


The twenty-fourth day of the first month is three days after the Last Day of Unleavened Bread.  If he’d eaten no “flesh” for three whole weeks, I wonder if he ate the Passover lamb meal that year?  Or not?


But actually, I’m not sure whether or not their Babylonian captors even allowed their Jewish captives to keep the Passover – or any of the Holy Days.


As the River Hiddekel (Strong’s 2313 – means “Rapid”) mentioned here is also mentioned in Genesis 2:14, along with the River Euphrates, most Bible scholars opine that the Hiddekel is the Tigris.

5:  Then I lifted up my eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man {Hebrew “iysh”: a male being or person} clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:


We were introduced to a “man clothed in linen” in Ezekiel 9 and 10.  He was a very special one of the six angelic beings.  He was the one who had an inkhorn in his hand.

This “certain man clothed in lnen” here in Daniel is probably the same one as in Ezekiel’s visions.

But even if he was a different “certain man,” we can be pretty sure that he was not LORD/YHVH either – as we’ll see as we go along.


Still, he was probably more “man-like” than the four-faced cherbim/living creatures of their prophetic visions of Ezekiel and John.


There are good reasons to believe that this “certain man” might have been the archangel Gabriel, who had appeared twice before to Daniel, as recorded in chapters 8 and 9.


Anyway, he was obviously not a mortal man,  as we see in the following verses:  


6a:  His body also was like the beryl …


The same colour as the wheels in Ezekiel’s prophecies.


6b:  … and his face as the appearance of lightning and his eyes as lamps of fire…


Just like the appearance of living creatures in Ezekiel 1 and the seven spirits of God mentioned in Revelation 4.


6c:  … and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass…


The same colour as the feet of the living creatures of Ezekiel 1 and of the feet of the Son of man in Revelation chapters 1 and 2.


Please note that, just as Ezekiel did, Daniel attached imprtance to the colours of the thngs that he saw.


6d:  … and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.


Just like the voices , noises and sounds in Ezekiel’s prophecies and like the voice from the heavenly throne mentioned in Revelation 19.


7:  And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.


Although Daniel’s companions didn’t see the vision, perhaps they did hear the voice.


This is reminiscent of those who were with Saul at the time of his conversion (Acts 9:3-7).


8:  Therefore, I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness {i.e. any good looks I might have possessed} was turned in me into corruption {rottenness}, and I retained no strength.


Wouldn’t we be the same?


9:  Yet heard I the voice of his words {which were like the sound of a multitude per verse 6}: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.


This verse reads like Daniel either received this vision in a dream while asleep, or maybe he might have fainted with fright!  And who could blame him?


10a:  And, behold, a hand touched me …


Similar to Ezekiel, who frequently mentioned the LORD’s hand being upon him.


But this hand that touched Daniel was the hand of the angelic “man” in linen.


10b:  … which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.


What we commonly refer to as “on all fours.”


11a:  And he {the “man” in linen} said unto me, “O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto you, and stand upright: for unto you am I now sent” …


This phrase “am I now snt” strongly implies that this “man in linen” was not the LORD/YHVH.


Rather, he was an angel – likely an arch-angel – possibly a very special messenger archangel – perhaps Gabriel, whom the LORD/YHVH sent to Daniel once again.


11b:  … and when he {the “man” in linen} had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.


Again, who wouldn’t?


Daniel obeyed the angel and got up off “all-fours” and stood upright.


12:  Then said he unto me, “Fear not, Daniel {who was noticably trembling}: for from the first day that you did set your heart to understand {N.B.} and to chasten yourself before your God {by means of his 21-day semi-fast}, your words were heard, and I am come for your words.


“I am come for your words”?  For Daniel’s words!

This could mean “I am come because of your words.”  Or it could mean “I am come for more of your words.”  i.e. “To hear what you’ll say in answer to the words I have already spoken to you and others that the LORD wants me to tell you”


13a:  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days…


It’s like this angelic being is saying, “I would have liked to have come to you much earlier and to shoretn your long semi-fast; but I was a bit busy with this other ‘project’!”


Most Bible scholars agree that this “prince of the kingdom of Persia was not the human king of Persia who was mentioned back in verse 1.  In fact, he was not a human being at all!  But rather, a very powerful spirit being – possibly – even probably, Satan himself, as we’ll see.


