The Angel of the LORD

The first occurrence of the phrase ‘The Angel of the LORD’ appears in Genesis 16:7 – ‘Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on her way to Shur.’

The New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible identifies this particular angel, since the translators assign to Him a capital ‘A’. This same Angel is mentioned another thirty-nine times in the Old Testament. Clearly the translators wanted to differentiate between ‘The Angel of the LORD’ and any of the other angels.

The full phrase, ‘the Angel of the Lord’ with a capital ‘A’ is never used in the New Testament, even when referring to that specific Angel. Take, for example, Acts 7:30 – 32 which includes a quote from Exodus 3:2 – ‘And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. When Moses saw it, he marvelled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and dared not look.’

You’ll note that ‘the Angel’ has become ‘an Angel’ – The indefinite article replaces the definite article.

In the NKJV of the Bible this particular phrase, ’the Angel of the LORD’ never appears in the New Testament – other angels, yes, e.g., the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary when he told her she would conceive a Son whom she was to name Jesus. (Luke 1:26-31)

Some say ‘the Angel of the LORD’ was the pre-incarnate Jesus, the very Lord Himself – a theophany. He spoke with the authority of the LORD, and as God (v 4). Here is the very text from Exodus 3:2 –‘And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of the bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed,’ and ‘God called to him from the midst of the bush.’ (v 4)

The Angel of the LORD was in a flame of fire in the midst of the bush, the very same place from which came God’s voice.

God continued, “I am the God of your father – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” (v 6) and Moses was afraid to look at Him.

At that point God commissions Moses to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt into a ‘land flowing wth milk and honey.’ (v 8) The discourse continues to Chapter 4, verse 17, when after making excuses Moses finally submits to God’s command.

In my view none of this was coincidental. The presence of the Angel of the LORD and the LORD’s voice were synchronised.

For me this is a powerful affirmation of the unity of the first and second Persons of the Trinity – God the Father and His Son. You must decide for yourself.

You might like to check out some of these texts which all refer to ‘the Angel of the LORD’ – Genesis 22:15-19; Numbers 22:23; Judges 2:1; 6:21; 13:13, 19; Zechariah 3:1 and 12:8, 9.

The conclusion I come to is ‘the Angel of the LORD’ is distinct, and I believe He was a pre-incarnate theophany of the Lord Jesus Christ. He spoke with authority and power.

About thebiblicalway

I am a Christian by the grace of God. Ephesians 2:8, 9 Jesus loves me and I love Him. I love my wife, my family and my larger family, the true Church of God.
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