No one comes to the Father except through me.
The Book of Exodus ends on the most depressing note: Moses tries to approach the Almighty in the Tabernacle but the glorious Presence forbids him. What went wrong? He previously had access to the throne room while on the mount, so what happened? We are faced here with the greatest paradox in the whole Torah. God is to live with us on earth yet we cannot approach him as long as we are in our human nature.
I sometimes use a trick question with new students. I ask them, “How do you approach God?” I usually get all kinds of answers covering the whole spectrum from the pragmatic to the esoteric. Then I usually shock them by saying, “Actually, we don’t, because we can’t.” Jewish sages have pondered on this paradox for centuries. The way our sages saw it is “Why does Hashem desire that we hold fast to him, if he is a consuming fire” (Deut. 4:4, 24)? After all, this is a fair question. The sages ultimately came up with an answer which John expresses in his narrative about Yeshua..
What Jewish scholars came up with was the idea of the burning bush. The Torah tells us "the angel of the ADONAI appeared to him (Moses) in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed" (Exod. 3:2). Here we have Hashem in his Angel which coming as a fire, but a fire that did not consume. This represented God in consuming form, yet non-lethal to man. This idea gave birth to the Hebrew/Aramaic Memrah ממרה, later expressed by John and translated in most English translations as the word (John 1). Like The Word/Yeshua, the burning bush/ Angel of ADONAI represented the power of God in a non-lethal form for human beings; Hashem coming to us at our level, so to speak. The story is not finished though. The Book of Leviticus will take us through the process and protocol through which we are to approach God, so stay tuned!
Come to speak of it, a study of all the instances where the Tanach תנך in English mentions the Angel of the Lord seems to reveal important truths about the role of Yeshua in the Hebrew Scriptures. Some verses even call this ‘Angel’ by his Hebrew terminology Malach panav מלאך, The Angel of his presence (Isa. 63:9).
In the mean time we realize that from the time Adam and Eve lost their place in the presence of ADONAI in the Garden of Eden until today, no sinful natural man approaches Hashem directly; it is always done through some sort of agency. Even though he appeared and was represented through many different venues before his ultimate manifestation 2,000 years ago, Messiah was, is, and will always be the quintessential agent through whom we approach the Father. Yeshua's own words, "no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6) represent a fundamental truth prepared at the foundation of the world for all humanity from the days of Adam and Eve until now. He was and is the ultimate burning bush, the Presence of Hashem which does not consume; the Angel of ADONAI who brings in the presence of the Almighty. From eternity to eternity, It is through and in him that we approach Hashem.