There is a mysterious being in the Old Testament that has puzzled a lot of people. This being is referred to as the Angel of the LORD. Knowing his real identity can dramatically help you learn more about the nature and character of God!
The title, “Angel of the LORD” appeared in more than 70 verses in the Bible. Sometimes, the Angel of the LORD is also called the Angel of God.
The mysterious identity of this heavenly being caused a lot of confusion. Thus, a lot of people arrived at the wrong conclusion. Some say it is just an ordinary angel. Some say that it is Jesus Christ (Yahshua the Messiah), making Him a created Being. Some use the identity of this angel as a way to prove the doctrine of the Trinity.
With all the misconceptions about the Angel of the LORD, you might be swayed to believe the wrong teaching. That’s why we must take some time and get a better understanding of who this being is.
Content at a glance
- Content at a glance
- Why should we know who the Angel of the LORD is?
- The Angel of the LORD appeared to Hagar
- The Angel of the LORD appeared to Abraham
- The Angel of the LORD appeared to Moses
- The Angel of the LORD made a covenant with Israel
- The Angel of the LORD and Gideon
- The Angel of the LORD and Manoah
- The Angel of the LORD and the LORD of hosts
- Who is the Angel of the LORD?
- Is Jesus a created being?
- Is Jesus Yahweh?
- Final words
- Enroll in our life-changing course
Why should we know who the Angel of the LORD is?
Identifying who the Angel of the LORD is could dramatically unlock our understanding of who God is. Aside from that, knowing the identity of this angel could reveal to us surprising and dramatic biblical truths that millions of Christians don’t know.
Thus, if you read completely and understand the points brought up in this article, you will be among those people who know this rare revelation.
Most importantly, Jesus Christ tells us in John 17:3:
3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
So, what is eternal life? Eternal life is knowing who God is and His Son. You will then see later that knowing who the Angel of the LORD is, would also help us fulfill this verse.
The Angel of the LORD appeared to Hagar
To start our study, let’s go to the verse where the phrase “Angel of the LORD” was first mentioned.
This was the time when Hagar fled from Sarai. We read in Genesis 16:7-16:
7 Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”
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.”
What’s most interesting about this encounter is that we see that the Angel of the LORD pronounced a blessing to Hagar!
In Genesis 21:17-18, we see a similar blessing made by the Angel of God:
17 And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.”
The next question is, “Can an ordinary Angel pronounce a blessing?”
We are now starting to see how special this angel is.
After this, the Angel gave a prophecy in Genesis 16:11-12:
11 And the Angel of the LORD said to her:
“Behold, you are with child,
And you shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the LORD has heard your affliction.
12 He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”
Aside from pronouncing a blessing, the Angel also gave a prophecy.
Notice what happened 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?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
15 So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
In verse 13, we read that Hagar called on the LORD who SPOKE to her!
But who spoke to her? It was the Angel of the LORD.
How come Hagar called the Angel of the LORD as the LORD HImself? There’s only one explanation. Hagar recognized that the Angel is LORD Himself!
So, Hagar here was equating the Angel of the LORD to Yahweh.
The Angel of the LORD appeared to Abraham
The next story we read where the Angel of the LORD appeared is with Abraham in Genesis 22:15-18:
15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven…
Now, please remember, it is the Angel of the LORD who was talking to Abraham here. This is the second time this happened.
And what did this Angel say?
16 and said: “By MYSELF I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—
This Angel was claiming that He is the LORD Himself! You can’t be clearer than that.
In the next verse, He proclaimed a blessing, something that no ordinary angel can do:
17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
The Angel of the LORD appeared to Moses
Next, let’s take a look at the amazing appearance of the Angel of the LORD to Moses. We read this in Exodus 3:1-16:
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
Take note that it was the Angel of the LORD Who appeared to Moses. However, we read in verse 4:
4 So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
Wow! What an incredible revelation — the Angel of the LORD was then called the LORD! He wasn’t called the Angel anymore, but the LORD Himself!
Let’s continue reading:
5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
The very presence of this Angel made the ground holy! Not only that, the Angel made an astounding and audacious claim that no ordinary angel can say:
6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your 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.
So, this Angel referred to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!
Let’s continue reading:
7 And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.
8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.
9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
So, we see here that the Angel is once again called LORD. Not only that but He claimed Israel as His people and children!
