The “Angel of God”. A Preexistent Christ?
The “angel of The LORD” or “angel of God” is a very interesting figure in Scripture. Let’s look at a few passages that refer to him.
10And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11And the angel of The LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
10And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. 11And the angel of God spoke unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. 12And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 13I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.
Judges 2:1-4 (KJV)
1And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. 2And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? 3Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. 4And it came to pass, when the angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.
In each of these instances the angel of God spoke as though he were God. We know from several other Scriptures that the angel of God cannot be God Himself. Aside from these, as well as the Biblical passages shown earlier which directly state that no man has seen or heard God, we have two other examples proving this to be true.
In 2 Sam.24:16 we find God speaking to the angel of God:
2 Samuel 24:16 (KJV)
16And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
Then in Zechariah 1:12 we read of the angel of God speaking to The Eternal One.
Zechariah 1:12 (KJV)
12Then the angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?
There are other such examples. Since The Creator God and the angel of God are speaking to one another, they obviously cannot be the same entity. The Creator God and the angel of God are definitely two separate and distinct entities.
We also have a reference which strongly suggests that Yeshua (Jesus) is not the angel of God. In the gospel of Matthew we read of the angel of God appearing and announcing the resurrection of Yeshua.
Matthew 28:2-8 (KJV)
2And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men 5His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 6And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 7He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 8And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
κύριος kuriŏs, koo´-ree-os; from κῦρος kurŏs (supremacy); supreme in authority, i.e. (as noun) controller; by impl. Mr. (as a respectful title): – God, Lord, master, Sir. Strong, J. (2009). A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (Vol. 1, p. 44). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
In other words, the word rendered often rendered as “Lord” in English versions of the Bible does NOT always refer to God. In fact, it often doesn’t.
The capitalization of the word as “Lord” and the overuse of the term instead of properly distinguishing between master, sir, God, etc. when the word is translated, is very often a cause of confusion and misinterpretation. People wrongly assume the word to be referring to God, which is often exactly what biased translators want people to assume.
By doing a simple word search for Strong’s #2962 using any Bible software, it can be quickly and easily shown that the Greek term kurios is simply referring to anyone of higher rank or is being used as a term of respect or politeness.
In these verses from Matthew’s gospel the “angel of the Lord” was the angel of God, but when that angel refers to Yeshua (Jesus) as “Lord” he does not mean to imply that Yeshua is “God”. In that case the term is simply being applied to Yeshua as being superior to himself and to those with whom he spoke (the women present). Indeed, since it was after his resurrection, Yeshua was at that point given all power and authority by God; therefore, Yeshua was and is superior to the “angel of the Lord”, us, and all things in creation other than The Eternal Creator from whom he was sent and by whom he was given such power.
Worthy of note is how the angel could not say, “He is not here, for he is risen” if that angel was, in fact, Yeshua. So there we see clear distinction between the “angel of God (the Lord in this case)” and Yeshua the Messiah whose resurrection he was declaring to the women.
Actually, Heb.1:1,2 and 2:2 suggests Yeshua was not an “angel” of any sort – at least not as the term “angel” is commonly understood.
Heb.2:2 tells us the word was “spoken by angels”. This is referring to the giving of the law at Mt.Sinai as we have already seen. But Heb.1:1,2 tell us God spoke through prophets (and angels, Heb.2:2) in the era preceding Messiah. Yeshua was not the spokesman throughout the Tanakh (Old Testament) as many like to teach. He is, instead, the New Testament and “last days” spokesman.
Yeshua is superior to “angels”, and it is therefore incorrect to ever refer to him as an “angel” of God. (Again, as the term “angel” is commonly understood.)
Let’s look at Ex.13:21;
Exodus 13:21 (KJV)
21And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
This verse seems to imply The Eternal God led Israel out of Egypt via a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. However, Ex.14:19 and Num.20:16 inform us that, in reality, it was an angel that led Israel;
Exodus 14:19 (KJV)
19And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
Numbers 20:16 (KJV)
16And when we cried unto the Lord, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt: and, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the uttermost of thy border:
There are those who teach it was the preincarnate Messiah who led and followed Israel based on 1 Cor.10:4. We have already seen, however, that Yeshua was not an angel, nor a spokesman during the exodus. It can be proven that 1 Corinthians 10:4 is misunderstood by most Christians and misrepresented by most contemporary Christian and counterfeit Messianic leaders; however, to limit the length of this particular study I will reserve that for a separate discussion. God willing, a detailed study of 1 Corinthians 10:4 will be available soon.
First Corinthians 10:9 is also often misinterpreted and misunderstood. I direct you to my study of the Temptation of Messiah and how it proves he is not God. Within part 2 of that study I mention 1 Cor. 10:9 and begin to explain it. The upcoming study of 1 Cor. 10:4 will likely elaborate upon 1 Cor. 10:9.
Regardless and as just stated, we have already seen that Yeshua was not an angel of spokesman during the times of the exodus nor during any other time recorded in the Tanakh (Old Testament).
Another “theophany” is found in Ex.3. From Ex.3:4 – 4:17 The Creator is having a conversation with Moses. He even reveals to Moses the phrase “I AM” or “I will be” (Ex.3:14) and His memorial name, “YHVH” (Ex.3:15). Yet, in verse 2 of chapter 3, we see it is actually “the angel of YHVH” that appears in the burning bush and talks to Moses. This is confirmed again in Acts 7:35; “This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.”
Exodus 3:2 (KJV)
2And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
Acts 7:35 (KJV)
35This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.
As The Living God’s empowered agent or chosen representative, the angel had full authority to command Moses and to even use YHVH’s ineffable and awesome name (which is not the simple term many within the “sacred name” community think it to be).
Ok. now we will discuss in part 4 what may be the favorite “theophany” many people point to for their alleged proofs of a preexistent Messiah (Christ). At the very least it is among the favorites.