... knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of its own interpretation - 2 Pet 1:20
For some years now God has been unfolding to us the revelation of who Jesus is. When our eyes are open to who Jesus is, we begin to see Him all through the Scriptures. Jesus is not simply someone who appeared 2000 years ago. He is "from everlasting [lit. "the days of eternity]" Micah 5:2. Jesus said to the Jews, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me" John 5:39. As we search the Scriptures, we should take note of what Jesus said and look for Him.
Throughout the history of God's people, beginning in the days of Abraham, a person called the "The Angel of the LORD [YAHWEH]" appears on numerous occasions. While it is translated mostly as Angel, the word in Hebrew is Malach and means a messenger, ambassador, someone dispatched to do a task or relay a message. Malach messengers can be earthly or heavenly. The messenger who is called The Angel [Malach] of the LORD is not on the same level as other angels. He is not simply an angel of the LORD but He is The Angel of the LORD. It is a title given to this particular person. He is The Messenger; He is the Sent One.
God is invisible. The apostle John declared that "No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him" John 1:18. No one has seen God. The visible manifestation of God is the Son of God. The Son declares the Father. He is "the image of the invisible God" Colossians 1:15. When God became a Man in Jesus the Messiah, we saw God. God sent Himself in His Son so that we could see the Father. The Son of God is the visible manifestation of God to us.
While no man has seen God at any time, we see that Jacob had an amazing experience when he "was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day" Genesis 32:24. It seems this Man just appeared. After having his name changed and receiving the blessing of a transformed life "Jacob called the name of the place Peniel [lit. Face of God]: for I have seen God face to face..." Genesis 32:30. Jacob said he saw God face to face! Who did he see?
Hosea declared that Jacob "in his strength struggled with God. Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed;... He found Him in Bethel, and there He spoke to us - that is, the LORD God of Hosts. The LORD is His memorable name" Hosea 12:4-5. Hosea said that the Man Jacob struggled with was:
• The Angel
• The LORD [Yahweh] God of Hosts
• The LORD [Yahweh] is His memorable name
This is all speaking of the same Person. The Man was the Angel. He was God appearing as a Man before He was actually incarnate as a man! Jacob wrestled with Jesus, the Son of God, before He came into the world as a man! "The light of the knowledge of the glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ" 2 Corinthians 4:6. Jacob saw God by seeing the face of Jesus Christ. "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever" Hebrews 13:8. God's glory has always been hidden in Christ, revealed in His face!
Hosea also said that Jacob "found Him in Bethel". When Jacob was in Syria "the Angel of God spoke to him in a dream" Genesis 31:11. The Angel then told him, "I am the God of Bethel [lit. the God of the house of God] where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me" (v.13). The Angel of God is the God of the house of God! He is the same Person to whom Jacob vowed "the LORD [Yahweh] shall be my God...and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth [tithe] to You" Genesis 28:20-22. The Angel revealed Himself to be God, to be Yahweh. The Angel was the One that Jacob was to tithe to and He is the God of the house of God.
Jesus Christ is the "Apostle and High Priest of our confession" Hebrews 3:1. He is the Sent One, the "Messenger [Malach - Angel] of the Covenant" Malachi 3:2. As the Apostle He is the builder of the house of God and Christ is the "Son over His own house, whose house we are" Hebrews 3:6. Jesus Christ is the God of the house of God. Jacob found Him in Bethel. Jacob vowed to Him that He would be His God and that He would tithe to Him. The Angel of God is God and is a revelation of Jesus Christ as the God of the house of God!
When Jacob came to bless the sons of Joseph he said, "God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads" Genesis 48:15-16. Jacob knew that the God who was revealed to him and to his fathers was the Angel who redeemed him from all evil! God appeared as the Angel to the patriarchs! The Jews chided Jesus, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" John 8:57. Jesus in fact walked with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, appearing as the Angel and the God of Bethel!
When Moses was leading sheep in the desert the Scripture says "And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of the bush" Exodus 3:2. Who appeared as a flame of fire? It says the Angel of the LORD. When Moses turned aside to see this miracle it says, "So when the LORD [Yahweh] saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush..." (v.4).
Who was in the midst of the bush? The Angel of the LORD.
Who spoke to Moses from the midst of the bush? God.
God spoke to Moses through the Angel of the LORD. Moses asked for His name. "And God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM'... 'I AM has sent me to you" Exodus 3:14. God speaks to us through His Son (Heb.1:2). Jesus revealed the name, saying, "Most assuredly I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM" John 8:58. It was Jesus, God manifesting as the Angel, speaking from the bush to Moses declaring the name of the eternal God.
