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 “The Angel of the Lord”

 

 

 

“The Angel of the Lord”?

 

The Hebraic word for "angel" is malakh, simply meaning “messenger”.  The messenger could be human, terrestrial, alien, material or immaterial being in other dimensions. Names like Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are familiar to us, but in most occasions they are simply referred to as angels in the bible.

Yet there is one malakh who stands out from all the rest. The Bible calls him, "The Angel of the Lord."  In the Talmud he is called Metatarsus, which derives from two Greek words’ meta and thronos, meaning "one who serves behind the throne of God." He is also known as the "Prince of the Countenance" because of the close relation between this Angel and God Himself. The Angel of the Lord is one who is sent by God, the one who represents God Himself. The name of God is in him.

Throughout the Old Testament, the Angel of the Lord appeared in human form.  We will take them one by one and analyze them.

 

 

1.  Hagar: The God who sees

 

Gen 16: 7 The Angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.8 And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?" "I'm running away from my mistress Sarai," she answered.9 Then the Angel of the LORD told her, "Go back to your mistress and submit to her."10 The angel added, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count."11 The Angel of the LORD also said to her: "You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery.

Hagar addresses the Angel of the Lord as God

13 She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the

God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me."

Evidently Hagar spoke to the LORD and addressed him as "You are the God who sees me".   Of course we can argue that since she refers only to the aspect of “God who sees”, she saw only that aspect. This is true.  But we cannot perceive the entire aspects of God at any time because of the infinite difference between God and the cosmos as a whole.

 

In every experience of God, we get a new and fuller revelation of God.  Revelation is an unveiling process because the complete picture is too large to see.   That is how revelation proceeds.  At the Mount Sinai God tells Moses he was not known earlier by the name YHVH.  The Old Testament Israel saw an emphasis of a just God.  In the New Testament we see a Merciful and loving God and at Patmos John was dazzled by a glorified Jesus. 

1Co 13:12  Now we see only a blurred reflection in a mirror, but then we will see face to face. Now what I know is incomplete, but then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.

 

2. Abraham Intercedes with God

 

Gen 18: 1. The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day.

Three men

2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

 9 "Where is your wife Sarah?" they asked him. "There, in the tent," he said.

One of them was the LORD

10 Then the LORD said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son." Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him...

13 Then the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Will I really have a child, now that I am old?'14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son."

17 Then the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."20 Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21  that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know." 

Abraham intercedes with God

22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.23 Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?26 The LORD said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake."27 Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes,28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?" "If I find forty-five there," he said, "I will not destroy it."

30 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?" He answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty there."

32 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it."

The Lord went away while the two Angels proceeded to Sodom

33 When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

19:1The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. 

So out of the three men whom Abraham received, one was the LORD himself. The other two were angels.   This angel- who really was the LORD - was a localized angel - who was limited in space and had the form of a man. 

The fact that God appeared to Abraham is confirmed by Stephen before the Sanhedrin.

"The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, and said to him, "Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you."” (Acts 7:2).

 

3. God who stayed a Sacrifice

 

Gen 22: 9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.11 But the Angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied.12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."

Angel of the Lord identified himself as God

15 The Angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time16 and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,17 I will surely bless you…

Here the Angel of the Lord is talking from the Heaven and speaks in first person as God and swears by his person. Was this angel delivering a message from God in the first person as a quotation? Was this Angel sent or was God immanent in Him?

 

4. God who wrestles with Man face to face.

 

Jacob wrestled with a man who turns out to be God

Gen 32: 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."27 The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered.28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."29 Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there.30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."

Here again the wrestling man turns out to be God. At Peniel Jacob saw the face of God as a man.

This is confirmed by the prophet Hosea:

Hosea 12:2 The LORD has a charge to bring against Judah; he will punish Jacob according to his ways and repay him according to his deeds.3 In the womb he grasped his brother's heel; as a man he struggled with God.4 He struggled with the angel and overcame him; he wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethel and talked with him there– 5 the LORD God Almighty, the LORD is his name of renown!

Hosea thus confirms that the Angel of the Lord who fought with Jacob was indeed God himself. Now how do we explain the fact that Jacob overcame God? Remember that this was the night before Jacob was going to meet his brother Esau whom he tricked. Jacob still had a second chance to make the choice between right and wrong - to concede that he had tricked his brother. He was reluctant to do that. Finally the Angel of the Lord had to touch him and make him a weakling. The next day we meet Jacob appearing before his brother Esau limping. Then he fell down and gave the honor due to his elder brother.

Every one of us struggles with God. We still can make choices against God and prevail. But it will lead to disaster. God in his mercy may touch and make us limp just to humble ourselves to choose the right from the wrong.