In verse 13, Moses asked the Angel’s name and He also called this Angel God:
13 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
We read the response in verses 14-16:
14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’
16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt.
What a wonderful revelation this gives us. So, in this encounter, the Angel was called LORD and God. He is called the God of the fathers. He called Himself to be the great I AM.
In Acts 7:38-39, we can see the confirmation that it was the Angel who spoke to Moses:
38 “This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us, 39 whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected.
So, this Angel was called LORD as well!
The Angel of the LORD made a covenant with Israel
We all know it was God who made a covenant with Israel. However, a deeper detail is revealed in Judges 2:1-2:
1 Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “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. 2 And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this?
In these verses, we can see that the Angel of the LORD was the one who rescued the Israelites out of the oppressive hands of Egypt. Aside from that, He clearly claims to be the one who made a covenant with them.
The Angel of the LORD and Gideon
Another interesting story we read is in Judges 6:11-24. This is the story of Gideon and how he was called to do a job by God.
11 Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
In this verse, we can see here that the Angel of the LORD referred to the LORD as a different Entity. We are seeing that there are instances when the Angel of the LORD is different from the LORD.
We will learn more about this later.
Let’s continue reading:
13 Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
16 And the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”
We see here the shift of name. At the start of the story, the One talking to Gideon was the Angel of the LORD. Now, we are seeing that He is referred to as the LORD Himself!
Let’s continue reading:
19 So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them. 20 The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so.
22 Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the LORD. So Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face.”
23 Then the LORD said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it The-LORD-Is-Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Gideon knew that this wasn’t an ordinary Angel. He recognized this as a divine Being that he thought he would die for seeing the Angel.
The Angel of the LORD and Manoah
Now, we come to the story where the Angel of the LORD appeared to Manoah’s wife to announce the conception of Samson.
We read in Judges 13:1-5:
1 Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.
2 Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children. 3 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.
4 Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean. 5 For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
When the Angel of the LORD appeared, Manoah wasn’t present. We read in Judges 13:6-16:
6 So the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome; but I did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name. 7 And He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’ ”
8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD, and said, “O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.”
9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God came to the woman again as she was sitting in the field; but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 Then the woman ran in haste and told her husband, and said to him, “Look, the Man who came to me the other day has just now appeared to me!”
11 So Manoah arose and followed his wife. When he came to the Man, he said to Him, “Are You the Man who spoke to this woman?”
And He said, “I am.”
12 Manoah said, “Now let Your words come to pass! What will be the boy’s rule of life, and his work?”
13 So the Angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. 14 She may not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor may she drink wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean. All that I commanded her let her observe.”
15 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the LORD, “Please let us detain You, and we will prepare a young goat for You.”
16 And the Angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Though you detain Me, I will not eat your food. But if you offer a burnt offering, you must offer it to the LORD.” (For Manoah did not know He was the Angel of the LORD.)
We are seeing in verse 16 that the Angel of the LORD commanded Manoah to give the offering to the LORD.
This is where things get more interesting. Manoah asked the name of the Angel in Judges 13:17:
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?”
What was the response of the Angel? In verse 18:
18 And the Angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?”
Wonderful — does this ring a bell? This brings to mind a prophecy about the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6 where we read:
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.
So, one of the names of Yahshua or Jesus is Wonderful!
This should give us a clearer picture of who this Angel is.
Let’s continue reading Judges 13:19-22
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!”
We can see here that Manoah had the same reaction as Gideon. They both thought that they are going to die because they have seen God in the person of the Angel of the LORD.
No doubt, this Angel is no ordinary angel.
The Angel of the LORD and the LORD of hosts
We read in Zechariah 1:12-13:
12 Then the Angel of the LORD answered and said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which You were angry these seventy years?”
13 And the LORD answered the angel who talked to me, with good and comforting words.
We can see here that although there are times when the Angel of the LORD is referred to as the LORD Himself, there are also times when He talks to another Being who is also referred to as LORD.
We will explain this further later.
The actions of the Angel of the LORD
So, from the study that we made, we can see the different things the Angel of the LORD did.
Here are some of the most notable things:
- He pronounced blessings (Genesis 16:10 | 21:18)
- He referred to Himself as Yahweh (Genesis 22:15-16)
- His presence made a ground holy (Exodus 3:5)
- He declared to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 3:6)
- He called Israel His people (Exodus 3:10)
- He said that He was the One who rescued Israel from Egypt (Judges 2:1)
- He claimed to be the One who made a covenant with Israel (Judges 2:1)
With all these actions, we can CLEARLY say that this Angel is no ordinary angel. He is more than just an angel. But could He be a divine being who is part of the God family?
