"Angel of the Lord" occurs sixty-five times, and "Angel of God" occurs twelve times in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word, מלאך mal'ach, translated "angel," means "messenger." When used in conjunction with יהוה (YHVH - LORD), or אֱל (El - God), it refers to a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ (a Christophany). The Bible clearly teaches that no man has ever seen God the Father (Jn. 1:18; 1 Jn. 4:12). Because Jesus, the Son of God is God (Jn. 1:1, 14), and He is the only Person of the Trinity that has ever been seen, He has to be the One Who appears as the Angel of the Lord. There are several passages which support this interpretation:
* Genesis 16:7-14. The Angel of the Lord appears to a woman named Hagar. The Angel speaks as God in the first-person, and in verse 13, Hagar identifies the visitor as God.
* Genesis 22:11-15. The Angel of the Lord appears to Abraham and, again, refers to God in the first-person.
* Exodus 3:2-4. The Angel of the Lord appears to Moses in a flame in verse 2, and He is called God in verse 4.
* Numbers 22:22-38. The Angel of the Lord meets the prophet Balaam on the road. In verse 38, Balaam identifies the Angel who spoke to him as God.
* Judges 2:1-3. The Angel of the Lord appears to Israel and identifies Himself as God.
* Judges 6:11-23. The Angel of the Lord appears to Gideon. In verse 14 the Angel refers to Himself as God; in verse 21, the Angel allows Gideon to sacrifice to Him as unto God; and in verse 22, Gideon fears for his life because he was in the presence of God.
* Judges 13:3-22. The Angel of the Lord appears to Manoah and his wife and in verse 22, is identified as God.
The fact that Jesus existed prior to taking the form of a human being (Phil. 2:5-8), is very clear from Scripture as well. Jesus told His audience that He existed before Abraham lived in about 2000 B.C. (Jn. 8:58). He was present at Creation because He is the Creator (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:1-2). It is clear that He existed before "the foundation of the world" (Jn. 17:24; Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8). He is called the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the Ending (Rev. 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13). John told the Jews that the One that was to follow, was before him (Jn. 1:15).
Thanks be to God for His Messenger and for His Message (The Word)!