The 'angel of the LORD' who visited the patriarchs was God Himself, not any creature masquerading as God. God himself authenticates it thus:

Ex. 6:2 God also said to Moses, "I am the LORD. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Yhvh I did not make myself known to them.

Thus wherever YHVH appears in a human form we could call Him “the Angel of the Lord”, because that is a theophany of God Himself.  God has to limit himself to communicate with man.


5. God who appeared  in the Burning Bush

 

Moses meets the Angel of the Lord in the flames of fire and identifies himself as God.

Ex 2: 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight--why the bush does not burn up."4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am."5 "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."6 Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.7 The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.

11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"12 And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain."13 Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?"14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'"15 God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the 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 forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.

 

God gives proof that Moses actually saw God

4:1 Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"2 Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?” "A staff," he replied.3 The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground." Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.4 Then the LORD said to him, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail." So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.5 "This," said the LORD, "is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob--has appeared to you."6 Then the LORD said, "Put your hand inside your cloak." So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was leprous, like snow.7 "Now put it back into your cloak," he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.8 Then the LORD said, "If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign, they may believe the second.9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground." 10 Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."

 

Moses was speaking to the creator of man

 

11 The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?12 Now go;

It was this Angel of the Lord who met with Moses who identified himself as the great “I AM” that is more fully and visibly expressed in the following two cases.

 

6. God who Presided over the Covenant Dinner

They saw God

There is one occasion when we have God appearing in the form of man (?) in the sight of seventy two elders. 

Ex 24:9. Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself.

God of Israel has hands

11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.12 The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction."


 

This theophany is an extra-ordinary event when seventy-two elders of Israel saw God.  What did they see?  From the way it is expressed they presumably saw a human form – a person localized in space with hands - to celebrate the covenant dinner.  In this case God revealed himself in human form (in a glorious environment) so that he can communicate with his people to confirm the covenant.  Malachi 3:1 refers to the messenger as the Angel of the Covenant. From the description it is assumed that he had human form.  He talks exactly the way the Lord spoke to Moses from the burning bush and is evidently a continuation of the same manifestation through the Angel of the Lord. The formless God takes on a form – this is the Angel of the Lord.  Why does he do it? So that he can communicate with man. 

7. Moses sees the Back of God.

 

Ex 33:18 Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.20 But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."21 Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."

This again is a follow up of the previous case where Moses sees the back of God.  Strangely God makes the statement that “but my face must not be seen”, because “no one may see me and live.”  Hence Moses saw only the back.  Then what did they say in the covenant ceremony?  God puts on a form as necessary to reveal Himself as man is able.

This incidentally explains the need for the incarnation. Heb 1:1-2: God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by diverse portions and in diverse manners, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son.

 

8.                Angel of God in the Pillar of Cloud

 

Ex 14:18 The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen."19 Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them.

The Angel of the Lord was in the pillar of cloud guiding the Israelites through the wilderness. This Angel says "I am the Lord".

   

9. Joshua meets God

 

Joshua 5:13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?"14 "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?"15 The commander of the Lord's army replied, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.

That the Commander of Yahweh's army is the Angel of the Lord who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, becomes clear when He commands Joshua, "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy"

 

 

Bible makes it abundantly clear that worship belongs only to YHVH. In Revelation 22:8, the Apostle John "fell down to worship before the feet of the angel", who had shown him visions of things to come. But the angel refused to accept worship saying: "See that you do not do that, for I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God". 

In accepting the worship of Joshua, the Angel declared himself as God.

 

10  Balaam sees the Angel of the Lord

The Angel of the Lord appears to Balaam, a non -Hebrew Prophet.

Num 22:21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab.22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.23 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.24 Then the angel


of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides.25 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam's foot against it. So he beat her again.26 Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left.27 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. 28 Then the LORD opened the donkey's mouth,

 

 

 

 

 

 

31 Then the LORD opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell face down.32 The angel of the LORD asked him, "Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her."34 Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, "I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back."35 The angel of the LORD said to Balaam, "Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you." So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

Balaam was a Midianite.     Midianites were descendants of Abraham  by his second wife Keturah:

"Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah." Gen. 25:1-2  

It is therefore reasonable to assume  that God was always dealing with all the people of the nations, even when they have gone astray and the Angel of the Lord was the person who was involved in the redemptive process.

 

11. Gideon meets the Lord

 

Angel of the Lord Appears to Gideon

Judg. 6:11 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."

14 The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?"

 16 The LORD answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together."

Meeting God face to face

17 Gideon replied, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you." And the LORD said, "I will wait until you return."19 Gideon went in, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.20 The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth." And Gideon did so.21 With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared.

22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, "Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!"

23 But the LORD said to him, "Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die."

 

12. Manoah meets God

 

Angel of the Lord appears to Manoah and his wife

Judg. 13: 2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was sterile and remained childless.3 The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, "You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son.