When God began to give His instructions to Moses He said "I send an Angel/Messenger before you...to bring you into the place which I have prepared" Exodus 23:20. Later He calls Him "My Angel". This Angel would drive out the inhabitants of Canaan before the children of Israel (Ex.23:23). In revealing the nature of this Angel, God says, "Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him" Exodus 23:21-22.
The Angel carries the name of Yahweh. The name of God is in Him. This means the very nature of God is in Him. If you meet the Angel, you meet God. Jesus said, "I have come in My Father's name" John 5:43. When God came into the world as Jesus, He carried the name of the Father. He is the One who leads us into the inheritance.
In the days of Gideon "the Angel of the LORD appeared to him (Gideon)" Judges 6:12. Gideon did not at first recognize who it was and he responded to Him, "O, my lord [Hb. 'Adon', used of men as well as God]" (v.13). The Scripture then says, "Then the LORD turned to him...So he said to Him, "O my Lord [Hb. 'Adonai', used only of God, never of a man]" (v.15).
Yahweh revealed Himself through the Angel of Yahweh. When this happened Gideon confessed Him as Lord, the Supreme authority, God! Gideon met Jesus, God appearing as the Angel, before He entered human flesh. When we see God in Christ we can only confess Him as Lord! Peter preached on the day of Pentecost that this Jesus who was crucified, "God has made Him both Lord and Christ" Acts 2:36. Jesus is the Lord.
In the days of the Judges the Angel of the LORD appeared to the wife of a man named Manoah. When she saw Him she described Him as "A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome" Judges 13:6. In the excitement of the moment she "did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell her His name".
Manoah prayed for Him to come again. The Angel did come again and Manoah asked the Angel of the LORD, "What is Your name...". And the Angel of the LORD said to him, 'Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?'" (v.17-18). When Isaiah prophesied of the "Son who was given" he said the name of the Son of God would be called "Wonderful" Isaiah 9:6. This Angel was the manifestation of God as the Son of God before He was given as a Man in the earth. Jesus spoke with Manoah and prophesied the birth of Samson!
This Angel was worshiped by Gideon and Manoah (Judges 6:18-24, 13:15-20) and the Angel received their worship. When they offered sacrifices to Him they received a revelation of who He was; Manoah even saying "we have seen God" Judges 13:22.
Joshua met "a Man" who was the "Commander of the army of the LORD" Joshua 5:13-15. This Man was going to lead Joshua into the land. Joshua "fell on his face to the earth and worshiped". Then the Commander of the army of Yahweh told Joshua to take his sandal off his foot "for the place where you stand is holy". These were the exact words of the Angel of the LORD speaking to Moses at the bush (Ex.3:5). The Man received Joshua's worship. He was God Himself appearing as a man. He was Jesus, the Son of God, revealing the awesome authority of God in the affairs of men! When God entered into flesh and walked as a man on the earth He was worshiped (Jn.9:38, Matt.14:33, Matt.9:18). This Messenger is God Himself having the appearance of a man (Phil.2:6-8)!
When Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-Nego declared their absolute allegiance to the True God, the king of Babylon was "full of fury" and commanded them to be burned in the fiery furnace. These three men "fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace" Daniel 3:23. When the king watched he said "Look! I see four men loose...they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God" Daniel 3:25.
Due to this event the king spoke saying, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him..." Daniel 3:28. This Angel had the form like the Son of God. Jesus, the Son of God, is the Deliverer. He has appeared many times to His people in the form of a man and delivered them with mighty power.
Zechariah had a vision of Joshua the High Priest standing before "the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him" (Zech.3:1). Then it says that "the LORD said to Satan, 'The LORD rebuke you, Satan!'" (v.2). The Angel of the LORD spoke as the LORD rebuking Satan! The Angel is the LORD and speaks with the authority of the LORD. When God came into the world as a man He rebuked the devil three times with the Word, finally saying, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written..." Matthew 4:10. Jesus is the One who rebuked the devil and took all of his authority away (Heb.2:14-15, Col.2:15).
As Joshua stood before the Angel, the Angel said, "Take away the filthy garments from him...See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes" (v.4). The Angel of the LORD has authority to remove iniquity! He is the visible manifestation of the invisible God and when He came into the world, incarnated as a man, it says that "He was manifested to take away sins" 1 John 3:5. He is the Son, sent by God to be "the propitiation for our sins" 1 John 4:10.
By Nicholas Jackson