It’s amazing how people who adhere to Trinitarian and Arian doctrines actually believe that Jesus is the Angel of the Lord, the Angel of YAHWEH in the Old Testament (OT)!
However, Jesus could not be the Angel of the Lord in the OT:
1) Because he is a human being NOT an angelic being
2) And as such he was not even conceived/begotten yet at the time of the OT
So … Jesus cannot be an/the ‘Angel of the Lord’
Now when I speak of an ‘angel’ I am speaking of the non-human kind i.e. the host of heaven … angelic beings. (Hence, I am not speaking of human messengers; since, in scripture the words angel and messenger are the same Hebrew/Greek word. So my context is angelic beings!)
Now if Jesus was an Angel of the Lord he could not qualify to be God’s Only-Begotten Son!
Why? Because GOD said so, and it appears that the Early Church including the writer of Hebrews were fully aware of this fact and had no concept that Jesus was at anytime, an angelic being!
- (Heb 1:4-7) Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. 7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
- (Heb 1:13) But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
- (Heb 2:5-9) For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
The writer of Hebrew is obviously refuting ‘angel-christology’ which appears was prevalent at his time; he is refuting it using the strongest possible terms. He is showing that Jesus the Messiah, GOD’s Son, was NOT an angelic being at any time! How much clearer could the writer make his point? The questions in Heb. 1:5, 13; are NOT rhetorical questions. The answer therefore is:- TO NONE OF THE ANGELS, DID GOD AT ANYTIME SAY …
Thus, Jesus the Messiah, GOD’s only-begotten human son was NOT and is NOT an angelic being at anytime!
GOD never ever intended the world to come [Heb 2.5] to be put in subjection under any angel. It was always the will of GOD that the world be put under subjection to human beings, not angelic beings hence the terms, ‘man and son of man’.
In chapter 2, the writer of Hebrews is equating Jesus, the risen Jesus, as a bona fide human being, a man, a son of man, and not an angelic being!
Stephen [Acts 7] and Paul [Gal 3.19; cp. Heb 2.2] were fully aware of the OT and they stated that what spoke to the patriarchs were ‘angels’, angelic beings, plain and simple. They never equate Jesus as an OT angel … never!
There is simply no verse which equates the Messiah with the OT Angel of the Lord! No not one.
Therefore, in the OT, via what the Jews call, the law of agency, GOD spoke and acted via/through His angels.
- (Acts 7:30) And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.
- (Acts 7:35) This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.
- (Acts 7:38) This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
- (Acts 7:52-53) Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
- (Acts 7:55-56) But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Stephen mentions the well-known facts that it was ‘angels’ that appeared and spoke to the patriarchs, GOD working through them.
He finally begins to speak of the Messiah in verse 52ff … he never says that it was the Messiah who spoke to the patriarchs; rather, Stephen states that it was Stephen’s audience who were the betrayers and murderers of the Messiah in NT times! i.e. in their time! He does not depict the Messiah in OT times but rather depicts the Coming of the Messiah in their NT time! Not only did the Messiah come, but his audience was instrumental in his death!
And finally, if GOD had spoken through His Son in OT times via any means, the following verses would not make sense …
- (Heb 1:1-2) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Compare: (1 Pet 1:20) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, )
You see! GOD did NOT speak via His Son in time past (simply because His Son was NOT conceived/begotten yet!)
It wasn’t until Jesus came into being … until he was begotten … in the fulness of time, in these last days that GOD had an only-begotten Son to speak TO US through!!!
Rather, GOD’s Son was foreordained even in OT times. He did not exist in OT times. He did not exist until he was conceived/begotten like every other human being
Jesus was and ever will be a human being.
He was never at any time, an angelic being!
For those who believe the Angel of the Lord is Jesus –
If Jesus is ‘the Angel of the Lord’
then who is the Angel of the Lord???
