Sunday, January 26, 2014

Is God described as an Angel in the bible?


Is God described as an Angel in the bible? Let's begin in Judges 13. In this chapter we find the Angel of the Lord speaking to Manoah and his wife, the parents of Samson. When Manoah realizes who the Angel of the Lord is he wants to make an offering to Him. The bible says:

19   So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it upon the rock to the LORD. And He did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on—  20 it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar—the Angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar! When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground.  21 When the Angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, then Manoah knew that He was the Angel of the LORD. 

22   And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God!” 

Manoah offered the goat and the grain to the Angel of the Lord and the Angel of the Lord did not refuse it. Instead He received the offering and ascended in the flame of the offering. This alone tells us that the Angel of the Lord is God. But notice also that when the Angel of the Lord goes up in the flame the bible tells us that Manoah and his wife knew that the man was the Angel of the Lord. But Manoah doesn't just think that the man was any angel he told his wife that they had seen God.  

Let’s go back to verse 17,18 and look at something else concerning the Angel of the Lord.

17   Then Manoah said to the Angel of the LORD, “What is Your name, that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?” 

18   And the Angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?” 

The Angel of the Lord asks why Manoah wants to know His name seeing that it is wonderful. In Isaiah 9:6 we read about someone whose name is wonderful. The bible says:

6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

This passage talks about a child being given to God’s people and like the Angel of the Lord His name will be called wonderful. This child is called Mighty God. So Manoah said that when he saw the Angel of the Lord that he had seen God and the child that is given to Israel is also called God. Finally both the Angel of the Lord and the child given to Israel are called wonderful. 

Let’s look at another passage in Isaiah 63:9 that identifies God as an Angel. It says:

9 In all their affliction He was afflicted,
And the Angel of His Presence saved them;
In His love and in His pity He redeemed them;
And He bore them and carried them
All the days of old. 

In this passage the Angel of God’s presence saves Israel and redeems them. The bible tells us that Jesus is our redeemer saying in Galatians 3:13:

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 

There are many times in the bible where God is identified as an angel. Hosea describes the story when Jacob wrestled with the Angel saying:

Hosea 12:3,4:

3 He (Jacob) took his brother by the heel in the womb,
And in his strength he struggled with God. 
4 Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed;

Very clearly in this passage Hosea identifies the person that wrestled with Jacob as being both God and an Angel.

In Genesis 16 the Angel of the Lord appears to Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid and the mother of Abraham’s son Ishmael.  

9   The Angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.”  10 Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” 

Notice that the Angel of the Lord says to Hagar  He would multiply her descendants. Very similar language is used in Genesis 2 when God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. Notice how Hagar responds in verse 13:

13 Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You–Are–the–God–Who–Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” 

Hagar says that the Angel of the Lord that spoke to her is the God who sees. She know this because she says I have also here seen Him who sees me. Hagar saw the Angel of the Lord and she identified Him as God. Now this text not only identifies the Angel of the Lord as God but it also identifies the Angel of the Lord as Christ because Jesus says that no one has seen the Father except Himself in John 6:46. This means that Hagar must have seen a pre-incarnate Christ.

The Angel of the Lord also speaks to Abraham in Genesis 22. In Genesis 22:2 God told Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. Then in Genesis 22:12 the Angel of the Lord says to Abraham:

“Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” 

Notice that the Angel of the Lord says that Abraham has not withheld his son Isaac from Him. In other words the Angel of the Lord claims that He was the one that asked Abraham to offer his son. By claiming to be the one that asked Abraham to offer his son the Angel of the Lord is claiming to be God.

In Exodus 3 we see that the Angel of the Lord appears to Moses from within the midst of a burning bush. The bible says in the very next verse that when Moses turns to actually look at the bush the bible tells that God calls from the midst of the bush. This means that the Angel of the Lord and God are one and the same. This is further illustrated by the fact that God tells Moses in verse 4 to take off his sandals because the place where he is standing is holy ground and the Commander of the Lord’s army tells Joshua to do the same thing in Joshua 5:15. Both the Angel of the Lord/God and the Commander of the Lord's army say that the place where they are is holy ground. Holiness is an attribute of God and when we are in the presence of God we are on holy ground.

There is another way in which we can identify the Commander of the Lord's army as God. The word used in Joshua 5:15 for army is the Hebrew word tzeva. It also means host. Over and over again the Lord is called the Lord of tzeva or the Lord of hosts, i.e. Psalm 46:7; Psalm 59:5. 

The Commander of the Lord’s army is not just the Commander of the Lord’s army but also the Commander of the Lord’s host. Isaiah 13:14 tells us that it is the Lord of hosts that musters the army for battle and in 2 Samuel 7:26 the bible says that the Lord of hosts is God. This means that the Commander of the Lord’s army is the Lord of hosts and God. 

Let's look at what the Angel of the Lord does in Judges 2:1:

“I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you. 

The Angel of the Lord claims that He brought the Israelites out of Egypt and that He made the covenant with them. Jesus identifies Himself as the Messenger or Angel of the Covenant when He identified John the Baptist as the messenger that prepared the way for the Messenger of the covenant in Matthew 11:10. In Daniel 9 the bible tells us that the Messiah the prince would confirm the covenant with Israel for one week. 

The Hebrew word Messiah simply means anointed one. Jesus was anointed at His baptism as the Messiah by the Holy Spirit. In Daniel 9:25 the bible calls the Messiah the Prince. This means that Jesus is the Prince because He is the Messiah. But Jesus isn't just any prince He is our Prince of Peace according to Isaiah 9:6.

In another passage in the bible the angel Gabriel tells Daniel that he wanted to explain a vision that was recorded in Daniel 8,9. But Gabriel was not able to explain the vision right away because he could not make it past the prince of Persia. In order to make it past the prince of Persia Gabriel had to have the help of Michael, one of the chief princes. With Michael’s help Gabriel was immediately able to make it past the prince of Persia and explain the vision to Daniel in Daniel 10. Notice that in Daniel 10:21 Gabriel says:

But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince. 

Gabriel calls Michael “your prince.” Is Michael only Daniel’s Prince or is He the prince of the people of God. Daniel had been praying for the people of God in Daniel 9:4-Daniel 9:20. Thus when Gabriel said that Michael is “your Prince” the implication is that Michael is the Prince of God’s people. The only other times where the bible mentions a Prince of God’s people are found in the reference of "Messiah the Prince"  in Daniel 9:25 and the “Prince of Peace” in Isaiah 9:6. 
Thus Michael is the Messiah the Prince of God’s people as well as the Prince of Peace.

In the New Testament we find that Michael is called Michael the archangel in Jude 9. Michael is the only person in all of the bible to be identified as the archangel. Michael means "who is like unto God" or "who is equal to God." 

Over and over again in the Old Testament the bible identifies God as an Angel. He is identified as the Angel of the Lord, the Angel that wrestled with Jacob, the Angel that accepted worship from Manoah and His wife, the Angel that redeemed Israel, and finally as Michael the archangel. But even though God is identified over and over as an Angel it is important to understand that God isn't just any ordinary Angel: He is the Angel of Yahweh. Yahweh means "I am who I am." Or in other words "the eternal self-existing one." He is God and He has no beginning or end. He is the creator of heaven and earth, the angels and all of the created universe. 

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