Who Is the Angel of the Lord?

We are thinking of the fact that God has visited earth in the form of a man several times in the Old Testament, before He was born as the Man, Jesus. In a number of places in the Tenach, the Old Testament, He was called the Angel of the Lord, but make no mistake, this was YHVH in the flesh that visited. For instance, God was the One who was protecting the birth of Ishmael, because He was going to bring about the birth of the Arabic people. We are told that Ishmael’s mother, Hagar, when she was running away from her mistress, Sarah, was protected and cared for by the Angel of YHVH:

The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur (Genesis 16:7).

This was not a normal angel, He is called the Angel of YHVH in verses 9,10, and 11. But in verse 13, this angel is called YHVH:

Then she called the name of YHVH who spoke to her, “You are the God who sees me.” (Genesis: 16:13).

This was the same angel, the Angel of YHVH, that held Abraham’s arm as he was about to sacrifice Isaac. He spoke to Abraham in the first person, as if He Himself was and is God.

10Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Genesis 22:10-12).

Did you miss it? This Angel, the One in the form of a man, was speaking as if He was and is God. Again, further in the conversation between Abraham and the Angel of the Lord, the scriptures tell us:

15Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son (Genesis 22:15-16).

In the Old Testament, God Himself has visited earth in the form of a man. The same One who was born into the human race as a man to be a sacrificial Lamb, a holy offering for sin. God Himself came to the human race as a Man in order to take away and purge away sin, for every man that will take His substitutionary sacrificial offering as your own.

Keith Thomas

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