One of God’s names is “Angel of the Lord”.*
I compiled a list of His names and attributes many years ago. It proved quite the undertaking. After all, God is EVERYTHING that is good, righteous, and holy. While my list is probably not all-inclusive, it is quite extensive (I would be happy to send it to you. Just send an email with your request).
These pages will highlight many of those names and attributes and can be a springboard for your personal devotions or Bible study. Come back often and see what I’ve added. May God bless you as you discover more about Him and grow in grace!
ANGEL OF THE LORD (By Janine Mick Wills)
First, let’s clear up several misconceptions about angels.
⇒ Nowhere in Scripture are angels identified as feminine (Every Christmas my husband campaigns for me to get rid of all the “girl” angels in our nativity sets. I keep telling him if I did that, there would be no angels heralding Christ’s birth, since all of them are female!).
⇒ Though I believe babies go to heaven (2 Samuel 12:23), there is no account in Scripture of baby angels.
⇒ Those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior (If you’re not sure, please see “How to Know You Have Eternal Life”) will not be angels in heaven (Matthew 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as (similar but not like) the angels of God in heaven).
We will be better than the angels, for we will be like Christ (1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is).
We will be better than the angels, for we will be like Christ.
There are numerous references to the “angel of the Lord” in the Bible. But only in Old Testament does that specific title refer to the pre-incarnate Christ (Before Christ became flesh). Theologians call this appearing a “theophany”.
References in the New Testament to the angel of the Lord are angels doing God’s bidding (Matthew 1:20, 24; 2:13, 19: 28:2; Luke 1:11, 28, 38; 2:9; Acts 5:19; 7:30; 8:26; 12:7, 11, 23; Revelation 11:15; 16:5; 22:6).
If you study this, you will see the characteristics of the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament are ones that could only be attributed to God. On the other hand, you can see the duties performed by the angel of the Lord in the New Testament were tasks assigned by God. You can also study the title of “angel of God” as well for additional examples of the preexisting Christ.
This title first appears in Genesis 16.
Hagar, Sarai’s (Sarah) Egyptian maid had fled into the wilderness of Shur after Sarai “dealt hardly” with her (Genesis 16:6). We know this was Christ (or God, since they are one-in-the-same) because only God can “multiply seed” (Genesis 16:10). Angels were created to do God’s will, not dictate it (Genesis 3:24; Psalm 148:2; Luke 1:11-13, et al).
The title “angel of the Lord” was used a second time when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac on Mount Moriah. This act proved Abraham’s fear (awe or respect) for the Lord (Genesis 22:12). In verse 16 the angel of the Lord swears by Himself (And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD…).
In Exodus 3:2 the angel of the Lord appears to Moses in the burning bush. We know it was the Lord because He said in verse six, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” No angel could claim that and stay in heaven! (Look what happened to Lucifer in Ezekiel 28:12-14.)
You can do a word search of other Old Testament references to the angel of the Lord, but here are some to note:
- Judges 6:1-24 The angel of the Lord appears to Gideon, who secretly threshed wheat by the winepress. Throughout their conversation, the Lord reveals His power and future deliverance to a doubtful Gideon and accepts his burnt offering.
- In Judges 13 Manoah and his wife (Samson’s to-be-parents) believed the angel of the Lord was God (Judges 13:22).
- Some of the references to the “angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament are to an angel sent by God for a specific purpose (i.e. 2 Samuel 24:16; Zechariah 1:11-14).
Can you imagine what those Old Testament saints thought when they caught a glimpse of the pre-incarnate Christ? I am pretty sure they were never the same.
That should hold true for us, who have “met” Christ through salvation. We are “a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and should never be the same.
After we meet Christ we should never be the same!
How about you? Are you different now that you’re saved? Can the world tell or do you blend in with the crowd? I am guilty of the latter at times. I’d rather forgo confrontation than stick up for my Lord.
But God didn’t promise us an easy life. 2 Timothy 3:12 says if we are to live godly lives, we WILL suffer persecution.
So, why don’t you join me as I work on being “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10) and let’s impact the world for our God as we grow in grace!