 

8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD: "O Lord, I beg you, let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born."9 God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her.10 The woman hurried to tell her husband, "He's here! The man who appeared to me the other day!"11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, "Are you the one who talked to my wife?" "I am," he said.12 So Manoah asked him, "When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule for the boy's life and work?"13 The angel of the LORD answered, "Your wife must do all that I have told her.14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her."15 Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, "We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you."16 The angel of the LORD replied, "Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD." (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the LORD.)

What is the name of the Angel of the Lord? – A Name beyond Understanding.

17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, "What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?"18 He replied, "Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding."

The Angel of the Lord proves himself to be the Lord

19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame.

Manoah and his wife worshiped the Angel of the Lord

Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground.

21 When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD.22 "We are doomed to die!" he said to his wife. "We have seen God!"23 But his wife answered, "If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this."

 

13. Elijah strengthened by the Angel of the Lord

 

1 Kin. 19: 1 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.

5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat."6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you."8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days. and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

14. Angel of the Lord destroys the Assyrian Army

2 Kings 19:20  Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria.

35 That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp

 

15. Angel of the Lord selects the plot
to build the Temple

 

I Chronicles 21:18 Then the angel of the LORD ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite

This later became the site of the temple of Solomon.                       

There is a dialectics in the Angel of the Lord. He is the Lord God, yet he is a distinct personality - distinct and comprehensible, visible, audible and in human form. Look what Zachariah says:

"In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them." (Zechariah 12:8)

  


“The Angel of the Lord”

 

The expression ““the Angel of the Lord”” or ““the Angel of God”” occurs more than 40 times in the Old Testament.  The following are some of the major references.

 

                 Gen. 16:7––14 appears to Hagar in the wilderness, "I have now seen the One who sees me."

                 Gen. 18:1- 19:1  appears to Abraham in company with two other angels in Mamre and Abraham intercedes with the LORD - man to Man.

                 Gen. 22:9-17; appears to Abraham as he is about to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham hears only His voice.

                 Gen. 35:7-15; God appeared to Jacob at Bethel in what form we do not know.

                 Gen 31:11  And the angel of God spoke to Jacob in a dream.

                 Gen. Gen. 32:24––32; cf. 28:10––15; Jacob wrestles with God at Peniel.  God had the form of man.  (cf. Hosea 12:3––5 )

                 Gen. 48:16; The Angel of the LORD appears to Moses in the burning bush. He speaks in first person as the “I am that I am” thus identifying himself with YHVH.

                 Ex. 3; Ex 14:19 The Angel of the LORD goes before the camp of Israel.   Angel of God in the Pillar of Cloud

                 Ex 6:2, 3 Angel of the Lord identifies himself as YHVH who appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

                 Ex 23:20––25; “for my name is in him”.

                 Ex. 24   “They saw the God” of Israel at the covenant dinner in a human form.

                 Ex 32:34; mine Angel shall go before thee:

                 Ex 33:1––11; And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. Moses sees the Back of God.

                 Num. 22:22––35 The Angel of the LORD appears to Balaam.

                 Joshua 5:13––6:5 The Angel of the LORD appears to Joshua as Captain of the Lord's host.

                 Judges 2:1––4  The Angel of the LORD comes to Bochim.

                 Judges 5:23  The Angel of the LORD curses Meroz.

                 Jude 6:11 The Angel of the LORD appears to Gideon,

                  Judges 13:2––5 The Angel of the LORD to Manoah and his wife,

                  2 Samuel 24:16, 17; 1 Ch. 21:15––30 When David had numbered Israel, ““the Angel of the Lord”” stretched His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it,

                 1 Kings 19:5––7 He appears to Elijah under juniper tree and sends Elijah on the way to Horeb.

                 2 Kings 1:1––15 instructs Elijah to go to Ahaziah

                 1 Kings 19:35; 2 Ch 32:21; Is 37:36  smites 185,000 Assyrians,

                 David mentions Him in  Ps. 34:7; 35:5––6;

                 Isaiah calls Him angel of God's presence, Is 63:9;

                 Zech. 1:8––21; 3; 12:8;  He appears to Zechariah

                 Mal. 3:1 Malachi calls Him the Messenger, or Angel, of the covenant

 

 

Could this be Jesus?

Zech 2:10 "Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you," declares the LORD.

And He did in the person of Jesus.

Jesus claimed to be the supreme malakh of God. "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).

Jesus claimed that "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58)

Abraham called the Angel of the Lord as the judge of mankind; and in John 5:22 Jesus says, "The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son."       

Phill.2

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,          

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Since man cannot see his face of glory and live, he put on a face so that everyone can look, see and be saved.

