Who Is the Angel of the Lord?

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Who Is the Angel of the Lord?

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Angels make frequent appearances in scripture. But who is the Angel of the Lord?

Transcript

 

[Steve Myers] A question came in from a Beyond Today viewer and they asked the question, "Who is the Angel of the Lord?" Throughout the Old Testament, that phrase seems to pop up several times over and over again and so it's a good question. Who is the Angel of the Lord? So, where would we start to begin to answer a question like that Gary?

[Gary Petty] Well, when you look at the Bible—of course there's angels, who are messengers, supernatural messengers from God that He's created. They go back and forth between human beings and God. But there is a special Angel that is mentioned a number of places in the Old Testament—the Angel of the Lord. And He is quite different than other angels. First of all, He allows Himself to be worshiped. In other places, He actually speaks as if He is God. One place, I think of, it's in Exodus, you know, where the Angel of the Lord is in the burning bush and talks to Moses (Exodus 3:1-21 Exodus 3:1-21 [1] Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. [2] And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the middle of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. [3] And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. [4] And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the middle of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. [5] And he said, Draw not near here: put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place where on you stand is holy ground. [6] Moreover he said, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look on God. [7] And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; [8] And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good land and a large, to a land flowing with milk and honey; to the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. [9] Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come to me: and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. [10] Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. [11] And Moses said to God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? [12] And he said, Certainly I will be with you; and this shall be a token to you, that I have sent you: When you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain. [13] And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say to them? [14] And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you. [15] And God said moreover to Moses, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial to all generations. [16] Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: [17] And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey. [18] And they shall listen to your voice: and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and you shall say to him, The LORD God of the Hebrews has met with us: and now let us go, we beseech you, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. [19] And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. [20] And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the middle thereof: and after that he will let you go. [21] And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when you go, you shall not go empty.
American King James Version×
and Exodus 4:1-16 Exodus 4:1-16 [1] And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor listen to my voice: for they will say, The LORD has not appeared to you. [2] And the LORD said to him, What is that in your hand? And he said, A rod. [3] And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. [4] And the LORD said to Moses, Put forth your hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: [5] That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you. [6] And the LORD said furthermore to him, Put now your hand into your bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. [7] And he said, Put your hand into your bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. [8] And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe you, neither listen to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. [9] And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither listen to your voice, that you shall take of the water of the river, and pour it on the dry land: and the water which you take out of the river shall become blood on the dry land. [10] And Moses said to the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since you have spoken to your servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. [11] And the LORD said to him, Who has made man's mouth? or who makes the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? [12] Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall say. [13] And he said, O my LORD, send, I pray you, by the hand of him whom you will send. [14] And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he comes forth to meet you: and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. [15] And you shall speak to him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with your mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. [16] And he shall be your spokesman to the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to you instead of a mouth, and you shall be to him instead of God.
American King James Version×
). And there He presents Himself as God and as the Angel of the Lord. So what we have here in someone who is God but He's also the Angel of the Lord. So what we have here is actually the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ.

[Steve Myers] Yeah, and it's interesting because it does tie into the literal meaning of the word "angel" as being a messenger of the Lord. And so God can speak for Himself at times as well through the burning bush we've got Him identifying Himself as the I AM—as the One who would become Jesus Christ. So even the translators in some of the different translations get it right because they'll capitalize the "A" for Angel realizing it's something more than just an ordinary angel.

[Gary Petty] That's right. Even Abraham, you know when he went to sacrifice his son, Isaac, the person who talks to him there is the Angel of the Lord (Genesis 22:9-12 Genesis 22:9-12 [9] And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood. [10] And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. [11] And the angel of the LORD called to him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. [12] And he said, Lay not your hand on the lad, neither do you any thing to him: for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from me.
American King James Version×
). And He speaks as if He is God. There's other places where the Angel of the Lord speaks and people say "I have seen God." So what we have is God, but not the Father. And so once again we have Jesus Christ.

[Steve Myers] Right and you can tell that by the context more often than not when you can read it and if an angel is not allowing worship, we know that's just an ordinary angel. But there's a great example of this. It's in Judges chapter 13. And here's where Sampson's parents are inquiring of God, they're talking to the Angel of the Lord. And so there's a good example of this—the father of Sampson, Manoah, said to the Angel of the Lord, "What is Your name, that when Your words come to pass, we may honor You?" So he asked Him outright, you know, who are you? And of course, the Angel of the Lord says in verse 18, "Why do you ask My name seeing it is wonderful?" So, there's a little bit of insight that this is not any ordinary angel. And so ultimately by the time we get to the end of the story down in verse 21, it says, "When the Angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, then Manoah knew that He was the Angel of the Lord." So we don't get the whole story there, but in the next verse He says, "Manoah said to his wife, 'We shall surely die because we have seen God,'" And so here we see it all put together very clearly that the Angel of the Lord, especially in this case, is God. And so we know His identity in that case (Judges 13:6-24 Judges 13:6-24 [6] Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came to me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not from where he was, neither told he me his name: [7] But he said to me, Behold, you shall conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death. [8] Then Manoah entreated the LORD, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which you did send come again to us, and teach us what we shall do to the child that shall be born. [9] And God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. [10] And the woman made haste, and ran, and showed her husband, and said to him, Behold, the man has appeared to me, that came to me the other day. [11] And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said to him, Are you the man that spoke to the woman? And he said, I am. [12] And Manoah said, Now let your words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do to him? [13] And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, Of all that I said to the woman let her beware. [14] She may not eat of any thing that comes of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe. [15] And Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, I pray you, let us detain you, until we shall have made ready a kid for you. [16] And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, Though you detain me, I will not eat of your bread: and if you will offer a burnt offering, you must offer it to the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD. [17] And Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, What is your name, that when your sayings come to pass we may do you honor? [18] And the angel of the LORD said to him, Why ask you thus after my name, seeing it is secret? [19] So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it on a rock to the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. [20] For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. [21] But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD. [22] And Manoah said to his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. [23] But his wife said to him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have showed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these. [24] And the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.
American King James Version×
).

[Gary Petty] So if you want to do an interesting study, go through the Old Testament and look up all of the places where you can see "Angel of the Lord" and study it in context and you will find out how the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ came and He interacted with human beings as the Messenger of God.

[Steve Myers] That's BT Daily. We'll see you next time.