In Exodus 23:20-22, God explains the angel that will guide the Israelites from Mt. Sinai to the promised land, and this angel doesnít screw around boy howdy! Like God, the angel demands respect and obedience and will punish those who rebel against him. God tells the people that if they obey him, he will ďbe an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.Ē
This is nice and raw. The angel is a grizzled John Wayne ready to shoot you in the face for sassiní him. And God doesnít say, ďIíll protect you,Ē he says, ďIíll bitch slap your enemies into submission!Ē How does this compare with the words of Jesus in the New Testament who Christians say is God incarnate? Jesus is all about loving your enemy and turning the other cheek, but God wants to kill your enemies. This raises the inevitable question, if God is prefect and unchanging why does he change so much between the two testaments?
Jews donít have to address this question since the New Testament is essentially blasphemy to them, but Christians do. Their replies are myriad. One argument I read said that God didnít change, it was the people who changed. As they became less wicked, his punishments became less severe. A second argument is that in the OT God is commanding Israel as a nation, while in the NT, Jesus is commanding the individual, so there isnít a conflict. Another argument says that God is multi-faceted and capable of being both angry and caring at the same time, but this doesnít mean heís contradictory. There are many more arguments available, and the only thing that they all have in common is that theyíre all highly unsatisfactory. These arguments are all in the same style of, as long as you donít think about them for more than two seconds they make sense.
Also, note the occurrence of Godís name being in the angel. This harkens back to a more superstitious time when people thought that to know the true name of a thing was to have power over said thing. This is why God never reveals his name in the bible, and why Jews never speak or write it. Heaven forbid someone were to learn Godís true name and steal his magical woman-to-salt powers. Remember the story of Rumpelstiltskin? Yeah, the bibleís like that. Only in the time the bible was written, it wasnít a childís fairytale, it was the real deal.
Finally, why does an angel have to travel with them? Isnít God supposed to be everywhere? More evidence of omnipresence not one of the attributes of the early God.