Who Is "The Angel of The Lord"? 
I Believe It Is Clearly the Lord Jesus
by Pastor John Hamel


In the Holy Bible there are no less than forty-four appearances of God to human beings.  Throughout the course of human history,  God has continued to appear or to visit human beings


One of the ways God visits humanity is through the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. 


We are studying the Bible Doctrine of Angelology and it is time to answer the question “Who is the Angel of the Lord?”   I am going to make some very straight forward comments about who I believe He is, but I am not going to be dogmatic.  You may see it differently than I do and that is your right.  


However, I believe the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, and only as He appears in the Old Testament, to be Jesus Christ appearing in the form of an angel.  


There are approximately forty references to “The Angel of God” in the Bible.  There is no way we can look at them all in one lesson.  However, we can look at some of them and I believe by the end of this lesson you will possibly believe like I believe - that Jesus Christ appeared throughout the Old Testament in the form of an angel. 


"The Angel of The Lord”


Right here in Genesis chapter 16 Sarai became so jealous of Hagar, who was carrying Abram’s child in her womb, that she ran pregnant Hagar off into the desert.  The Angel of the Lord visited Hagar there. 


“And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?” (Genesis 16:7-13)


Here, in verse 10, the Bible clearly reveals that God is the Angel of the Lord because only God can "multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude."  


Also, in verse 13, Hagar called the angel "God" and He allowed her to do so. Angels do not allow men to call them "God" or to worship them. (Revelation 19:10)  


“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And 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. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.” (Exodus 3:1-4)


Here again God appears as the Angel of the Lord. In verse two we read, "And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush..."  


Later, in verse four, we read, "God called unto him out of the midst of the bush and said, Moses, Moses."


The Angel of the Lord in verse two is revealed as "God" in verse four.   


Gideon had a similar experience where the Angel of the Lord appeared to him. (Judges 6:11-23)  


God also appeared to the Prophet Elijah as the Angel of the Lord. (1 Kings 19:5-7)   


The “Angel of God”


Hagar returned to Abram and Sarai’s tent as the Angel of the Lord instructed and gave birth to Ishmael.  Once again Sarai rejected Hagar and forced her and the child Ishmael back out into the extreme cruelty of the desert.  After a short while they ran out of food and water. Hagar then placed the child under the shade of a shrub and sat down to die. 


“And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.” (Genesis 21:17-20)


Notice this time it is "the Angel of God" - not "the Angel of the Lord," who reappears to Hagar.  He told her, “I will make him (Ishmael) a great nation.” (Verses 17-18)  


Angels do not make great nations come from people.  Only God can do that.  


Also, verse 19 says, “God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.”  What could be more clear?  The Angel of God Who came to her was God Himself, transforming Himself into an angel.  I believe the Angel of the Lord and the Angel of God were both Jesus appearing as an angel.  He did this frequently throughout the Old Testament.


This same “Angel of God” appeared to Manoah and his pregnant wife several times.  These were the parents of the Prophet Samson.  This Angel of God is referred to twelve times in the thirteenth chapter of Judges.  He is also called the “Angel of the Lord,” “Angel of God” and “Man of God.”  However, I want to look at verse 22 in particular.   


“But the angel of the Lord did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the Lord. [22] And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. [23] But his wife said unto him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.” (Judges 13:21-23)


First, in verse 22, we see Manoah referring to the angel as actually being “God.”  Manoah thought he would die for looking at God because during this period of human history Hebrew people were very superstitious and believed that looking at God brought with it an automatic death sentence. But this was not true.  


Again, there are at least forty-four appearances of God to human beings in Scripture.  Never once did anyone die for looking at Him.


Also, as Manoah's wife said, the Angel of God received their offerings.  Angels do not receive offerings because they do not receive worship. (Revelation 19:10)  


This Angel of God received their offerings because He was indeed God.  


I believe this angel was Jesus Christ.


“An Angel” and “Mine Angel”


“Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.” (Exodus 23:20-23)


Here the Law was being given by God to Israel.  God was giving them personal instruction. He said, “I send an angel before thee … obey his voice ... or he will not pardon your sins for my name is in him.”  


Of course, every Believer in the Bible knows that angels cannot forgive sin.  Only God can forgive sin through Jesus.  


Here we clearly see that it is God who is doing the talking.  He could only be referring to Jesus when He said, "Behold, I send an angel before thee..." because He also said, "My Name is in Him."  


Jesus is the only One to Whom God has given His Name.  Only Jesus has the full authority of God's Name within Him. (Colossians 1:19; 2:9)  


When God commissioned Moses to lead Israel into the Promised Land, He said, "Mine Angel" would go before Moses. (Exodus 32:33-34)  I do believe that God was referring to His Son, Jesus, appearing once again as an angel.


“His Angel”


King Nebuchadnezzar issued a decree that all under his rule were to bow down and worship a ridiculous golden image which he had manufactured.  Anyone who refused to do so was to be punished by death.  


Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego refused to obey the king's decree, refusing to worship the golden image and were immediately thrown into a fiery furnace.  The furnace had been heated to such a degree that the soldiers who threw these three Hebrew young men into the fiery furnace perished while doing so.


King Nebuchadnezzar looked inside the fiery furnace and noticed things were not going quite according to his evil plan.   


“He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire.  And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.  Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.” (Daniel 3:25-28)


Quite obviously, to me at least, this is once again Jesus Christ appearing in the form of an angel whom King Nebuchadnezzar referred to as “His (God's) Angel.” I believe it was Jesus Who was in that fire with them, protecting them.  This is the narrative from which Oral Roberts preached his great message “The Fourth Man.”  


