Angels or Men?
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. Matt. 4:11
When one leaves the familiar paths of Christendom and begins walking the Hebraic path of the Natsari and as one’s mind and spirit is transformed, the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) is read a fresh, as if a brand new book and things jump out that previously seemed uneventful or even mundane.
In the passage above we may envision a renaissance artist’s depiction of heavenly winged angelic beings cradling Yeshua in their arms as they feed him honey cakes and give him a cruse of water after His 40 day Temptation and Fast. But perhaps this is yet another example of Gentile misinterpretation of Scripture.
I know that angelic beings exists and appear in Scripture doing the bidding of the Almighty Creator, but has Christianity read angels where there are none? For example, by now it is well established that the “angels” of the seven “churches” in the book of Revelation, is actually the Rabbi’s and or congregational leaders of the seven synagogues and or messianic assemblies. For what good would it do for Yochannon (John) to write to angelic protectors of these seven congregations and not to the leaders themselves? The Greek word for angel can also be translated as messenger and is translated so in the Aramaic translation.
In like manner, is Matthew 4:11 really speaking of winged angelic beings or mere mortal messengers that ministered to Yeshua after His temptation in the desert? Again, the Greek word in this passage translated in the English as angel is the word that could be translated as messenger and is such in the Aramaic translation of Matthew.
To get to the bottom of this let us look at the preceding verses.
This “exceedingly high mountain” spoken of here is believed to be among the desert mountains and caves of the Essene of the Qumran Community occupied. The same ones that produced the famous Dead Sea Scrolls and the very desert community it was believed Yochannon the Immerser (John the Baptizer) and Yeshua’s cousin, was a part of. So it was very likely the very private Essenes were aware of and were tracking Yeshua movements in their back yard.
To further the case that these “angels” in Matthew 4:1 were actually Essenes of the desert Qumran Community, let us look at verse 12 of Matthew chapter 4.
Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; - Matt. 4:12
Seeing as verse 11 speaking of the angels is right to verse 12 speaking of Yeshua’s cousin Yochannon’s arrest, does it not make sense that Yeshua heard it from these Essene messengers/angels that assisted Him after His Temptation and Fast and who likely knew Yochannon personally, seeing as he was formerly a part of their community? Of course it does. It is more likely these “angels” of Matthew 4:11 was actually men.