Who is the Angel of the LORD?
Now, let’s answer the question, “Who is the Angel of the LORD?”
The Angel of the LORD is no other than Jesus Christ!
The Angel of the LORD is the pre-incarnate identity of the Messiah.
Of course, you also need to check the context of the verse where the “Angel of the LORD” appears. Sometimes, this title may also refer to an ordinary messenger or simply a created angel.
Christ as the Word
We read in John 1:1-2, 14:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God… 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Yahshua is the WORD. He is the spokesman of God the Father. He is the messenger who communicated with the people in ancient times.
We see here that the Most High God would command Yahshua, the Angel, to talk to His people and bring His message.
No doubt, Christ didn’t just fulfill His role as the Mediator in the New Covenant, but also the Mediator of the Old Covenant.
Christ as the Rock of the Old Testament
We read in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4:
1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
This confirms that even during the time of the Israelites, Christ has already been working with them. He was with them. He was the one who followed them!
Christ as the I AM
We remember that the Angel of the LORD said that His name is I AM.
We can read an astonishing claim made by Christ Himself in John 8:58:
58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
We can see here that Yahshua was the one whom the Israelites knew as the LORD.
For more details, please read, “The Astounding Truth of Jesus Revealed as the God of the Old Testament.”
Is Jesus a created being?
A lot of people believed that Jesus is a created Being and that He has a beginning. They derived this conclusion from the understanding that the Angel of the LORD is Jesus.
Their reasoning goes like this: The Angel of the LORD is Jesus. Angels are created beings. Since Jesus is an angel, therefore, He is a created being.
Sounds simple, right? However, this is false reasoning that can easily be debunked.
First of all, we need to look into the word, “Angel.”
The word “angel” is not found in the original Hebrew text. Angel is a transliteration of the Greek word, “Angelos.” Angelos was the Greek translation of the Hebrew word, Malak. This word means messenger or one sent.
So, the term can properly be written as messenger of the LORD. However, we can better improve this because we know that the real name of God is Yahweh, not LORD.
[For more details, please read, “What is the true name of God?”]
So, the proper rendition is Malak of Yahweh or Malak Yahweh. In English, it could be the Messenger of Yahweh.
When the Hebrew Malak is used, it can refer to a spirit or physical being.
Malak describes the function of the being and NOT necessarily its nature.
Thus, when Yahshua was called the Angel of the LORD, the Bible was describing the function of Yahshua and not His nature. It only means that He is the messenger of Yahweh or He is the one sent by Yahweh.
This tells us that Yahshua, as the Angel of the LORD, isn’t a created Being.
For more details, you may want to read, “25 Shocking Biblical Facts about Angels You Probably Don’t Know.”
Is Jesus Yahweh?
Based on what we have studied, we can see that the Angel of the LORD is also called the LORD. This means that He also holds the name, Yahweh.
We can clearly see that Yahweh in the Bible also applies to Yahshua the Messiah.
How many Yahweh are there in the Bible?
A lot of people believe that Yahweh or the LORD is God the Father. Therefore, Yahshua can’t be Yahweh.
However, in our study, we have seen how Yahshua was also called Yahweh.
This can only mean that there are two Divine Beings in the Bible who shared the same name — Yahweh as Yahshua and Yahweh as God the Father.
That’s why, when we read the Scripture, we can see that there’s a deliberate intention to call the Angel of Yahweh Yahweh Himself, but in some instances, Yahweh is different from the Angel of Yahweh. This is done not to confuse us, but to make a point that there are actually two Yahweh in the Bible.
We can now better see a bigger picture about where was Yahshua or Jesus in the Old Testament. Not only that but we can see how the Most High and Yahshua actually worked together.
God the Father was never absent. He was also actively working even during the Old Testament through His Son, the Messenger and the Mediator.
With this in mind, we can have a better understanding of what Yahshua said in John 17:3:
Enroll in our life-changing course
Do you want to learn how to become a more zealous, faithful, and effective Christian? If yes, let our best online course, Becoming Christians Academy be your guide. In this course, you will receive powerful insights and practical lessons that you can apply in your daily life. Sign up today!