Did God send a destroying angel to kill the first born in Egypt?

Why do so many preachers speak of “the destroying angel,” in Exodus 12?

It seems due to a mistaken idea of what took place on the Passover night, based on a careless reading of the whole passage. Exodus 11:1 speaks of “one plague more.” Exodus 12:13 refers to “the plague” and ver. 23 to “the destroyer,” but there is no such agent mentioned, either in Exodus, Heb. Ix, or elsewhere in Scripture, as “the destroying angel,” in connection with the deliverance from Egypt. Moses says in chap. II.4—”Thus saith the Lord, about midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt”; see, too, ch. 12. ia: “I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land . . . I will excute judgment”; and v. 23: “For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians, and when He seeth the blood. . . the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you.” God is Light and God is Love—God is at once “Avenger” and “Redeemer,” and neither work does He entrust to an angel, however exalted. It was God vindicating His holy claims against sin, who passed through the land in judgment; it was God who intervened in mercy wherever He saw the blood of His own providing, sprinkled. The two words for “passing through” (‘abar), and “passing over” (paali), are quite distinct. This latter is found again in Isaiah 3’. : “As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it and passing over (paal) He will preserve it.” That is, He will interpose between the enemy, who, it may be suggested, will then be attacking Jerusalem from the air, and His people.

W.H.