13b: … but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the {human} kings of Persia.


This “man in linen” was unable to quickly get away from that “project” – evidently helping protect the kings of Persia – protecting them from the angelic – but evidently evil “prince of Persia.”


This verse gives credence to the idea that this “man clothed in linen” was the archangel Gabriel.  Why?  Because, the scriptures tell us of only three archngls.  Two righteous ones: Micha-el and Gabri-el and and one sinful, rebellious one: Heyl-el (N.B. not “Lucifer” in Isuiah 14:12), who became Satan.


If I assume correctly that all three archangels are equally powerful, if one archangel is in a fight with one other archangel (as was the case here, as we’ll soon read in verse 20), a stalemate would likely result.  So, a third archangel would be needed to break that stalemate and to tip the balance of power in favour of the righteous angels and the kings of Persia, who were evidently being preserved to enable the Jews’ release from captivity.


But this “man in linen” (Gabriel?) had to break off from the struggle – perhaps not according to his own choice; but probably because he was commanded to do so – probably by the LORD/YHVH – in order to take these messages to Daniel.


It seems that Michael may have been sent to “hold the fort” until the “man in lnen” (Gabriel?) had finished taking his messges to Daniel.


14a:  Now I am come…


“Sorry about the delay, Daniel!  But I’m here now at long last!”


Why?  For what purpose?


14b:  … to make you understand {N.B.} what shall befall your people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.”

Again, “Now I am come.”


But why then?  Why did he come just then?...


Why couldn’t the archangel’s “vision-meeting” with Daniel have waited until the angelic “fight” was over – especially considering that, apparently, there was no real rush, because the message was a prophecy for “the latter days” – “for many days” – way off in the future?


So again, why then?


And the answer is – I don’t know!  Again, when it comes to some things in the spiritual realm, “Y is a crooked letter”!


Some of these things are just too wonderful for our human understanding.  But one day we will know!


Back in verse 12, the angel said to Daniel, “I am come for your words.”


Here in verse 14, he says “Now I am come to make you understand… etc…”


Yes, he had come to give an end-tme prophecy about what will befall Daniel’s “people” in the latter days.  But the actual prophecy itself is not detailed until chapters 11 and 12.


The angel said “your people.”


What people?  Just the Jews?  Just the people of the southern house of Judah?  Or the people of all Israel?  Or all God-fearing people?


We find the answer to that question  in the details of chapters 11 and 12; but that is another sermon for another time.


15a:  And when he had spoken such words unto me…


What were these “words” that the angel spoke to Daniel? 


Up to this point, the angel is not recorded as having said very much at all.  Rather, the greater part of what he said to Daniel is recorded in chapters 11 and 12.


15b:  … I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.


Poor Daniel!  He was probably still standing upright; but with his head down.  He had also lost his power of speech; but it was soon restored:


16a:  And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips…


This spirit being who touched Daniel’s lips, was he the same one as “the man in linen” who had just been talking to Daniel?


It reads like this might have been a different angelic being.  Why?


Because the first one was introduced to us earlier as a “man” (the Hebrew “iysh” is a male person or being) clothed in linen.


But this one is introduced to us as “one like the similitude of the sons of men.”  The Hebrew is not simply “iysh”; but is kid’mutb’ney–adam.”


16b:  … Then I opened my mouth, and spoke, and said unto him that stood before me, “O my lord {N.B. lower-case “adown” – not upper-case “YHVH”}, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength.

17a:  For how can the servant of this my lord {adown} talk with this my lord {adown}?...  

Daniel seems to be asking here: “How can such a puny mortal lke me even begin to converse with such a powerful spirit being as you?”


17b: … for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.”


Even though it was a vision, the exprience seem’d very real to Daniel.


Actually, it was real; but in a spiritual, “dream-like” reality rather than in a wide-awake, physical reality.


But even in vision, the arrival and appearance of these spirit beings was too much for Daniel.  Earlier (verse 9), he may have even collapsed in a heap on ground and passed out!


There’s an implication in Daniel’s words here that this angelic being was expecting some kind of answer from Daniel.


Daniel was saying to this angelic being (paraphrasing), “How can I talk to someone like you?  Your very presence and appearance have taken all my strength, breath and power of speech away from me!”


