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Wordwise Insight, Issue #104
April 14, 2013


BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): Who is "the Angel of the Lord" that appears many times in the Bible?

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The Angel of the Lord

(The Pre-ncarnate Appearances of Christ)

Question: Who is "the Angel of the Lord" mentioned so many times in the Bible?

Answer: Reference is made to "the Angel of the Lord" (meaning the Messenger of Yahweh, or Jehovah) fifty-two times in the Old Testament (called "the Angel of God" another nine times). The appearances stop, as the New Testament era begins (once Christ has come in the flesh).

The vast majority of evangelical scholars take this Being to be God the Son, appearing before His incarnation. (The NKJV frequently capitalizes "Angel" in this context, treating it as a reference to deity.)

Malachi seems to give us a confirmation of this view. When he prophesies of the coming of Christ, he calls Him "the Messenger [same word, Angel] of the Covenant, saying, "‘The Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,' Says the LORD of hosts".

These appearances of God in physical form are called theophanies. And I've also included five instances where the word "angel" is not used, as they seem to refer to the same Being.

Numerous characteristics and actions ascribed to Him are ones that can only apply to God, as you'll see if you examine the following in context. So, if He is an "angel" (or Messenger), it is only by His temporal office or role at the time, not by His actual and eternal nature, as if He were a created being.

There could be other examples that I've missed, but here are the main ones. The Angel of the Lord appeared:

1) To Hagar, in the wilderness, prior to the birth of Ishmael (Gen. 16:7, 9, 10, 11).

2) To Abraham as a "Man," in the company of two angels (Gen. 18:1-2).

3) To Hagar again, after the birth of Ishmael (Gen. 21:17).

4) To Abraham on Mount Moriah, when he was about to ...

For the rest of this article, click on The Angel of the Lord.


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