(Mat 1:20-21) But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
(Mat 1:24-25) Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
(Mat 2:13) And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
(Mat 2:19-20) But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.
(Mat 28:2-7) And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. … 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen … 7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
(Luke 2:9-11) And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Do you see my point?
Now a little history …
The so-called church fathers were Hellenistic-minded believers who ‘lost the art’ of reading the Scriptures with a Hebraic mindset. Justin Martyr was the first to call Jesus, ‘the Second God’; and also remember he was ‘a philosopher turned “Christian” ‘!! That is, his mind was steeped in Greek Platonism and philosophy. Remember Col 2.8!
Justin Martyr as well as the church fathers of his era, tried to marry their Greek philosophy with the Hebrew Scriptures with disastrous results. It was these men who introduced the Platonic notion of ‘the immortality of the soul’ and with this notion introduced the concept that Jesus the Messiah pre-existed as a personal being known as ‘[God] the Logos’ who was alongside GOD before the foundation of the world.
Like I said, this notion of ‘literal pre-existence’ of the Messiah was based on their Hellenistic, Platonic philosophy. Here is an account where Justin Martyr one of the earliest proponent of this notion, was trying to convince Trypho the Jew, of this:
CHAPTER XLVIII  — BEFORE THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST IS PROVED, HE [TRYPHO] DEMANDS THAT IT BE SETTLED THAT HE IS CHRIST.
- And Trypho said, “We have heard what you think of these matters. Resume the discourse where you left off, and bring it to an end. For some of it appears to me to be paradoxical, and wholly incapable of proof. For when you say that this Christ existed as God before the ages, then that He submitted to be born and become man, yet that He is not man of man, this [assertion] appears to me to be not merely paradoxical, but also foolish.“And I replied [Justin] to this, “I know that the statement does appear to be paradoxical, especially to those of your race, who are ever unwilling to understand or to perform the [requirements] of God, but [ready to perform] those of your teachers, as God Himself declares. Now assuredly, Trypho,” I continued,” [the proof] that this man is the Christ of God does not fail, though I be unable to prove that He existed formerly as Son of the Maker of all things, being God, and was born a man by the Virgin. But since I have certainly proved that this man is the Christ of God, whoever He be, even if I do not prove that He pre-existed, and submitted to be born a man of like passions with us, having a body, according to the Father’s will; in this last matter alone is it just to say that I have erred, and not to deny that He is the Christ, though it should appear that He was born man of men, and [nothing more] is proved [than this], that He has become Christ by election. For there are some, my friends,” I said, “of our race, who admit that He is Christ, while holding Him to be man of men; with whom I do not agree, nor would I, even though most of those who have [now] the same opinions as myself should say so; since we were enjoined by Christ Himself to put no faith in human doctrines, but in those proclaimed by the blessed prophets and taught by Himself.” (Taken from: Dialogue of Trypho, Chapter 48 )
So, Justin Martyr could not prove that Jesus pre-existed his birth! Justin also points out (as history proves) that it was the majority position among Christians of that time, that Jesus the Christ of GOD, was born man of men! Thus he did not pre-exist as someone or something else.
Sadly, this philosophical, Platonic notion of ‘a literal pre-existence of a Logos-being‘ gained ground among the Hellenistic Christians, and we have the situation that we have today!
However, we have no need to depend upon ‘the so-called church fathers’ for proof … we simply need to go back to the Scriptures.
Jesus in John 5.46-47 was speaking of Deut 18:15-19; both disciples and believers alike perceived that Jesus of Nazareth was ‘That Prophet’ [e.g. John 4.19,29,42-44; 6.14, 7.40, Acts 3.22ff, 7.37, etc]. Neither Jesus nor any of his apostles identified the Messiah as the Angel of the Lord. And neither in any of the Jewish apocryphal writings do they ever identify the Messiah as the Angel of the Lord.
Thus, in closing …
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
(1 Tim 2:5)
by Adam Pastor