But then, in the next verse, Daniel’s strength is restored to him – by the first angel (if there were, in fact, two):


18:  Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,


The word “again” (Hebrew: yasaph) implies that the angelic being mentioned perviously is the one who returned, touched Daniel and restored his strength.


19a:  And said, “O man greatly beloved…


The “man clothed in linen” used this same encouraging phrase back in verse 11.


19b:  … Fear not: peace be unto you.  Be strong.  Yes, be strong.”  And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord {lower-case “adown”} speak; for you have strengthened me.”


This reads like, for some reason, the “second” angelic being drained Daniel of any strength he had left; but the “first” one came back and restored it again.


Please note, in verses 16 to 19, the repeated accent on the words strength, strong and strengthened, which are used seven times in total.

20a:  Then said he, “Know you wherefore {why} I come unto you?  


This is puzzling!  Because He had already told Daniel:


·       In verse 12: “I am come for your words”


·       In verse 14: “I am come to make you understand what will befall your people in the latter days”


Now he asks Daniel if he knew why he’d come!


Maybe the angel was just making sure that Daniel was recovred from the understandable shock of seeing and hearing him (the angel) so that Daniel was able to understand the important reason for their “meeting.”


20b: … And now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia…


It’s like the angel was saying here:  “Okay Daniel, if you’re okay with this – if you know why I came to visit you – as soon as I’ve given you the detailed end-time prophecy which I just promised to give you, I have to take off back to finish the job I was doing before I was interrupted.”


This refers, of course, back to the angelic struggle mentioned in verse 13 and proves that this angel is the same “man clothed in linen.”


As soon as he’d fnished with Daniel (see chapter 12), he had to return to the fray!


But look what the angel adds in the conclusion to this chapter 10 section of his discourse to Daniel:


20c: … And when I am gone forth {back to the fight}, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.


If true that the prince of Persia is Satan, who could this prince of Grecia be?


I see two possibilities:


1.    Maybe it is Satan again – once silenced, weakened and deactivated by Gabriel and Michael in his attacks on the royal court of Persia, maybe he shifted his evil power and influence over to the royal court of Greece.


2.    Another powerful fallen angel – perhaps a high-ranking one was at work in the royal court of Greece, as Satan had been active in the royal court of Persia.


You might recall from other prophecies (e.g. in Daniel chapters 2 and 7 and Revelation 13) that Persia and Greece were the second and third of the four prophesied powerful Gentile kingdoms/empires.

But it was Babylon (the first of the four powerful Gentile kingdoms/empires) that had defeated the Jews and had taken them captives into exile - where Daniel was at time of this account in chapter 10 of his book.


But during the Jews’ exile, Babylon itslf was defeated and its empire went to Darius-the-Mede, and then to Cyrus of Persia.


So, the Jews – including Daniel – were likely under Persian rule at the time of this vision.


Also, as implied by this angel, the Persians didn’t hold onto the empire for very long.  Cyrus of Persia would free the Jews from their exile in 538 BC.  Maybe that’s why the two archangels were sent to protect Cyrus.


Because shortly after Cyrus died in 530 BC, Greece defeated Persia in the Greco-Persian wars.


This indicates that, once the Jews were freed, God’s protective angels “left the stage” and allowed Cyrus (who had served his purpose) to be kllled and allowed the demonic prince of Grecia to come in and have his way.


21:  But I will show you that which is noted in the scriptur of truth: and there is none that holds with me in these things, but Michael your prince.”


Not that the LORD/YHVH and other angels wern’t with him (Gabriel?) in the struggle; but the only other archangel powerful enough to give the help he needed was Michael – the prince of the Jews – maybe of all Israel.




Although the angel’s discourse with Daniel continues on, chapter 10 ends here.  So this is a good place to close off this series.


Just to recap, the main reason that I led you through all these “angel” scriptures in the books of Revelation, Exodus, Ezekiel and Daniel is because the question came up suggesting that the “Angel” (capital A) was Jesus/YHVH.  Also that some people believe that Michael was/is Jesus.  To the best of my ability, I have tried to identify these amazing spirit beings.


The main reason for the whole series was to attempt to clarify who was the “LORD” of the Old Testament!