Michael and the Angel of the Lord

 

There are several bible scholars who consider that the Angel of the Lord as mentioned in the Old Testament is the Archangel Michael who is the pre-incarnate form of Jesus.  The proof texts quoted are given below:

                 1 Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

The shout of the Lord is equated with the voice of the archangel. It is Jesus who raises the dead with his voice as indicated in:

John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Hence they believe that Jesus must be an Archangel.  But it does not identify Him with Michael.

                 Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

This passage is an echo of:

Zec 3:1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
Zec 3:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

While Michael is called the Archangel it does not identify him with Jesus.  On the other hand a one on one conflict with Jesus and Satan would make Satan the equal opponent with Jesus.  Satan is a created being and only a created similar angel will be the fair equal.  There is no evidence that Jesus contended for the body of Moses anywhere in the scripture.

The major danger in this identification lies in the fact that the equal adversaries in these passages are Satan and Michael.  Both are Archangels by species and must be both created beings.  This equal and opposite somehow echoes the ideas of Gnostic and Zoroastrian idea of Good and Evil Gods.  As long as we have no clear evidence it will be safer not to tread that road.

                 Dan 10:13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia

The prince of the kingdom of Persia is a reference to Satan, and Michael is called one of the chief Princes.  Unless the “Princes” refer to Trinity it is a far fetched argument.  Are there other princes?   It is more appropriate to assume that Michael is one of the many Princes of the Heavenly host.

                 Dan 10:21 But I will show thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.

Here the understanding of the scripture is given to Gabriel along with Michael.  Again the equation is with a created angel Gabriel with Michael and that cannot establish Michael as Jesus.  Michael is the Angel in charge of Israel.  But Jesus is for all mankind.

                 Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, ..
 

Who leads the angelic host of heaven, who is their Captain?
 

Josh 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
Josh 5:14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
Josh 5:15 And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.


The name Michael means “who (is) like God?”.  It is doubtful that we can determine the identity of the person from the name given to the person.  

On the basis of these correlations some believe that Michael is just another title for the Son of God, the pre-incarnate Jesus.  However the argument rests on slender parallels.  The conclusive evidence of Lordship and worship is totally missing in the specific cases related to Michael.  

Among those who believe that Michael is Jesus is the Jehovah Witness who do not believe that Jesus is God.  It fits their theology very well. The Jehovah witnesses say "Scriptural evidence indicates that the name Michael is applied to God’s son before he left heaven to become Jesus Christ." (Aid to bible understanding) "Michael the Archangel, the first creation of Jehovah, before He came to earth and returned to the identity of Michael after his resurrection." (Aid To Bible Understanding, p. 1152).

Royce Bilusack in arguing against the Jehovah Witness thesis collected 12 facts from proof texts referring to Michael from the Bible as follows:

What do the Scriptures reveal about ‘MICHAEL’?

The SCRIPTURES (in 5 verses) only reveal 12 Facts about Michael the Archangel.

According to the HEBREW Scriptures, MICHAEL:

1.      is "ONE OF (echad) the foremost (rishown) princes (sar)". Dan. 10:13

2.      "came to help" another angel.  Dan. 10:13

3.      is "the prince (sar) of you people". Dan. 10:21

4.      is "the great (gadowl) prince (sar)".  Dan. 12:1

5.      "during that time... will stand up (amad)".. Dan. 12:1

6.      "is standing (amad) in behalf of the sons of your people".  Dan. 12:1

According to the GREEK Scriptures, MICHAEL :

7.      is an "archangel".  Jude 9

8.      "had a difference with the Devil & was disputing about Moses' body". Jude 9

9.      "did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms".  Jude 9

10.  "said: 'May Jehovah rebuke you.'"  Jude 9

11.  was there when "war broke out in heaven".  Rev. 12:7

12.  "& his angels battled with the dragon... & its angels" & won.  Rev. 12:7

Royce Bilusack
http://www.geocities.com/etalk99/i1mta.html

 

These references will only identify Michael as one of the foremost princes among the Angelic group (usually referred to as Arch Angel) who is in charge of Israel and stands for their protection.  It also indicates that Michael was present during the War in Heaven when He fought against the dragon and the evil angels. But those characteristics in themselves are insufficient to identity Michael as Jesus.

But consider the following verses:

Heb.1:4 "having become so much better than the angels." Heb.1:5 "For to which of the angels did he ever say "you are my Son today I have begotten you"

These definitely indicate that Jesus was not a created angel, he was the begotten son.   Because the Son has the same nature as Father and it was Jesus who created angels (Col.1:14-17, Jn.1:3)

Above all, Michael never received worship directly, nor was  he ever called as LORD anywhere.  On the otherhand the Angel of the LORD receives worship and was directly addressed as the LORD through out His appearance.  As such the proof texts are insufficient to establish a direct identification of Michael with Jesus.