There are Scriptures found in both Old and New Testaments which indicate that one angel is unique,
or different, from all the rest.
In the Old Testament he is uniformly designated as "the angel of the Lord."
That one word, "the," sets him apart.
This is comparable to what Jesus said in John 14:6: "I am the way, the truth, and the life,"
indicating that there is not another way or another truth or another life.
He is it!
In that sense, the angel of the Lord is unique and peculiar.
He is different from the others.
He is not only designated as the Angel of the Lord.
He is also called the Messenger of the Covenant.
This title is found in Exodus 3:2 and in Malachi 3:1.
Exodus 3:2 says, “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.”
Then look at Malachi 3:1: "Behold, I will send my messenger,
and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek,
shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant,
whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts."
Take a look at some indications of this peculiar angel.
The first of the 273 references to angels in the Bible is found in Genesis 16.
The title of the passage is: Hagar, the servant of Sarai, had fled from the tent of Abraham.
In verse seven of chapter 16 we read, "And the angel of the Lord found her
by a fountain of water in the wilderness, a fountain in the way to Shur."
In the ensuing conversation, this unique angel revealed his omniscience.
He, not only knew the future, but he made promises to Hagar that only God could make.
That is the reason why, in Genesis 16:13, we find that she responded by calling him, God,
"Thou God seest me."
It is clear that this woman knew that she was in the very presence of the Lord himself.
In Genesis 18:1: "And the Lord appeared unto him [that is, Abraham] in the plains of Mamre:
and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day."
In this experience from the life of Abraham, we find the Angel of the Lord spoke directly
and revealed to Abraham some of the things that would happen in the future.
Abraham saw all three men, but in verse 3, he addressed one of them
as "my Lord" and said, "My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight,
pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant."
It is clear that Abraham felt that he was in the presence of God.
In chapter 18:10, the angel said, "I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life;
and lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.
And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him."
He predicted the future, uncovering or unveiling an experience that would occur
in the life of Abraham and his wife.
You will remember that two of the angels departed.
But the Lord, the third, remained with Abraham, and together they discussed the fate of Sodom.
After this experience, you find the Angel of the Lord appearing on the Mount of Sacrifice.
When the hand of Abraham was stretched forth with a knife, the Angel of the Lord
called unto him out of heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham."
A second time the Angel called unto him, and in verse 17 made such promises
that no created angel could ever have made.
He promised to bless and multiply Abraham and his seed into eternity.
Surely, this was the Lord himself.
On one occasion, you will remember that Jesus said: "Before Abraham was, I am."
Then in Genesis 22, which relates the experience on the mount, and in verse 18,
we have a further identification.
In this verse, the Angel has indicated the blessing of God upon this man and upon his seed,
and the blessing that they shall be to all the nations of the earth
because "Thou hast obeyed My voice."
We are not called upon to obey the voice of angels at any time,
but we are called upon throughout the Word of God to obey the voice of God.
There is another indication in the 32nd chapter of Genesis.
Beginning in verse 24 and reading through verse 32 is the experience of Jacob
who wrestled with an angel: "And Jacob was left alone; and their wrestled a man
with him until the breaking of the day.
And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh;
and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh.
And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
And he said unto him, What is thy name?
And he said, Jacob.
And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel:
for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
In Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name.
And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost asked after my name?
And he blessed him there.
And Jacob call the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face-to-face,
and my life is preserved."
Jacob understood that he was in the presence of God.
"I have seen God face to face."
Not just one of God's messengers, not just an angel whom God had dispatched
for a purpose, but Jacob understood that he was in the presence of Almighty God.
Hosea 12:4-5 bears witness to the same event.
He states that it was none other than the God of hosts who wrestled with Jacob.
Then in Exodus 3:2, Moses beheld the Angel of God in the burning bush:
"And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush."
Verse two says, "The Angel of the Lord."
It continues: "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."
Now see this: "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."
It is apparent that this Angel is identified as being God Himself.
The Angel in the burning bush identified himself as "the God of Thy Father,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."
"And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God."
It was in that burning bush that Moses confronted the shekinah glory of Almighty God,
and the voice which he heard was none other than the voice of God.
He hid his face, not because he was afraid to look at an angel,
but because he was afraid of looking upon God.
You remember also in this passage that the Angel is identified as "I am that I am."
These are some of the indications, now look at some implications based upon the Scriptures.
I think the implication is clear that the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament
is the pre-incarnate Christ.
