THE ANGEL OF THE LORD
Like a good old-fashioned biblical paradox?
Here's a good one -- the mysterious Angel of the LORD so frequently mentioned in the Old Testament is distinct from God, yet must Himself BE the very God we worship! It cannot be an ordinary angel but only the Spirit of the Lord Himself manifest in the flesh as a pre-incarnate appearance of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Let's examine the biblical evidence:
Genesis 16 -- After Hagar fled into the wilderness to escape from Sarah, Abraham's wife, the Angel of the Lord promised to greatly multiply her descendants and prophesied the birth of Ishmael, who became the progenitor on the Arab nations.
Genesis 22 -- read by Jews every Yom Kippur, it is the Angel of the Lord who called from heaven to stay the hand of Abraham as he took the knife to slay his son Isaac.
Genesis 32:30 -- Jacob wrestled with a "man" during the night who blessed the patriarch and changed his name to Israel. Jacob responded by calling the place of this encounter Peniel, saying, 'it is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.' Jacob identified the "Man" as God.
Genesis 48:15,16 -- when Jacob blessed his son Joseph and his children, he said, "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my Shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm."
Exodus 3:2 -- The Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in the midst of a burning bush but then in verse 4, "God (the Father) called to Him from within the bush."
Exodus 13:21 -- When the Lord delivered the children of Israel from Egypt, the Bible says, "By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light."
Exodus 14:19 -- He was in the pillar of cloud guiding the Israelites through the wilderness after their flight from Egypt. 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, coming in between the armies of Egypt and Israel. And then in verse 24 we are told that the Lord looked down on the Egyptian army through the pillar of fire and cloud, and fought against Egypt! Who is involved in this pillar - the Angel of the Lord or God Himself? They must, in context, be one and the same.
Numbers 22:22-35 -- He appeared to Balaam, the pagan prophet, and gave him orders, even commanding the donkey to speak.
Joshua 5:13-15 -- "The Man with a Sword in His Hand" is humbly identified as "Commander of the Army of the LORD." Joshua fell to his face and worshipped Him and called Him "My Lord." Ironically, Joshua in Greek means JESUS.
Judges 6 -- This same Christophany told Gideon to deliver Israel from Midian. The Angel of the Lord appeared to a timid Gideon and sat down under an oak tree to initiate a conversation with him (vss. 11,12). In verse 13, we see Gideon responding, but in verse 14 something strange happens: all of a sudden it is the Lord who is seen talking to Gideon! In verse 16, the conversation continues, but in verse 20, it is the Angel of God who is in conversation. The next verse relates that a miracle is performed by the angel. Then Gideon responds: 'Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face!' But the LORD said to him, "Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die!"
Judges 13:22 -- prophesied the birth of Samson. The parents, likewise, recognized the Angel of the Lord to be God, "We are doomed to die!...We have seen God!"
I Kings 19 -- directed Elijah to Mt. Horeb.
I Chronicles 21:18 -- commanded King David to build an altar in Jerusalem which later became the site of the temple of Solomon.
2 Kings19:35 -- killed the 185,000 Assyrian soldiers besieging Jerusalem.
Zechariah 1:12 -- the Angel of the Lord is seen interceding on behalf of Israel, calling out to the Lord of hosts!
This post has been edited by voice: 22 April 2008 - 05:08 AM