God just might not deliver you from every fiery furnace you face in life, but Jesus will enter into the fire with you every time and bring you out without even the smell of smoke on you. This is clearly revealed in Psalm 66.


"Thou hast caused (Hebrew: "allowed") men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place." (Psalm 66:12)


“The Angel”


“The Lord hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him. He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us; Even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial.” (Hosea 12:2-5)


Here Hosea refers to the night Jacob wrestled with God back in Genesis 32:28.  


Notice, Hosea said Jacob had both "power with God" and “power over the angel."   Hosea referred to the same person as "God" and "the angel."   


Now, of course, God let Jacob win, but only because He knew Jacob would wrestle with Him to the death.  As a result of that battle of wills, God changed Jacob’s name to “Israel.”  


Jacob means “usurper, thief and manipulator.” 


Israel means “prince with God.”  


Further confirmation that this angel was God is given by Jacob in Genesis 32:30 where he said, “I’ll call this place Peniel because here I have seen God  face-to-face.”


“Angel of His Presence”


“For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.  But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.” (Isaiah 63:8-10)


Again, there is no need to be dogmatic here, but this appears, to me at least, to be Isaiah's prayer and prophecy of the coming Redeemer.  


Verse eight clearly refers to this angel as Israel's “Savior.” That, of course, would be a reference to Jesus Christ.  


Verse nine, still referring to Israel's Savior, refers to the “Angel of His Presence.”  


One must not emphatically insist that all of these references we have seen about God’s Angel are referring to Jesus.  I happen to believe they are, but I am open to further revelation.  


However, one thing I will insist upon is whether or not Jesus became an angel multiple times throughout the Old Testament, He did come to us in the form of a man in the New Testament.  He is still a human being and He will always be a human being, although now He is a perfected human being. 


“For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.  Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:16-18)


Jesus became a man so He could understand how we feel when we are suffering, hurt, scared, tired or just flat out want to quit.  Angels do not hurt, they fear nothing, they never get tired and they never want to quit.  Therefore, in the New Testament, Jesus had to become a man, not an angel, in order to perfectly understand man.


But, as I said, I personally believe that every reference in the Old Testament to “The Angel of the Lord,” “The Angel of God,” “His Angel,” “Mine Angel” and “The Angel of His Presence” are all references to Jesus appearing as an angel.  


Jesus appearing as an angel in the Old Testament to assist humanity was a part of His ultimate plan to become a human being and to pay the penalty for human sin.  


God gave the Earth to a human being named Adam.  Adam turned around and gave it to the devil through disobedience.  God had no true authority to come and take it back.  A man gave it to the devil and only a man could take it back from the devil. 


So God sent His Son in the form of a man to get the job done.  This is why Jesus is called the “Second Adam” or the "last Adam." (1 Corinthians 15:45) 


However, while awaiting His perfect opportunity to avail Himself of a virgin birth, Jesus would often find legal expression in the Earth as an angel in order to assist struggling humanity.  


This is a tremendously outstanding revelation of God's great love for His fallen man. 


One New Testament Reference to Jesus as “The Angel of God”


We see only one reference to Jesus in the New Testament as “The Angel of God.”  This is found in Acts chapter 27 where Paul was imprisoned onboard a ship bound for Rome.  A major storm arose during their travels that lasted for two full weeks.  There was great fear amongst the 276 lives onboard the ship.  However, the Angel of God appeared to Paul in either a dream or a night vision with a supernatural revelation.


“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of god, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.  Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God that it shall be even as it was told me.” (Acts 27:22-25)


Notice Paul said, “… the angel of God whose I am and whom I serve.”  


Paul was not owned by an angel.  Paul was owned by God.  


Paul did not serve angels.  Paul served God alone.  


Although Paul said an "angel of God" stood beside him to assure him of safety, he also made the statement that he believed it would be as "God" had shown him in the same revelation.


Paul referred to the "angel of God" and "God" as the same individual.  


This, I believe, is one final Biblical example of Jesus appearing as an angel. 


Jesus Will Once Again Appear as an Angel     


“And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.” (Revelation 8:3-5)


Here in the Apostle John's last days revelation, he saw an angel come with a golden censer to offer incense with the prayers of the Saints before the Throne. 


In closing I would like to share why I believe the angel with the golden censer is Jesus Christ as well.  


Number one. Only Jesus can offer the prayers of the Saints up before His Father.  


Number two. Only the High Priest in the Old Testament was allowed to handle the golden censer. (Leviticus 16:12)  The High Priest was a “type” of Jesus and Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of the High Priest's Ministry.  I believe that even in Heaven Jesus, our High Priest, will be the only One allowed to handle the golden censer. 


Therefore, I believe that in John's future revelation of the altar within the Temple the angel holding the golden censer is the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 3:1)


Additional References for Further Study


In Genesis 22:11-17, the angel called Himself “God” to Abraham.


In Genesis 31:11-13, the angel called Himself “the God of Bethel.”


In Genesis 48:16, Jacob called the angel his “Redeemer.” 


In Exodus chapters 3 and 4, when speaking with Moses, the angel continually referred to Himself as “the God of your fathers.”


In Numbers 22:38, Balaam referred to the angel of the Lord as God.


Moses used the term “angel of the Lord” twenty-five times in his writings and he was always referring to the second Person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ.


Jesus cared enough about humanity to come and visit this Earth as an angel while He was working out His ultimate Plan of Redemption.  


But far and above that, He cared enough about you and me to supernaturally enter into this Earth as a human being through the legal door of a woman’s womb. He came as Heaven's Solitary Missionary.  


He did this to save us from eternal separation from His Father, to forgive our sins, to heal our diseases, to prosper us and to empower us to tell those who have not yet heard what we have learned about the Peace-Maker.  

Be Blessed ... John and Barbara Hamel



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