Contrary to the methods and the mission of the other angels,
this unique Angel received the intercession of the prayer of Abraham.
We are not told who pray to ordinary angels but the Angel of the Lord
received Abraham's intercession.
Hagar recognized him and acknowledged him as "Thou God."
In his interview with Moses, He gave himself that incommunicable title, "I am that I am."
The same preexistent Angel, the gracious, loving Christ, was with Israel in the wilderness.
He was their God in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
He was their provider in that He sent manna when they were hungry.
Every need they had was supplied.
In Numbers 20:16 we see that credit is given to this Angel for the deliverance
of the Jews from Egypt.
"And when we cried unto the Lord, he heard our voice, and sent an angel,
and have brought us forth out of Egypt: and, behold, we are in Kadesh,
a city in the uttermost of thy border."
So the Angel of the Lord received credit for having brought the people out of the land of bondage.
In Isaiah 63:9 we see that "the Angel of his presence saved them: in his love
and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bear them, and he carried them all the days of old."
In other words, the loving providence and the compassion of God revealed in Jesus Christ
in the pages of the New Testament is not really new.
It is simply an extension of what God was revealing to His people
who had spiritual eyes with which to see all through the Old Testament.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
When in love and compassion He ministered to His people, the people of Israel,
He simply was revealing what we have found to be true of Him in His life, His death,
His burial, and His resurrection here on earth.
Other Scriptures give us additional implications, so let us look at the incarnation.
It is interesting to note that the Jewish writers consistently interpret the praise,
"the Angel of the Lord" as referring to the Messiah.
The Jews accept only the Old Testament, but when they read and interpret the Scriptures
their scholars construe this angel as being a fore-gleam of Messiah.
They gave him the name, Metatron.
Ancient Jewish scholars call him the "Angel of Countenance," because he sees
and beholds God's countenance continuously.
One statement from the Talmud declares the Metatron, the Angel of the Lord,
is united with the most high God by oneness of nature.
So the Jewish writers see God himself been revealed to human beings in this Metatron.
Another Jewish source speaks of this Angel as having dominion over all created things.
Think about this New Testament verse in Hebrews 1:1-2 where we read:
"God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers
by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son."
God chose to reveal Himself in different ways in the Old Testament,
and one of these ways was through the Angel of the Lord.
But finally, the ultimate revelation came when Jesus Christ, God's Son
incarnate in human flesh, came to reveal the heart of God to the mind and life of man.
The New Testament does not make the same kind of reference to the Angel of the Lord.
In fact, there are many places in the New Testament were we have a reference to "the Angel."
However, these are not the same as the Old Testament references
and do not imply that angel is synonymous with Jesus Christ the Son of God.
In the New Testament the Son of God appeared in human form and there was no further need
for God to reveal Himself in this unique way through the Angel of the Lord.
In the book of Revelation, as the apostle John is drawing back the curtain to show us
something of the last things that will take place on this earth,
we find that the Lord Jesus appearing again under the symbolical name, Angel.
That is what we have in this 10th chapter of Revelation.
This might be a reminder to us that the Angel of the Covenant of the Old Testament,
who acts again in fulfilling the Covenant promises remembering mercy in wrath,
will be the One to bring about the end of this present age, the cessation of time
and the commencement of the kingdom age.
We would do well to note the part of Christ in all of this.
In Revelation chapter 10, He is described as "the mighty Angel, Crown with a rainbow."
Remember the significance of the rainbow.
It was the sign of the covenant of God with his people in ancient times.
This mighty Angel, who is Jesus Christ the Son of God, will come in perfect fulfillment
of all of God's promises to do that which God has said He would do for his people.
We find that Angel, in Revelation 10, standing upon the sea and the land, one foot on the land
and one foot on the sea, and He calls to a close all the affairs of men and brings time to its end.
This is a marvelous picture of our Lord, who is ready to assert His dominion and authority
over both land and sea and who has the authority to close out all the affairs of man.
In that day, He who has all authority and all power, will be crowned King of kings
and Lord of lords.
In that day, "the Kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdoms of our Lord
and of his Christ and he shall reign forever and forever."
If Christ would appear now, how would you stand in His presence?
What would be your status?
According to His own words, you can either be for Him or against Him,
but no one can be neutral.
No one can ride the fence.
When Christ returns, where you will spend eternity depends upon your commitment to Him.
If you are not committed to Christ, then your commitment is against Him.
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